If you want change, act!

dog and sheep

I remember someone once saying that every group had objectors, but only 5% of those who objected spoke up, unable to accept what they heard because it simply didn’t make sense.

Change doesn’t just happen.

Change takes effort. It takes creativity and courage. The Apollo moon landings did not ‘just happen’. It needed an audacious spark, and many creative, courageous and adventurous people working together to get that tiny pod to the moon, and back to earth.

The London Underground system is 150 years old. Steam engines and horses pulled the first trains! The idea of travelling in underground tunnels, took foresight, lateral thinking and problem solving skills by the bucket load. Now we nip through the ticket barrier with electronic ticketing (brilliant), head down the escalator (another bright idea) and jump on the tube, and think little of it. It’s an amazing feat of foresight, engineering, and a miracle of logistical co-ordination that moves up to 4 million passengers a day.

Henry Ford apparently said that “people don’t know what they want…. if we had asked them what they wanted, before the car was invented, they’d have asked for faster horses.”

It sounds a little patronising, but we often don’t know we need until it’s offered. Even then it’s the small minority who grab the early version of something new. Most of us prefer to wait until others have started using it, and raving about it. The magic appeals to the early adaptors, the risk takers, those crazies who queued up overnight for the new, slightly clunky and expensive, but very beautiful iPhone… or the first cd player. There are those who back the designers of carbon-zero housing, or lead the development of biodegradable plastic bottles. It’s the visionaries who look at the world in a different way and make something new that will change the way we think and act.

If we look at Roger’s Innovation Bell Curve a tiny 2.5% of people innovate, and only 13% will even look at what they do. It is this critical 13%, the early adopters, who are the people who create the first wave, breaching the chiasm, who start the first suggestion of change. If this first 13% can make enough noise to pique the interest of the majority, then the wave becomes the sea. As the majority join the party a movement is created. The remaining few laggards reluctantly dip in their toes only when the pressure mounts to do so, or other options cease to be available. But they are never the ones to seek out to make change happen.

Organisational Wellbeing is an innovative concept. It means doing something now that makes the future better. It’s based on preventing stress, strain and sickness, by working together to create a healthy way of living and working. It’s about creating a workplace culture where that matters. It’s about integrating the concept wholly into the organisation’s fabric so that it is the normal habit, and no one gives it much thought. It’s the unconscious default position where people have energy to spend on being the best they can be and producing their best work.

Prevention is logical but seems a bit revolutionary. It requires us to replace being reactive, and to start being proactive. In health as in many things, we tend to keep doing what we’re used to doing, ignoring the niggle and the ache. That is until it’s really painful and impossible to ignore.

So, don’t wait. Act before it hurts.

If we start to develop the practice of doing things now to stay well in the future, instead of fixing things once they are broken, we enter into a responsive world where we take charge of ourselves, our bodies and minds, and our overall health. And we can even think more about the health of others, our colleagues, our families, our friends and our communities. By getting actively involved in our health and wellbeing we engage our selves in the process, and that further feeds the changes, making them into lasting habits. Its healthier, its cheaper and its cleverer to take action.

It’s not really revolutionary.

It’s simple and logical. But in a culture where we have learnt to wait for experts to tell us what is wrong with us and to be given something to fix it, it can feel quite a rebellion to take charge of our own health and wellbeing, and to make ourselves better.

So the trick is to think forward. And to act.



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