Thriving in a World in Flux

In my previous post “A World in Flux” I indicated that the world and by extension Trinidad and Tobago are experiencing continuous change and there is need for all of us to develop mechanisms, not only to adapt, but to thrive in such an environment. The following are strategies which I believe can take us a long way toward achieving that goal.

1. Don’t be married to past success
One of the great ironies of life is that past successes sometimes lead to future failures for businesses and individuals. This is because people may become so committed to doing what worked in the past, they fail to appreciate when new methods, policies and mindsets are needed. How often have you heard someone say something like “This is the way we have done it for many years, so there is no need to change that now”? To achieve success in today’s world requires the flexibility to try new things and the ability to recognise even the subtle differences in each challenge. By all means, celebrate your successes; use them as a guide where necessary; just don’t cling blindly to the processes that brought them.

2. Be a lifelong student
Now, more than ever, it is important to be willing to acquire new skills and new ways of thinking. Technology is evolving at a quite rapid pace, the regulatory environment is constantly being adjusted and consumer tastes and behaviours are being transformed. Let’s face it, in today’s world, if you are not learning new things, you a falling behind. The good news is you do not necessarily have to enroll in a university or commit to long-term study. Simple acts such as monitoring current events and exploring the capabilities of gadgets such as phones and tablets can prove quite valuable. Your continued relevance and success require that you pick up the skills needed for today’s and tomorrow’s world and update them when needed. Keep abreast of the latest developments in the field of your endeavour/interest and do refresher training and exercises periodically.

3. Learn to read the signs
With the world in flux, the ability to interpret events and to appropriately evaluate the possible implications for you, your family, business, career and country is an invaluable tool. The current environment requires that we think and act more strategically; and being able to interpret international and local developments will greatly aid the process. Sadly, many people go through life missing the signs altogether, insensitive to key global and domestic developments, only to be shocked when the negative spillover effects turn up at their doorstep or when opportunities pass them by. Don’t let that be your reality. Admittedly, no one person can correctly interpret all developments, so it’s important to seek advice and guidance from appropriate sources when necessary. We must constantly ask ourselves the following questions:
- Does this development have the potential to affect my country, industry, business, family, career etc.?
- If so, how?
- How soon?
- What can I do?

4. Be proactive
A significant benefit of the ability to interpret and evaluate events is that it affords individuals and businesses the opportunity to take pre-emptive action to mitigate risks or to maximize gains. Given the high paced nature of society, a reactive approach is inimical to sustainable financial, physical and emotional health. We need to process information as effectively and as quickly as possible, try to predict alternate outcomes and prepare for those outcomes. Undoubtedly, there will be times when our predictions turn out to be wrong, but there will also be times when they are correct. Over the long-term, being proactive will save time, money, stress and even lives.

5. Manage your network
Despite our accomplishments and no matter how brilliant we are, it’s important to remember that no man is an island, so take time to appreciate the people around you. In these uncertain times, it is important that we effectively manage all our relationships to facilitate our growth as individuals and professionals and to enable us to contribute to the development of others. Besides, networking is good for the economy. Through networking businesses can find new customers, suppliers, employees and investors. This is why businesses and professionals actively seek to expand their network. Even if you are not in business, expanding your network can help you navigate this world of change. Who knows, you may find someone who can read signs you cannot.

6. Be content
It’s good to be ambitious, but it’s also good to be appreciative of what you have and what you have already accomplished. Being content is not to be confused with settling for less. Rather, it is being at peace with yourself and where you are at the moment. Ambition and drive are the forces that will motivate to achieve, but contentment is the quality that will keep you in harmony with yourself and others.

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