On Change

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamt of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me. Alas, they would have none of it.

And now, as I lay on my deathbead, I suddenly realize - if only I had changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows… I may have changed the world."

Purportedly written on a tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the crypts of Westminster Abbey

“In the universe there is never and nowhere stability and immobility. Change and transformation are essential features of life. Each state of affairs is transient; each age is an age of transition. In human life there is never calm and repose. Life is a process, not a perseverance in a status quo. Yet the human mind has always been deluded by the image of an unchangeable existence. The avowed aim of all utopian movements is to put an end to history and to establish a final and permanent calm.

“The psychological reasons for this tendency are obvious. Every change alters the conditions of life and well-being and forces people to adjust themselves anew to the modification of their environments. It hurts vested interests and threatens traditional ways of production and consumption. It annoys all those who are intellectually inert and shrink from revising their modes of thinking."

Ludwig Von Mises, economist

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete"

Buckminster Fuller, self-educated visionary, designer, architect, and inventor

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Published: October 6, 2006Last updated: October 6, 2006

Books by Josh Kaufman