“Times they are a-changin’” – Bob Dylan

In 1961, when I was a 10-year-old kid, Sunday nights were filled with wonder.  My family would gather in the living room and turn on Walt Disney Presents on our brand new, state-of-the-art, 16 inch, RCA black and white television set.  Most nights I would hop up and adjust the rabbit ear antenna until the picture was just right.  If I couldn’t get it my little sister would run to the kitchen and come back with the aluminum foil to wrap the ears.  After the show Dad would get up, walk all the way across the room, and press a button to turn off the TV.  Those were the good old days, but wow TIMES HAVE CHANGED

In 1969, there was a TV commercial that said, “What can you get for a dollar at McDonald’s?” The answer: 2 hamburgers, fries, a coke – and change. TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

In 1971, I can remember stopping at a gas station to ‘fill’er up’ and being appalled when I couldn’t get three gallons of gas for a dollar. TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

And times will continue to do so. After all, as many have said before, the one thing that will be a constant in our lives is change.

So how can we prepare ourselves for this ever-changing, brave new unknown world ahead of us? Here are four tips:

  • Be a life-long learner. But also be a life-long changer. Don’t get stuck in the mud until the change is forced on you. Be proactive. Do you know the sign that reads “we’ve always done it that way”? Chop it up. Burn it. Destroy it – NOW. Continually be open to change – and do it.
  • Be curious. Celebrate the idea that there is no one way to accomplish almost any task. Don’t settle for good enough. Keep searching. Keep looking. Keep striving for that better way. You will find it.
  • Be creative. Be original. As Pablo Picasso once said, “To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.” (That explains a lot, I think.) Back in my college days, I was cast as Professor Henry Higgins in the musical My Fair Lady. My goal was to be just like Rex Harrison (the original), and sorry to say, I did just that. I was just like Harrison. There was nothing original about my performance. Lesson learned.
  • Be courageous. Be fearless. As Nelson Mandela said, “May your choices reflect your hopes – not your fears.” Look inside and determine what you want to accomplish in your life, or in the weeks ahead. Design a course of action and then take that step, or leap as the case may be.

I encourage you to challenge yourself to change. Challenge yourself every day until it becomes a habit, your default response to the unknown.

Phillip J Martin

Exploring the Power of People

You succeed by choice, not chance.
Every decision you make shapes your future

Phil is a published playwright and song writer and an award-winning television writer for the Nashville Now show on TNN. He has spent 30 years as a college professor, most recently in the Department of Theatre Arts at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. He has presented at colleges, universities, conventions and symposiums across the country. In addition to writing 13 musicals, Phil has written two books: Play Hard-Have Fun: A Philosophy for Life and the soon-to-be completed Take the Stage: Leadership Lesson from Theatre. Phil believes that achieving personal and professional success requires the challenge of creative and innovative thinking, that you succeed by choice, not chance.

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