I was in Shanghai to participate in a meeting on the future of manufacturing. It had been ten years since I was last there. How the city had transformed in that decade, not only in what was there but how people were interacting and businesses were operating (ex: paying for everything from taxi rides to meals through WeChat) really spoke to the level of disruption that was happening in manufacturing and would continue to happen.
Something I learned early on when working with companies on innovation, and it’s a lesson that applies equally when we’re working on recovery from mental illness, is that the brain has a tendency to think that the way things are is how they’ll continue to be. Even when we do conceptualize change, it’s within the bounds of what we can personally imagine and what we’ve personally experienced. Reality, however, for better and worse, transforms outside the bounds of our experience.
We can learn how to build better mental health than we’ve ever experienced by doing things inside and outside of our heads that we’ve never done. In our businesses, we can create innovative products and services that transform how and what we do by letting our values and our customers guide us beyond anything we could imagine.
Challenges arise for our businesses or personally, when we try to apply our old habits to our new realities. We experience distress when those old habits fail to scale. Typically, in business and with mental health, we take a reactive approach, waiting for the pain of failing to scale before we begin to look at changing those old habits.
My suggestion to you, individually, and for whatever you do professionally, is to get proactive with innovation and change. We can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen, but we can have systems in place for understanding our context, seeing what’s important, and adjusting our compass directions so we can navigate this ever changing (and hyper-rapidly transforming) wilderness.