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Change

  • Yesterday people were permitted to change things. They will be permitted to advocate changing them tomorrow. It is only dangerous to think of changing anything today.

  • The process of education is not generally a process of teaching people to think and ask questions. It ... is mostly one of teaching the young what is and getting them into a mood where they will go on keeping it that way.

  • The world is equally astonished—and resentful—at every new discovery, but it in a short time accepts it as a commonplace.

  • It's the most unhappy people who most fear change.

  • All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.

  • ... youth is always sure that change must mean something better.

  • Whenever you take a step forward you are bound to disturb something. You disturb the air as you go forward, you disturb the dust, the ground. You trample upon things. When a whole society moves forward this tramping is on a much bigger scale and each thing that you disturb, each vested interest which you want to remove, stands as an obstacle.

  • Human progress had so often been checked by those who were afraid of losing what they had.

  • You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act.

  • ... there is no sin punished more implacably by nature than the sin of resistance to change.

  • ... only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.

  • Our fathers valued change for the sake of its results; we value it in the act.

  • There is always new life trying to emerge in each of us. Too often we ignore the signs of resurrection and cling to parts of life that have died for us.

  • Nature does abhor a vacuum, and when you begin moving out of your life what you do not want, you automatically are making way for what you do want. By letting go of the lesser, you automatically make room for your greater good to come in.

  • People who talk of new lives believe there will be no new troubles.

  • A blossom must break the sheath it has been sheltered by.

  • Neither situations nor people can be altered by the interference of an outsider. If they are to be altered, that alteration must come from within.

  • We must not forget that all great revolutions and reformations would look mean and meagre if examined in detail as they occurred at the time.

  • ... revolution is man's normal activity, and if he is wise he will grade it slowly so that it may be almost imperceptible — otherwise it will jerk in fits and starts and cause discomfort ...

  • In truth, it's usually failure, disappointment, and frustration that motivate people to reexamine that which they've taken for granted. It's rare to find big change without significant bad news. ... In that sense, the pain of failure creates the largest opportunities for progress.

  • Developing the abilities and attitudes to deal adequately with change — particularly those that appear to be negative — should be our highest priority.

  • People don't alter. They may with enormous difficulty modify themselves, but they never really change.

  • Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix.

  • When you're stuck in a spiral, to change all aspects of the spin you need only to change one thing.

    • Christina Baldwin,
    • "Solo Dancing on the Spiral Quest," in Kay Vander Vort, Joan H. Timmerman, and Eleanor Lincoln, eds., Walking in Two Worlds ()
  • It's unbelievable the primitive feelings that are aroused by rapid change.

  • The dense and godly wear consistency as a flower, the imaginative fling it joyfully behind them.

  • Life is change: growth is optional.

  • Any deviation from the ordinary course of life in this quiet town was enough to stop all progress in it.

  • Progress? It ought to be stopped, that's what I say. If the Lord meant chickens to come out of incubators he'd never have made hens, it stands to reason.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "The Ruin of Mr. Hilary" (1929), Pavements at Anderby ()
  • Women can always think as much as they like, an' they could get up on a platform an' talk till they bust, as long as they didn't want the world to be made no better, an' they wouldn't be thought unwomanly. It's soon as a woman wants any practical good done that she is considered a unwomanly creature.

  • ... nearly all great civilizations that perished did so because they had crystallized, because they were incapable of adapting themselves to new conditions, new methods, new points of view. It is as though people would literally rather die than change.

  • ... all big changes in human history have been arrived at slowly and through many compromises.

  • Some women wait for something / to change and nothing / does change / so they change / themselves.

  • I am on the cusp of change and the curve is shifting fast.

  • ... change / is the world's only fixity, and fixity / her foremost lie.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "To a Transatlantic Mirror," Becoming Light ()
  • The first problem for all of us, men and woman, is not to learn, but to unlearn. We are filled with the popular wisdom of several centuries just past, and we are terrified to give it up. Patriotism means obedience, age means wisdom, woman means submission, black means inferior: these are preconceptions imbedded so deeply in our thinking that we honestly may not know that they are there.

  • The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day. After all, a movement is only people moving.

  • Nothing will happen automatically. Change depends on what you and I do every day.

  • Imagining change is the first step toward creating it.

  • ... change starts at the bottom. I think we're disempowered by the idea that it starts at the top, when really change is like a tree. It does start at the bottom.

  • ... it is better to inspire a reform than to enforce it.

  • It is only in romances that people undergo a sudden metamorphosis. In real life, even after the most terrible experiences, the main character remains exactly the same.

