Change as offense vs Habit as defense
In a popular US sitcom, Friends, Monika (a chef by profession) hosts a Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner menu is enticing, however, the host’s excitement is met with indifference from her friends who all yearn for their mom’s cooking. Everyone gives their suggestion on how the mashed potatoes should be prepared and Monika exalts saying “Okay, three kinds of potatoes coming up!”.
If we look at this situation, a chef is preparing a dish as the way it is supposed to be but that was clearly not everyone’s choice. The Chef’s dish was rejected even without being tasted. But if you ask me, this isn’t baffling at all given that our preference or liking would always be something that we have gotten used to.
For instance, I once took my Husband’s regional dish - his favorite Misal Pav - and gave it a sublime twist with adding malai (cream) in the recipe. While I was enjoying the lip-smacking dish, he was all grumpy and was unable to understand as to why would I change the original recipe?
People like to experiment new things but what about change from usual? Does change share an equal status with new? I believe no.
But isn’t new a departure from regular? No. Sometimes we like to perceive it as change instead of terming it new.
There is an underlying preference and pride for the food, people, culture, and language with which we grow up and the way of living becomes a habit. We see resistance in accepting a small change in our culinary itself. Okay a few might argue, change in other aspects other than food is easier – I might as well agree!.
Is it only uncertainty we are insecure about when routine changes? Or perhaps bigger than uncertainty is a huge stone that we’ve hit up on the road to change. Life would have been simpler if we could remove it, go over it, or around it. Unfortunately, this huge stone isn’t lying outside but is inside us, our subtle ego. The first big question any change faces is why? Why, when what I am and what I have is already good or even superior, then why change? The changed state could lie anywhere in the spectrum which spans from negative to neutral (just for fun), to positive.
In personal and professional spheres of our life, we are constantly taught to deal with changes – nothing is permanent. We have been asked to accept changes, but we find it difficult to do so. I think may be a two-step approach might help; step one, to determine whether the change is for my collective progress or for my own/common benefit. If it is a yes to any one of that, then step two, to at least give change a chance.
In this process, the acceptance of change might not come. Sometimes, step one may never be even in our control but, giving an opportunity for change is always in our hands. Afterall, a small change to make others feel inclusive and a chance to create a better tomorrow is worth the try.
To sum it up, here’s a line picked straight from Ericsson’s culture, “Ericsson - where failure is not a taboo and experimentation is encouraged, let us welcome the challenge to the status quo.”
As for Misal Pav, I’m happy to let it go and be in the safe hands of my husband. It is good when some things don’t change.