Progress: Relentless Forward Motion

Nature tends towards entropy… it gradually becomes more and more disordered over time. Your health doesn’t stand still… your fitness levels will drop if you do not exercise.

It’s the same in business and personal life: that which you do not pay attention to or put effort into will slowly deteriorate and fall apart. There is no optimal system, a perfect machine that just keeps ticking over at the same rate like a perpetual motion engine.

And the future: well the future is unknowable. The greatest source of anxiety and stress for most people. We literally have no idea of what will happen next. Our assessment of the patterns of the past gives us an idea of the odds of certain things happening, but no certainty.

In hindsight, World War II seems inevitable. It was a huge shock to everyone at the time. The invention of the MP3 was a statistical inevitability you would say now, but the music industry just didn’t expect it at all.

What this means from a practical perspective, is that rigid, pre-defined responses are not always going to give you what you want: a quick reaction that takes advantage of changing conditions. Instead, it might misunderstand and underestimate everything that is happening. Instead, we need to be fluid and dynamic in our reactions to the future.

If we do not build innovation into our every working day, on a personal, team or company level, we run the risk of only ever being capable of a formulaic, rigid response to change.

But if we do, we are practised in agile, quick-moving responses to an ever-moving target. We have entertained different scenarios, looked towards to the horizon and submerged ourselves in the ambiguities that might arise.

Right now, this is the key difference between human thought and endeavour and AI. An AI can only deploy the programming it has received in the way it has been programmed to do. Humans possess the capacity to detect and act on connections that may seem random or chaotic from the outside. We process information in many ways, some linear and some deeply not so.

But if we do not practice this skill and foreground it in our everyday lives, we run the risk of reacting no better or perhaps even worse than an AI.

Everything around us is in relentless motion, either progressing or declining. Nothing is standing still. It is naïve and dangerous to assume that we can, just because we have found a comfort zone or sweet spot that appeals to us and, for now, we feel safe.

That safety will be threatened soon enough. How prepared will you be?

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