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choosing to evolve with change or to call it a day




I just watched Memphis on Broadway today, and I was extraordinarily surprised by the insight that I took away from the musical. I may simply be reading too much into the performance, as the other three people with me didn't share the same response. But regardless, I'll try my best to write this reflective post without any spoilers for those who may one day see the production.

At the core of my takeaway is change. Change is such a broad concept, involving many actors, many opportunities and countless steps, back-steps and counter-steps. To those who believe passionately in a very specific and noble change, which started as playing "negro music" on "white radio" in the case of Memphis, it's easy to build up a head of steam in the beginning when the change is still novel. However, as milestones come and go and the environment morphs with the seasons, the initial change agent may find him- or herself losing relevance in a disillusioning world that reached a different state than what the change agent envisioned.

At this point, the change agent has two options: compromise his or her values in the short run to attain the ideal in the long run; or throw in the towel and call it a day. While I personally am an idealist and loathe to compromise my values for any short-term gains, the musical makes a great point supporting the more strategic compromise. Now, which tactic is better? I still honestly don't know.

At work, I'm passionately trying to affect a cultural shift to become more social, collaborative and innovative. I wonder how valuable my voice is currently to the initiative and will be in the future.



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