Some of the most fantastical advancements in modern science and technology are designed to predict weather patterns. Seeing a hurricane gather in plan view on Doppler radar as it creeps towards an indefensible megalopolis or nameless burg is as menacing as any Godzilla versus Rodan smack down. While we may forecast where the wind blows we cannot forestall it. No matter the domain or occupation from farmer to flight attendant the weather largely affects if not determines what we will do where and when. We cannot hope to tame or transcend the weather in our life but we can endeavor to track it.
We manage and consume our days in efficient patterns – the best route to work during rush hour, meetings in the morning and emails in the afternoon, the best days to travel to New York and such. Though we scurry like gerbils through these carefully arranged tunnels we cannot see them well because they have become transparent within our environs. Larger and perhaps paradoxical patterns are even harder to spot for we have scant opportunity to look up from staggering series of tasks. The business falters, the marriage suffers and the teen is troubled to the astonishment of all. No one saw it coming because no one wanted to look. The older and more accomplished we get the more leveraged our lives become and the less likely we are to acknowledge or embrace the outliers that penetrate the limits of our implicit order.
To track the weather in our life we must look for dynamics and find the patterns that have some real barring on our actions. The aim here is to rise above our everyday view and limitations to harness these transformational forces; not to resist them.
First, consider what is moving at the level of General wholeness: Markets, politics, music, technology, environment, etc. Here we spot opportunities and barriers we cannot control but can incorporate into our plans. Focus only on those forces that have some real impact on our life and have a high probability of occurring. For example, as Asian nations prosper in the new economy millions more of their best and brightest will attend the top universities in Europe and North America making admission much more competitive than in previous generations. This could significantly alter college and financial planning. Look for the key patterns from all four forces (Collaborate, Create, Compete and Control) that have strong potential to be highly influential and likely to significantly affect our life plan. Consider both positive and negative influences.
Next repeat the process for the level of Communal wholeness: Our family, social affiliations such as church, school, sports clubs, political parties, and social media networks. Finally, examine the level of Personal wholeness: Our Self, identity, persona, skills, beliefs and values. Question what influence these patterns have on our own plans:
- What’s moving? Why?
- What impact will it have on our plans?
- What is the probability of this happening?
- How can we capitalize on this movement? Avoid it?
Now consider these three levels together and look for larger patterns. Focus only on those few forces that may be directing us into a decision. Don’t fight these patterns but rather use them to an advantage. These drivers need to be tracked and taken into consideration when making life plans because they will most certainly influence them.
Like the weatherman, we are often specifically wrong with our forecasts but generally right when tracking the change of seasons in our life. It’s a messy business to interpret what is moving and what isn’t. Gauging the speed, magnitude and probability are all essential elements in predicting the impact on us. Understanding how these forces shape our life is iterative process that must be regularly revisited not only because the patterns change but more that we come to recognize new patterns.
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