Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Love Case for Intended Change

This morning, class, let's think about the phrase, "People don't change." Though that may have been the case with the older generations who were married for 50 years and employed by the same company for 30 years or more... it is not the case today.

Non-profits have realized that their strategy must change. No longer can they depend on the fierce loyalty of our oldest generation to simply send their donations in on a regular schedule; NPOs have learned that they must be accountable and they must focus on retention. Giving has a low switching cost and the web provides us with more information that we can handle.

Emergent strategies are becoming more the norm in business practice. In other words, strategy has been intended (proactive) for ages, we're beginning to see how an emergent (reactive) strategy can make an organization more nimble and able to capitalize on innovation and opportunity. People today are changing constantly: changing the TV station, changing the song, changing jobs, changing careers, changing partners... the list goes on.

But, enough of the business world examples. What I really want to talk about--what I always want to talk about--is love.

I think one of the greatest misnomers in love is the concept of change found in the statement, "I don't want to change for someone." Fact is, the world is dynamic and it changes around us and we constantly have to figure out how to continue making our way in it as individuals, as a couple and as a family. Things change. People change.

I believe that you should figure out how to change with and for each other in the beginning, not after things have already changed.

There is a saying that goes, "A man spends his life hoping she doesn't change; a woman spends her life trying to make him change." Haven't we all encountered that?

I recently had a conversation with someone that (I thought) was a potential true love. I wanted to believe that it was a real opportunity, but this concept of change continually popped up in our talks. In the great grand finale of the relationship, she said some of the following things:
  • I want someone that ADDs to my life, not SUBTRACTs from it.
  • I don't want to be with someone that wants to change me.
  • I don't want to fit a square peg into a round hole.
She didn't need to say anything else to me, at all. Right then and there, in those three bullets, I would have been foolish not to see the immaturity and lack of depth. First of all, there is nothing negative about subtraction, sometimes we have to give a little to get a lot. One of the great strategies in soccer is to play the ball backwards and stretch the opposing players out so that you can open up space between them and opportunity to move forward.

Second, every thing that she said was about finding someone that fits her; nothing about finding someone where they fit together. "I don't want you to try and change me" sounds an awful lot like "I don't want to change for you" or "I'm not interested in sacrificing for you." Either way you approach it, being changed or changing, there was no concept of togetherness in her words--no concept of sacrificing for each other and for the greater good.

Third, I believe that the perfect fit is the one that isn't quite perfect; we both have to tuck in a corner here and squeeze into an angle there... we're snug... we need a little tap from a rubber mallet to snap into place... we didn't just fall into place... we had to work on it together. Our imperfections are what make us unique.

Because we're so snug, it's hard to pop us apart... that's my love.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that the world is constant around us and we're the ones that attach our emotion to it... well, the objective world might stay constant, but our subjective world is constantly changing, will your strategy in life and love be intended or emergent?

I intend to be proactive about a togetherness strategy for change and reactive to the opportunities that love will present... now, to find the right woman.

[8/6 UPDATE: Apparently, this post has caused quite the stir and if there was one sentence that I'd go back and clarify, then it would be the one about immaturity and lack of depth. Yes, I believe in those words and stand by them, but that doesn't mean that I don't think we evolve. I believe there is a point in life where we realize what really matters. I'm just saying that there are people in my life that haven't gotten there yet... and they won't fit with me until they do, in any capacity, because I won't waste my time pretending to care or trying to convince them that what they think matters--really matters--is trivial in the grand scheme.]
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