The Alchemy of Transition

…When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. ~ Paulo Coelho

Many people think of change and transition as very similar things. But actually, they’re very different. Change is a constant state; it’s simply the nature and rhythm of life. Most changes in the world won’t affect you, but when change does have a direct impact on your life you can elect to ignore it, or you can choose to do something with it.

Remember the alchemical attempt to turn base metals into gold? Well, that’s what transition actually does. (The common prefix trans implies “going through or beyond” while the suffix tion means “the act of”). Transition allows you to take the raw material that’s inherent in change and to transmute it into what you need.

Transition is what you do with the changes that happen. Essentially, transition represents dynamic movement through change. It implies taking action as opposed to just letting things happen on their own. Transition means that it’s time to move on, to let go of someone or something.

As part of the process through transition, you shed an old identity-the way you’ve thought about yourself up until the change. Essentially, the energy that has powered an outdated role, status, or persona needs to be released in order for it to be available for what you are to become. This process may leave you wondering, “If I’m not who I once thought I was, then who am I?” A real sense of loss for what once was often accompanies transition.

For transition to do its magic as the process unfolds, you have to begin to question what you once called your reality. For many of us, when we think of real we think of something as fixed and absolute. We’re invested in believing in our own point of view, probably because we feel reassured and safe when life continues on in the same way it always has. So what’s real, anyway? Well, if you really get down to it, reality is relative, and illusive.

In the transition phase, as you let go of the people and events to which you’ve been attached, you also let go of a thinking that has imbued these specific people and events with special significance and meaning. This is the process of stripping away the veil of idealism surrounding the world you’ve created for your own purposes, in order to reveal things as they truly are. If making change is to be effective, the individual must undergo a disintegration, or a taking apart, and a reintegration, a putting together, of the pieces of the new changed self. So in the process of shifting your focus, you begin to shift your consciousness.

Not knowing is an essential part of the process. Before you can find and anchor yourself to something new, you inevitably go through a period of not knowing. You may know you’re moving forward but you don’t yet know where you’re going. It’s this “betwixt and between” phase of transition that’s the most unpredictable and scary since you’re being asked to move forward into the unknown in a simple, yet deeply profound act of faith and trust that you will be led to where you need to go.

Oddly enough, the place of not knowing, where you don’t know how to belong because you’re between identities, is also the place of your greatest authenticity; basically, who you are at the core. When all is stripped away from the identity that is “you,” the realization may hit that what you refer to as my life is just simply the core of who you are, your “real” self, wrapped in the “stuff of life,” all of the external things that make up life as we think about it. When these are peeled away layer by layer, what is left is all that really matters who you are. When people say, “This is just who I am” as if it were written in stone, what needs to be added is, this is who I am given the set of circumstances. Given totally different conditions, who knows who you would be.

Re-view your past experiences with transition. In transition you have the opportunity to turn back, but not to return, to view what once was with a perspective altered by time and distance; you can see all that was for what it is, rather than for what you wished it had been. Each re-view broadens your perspective on your life; the cumulative effect of this is learned wisdom.

For the exercise or just for the fun of it, you may want to create a timeline of significant life events/experiences beginning from your earliest memory. Demarcate your timeline by decades or periods of your life and ponder these questions.

  • What events were pivotal in your life?
  • How did these events impact you?
  • How did positive experiences catapult you forward, supporting your growth and development?
  • How did negative experiences inhibit you, preventing healthy development, keeping you stuck in thinking and/or believing in a certain way?
  • What did you learn from these events/experiences?
  • Did you carry these lessons forward into your life?

The goal of transition is transformation. You want to utilize the change that comes your way and you want the change to move through you, enabling you to go beyond your limiting perspective, expectations, and beliefs. You want to transmute or change the form, the substance, the nature of yourself—not just the circumstances. And that my friends is real alchemy.


Welcome to my new blog

The world has been in this transition since right after WWII, but we were not aware nor did we understand or know how to describe the monumental changes in every baby boomers life.  We’ve grown up with constant change almost as a every day occurence.  Now the changes are stacking up so fast it’s becoming more difficult to keep on top to know what’s coming down the pipe.  I came from a far different world than today and I’m just now beginning to catch up.  One area that is constantly changing is technology.  Read the below blog on how it will be forecast in the next 50 years.  WW~

How we forecast future technologies

Although I’m a futurist, I have absolutely no idea what information and communications technology will look like in 50 years time.

