One of my most important rules in life is be flexible and deal with a world that never stops changing.
My oldest daughter Rebecca was born in 1989, and now she’s preparing for a semester abroad in Bonn, Germany. When we first discussed the places she was considering going, she asked me, “Where is Bonn? What is it?”
That question was so significant to me because Bonn was a city that was front and center in my life as a young person. As the capital of West Germany during the Iron Curtain days, Bonn was in the news every single day.
But Becca was born during the year that the Berlin Wall came down. It was then that the capital of united Germany reverted to its historical seat in Berlin. So she had no idea about the recent history and significance of Bonn.
It just goes to show you that life never stops changing. I think about another conversation she and I had where she was teaching me college vocabulary. It was like I needed a coed-to-English translation dictionary to wrap my head around the lingo! (As Becca says, I’ve just got to stay “frosty,” which apparently means to be aware and keep on your toes!)
When life deals you curveballs, some people keep looking in the past. Yet others just adapt and deal with the present and what the future will become.
Over a working lifetime, the typical person has perhaps more than a dozen different jobs, and may have as many as 5 or 6 completely different careers.
Circumstances change. Technologies change. Even world maps change. If you were born after 1980 or 1985, you probably have no sense of the historic changes that took place in Europe between 1989 and 1991, unless you’re reading about them in a history book.
Look at the change in your own life, year by year. It’s probably really stark if you look back 10 years or if you try to look ahead 10 years.
My message is this: Never stay stuck in the mud. Always look for opportunities that beckon that you may not realize are there. As humans, so often we regret what’s no longer here and we don’t make the effort to appreciate what is in front of us.
Think about your future. So much of it is controlled by you. Sure, the world never stops changing. But the changes you can incorporate in your own life are the ones that make the difference between you being a continuous success or being someone who’s stuck looking in the rearview mirror.