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Warning: Creating Change Is Not for the Faint of Heart

Making change is not for the faint of heart. Because, to very coarsely paraphrase the words of Niccolo Machiavelli, there is nothing more difficult to do, more perilous to pursue, nor more uncertain in its success, than the venture of leading change.

It requires an admittedly strange combination of stubbornness and sensitivity; humility and audacity; restlessness and patience; vision and action.

Because the changemaker has for enemies all those who have done well under old systems of advantage and inequity.

And they have ambivalent advocates in those who may do very well under the new systems of opportunity and equity.

This ambivalence comes in part from a justifiable fear of formidable opponents, who often have power and policy on their side.This ambivalence may also come from the natural tendency of average minds to dismiss new things until we have had long experience with them.

Changemakers, therefore, have to overcome habit, apathy, incomprehension, and disbelief while facing forceful resistance from vested interests and institutional defenses. To borrow the words of John Gardner, "This will strike some as a burdensome responsibility, but it will summon others to greatness."


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