The Rise of Homo Adaptus

A new kind of man has arrived at our world.

I call him Homo Adaptus.

(Do not look it up on Google, it's a naming I had to come up with because nothing else fitted.)

Let me try to explain what I mean - 

When my grandmother, Nina, was born in cold Lithuania, the streets were full of horses and carriages. As a child, she saw how cars arrived, slowly replacing the carriages. Most of the horse riders have lost their jobs. A few have moved to work as car drivers. That was also the case with the carriages builders - most have lost their jobs, but a few went to work in car factories. They've adapted.

To my grandmother's funeral, we drove in cars. Faster cars than those created in the 1930s, quieter, less polluting - but still - cars. Four wheels, four doors, steering wheel, and brakes.

When my grandmother arrived in Israel, she managed to get a job by the Post Office. She never complained about her work, nor dared to think whether she was having fun over there. She never wondered whether she could do something else with her life. Or maybe she did - but she did not dare say it out loud. It was a different generation.

When my grandmother used to say, "It used to be different," she meant- "70 years ago."

When my mother says "It used to be different" she means- "Twenty years ago."

When the Millennials say "It used to be different" they mean "a year ago." or sometimes "Two months ago."

You see, most of our lives on earth as human beings (and certainly before) - we have moved forward. Culture, technology, globalization - in all these areas we moved forward. 

But it was an almost invisible progression:

If you take a person from 1250 and with a time machine to 1500 - he would marvel at the changes he would see in the world. He would see slightly more sophisticated weapons, and clothes that are a little bit different. The cities would be a little bigger, and the food a little more varied. 

It would be almost similar if you took a person from 1500 and jump it with a time machine for 1750. Again 250 years, and again small changes, and again he would be impressed.

But what would happen to a man if you were to make him jump from 1750 again 250 years, this time to 2000?! The sights he saw would be too complicated for him to absorb. He would see heavy airplanes flying in the sky, and he would see people talking from both ends of the world in seconds through the email. And he would see people who swallow pills and feel better, and he would see photographs from Earth's space, and he would see people playing in a show inside a box called TV, and he would see the largest library in the world - hiding behind a flat screen with a funny name - Google. 

He must have been sure he was crazy. He would climb the nearest skyscraper and jump down. (And thank you WaitButWhy for this thought experiment)

Now take a person from 2000 and pop him up for 2015. Wait, let's make it more real - take yourself, now, from 2016, and imagine you need to live again in 2000. No Facebook. No YouTube. No Smartphones. No email that works properly. No online job boards. 

When you are looking for a job you have to go buy a newspaper and look for a job advertisement. When you want to meet with a friend you schedule it days and weeks in advance, and there is no option to cancel. When you organize an event or party - you have to meet twenty times before, because there is no WhatsApp. 

When you traveled abroad there was no AirBnB, and the taxis you caught on the street with your bare hand cause there was no Uber. When you flew abroad you would need a tourist book because there were no google maps and blogs with recommendations, and when you were there if you got stuck with your car or on an unfamiliar street - you had to lean on the passersby to get out of there. 

Sounds romantic? Maybe, but also annoying and frustrating.

How crazy is that?! 

So the last 15 years, showed changes in the intensity of what happened in the 250 years before. And the 250 years before, there were more significant changes than in the previous 2500 years.

What does it mean? It means that we live in a world that accelerates. Not "fast-moving," but "accelerating." In other words, the changes not only increase, but also - the time that passes between one change and the other is shortened.

And what does it mean for us? It means we are required to adapt. 

Adapt to changes in the world of work. To adapt to a new form in which we will educate our children. Adapt in order to work faster, more efficiently, and more digitally in the office. Adapt to how we manage our home and family in this accelerating world. We need to adapt to new forms of communication - because no one had published the "Law Book of How to Talk to People on Facebook," and adapt to new forms of acquaintance - because no one had explained what should or should not be done with Tinder. 

We need to adapt to the wonderful things the new world has to offer us, and to the less pleasant ones. Adapt to the fact that we have wonderful new opportunities - starting a business has become cheaper, advertising and marketing have become available to everyone. Education is becoming much cheaper and more flexible - you can learn online, and you can learn for free from YouTube channels. And so on and so forth.

That is why the new people to thrive are the adaptive ones. 

I call it  Homo Adaptus. 

This is the ones who will survive. It's the person who will be able to adapt her thoughts, actions, and habits - in the course of her own life. She will prosper and benefit from the following changes. Not the smartest person, and not the richest, and not the one born the most beautiful - though it could help them - the one who will be the most flexible - she who will thrive. The one who will be able to discern when it is required to change. Upgrade it's own version while in motion.

Homo Adatpus does not see the rapid changes of the New World as a threat, or something to pray that will not happen. She recognizes that this is the reality, and therefore sees it as an opportunity. She understands that she must stay with her eyes open, and make sure she is making active moves to stay relevant.

Welcome, Homo Adaptus - You are going to enjoy this world ...