Dealing With Change

I came on this old file last evening. Given the state of the world just now it seemed relevant

Change Seminar Outline

Change is nothing new

Is change inevitable – or is it a passing fad? Has there ever been a time of no change?

Change is always and everywhere.  Stable times just mean that prior changes are understood or the time frame is so short no one sees the changes.

The idea of change is very old. Ancient Chinese (before 221 BCE) book of divination I-Ching  (pronounced Yi Jing) 易经  –  English translation = The Book of Change

Change is usually accompanied by a  “Change Agent”

Someone who created the conditions to permit adjustments in the way society works.

Examples of change agents:  King John and the Magna Carta, American revolution, Jesus, Buddha, Robespierre, Communist revolution, 9/11, Gandhi, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, The Black Panthers, Apple, the feminist movement, environmentalism, Obama’s use of the internet to raise money, credit cards, debit cards, and a thousand more.

We don’t usually notice change until after it happens. That’s because we are not good at extrapolating from a tiny point.  Few people can see a grain of sand and imagine a beach

Why do we care?

Change often turns out badly for us if we do not adapt:

  1. Dinosaurs
  2. Some car companies
  3. Banks
  4. Hereditary monarchs

The theme is adapt or die.

Change is risky

  • Cannot go back
  • Anxiety because you have losses if you can’t adapt to new reality
  • It can turn out well if we do adapt. Change is a crucial element of growth. Old ideas are destroyed and replaced with new and as a result old resource commitments are changed to more productive uses.
  • Adaptability is a hugely valuable life skill. But not easily learned

Problems with Changing

  • Change changes
  • Old ways  of adapting might not work
  • Mistake to look at change out of context
  • Chrysler bankruptcy is not like Studebaker
  • Everyone holds old beliefs that don’t work anymore.
  • Japanese workers don’t believe in lifetime employment any more.
  • Real estate is the best investment. Not so much in 2008 and 2009

People need time to adapt

  • Could you explain the Gay-Pride parade to someone who died in 1969
  • How about the internet or email or
  • How about why the post office flourishes in a time of email

Be suspicious of what you think you know

  • In times of great change, experience will be your worst enemy
  • Adapting is contextual
  • You don’t need to be right about everything, you only need to be right about the things that affect you.
  • Learning is part of adapting, BUT

A difficult change is that we know too much

  • Information is not knowledge
  • Information must fit with other information  to be knowledge
  • Without context  knowing the bank rate will not tell you much about the chance of losing your job
  • Knowledge is not wisdom
  • Knowledge is sterile and impersonal
  • It is consistent and maybe complete but not necessarily meaningful
  • Wisdom is knowledge applied to your own situation in ways that provide an actionable outcome.

For example:

What information and knowledge would I need to make these decisions.

  1. Should I pay the penalty and renew my mortgage now instead of waiting for a year?
  2. Will my employer survive?
  3. Will the civil service be outsourced?
  4. Should I worry about inflation?

The bits to take away

You cannot avoid change but you can change how it affects you.

Change is forever and always and some of it matters to you. Mistrust your experience. It may not help you.

Be curious. Talk to people who already fit in to the new ways. Everyone under about 25 is a digital person. We old guys are all analog. It’s a different way to think.

Anticipate what you can and take action earlier.

Help me please. If you have found this useful, please subscribe and forward it to others.

I build strategy and fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways and alternate timing to achieve both spending and estate distribution goals. In the past I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning, have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email to

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