“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
We need to change to solve our climate and ecological crises. I don’t think knowing how to change or having the tools to change or even having the will to change are our real problem.
Our problem is fear. Fear of change. We’re afraid of it.
That’s why we go to McDonalds. We like knowing what they serve. It’s safe.
That’s why we might buy a salad, knowing there are twenty salad dressings on offer. But we order the same dressing over and over.
That’s why we have our coffee the same way every morning.
Or our tea.
That’s why we drive home the same way every night, following the same route.
Why we park in the same place, talk to the same friends, even choosing the same toilet cubicle.
We’re creatures of habit.
Old habits can be difficult to break. They throw us outside of our comfort zone.
We instinctively distrust strangers.
We’re suspicious of the new guy in town.
We fear a whole race or culture or religion that is different to us.
Fear can be powerful. Yet it can also stop us from achieving greatness, and amazing moments in our lives.
When I leaped off a cliff the first time I paraglided, I was afraid. Yet I did it anyway, and it was a terrific moment in my life. I felt wonderful as I sailed over Queenstown.
When I first deadlifted over 100 kilograms (220 pounds), I was afraid. What if I failed? What if I was too weak? But I succeeded, and moved on to much greater weights and strength. I found new power in myself and drew confidence from my strength.
Life is about facing what is new, breaking old, damaging habits, and reaching for new, healing goals.
Change is hard. It can be uncomfortable. It can hurt. It can scare us. Anything becomes possible. We can even fail.
But if we don’t strive for change, we never know what we can achieve. Change is that new breath, the fresh air at the top of the mountain.
All we have to do is face our fears, push past them, and climb.
We human beings face huge challenges ahead of us. Our beautiful, amazing, fragile planet is at risk. Not just us: every ecosystem, every creature.
But we cannot solve these very real, terrifying problems by repeating the same mistakes that caused the problems in the first place.
It is time to try something completely new.
We cannot rely on our leaders: they have shown us they will not lead. We need to find the courage within ourselves, and take the climb.
We have the courage, you and me. Ordinary people. All of us.
The mountains are waiting for us.