What’s the difference between a snowstorm and an earthquake?
Well, with a snowstorm, you typically get notified ahead of time, you can plan things out, you can buy a parka, boots, snow tires for your car, etc. With an earthquake, no one ever knows when those will happen – in fact, the other day, they told us that we will probably have a devastating one at SOME TIME in the next 50 years! (Could they be any vaguer?) So how do you deal with these two things? You plan for one, and you bounce back from the other.
It’s Resilience Vs. Anticipation, and it’s an analogy for the differences between the West (where we have kes) and the East (where they get weather)
- The East anticipates: they know that they will have snow in the winter and heat in the summer, and they plan things out – they anticipate, and careful planning is prized.
- The West never knows when they will have the next devastating earthquake, so planning is worthless. What’s prized is resilience – bouncing back from adversity.
- So, in a nutshell, this is why the West is better – when it prizes resilience over anticipation – it makes an implicit choice to embrace change, not fear it.
We are in an era of great change. The last 100-plus years have seen more change in the technology and the culture of the world than the world has seen in the previous 1000. How can you possibly plan or anticipate anything when you can be disrupted in a matter of hours, days, or months by an upstart startup who can eat your lunch?
Ten years ago, no one had a smartphone with the capabilities ours do in their pocket. Now we are cyborgs, lost without our always-on connections. In ten years’ time, who’s to say that we haven’t started to evolve into a new species of human, or spend a lot of our time in virtual reality, only to step out to eat and use the bathroom? With one of these, you won’t even need to drop off the net to exercise.
How do you survive? The same way companies in Silicon Valley have always survived: build your resilience. Not only does it help you to surf the waves of change that are coming at us, but it also helps you innovate. Build your company to embrace change and be stronger for it. Then you can survive any earthquake.