3 Tips for Thriving in Uncertainty and Rapid Change

In the past year I absorbed myself in learning about the state of humanity on earth. And it is pretty upsetting, to be honest.

Despite the huge amount of information that is now available to us at our fingertips, I feel ill-informed.

HKgreyskiesFor example, I experience rapidly rising food prices and I wonder why? Is it because of dying bees? –I’m noticing the price of nuts. Is it because of international currency fluctuations and the Hong Kong monetary system? Or is it because some company is getting better at making more money?

Like many of you, I read the news about the economy, the environment, the unprecedented changes in society related to globalization, information collection, aging population, wealth gap etc. While it is distressing, it is also the harbinger of change. And so I keep reminding myself that all is well, change is good and we are always doing the best we can. No matter what may be true in the news, I hang on to these basic beliefs that are neither true, nor untrue, but simply helpful.

Nonetheless, the news affects me and I am driven by it to make sure I’m doing the best I can. I don’t want to be the last person hanging on to a lifestyle that is unsustainable and therefore immoral. In fact I want to be one of the first bringing in our new ways of living. But that’s pretty hard to do when you don’t know what it is. (No one knows, although we have clues.) And I am just as imbedded in our current way of living as anyone else.

I found myself in a flurry of activity caused by my thinking that “I must do more…” It is guilt and fear driving this thinking, and therefore not surprising that it would set me off track. I like to be efficient, to use my time wisely, but if I try to push myself to ‘do more’, I seem to lose perspective and spend energy uselessly on the wrong things, adding stress and effort but not value. When we are faced with complexity and uncertainty, we need a little more empty space to reflect freely and find the best strategies.

Looking around, I think many people are in a similar state of being –trying to do more, for all kinds of different reasons: to make more money, to meet a budget, to help more people, to get more done, to solve a problem faster. Are you doing that? And how is it working for you?

What is the alternative? For myself I have a three-fold solution:

1)    Let go of the need to change, fix, contribute, excel etc. I’m not letting go of my desires. I am keeping them as forward movement: a pull. And I am letting go of any fearful emotions that push me.
 
2)    Make it a priority to have empty space in my day and my week. Space adds joy to life. Space is required for the best decisions to be found.

3)    Keep noticing the good that is unfolding all over the world.  It helps me build trust in humanity, that together we are smart enough to thrive in the world we have created.

How do you thrive in this dynamically changing world? Please contact me if you’d like my help to slow down and thrive.

2 Responses to 3 Tips for Thriving in Uncertainty and Rapid Change

  1. Kay Ross says:

    A very thoughtful and thought-provoking article, thank you, Angela. Like you, I sometimes wonder whether I’m doing enough, whether I’m doing the RIGHT things, and whether I AM enough to build a successful business and make a positive difference in the world. One thing that I find helps me to thrive in a dynamically changing and unpredictable world is to approach life and business with an improv mindset. That means I use the improviser’s mantra of “Yes, and…” to accept and respond in the moment to whatever is happening; I make bold decisions, take action, listen for the feedback from the universe and change course if necessary (rather than meticulously planning every step in advance and rigidly sticking to that plan); I let go of my expectations about how situations “should” play out; I’m willing to be flexible and to experiment with new beliefs and behaviours; I’m willing to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them… (of course I’m not always successful at doing all those things).

  2. Angela Spaxman says:

    Thanks Kay for the great response! I do that too …every morning I say ‘yes’ to whatever I’m feeling in the moment about the day and the world. It’s pretty challenging sometimes, like saying ‘yes’ to climate change or to inequality etc. But it really helps to get me to the “…and” part rather than just resisting what is and having to live with all the stress that creates.

    It’s also really helpful to know that other people feel as I do about the state of the world. Thank you.

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