Like many other sayings, this is one that is meant to convey an idea more in line with what those using it wish to portray than with reality. Meaning to show that, often “bad”, people can’t change their ways, the reality of course is that we are all quite capable of changing. Indeed, even the leopard’s spots are the product of evolution; a process itself that actually describes change. After all, you don’t evolve by not doing so.
The important issue here is whether people actually want to change, with a little added ingredient. This is whether they can work out why they do whatever it is that causes them to behave in ways that are often detrimental to their well being.
Now I’ve been doing rather a lot of this of late and have been quite amazed at what these small, subtle changes have led to; which has been quite significant. Moreover, ones that are having quite an impact on the way I behave. Without labouring the point too much, a child who never felt welcomed took that into adulthood. Not that I haven’t been welcomed in my later life, just that I felt that I wasn’t.
Well, much less so now. The result has been that I now feel at home in situations that I never previously did. Feeling welcome has meant that I respond differently. Responding differently has had an effect on the reaction of others and so on and so on. Put simply, someone who always prepared for the worst and then some more is learning that this need not always be the case. He also learning that, if you do ask for help, it may actually be provided. I think it’s what’s called a “win win” situation.
So, the next time someone tells you that a leopard can’t change its spots, tell them that the spots were actually the result of the animal’s need to adapt to its environment. Hence they are the product of just the change that they deny.