I’ve heard it from 50-somethings and from 20-somethings: The world today is bewildering. There’s nothing I can depend on. The pace of change itself is both addictive and overwhelming.
If you’re feeling as though you’d like to scream, “Stop the world, I wanna get off!” perhaps the one comforting thing I can say is, “You’re not alone.”
And, you’re not wrong to feel the pace of change is more frantic today than ever. By some objective measures, it can be argued that we are now living in an era in which change happens at a pace that is almost beyond our ability to adapt. It’s all happening faster, and with an even broader impact, than the Industrial Revolution had on the millions of people who went from rural farm life to factory life in the city in less than two generations.
We have experienced radical changes in our society, in technology, and even in our bodies (due to our “industrialized” diet); our world today is truly one that, from the viewpoint of just 30 or 40 years ago, our parents or grandparents would barely recognize.
I’ve found myself over the past few years fighting that same battle, trying to keep that frantic feeling at bay.
How do you stay calm in the eye of a tornado? How can you stand in the center of a whirlwind – how do you keep it from carrying you away?
The one thing that we have, no matter how loudly the wind is howling, is our true selves. You are far less likely to be swept away by the wind if you have a conscious and specific understanding of who you are,
what your values are, and what your life on this planet means.
There are many different paths to getting grounded in this way. I believe that the future of our world depends on more and more of us finding that path. The physicist and noeticist Peter Russell sums up this concept beautifully in his essay, “The Challenge of Ever-Accelerating Change: Finding Inner Wisdom in Uncertain Times.”
So how do we cope with an increasingly unpredictable world? How can we prepare ourselves as the winds of change whip up into a storm of change? Some hints can be found from how trees withstand a storm.
Check out this essay, or his book “The Brain Book.” Find your path to that calm spot in the eye of the storm. From there, even as the pace of change continues to accelerate, you’ll have a place to stand and breathe.