Life, technology, and business are moving ever faster! $1.6 trillion was one projection for 2014 investment in global engineering R&D in a range of disciplines from robotics to social media.1 Recently, one of my sons made an interesting prediction: With the development of self-driving cars, it is likely that his own children may never drive an automobile. (Indeed, it looks like the “auto” aspect may be a literal reality in his lifetime!) Another example: Do you realize the modern smartphone is less than 10 years old? And outside of technology, there are rapid changes in attitudes about alternative lifestyles, drug use, and what constitutes a family. This is happening all so quickly! In the midst of all this change, could we be missing anything?
The photo below was taken by Louis Daguerre in 1838. (That’s the same Daguerre being referenced when we talk about “Daguerreotype” photos.) Due to the nature of the camera technology of the time, this photo required a 10-minute exposure.
This particular image happens to be the oldest known photograph with people in it. Look carefully in the lower-left quadrant of the photo and you’ll see a man with one leg propped up on a shoe-shine stand. The setting is the Boulevard du Temple in Paris. Take a closer look at the photo. What do you see? Lots of buildings, and trees and street lamps lining the boulevard.
What do you not see? What is missing from this image of what was one of the busiest streets in Paris?
There are no horses and carriages or vendor carts. No people walking up and down the sidewalks.
Why aren’t they there?
In reality, they were indeed there. For a 10-minute exposure to the silver-plated copper photo medium, they would be moving too fast to appear in the image. Only the objects that were relatively still during that 10-minute time span were recorded for us to see.
So much of our lives, at work, home, church, and community, are like the horses, carriages, and people. They move much faster than the rest of the image. Unlike this picture, our attention tends to focus on what is moving. Our eyes and minds follow the changes in technology, the shifts in geopolitical power, the trends of fashion, entertainment, and sports, and the social dynamics.
In watching what is fast moving, we miss the man standing still, getting a shoe shine. We miss what is stable, sure, and reliable.
In every setting, it is important to understand where the solid foundations are.
Who are the strong, reliable people?
What are the values and principles that can be trusted?
What methods are certain?
In a world of constant change, leaders need to know what is unmovable, and how and when to lean on it.
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.
1:Marsh, P. (June 17, 2014). “The world struggles to keep up with the pace of change in science and technology.” Retrieved November 15, 2015 at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b1da2ef0-eccd-11e3-a57e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3rbLg0Lxu
“Boulevard du Temple by Daguerre” by Louis Daguerre – Scanned from The Photography Book, Phaidon Press, London, 1997. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons. Available at Wikimedia.