Keeping up? Congratulations. You’re already obsolete.

So you’re keeping up with the pace of change, eh? Feeling pretty good about yourself, right? Something new comes along and you’re able to react and get up to speed pretty quickly.

Congratulations. You’re already obsolete.

I know … that’s pretty harsh, and I apologize. After all, most of us are so busy that we don’t have time to do anything except keep up. And that’s a best-case scenario.

But my point remains: If all we’re doing is keeping up, that means we’re always behind, always playing catch-up. And who wants to spend their life doing that?

Wouldn’t it be heaven to be ahead of the curve for a change?

“While leaders worry about the impact of disruptive ideas on their business or industry, what they should really be worrying about is whether their own ideas are disruptive enough,” futurist Mike Walsh writes in The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines Are Smarter Than You. “If you are simply automating your existing processes, adding a chatbot to your website, or updating your mobile app, then in all probability you are not thinking big enough about your future opportunities. Too often, digital transformation is just digital incrementalism.”

That’s the point about anticipation — done right, it can help us see what’s next before it even gets here. It makes reacting obsolete.

The future belongs to those who can anticipate it. Reacting is a laggard’s game.


William D. Sheridan