In early May we headed to Ottawa for a weekend. The weather was horrible and the 5 hour drive from Toronto took over 7.5 hours. There were lots of times when we had wipers on full speed and then took them down to normal and then back up again. It was dark and the highway had very few lights so it made the drive a little extra stressful. Not knowing the roads didn’t help the situation either. The back and forth of the wiper speed and the intense focus of the road were critical to make sure we were able to see the environment we were driving into. This got me thinking that adjusting to your changing environment is a skill that is good in all areas of your life, personal, professional and financial.
Hating On Change:
Most people dislike change. Many times it is because we believe that we are leaving something good to take on something new that may not be as good. When your environment does change it’s better to adapt to your new surroundings than to not adjust. Most people are so resistant to change that they are left behind. This is true in work life especially. People tend to get comfortable with what they are doing and don’t bother to look around and see the environment change slowly.
A Frog In Water:
My friend shared a story that I had never heard before and it could not be truer. She said: “If you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out, but if you put a frog in cold water and turn the heat on it will cook itself” and that is because the change happens slowly, too slowly for the frog to feel it. If things start to change around us we have the habit of not noticing until it is so far away from what we thought our reality was.
In your personal life we act in the same way. We don’t notice the change until it becomes too late. That friend is no longer your friend but the change happened so slowly and over such a long time you never noticed. Your partner who changed their behavior slightly over time then you realize you got together with a much different person. Or you changed what you want and realize that who you are with and why you are with them isn’t right anymore. Being aware of the situation before it is too late allows us to make changes to the environment that we are in before we get over our heads.
Adjust to See Clearly:
We need to adapt because we need to be able to see clearly. If you are driving and the rain starts picking up the safest thing to do is to increase your wiper speed. That will give you more visibility on the road and allow you to make better decisions on what to do. Same goes for everything. You need to be aware of the situation around you and adjust to make sure you have.
Regardless you need to be aware of what is happening around you and have a plan for that. In the personal finance world that could look like a rainy day fund, curveball account or an emergency fund, life and disability insurance or a combination. Something that can help you cope with the changes in your environment. You need something that can provide you a way to see clearly when things are cloudy, dark and not pleasant.
Change Is Important:
Is it annoying to go back and forth increasing and decreasing your wiper speed as the situation changes? Of course it is, especially when none of the pre-programed speeds fit your needs. Sometimes the manual option to turn on your wipers makes the most sense. It’s not always raining and most of the time the skies are pretty clear but just in case you need to have a plan and you need to be aware when changes are happening. This will help you cope with the changes and adjust to the environment as required. You can’t control what happens to you most of the time but you can control your reaction to it.
How quickly do you adjust to your environment? Do you start making adjustments at the first sign of change or wait to see how things go first?