On Future Shock, Clear Thinking, and Stillness

I just finished reading Future Shock.  Toffler was eloquent and clairvoyant: he wrote exhaustively about the impacts of social and technological change — many of which have either materialized, are just emerging, or still far off.  For example, he wrote about the rise of the experiential economy, the shift away from the hierarchic organizational complex and the need for networked organizations, and scoped the future of education.

However, the most poignant and relevant thing for all of us is his underlying exposition on change.  Take his definition of future shock:

Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.

The prolific author warned us about inevitable stresses of decision-making in the face of rapid change.  Alas, Toffler conceded that change is life and that we can be better prepared for the future by anticipating the changes we are bound to see just around the corner.

How do we adapt and cope with rapid change in everyday life?  We set goals, and we move the needle one day at a time.  We anchor ourselves to constants in our life that serve as our true norths.

For me, the book resonates me very much.  I’ve been feeling so many changes at once, yet the call of my own goals compounded by the passage of time.  The War of Art reminded me of the Bhagwad Gita – the infamous conversation between Arjuna, pulled by his own sense of future shock and overcome by resistance, and Krishna.  Krishna advised Arjuna to move past his resistance and to do the right thing.  This resonates with Steve Pressfield’s own advice:  just do it or don’t do it.

The most practical links I can find with the challenges of multiple priorities is Zinsser’s advice to clear our heads of clutter and to invoke clear thinking to achieve simplicity.

I meditate each of my micro-actions and micro-thoughts towards these principles:  simplicity, clarity, and focused action.

Mirroring my Actions with My Principles:

Awake: Micro-Meditation, Yoga + Movement, Cleanse, Meditate, Nourish, Write/Create

Journey: Connect, Read, Meditate, Write/Create

Day End: Connect, Laugh, Synthesize, Reflect

How do you handle future shock?  How do you slay resistance?


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