We Don't Have Time to be Surprised by the Future
When you reach a certain age the reoccurring question is ‘How do I want to live?’
One fundamental hack for living well seems to be limiting surprise to almost 0. Don’t allow yourself to be surprised by anything. Expect it as if it were an old friend stopping by for tea. Welcome it in with open arms, as if you’ve anticipated it’s arrival all along.
Someone has the audacity to do a burnout on our Pride painted cross-walk? ‘How could these people think that there is a place for hate in our city?’
An entire group of people, because of nature or nurture, or both, is anti-immigration? ‘It’s 2019 and this is backward, stupid thinking'.’
You’ve lost the plot. You’ve allowed yourself to be surprised and you’ve forfeited the opportunity to make sense to each other. You’ve lost potential allies and they’re never coming back. The gap will continue to widen until there is not a strand of fabric left in tact and there is blood in the street.
Be surprised by nothing and, in particular, never be surprised by the future. We don’t have time. In a region that’s changing as fast as ours there are going to be growing pains. How we navigate those growing pains will depend on how strong the blueprint is. How strong the blueprint is will rely on laying the foundation publicly. Having uncomfortable conversations publicly will require us to have the ability to make sense to each other.
We went through a period of complacency because for 3 generations everything has been ‘okay.’ We’ve lost a sense of urgency because we fancy that we live well and don’t fix what isn’t broken. We speak about our quality of life as if it’s unique to the world. If we believe this we haven’t used our passports enough.
For some nations history took an eternity but the future came in an instant. This is both a blessing and a curse. History can bring baggage. Heritage bylaws that stunt development and growth, for example. It’s important to preserve heritage but in what direction are we living? If what we cherish most is brick buildings then we have to come to terms with the fact that we’re living in reverse.
We’re welcoming folks from every continent into our city and each represent a country that is looking squarely to the future. Some of the best tech talent in the world is coming out of Bangalore, India. Some of the most savvy business people on the planet are travelling to The Port City from Shanghai, China. The youth and ambition of our brothers & sisters from Nigeria is becoming clear; a country that will soon have the 3rd highest population on the planet.
None of these countries or their people are surprised by the future.
They are growing, pivoting and scaling as the future demands.
Preserve history and heritage but make room for the new. Maintain our brick buildings we love so much but incorporate sleek solar power and modern loft decor for young urban families.
If we allow ourselves to be surprised by modernity our industry, governments and public sector will always be playing catch-up. We will arrive on the world stage out of breath and with a cluttered mind.
We don’t have time to be surprised by the future.
I believe in us.
Here’s to you all doing the work.