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Updated: September 29, 2013 10:56 IST

Managing change

Malini Seshadri
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Illustration by Keshav
The Hindu
Illustration by Keshav

It calls for presence of mind, curiosity, self-confidence and logical thought.

The cotton farmers of Vidharba have been facing despair and the spectre of death by suicide. Many of them are deep in debt to unscrupulous money-lenders because their crops have failed or fetched them very little money. One of them is a farmer whom we shall call Ramakant. Instead of wondering how to get rid of the problem, he began to think how he could address the problem itself. He, an unschooled tiller of the land, turned to the Internet for inspiration! With the help of a borrowed laptop he researched other crops that could suit the soil of his fields and the climate of the region. He found that turmeric seemed to be the answer. He knew nothing about turmeric, but he trusted the logic of the new technology. He studied turmeric as a crop, built up expertise, planted it in his fields and tasted success. He is now a prosperous farmer who sets aside time to visit neighbouring villages to talk to despairing cotton farmers about his experience.

Ramakant not only accepted the need to change, but managed the change with the best available technology and became an agent of change for others.

You may have heard many times that “change is the only constant in life.” That is true in a very literal sense as well, because our bodies and our environment are changing constantly. The circumstances of our lives change, technology changes, relationships change too.

There are three broad types of change:

those that we are not responsible for and can’t control,

those that we are not responsible for but can control, and

those that we ourselves bring about and therefore should have the capacity and responsibility to manage.

Change prayer

Have you come across the ‘change prayer’? “God, give me the power to make the changes I can and need to make, the intelligence to adapt to the changes I can’t control and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We can either let change overtake us and push us along whatever direction it chooses; or we can modify and guide the change along the channels we choose. We don’t need to change everything arbitrarily. ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t mend it’ is very good advice. Also, change doesn’t mean we have to do different things. We can even do the same things differently.

The ability to manage change is a very valuable life skill. It calls for presence of mind, curiosity, self-confidence and logical thought. An agent of change is an asset to society, because he/she combines leadership skills with strong personal commitment to make a lasting change for the good.

Malini Seshadri is a freelance writer. Email:

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