Shifting Time

July 30th, 2012

The month of July is typically hot and humid in Houston. Did I mention humid? Not so much this summer of 2012. From June 26 to July 17, the rain gauge at our house collected water on 17 different days including a 72-hour period when more than 15 inches fell. That particular deluge led to severe flooding within a couple miles.

Whether the cause is climate change, global warming or simply one of those years when the clouds randomly decided to take dead aim on our community, one thing is certain: this was unlike any of the other 14 summers we’ve spent in southeast Texas. Instead of loading up with mosquito spray and mowing our yard late in the evening to avoid the dangerous heat, we watched the grass grow higher and higher… waiting for the lawn to dry out long enough to cut.

Sometimes change is dramatic, as when the skies pour down water. Sometimes it’s subtle, as when you look in the mirror and think, ‘I haven’t seen those gray hairs before.’ When there’s a tax increase – or tax cut – you tend to see the difference immediately in your take-home pay. When your mobile phone – or satellite/cable – bill creeps up a few pennies here and there, you might not even notice the difference for months.

One of my clients heard Tom Brokaw speak last month. “You know the news right away,” he quoted the former NBC News anchor as saying. “That’s no longer our job. We’re here now to help you interpret what the news means to you.” That’s a big shift from when I started working in a TV newsroom 31 summers ago, and viewers tuned in at 5, 6 and 10 to discover what had happened while they were at work. CNN started the monumental shift with 24/7 information access. The Internet gave you control at the click of a mouse. Twitter transmits instantaneous headlines in 140 characters or less.

Who knows what will happen next. Perhaps Google Maps, which currently utilizes static pictures, will have live cameras… that you control from your fold-up tablet. The important thing, of course, is to be open to ‘new’ and adapt your personal approach and business systems to whatever next appears on the horizon. Otherwise, you risk getting swept away by the fast-moving current of progress.

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