Reflecting on Change

Time: About 45 minutes - 15 minutes for individual reflection and 30 minutes for discussion after the reflection period.

First Step - 15 minutes: Listed below are several quotes on change. Have each learner go through each of the three sections and pick one quote from each section. Have them reflect on each quote for about 10 minutes.

Second Step - 30 minutes: After the reflection period, lead a discussion on change. Some questions to ask:

Quotes on Change


The Reality of Change

Change alone is unchanging. — Heraclitus (c. 535-c. 475 B.C.), Greek philosopher. Herakleitos and Diogenes, pt. 1, fragment 23

All things change, nothing is extinguished... There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement. — Ovid (43 B.C.-A. D. 17), Roman poet. Pythagoras, in Metamorphoses, bk. 15 (c. A.D. 8).

A living thing is distinguished from a dead thing by the multiplicity of the changes at any moment taking place in it. — Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), English philosopher. Principles of Biology, pt. 1, ch. 4 (1865).

All things must change to something new, to something strange. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix. — Christina Baldwin

Nothing endures but change. — Heraclitus

The Conflict of Change

Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict. — Saul Alinsky (1909-72), U.S. radical activist. Rules for Radicals, The Purpose (1971).

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. — Reinhold Niebuhr

Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock. — James Baldwin (1924-87), Author of Every Good-Bye Ain't Gone (published in New York, 19 Dec. 1977; repr. in The Price of the Ticket, 1985.

They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. — Andy Warhol

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. — Gail Sheehy

The Impact of Change

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better. — King Whitney, Jr.

If a man like Malcolm X could change and repudiate racism, if I myself and other former Muslims can change, if young whites can change, then there is hope for America. — Eldridge Cleaver (b. 1935), U.S. black leader, writer. Author of Soul on Ice and The White Race and Its Heroes (1968).

We must become the change we want to see. — Mahatma Gandhi

Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. — Harry S. Truman

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination. — John Schaar, futurist

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. — Eric Hoffer

Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes. — Lewis Grizzard

Next Steps

This activity is based on the Leadership and Change chapter

Return to the Leadership Training and Development Outline