The continually changing nature of all things is central to Buddhist traditions. Everything will change.
Great civilisations rise and fall. Great leaders eventually lose power. Even the philosophies and ideologies that people live their lives by change over time. So, the one thing that is certain in life is that nothing’s certain.
Forget everything you were taught
Consider these contentions: the sun goes round the earth, the existence of mermaids, Saturn having only three rings. Antiquated ways of thinking? The last one I was taught at school.
This isn’t only true about scientific breakthroughs.
During the mid-1990s, when I was a struggling print artworker who spent his days typesetting company reports using Quark 3 on MacOS System 7 (afraid so), I remember buying a copy of Wired. The magazine cover showed the Apple logo and the headline read “Pray.” The article recognised the potential that Macs had but bemoaned the company’s products and lack of direction. Look at Apple now.
But that’s not the whole story. I’ll never forget the last line of the article, it said “Never mind Microsoft, the real competitor is Netscape”!
Remember Google’s position in internet advertising a few years ago? It seemed unassailable. Now look at Facebook!
Or, at least, treat with suspicion everything you are told
This is something that helps me run my own business from home.
It should also help any of the many people who were told they weren’t good enough to succeed. There must be literally millions of people who were told or led to believe that they weren’t ever going to add up to much. I know I was told that. I think I must have believed it at one point.
Let’s try to think of what might be the next big sea change. We should be there. A web phenomenon to eclipse Facebook? The next big thing in mobile? Will there be a WordPress killer?
I hope there isn’t a WordPress killer. It would have to be quite something! But I know I shouldn’t get too attached to WordPress even though it’s been the most important tool for my business.
Another lesson we can learn from the “everything changes” rule is to outsource. One of the faults entrepreneurs or independent business people have is their desire to do everything. We love our business, we love what we do but we spend so long each day with our heads down doing the weeding, so to speak, that we don’t realise we’re in the wrong garden!
As Michael Gerber says in The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It we need to work at our business rather than in it.
Sometimes the entrepreneurial skill of being able to delegate and know enough about systems and processes to be able to outsource them correctly is ten times more important than actually having those skills yourself.
I appreciate that some people may find this ethically difficult. I am in the process of employing people full time and always treat VAs and outsourcing assistants really well, paying over the odds most of the time.
Looking to the future
One of the best things about working for yourself / freelancing / being an entrepreneur is that everyday is different and when you wake up in the morning you never really know what the day will bring.
Let’s keep on challenging ourselves each day to have a look at the bigger picture. See if we’ve got caught in an out-dated practice that could cause us problems in the future.
The last century witnessed incredible political, economic, and technological transformation. During that time, the human population went from about 1.5 billion to over 6 billion. We can look forward to phenomenal breakthroughs in the fields of biotech, computing power, health, nanotech, architecture, etc., whilst experiencing cultural changes of more people living in cities, more people working from home, huge geopolitical power shifts, not to mention climate change.
Either you defend the status quo or you create the future – Seth Godin. Defending the status quo is not an option.
What about you?
Do you run your own business or are you thinking of doing so? What potential changes do you think will impact your business? What you are doing to future-proof yourself?
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