Prompted: Adapting as the Future Evolves
If there's one thing we can be certain about, it's uncertainty.
Adapting as the Future Evolves
Living with uncertainty is one of the few established facts of modern life (or any life for that matter).
Lawrence J. Raphael
Humans love certainty. Most of us wake up in the same bed every day and we rely on our office being in the same place at the end of the same road every day.
This certainty makes our lives easier because once we do something enough we can go on autopilot.
This is a great human adaptation for doing laundry or driving to work, but certainty masks the reality of the unbelievably dynamic world we live in.
Although we may feel certain about the future, there are endless factors outside of our control that decide how our lives will move forward and we can’t be certain about anything until it happens.
The way our lives unfold is like a video game.
Video game developers create an entire world for the main character to explore, but when we play the game, only the small part of the world that’s in front of the character is loaded on screen. As the character moves around in the game new parts of the world load depending on where the character moves.
The world around the character is completely unknown and constantly buffering. Once we look past the illusion of certainty in the present moment, we see that our world is exactly the same.
We may have an idea of what will happen in the future, but the reality ahead of us hasn’t been created yet.
Despite this, it’s tempting to pursue static goals and imagine how our lives will change once we achieve them. Often we carry these same goals and visions around for years without adapting them as our world evolves.
Imagine an economist presenting and economic model using data from 3 years ago. They would be laughed out of the room because their assumptions about the world are no longer accurate.
If we’re not constantly aware of how our world is evolving as we move through life, we’re in the same boat.
The world is buffering around us the same way it would in a video game. Our immediate surroundings are crystal clear and provide the illusion that our future holds the same level of certainty, but our reality has yet to be created.
Our goals or pursuits are not nearly as important as the constant adaptation and adjust of our trajectory as we learn new things about ourselves and about the world around us as it continues to render in front of us.
How have your long-term pursuits changed over the last year?
What have you invested time into pursuing this year that’s likely to change in the coming months?
How can you regularly evaluate how your life is changing and adjust your priorities accordingly?
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A podcast from Harvard Business Review discussing reasons to embrace uncertainty.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.