Lately I have been reading a new book by Thomas Friedman, "Thank You for Being Late". It is a book you have to pay attention to or you will miss something. Already I have picked up a few nuggets. I hope it will help me deal with this VUCA world that I operate in along with my family. It is not going to solve a lot of problems for me, but I hope it gives me hope and understanding of the possibilities that still exist. Especially for my kids.
It has been said that the past election and its surprising outcome to many (me included) had something to do with how working class folks worried, not about themselves, but their kids. That seems normal to me and I actually tried and am still trying to understand the other parts of that story. It is not so simple, although many pollsters try to make it out to be that way. American politics is not so cut and dry. Never has been.
So back to the book. Part of me is wanting the book to tell me what is shifting and how can I deal with it. I think of career and lifestyle. Career is still very much in play. I am not yet old enough to qualify for full retirement under the social security laws, but I don't think I would want to retire at that age (67) anyway. I feel when most boomers do that, they have too many other things to do before they leave the planet.
I have not reached the end of the book, but here is what has been affirmed so far:
- Things will continue to change
- There is no going back
- It could get much worse for all of us in terms of the environment
- We/I need to be and continue to be a lifelong learner
- It will be alright (possibly)
None of this is new. The response though may need to quicken, be more urgent. Creating urgency before something is really needed can be tough for humans. Imaging what may happen takes concerted effort and a bit of faith. Reading the book has prompted these thoughts;
- What do I truly enjoy?
- What can I do?
- What do I need to be able to do?
- How does this affect my family?
- How can I make a small difference that I don't do now?
I am also reading a book called "Designing Your Life". I mentioned this in my last post here. A bit odd for someone my age, but I try to emuate my mother who seems almost ageless in her attitude and outlook. I believe that I have time, but I cannot waste any. "Designing Your Life" will give me some ideas, but only I will have the answer ultimately. It is hard work,at times, trying to optimize my time here on earth.
So in the end my hope and desire is to get some sense of where life is taking me and where I can try and end up. No amount of planning can forecast life or lay it out for you. I think I can eliminate those things that do not energize and refresh me. That is a worthy goal. The trick is identifying those things which take thoughtfulness and reflection without falling asleep. That does happen occasionally. And at the same time I cannot stare at my navel for eternity. It has to be action oriented.
So what’s next? Keep reading the Friedman book while finishing some lists of high and low energy tasks and design the rest of the life I want. Whether of not that works is anybody's guess.
How about you? How are you equipping yourself for a VUCA world?