To help the best leaders find calm and meaning amid chaos, futurist April Rinne has developed the "flux mindset." Together with April, we will learn how to develop a flux mindset and understand its eight characteristics.
When you start peeling back the layers of your own life, you will see that change is universal and has been a consistent thread in it. Change is nothing new, it goes back farther than human history. Life is all about embracing and managing it the right way.
As human beings we tend to love changes that we can control or ones that we can opt-in to. But we tend to really hate changes that we can't control or those that blindside us. How we react and manage that change in our homes, workplaces, relationships, and the whole world is what will ultimately define us.
Change is just one word, but its occurrence is often extraordinarily messy, complicated and fraught. We must learn to view unexpected change – however profound – as an opportunity and reconfigure how we show up for life in the wake of an unexpected development.
It is not just about what is changing. There is also a time component here. Changes that are easy and fast for one person might be hard and painfully slow for another. And that pace of change has never been as fast as it is today – something that’s exciting and terrifying in equal measure depending on how you view it.
As human beings we are obsessed with wanting to predict and control the future, which is funny because there is no one future. There are many different possible futures that we are each contributing to every single day. The future is neither certain nor stable and will be full of constant change or flux.
To me, flux is both a noun and a verb. As a noun it means continuous change but as a verb it means to learn to become fluid. If the world is in flux, we need to learn how to flux. This is about who do we wish to be and how do we wish to show up for the many kinds of changes both seen and unseen – as the COVID pandemic has aptly demonstrated for over two years. Our workplace, climate, markets, family dynamics – all these things are in flux.
In order to cope with the tension or relationship between strategy and mindset in today’s fast paced world, you need to develop the flux mindset – a state of mind that thrives in a rapidly changing world. I call it the ability to lean into uncertainty precisely because you're not trying to make it something different.
You're not trying to triage and manage it; you're just actually letting it be and embracing it based on the understanding that it is part of life’s trajectory. Additionally, a flux mindset is also about slowing down and seeing what's really happening – examining, assessing, thinking and strategizing before diving headfirst into it. We are programed to run faster in the face of change but what we really need is the ability to see all the change before we embrace it and show up for daily lives. A flux mindset will help you change your approach.
You've got to use this flux mindset to unlock and develop your 8 flux superpowers. These are practices and disciplines on how to thrive in constant change. But the superpowers are a menu, not a syllabus. You don't have to do 1 before 2 or 2 before 3, you can practice 1 and you can practice all 8. Each one stands on its own but they do enhance one another. They invite us to rethink our strengths and weaknesses.
The first one is what's called running slower, making wiser decisions and not just mitigate anxiety and burnout.
The second superpower is seeing what's invisible, identifying your blind spots and discovering new sources of opportunity, insights and value.
The third superpower is getting lost by stretching beyond our comfort zones and immersing ourselves in a relationship with the unknown.
The fourth is starting with trust, learning to nurture relationships and navigate change better together.
The fifth superpower is knowing you're enough. We're obsessed with more and it's making us mostly miserable. More clicks, more clothes, more power, more money – discarding this attitude will help us in our quest for true happiness, satisfaction and meaning.
The sixth superpower is what's called creating your portfolio career. This one is a little unique in that it's specific to the future of work. It is about is how do you design your professional identity and career in ways that are fit for a future of work in flux. The punchline here is that the successful career of the future looks far more like a portfolio to curate as an artist or an investor would, and far less like a path to pursue or a ladder to climb.
The seventh superpower is - be all the more human. This is all about our relationship to technology and the tension we face in that we're spending ever more time with our devices and yet ever less time with one another.
And last but not least the eighth flux superpower, is called letting go of the future. This is not about giving up or failure, but rather about letting go of our obsession with wanting to predict and control the future because there is no one future. There are many different possible futures. We actually need to get out of our own way and let go of the things that are twisting us up like pretzels in order to let better futures emerge.
Understanding and working on these eight superpowers is like strengthening a mental muscle. If you start doing that day after day after day, and it will subtly shift your immediate default reaction to change over time.