There’s no question these are difficult times in which we live. There’s no question (at least in my mind) things for the business community in general are going to get a lot worse. And for those reasons, there’s no question in my mind that what’s worked in the past (at least as it relates to making money in business) is not going to sustain us in the future.
But before you accuse me of writing a gloom and doom post, hear me out.
Any time there is a crisis, there is an opportunity. I’ve written before about the Chinese character for crisis. It’s made up of two characters: danger and opportunity. These are dangerous times. But only a fool would say there’s no opportunity.
The problem is, you have to be able to see the opportunities. Often that means thinking outside the box. It’s like playing baseball. If they say you have to hit the ball into the outfield to have a legitimate hit, that’s what you do. You don’t complain that you used to be able to get on base by hitting a grounder to the infield. Complaining accomplishes nothing. You adapt to the new rules and figure out the best way to flourish in the new environment. You don’t pine away after things that are no more (and probably never will be again.)
And even if the rules were to change every time you showed up at the field, so what? There will still be a game. There will still be a winner and a loser. There will still be those who come out on top, and those who don’t. Or even considering the next worse case, what if the competition doesn’t have to play by the same rules you do? What if they can hit grounders and you have to hit into the outfield? Well, you have two choices: adapt or quit playing baseball. Just because someone’s making it difficult for you doesn’t mean you still can’t be a winner!
As the wise saying goes, “We learn from the past. We live in the present. We prepare for the future.” There’s no value in thinking about how easy, how great, how wonderful, etc., etc. the past was. Learn from it and move on. If the present in difficult, make whatever adjustments you need to so you can continue to grow and succeed. Make as many preparations as you can for the future, with the understanding that by the time you get to the future it may not even resemble what you have prepared for and you may have to start over. Big deal. Prepare anyway.
The bottom line in it all is, YOU HAVE TO ADAPT. Either you do that, or you die. Going back is not an option. Wishing won’t make it so. As my buddy’s mom used to say, “Wish in one hand and spit in the other. See which one gets full first.” All the wishing in the world won’t accomplish a single thing.
I predict that the future belongs to those who can adapt — those who can change on a dime and give you nine cents change. You can teach yourself to adapt, of course. It’s not that hard. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but it’s not that hard. Start now to teach yourself how to adapt (it’s part of that preparing for the future thing.) Once you get onto it, you will find you have much more confidence to succeed in a chaotic economy (a chaotic environment.) And not just confidence. You will succeed much more readily and much more quickly than those around you.
They say there are three kinds of people in the world. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. Which are you? The adapters are those who make things happen. They lead the way. Others watch and marvel and wonder how they did that. All the while the adapters are changing the game and making the world turn again — new rules and all.
So there’s your recipe for success for the future — easy to say, hard to do. But it’s certainly reachable. You just have to want it. Do you want it?