Carpet slipper commuting: why you should embrace change only if it works for you

It used to be said that the only things you could be certain of were birth, death, and taxes. These days there’s something else to add to the list… change. Our blogger Stuart Pearcey looks at change, why it happens, what we can gain from it, and why we should embrace (some of) it.

It’s not change that makes our lives different; it’s how we react to it, how we capitalise on it, and how we harness the benefits it offers.

Looking back, we can see the differences. I’m able to write this blog using technology that didn’t exist even a few years ago. You’re probably reading it in much the same way. For both of us it seems perfectly natural.

Everywhere we look there are examples of how our lives have changed because of technology; because someone somewhere has asked the question ‘What if?” and gone on to answer it.

Change happens because we’re curious; because we can. That’s why we innovate and develop new ideas. But there has always been resistance. Think of the Luddites, who resisted the introduction of new weaving technology because they feared for their jobs. They were right; technology was about to rob them of work. And that’s something that hasn’t changed. Their fears, or more than 200 years ago, are still being felt today. Some industries are gone completely; others operate with far fewer employees than used to be the case. Machines have taken over and can accomplish tasks previously requiring hundreds if not thousands of people.

On the whole, by looking at the changes that have already happened we can see the benefits we enjoy. And yet in spite of the evidence to the contrary, we still fear change; we prefer to stay with the comfortable and well known.

Power of the app
Let’s look at the ubiquitous app. Pick a topic, and there’s no doubt an app for it (There’s probably an app to help you pick an app; I haven’t looked). Creating them is child’s play. I know this for a fact; a child told me.

The right app has the power to change your life for the better. In terms of managing business finance, an expense management software for small business is the perfect example.

By putting budgetary control at your fingertips wherever you are – so long as there’s a WiFi connection – it enables accurate and fast control of every kind of business expense, leaving you more time to get on with other things that are important to you and your business. It works in multiple currencies and languages and integrates with company credit cards and widely-used accounting packages. That makes it, dare I say it, the complete package.

Objective: an easier life
But having made better use of your time, what then, with the time you have available that you didn’t have before? Do you even wonder that we spend too much time doing things we really don’t need to do? Traveling is the perfect example. Someone, somewhere, has decided that autonomous cars are the next big thing. I’m going to be radical here and say that they shouldn’t be. Wouldn’t it be better if someone could develop a way for us to be somewhere without actually being there? We all carry monitors with superb picture quality and the ability to carry voice messages. Why shouldn’t we be telecommuting, using that technology? I’m able to talk and have meetings with people in New Barnet as easily as I can in New Delhi.

Shouldn’t we put more effort into developing holographic versions of ourselves to be ‘virtually’ in rooms at the other side of the world? I can imagine anyone who drives down the Hangar Lane part of London would love that.

And wouldn’t that be a better use of our time? Why would we want to remove the tedium of a mind-numbing job and replace it with mind-numbing tedium of another kind, sitting in a traffic jam – even if the car is autonomous.

And there’s the lesson of this blog. Don’t get caught up in change because it is marketed as ‘A Good Thing’. Analyse it; decide if it works for you and let it do just that. If it doesn’t, don’t use it, and become a slave to technology. That way you really will be making your life easier – which is the biggest change you can make.

And if you doubt that; think of my commute. Twenty feet and a flight of stairs. How does that compare with yours, in terms of time, frustration, cost, and impact on the planet..?