Are we just like a frog in boiling water?
There is a growing resistance movement in this current lockdown environment.
A growing voice of people resisting rampant productivity. Many people are preaching the ideology of ‘use your time wisely’, that is being productive; go and learn a new language, develop strong routines, or maximise working from home; just some of the examples. However, those that resist the productivity, disagree with this adage. They are saying, this is a traumatic time, this is stressful and that we are entitled to rest, be still and deal with the trauma.
Perhaps some are better able to cope with change than others, those of us that can adapt need to allow others to take their time to catch up.
One thing is certain for all of us is change, which is rarely comfortable.
It may sound superficial, however, the choice to allow my hair to go grey was momentous for me. As a woman, I felt judged and criticised for the decision. I doubted whether I would be viewed as old, unfashionable, unattractive and undesirable. However, I decided to embrace my grey as a symbol of change, the rite of passage of maiden-mother-crone. (Ironically, those that criticised me for my choice, stating I’d regret it, now praise my beautiful, natural streaks.) In a business context, I decided I would wear it as a badge of honour representing wisdom, experience and confidence. Women comment on me being brave stating “I could never do it” or “I’m not ready to go grey yet” and my choice as even inspired others to do the same. Most men won’t realise the mental complexity around this simple decision, sense of identity and embracing change.
In fact, the Buddhist concept of Dukkha, speaks of constant suffering that comes with change, the perpetual end (and often rebirth) of things.
Those that are most resilient, learn to roll with the punches, ride the tidal waves and embrace, even celebrate the change.
A frog placed in boiling water, knows his life is at risk and will immediately react to the sudden change in his environment. His wellbeing is at risk. Actually, when any of us feel that our wellbeing, in any form, is at risk, that is when we feel stress. The change in the environment is obvious to the frog and he must act immediately.
However, if the frog were placed in cold water and the temperature were to increase ever so slightly, the frog would be unlikely to act differently, because he has not become aware to the change in his environment, only leaving the water should he feel an urge to do so.
Most of us make a choice when we are going to implement change, we prepare ourselves for it. Whether it be starting a new job, leaving our hometown or starting a new exercise regime. We choose to put ourselves in this stressful situation and prepare ourselves for it.
None of us could have prepared ourselves for what we are experiencing now with this pandemic. Our sense of ‘normal’ has totally been disrupted. Those that actively resist the movement of productivity are the ones who seek to hang on to any thin thread of a semblance of normality.
If you’ve every ridden the waves in the surf, you’ll know that there is a strong directional motion. We have three choices.
- Stand our ground, face it with a wall of resistance and potentially be bowled over.
- Duck dive beneath it and hopefully avoid the strong surge of energy.
- Or sit upon it, adjust our balance and hopefully ride the wave into the shore.
Many businesses, have resisted change, surviving quite well without it. Until now, they may not have needed a well-functioning website, e-commerce, a social media presence or a customer management system. Like the frog, the environment would have changed around them bit by bit. Inevitably, within 10 to 15 years’ time, these things would have been inevitably adopted for their business survival. This current environment has turned businesses into the frog dropped right into the boiling water. Now this change has been brought forward, without warning at a rapid pace.