Managing Change

I heard a TED Talk* by a psychologist named Dan Gilbert on the “psychology of our future self”.

He offered this thought: when it comes to imagining our future, we tend to underestimate how much we can change and will change.

He proves this thought by asking folks to look back over the last 10 years and document how their lives actually changed. Then he asks people to look ahead and think about how they anticipate things to change.

The results indicate this: more change occurred in 10 years than most folks expected.

But, the second finding is surprising: most of us will say there is not much change in front of us. That when it comes to the future, we expect the future to be “more of the same. ”

I’m still reflecting on this idea, but a couple thoughts come to mind:

1. We may dislike change, but it’s coming anyway. As you look back, much change that came your way came whether you sought it or not. And, you lived. Maybe prospered. We don’t have to be scared of it.

2. Since change is inevitable, shouldn’t we develop a process for acting on it as it occurs? What do you do when changed circumstances come your way? Do you have steps you take to act to corral the impact? Do you attack the new reality? Do you have a team that helps develop strategies? Do you move ahead bravely ?

3. If change is going to happen to us, isn’t it smarter to be more aggressive about imagining our future.

Imagination is a wonderful gift. Unfortunately, we lay it on the shelf and drift through the changes that come our way.

How about we face the change that is certain to happen and attempt to impact our future by designing our change to the degree we can?

That’s happening to the world.

*If you aren’t familiar with TED Talks, I recommend them. It’s a series of more than 1,000 short speeches introducing new and interesting ideas. It’s a great source of stimulation. There is an App for your smart phones. I’m certain you can search the Internet as well.