“Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”- the famous lines are by the 19th century Irish Nobel laureate, playwright, and political activist- George Bernard Shaw. This quote reiterates the one truth – “change is the only constant”. One has to be able to change their outlook with changing times. Change is bound to happen. The question is will you allow your mind to change as the new facts are revealed? Being open minded and receptive to new ideas, people, and situations is the best way to adapt to change and embrace progress. The essay looks at this and more.
Progress and change: one and the same thing?
To ponder over adapting to change in order to progress, we must first delineate what these two terms mean. This is especially because ‘change’ and ‘progress’ are often used interchangeably. However, on a closer look, we find that the two do not necessarily imply a similar meaning, and the two are in fact divided by a fine line.
·The term progress is defined as movement forward or toward a place, objective or level of development. When used as a verb, the term progress means to move forward in time, to development over a period of time, to advance to a higher or better stage or to move forward or toward a place.
The term progress can have various shades of meaning depending on the context in which it is used. In an economic context, progress is related to an increase in the capacity of an economy to produce goods and services, compared from one period of time to another. The use of progress in this context indicates an expansion in the potential to satisfy the needs of a society, as a result of increases in resources, improvements in productive processes or the development of new technology.
From a social perspective, progress is defined as ‘an aggregate improvement in quality of life for the population’. Indicators of social progress include income, health status, freedom, educational attainment and security. This social meaning of progress highlights that progress must be examined from the human perspective, the extent to which the quality of life is improved as a result of the endeavour.
·On the other hand, change doesn’t necessarily always imply altering for the good. When someone changes themselves completely just to “fit in”, it need not imply a positive change or progress!
To move beyond where you are requires change. Progress is what we call that motion when it is in a desired direction. And this can be possible only when one is willing to analyse the facts of life and change opinions when the facts no longer support their prior thoughts or beliefs.
People at the beginning believed that the sun rotated around the earth or that the earth was a flat surface and one could potentially risk falling off the cliff end if they reached the peak of that surface! Later, discoveries and inventions proved these and many such beliefs to be incorrect and baseless. Humanity has believed all sorts of things in the past. But change, and eventually progress, have slowly been working at straightening out these misconceptions. When we consider the latest facts, we have to consider what changes we need to make to our beliefs and lives. This involves training our minds to be open and adaptable to change.
Imagine how difficult it would be to make progress in your life if you believed something untrue, and refused to let go of that thought. Until that person is able to change their mind, how will they be able to make any progress? ‘Going with flow’ is the only way forward.
There is a need to review the facts in the rapidly changing world that surrounds us. We may find facts have changed since we last pondered any situation. If we find any facts that have changed drastically, we need to be willing to change our mind to keep up with the brand new reality. If we don’t change our mind, the changing realities will give us a major surprise when they overwhelm us. We must be constantly scanning the environment and be willing to change our minds.
Resisting change is quite common as one is afraid of losing something. The reasons are plenty. It may be the fear of losing the familiar, fear of losing control, or merely the distress of losing someone and finding ourselves alone. Unwillingness to change leads to stagnation - all of us are guilty of being stubborn or have a fixed mind at times. It takes a lot of courage, strength, and self-discipline to admit that you are wrong or allow progress to happen.
A creative spirit is vital for change, growth, and progress. Never stop dreaming since the opportunities are endless. But if you refuse to change your mind-set and accept errors in judgement, you will never be able to move forward beyond your false impressions. Failures are a part of life but accepting and recognising them is a step towards progress.
Slower progress is better than no progress – progress refers to a positive change. It may include a change of habit, a change in thought process, and a change of mind. Progress cannot be accompanied with stubbornness and denial. We must be willing and open to accepting faults, wrong assumptions and failures in order to successfully progress in life. When one is able to do so, they become in charge of their life and can drive themselves towards their desired goals.