“The settling of the country, the machine age, the coming of the automobile, telephone, movies, radio, the advances in fine arts and all the sciences, demanded that our capacity to accept and use new ideas be developed to a point never before seen on the pages of history”.
Those words were written in 1930 by advertising pioneer, Albert Lasker, describing they changes he’d seen in his world and how it affected his profession. If you’re in the advertising business, his life story, “The Man Who Sold America” is a great read about a true innovator who built himself up from nothing and revolutionized marketing.
The quote is ironic given the rate of change since Mr. Lasker’s time but resonates just as strongly today. We can only imagine what he and his contemporaries were thinking as the world changed around them – but I’m sure it’s no different than our own experience. Now more than ever one must be constantly open to change as technology advances, norms shift and expectations only increase.
Fortunately, The Buddha was well aware of this 2,500 years ago. He put forth the idea of impermanence – that nothing ever lasts. His message was to not cling too tightly to anything in order to eliminate suffering. At its core, this makes sense – nothing lasts forever (even cold November Rain…sorry, couldn’t resist)!. Impermanence also applies to the things you think about yourself and the things you desire. That promotion, a new car, new jacket or the latest smartphone will not make you happy since they won’t last.
I try everyday to accept things just as they are – knowing that things will change. In some ways it’s easy – I’m in a business that requires constant adaption and innovation. However, like anyone there are things I want to cling to.
Adopting this mindset – of accepting impermanence – can help you focus on what’s important – your biggest client won’t always be there, your company’s product offering will pivot, your boss or favorite colleague will leave.
How we handle change is what’s most important. And, it starts be recognizing the reality that things will always change.