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How to Deal with Surprises and Stay Ahead of Competition


You must be feeling it.

Almost every industry in India is getting disrupted. Take a look at these trends:

  • Sites like Flipkart & Amazon have eliminated the need for physical book stores. Shops around India are shutting down.
  • Job recruiters have been displaced by websites like Naukri, Monster & LinkedIn.
  • OlaCabs & Uber are giving traditional taxi companies a run for their money
  • Local Newspapers are seeing their circulation numbers drop as more and more people turn to real time news from Social Media, blogs & news websites for their daily fill of relevance. 

If businesses don’t adapt to the new realities. They’re going to die.

And when massive industries are being disrupted, then guess what, so will we, at an individual level.

It’s very difficult to predict what the next big change is going to be. But what we can do is become better at dealing with surprises.

So when we are faced with a new opportunity or threat, we are poised and ready to deal with it by:

  • Adopting a new technology to serve our customers better
  • Learning a new skill so that you’re ahead of the competition
  • Updating our business model to reflect current realities

GTD® – Not Just about Getting Things Done

Have you watched Bruce Lee fight?

Is he all tensed up, anxious & nervous during a fight? Or is he more relaxed, composed & ready to meet head on whatever comes at him in the moment?

David Allen the founder of the Getting Things Done methodology, has a black belt in Karate. And Karate teaches you the importance of being relaxed and focused during a fight, so that you can tackle surprises like a champion.

David brought the principles he learned practising this ancient martial art into GTD. You can watch this 3 min video to hear David talk about the parallels between GTD & Karate.

The same applies to your day to day work as well. You cannot deal with surprises, if you have a head full of nagging thoughts. GTD helps you get to that place where your mind is clear to deal with change.

GTD – How Does it Work?

There’s a lot that has been written on why GTD works so well. But in short, it helps you remember to do the right things a the right time, every time.

Think about the value of having a calendar. It’s a trusted system that tracks all your appointments & important events, so that you don’t have to rely on your mind to keep track of them.

But what about your other commitments?

Like the emails you need to get back to, or the research you need to do on the new car, or the eggs you need to pick on your way home?

The GTD system helps you capture these open loops, clarify what they mean to you and organize them in their appropriate categories for the right action later on. You review these categories regularly so that you can take the best decision around what you need to do in any given moment. This ability is confidence boosting!

Thanks to GTD, instead of using your mind to track your commitments, you externalize all your commitments in a reliable system.

When your mind is clear and you feel adequate when it comes to handling your to-dos, you operate from a place of calm and efficiency. You are free to either work on things that are there on your lists, or deal with surprises coming at you. And no matter what you do, you excel!

Cause the choices you make are well-informed and context appropriate decisions that put you ahead of the rest of the crowd running around with a head full of noise.

Are you Ready for Change?

Think about your parents or grand parents. When they were your age, how many letters would they get? How many phone calls? How often would they connect with relatives overseas?

Compare this to the number of emails, messages, phone calls you receive.

I’m sure your realize that communication has almost taken over our lives. The rate of meaningful information being pushed at you is growing exponentially. It’s only going to get more overwhelming.

Unless you learn to deal with change & surprise, it’s going to be difficult to keep up with the trends & stay ahead of competition.

GTD can help you get to that place, where you are ready and even raring for change. You’ll be able to tackle that surprise punch thrown at you. Or duck in time! Just like Bruce Lee!

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