  • He acted too often without counting the cost, from some dazzling conception, — one could not say from impulse, for impulses are from the heart. He liked to reorganize and change things for the sake of change, to make a fine gesture, He destroyed the old before he had clearly thought out the new.

  • Life, though it is short, is very long, and contains so much. And one does not, to one's consciousness, change as one's outward appearance and capabilities do. Doesn't Mrs. Somerville say that, so far from feeling old, she was not always quite certain (up in the seventies) whether she was quite grown up!

    • Margaret Oliphant,
    • in Mrs. Harry Coghill, ed., The Autobiography and Letters of Mrs. M.O.W. Oliphant ()
  • All forms of slavery had their inception in some kind of economic dependence, but the slavery often exists long after the dependent condition has passed away. A thing, once established, once made an institution, is very apt to outlast the economic phase which determined its existence, and become a very troublesome matter. Institutions are crystallized ideas; they stand still: people grow — grow beyond and outside of them. Yet there they remain, unwieldy, mischief-breeding; to get rid of them at all is to tear them out by the roots at great cost of life and suffering. The bonds made ages ago, by economic conditions prevailing at the time, have become sacred; they bear another strength than that which they possessed when first formed. Though no longer with any economical basis for existing, they are even more effective in power than when first established.

  • But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.

  • Change is the watchword of progression. When / We tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. / This restless craving in the souls of men / Spurs them to climb, and seek the mountain view.

  • It was never too late to undo who you had become.

  • Nine people out of ten (in Germany and England, perhaps ten people) would rather wait for their rights than fight for their rights.

  • Resistance, which is the function of conservatism, is essential to orderly advance.

    • Agnes Repplier,
    • "Conservative's Consolations," Points of Friction ()
  • If what we change does not change us / we are playing with blocks.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "A shadow play for guilt," To Be of Use ()
  • ... the only difference between a rut and a grave, as someone had observed before him, is in their dimensions.

  • All change is not growth; all movement is not forward.

    • Ellen Glasgow,
    • in Barbara Jean Ringheim, Ellen Glasgow's Interpretation of Human Action and Ethics As Reflected in Her Novels and Essays ()
  • Consistency is a human word, but it certainly expresses nothing human.

  • The presence of perpetual change / Is ever on the earth; / To-day is only as the soil / That gives to-morrow birth.

  • ... people change and forget to tell each other.

  • We are pushed forward by the social forces, reluctant and stumbling, our faces over our shoulders, clutching at every relic of the past as we are forced along; still adoring whatever is behind us. We insist upon worshipping 'the God of our fathers.' Why not the God of our children? Does eternity only stretch one way?

  • But scabs adhere and hurt — no one escapes / Renewal's pain.

  • One of the persistent ironies of reform is the impossibility of predicting the full consequences of change ...

  • ... all birth is unwilling.

  • No great thing happens suddenly.

  • ... one does not need to remain in bondage to the first wax imprint made on childhood sensibilities. One need not be branded by the first pattern. Once the deforming mirror is smashed, there is a possibility of wholeness; there is a possibility of joy.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1932, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. So suffering must become Love.

  • Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude.

  • ... life is a succession of readjustments.

  • ... the moment of change is the only poem.

  • If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "'Going There' and Being Here," Blood, Bread, and Poetry ()
  • O dear variety! how pleasing to the human mind is change.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • to her sister, Mary Smith Cranch (1784), Letters of Mrs. Adams ()
  • People don't really change. Not fundamentally. When they surprise us, it is because we failed to recognize their potentialities.

  • I create crisis. Because crisis is the leading edge where change is possible.

  • It's never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise.

  • Sometimes change came all at once, with a sound like a fire taking hold of dry wood and paper, with a roar that rose around you so you couldn't hear yourself think. And then, when the roar died down, even when the fires were damped, everything was different.

  • ... moving on is a gift you give yourself.

  • What gets called 'the sixties' left a mixed legacy and a lot of divides. But it opened everything to question, and what seems the most fundamental and most pervasive in all the ensuing changes is the loss of faith in authority: the authority of government, of science, of patriarchy, of progress, of capitalism, of violence, of whiteness.

  • The history of the reformer, whether man or woman, on any line of action, is but this: When he sees it all alone he is a fanatic; when a good many see it with him they are enthusiasts; when all see it he is a hero.

  • A new town was only the same town in a different place.

  • We've taken disturbances and fluctuations and averaged them together to give us comfortable statistics. Our training has been to look for big numbers, important trends, major variances. Yet it is the slight variations — soft-spoken, even whispered at first — that we need to encourage.

