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2017 Letter: Change

Change is an inevitable fact. As we move closer to the opening of a new year, our minds are filled with many thoughts. Wishful thinking that certain things never change. Grateful heart of the things that do change. Fear of things that will not change, and also things that will change. Indeed, our emotion sometimes deceive us of what we want and need.

For every person in Clapham, 2017 is full of changes. We have two new persons that join us this year, and that was a big change for them. But they push anyway. I haven’t asked them, but I would be surprised if they said that joining Clapham is the easiest decision that they made without fear. Both have stable job with great companies before. It reminds me of our first two team members, leaving their jobs to work with relatively un-established leader, in unproven business model. (Rumour has it that both took a paycut, what a lucky boss). We had one intern that was changed to part-timer (because intern is supposed to be less than three months). There are changes in mindset and responsibilities. We had three interns left us, and I hope their thinking about work and responsibilities changed for the better after they joined us.

Right in front of our eyes, we have seen so many movements, people changing companies, startups changing business model, and even Clapham merged with EV Hive. We want life to stay the same, but we figure out that we can’t maintain everything. There is a deep desire not to change, because there is a fear. Fear is always present, when there is element of risk. For most of us, our minds are more aware of the downside risks. What if it doesn’t work? What if it breaks down? What if they dont like me? However, one thing is true that I know of, the world can only be changed by people who can see the upside, some people call it possibilities. I am not saying that we should only look at the possibilities, because it will be a irresponsible thing to do.

Earlier, I have a conversation with my colleague recapping 2017, and I said this, “In everything that worth doing, change is inevitable.” Because those decision are driven by love. (please hang on, I know it is weird coming from me). Imagine a marriage done where each person only thing about the downside. Yes there will be difficulties, trials, and hardships (Yes, there are things that are worse than changing diapers and cleaning after my baby throw out his food after the last spoon). But that is not the thing that drive your decision. The human will go extinct if that is the kind of things that drive your decision, and rightly so, because there is no love. When you get married, you are driven by possibilities, and these are the things move us all forward as humanity. Because love bears all things, believes all things, hope all things, endures all things. That it alleviates and numbs our fear. So it will be less painful.

One might argue that we have equally things that we want to change and the things that we want to stay the same. Therefore, there is not much use in fighting for either of them. However, in my observation, that is not true. We have put much more effort to prevent changes than create them. Inertia is a powerful thing in our lives. The fact is, we spend much more effort to prevent changes.

What is a right way to look at this then?

Valuable things make us wish they won’t change. Be grateful but don’t be chained by those. Have a grateful heart. Spend time with family and people that matter. At Clapham, we believe that relationship is placed higher than work. We are never encourage by the story of people who work so hard that they don’t have time with family. We believe this while at the same time we also believe that people should excel at what they do. It doesn’t make sense if you look at work from “priority” perspective. It makes sense if you look at your life from “balancing” and “allocation” perspective.

Positive changes is always welcomed, strive to grow, even there is a risk that we end up worse than the beginning. Have a prepared and learning mind.

Only then we can be at peace at the changes of our life, accept it for our good, and use it to grow ourselves. This is how a person move forward. I would argue too, that this is how a great company survives. Great organization is not fed by profit and cash flow alone. It is not merely put together by system and great engineering. Great company thrives whenever its people thrive. And people thrives in kindness, love, trust, integrity, hope, relationship, and all those good stuffs.

Some changes are for our good, some changes can’t be fought. And I told people, fight then for those that matters, so that it won’t change. Profit doesn’t matter. Name doesn’t matter. Salary doesn’t matter. Those doesnt matter when put side-by-side with the things that matters. Fight for reputation. For sustainability. For impact and kindness. For trust and integrity. For honesty and authenticity. For relationship, and love. Choose your battle carefully. And if you are blessed, just like what my Lord told me, “Seek the Kingdom and its righteousness first, and the rest will be added unto you.” It doesn’t work in reverse. And oh, there is also a saying, “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.”

What will you fight for? What are the things that deserve your love?

Happy New Year.