Times


Quoting yet again from a book by Stephen King. This time it is from Christine:

“…there are ” times” in human existence. That when it came to be “steam-engine time”, a dozen men invented steam engine. Maybe only one man got the patent, or the credit in the history books, but all at once there they were, all those people working on that one idea. How do you explain it? Just that it’s steam engine time.

Comes the Civil War and all at once it’s ” ironclad time”. Then it’s “machine-gun time”. Next thing you know it’s ” electricity time” and “wireless time” and finally it’s “atom bomb time”. As if those ideas come not from individuals but from some great wave of intelligence that always keeps flowing… Some wave of intelligence that is outside of humanity”.

Interesting concept right? Through the ages we have had these waves of discovery and inventions that have propelled humanity forward (or hurtled downhill).

There was a dotcom wave where everyone wanted a website that will help people do something and then there was a bust wave too. Just like it is for startups now. Everyone wants one. A 100 others want to be part of every startup that comes into existence. Of course the Malthusian theory of population is at work in corporate world too and hence we see more companies going under than stay afloat.

Not just discovery and inventions, it is also true for people, politics and religion.

Political parties stay in power or ousted depending on the wave. It is not so much the anti incumbency factor but the dying of the wave. Look at our own country. BJP rode to power on a new wave. Congress lost because their time had ebbed. Would Obama had won if he could have gone for third term? Probably not. It is time for Trump. Just the way it was time for Obama. Same goes for religion globally. Won’t discuss that. Its for everyone to see. Not to forget what happened in Germany with Hitler.

Look at history. Dynasties came into existence and then died. Why did that happen? It was their time and then it wasn’t.

Our lives too are driven by these “times”. There is never a stable continuous path to our lives. There is no constant upward movement. Or downward movement. It ebbs and flows. However, we all hope that every downward spiral when it ends, settles higher than the previous low. (Just like market shares which always settle a little higher after every sales promotion). Yes we all want that there is no downward spiral. But it is not in our hands. Time drives everything. Just the way it is said in the song by The Byrd’s… “Turn turn turn…”, there is a time for everything.

Look back at your life. Look back at history. Look back at technology. Look around what’s happening. It is time at play. We are being either buffeted by the waves or floating on serene waters. Now if only we understood this concept, will we not be less disappointed, less stressed and less distressed when it is not our time? Will we not make the most of it when it is our time?

The world around us of course doesn’t give us the luxury to think things through. We are at it constantly. We fight even harder when the times are tough (to not fight is to let the world tell us we have failed). But the fact is, we can’t fight time. I am not saying we lay low and do nothing. But it is about not creating points of resistance for time. Because sooner or later, our upward journey will begin again.

Holds true for humans and holds true for corporates. Cut, slash, burn will not help you grow. It will only make things worse. But stick around, ride out the storm, look closely for trends that you as a person or organization can use to start the next wave. We all can’t be Columbus or Einstein. We all can’t be leaders and innovators. But we surely can develop a sense for the trends. Sense for what trend will fit right in with our capabilities. Oh and before we jump on to the next trend, we must ensure that it is not just a quick passing phase that will be over sooner than you utter the word trend. Quick is always disastrous in the longer run. For individuals as well as corporates.

The key is to understand where we are on the time continuum and gear ourselves accordingly. During an impending natural calamity, we do not break down things, we shore up, we strengthen so why do we do otherwise with our lives.

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