Graham Birkenhead, September 30 2021

Beyond The Bubble

While many people are trying to 'get back to normal', I think many of us have realized that for a whole range of aspects of our existence - whether at home or in business - we are looking at a new or different normal - and exactly what that looks like, is still being defined. 

Times of uncertainty always provide great opportunity for those willing to see it and seize it; and maybe the sooner we convince ourselves that 'normality' has returned, perhaps that is the time we stop looking for opportunity. 

The dust still hasn't settled, and won't for quite a while yet. While business owners have largely worked out how to manage the new ways of working on a day-to-day basis, now isn't the time to get comfortable with that; we should be constantly looking for opportunity in the swirling uncertainty that surrounds us as the world inexorably reinvents itself. 

Well, that is easy to say, but how exactly do you do that?  Let me tell you about the 'Box'. Yes, the one everyone keeps telling you that you should think outside of - as if it is really obvious how to do that. Simply put, the box can be considered to be your own personal survival model of the world (I like to think of it more as a bubble - a bit like a zorbing ball - if you stand inside, you have a slightly distorted view of the world, and you are nicely protected from it). This bubble has been developing since you were born (very quickly in your formative years, less so after about the age of 24). It's your model of how the world works and is forged by your experiences; it encapsulates what you have learned is right or wrong, good or bad, safe or unsafe, allowable or forbidden. It is also where you reduce the amount of mental effort you need to expend minute-to-minute by doing things automatically or habitually or using heuristics to make sense of what you see. The bubble / box is there to keep you safe in a dangerous world - in the modern society that we have created, it can constrain you more than you'd like. The bubble is mostly good - and you can choose to step beyond it - but it's not always easy. 

Stepping beyond the bubble to see and seize those opportunities requires a few things:

 This isn't easy - after all, we are programmed to NOT do this. We all got creative when the pandemic started - our ability to learn how to learn kicked in. So much has changed as a consequence. And just now, the world around us is still very malleable and open to new ways and ideas. The opportunities are out there in abundance - they just need to be seen, recognized, and seized as we create the future. 

Bye for now,


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Written by

Graham Birkenhead


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