The late reverend Fr. Rafael Cortina(†), S.J., the counsellor for my senior high school class in 1980, said it a few times: people aren’t changing; you are.
Fr. Cortina’s context was as we young people grow up, we encounter changes in our environment. We think it’s the people around us who are changing but in reality it is us.
We complain that customer services of businesses have gotten worse when really, we had raised our own expectations. What was satisfactory to us several years before is no longer the case and so we complain about services that we were happy with before.
We complain our Internet receptions for our smartphones are super slow but we forget that not many smartphone models several years before had the capability to surf the web.
We complain about how an hour would be so long to wait in line at the bank but we forget that we were waiting for two (2) hours at the same bank a year ago. Thanks to an automated queuing system installed six (6) months ago, wait times at the bank had been cut but we complain anyway because we now have higher expectations.
Other people aren’t changing; we are changing.
The world changes as fast as we do. As we adapt to changing times, we change too. As we physically age and gain more experience, we change too. As we learn and accept new ideas, our mindsets change and we do too.
When we say people are changing, we react defensively. When we say we are changing, we act proactively. For the former, we look at ourselves on the receiving end of what are being thrown at us. For the latter, we see ourselves as changing and the ones who will decide what to do with our changing selves.
It’s a not an ‘us against them’ issue but as a ‘what am I going to do with what’s new with me’ question.
We don’t stay the same. We change every day as we undergo new experiences, learn new things, and gain insights. What we are today will be different tomorrow, even if only slightly.
In our fast-moving world where we are fed information and ideas at overwhelming quantities, we are changing much faster than we think.
Acting proactively has never been so essential as today.