“Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by air.”—Ivan Pavlov
I’m back after a couple weeks off. It’s New Year’s resolution time, so I thought I’d focus on support from others for your change, as that’s something that can be very tricky.
I was once on a four hour bus ride through the English countryside. About every hour, the bus would stop and a new driver would get on. It was a system, I saw, that enabled each driver never to get too far from home base, for he would then drive the bus going back where he came from. Each time the exchange happened, the drivers would share information about the route: “Avoid the M40—it’s all backed up. Take the local route around the church and stay straight until you can hook up ten miles ahead.” Because each had been where the other was going, they could give one another real time information. There were no cell phones, no shortwave radios, no pagers, no walkie talkies. What a profoundly simple support system. I imagine it had been created in stagecoach days and had continued unabated for centuries.
As we go about living the changes we want to see in ourselves, we need to take a lesson from the English bus drivers. We need a way to learn from other journeyers who have gone before us. Receiving support doesn’t mean we’re weak, stupid, or needy. It just means that the road ahead is unknown because we haven’t traveled on it yet. If we’re willing to accept support, we can avoid a great number of potholes and traffic jams that we would otherwise encounter.
I don’t care who you are, or what you are trying to learn. When you’re learning something new, it’s best to have support. Even if it’s only support in remembering your initial intention. Many of us get stuck or give up because we believe we should fly solo, and therefore crash and burn. We’re taught that not knowing something is a sign of weakness, so we cut ourselves off from one of the crucial components for success: help from the outside.
When it comes to support for change, the question is not do you need help, but what kind of help do you need? Tune in next time as I look at various kinds of support.