CHAPTER 8 Link it to the known

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.

Aldous Huxley

Any parent who has tried to expand the repertoire of their children’s palates has probably unknowingly explored more change-management strategies than the typical human-resources manager at a multinational corporate. There’s no nice way to say it: Change. Simply. Sucks. And when the change involves the new or unknown, it’s downright difficult too.

The remnants of our evolutionary survival instinct — what Seth Godin refers to as the ‘lizard’ part of our brain — love to flex their muscles whenever something new shows up on the horizon or we feel so rut bound that we decide to strike out in a hitherto unexplored direction (cue: the stomach butterflies). Nonetheless, our fear of the new or the unknown can also have a positive impact on our lives. It exists for a reason, after all.

Arriving home to find the front door ajar with the lock hanging on by a single screw is an unknown that could indicate danger in the form of an intruder — or, it could indicate that a neighbour saw a fire through the window and broke the door down to put it out before it got out of control. What would your first impression be? If you’re like most of us, you’re programmed to scan the environment for threats a bit more acutely than for opportunities.

But when fear of the unknown skews into the worlds of xenophobia, intolerance and even simple ‘stuck-in-the-mudness’, ...

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