There’s an old saying that goes “the only constant is change”. It’s true that the earth itself has changed and continues to every day. What’s also happening is that the pace of change itself in the world has increased – seemingly exponentially.
There’s no place this is more obvious than in the business and technology world. Change is no longer an event but a constant. But don’t just take my word for it; check out the following graph:
That’s not to say that all change is good or that speed is the only factor. In order to stay relevant, change must happen. But if too much change happens, it creates chaos and a lack of precision. That said though, there are some mindsets you can keep in mind to help you.
In the book “Who Moved My Cheese?”, Spencer Johnson tells an imaginary story of 4 characters and how they deal with change to illustrate advice for optimizing outcomes.
- Stay alert to change – One thing that helps ease the uncertainty of change is to foresee it coming – at least in part. It’s impossible to know all of the future but by paying attention to where things are headed we get a shot at minimizing the impact of change.
- Recognize Fear – No one is at their best when fear is hanging over them. Learn to recognize fear and imagine ways around it. Fear itself isn’t bad – it’s an evolutionary survival trait. But left unchecked it can become suffocating. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the conquering of it.
- Imagination – Imagine in the new environment how you might thrive. There’s a story of a taxi driver who was one of the first to join Uber. Many driver’s were afraid of what this meant to their future but this driver imagined being able to set his own hours and the freedom that might come from being his own boss. Through that imagination he was able to adapt quickly to change.
- Let it go – It can be tough to embrace new things when it means giving up something you already liked or found yourself comfortable within. Not to say you shouldn’t remember things or have no memory, but imagine the new situation somehow being even better. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
- Enjoy the ride – If change and the rate of change is inevitable, then we must learn to enjoy it somehow. I had a professor who once told a class of several hundred freshman business students “revel in the journey, or skip the trip”.
One last tidbit, from Ryan Holiday in “The Obstacle is the Way”:
“In [times of chaos], talent is not the most sought-after characteristic, grace and poise are, because these two attributes precede the opportunity to deploy any other skill”.
When all else fails, keep putting one foot in front of the other. The best outcomes happen when we keep looking ahead and not at the chaos around us.
Here’s some Friday fun for ya. Speaking of change, maybe you’ve seen this but a an AI generated piece of art recently won an art competition. That led me to try one of those online AI generators – you type in phrases and it generates art. Here’s what you get if you enter Elon Musk and Taylor Swift:
A little impressive, a little scary?
Happy Friday!! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving next week!