Quoting Change

Words of Wisdom
by Jonathan Wright

Today more than ever, if there’s one thing that can be counted on above all else, it’s the constancy of change.

Businesses come, businesses go. Buildings rise and fall. Individuals grow up and are transformed. New generations replace those that came before. Demographics shift. Technological change begets social change.

As the rate of change accelerates, the future is becoming impossible to predict. In a rapidly changing world, success—in business or otherwise—requires the firm ground of adaptation and a foundation of lifelong learning. And it never stops. But don’t take my word for it.

1. Change is inevitable.

“Nothing endures but change.”
—Heraclitus, pre-Socratic Greek philosopher

“We change whether we like it or not.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and poet

“Change is inevitable—except from a vending machine.”
—Robert C. Gallagher, businessman and former director of the Green Bay Packers

2. Change means survival.

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
—John Wooden, legendary basketball coach

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
—Charles Darwin, English naturalist and scientist

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory."
—W. Edwards Deming, American statistician and educator

3.
Change brings progress.

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”
—Charles Kettering, American inventor and businessman

“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change.”
—Alfred North Whitehead, English mathematician and philosopher

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
—George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer and playwright

4. Change is hard.

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."
—Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian writer and philosopher

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”
—John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-American economist

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”
—James Belasco and Ralph Stayer, authors and management consultants

5. Change is lifelong.

“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”
—Peter Drucker, writer and management consultant

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”
—Leo Buscaglia, author and motivational speaker

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
—Benjamin Franklin, American scientist, inventor and statesman

6. Change can be guided.

“Willingness to change is a strength, even if it means plunging part
of the company into total confusion for awhile.”

—Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric 

“Make ‘What, exactly, have you changed?’ the most common question in the organization. Ask it a dozen times a day, at least.”
—Tom Peters, business author and speaker

“Change before you have to.”
—Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric 

7. Change can be grounded.

“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” 
—Pauline R. Kezer, educator and former state legislator

"The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value."
—Stephen Covey, author and consultant

“Excellent firms don't believe in excellence—only in constant improvement and constant change.”
—Tom Peters, business author and speaker

8. Change can’t be fought.

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”
—Harold Wilson, former British prime minister

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
—R. Buckminster Fuller, American inventor and futurist

“To meet the demands of the fast-changing competitive scene, we must simply learn to love change as much as we have hated it in the past.”
—Tom Peters, business author and speaker

9. Change is accelerating.

“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be...This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.”
—Isaac Asimov, American author and scientist

“We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.”
—R.D. Laing, Scottish psychiatrist

“The world has not just ‘turned upside down.’ It is turning in every which way at an accelerating pace.”
—Tom Peters, business author and speaker

10. Change starts with you.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
—Norman Vincent Peale, American clergyman and author

“Resolve to be a master of change rather than a victim of change.”
—Brian Tracy, self-help author and business consultant

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
—William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright iBi

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