August 2020

Navigating a VUCA World

I was part of a panel discussion a few days ago with an Indian University, Munjal University. They were holding a 2-day conference with the topic of Navigating a VUCA World. For those that may not be familiar with VUCA, it stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The term arose in the late 1980s, in particular to describe the post-cold war multilateral world. Here is a summary of each of the aspects of VUCA:

V = Volatility: the nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.

U = Uncertainty: the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.

C = Complexity: the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization.

A = Ambiguity: the haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.

Source : Wikipedia

One of the main points of discussion that came out of the panel when discussing the current situation, was the importance of having the capacity to deal with the challenges and change associated with a VUCA world. In particular this relates to being mindful and present while navigating difficult and uncertain times. Given that there is currently so much change occurring and it is impossible to predict exact outcomes, it is necessary to be very conscious of having a sense of self. A recent example of this that I witnessed was in an interview with Michelle Obama. During the interview she described how she had been feeling what she termed, “a low-grade depression”. In identifying where she was at and acknowledging it, she was very aware of her state and thereby gave permission for others to acknowledge their own feelings. In doing so she gave a sense of awareness that there were ongoing external factors at work that are beyond her capability to change however she could be present and mindful of where she was at, to assist her in making her way through it. She noted it was okay to acknowledge the world around us can have an effect on our well-being. “The idea that we all should just feel OK all the time—that just doesn't feel real to me. So, I hope you all are allowing yourselves to feel whatever it is you're feeling."

As the world continues to respond to the challenges and change that COVID-19 has brought, being present to your own experience and journey is I believe a key component to emerging intact on the other side. So where are you at in this moment??


Book Recommendation:


A Rough Guide to Mindfulness : The Essential Companion To Personal Growth, Albert Tobler and Susann Herrmann

A friend of mine who teaches meditation shared this book with me and she uses it to provide a foundation for teaching the concept of mindfulness to her students. The book is the ultimate introduction to mindfulness, a highly effective antidote to stress, anxiety and depression, and can help in finding balance and peace in a world which moves at an ever more frenzied pace. Written by two leading practitioners, this guide clearly explains all the basics of mindfulness from breathing techniques to self-awareness and meditation. The book gives plenty of guidance on how to integrate the practice at work and home, avoid distractions and really live in the present. It highlights the latest findings from health experts and scientists on the benefits and shows how you can continue your mindfulness journey. The Rough Guide to Mindfulness gives you all the necessary tools to find your way to a more peaceful existence, as well as boosting energy, confidence and self-control.