Whether we like it or not – whether we want to accept it or not – we live in a world of change and we need to know what to expect in the future. True, many things work in cycles, but the way we live is constantly changing and I believe we are in for some big changes soon.
If you want to survive and be successful, you have to be willing to change. I am not talking about sacrificing moral values or giving up on who or what you want to be.
A common remark we hear today is when people talk about how time flies. Many people are complaining about how they just don’t have enough hours in the day. Workloads are getting more and more demanding by the day and people have a real battle keeping up.
We all know about the concept of supply and demand, but sometimes it feels as if our productivity just can’t keep up with the demand. This often leads to negative stress and people start suffering from depression, anxiety and all kinds of health problems.
We Are To Blame Ourselves.
I believe that to a large extent, we are responsible for our own problems. It is too easy to jump on the ‘bandwagon’ and become part of the ‘rat-race’, all in the name of productivity. Are we really being productive, or are we merely falling into the trap of ‘busyness’.
Just being busy, doesn’t make you productive. To the contrary, being extremely busy is often preventing you from being productive.
I am not suggesting that you should just be idling around, sipping on fruit cocktails for most of the day and only do real productive work for an hour or two. But there is a major difference between being focused – having a well-planned, fully-booked schedule – and being caught up in chaos.
The most successful people today are more focused on what Cal Newport calls ‘deep work’. This is to focus on the one task at hand, without any distractions, and finish what you are busy with before tackling the next task. This is the total opposite of the popular idea of multi-tasking. It has been proven that multi-tasking is actually bad for you.
An attempt to multi-task often ends in task switching. It is a huge time waster, and although you might feel productive, you are far from it. It is a proven fact that you are actually taking longer to complete your tasks and you become less productive.
So, how can I say ‘we are to blame ourselves’? How can we take control over this problem?
I have already touched on this subject and you might have picked up on it in the previous section.
I will say it again; there is a major difference between being focused with a well-planned, fully booked schedule, and being caught up in chaos.
Let’s go back in time a bit. If we consider the general concept of how fast time is flying by, we don’t even have to go back that far.
Just over a century ago, the majority of people were traveling by horse-back if they needed to go anywhere. If they had to undertake a journey in excess of about 50 miles or so, they would obviously plan ahead of time. Especially if such a trip involved any business activities, they would most probably set out a day just for travelling. The next day (or even two) would be taken up by a business meeting or two, and the final day would be for returning home again.
Without giving it any real thought, we would often refer to those times as ‘the good old days’. There was no rushing and everybody seemed to be calm and relaxed. Thinking of the above mentioned trip, there would be no sense in rushing anywhere. Everybody knew that that would be the time involved to undertake such a journey and that settled it.
Then technology came about and cars were invented. Now the same journey could be completed and business could be taken care of; all on the same day. That saved at least two to three days.
But then our cars started getting faster, and you could attend two or three business meetings and you could be back at home on the same day.
Then people got introduced to the luxury of air travel. Now it wasn’t just a mere 50 or 60 mile journey. It became hundreds to thousands of miles, attending to business in various locations and returning the same day in order to be somewhere else again on the next day.
Instead of taking control and using technology to our advantage by proper planning, we got carried away and just started squeezing more and more into an already full schedule.
Take Control and Be Prepared For Change.
In a world full of uncertainty, there is one thing that we can be certain of; we will always have to deal with change. Whether you experience it as good or bad, is a matter of choice, but change will take place.
If you refuse to accept it and you try to resist it, it will be a very negative and stressful experience. But if you investigate and familiarize yourself with it, you can take control and use it to your advantage to serve you.
I do think though, that we should be prepared for rapid changes in the near future. Reading up on latest technology and development, I think we are in for some drastic changes again, and I mean major changes. At first, it might seem unsettling to many of us, but if we prepare ourselves and we know what to expect, I think we’ll be able to deal with it much better and use it to our advantage.
If, just over a century ago, you would mention to someone the possibility of flying from one destination to another, they would ask you if you were crazy. Talking about going to space and landing on the moon? They probably would have called for assistance to remove you from society, thinking you were evil….
Well, if I asked you to get into a car and go to work, but the car has no driver…..yes, you’ve heard about the self-driving cars that are already being tested, right? And how about walking to the entrance of a parking garage, sending your car a message from your cell phone and the car comes driving out – all by itself – to pick you up at the entrance?
What if I told you that you might soon be able to scan your own feet with your smart phone and print your own favorite shoes (through 3-D printing) that you can actually wear? You will be able to do all this from your smart phone. What about the fact that they have already printed a complete 6-storey office building in China?
Yes, some of these changes have already started taking place. Through technology and faster internet, many people already don’t have to physically commute to their work place any more. Some successful companies do not occupy huge office space any more, but their employees can actually work from home. This presents these people the freedom of having more control over their time as they can plan their own working schedule. It also enables them to be more productive due the time they are saving, not commuting to work anymore or getting stuck in traffic jams. There are major health benefits to this as well, as it reduces stress dramatically due to this flexibility.
It is already all over the media about self-driving vehicles which are already being tested. The time will come when – if you do have to go your office – you will be able to be productive even during your commuting time as you wouldn’t be driving and dealing with traffic on your way to work. This will also affect the insurance industry and the legal industry to name but a few.
Read more about some of the changes we can expect in this Facebook post.
What Should We Make of This?
Do we need to be scared? No, I certainly don’t think so. Can you imagine what went through the minds of people just over a century ago, when they saw the first car? Then they got exposed to air travel and the next thing was people going to the moon. Today it’s nothing new to hear about astronauts spending months at a time in space.
In the late 1990’s fear started building up for going into the new millennium and we heard all kinds of scary stories from the ‘doom prophets’, yet, here we are. All is well and life is going on as normal.
Should we be prepared? Most definitely yes. It is the element of uncertainty that is scaring most people. If you eliminate the uncertainty and you know what to expect, it cannot scare you.
But we should be prepared. If we educate ourselves and we learn how to use it to our advantage, it can be to our benefit. But we need to practice self-discipline. Authority has been given to us as human-beings and we need to take that authority to control our immediate surroundings and also what is available to us. Without that discipline it can be easy to start neglecting your responsibilities and start back-sliding. Or, to the opposite side, we can get so consumed by the possibilities and opportunities for growth that we go totally overboard and subject ourselves to even more stressful situations than what we already have.
How you cope with it and how you use it, is totally up to you. But I do think it will be easier to be prepared for what is coming if we are aware of what to expect.