margonaut blog archive (2004-2014)


change is the only constant

Here's the written out version of my latest Toastmasters speech.

What I end up saying in front of an audience never comes out quite like what has been written down. I generally memorize the outline and go from there rather than memorizing something word for word.


Coping With Quantum Novelty

Change is happening all around us. From geopolitical shifts to population growth to technological development, we are living in a period of rapid change never seen before in any previous time in history. I like to playfully call this exponential acceleration of everything “quantum novelty.”

How can we best learn to cope with such unprecedented change? Here are a few tips:

Perhaps most obvious tip for learning to adapt to quantum novelty is to expect the unexpected. Even those who live very routine lives day in and day out, and perhaps who like to use the acronym SSDD (“same s@#% different day) will eventually have their world shaken up and it will become obvious that ideas of stability and security are illusions. Expect and prepare for the unexpected. Every day, anything could happen.

The second tip for adapting to quantum novelty is to embrace uncertainty, or, to love the unknown. A palpable shift happens in life when we change our attitude from fearing the fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen next to truly accepting and appreciating the fact that reality is uncertainty. We can wake up every morning worrying or we can say to ourselves, “Wow, I wonder what’s going to happen today!” When we change our attitude, we make space for more interesting and auspicious circumstances in our lives.

The third tip for adapting to Quantum Novelty is to meet everyone as perpetually new. Just as circumstances and situations change, so do people. If someone didn’t say hi to you, if they forgot your name, or even directly insulted you, let it go and the next time you see them, meet them again as a new person. Even if you have been through a long, protracted drama with someone realize that having gone through that drama has changed them and they are now new. You never know when someone is going to do a complete 180 degree shift and change their ways, giving up whatever it is you have been judging them for.

Though you may choose to not lend money or go into business with someone based on their past behaviour, releasing any animosity, anger, contempt, or other negative attitudes towards others and practicing perpetual “instaforgiveness” is liberating. It opens up opportunities for connections and friendships with people you may have otherwise written off. When a group of people all practice meeting each other as perpetually new, it truly transforms group dynamics and individual happiness for the better.

The fourth tip for adapting to quantum novelty is to cultivate present moment awareness, or to be here now. This concept has been explored in many books and philosophical systems through the ages, and there are several reasons that it is important.

Present moment awareness allows us to focus on doing our best on whatever it we are doing in this moment. The ongoing present moment is our place of power, and the only place where action and change can happen. It could be said that the present moment is really the only time that exists.

Practicing present moment awareness when we are spending time with other people allows us to make deeper and more meaningful connections because when we are paying attention and truly fully being with someone we communicate and express feelings with more clarity and depth. This is what “quality time” is all about.

Learning to be here now also helps us to relax. When we put aside worries about the future and regrets about the past, everything that happens around us goes more smoothly and we are happier. In the book The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle writes that the intensity of our pain “depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment.”

No one can maintain an aware, worry free state 100% of the time, however if we are gentle on ourselves when we lapse and work on simply coming back to our centre again and again as best we can, it gets easier and easier with time.

Deepak Chopra writes in the Seven Laws of Spiritual Success that “the search for certainty and security are actually an attachment to the known.” Loosening up this attachment and learning to accept and flow with change (instead of using up all of our energy clinging to the metaphorical riverbank) will be among the most valuable survival skills we can carry into an increasingly uncertain future.

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I like it a lot!

  2. Sounds like an article you should be submitting to your favourite magazine! You write so very clearly. I’m a bit envious (one of those vices I allow myself in small quantities). Just as it is so difficult to transcribe from the language that sounds so good when spoken it is always difficult to take excellent writing and turn it into a dynamic compelling speech.

    As you give more and more talks, I think you’ll find yourself straying more and more from what you’ve written in order to engage the attention and minds of an audience.

    I’ve found that I can only effectively communicate about 1 idea for every 10 minutes of speaking. Even people I know are taking notes only have about this retention when questioned a day later.

    Many years ago, I noticed how little information I was able to retain from watching educational & science shows on PBS. If I forced myself to take notes, the information retention when way up. In public speaking the most you can hope to do is communicate the positive dynamicism of your personality and some basic concepts that a few will in turn pursue further.

    You should post the mp3s of your presentations when you feel ready.

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