Status Quo

Why is the status quo a good thing? Why should things remain the same? Why are we afraid of change?

I think an aversion to change is actually a biological response to an unpredictable event. We, naturally, prefer comfort. We prefer assurance. We prefer safety.

So we resist change. We resist differences.

But then we start to resist evolution…We start to occlude inevitably positive adaptations because our biological restraint tells us not to?

When change is good, we are conflicted. When change is safer, more comfortable – but DIFFERENT – we get worried. We stop progress because of differences, not logic. Not rationality.

It all boils down to this question:

If something is BETTER but DIFFERENT, what should we do?

Across every industry, we see this debate play out time and time again.

Our incentive, as humans, is to keep things stable and under control. But our incentive, as humans, is to advance society and make the world a better place.

It is the venn diagram, the intersection of these two powerful, biological incentives, for which we see conflict.

The movers fight the stabilizers. But who is right? Who will win? 

In technology, we talk about the impact of emerging technologies: self driving cars…AI…AR…etc.Will they improve the world? Well who determines and how and why and what will be improved (or hurt).  But across the board, from a macro-perspective, technology does improve the world. Given that, should we not welcome change?

In sports, we ask the question Is Durant going to the Warriors more fun? Is it better for the league? Do we not want to see the best talent compete?

The status quo is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. I think the reality, though, is that we must learn to separate what we are used to and what is necessary (objectively) when making decisions. The incumbency is the definition of a sunk cost. We must eliminate our bias and make clear choices, predicated upon logic, science, and math…right?

On the converse, things are often “the way they are” for some sort of reason. It is best to intimately understand that reason before assuming things must be changed. Naivete is good. Questions are good. Ignorance is bad.

I balance these questions often as I think about what to work on and what to think about…how do you strike a balance between optimism about the future but then remember that change is not always the best case for all creatures.

We are all creatures after all, right?