A few weeks ago, I found myself in a situation that in the past might have been very disturbing to me. For one reason or another, my schedule did not allow a long run I was planning that weekend and the only time I had to begin was nearing dark, due to the time change and the time of year. As I made my way up a fairly deserted highway in the dark, from time to time I came face to face with what near silence in the wine country means. There was extra darkness due to overcast, and stillness with almost no breeze at all. Then it occurred to me that inactivity is sometimes the most unnerving to us.
I got to thinking about this out there in the darkness and a few examples sprung to mind. I thought about how if a person in a live broadcast simply froze in front of a camera, it would make everyone watching veryuncomfortable, in spite of the fact that there was no real problem, other than a few awkward moments of dead air. Likewise, things like an empty house (assuming a house like ours where there is rarely silence), the rare occasion of an empty store, or empty streets on a holiday have the ability to make us feel weird, even though these temporary occasions are really nothing out of the ordinary.
Then I thought of a takeaway. While we are busy fearing things that are likely to pose no threat at all, sometimes we don’t fear things that we ought, specifically, inactivity of sorts. What I mean is that the very nature of this life, the life cycle of business and organizations of all types is the inevitibility of change. I wonder if decades of relative stability thanks to the golden age of the American middle class as well as the industrial era actually made us less adaptive to change, generally speaking as a culture. Whether this is true or not might be an interesting question, but it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that if we, our skill sets, perspectives, adaptability and anything else about us that relates to change is suspended in inactivity while the world around us races forward, we ought to be alarmed.