Just saw a post on LinkedIn about how 2023 is going to be just the same as 2022 (within a particular domain) and it reminded me about patterns of perception of a repetitive status quo. I see it often in my domains of practice (defense innovation) as well as fields I follow (politics for example). People love to say “things are just the same as they always have been”, and I’ve always thought it was a curious stance, especially when I have the opportunity to contradict it based on just a tiny bit of lived experience or knowing people affected by the changes that have occurred. It’s probably related to the whole “political parties are all the same” stance. Like… maybe they are for you, but that’s simply a matter of your positionality and standpoint. Being immune to changes doesn’t make them nonexistant.

2023 will be vastly different from 2022 for millions of people. It will be a marked improvement for some and a sharp decline for others. The degree to which individual agency affects that delta will vary wildly from population to population and individual to individual. There will also be many who sit in the bleachers, unaffected by the drastic shifts that do occur, and they’ll ho hum about how this year is the same as the last which was the same as so many before… like people who watch soccer matches and go “all soccer matches are the same. It’s just people kicking a ball around and occasionally scoring”. Meanwhile, the person next to them is deeply connecting with the drama unfolding on the field from quarter to quarter… while the players on the field are experiencing it second to second. It all depends on how engaged you are, how much you understand what you’re looking at, and how connected you are to the experience of having your feet planted in that grass. When I watch soccer, my heart races even in what appear to be the most mundane of moments, because I connect with the drama of individual challenges for possession, because I’ve been there thousands of times myself.

So if you find yourself feeling like change isn’t coming, or that everything is the same as it ever was, consider how you might become capable of connecting with the very real shifts that are occurring in ways that you simply can’t connect to or perceive…

Perhaps you could step into that arena yourself, and become a part of those changes. It can make a powerful method of escaping from the monotony.

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