There is only one certainty in life. Change happens.
Kurt Lewin's famous model describes three stages of change: unfreezing, change, refreezing. It is fair to say that much of the world around us is unfreezing.
The examples are plentiful. The city council is discussing whether to lift the tax freeze. The school board is still searching for a new superintendent. The General Assembly is looking for ways to fundamentally restructure the state's criminal justice system. Congress is wrestling with the idea of how best to balance the rights of gun owners and the protection of gun violence victims.
Unfreezing causes uncertainty. When "that's the way we do things" begins to be scrutinized, no one is immediately prepared to deal with the consequences of the question. Those who have benefitted from the status quo over the years have a knee-jerk reaction to fight against any change. Conversely, those who see an opportunity to break free of the old regime react by championing any change. The challenge on both sides is taking the time to step back, take a breath and honestly consider what changes are in the best interest of the most people.
Determining the best interest for the most people requires each of us to step outside of our own concerns. It requires the establishment, and acceptance, of objective facts that can be used to evaluate the matter at hand. It requires logical and reasoned analysis of those facts. It requires allowing that analysis to yield its honest and unvarnished results.
One other thing -- determining the best interest for the most people may even require empathizing with people whose morals, social or financial status differ greatly from our own.
Unless and until we take this approach to addressing the uncertainty that currently surrounds us, we will continue to thrash about in change's unfrozen stage wondering why we cannot move our community forward.
Uncertainty is uncomfortable, unsettling and, in some cases, unpredictable. But it is always survivable. We survive by facing our new realities forthrightly, with our heads up. The good news is that once we resolve the uncertainty, the world starts to stabilize, to refreeze in Lewin's terms. When the refreeze begins, so does the celebration. Until the next time change happens, of course.
Karl Douglass, Columbus native and resident, is a frequent commenter on local, state and federal politics. Follow him on Twitter@KarlDouglass or facebook.com/karldouglass.