‘Change is Incremental’

by Helen Wilde

Listening to Waleed Aly on the ABC Radio National’s ‘Drive’ program  last night, I heard the beautiful, talented Annette Shun Wah being interviewed about her perceptions of a fair, tolerant Australia. Annette was born in Cairns in 1958. She is a freelance actor, writer and broadcaster and has a blog at : http://www.annettework.com.au/

Turns out she is Adelaide at the moment, hosting a discussion at the Moon Festival, The-role-of-Asian-Australians-in-the-debate-about-Australia-s-place-in-the-Asian-Century

I’ve always enjoyed listening to and watching Ms Shun Wah, and I listened with interest.

I was struck by a simple statement she made: ‘Change is incremental’.

I thought, that is so true, and so apt. Annette was talking about Australian society. I found the comment valid and powerful in a personal sense. For more than 2 decades I have worked as a Counsellor with a range of people who wanted to make changes in their personal lives. Usually they wanted these changes to happen quickly; big changes, changes that were difficult,changes that led to disappointment and frustration, failures and successes, happiness and pride. Usually we would try to do some goal setting, set some smaller, achievable goals, some ‘baby steps’ within their larger ambitions.

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step‘  is another way to think about this. This popular quotation, can also be translated from the original Chinese as “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.”

Rather than emphasizing the first step, Lau Tzu regarded action as something that arises naturally from stillness. Another potential phrasing would be “Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”

In progressing towards the challenge of living our life to the full, we meet many challenges along the way. When our personal journey seems to be ‘stuck’; or progressing in a direction we do not want to go, by remembering that being aware of where we are, where our beginning is, of working out what is that first step in the direction we do wish to go, of the power of making change incrementally, bit by bit by bit, we will make significant change.

Helen Wilde

Helen was a long term Senior Counsellor with Diabetes Counselling Online and a Teacher. She is mother of a type 1 diabetic since 1979 and a type 2 diabetic herself for many years.