  • ... we can't be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always starts with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for what's new. Great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing.

  • Young people think they never can change, but they do in the most wonderful manner, and very few die of broken hearts.

  • Agitate! Agitate! ought to be the motto of every reformer. Agitation is the opposite of stagnation — the one is life, the other death.

    • Ernestine L. Rose,
    • c. 1854, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods -- No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • So often I heard people paying blind obeisance to change — as though it had some virtue of its own. Change or we will die. Change or we will stagnate. Evergreens don't stagnate.

  • ... the need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.

  • No one will live all his life in the world into which he was born and no one will die in the world in which he worked in his maturity.

  • At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done — then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.

  • Women's struggle for equality worldwide is about more than equality between men and women. Our struggle is about reversing the trends of social, economic, political, and ecological crisis — a global nervous breakdown! Our struggle is about creating sustainable lives and attainable dreams.

  • That's the risk you take if you change: that people you've been involved with won't like the new you. But other people who do will come along.

  • American society has a remarkable ability to resist change, or to take whatever change has taken place and attempt to make it go away.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • Fluidity and discontinuity are central to the reality in which we live.

  • Monotony and repetition are characteristic of many parts of life, but these do not become sources of conscious discomfort until novelty and entertainment are built up as positive experiences.

  • They clung like barnacles to the sunken keel of the style and tastes of the 'Nineties.

  • It is not at all about a backwards return, a resurrection of an African past that we have learned to know and respect. On the contrary, it is about the mobilization of every living strength brought together upon this earth where race is the result of the most unremitting intermixing; it is about becoming conscious of the incredible story of varied energies until now locked up within us.

    • Suzanne Césaire,
    • in Daniel Maximin, ed., The Great Camouflage: Writings of Dissent (1941-1945) ()
  • It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.

  • ... anything that becomes a cult, or a mass movement, loses its moral and spiritual value. The crusade has to be personal, individual. As soon as it becomes collective it loses its purpose.

  • Although the connections are not always obvious, personal change is inseparable from social and political change.

  • We all fear change, even as we seek it.

  • The woman took a train / away from herself. / She thought: I need a change / and wheels make revolutions.

  • ... I have left all my business and all my husbands; I have taken with me only fair weather and my children, which is as much as I want.

  • His house was so ordered, the same things were every day performed there so punctually to the minute, that any change was impossible. The two old aunts who directed his establishment, the servants, the very horses, could not to-morrow have acted differently from yesterday; nay, the furniture, which had served three generations, would have started of its own accord had any thing new approached it.

  • The truth is that we can overhaul our surroundings, renovate our environment, talk a new game, join a new club, far more easily than we can change the way we respond emotionally. It is easier to change behavior than feelings about that behavior.

  • Change means leaving one's memories, one's sins, one's ancient prison, the room where one was born.

  • Thus it is that some people will speak words of change without living it, and others will live in changed ways without acknowledging it.

  • Society and personality live in a continuing reciprocal relation with each other. The search for personal change without efforts to change the institutions within which we live and grow will, therefore, be met with only limited reward.

  • ... change generally outruns consciousness, and, for most of us, change in consciousness lags well behind the changing social norms, sometimes even behind changing personal behaviors.

  • One of the most courageous things we do is change. If everyone says you're wonderful every time you wear a red dress, and you change to yellow, that takes courage.

  • People may find it more comfortable to listen to us if we equivocate, but in the long run only words that discomfort them are going to change our situation.

  • Change is the essence of life; change is the great challenge, the great constant. Change is the ultimate teller of tales.

  • Let us remember that all reforms are interdependent, and that whatever is done to establish one principle on a solid base, strengthens all.

  • Change provides us with experiences that we convert to personal power.

  • ... you cannot hope for change in others, you can only work toward it in yourself. And that's hard work.

  • ... when you can't change a thing, don't let it change you ...

  • Changes are not only possible and predictable, but to deny them is to be an accomplice to one's own unnecessary vegetation.

  • With the only certainty in our daily existence being change, and a rate of change growing always faster in a kind of technological leapfrog game, speed helps people to think they are keeping up.

  • Is the scraping off of a barnacle the destruction of a ship?

  • Breakthroughs, in art, in culture, in personality, come when tackling the unexpected.

  • If you had to choose only two qualities to get you through times of change, the first should be a sense of self-worth and the second a sense of humor.

  • Learning how to respond to and master the process of change — and even to excel at it — is a critical leadership skill for the twenty-first century. Constant, rapid change will be a fact of life for all of us.

