If there is a term that reflects well the philosophy of change it is the Japanese word henko.
More than a word, henko is a much richer concept, since it means “change from within and with no return”. How much wisdom comprised in only five letters …
Adopting the Henko philosophy consists of moving forward without turning back. It is based in achieving transformative changes that will make us become a better version of ourselves.
Henko is composed of the word Hen, which means change, and Kō, which means “with a different light.” The concept helps us understand that everything is constantly changing and that our perceptions, the way we see things, are also changing.
Sometimes we are the owners of this transformative change (like when we decide to start playing sports after a long time without practicing it) and on other (many) occasions the change is given to us (like when we find ourselves in a forced job change), but the important thing is not whether or not we have chosen that change, but whether we are able to grow with (in) it.
To adopt the Henko philosophy, we must first address what the economist and London Business School professor Herminia Ibarra calls the paradox of authenticity. Ibarra defends that “being true to oneself” is not a static concept, but rather that we evolve thanks to experience, discovering aspects of ourselves that we would not be able to perceive through introspection.
According to Ibarra, nothing like starting a new project to get to know each other better:
“I know who I am when I see what I do”
“Being yourself doesn’t mean you can’t change. Being authentic implies evolving, learning and growing with the new times and the new challenges that you impose on yourself. We must conceive of our professional identity from an evolutionary perspective, in which we learn through trial and error.”
The more we repeat phrases like “that’s the way I am”, the less space we leave for our development. So let’s move from “I am like this” to “I can also be like that”. Let’s embrace other “me’s” because this will not make us lose our essence, our identity. And above all, let’s not assume that we cannot change certain aspects of our lives without first trying.
For a month and a year full of henko moments.
If you want to learn more about the authenticity paradox, you can read this Harvard Business Review article.