Historical signals are very instructive, a premise that makes me a big believer in learning from the lessons of history. There are several historical signals that help us understand the drivers of prior transformative periods. The first is a period of great invention. The cumulative effect of invention and knowledge gain has led us to our current modern society. However, it was the early days of the industrial revolution that represent the greatest period of invention. The second signal is convergence. When human action converges with invention, societies transform. A third and critical signal is related to the second, where catalysts throughout history have driven convergence.
The last critical signal is the human resistance to change. In his book titled work, James Suzman highlights this human phenomenon.
Where history is a better guide to the future is on the nature of change. It reminds us that we are a stubborn species: one that is deeply resistant to making profound changes in our behavior and habits, even when it is clear that we need to do so. But it also reveals that when change is forced upon us we are astonishingly versatileJames Suzman – Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots
It should be very clear by now that we have a compelling reason to unlearn. It bodes well for humans that we are astonishingly versatile when forced to change. However, in the presence of signals that are screaming for us to change, we resist. For us to manage the transition that lies ahead, we must overcome this critical human weakness.