A lot of people are understandably saying that one of the hardest elements of the current situation are related to uncertainty and change both in our private and professional lives. ‘How will the restrictions evolve and when?’ ‘Will there be long-term changes in society?’ ‘Will my job return to how it was’?
Forest in southeastern Poland
So, out of curiosity, I had a quick look at what some top TED speakers had to say on how to deal with change, adversity and uncertainty. A whole mix of philosophical, personal, economic, practical, long-term, immediate…. so take your pick.
1.Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks – resist the urge to turn focus inwards – ‘self, I, me’: we are social creatures who need solidarity and a sense of identity. Increasingly surround ourselves (e.g. professionally, socially) with people different from us, to challenge and develop us. Continue to build and tell the story of your (individual, professional, cultural, social) identities to feel secure and more resilient to change. “We can face any future without fear so long as we know we will not face it alone.”
Café and Jewish cultural events venue, Krakow
2. Margaret Heffernan (British-American entrepreneur, CEO, writer): Uncertainty is the new norm and, facing this, we must sometimes do things that are robust (key word) even if not efficient. Avoid getting into the modern trap of obsessing about short term efficiency and savings and instead prepare for inevitable uncertainty and change. Sometimes trying to think your way out of a problem doesn’t help; instead experiment, innovate, take some balanced risk and learn about the real world and you’ll be prepared to adapt to or deal with change. She also advocates having a broad range of people around you, to invite more compassion and realism.
Pride March in Krakow, 2019
3. Aimee Mullins – Paralympian. Adversity creates opportunity and opens the door for human potential. We are shaped by our experiences – positive and negative, and ‘coming out unscathed,’ ‘denying difficulty’ or ‘avoiding the obstacles’ isn’t the way to see it. Find ways to recast challenging or arduous aspects as interesting experiences. Help others recognise and hit adversity head on, avoiding putting up unnecessary barriers for them.
4. Matt Cutts – feel like you’re stuck in the same routine? Commit to trying something new for 30 days (adding something positive or stopping a bad habit). Small changes are sustainable.
Lake Chechło, between Krakow and Katowice
And I couldn’t complete this without a reference to mental wellbeing:
5. Andy Puddicombe – CEO of Headspace and meditation guru – ‘10 mindful minutes is all it takes’ – learning to calm the mind and find greater focus and clarity whatever comes along. But not so much relaxation that we are asleep all day – “we’re looking for a balance, a focused relaxation where we can allow thoughts to come and go without all the usual involvement.”
The Tatras mountains – on the border between Poland and Slovakia