I’ve decided to make a few predictions for the coming year.
I really hope you’re sitting down.
I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN 2018.
And neither do you! Based on trends and probability, it’s safe to say:
- There will be unrest in the world
- The value of goods and services will change
- Someone named Linda or Karen is going to cry during happy hour at an Applebee’s or TGI Fridays in North America… again
- Your co-worker will gain some weight
- An individual with less talent than you is going to get rich
- Surprise, surprise: the coach’s son is in the starting lineup
- Technology will continue to be a thing
As the pretentious and brilliant financier-turned-philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, the only guarantee in life is unpredictable change.
And Karen sobbing into her daiquiri. In public. Again.
Ergo, we can account for unpredictable change by building resilient, robust, and flexible systems that can survive change. Optimizing systems leaves no room for slack. Just imagine planning your afternoon: after spending an hour at the gym with your trainer, you have to drive 15 minutes to pick up someone’s kid from school at 3:30 on the dot, lest you get fined $1,000. Would you leave the gym at 3:15?
If it was 3:40pm, you were 12 minutes away from this kid’s house, and you had to drop him/her off at 4pm sharp, would you start looking for the nearest Starbucks? And if you were even 1 minute late, this kid wouldn’t get to work on time? And this kid’s job is to provide energy for all of North America? And your GPS was always wrong?
Nope. Nope. Nope. This is a fragile system that’s waiting to fail.
Leave room for slack. Get a few backups. Diversify. Build flexibility into your daily life.