A book I recently read, Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman, helped make sense of the crazy world we live in. I’ve been feeling like things are moving ever faster and finding it overwhelming at times to deal with the hectic nature of life. This book helped me understand why I am feeling this way and had some good ideas on how to deal with the world we live in.

We are living in an age of accelerations due to exponential growth in the rate of change in technology, the environment and the market. The graph above from the book illustrates how the rate of change in technology has now surpassed humans’ ability to adapt. Many people are feeling overwhelmed and left behind. Mr. Friedman believes this feeling is one of the reasons we are seeing political disruption in places like the US and UK, as well as the Middle East.

The key to managing and thriving in this ever-faster era is the ability to adapt and be flexible. As individuals, here are a few things we can do to thrive in this era:

  1. Become lifelong learners. Gone are the days of pursuing one linear trajectory of school, then career, then retirement. Jobs and entire industries are becoming obsolete at a faster pace, so we must manage our human capital continuously and always be trying to learn new things. Fortunately, there are ever more providers of targeted online learning in timely topics.
  2. Make time to slow down. Research shows that meditating and mindful practices actually enhance our ability to focus and be productive in hectic times. Whether building a daily meditation habit or fully unplugging on vacation, it’s important to slow down and unwind.

The book is fascinating and I highly recommend it if you would like to understand the forces driving the world today and how you can continue to thrive and help your children succeed. As always, I welcome your questions and comments.