History was never my favorite subject. Maybe because, so often, it was memorizing a lot of dates and places of events I had never experienced. I did enjoy the stories, yet perhaps only to later realize that they were told with great certainty while from a limited perspective. And then there is, of course, the perspective from which history is shared and the perspective from which it is received.
I sometimes wonder how history will be told about our years. I suppose much of that will depend on whom it is told by. It doesn’t take much imagination in today’s divided sea of opinions, beliefs, and perspectives that various versions could easily emerge. There will be historical amounts of documented information and misinformation to sort through. Maybe that has always been relatively true for anyone who has tried to sort through history to talk about it.
History is an odd and complex element.
Yet, at the same time, there is great wisdom in some version of the warnings of history repeating itself, such as, “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Or maybe more importantly “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” As fragile, and possibly suspect, as the stories of history may be, they hold within them warnings for a future they have never known or experienced.
And if the elements of history are odd and complex, what could that possibly say about the intricacies of understanding something so unknown as the future. Maybe a healthy place to start could be accepting the fact that “future” is always a mystery. That’s what makes it both terrifying and beautifully hopeful all at the same time.
Through my years, I have often said that the “good old days” are always seen as the “good old days” simply because they are known and most importantly have been survived by those thinking of them as the “good old days.” It’s a mixture of illusion and reality all intertwined. The future is a different mix all together. The future invites you into the unknown. It is a beckoning call into uncertainty while never actually taking you there. Instead, it offers you a gift.
The opportunity to prepare in the present.
It seems, back in the good old days, a specific organizational change was thought about for a long time, talked about forever, and then finally implemented with the idea it would last for a couple decades. Earlier this year ChatGPT was introduced – the artificial intelligence (AI) chat app that fell into the general public’s hands last November but hit the tipping point of public awareness about two months ago. And it hit with the intensity of a tornado in what seemed to come out of nowhere. (If you’ve been living under a rock somewhere and haven’t heard about it, you can simply go to https://chat.openai.com/chat and see for yourself. I think you will be amazed if you try it out – especially when you realize that this is like the AOL “You’ve Got Mail” version of this.
But, unlike the “good old days,” it was thrown into the hands of the general public with an attitude of “well, let’s see what happens!” A bit like, well, let’s roll the dice! It’s hard to get your head around both the potential and the unintended consequences. It’s like mixing “awe and wonder” with “terrifying” all into one path forward.
Yet, as always, the future offers the opportunity to prepare in the present.
I decided to ask ChapGPT (after all, who “better” to ask!) to name 10 things that might be experienced in a significantly different way in the future. This is what it offered.
- Work: With the rise of automation and remote work, traditional office jobs may become less prevalent, and work may become more decentralized and project-based.
- Transportation: The advent of self-driving cars and electric vehicles may revolutionize transportation and make it more sustainable and efficient.
- Health care: The use of artificial intelligence and personalized medicine may make healthcare more efficient, affordable, and effective.
- Education: Online learning and digital technologies may transform education, making it more accessible and personalized.
- Energy: Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind may replace fossil fuels as the primary source of energy, leading to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
- Housing: The rise of modular and sustainable housing may change the way we build and live in homes, making them more affordable and eco-friendly.
- Entertainment: Virtual and augmented reality may transform entertainment, creating immersive experiences that blur the line between the digital and physical world.
- Food: The development of lab-grown meat and vertical farming may transform the food industry, making it more sustainable and reducing the environmental impact of animal agriculture.
- Socialization: Social media and digital communication may continue to shape the way we connect and interact with others, leading to new forms of socialization and community building.
- Politics: The rise of digital technology and social media may transform politics, making it more democratic and participatory, but also more polarized and prone to misinformation.
I then asked ChatGPT to name 5 things an individual can do to best position themselves to experience it well. Here is what it advised.
- Learn new skills: With the changing job market, it is important to stay current and develop new skills that are in demand.
- Stay informed: Keeping up to date with technological advancements and global trends can help individuals anticipate and prepare for changes in their industry.
- Embrace change: Being adaptable and open-minded can help individuals navigate and thrive in a rapidly changing world.
- Build a network: Networking and building relationships with others can help individuals stay connected and find new opportunities in a changing job market.
- Take care of yourself: Maintaining physical and mental health can help individuals stay resilient and adaptable in the face of change.
I’m sure you could add your own ideas to either list. Maybe not as fast as ChatGPT did since it create this list in less than 45 seconds!
I would add that integrity seldom resists change. It guides the transformation.
There is no doubt that change is inevitable. And with change comes some pain. The need to be intentionally grounded, while at the same time flowing with the change will be more important than ever. We are simultaneously amid monumental change on several fronts. To ignore it, resist it or deny it will bring great suffering. And at the same time, to creatively begin to prepare in the present may very well bring more awe and wonder than you could ever imagine.
As always, I would love for you to share your thoughts and insights below!