Should We Admire or Criticise?
What do you think of the environmental campaigners and protesters who have made their presence felt in London in the last couple of weeks? Should we admire their passion and determination to disrupt day to day life do you think or criticise them for disrupting the lives of people who don’t directly influence the UK’s decision-making regarding environmental policy? I can sit on a fence very nicely and feel both of those things about the disruption that was caused, particularly as it didn’t affect me. Seeing people’s passion can be amazing but were they right to do what they did, the campaigners? If we don’t feel strongly about environmental change, do we have the right to criticise the people that do? Should we admire or criticise people who stand up for what they believe in?
The Strength of Conviction
Like many things, passion for a cause is a strength but if we overdo it, it can become a weakness and we can lose perspective on what we’re trying to achieve. I’m not suggesting that the environmental campaigners did that, just that we all need to be mindful of criticising other people when we don’t feel strongly about what they’re trying to change. Influencing change and making it happen can take a huge amount of energy and can be made to feel like wading through treacle if people have a general apathy to what’s being proposed. It can be very easy to stand on the sidelines and talk about the fifty reasons why something won’t work but if it’s not your passion, would you be better to say nothing, let the people with the passion get on with it and admire what they do?
Consultation Can Halt Progress
I’m not good at consulting with others so if people don’t like my ideas then I generally don’t get to hear much about it and I carry on regardless. Blissful ignorance, how wonderful! 😊 Previously, in my Public Sector roles particularly, I became frustrated at the level of consultation that was proposed. I just wanted to carry on regardless but quite rightly, was directed to consult with others to gauge the interest of the team or department in the project I was developing. Some of that consultation was really useful and we ended up with a better product or plan at the end of it and some of it nearly drove me around the twist! Not great. Being given the fifty reasons as to why not to, by people who weren’t really that bothered about what I was suggesting in the first place became a huge frustration for me. It made me less and less enthusiastic about any form of consultation as I believed it would always delay my progress.
Should people have had the chance to question and talk down something that they weren’t invested in? I don’t know the answer to that really but I know the impact of people doing it to me and so very much try not to do it to other people, unless I’m totally invested in the conversation and have a passion to discuss my views, which can be considered or not. I add my voice when I’m engaged and interested in something, not when I’m asked for an opinion but don’t really care about the outcome. Should I be admired for trying to influence change in large organisations or criticised for not leaving well alone? I don’t know the answer to that either but I think there’s a value to being clear about what you want to add your voice to.
Overcoming Resistance To Change
People will often resist change because it disrupts their day to day lives. With change, they will have to think more consciously about what they do and why they do it, and often people will resist that as it takes more energy to think more consciously. We can be a right old bunch of lazy ****s when we want to be, sleep walking through our days and not really engaging in what we’re doing. I see drivers on the road like that all the time. “Are you awake?!” I say quietly as I drive pass, as any good introvert would! 😉 If someone comes and tells us that we’re all going to be doing things differently from tomorrow, what is our first thought? It could be something like “but I need to leave early on Thursday…”. It can be the minutiae of life that trips us up sometimes. So because I need to leave early on Thursday and that might now be difficult because a new regime is being proposed with an immediate start, am I likely to jump up, smile and applaud the new change? It seems a tad unlikely that I will.
And that’s what organisations, families, clubs, schools and governments are up against when they propose changes. They face numbers of people thinking “that might not work for me, on Thursday”. Do we draw our heads back, zoom out on our perspective and think about how wonderful the change could be in the medium or longer term? “Wow! That could be fabulous!”. Nope, I really am just thinking about Thursday. Do we admire the person introducing the change as an inspiring, driven, charismatic individual who clearly has the energy, commitment and determination to make this change happen? Errr, no. Just Thursday 😉 I am being glib of course but we can all be tripped up by the minutiae of our lives when changes are proposed. So next time a change is mentioned, think consciously about whether you’ll add your voice to the conversation or not. You might say “this one’s not something that I’m hugely invested in, so I’m not going to offer an opinion but please do give me a shout if I can help with anything”.
Your Constructive Voice
Organisational changes will usually happen anyway but if there is a chance to be part of a consultation then be there to add your constructive voice. Don’t waste your time just to get a sense of the fifty reasons why it’s suggested the plan of action should not be progressed. Admiring those who are leading change is a positive emotion and energy, even if you feel very passionately that something should not happen! That’s still you using your voice to influence change. Criticising what you’re not invested in is a more negative energy and place to be, so it’s worth being mindful of where you’re at and why you’re adding your voice to something. If you don’t feel strongly about it, I’d suggest you save your voice for other things and admire those that do have the energy to move things forward. Or you can become one of those people! Find something that is a true passion and add your voice to it. Although if you’re planning a sit-down protest on the Wirral, could you let me know when and where please as I’d really prefer not to be inconvenienced! 😉 Although for a good cause that people are passionate about, I can totally respect it, even if it’s not a view that I share.
Take good care please, use your constructive voice and have a great day.
Best wishes, Karen