Accept Change

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It should be no question that any status quo will be challenged sooner or later. Take any system and tell me if they stay static. Look at nature and you will see it is striving with life. Look closely into the biology and you will see these little cells and proteins combining and buzzing around. Or look further at the movement of the planets and the stars and you will see how they dance in the sky. You will see that nothing is really static, every system is changing, growing. It is sometimes perceptible, but we often can’t see it or feel it. If a system becomes and stays static, it will eventually die.

The reason is that the universe is partly ruled by the second law of thermodynamics called Entropy. Entropy is kind of the arrow of time, it can be either going forward, meaning increasing the entropy, or it can go backwards, meaning a decrease in entropy. And our universe seems to follow this rule of increasing entropy, which implies an increasing decline into disorder and chaos. Change is inevitable precisely because we don’t want to die. Staticness means the death of a system, so for it to keep living on it has to change, transform and adapt to the face of increased disorder and chaos. The bad news is that we can’t really reverse the arrow of time. But, the good news is that we can reduce the level of entropy by accepting change and constantly finding new ways to deal with it.

Another interesting point about change is that we tend to not perceive it, or when we do it’s often happening late in the change, a bit like vegetation slowly growing. You realise suddenly after months that you should probably do a bit of gardening before it compounds into bigger problems like this tree menacing your home, or these roots that will end-up damaging your house at some point. But this appreciation doesn’t become palpable until a certain threshold. If we want to have a better appreciation of the movement of change, we have to change lenses first. Slow-Motion enables us to see how light moves through a bottle and bounce around in a room, greatly expanding our understanding of light diffusion (I’ll remind you that the speed of light is literally imperceptible to our biology). Time-Lapse does the opposite with time, giving us the ability to see how plants can be very much as alive as animals, they just are so slow that our brain cannot process it as well as something that moves faster. The microscope is giving us insights into the small, and the telescope is enabling us to see what is out there far in space. 

Even if change isn’t immediately perceptible, we can still say by heuristics that change will inevitably occur and that it is usually challenging the very things that you are trying to maintain. The only unknown in the equation is “when”, “when will change happen” (and of course “how long” since change can be a fast disruption (like a cosmic impact) or a diffused one (like innovation). Maybe we would be in a better position if we could get ready for such change to occur?

Change will inevitably happen. It is hard to see the change happening and it is hard to predict because the world we are living in is utterly unpredictable. As we are increasing our understanding of this world, so is the complexity of new problems that emerge as a consequence of discovering new territories (as the circle of my knowledge expands, the perimeter of my ignorance lengthens). We can believe we know what will happen, but it is at best an educated guess formed from a collection of information and heuristics. Humans are all flawed with fallacious thinking powered by our cognitive biases, and no one is exempted. The wisest thing one could do when trying to see the future is to be aware that you don’t know what you can’t see, touch, understand. We need to stop going too much into the details of how an idea will work in the future, and move conceptually higher to look at it holistically. There are things that are inevitable, like the internet of some form would have eventually come to existence, but no one could have predicted its exact shape. Who could have predicted which code will be of use on the web in the 60’s (if using a code at all)? Who could have predicted Twitter, Youtube. Google or any other specific application will be borned as the result of the internet existing?

What’s more, is that I often hear about change or transformation as a one-off project to deliver. I can hear things like “we want long lasting change” or “sustainable change”, and it bothers me. Change is something that happens all the time, not something that happens only one time and “ta-da” we have a perfect world! Unfortunately it’s often what’s happening in most companies, organisations and even in governments. Rather than looking at change as simply the transition between two static stages, we should see change as waves in the sea, relentless tidal forces and streams that will steer your boat away from reaching its destination (that’s why good captains regularly check their positions to make sure they are still on cap). 

As we explored at first, static systems die. So, the ones that are alive are dynamic by default. Everything is moving, reorganising itself in an attempt to order the world as it becomes more chaotic, constantly. For example, most of your body’s cells will be replaced in a few months, and your whole body will be renewed roughly every seven years. Earth is 4.5 billion years old and had so many transformations before it is what we know of it today, and it will still have other changes to go through in the next billions years until it is consumed by our Sun. Our Sun, which was 5 billions years ago way smaller and less hotter than it is today, and in the next 5 billions years it will continue to grow until enveloping all the inner planets in our solar system as it becomes a red giant, and after using all its hydrogen it will go on another transformation becoming a white dwarf slowly dimming out. Even if, to our modest time scale, it feels as all this remains as it is, the truth is that nothing really stays the same.


  • Change is inevitable, keep moving fiercely!
  • Change is hard to perceive, keep looking clearly!
  • Change is unpredictable, keep guessing humbly!
  • Change is ever-happening, keep pivoting adaptively!