Changing Times

For good reason whenever 2024 is brought up, the phrase “sweeping change” tends to be in the conversation.

And whenever change is afoot, there’s a special flavor of discomfort that accompanies it. Let’s see what can inspire us to handle all that’s on our plate this year.

Changing Times

“Mixed reality” became a new term to familiarize ourselves with last week as Apple’s Vision Pro launched the next phase of spatial computing to the tune of $3500 per headset. We should be prepared to encounter more people involved in a synthetic inner-world interaction as retinal tracking moves their cursor around and a simple air pinch clicks their selection. It’s a strange sight to behold.

We should find it at least a little reassuring that our ancestors from long ago left word that they had to come to terms with change just as we do.

The only constant in life is change.

— Heraclitus

Maybe our change is magnitudes more intense than what they faced. It’s hard to say. Our change is strange though.

Take this headline for example: A four-legged “Robodog” is patrolling the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. I’m not sure if the Robodog or the Collider is the bigger story here.

Or, as if 3D printers weren’t space-age enough, we are printing more and more sophisticated biologic material.

“Researchers have created the first functional 3D-printed brain tissue that can develop and form connections in the same way as real human brain tissue.”

What do we think we should be doing with that?

We may have a hard time proving whether or not our change is more intense than past versions, but it sure is different. It has to be… or else it wouldn’t be change. It’s our time’s change, and it fits somehow. More on that below. Nonetheless, the postulation that “people have a hard time with change” seems to be a well-accepted fact no matter the age or circumstance.

Why is change so hard?

How about when change puts one’s livelihood in jeopardy?

From last month: News company layoffs raise questions about the future of journalism. “The news industry is enduring a brutal start to the new year, with outlets large and small across the country hemorrhaging reporting staff as legacy business models that kept much of the industry afloat for decades collapse in plain sight.”

And this: Actors are wondering if they did enough to protect their occupation:

“Not everyone in Hollywood is happy with the film industry’s historic AI deal. A provision allowing for the creation of digital replicas and synthetic performers could, critics argue, decrease the number of jobs available to both performers and crew. This, in turn, could allow big-name stars — and their AI-generated clones — to feature in multiple projects at once, pushing out emerging actors as Hollywood becomes awash with synthetic performers.”

So What Now?

Should we consider just getting good at change?

I think so if we want to have a part of it we can control. Having an appetite for change is not easy, but those who learn to do so thrive. I started us out with a little research on the topic and came up with: 

7 Tips and Inspirations on Handling Change

1. Get oriented. Know where your sphere of action is.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

— Rumi

Focus on your own actions long before you worry about what anyone else is doing.

2. Don’t judge.

“The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.” 

— Barbara Kingsolver

The most resilient people look change and failure in the face and say, “Oh good,” because they know they are now close to the important things they need to learn. 

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

 — Eckhart Tolle

3. Take control and realize your power.

”The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” 

— William James

Be the difference maker for yourself. To be the CEO of your life learn that CEO stands for Change Equals Opportunity. 

“If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

 — Maya Angelou

Frame the changes in a way you can work with them.

4. Be virtuous.

Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” 

— Dalai Lama

You and your integrity are the constancy.

5. Be Brave.

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”

 — Aristotle

6. Trust yourself.  Never believe that we humans are the problem. We may have contributed, but we are the point, the humble stars of the show, and the access to the solution.

“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

7. Let go

The old forms have to fall away.

There is a “terrible tyranny of theoretical supposition” (R. Steiner) that holds us back.  It can only be combatted with thinking that is open and flexible.

The Health-Giving Character of Change

Healthy Habits can be elusive. When we try to do the “right” thing with our habits, we can still get in a rut even if we are doing good things. It’s not just the content of the action, it’s the circumstances as well. When our healthy habits become a comfortable routine we might be further off the mark than we think, even when we are doing it by the book. Getting in a rut is never good. Challenge and change are the healthy disrupting forces!

This is why people do hard things like:

  • Use their non-dominant hand 
  • Go a different way home today than they did the day before
  • Put themselves in unfamiliar situations 
  • Learn a language or an instrument 
  • Fast 
  • Cold plunge

Doing the hard things that shake up the typical pattern accesses another level of health. Vitality is stimulated by variability and vice versa. Change is hard and something we tend to resist but must face. This is the literal definition of “good medicine.”

Makes you think of needing to finish that plate of Brussels sprouts years back, doesn’t it?

Optimism Fits

I would offer that the change we encounter does not indicate a broken situation. These are the precise developments that will bring us the lessons we need to face. All we have to do is hang in there and do the work of facing what comes. I believe we only get what we can handle. In other words, we can handle all this, and it’s all working perfectly.

There are clear signs everywhere that we are going to be fine. If you don’t believe me, just learn to look a little harder. You’ll see.