2020 was an incredibly tough year. We also saw multiple historical changes that used to be considered generational. How do we deal with all this change?

Photo by Candice Picard on Unsplash

Renowned futurist and best selling author, Ray Kurzweil (if you’ve ever used a scanner to scan a document or photo, he’s the guy that invented that technology and the device used by hearing impaired people to communicate) predicts that the rate of change humanity will see is 20,000 years worth in the 21st century. That’s an immense amount of change.

2020 saw some incredible change. The pandemic saw humanity create the first mRNA vaccine in less than a year. We saw the historical Black Lives Matter movement bringing the discussion on race to the forefront. The government in Canada and other nations issued historic stimulus packages and we saw historic stock market highs.

Other signs of the rapid pace of change can be seen in the content we consume. Netflix gives you the option to watch a show 1.5x faster. The average podcast is played at 1.5x normal speed. Even Audible, the digital book company, now let’s you listen to a book at 3.5x normal speed. Scenes in movies and TV shows go faster.

Our language is changing faster as well. We now shorten words, with some companies leaving out the vowels in their brand names. Then there’s all those emojis we use every day to replace full on words and of course, text speak acronyms…LOL! I mean, OMG, YOLO!

Many of us find that our work is speeding up too. Shorter PowerPoint decks (that’s not bad actually!), reports that have to summarize in less than three pages. Many startups and now regular businesses use “agile business plans” or a Lean Canvas for everything from strategic planning to marketing plans.

How can we adapt and deal with all this change? We provide some tips from our research. Because as a publisher, even our team has to move faster than before, even for the print issues of Optimyz and our sister publication, Silver.

How to Deal With Change

  • Daily reading: Not fiction books, though that’s good too. We’re talking non-fiction. Books where you learn. Set aside an hour a day or at least five hours a week to read and learn. Whether it’s for career growth or personal development.
  • Evaluate your control level: As the book says, don’t sweat the small stuff. When something happens or even on a semi-regular basis, evaluate how much control you have over a given situation. If you can’t control it to some degree, let it go.
  • Healthy Diet: Eat as healthy as you can. Not fad diets. Make sure you eat non-processed foods, lots of fruit and vegetables. Keep the sugar to a minimum, it can increase inflammation and add stress to your body.
  • Exercise: Even just a few minutes a day. Walking is a great way to spend some time thinking and processing current events. It can help reduce stress and anxiety caused by change. Especially a good workout!
  • Journal: A gratefulness journal is one option, so is bullet journaling, but writing out a little bit more, perhaps with a specific change journal where you can write about what’s going on, what’s changing or what can and should change.
  • Mental Models: We use mental models to make decisions, from what we’re going to have for lunch to buying a house or big budget decisions at work. Take some time to learn about different models (here’s a great blog for that), so you have better frameworks to deal with change.

The fast is, change is inevitable. Sometimes we have total control over that change, sometimes partial and other times none at all, like a pandemic. Be proactive in your mind and accept that change will happen. The more open we are to change, the more flexible and adaptable we become.

You might also be interested in this great article on why socialization is so important to our health.

Author: Alexa Hurst is a staff writer for HUM@Nmedia, the parent brand for Optimyz and Silver Magazines based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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