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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Change

In 1900, fathers prayed their children would learn English. Today, fathers pray their children will look up from their phone and simply speak English.

In 1900, if a father put a roof over his family’s head, he was a success. Today, it takes a roof, deck, pool, and 4-car garage. And that’s just the vacation home.

In 1900, a father waited for the doctor to tell him when the baby arrived. Today, a father must wear a smock, know how to breathe, and capture in all on video.

In 1900, fathers passed on clothing to their sons. Today, kids wouldn’t touch Dad’s clothes if they were sliding naked down an icicle.

In 1900, fathers could count on children to join the family business. Today, fathers pray their kids will soon come home from college long enough to teach them how to use the iPhone 6S and run the DVR.

In 1900, fathers shook their children gently and whispered, “Wake up, it’s time for school.” Today, kids shake their fathers violently at 4 a.m., shouting: “Wake up, it’s time for hockey practice!”

In 1900, a father gave a pencil box and some candy for Christmas, and the child was all smiles. Today, a father spends $800, and the kid cries and says, “But I wanted an X-box!”

In 1900, a father came home from work to find his wife and children at the supper table. Today, a father comes home to a note: “Jimmy’s at baseball, Cindy’s at gymnastics, I’m at the gym, pizza in the fridge.”

It was John F. Kennedy who said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Many people fear change, but according to Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson it’s also that they genuinely believe (often on an unconscious level) that when you’ve been doing something a particular way for some time, it must be a good way to do things. And the longer you’ve been doing it that way, the better it is. So change isn’t simply about embracing something unknown — it’s about giving up something old (and therefore good) for something new (and therefore not good). This bias to the status quo is in nearly all of us.

There is hope. It’s not impossible to overcome an unconscious bias, but if you want to succeed you need to start realizing that it’s there. Change and innovation require that we not only convince others that new can be good, but that we address their (often unconscious) assumption that what’s been around longer looks, works, and is better.

As we go through another change of seasons from summer to fall I often pause to reflect on all that has changed and that is going to change. The older I get the more I realize that life is rarely perfect and it’s almost never easy. But in the end, it’s up to us—and no one else—to make change happen.

 

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