Deep Versus Incremental Change
Deep Change Versus Incremental
Deep Change talks about deep versus incremental change. “Incremental change is usually limited in scope and is often reversible… [Deep change] is change that is major in scope, discontinuous with the past and generally irreversible.” [Page 3]
To me, the difference is in origin. When people decide they feel like doing something different, they can take steps to get them there. And if they don’t feel like it, that’s cool, too. On the other hand, when life pulls the rug out from under you and you realize you need a new direction, the changes that you make are likely to come from a changed sense of identity. When who you are changes, there is no effort to maintain momentum because the changes are coming from a gut level. How do you change what your gut feels? This is a different place than whence comes, “Learning Spanish would be interesting and it might score points with the boss.” Imagine your child moves to Guatemala or Nicaragua for a job and wants you to move nearby. Learning Spanish is now a priority. You might even look for a Rosetta Stone program specializing in Central America. There is a focus and clarity that is unbeatable. The urgency comes from within.
I will never forget the time when Barry’s eventual Huntington’s hit me emotionally. I had known intellectually for about six years, due to genetic testing. Then came the application for long-term care insurance. For whatever reason, it became real to me. I spent three months alternating between not sleeping at all and sleeping for days at a time. That’s when I started working consistently, in about 2000. Then I quit my wretched job at the bindery. Looking for another job in 2004, I realized that I didn’t have the skills employers were looking for: Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Crap! Where was I supposed to get those? Business school. I enrolled that fall.
Going back to school was not what I wanted at all. After having already gotten a BA in liberal arts, it did not appeal to me in the slightest. But I knew I had to be able to support myself. Barry is 16 years older than I am, so being on my own was an eventuality anyhow. I also have no desire to be dirt poor. I proceeded to get a BBA (with an undergrad emphasis in HR) and then an MBA in Strategic Management. People are so proud of me and wonder where I got the motivation to do all that. I never felt like I even had a choice.
And then, as you do the things you feel are necessary, those things themselves change you. Going to business school has changed my thinking processes. Living in a state with an imploding economy has changed me. The people I have met, with their struggles, have changed me. This is very different from “I really should go back to school someday.” There is no comparison.