To go forward, often we go back

I had a problem. I wanted to build a surround sound setup for movies. My front speakers were really good, but 20 years old, and I needed rear speakers of the same type. Aficionados will tell you that you can’t just mix speaker brands!

Facebook Marketplace solved the problem. I found a guy selling exactly what I needed. Walking through his house to the audio room, I spied an old tube amplifier and turntable. Vintage high-end stuff. He told me he was selling his speakers because he was no longer using anything made in the last twenty years. “The old tech is better.”

Is it?

Let’s not get into that debate. Rather, let’s focus on why more people are swinging retro with wind-up watches, food favorites like pop rocks, and hardcover books?

You know the answer. There’s something comforting and warm about the old stuff. We like the simplicity and feel of things. Digital is tougher to understand. It has no soul. It can’t embrace you the way the smell of a book can, or the crackling sound of needle greeting vinyl.

The same principle applies to change. When we encounter something new – that we’re not entirely sure about it – it takes time to get used to it. It feels cold and possibly threatening. In those moments, we need something to keep us calm so we can process the change.

When a child must face a sleepover for the first time, parents ensure they have their favorite blanket or teddy bear with them. It’s something they can cling to for assurance in an alien environment. Adults are no different. Touching base with what’s old and familiar helps to restore calm. They act as anchors amidst the chaos of change.

Regardless of job or stage in life, change keeps coming. We see it all around us. That’s why more people are turning to something old and consistent to keep them grounded. From a point of stability, we can touch something new with confidence.

If you’re leading change, balance your vision of a different future with a reminder of the past. Tell them what’s not changing. Then pass out the pop rocks.

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper

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