No one can predict what another day will bring – Commercial appeal

In just the past few months, we have seen the greatest upset, the greatest comeback, and the greatest flub in modern history on the grandest of stages of politics, sports and entertainment.

You know what I am talking about: Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat in the presidential election, the New England Patriots’ comeback victory in the Super Bowl, and the Best Picture envelope swap at the Oscars.

Now, as I have lived for over half a century, as my career has reached a plateau, as my children have all but moved out and as I have frequent thoughts of my upcoming retirement, I wake up each morning wondering if the offerings of the day will be unique or the “same old.”

Over the past few decades, with technology, the Internet and information moving at warp speed, I have learned to live by the adage ‘Change is the new constant.’ In our work environment we have had to accept and embrace change even though it is the source of the greatest stress: a change in job, change in home, change in relationship. Nearly all of us have gone through getting hired or fired, moving or resettling, and marriage or divorce — all are changes.

Now, ‘change is the new constant’ has become a cliché. What these past months have taught me is a new maxim to live by: ‘Unpredictability is the new certainty.’

Humans seek certainty and predictability. After the basic needs of food and shelter are met, our brain seeks certainty. When we look at brain imaging studies during decision making, we find that ambiguity lights up the amygdala, the fear center, and dims the striatal system, the reward center.

To better understand change and unpredictability, let’s take the analogy of driving a car. We feel safe and comfortable when we are parked in our garage. But as soon as we start to drive, we face change. We speed up or take a left or a right or a U-turn. We are helped through these changes by having a map or a GPS to guide us.

These changes have become the new normal. But, as predicted, even this kind of change doesn’t last. Now the new normal is unpredictability. Unpredictability is having a GPS signal which functions intermittently, or having an approaching car veer into our lane, or the lane abruptly ending due to a construction crew. These are the unpredictabilities we must contend with.

Surviving in the unpredictable world will require a level of bracing and getting used to. We must learn to accept and to prepare for the unpredictability that each morning may bring. Such are the certainties of life in our world.

Source : Commercial appeal 

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