Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff, exclaimed: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” But what happens when the changes the crises create come at a serious cost? Such as changes in NASA’s quality standards after the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger; the ratification of new English laws and a drastic change in the culture of the London underground after the fire at King’s Cross Station in 1987; and the re-design of airplane cockpits after the deaths of 583 people on the runway of the Spanish island of Tenerife in 1977. While every crisis may not involve the loss of life, the crises above beg the question of: “Was there something someone could have done to prevent these terrible events?”
At one point or another we all may have said something to the effect of “It is what it is” and accepted our circumstances. We may have even felt like there was nothing we could do as we were just a small fish in a big pond full of sharks; allowing our circumstances to weigh heavily upon us. Perhaps you feel this way about something in your life which could cause harm to others or an injustice in the world. Whatever it may be, we often psyche ourselves out of even attempting to overcome our circumstances. “It’s too big.” “It’ll never change.” “What can I do about it?” These are just a few things we may say to ourselves which create our complacency, and let us get on with our lives. And as history has taught us through events, such as the ones noted above, complacency can mean death. But what if there was a way to avoid the dangers of being complacent? How different would you feel? What impact could you impart upon this world?
All it takes is one person to speak up and create the path to change. For, if no one ever raises a concern, change will never come forward. Importantly, that change will also never come forward if it is not rooted in what is right, not only for yourself, but also for everyone involved. And while voicing your concern may raise awareness around your circumstances, and presenting a path in the best interest of everyone involved will create traction, change can be difficult and daunting. It takes conviction and courage to stand your ground and be the impetus for change. This leads us to our three S’ for escaping the dangers of complacency:
- Speak up;
- Stand up for what’s right; and
- Stay the course.
Can you imagine the type of change one person could create if they spoke up, stood up for what was right, and stayed the course? Fortunately, we don’t have to imagine it. We can look back upon history to see the change individuals, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and the founding fathers of the United States, created by refusing to be complacent. What type of change can you create?