The fall of GM, once the largest car maker in the world, has created mixed feelings throughout our nation. On the one hand, many feel that for decades, company leaders rested on their laurels and largely ignored the threats from Japan and Korea. In other words, the company got what it richely deserved. On the other hand, many are deeply saddened to see this icon of American manufacturing reduced to beggar status, pleading for handouts from the government and givebacks from its unions and shareholders. There is ample room for both viewpoints and there is a lesson here for all of us.
Change has always been with us. However, as time marches on, the pace of change has dramatically increased. Our knowledge base has expanded exponentially. The grow of medical, information, and military technology has transformed our world in a matter of decades, mere seconds in the time frame of man’s history.
The pace of change coupled with the growth of knowledge and applied technology has affected us in diverse and interesting ways. Some simply take such developments for granted and ignore their larger implications. Others withdraw into the apparent safety of their old, established routines. We are whistling in the dark.
If there is one thing this recession should have taught us, it’s the fact that the world is changing and evolving in ways our political, economic and scientific advisors could not have envisioned a decade ago. We cannot rest on our laurels, relying on stability and security in our personal, spiritual and career lives. We must prepare ourselves to adapt to change with the ambiguity and anxiety inherent in such change. We must learn to ride the waves of change if we are to survive, let alone prosper.