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Release the Genie?
on 1 October 2012
This book is something of a tour-de-force about change: perhaps one of the most powerful events that we may invoke in our lives. This book discusses in some depth; the reasons why we might seek change, how to assess it, plan for it, to bring it about and to measure/hone it. Like all powerful instruments it should be used wisely and hopefully for the right reasons. I remember some years ago a patient decided to leave her husband and two young children and though she must have had her reasons, the saddest thing is that none of them have found happiness since.
Though it's a well-presented and detailed read. The charts and tables at the end left me a little fazed, as I am not sure that I could run to this method of bringing change about: either because I am lazy, too complacent or, hopefully, because I see that change has come about in my life for slightly different reasons. I remember, as a little boy of 6, an event that forced considerable change upon me. Up to that point I was not aware of the need for any changes and felt quite happy (as 6 year-olds do!) after this, however, I realised that without change, my life would never be a happy one. By and large I have run to this and have brought about significant changes. I had a bit of a wake up call on a train aged 18, but this was the last time that a reminder was needed. Remember too, that sometimes in bringing about change, some things are lost and the book does emphasise a calm and studied approach, not some knee-jerk with poor planning.
Once unleashed, then change is unstoppable and change begets more change. Once released the genie cannot be replaced and I remember in one episode Fox Mulder asked the Genie; just what would be her wish, and of course it was to just sit at a pavement cafe and watch the world go by.
The other reason to seek change is when those around us expect, rely or demand it from us and we need to be sensitive and intuitive enough to detect and effect it. I enjoyed the 'how does it end' scenario, but for me this was a bit final and I prefer - what do they say as they walk down the corridor away from my surgery- a more relevant context.
I also enjoyed the discussion on fear, and this is another precipitant for change. As a young doctor I admitted a giant of a patient who became rapidly confused, then barricaded himself in the side ward and set a fire. I was terrified as I waited to go in, syringe in hand, and two porters and the hospital administrator queuing behind me! I knew that it was my job, and realised that if I walked away, then I would have to live with the consequences for the rest of my days. Mercifully I was able to face my fear, went in and was able to calm him without anyone being hurt. Facing my fears is one of the changes that I have demanded from myself over the years.
In conclusion, this book is an interesting and cogent analysis of all aspects of change. It's a teeny bit 'technical' and I think for me a more intuitive approach has served better, but nevertheless a stimulating and enjoyable read. Remember too that this is a lifelong process and perhaps the day we seek no further change, will be the day we die. Enjoy and with many thanks.