The Slowness of Change

I loved this article by Rebecca Solnit, “Slow Change Can Be Radical Change”for how it nails the truth that most big change comes slowly. Sure, there are dramatic moments of change. But they mostly result from the hard work of change made by people toiling away for years beforehand.

And so people give up on change too easily, because they expect too much.

A common source of uninformed despair is when a too-brief effort doesn’t bring a desired result—one round of campaigning, one protest. Or when one loss becomes the basis for someone to decide winning is impossible and quitting—as if you tossed a coin once and decided it always comes up tails.

Also, this is a sparklingly smart passage:

Describing the slowness of change is often confused with acceptance of the status quo. It’s really the opposite: an argument that the status quo must be changed, and it will take steadfast commitment to see the job through. It’s not accepting defeat; it’s accepting the terms of possible victory. Distance runners pace themselves; activists and movements often need to do the same, and to learn from the timelines of earlier campaigns to change the world that have succeeded.

(Via Kottke)


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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT