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Thursday, January 9, 2014

5 Change Agent Tips For The Powerless


"The Red Sea Splits" via JewishCurrents.org

Tip #1: Understand that power may come through people, but it does not come from people.

Each of us has seen some amazing things in our lives. Baby geniuses. People who survive grueling attacks in wartime and not. Technologies that lift 200 people in the air at a time and fly us halfway around the world. 

Yes, it is true that people can try really hard and achieve great things. But no, they're not doing it alone. There is something more out there. And no human being owns it or can control it.

Tip #2: Act "as if" your behaviors made a difference. 

This principle follows on the previous one.

You alone can't tear down the walls that represent barriers to change and positive growth. But you can approach the walls and start to kick, climb, spray-paint, and otherwise tear them down.

The act of faith alone is what prompts the Universe to back you up.

For example, the woman in the photo below has no money. But she is still majoring in a world-changing profession, journalism, learning the techniques of effective investigation and communication.

You never know what you will do in life, or even if you will end up a journalist full-time. But you can always use these skills for some positive end.


Screenshot via WeAreThe99Percent

Tip #3: Don't expect the world to support you.

To stay with the same example, the woman pictured here is self-supporting. 

She has high ideals - calling her line of work a "civic duty" - but doesn't expect the world to come to a halt in response.

It is normal for change agents to experience backbreaking pain as a result of their efforts. Consider this a part of the territory.

Tip #4: Think and act in terms of baby steps.


Take it one step at a time, slow and steady.

There are so many graphics out there depicting this idea...footsteps on the sand, etc. etc. But we still don't get it - otherwise those big corporate change initiatives would not fail at the rate that they do.

The truth of the matter is, bottom-up change initiatives are MORE likely to succeed than those that come from the top down. A case in point is social media.

This is not only because the people closest to the action know better than anyone else know what's important.

It is also because when powerless people take action, they usually do so a little bit at a time. It's not because they're plotting in a brilliant way, but rather because this is all they can do.

So take it step, by step, by step, by step, by simple step.

Tip #5: Don't talk about it until it's well underway. 

Ha-ha! You see, you thought I was going to say the opposite, right? That you should blah, blah, blah explaining what you're trying to do at every turn.

Screenshot via FunElf.net

There are two reasons why blabbing at the early stages is not optimal.

* It makes you look like a big talker who does not actually do anything - you lose credibility.

* It invites opposition, perhaps ruining your chance to actually make the change you want.

Rather than announcing what you plan to do, start communicating once the effort is partially underway and has shown signs of success.

* All opinions my own.