  • ... power is not a thing to be owned. But if you believe that it is such a thing, losing it becomes a possibility to fear. That fear, I think, is one reason for the dark projections of a catastrophic future that are so widespread, in our dual society. The present powerful, being committed to polarization, expect that any new deal will overturn the one that set them in authority; that the last shall be first and the first last, role reversal everywhere, men as slaves, women as masters, in a revolution of contradiction.

  • Myth, legend, and ritual ... function to maintain a status quo. That makes them singularly bad in coping with change, indeed counterproductive, for change is the enemy of myth.

  • If one is going to change things, one has to make a fuss and catch the eye of the world.

  • No age is the Law and the Prophets. We are eternally sowing our future and reaping our past ...

  • Resistance is the first step to change.

  • ... very few people change after well say seven or seventeen. Not really. They get more this or more that and of course look a bit different. But inside they are the same.

    • Jean Rhys,
    • to daughter Maryvonne (1955), in Carole Angier, Jean Rhys ()
  • At the bottom of God's purse ... is change.

  • How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world!

    • Anne Frank,
    • 1944, in Ralph Manheim and Michel Mok, trans., Anne Frank's Tales From the Secret Annex ()
  • Change is what people want most, and fear most desperately.

    • Catlin Fullwood,
    • in Elizabeth Debold, Marie Wilson, and Idelisse Malavé, Mother Daughter Revolution ()
  • Life had a different shape; it had new branches and some of the old branches were dead.

  • ... it is the nature of human beings, and especially of the mediocre ones, to wish to change everything. They desire it all the more because they know popularity will accrue rather to those who disturb than to those who maintain order.

    • Marie Antoinette,
    • 1791, in Oscar-Gustaf de Heidenstam, ed., The Letters of Marie Antoinette, Fersen and Barnave ()
  • ... this world / Is full of change, change, change, — nothing but change. / Is there not one straw in life's whirling flood / To hold by, as the torrent sweeps us down ...

  • When you decide to change paths, you will often face criticism from those around you. 'What do you mean you want to change your career? You've invested five years in building up your dental practice! All that time and money down the drain!' Explain that none of it has been a waste. At one time it was the right thing for you to do. Much was learned and much was gained in the way of experience. It simply doesn't feel right any more — it's time to change. I know many people who stay locked in unsatisfactory situations that no longer work for them because they've invested so much and it would be a shame not to continue. How illogical! Why invest more, if it's no longer paying off? Remember — the quality of your life is at stake!

  • Use what is dominant in a culture to change it quickly.

  • I think we foreshorten our own viewpoint if we consider any state of mind, or society, or government as final. Growth and change! We can't get away from them.

  • ... people are capable of profound metamorphosis, though unfortunately they rarely avail themselves of this genius, force of habit being an even greater enemy of change than cowardice.

  • But not all change is negative, even though it may create uncertainty. Not all sharing of power implies loss; it can also lead to bigger gains. Not all turbulence is a mere distraction from business; it may lead to useful new inventions. ... Change can be exhilarating, refreshing — a chance to meet challenges, a chance to clean house. It means excitement when it is considered normal, when people expect it routinely, like a daily visit from the mail carrier — known — bringing a set of new messages — unknown. Change brings opportunities when people have been planning for it, are ready for it, and have just the thing in mind to do when the new state comes into being.

  • When one begins the transformative process, death and birth are imminent: the death of custom as authority, the birth of the self.

  • No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal.

  • Transformation is a journey without a final destination.

  • The difference between transformation by accident and transformation by a system is like the difference between lightning and a lamp. Both give illumination, but one is dangerous and unreliable, while the other is relatively safe, directed, available.

  • The bottom line with change is that it starts where it's always started — with innovative people who care enough about a cause to inconvenience themselves for eventual results.

  • You are destined to fly, but that cocoon has to go.

  • Do not determine to change your life eventually. If you have decided to change your life, it is already changing.

  • ... suppose you invest time and effort in designing a new image for yourself. You get home and your husband takes one look and screams, 'Was the other person hurt? I see you've been in a head-on collision.' ... Men hate any change.

  • I am full of the sorrow that goes with changes in surroundings, those successive stages of annihilation that slowly lead to the great and final void.

  • If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it, one step at a time.

  • What I like most about change is that it's a synonym for 'hope.' If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, 'I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.'

  • We cannot change others, but when we change ourselves, we may end up changing the world.

