The Secret of “Why We Changed After 17th Feb For Only Short Time?”

Feb 2011

On April 2011, news came as Libyan people, at least in my city Benghazi, have changed. I’ve been told that people’s behavior toward each other and toward their city was incredible. 

So, what made them change? What exactly happened? To answer  this, Imagine a football team. Their coach is generous kind person. The team members love him because he cares a lot for their sport and personal life. However, for their scores and performance, they are so behind from called champions. Their level is not as the perfect as other teams. One day,  stroke hit the coach, and he was transferred to the ICU. It was extremely negative news for the team. As a response, the team decided to get the champion cups for their coach. They doubled their time in training. They improved their playing strategies. It started to pay off. They reached to the final match and they did it. They became the champions. Eventually, they changed to better team.

This story was presented in The Power of Habit book by Charles Duhigg. In extremely negative events, such as death, sickness, and wars, people tend to change easily.

Back to Benghazi 2011. The city has witnessed an intensive violence in streets. This was the first incidents for 40 years. Therefore, people changed easily for the hope of getting a better future. People became aware that they can reach something after all this bloodshed in streets. That’s why we watched the change happened rapidly. 


Today, all this change has vanished. It’s important to understand the feeling of depression coming after the feeling of hope. Libya is on the edge of a civil war, and problems never end, or It could end by splitting Libya to two parts. It’s easy to justify why people lost their rapid change in this chaos. However, we should understand exactly what happened so we could avoid it again.

According to Erika Anderson, there are two types of changes. One is quick and sometimes necessary. It’s called the disruptive change. It cause some destruction, sometimes negative and other positive. The other type is the evolutionary change. It’s gentle and takes long time to happened. What happened in 2011 was the disruptive change. It was easy and quick, but has collapsed easily. It was fast and necessary to happen. But it lasted for only months. 
Evolutionary change attacks the culture. It attacks the root of our environment. Therefore, it lasts for long time. If we aim to change our people, we should adopt the evolutionary change.
In Brain Rules book, John Medina illustrates the human brain as two moving parts. They are the background and the foreground parts. We have the ability to access to the them anytime we would. The background part is your fetal environment, evolutionary history, and genetic. The foreground part is hormones, prior experiences, and current environment trigger. We have the authority accessing them anytime we would to provide the knowledge on how to behave in certain moment.
To change Libyan behavior, we have to attack the background as the root of their culture to gain the evolutionary change that will last forever. But how? By targeting the most widespread negative behavior among Libyans. So, what is that behavior? 

In my own perspective is the social awareness. Libyans, especially the young ones, are missing the idea of social awareness. Social awareness could be traced back to our culture. Lack of social awareness is when we don’t realize the problem. In other words, we do things daily and sometimes realize them as wrong things, but we keep doing it again and again. This bad behavior becomes the social norm that you can do it and you’re not blamed. Social norm is something is acceptable in one place, and in other places is not acceptable. For example, a Libyan does not stand in line, and in other countries, he would stand perfectly.  

By focusing on this issue, we could make thousands of solution to fix it. One of them is by keeping educating people on every possible channel we could reach them. By changing one thing we could reach the chain reaction.

I’ve been exploring the idea of how to change my people. I really would like to hear your point. It is great to collaborate together to change this social behavior based on our current environment. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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