For Impact


On CHANGE… A Third Installment

Change, Examples | | Tom Suddes

Here’s the final installment on CHANGE. Last week’sQUOTES ON CHANGE were passed around like crazy.

“NOTHING endures but CHANGE.”

This Greek philosopher said this some 2,500 years ago. Since then, the proverb has been re-worked over and over into the more familiar:

“Nothing is constant except CHANGE.”

Here are a few more compelling quotes… and some fun, true STORIES on CHANGE.


“CHANGE is one thing. PROGRESS is another.”
–Bertrand Russell

Obviously, ‘changing for change’s sake’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. Malcolm Gladwell had a great story in Time Magazine (October 2005) where he talked about the distinction between CHANGE and PROGRESS in golf. Technologically, a golf ball and golf clubs have been significantly improved and will continue to improve dramatically. However, in the last ten years, GOLF SCORES have remained the same.


“We will not survive by just tinkering with the rules of the old game. We need to CHANGE the entire GAME.”
— Larry Wilson, Changing the Game

“You can’t solve a problem if you are PLAYING by the RULES.”
— Paul Arden, It’s Not How Good You Are

“There are NO RULES.”
— Tom Suddes

No question about it. The ‘GAME’ has CHANGED. The ‘old rules’ are just that: old. They don’t work. In fact, if you think about it, who’s ‘rules’ were they, anyway? The industry’s? The association’s? The old regime’s? The BOWGS? The IRS?

If we are really, really trying to CHANGE THE WORLD or change OUR world, then we have to explore all of the different possibilities and eliminate as many CONSTRAINTS as we can. (Most of which have been handed down as rules or procedures or “THIS IS THE WAY WE DO IT HERE” or “WE TRIED THAT ONCE”…)

One of the truly satisfying and exciting parts of my life is engaging with Mavericks and social entrepreneurs who don’t PLAY BY THE RULES, especially when it comes to huge social problems or challenges that obviously are not being solved, met or addressed by the current set of rules.

P.S. I’ve been involved in boxing almost my entire life – I boxed four years at Notre Dame and have been the coach and referee of the Bengal Bouts for the last 35 years.

In a boxing match, you are following rules established by the Marquis of Queensbury. Gloves. Fists only. No hitting below the belt (excellent choice on his part!), etc.

However, if you’re in a street fight for your life, the good old MARQUIS can keep his RULES!

As my brother Mike, a former Marine and FBI Agent, is fond of saying: “Never bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Do what you’ve got to do to… CHANGE… THE… WORLD.



    Have you ever visited the Great Barrier Reef?
    All of the colorful fish, the beautiful coral and the amazing plants are on the ocean (windward) side of the Great Barrier Reef, where they are hammered every day with crashing waves, intense turbulence and CHANGE.

    On the inner (leeward) side of the reef, there are NO waves,
    NO turbulence and NO CHANGE. It’s also dull, gray and dead.


    In the 15th Century, ITALY was immersed in chaos, war, bloodshed, terror… and CHANGE. It produced Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi… and the RENAISSANCE.

    Around the same time, Switzerland had 500 years of peace, consistency, sustainability, and no – zero, none, nada – CHANGE. They produced the CUCKOO CLOCK.


    Forty years before Nicholas Copernicus revolutionized the world view, Leonardo da Vinci said, “THE SUN DOES NOT MOVE.” Both were born on a flat, unmoving planet in the center of the universe, around which the sun circled.

    A century after their deaths, that same planet was a rotating sphere, orbiting around the sun somewhere in universe, too fast to even have a center! The church tried to suppress this as heresy. All of the best THINKERS of the times thought this concept absurd.

    The planet/solar system did not CHANGE, but the paradigm for understanding it had been turned inside out.


    My good friend, Jim Mahoney (Battelle for Kids) tells this wonderful story:

    It’s pretty easy to catch monkeys in the jungle. You just carve out the inside of a coconut with a small hole in the top, fill the coconut with nuts and berries, and attach the coconut to a stake or a tree. The monkey comes along, sticks its hand inside the coconut, and grabs a handful of nuts and berries. The monkey will be there when you get back. Guaranteed. WHY? Because it will NOT let go of the nuts and berries and, therefore, it cannot get its FIST out of the coconut.

    In order to CHANGE… we’ve got to let go of the ‘NUTS & BERRIES,’ get rid of our old ‘BAGGAGE,’ and turn our ‘SACRED COWS’ into ‘hamburger.’


    2 salesmen are sent to an island to sell shoes.
    Both send back TELEGRAMS.
    Salesman #1: 10,000 natives. No shoes. Coming home.
    Salesman #2: 10,000 natives. No shoes. Send 10,000 pairs.

    What ATTITUDE would you want to help you CHANGE the WORLD?