Reality Check: Adapting for the Future

If you gained two pounds last weekend, will you weigh a hundred pounds more in a year? Look ahead twenty years. At that rate, you’ve expanded by 2000 pounds! That wouldn’t be a ton of fun, would it?
We know it’s absurd to project into the future that way. A change over a short time won’t necessarily continue at the same rate. While it’s possible that you could gain the hundred pounds, it’s also possible that something completely different will happen—a smaller gain, no change, or even a loss.
One reason for events to change course is our ability to adapt. For the weight gain, we have choices in how we respond. If the increase was not what we wanted, we might change our behaviour. Supersize portions and desserts go by the wayside for a while.
We adapt to changes throughout our lives, even though we may not particularly like it. For example, we’re familiar with adapting to the coming winter. We might complain about it but we adapt, don’t we?
It’s helpful to remember that we, and others, have that very important ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Why?
Whether we’re talking long-term or short-term, the future will likely involve change. My perception is that much news of upcoming change has a breathless, crisis feeling to it. Things are going to be bad.
In response, I deliberately choose to seek out good news. I look for positive changes, innovation and progress. The good news is there’s always some to be found.
For example, you may have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a huge pile of floating plastic debris. A recent article tells of a clean-up device developed to scoop up that debris; it’s been tested with promising results. Even if this device is not the ultimate solution, it’s a step in a positive direction.
This is one example of adaptation. A problem was detected—the garbage patch. An enterprising thinker works on a solution.
You may not care a whit about garbage in the Pacific. However, there probably are issues that you do care about and where you don’t see any solutions. The future may look bleak to you in that regard.
Are there consequences to seeing a bleak future? I think so, especially if it’s accompanied by the belief that others don’t see or don’t care. Some will respond by resenting, blaming, and criticizing others. Those responses don’t work very well in personal relationships and aren’t great for society either.
It’s easy to forget that people have overcome huge challenges in the past and will do so in future. I’m not suggesting that every challenge will be overcome. But when we know that people with expertise are actively and effectively working toward solutions, then it’s a little easier to feel benevolent and positive toward each other. That makes for better lives for everyone than when anger, fear and blame are prevalent.
There’s plenty to be angry and fearful about. But that’s not the whole story. Humans adapt. We do it for the extra two pounds; we can do it for other issues.
Do you think my pursuit of good news is just a feel-good activity? Or is it, in fact, a truer reflection of reality than passively accepting bad, fearful news as presented?

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