  • Nothing remained immutable, in that old phrase applied to the stars. Everything changed; the wise welcomed it and struck out to swim with the stream. Others resisted, damming progress with human bodies. It was no less true, because it was so bitterly ironic, that the children of revolutionary change became the stiffest of reactionaries.

  • ... it is only through a wholesome discontent with things as they are, that we ever try to make them any better.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • letter, 1883, in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1860, in Ida Husted Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony ()
  • My 'awakened dreams' are about shifts. Thought shifts, reality shifts, gender shifts: one person metamorphoses into another in a world where people fly through the air, heal from mortal wounds. I am playing with my Self, I am playing with the world's soul, I am the dialogue between my Self, and el espirítu del mundo. I change myself, I change the world.

  • Here's a human trait: change scares us. ... We will do anything to change until we start to; then we do everything to stop it.

  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

  • ... change only requires a few of us. ... The critical mass can be achieved by the minority — even a small minority.

  • Let him reform first. What he will not do for a sweetheart, he will never do for a wife.

  • It's necessary in order to attract attention, to dazzle at all costs, to be disapproved of by serious people and quoted by the foolish.

  • The 'flatfoot mentality' insists that any individual or organization that wants to change anything in our present system is somehow subversive of 'the American way,' and should be under continuous surveillance ...

  • There is no good reason why we should not develop and change until the last day we live.

  • There is often a turning point in life long before it is suspected by those who look on, much less by the one who is actually passing the boundary ...

  • I have learned that in order to bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try. Each and every one of us can make a difference.

    • Rosa Parks,
    • with Gregory J. Reed, Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue With Today's Youth ()
  • Openly questioning the way the world works and challenging the power of the powerful is not an activity customarily rewarded.

  • The only person you are responsible for changing is yourself.

  • If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.

  • Everything is everything / What is meant to be will be. / After winter, must come spring / Change, it comes eventually.

    • Lauryn Hill,
    • "Everything Is Everything," The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill ()
  • Living would be a terribly pedestrian business without the impatient ones. The seekers. Always searching for something new, something relevant to leave their mark on. Always on tiptoe, anticipating discovery. Such people find change as necessary as the air they breathe.

  • It is not the conscious changes made in their lives by men and women — a new job, a new town, a divorce — which really shape them, like the chapter headings in a biography, but a long, slow mutation of emotion, hidden, all-penetrative; something by which they may be so taken up that the practical outward changes of their lives in the world, noted with surprise, scandal or envy by others, pass almost unnoticed by themselves. This gives a shifting quality to the whole surface of life; decisions made with reason and the tongue may never be made valid by the heart ...

  • ... change dont come by waitin / change come by movin ...

    • Hattie Gossett,
    • "for my sisters at the rock seems like we could," presenting ... sister noblues ()
  • Wasn't that what happened to Lot's Wife? A loyalty to old things, a fear of the new, a fear to change, to look ahead?

  • By changing ourselves, we are doing the only thing we can do to change the world. To say that it is not enough is a lack of will, a lack of faith. It must be enough, for it is everything.

  • No transition stage is attractive.

  • The world has improved mostly because unorthodox people did unorthodox things. Not surprisingly, they had the courage and daring to think they could make a difference.

    • Ruby Dee,
    • in Janet Cheatham Bell, ed., Till Victory Is Won ()
  • I thought I could change the world. It took me a hundred years to figure out I can't change the world. I can only change Bessie. And honey, that ain't easy either.

    • Bessie Delany,
    • in Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, Having Our Say ()
  • Change is typically accompanied by a temporary decline in productivity, and an increase in anxiety.

  • Everyone, including those who proposed or implemented the change, experiences 'loss.' This may be manifested as disorientation, loss of identity, loss of security, uncertainty, or disenchantment. They may feel ambivalence about the future as they move from what was 'known' and comfortable, to what is 'unknown' and therefore less comfortable.

  • I know that nothing is destructible; things merely change forms.

  • In the modern world we have invented ways of speeding up invention, and people's lives change so fast that a person is born into one kind of world, grows up in another, and by the time his children are growing up, lives in still a different world.

  • Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope — a slight change, and all patterns and configurations alter.

  • ... one of the simplest paths to deep change is for the less powerful to speak as much as they listen, and for the more powerful to listen as much as they speak.

  • Want to change? Have a crisis or create one.

  • If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

    • Maya Angelou,
    • in Ann Kannings, Maya Angelou: Her Words ()
  • The only transformation that interests me is a total transformation — however minute.

  • ... it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.

  • People say we can't do anything about the way the world is; they say it's set in stone. I say it looks like stone, but it's mostly paint and cardboard.