The Winds of Change…
By Stephen Doherty
November 7th, 2021
“The same wind blows on us all; the winds of disaster, opportunity and change. Therefore, it is not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sails that will determine our direction in life.” -Jim Rohn
The term “paradigm shift” was coined by American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions published in 1962. It was later adopted by America’s business schools and authors to describe massive shifts in cultural and societal habits and norms as it related to commerce.
A simple paradigm shift might be the global shunning of cigarette smoking while a more complex paradigm shift might be the changes in our consumer buying habits with the advent of the internet and E-Commerce. In essence, it’s a changing of the glasses we wear and how we see and interpret the world around us and how we interact with it.
I am astounded at the emerging paradigm shifts taking shape in a post-pandemic environment. We’ve not begun to see the ultimate outcomes but we can speculate based on what we’re seeing with our own eyes. One-hundred million Americans are sitting on the sidelines while 10 million jobs go unfilled and the economy and supply-chain are in a massive state of chaos and flux.
The term “unpack” comes to mind as all of us are trying to individually interpret and evaluate what we just endured as we calculate what our individual roles will be in determining our own fates and realities. For better or for worse – a “new normal” is descending upon us. These are just a few of the more notable ones.
The number one change in a post-pandemic world is quite simple – time. For too long and for too many, the hours we routinely allotted for “normal” life activities was excessive. Having experienced the pleasure of “coins in our pocket” in the form of a dozen extra-hours of free-time-per-week – hours we could use as we damn well pleased – millions of Americans are simply refusing to relinquish those hours back to a working environment that now seems dated and antiquated. It reminds me of that line from the 70s movie, Network. “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it any more!”
- The Workplace
How and where we work has changed forever for millions of Americans. The pandemic gave us a taste of an environment where we could both deliver productivity while enjoying more interactive hours with our families. I think millions of citizens have and will continue to prioritize and reconcile their respective allotments of daily hours and minutes. This will take a while to shake out but I believe explains the millions who took early retirement or who remain on the workplace sidelines who have enjoyed their new-found freedoms and are in the process of putting an economic price tag on it. Where that intersects with a business community working feverishly to engineer the necessary hybrid model to accommodate that – remains to be seen.
- The Marketplace
Time has become a priceless commodity to millions of Americans and the trade-offs have begun. The hybrid workplace returns hours of commuting time to the individual to invest in more gratifying endeavors than rush hour. The same sentiments are driving the explosion in on-line shopping. Like the workplace, the citizenry is resisting the return to the malls and retail outlets in favor of shifting that burden onto the backs of the supply chain. We’ve seen an explosion in home delivery of virtually everything imaginable that used to require a large investment of time to acquire. Now? Click-and-ship and use those saved hours for more important and gratifying activities.
I am an eternal optimist and a person who believes strongly in the power of individual freedom. The aforementioned changes, and all the rest to come, will impact our lives in the ways that we let it. The cards we’re dealt is never the story. How we play them determines our respective outcomes.
I love Jim Rohn’s metaphor because rarely does the wind blow so hard that we can’t adjust our sails in a way that launches us forward rather than destroying us. And let’s face the stark truth – absent the wind, your boat isn’t going ANY-where!
May you have a strong foundation when the winds of change shift…
and may you be forever young. –Bob Dylan