Over the past week, we’ev planted another 40 trees in our meadow and 36 strawberry plants in the vegetable garden. It’s led to some interesting conversations. My daughter wants to know if we can pick strawberries next week. And when I wonder if we’ll cut down the trees together in 10-15 years, my son just gives me a blank look.
Time horizons can be tough to imagine. With flowers and vegetables, it can be hard to imagine a tiny seed or seedling needing 30cm of space all around it. At the begingin, the garden looks funny when you plant tiny seedlings 60cm apart. The garden looks bare. Even the strawberry plants, which are not tiny, look like we planted them too far apart. But they grow and come July, there will be little bare soil to be seen. As for the trees, most of the birch trees we plant here, grow 2 feet (60cm) a year, which means in 10 years, they could be 20 feet taller than they are now. That is hard to imagine, as our meadow will be a woodland then.
TIme horizons are hard to imagine. Many of us live in a world where not receiving a reply to to a text message after 5 minutes feels like an eternity. Waiting is often felt to be unacceptable, sometimes even perceived as rude. Waiting is hard skill to learn today. But a critical one.
Digital transformation has sped up things in our organisations, our societies, and our lives. Digital have enabled certain types of efficiencies and scale. However, short term gains are never without long term impact. Speed, scale, and certain types of efficiencies can cost reaching the minority, can cost being present, and can cost meaning. Digital transformation, like most transformations, is about trade offs. Trading one thing for another, which is perceived as better in the immediate term.
Change makers understand this trade off. They call it out so it is known. Any form of change requires patience. It is never immediate. Perhaps patience is the joy giver, not the joy killer.
In a fast changing world, perhaps extending our time horizons is the most important mindset shift we can make. Perhaps it brings us the patience to deal with the everyday challenges that inevitable come. No matter what we are doing – growing plants, people, organisations, or new ideas.