There’s No Such Thing as Change

All there is – is increased or decreased awareness. And no I’m not being cute and clever and playing word games with you. When you get right down to it, there is no change – at least not as something ‘out there’, separate from you that must be dealt with or managed somehow.

You are either aware or you’re not. All of us have limited success in realizing the full potential of our lives because of unwillingness to be aware. Many are so unaware they don’t even know they have a life purpose waiting for them to open their minds to its existence.

This all came to me while sitting with a client in the Presidential Suite of an Atlanta hotel I swear was no more than four feet from the airport tarmac. Through the sliver between the drawn curtains we could see only a fraction of the frenetic busyness out in the airport. We were discussing cultural change in the company – and how to get people to see the real potential of their service rather than stay mired in the same old stuff.

Right now, I said, people are looking at their lives and the market potential of the company like they’d look through that little opening in the curtains. That narrow ribbon of activity is all they can see. They think that’s all there is out there.

Our job, I proclaimed in my best keynote voice, is to show them this…and in a moment of Shakespearean drama I threw the curtains open to expose several runways, dozens of busy gates and machinery and people scurrying around like I’d kicked an anthill. All this ‘new’ suddenly-revealed busyness and potential had been there all along hidden behind people’s unwillingness to see.

Each of those other runways could be another revenue stream. Each newly discovered group of workers a fresh customer category full of potential. Those gates could be dozens of new office locations. All that can be already is.

That’s the thing…all that is possible is already in existence. Everything. King Solomon tried to tell us in the 10th century BC that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Of course new things happen all the time. Dropping the atomic bomb in 1945 was a new experience. Going to the moon in 1969 was new. Mapping the human genome was new. High speed internet is new. This issue of the newsletter is new.

So what am I and my wise king friend getting at? The ingredients and process for making an atomic bomb have always existed – though scientists weren’t aware until the forties. Humans have always had genes and DNA – Drs. Crick and Watson became aware of them in the fifties. The thoughts for this newsletter have been brewing in my mind for awhile – I became aware of them a minute ago.

So what has changed? Absolutely nothing; except our awareness.

The solution to our energy problems already exists. A cure for MS already exists. The words for your up-coming best-selling book already exist. Whatever is possible already is. Or as Dr. Scott Peck put it, it’s a world waiting to be born.

Whatever you and I are capable of becoming and doing exists already. We simply need to throw those curtains back to see it. So why don’t I do that? Why don’t you?

It’s our mind-set…or better, our set-mind. 96% to 98% of all behavior is controlled by our sub or non-conscious mind – the “cognitive unconscious.” In that part of our mental iceberg that’s under the water are innumerable mental structures that shape the way we see the world. These structures determine just how widely we throw the curtains open. Professor George Lakoff at UC-Berkley calls them “frames.” How these frames work is that they block any ideas and opportunities that don’t fit. If you have a 3X5 frame in your mind, and a 10X12 opportunity comes along, it just won't fit; you’ll close the curtains and lose out on a gift of unimaginable proportions.

We have frames about God, relationships, money, miracles, our own ability, how to make gravy, politics, quantum physics, about absolutely everything. We even try to stuff our own children into our frames. Unfortunately, most of these frames of ours block out more light than they let in. This article may already be rejected by one of your frames. I just rejected an entire book someone sent me. These frames form the boxes we keep trying to think out of.

How do we change our frames and let the light of possibility flood our souls? I have two suggestions to get us both started.

First, do something dramatically different in your life or work. I’m talking something seriously different, a ‘big bang’ kind of change. You won’t live long enough for evolution to kick in so just do it. Rip that band-aid off! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! For me it’s been creating an entirely new approach to leading executive team retreats instead of relying on my tried and true methodologies, my old frames.

Second, go back to something you’ve rejected and try again. It doesn’t matter how simple or mundane – just grit your teeth and go back to it. If you’ve had a heated discussion with your mother-in-law about the ‘proper’ way to cook ribs, go back and try it her way. That book I rejected? I’m going to retrieve it out of the Goodwill bag and actually read it. I’m going to underline the best bits and make notes in the margin like I do with a book I'd pay for. If I do this in the right spirit, guaranteed my ‘frame’ will change and I just might learn something.

So stop fuming about change, there isn’t any. Throw back those curtains and you’ll see that all that is possible is already.

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciouisness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties adn talents become alive. and you discover yourself to be a great person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."
Pantanjali (approximately 2nd century BC)

With purposeful wishes,


PS to learn more about my 'big bang' concept for executive team retreats go to