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A Book Taught Me How to Accept Change and Live Without Regrets

Strategies to manage change in the midst of the unknown

By Brenda MahlerPublished 11 months ago 4 min read
A Book Taught Me How to Accept Change and Live Without Regrets
Photo by Michel Engels on Unsplash

We struggle to accept change because todays expectations do not align with past protocols. Our changing world requires us to assess reality. We can never be so naïve as to not evaluate the authenticity of claims with the support of logical, scientific, and intellect. The novel by Ayn Rand challenged me to perceive the world from a new perspective.

Strange that a book published in 1957 can provide lessons on how to survive to today's ever changing world. Note: Some of the quotes are from other texts by Ayn Rand but are used because the sum up the philosophy of the novel succinctly. 

The classic novel, Atlas Shrugged, written in 1957 by Ayn Rand, weaves philosophy into a text that provokes questions. The author scatters quotes throughout the story that required me to analyze my principles and when applied to current events, challenged me to confront reality and check the premises of my beliefs. The following strategies prompt an understanding of change in the midst of the unknown.

Be wary of contradictions

"Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." - Ayn Rand

When the main character, Dagny Taggart, encounters inconsistencies in her lover's behaviors and the ethics that guide his life decisions, the contradictions are impossible for her to reconcile. Francisco d'Anconia is intelligent and successful. In the beginning of the novel, the world recognizes his value as a business man. Overtime his actions portray him a as a playboy who destroys the family business. He presents a paradox between what others know of him and his actions. Francisco doesn't explain his behavior but challenges Dagny to check her assumptions. 

If pressure is asserted in a situation, when you are faced with an ultimatum, especially if the choices are undesirable, check your reality because there are always other options. If you concede to force, you sacrifice your personal visions and become a slave to a master. However, if you accept an ultimatum with a clear understanding of the rationale and motivation, you are making an informed choice.

I discovered through reading this text that when our observations do not align with our knowledge, a false assumption must exist. Humans are forever evolving in a changing world, thus, constantly required to assess reality. We can never be so naïve as to not evaluate the authenticity of claims against logical, scientific, and proven intellect.

Question either-or ultimatums

"Do not ever say that the desire to 'do good' by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives." - Ayn Rand

Patrick Henry was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presented this ultimatum in a speech, "Give me liberty, or give me death." It's a memorable line but extreme. When a person's choices are limited, they are provided a false dilemma; life choices are not that simple.

The rationale for Henry's famous line was to unify Americans to fight for freedom. His words sparked the Revolutionary War which helped establish the United States of America. Thus, we understand the value of ultimatums, but also, must understand the motivation behind them.

In the novel, actions are justified on either-or premises. By the end of the text the readers confronts Rand's message as if being slapped in the face. If pressure is asserted in a situation, when you are faced with an ultimatum, especially if the choices are undesirable, check your reality because there are always other options. Once you concede to force and accept an ultimatum, you sacrifice your personal visions, and become a slave to a master.

Be wary of the wisdom and perceptions of the majority or those in power

"An individualist is a man who says: I will not run anyone's life - nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone - nor sacrifice anyone to myself." - Ayn Rand

In The Wizard of Oz, the great and powerful OZ is a man who gained power through fraud and maintains it through fear. He hides behind the curtain to shield him from questions, protect his authority, and create an ominous appearance to secure his power.

Never stop questioning authority and be ready to pull back the curtain to unmask undeserved power.

The recurring statement, "Who is John Galt?" appears throughout the novel. It is the author's way of challenging the reader to ask questions, to not follow blindly, and most importantly to not give away power to the majority.

Accepting a decision from the majority or those in power without the support of science and logic will produce flawed results. In the novel, society twist words and changes perception, often using science for negative results. Logical thinking must guard the purity of science and knowledge must be maintained and used to govern decisions.

“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?"

I…don't know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?"

To shrug.”

― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Living in a world that is constantly changing, forces me, and probably you too, to analyze behaviors and beliefs. For each individual, answers and responses vary, but Rand's captivating novel, Atlas Shrugged, provides an intricate plot, complicated characters, and a realistic setting to allows us to reflect.


About the Creator

Brenda Mahler


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Comments (1)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran11 months ago

    I've never heard of this book. But reading this and seeing how it has helped you made me very intrigued! I have to check it out!

Brenda MahlerWritten by Brenda Mahler

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