This post is the sixteenth part of a ramble-rant about the software business. The current posts in this series are:
This post is about change.
Your Cheese Has Moved
You may not realize it, but something has changed. It happened while you were sleeping last night, or the night before. It's going to impact your life in the next decade in a way you cannot now specify - or maybe even comprehend. What exactly happened? I'm not sure, but I know it happened. How do I know? Because...
Change Happens All The Time
The world continues to flatten. Ideas emerge. Human interaction evolves. Computer-assisted communication improves. Social Intelligence blooms. Waves form.
Does this scare you? Or does it excite you?
Crap Happens All The Time
Some of the changes manifest as failure. It's easy to sing along with the chorus that "we learn from our mistakes" when we're not doing much learning, or the learning isn't risking NMM (Next Month's Mortgage). What happens when you risk and
Does the tune change? For some. Many are in Crap-Avoidance-Mode (CAM). There's a simple test for CAM, a little thing I like to call a "problem." When a problem arises, people in CAM get upset. Why? They did not expect a problem to get through their safety net of Crap-Avoidance. People in CAM tend to create metaproblems like Drama and Terror. Whether they react or respond, they start from a false premise: "This wasn't supposed to happen."
A few live in Crap-Management-Mode (CMM). Folks in this category actually expect crap to happen and aren't taken by surprise when it does. Quite the opposite: When crap isn't happening, they're enjoying the temporary vacation from crap, knowing it will return after a respite.
This is Not About Optimists and Pessimists
This is about realistic expectations. The happiest people I know operate in Crap-Management-Mode; the saddest, in Crap-Avoidance-Mode. I am battling the universe if I believe crap won't happen to me. I didn't write the Second Law of Thermodynamics, but it durn sure applies to me. Entropy isn't just a good idea, it's the law.
This is About the Future
Things are going to change. Some idea formed while you were sleeping is going to change your life. As the cost of implementing ideas drops to zero, this is going to happen more and more. Things are not only going to change, the speed and effect of the change is going to change. Is this metachange? Maybe. I'll have to sleep on it (while someone is changing my future).
You will react / respond to this change. You will make a choice. Your choice may be to simply ignore the change. In the words of Neil Peart (sung by Geddy Lee): "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice." What will your choice be? What's the right choice for you? Those are questions only you can answer.
My lovely bride Christy (Blog - @ChristyLeonard) has a wonderful take on experience and judgment: "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment." My personal philosophy on change has been shaped by my experiences, that's for sure. I'm in CMM almost all of the time. I expect crap to happen, and accept it's my job to deal with it when it does.
Paraphrasing an interesting quote I read years ago: "Surfers ride the waves" (from near the beginning of Rick Warren's book The Purpose-Driven Church). Surfers understand they do not make the waves. Waves come and go. They're as natural as anything. Waves are a wonderful metaphor for change.
A wave started last night while you were sleeping. You can complain about all these blasted waves. Or you can learn to surf.
Surf's up! Ride!