Saturday, January 3, 2009

Responding to Change: Charles Darwin

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Charles Darwin

I can honestly say that I believe, based on Darwin's perspective, that I will be a survivor in the world because I have learned so much about adapting and responding to change. It isn't so much that I figured out what to do, but that I figured out how to react. I know now that sometimes what looks like a change is really not a change in actuality but a change in perspective, a change in thinking. Looking at something from all angles is not something that we typically do as Americans, but I believe that interpreters learn something about looking at a situation, decision, behavior, language, thought in at least 2 ways - from an English perspective and an ASL/Signed Language perspective (if you talk about sign language interpreters).  

Now, if you add to that all the other roles we have or take on in a day, week, life, the possibilities expand exponentially - English user/ ASL user, white person of privilege/minority, worker/manager, teacher/student, reader/writer, American/non-American, female/male, daughter/sister/mother, parent/non-parent...the list goes on. Trying to open my mind to other possibilities can be challenging and fascinating. I learn daily that my way, my experience is just one in a myriad of ways and experiences. That not everyone thinks the way I do, that not everyone works from the same values or beliefs that I do. It sounds crazy to be this age and still be learning this, but it requires constant reinforcement... 

Ultimately, one of the most freeing things I ever learned was that I must not take responsibility for changes that are not my decision. I must be willing to say, "I cannot make everyone happy, so I will act with integrity, try to be fair, admit when I am wrong and apologize when I have hurt someone." That's all I can do.  

In all the changes, I am learning a level of sameness in my response. Wait, see what will REALLY change. Often the changes we anticipate and react to are not the changes that really ultimately impact us. Stay calm (this one I haven't perfected yet). Try to think about WHY things are changing and what the positives are. 

I'm not sure any of this makes any sense to a is all flotsam in my brain lately. The idea of change is a big one and I am thinking about it constantly right now. The thoughts are not always concrete enough to really articulate... 

Change #3: Think, then talk. I'm working on it. :)

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