Monday, January 28, 2013

Our Fluid New World

Complex fluid/Complex flow
Years ago, someone told me  that my personality was more fluid than linear.

At the time, I have to admit I had little idea what it really meant but liked knowing it and kept the concept.

As I've grown older, I've learned quite a bit more about the concept and without question, I am much more fluid that linear in most instances while in other cases, I am extremely linear. It really all depends what the challenge is. This is especially true for me now as a business owner.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the two as I am utilizing them below:

Fluid:   subject to change or movement

Linear: of, relating to, or based or depending on sequential development 

That stated, one thing I know for sure - regardless of where you are on this axiom - the world is more fluid than it has ever been. Concepts, ideas and actions move at a lightening fast pace versus 30 or 40 years ago. People have to adapt and then adapt again so much now that the only certainty is uncertainty itself. 

How do you react to this?

Does this freak you out?

Are you defiant in "sticking with what works"?

Do you just go with the flow?

Your quality of life depends on how you answer those questions.

This will seem trivial but should illustrate my point well. I have lived most of my life in the Chicago area. Before the last few years, it was pretty predictable how our seasons go. Winter was simple. Cold. Frigid. Colder. Fridger. We rarely had spring as it would often be very cold into April and early May and by June we'd all be complaining about the heat. Fall was always my favorite season because Chicago often had Indian Summers that one day in December (sometimes November) just give way to the aforementioned Winter pattern. 

Not so much anymore. 

It is January and yesterday it was hovering around freezing with sheets of ice covering my porch and sidewalk when I went out to walk my dog for the last time at 8 pm. This morning, on that same walk,  on that same walkway - it was a balmy 51 degrees. We had a weather prediction that we'd see 50s on Wed. I looked right before I slept only to look now and see that it has changed again and we can expect it be 18 degrees on Thursday.

Who knows what will actually happen, the point is this. We must be fluid in our responses to this fluid weather situation. We must bundle up when it is cold. We must lighten the layers when it is not. That can sometimes occur in the same 24 hours - no matter. In order to navigate Chicago, you have to adapt to our new fluid weather pattern.

Same goes with other areas of life. Our work. Our recreation. Our relationships.

We must come at them with an open mind for change. We must equip ourselves with tools to handle whatever comes our way. We must embrace the change with flexible arms to let it go, should it be necessary.

Think about all the "systems" you belong to... church, political, community, work, family etc etc. When was the last time things consistently stayed the same in those arenas? Of course, your answer was never. People change. Things change. Situations change. 

Whether you lean toward more linear thinking or are super fluid in your patterns - our fluid new world offers us the chance to practice moving through change frequently. Your quality of life depends on your adapting skills to all this change.

What are other thoughts on this topic? Let me hear yours!

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