Two Serious Problems We were Warned About in 1970
Bill Cottringer

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” ~George Bernard Shaw.

Are you feeling overwhelmed about the information overload and insane pace of technology driven change in life and work? Are the boundaries between physical and virtual realities starting to get blurred? Has commonsense, civility, and social responsibility evaporated? Join the distressed crowd. In his 1970 book "Future Shock," Alvin Toffler warned us about the information overload from technology and the fast pace of change that people can’t keep up with. More importantly, he warned us about the dreadful impact these two problems would have on people’s psychological well-being. Below are some tips on dealing with the information overload and adapting to change.

Truth is Tentative

Today, it is very difficult to discern ruth from fiction with so much misinformation, half-truths and outright lies. If you believe something to be true and it isn’t, this makes for a potential wake of destruction. The ugly truth about beliefs is that they are protected with strong feelings about their truth, regardless of any real evidence. In the truest sense beliefs are about the same as opinions. Some are thought to be more informed than others.

So, to be safe, resist the temptation of fully embracing half-truths or faulty beliefs with an air of tentativeness, in realizing what we see to be true is based more on where and when we are doing the looking in time and place. Also, if you want to separate useful knowledge from all the nonsense, look for useful and valuable principles that govern the way people and things work. If you can glean one useful idea from a book to help improve the quality of your life, then the expense is more than justified.

Here are a few additional tips for simplifying the information overload:

• Let go of regrets as they serve no healthy purpose.
• Feel free to ignore questionable information.
• Skim read for essential knowledge, like widely applicable principles.
• Spend less time on social media.
• Select the most reliable sources for useful, accurate knowledge.
• Know when enough is enough.

Change is a Constant

Change used to be an exception as a temporary disruption to routine, but now it is a constant condition of everyday life. Every day is a new, unfamiliar one in today’s digital world and resisting any change no matter how small, will just leave you further behind the learning curve. It doesn’t really make much sense rejecting change and its potential benefits, when all the cells in your body change completely every three years on the average. You are not the same self as you were a few years ago, but your mind gets left behind.

Change rules, so look for the opportunities that the future has in store for you, instead of dreading imaginary obstacles and conflicts. Besides old solutions don’t work very well with the new challenges we have today. We are all quickly entering uncharted waters without a map. But remember, there was no kid-proof guide on getting though childhood or parenting, or map for navigating the school years. Somehow, we have survived this far.

Adapting successfully to change requires a few mental tricks. For one thing, we don’t trust our brains enough while trusting our minds too much. The brain only has one main function—to seek rewards and avoid harm. Your brain tells you who is likeable and trustworthy way before your mind can discover the reasons for these quick perceptions. Also, the sure way to fail to adapt to a change in expanding your comfort zone is to be inflexible.

To navigate unfamiliar waters, you can remember to practice familiar virtuous behaviors, such as patience, temperance, social responsibility, purpose, meaning, tenacity, integrity, and diligence. If all else fails, experiment in practicing small changes in your familiar routine, to feel more at ease. And remember, “it is not the things in life that bother us, but rather the opinions we have about those things (Epictetus.)” The main difficulty in life is the choice but the power to choose is all ours. Seeing choice as a gift rather than curse, is the smarter path to take.

“The purpose of the information overload is to learn what really matters most in life and the meaning of change is to give your best self the opportunity to explode from the disturbed disorder.” ~The author.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is retired Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 914-1863 or