I do know that some of it will be familiar because once we find a usable form, we tend to stick with it – glowing rectangles will probably remain popular. But I also know that we will see technology and applications which have not yet been imagined.

This technology space is growing in complexity and capability at a much, much faster rate than any other, and the implications for society are profound.

One year is easy, but 15 years is necessary

Can I tell you what we’ll be doing on the internet a year from now? The answer, of course, is yes – but so can anyone who spends any time thinking about it, and we’ll all be pretty much on target.

Short-term projection is easy because the products are in the late stage of development now. In fact the same is true out to about five years, because the product development has already started.

In telecommunications and informatics research, we try to figure out what society will require about 15 years out.

Why 15 years? A first-rate research grant takes about a year from concept to successful award, for a program which takes about three years to complete. Successful research with a commercial focus can then lead to commercial development, usually another five years.


It then takes perhaps ten years to get a commercial return on the research and development investment. Getting a product to market faster than ten years can give you a first-mover advantage; or, as we have seen time and time again, you can be so far ahead of market demand that your product falters.

Aiming for the Goldilocks just-right zone of 15 years in total is about right.

How do you see the future?

So how do you make a prediction from a distance of 15 years?

Our team embraces anekantavada, the Jainist doctrine of the necessity and validity of a multitude of viewpoints:

  • we look at technology developments, from academic research through to what we can gather about emerging consumer products from major manufacturers
  • we draw on our experience in planning infrastructure, such as mobile phone networks, to consider commercial risks and return on investment
  • we look at regulatory enablers and roadblocks, and at commercial relationships
  • we look at the connections between technology, commerce, society, regulation and politics. These viewpoints need to align to create a coherent view of the future.

Our value as consultants comes from being able to highlight the gaps – the missing technologies, the missing commercial relationships, the anachronistic regulation and policy settings – which highlight where the opportunities lie.

A 15-year outlook can be a reasonably accurate view of the big picture. But the detail which drives the big picture – the specific applications, the specific devices and the specific dinner parties where two drunk and egotistical executive directors swear to bury each other – can only be a speculative part of the narrative.

Online video, then and now

In 2005, the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification asked us to advise on the regulatory impact of new and emerging entertainment technologies. We were asked to paint a picture of future entertainment technologies, over ten years, to help them plan regulation.

It built on earlier work for the Australian Broadcasting Authority in 2002, in which we argued that, in the absence of significant technology (which turned out to be cloud services) and commercial impetus, streaming would fail to grow beyond 2008.

Emma Brabrook

At the time, movie houses were pumping out all of their libraries on DVD before the internet made physical media obsolete (even though the technology solution was not clear). Video cassette recorders were still common, and most of us still had a bulky analogue television.

We could see handheld devices, particularly portable music players, developing video capabilities, even though screen and memory technology available at that time clearly wasn’t up to the task. These days, tablets and smart phones are ubiquitous and affordable, to the extent that some airlines hand out iPads to customers rather than integrate screens into seats.

We could see solid-state memory dropping in price and increasing in capacity at a time when a 1-gigabyte memory stick cost around A$100. These days, a 64-gigabyte memory costs under A$40, a 150-times improvement in eight years!

Where we went wrong

We did accurately predict the speed and power of commercial desktop computers, the rise of 100Mbit/s optical fibre to homes and the role of wireless broadband, the commercial dominance of graphic-intensive computer games and the pervasiveness of digital television.

But we underplayed the likes of Youtube and ABC’s iView – this year, more than a billion people visited YouTube every month.

At that stage, hard drive technology was ramping up and we could see a future for multi-terabyte devices. However storage of personal content in the internet cloud didn’t rank a mention. Dropbox, a cloud storage service which launched in 2008, now claims 200 million users worldwide.

We did not rate the dominance of social media such as Facebook, at that stage not available outside the university/college market.

The market for mobile phone applications was at that time a failure with the Symbian operating system, so there was little evidence other than effort to suggest someone like Google or Apple would succeed. Latest figures suggest Google and Apple have supplied more than 100 billion app downloads between them.

What we missed, though, illustrates the point that we were quite conservative in what was accepted by our client as a set of wildly over-enthusiastic predictions.

So where will we be in 2025? The answer depends on where we are with the National Broadband Network. Without high capacity symmetric broadband, the answer is, as far as this futurist is concerned, quite depressing.

The future is a strange place. To gain some perspective, take a look at the past.