Food For Thought

Some food for thought came in my email today. Ana is the university student that I assisted with her banking survey. Being a communications major she had told me me that she had written several articles in the past and I told her that I would like to read some if she wouldn’t mind sharing. After reading the one she just sent me, I ask her if she would mind if I posted it. Her article follows with her permission. I will add some thoughts of its relevance for many of the Chiriquí Chatter readers afterwards.

Change: The Result of All True Learning

Among different situations, change is the one that affects human beings the most. Some people fear it, some people love it, some people just get excited about it and, finally some few people promote it. It is important, though, for us to understand what implies change in order to be able to embrace it with an open mind and turn it into a boost for our lives.

Some people’s life has been forced to endure dramatic changes through their experiences and have had no other option than adapt to it. It is in these situations that the hidden abilities of a person come out. For instance, some people hit by an accident or an illness that disables them physically, are able to recover and continue life despite of their disability and also learn how to use the resources they have.

Usually, we fear what we do not know; we fear that if we open ourselves to a new situation we might lose what we already have. As a consequence, we blind ourselves and do not even consider the option that there could be something better. The barriers to change are often inside our minds, in our old thoughts. For instance, when we as business people think of a new product, package, a new marketing strategy, or try a new way to treat customers, we increase the opportunity for our business to grow. At first, it might bring drawbacks like loss of money, or the loss of determined customers that up to some point were used to the old way, but this will lead to bigger profits in the future and probably a wider range of customers.

As a matter of fact, change is something constant; I believe it is like breathing, every minute we live is a different moment in time, a different situation, we find ourselves different. Change is necessary for the miracle of life; no one can admit the opposite. Since babies are born, they cried out loudly simply because their environment abruptly changed.

In my opinion, change occurs when the conditions and resources are different over a determined period of time. It is to be dissimilar, to do unusual things than the ones we used to do. It is to think in another way.

Finally, being proactive is the clue. It means to not even wait for change to come, but to promote it to occur. I believe that we have enough ability inside of us to make things happen, not only in our personal lives, but also in our businesses and in our communities. We should not just stare at the world watching how things go wrong. We must use our intelligence and put it to serve innovation and improvement for good. It means to go out of our comfort zone and actually put our hands to work, to wake up from our laziness. It means to go back to our nomad era but with a different approach. Only then, we can realize that chance could become a powerful advantage to make things better, and we will not spend time thinking if we do it or not, we will just do it.


Ana is a very bright young lady and I feel fortunate that my blog enabled me to meet her. Now for my thoughts on her article.

Her topic is exactly the reason that many people stumble onto Chiriquí Chatter. They, like me, may have worked all of our lives hoping for that day when they could leave the rat race of life and just sit back and smell the roses.

For that reason, a fair amount of people are considering Panama as a retirement destination. Some are looking for a place to spend a part of their year and avoid the harsh northern winters. However, many are just hoping to find a place where they live sufficiently well and can stretch their monthly pension.

I am a full timer here and not a part timer. My move certainly came with a large amount of changes. Some I expected. Some really blindsided me. As Ana wrote, embracing the changes have made all the difference for me. If one comes to Panama expecting the only change in their life to be the climate, they might as well not come.

In a way, a move to Panama is like entering into a new relationship. I know, and you probably also know, of people that got married knowing some things about their partner that they didn’t like, but thought they could change them. Most of those relationships I know of failed. They not only failed, but they failed miserably. You can only change yourself.

Likewise, many come to Panama and think it will be fine as soon as they change it. These people are usually the ones that return after 8 to 10 months complaining about everything.

As Ana said, all people are affected by change. If you move to Panama, be ready for it. Be willing to embrace it. If you are not willing to embrace the inevitable change, then please reconsider your move.

Thank you Ana for sharing your thoughts. Maybe you will have enabled someone to “change” their way of thinking. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Food For Thought

  1. Thanks for posting it Don!, I’m glad to share my thoughts with more people! Change will always be part of our lives…I hope you like it!

  2. Well said, Don.

    I think many people do due diligence in terms of researching living conditions in a country they’re considering living in, but they often don’t evaluate themselves in terms of adaptability/ability to change (and accept) with respect to new social and living environments. If they haven’t done THAT research, then they’re in for problems, as you say.

    Your little video de ayer on the choque is just one example. Americans shouldn’t kid themselves, Panamanians (and Ecuadorians) do NOT drive like we’re used to doing in the States. They regularly flaunt traffic signals and rules, and probably what’s most disconcerting, they’re not courteous (as we recognize the concept in the U.S.), which tends to piss off gringos.

    Point is, if you want to avoid high (or higher) blood pressure issues, you’ve got to learn to expect – and accept – the fact that these guys don’t drive like we’re accustomed to doing up north. Just one example, but I think it serves to illustrate the sort of adaptation/acceptance of change challenge we encounter when we come down here to live…

  3. “Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar.” I saw this quote in a
    bilingual newspaper on my birthday last year, in a city back in the U.S.A. that
    I hated. I knew I had to leave it, had researched Panama, but was less than
    confident that I could accomplish such a change by myself. My reaction upon
    reading that quote was: “Here’s your sign.” And here I am in PC and about to move to David in March! Be open to chance and change, be proactive, and amazing things happen! (Translation of the quote:”Traveler, there is no path.
    Paths are made by walking.”)

  4. Thanks to all the commenters. I am happy to see that the post has received a positive reception.

    Each day I get up knowing that something wonderful is going to happen. Amazing how much better a day is when you set it up with positive expectations.

  5. Ana Lucia, I congratulate you on observations that people with more experience gained through age and other means seem lacking, at least when compared to you.
    Mis mejores deseos!

  6. Change is constant, Change is inevitable , Change is always there whether its the world , people, climate or anything else…..if you are alive , you better embrace it…you cannot stop Change!

Leave a Reply