Rapid Change: Punctuated Equilibruim

Rapid Change
Rapid Change can Bowl Away a lot of Sameness!

Part 2 of 4 part series on change (Part One Here)
Change is inevitable, usually it’s slow/gradual, but it can be very fast at times.

Fast Change can Rock Your World!

In Part One we talked about how you are evolving, you are changing, whether you realize it or not. I’d suggest you go read it if you haven’t.

“You” is not a stagnant concept. The “you” of a few years ago and the “you” of today are probably rather different, and the “you” of the future may be nearly unrecognizable in many ways than the “you” of now.

“You” is a very fluid concept.

We tend to think of change as gradual, and it usually is. IT ALWAYS IS FOR MOST BORING PEOPLE.

If you see someone every week or two, after 10 years you haven’t noticed the gradual changes which may have accumulated to be significant, whereas if you hadn’t seen them in 10 years you would notice immediately. Then again, just because they are noticeable doesn’t mean they are significant.

Most people change gradually. Most people never even conceive the changes necessary to be a Rock Star (although they may play “air guitar”).

Slow gradual changes are important, but change can be very rapid at times. I’ve seen it many times.

A hit record, a new relationship, a new job, a meteorite killing dinosaurs: all examples of rapid change.

So let’s say your wife throws you out of the house, you take up heavy drinking, start dating your kids babysitter, and get a new job or contract – four very positive things (potentially). That my friend is rapid change!

Punctuated Equilibrium

Punctuated Equilibrium” explains this quite well, a term coined by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

Punctuated Equilibrium is an evolutionary theory from that states that usually change is slow to non-existent, a state called stasis. When significant change (rarely) occurs, it tends to be rapid.

Most humans live in stasis.

They watch football, lots of TV, drink Bud Lite, and gain a little weight every year. They have a comfort zone and rarely stray from it. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with being a sheep in the herd (Sheeple) as opposed to a Goat (Goats rock: they have personality, natural curiosity, intelligence, and they taste damn good too).

Rock Stars experience rapid change regularly, whether they are reinventing themselves or reacting to entirely external events.

On the rare occasions when rapid change can occur, you need to be ready for it. Especially if it is very rapid!

How? Read On (coming soon).

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    • Frank Smith
    • October 26, 2014

    Stasis is an interesting concept.

    I left a cushy corporate job about 5 years ago for a more exciting one at a smaller company. I went last month to have lunch with the old crew – most of them are still there, and apparently NOTHING has changed much at all.

    They are still complaining about the same work topics, still lots of gossip, and people are pretty much doing the same things and living the same lives. Yes, they have new versions of software but that’s about it.

    My life has changed a lot, not a straight line of positive, but continual growth and leaving was such a GREAT choice!

    • Ruth
    • January 20, 2015

    I’ve always loved that quote, “You is a very fluid concept” – it truly is.

    • Butch
    • September 10, 2015

    Stasis – that has been my life for years. Comfortable job, great girlfriend, but no change of any significance.
    Lately, it’s been rapid change – and mostly for the better. I can relate very much to this article!

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