Sunday, October 28, 2007

Are you incoming or post-peak?

There are a lot of ways to consider our careers, relationships, our financial situations. Because I work in the innovation and trend field, we are obsessed with the trend curve to study products and changes in the marketplace. Recently, my boss opened my eyes to using it to evaluate other ideas and states of being. You can place your career on the trend curve, and if you're post-peak, you better start thinking about how to re-invent yourself. The same can be said for your love life, for your finances, for where you make your home. And consider life in general - Am I jazzed about a new project I have going, be it professional, volunteer work, or a hobby? If all my projects are down-trending, it is time to start thinking about something new to get going.
The trend curve gives us a way to measure how life's going, and its greatest value is in giving us questions to ask ourselves to evaluate the current state of what we're trying to chart. I've been looking for a tool like this to think about the state of this very abstract idea of progress in life. It grounds the conversation for us, helps us make the choices more palpable, and gives us a historical context for consideration.
The piece it's missing in the reinvention arrow, the one that connects "post-peak" with "incoming". The curve makes it look as if there everything we are trying to chart will ultimately fade away into oblivion. This is not true so long as what we're charting can be remade, refreshed, or repurposed. Arguably, everything we are trying to chart has taken the roller-coaster ride of the trend curve many times before. Everything we have has already been.

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