The construct "Future Shock" - originally coined by Alvin Toffler - implies a whole series of events that are describe in Toffler's published books, Future Shock (1970) and The Third Wave (1980) as follows...
  • In three short decades between now and the 21st century, millions of ordinary, psychologically normal people will face an abrupt collision with the future (Future Shock - 1970).
  • A powerful tide is surging across much of the world today, creating a new, often bizarre, environment in which to work, play, marry, raise children or retire. In this bewildering context... businessmen swim against highly erratic economic currents, politicians see their ratings bob widely up and down, universities, hospitals and other institutions battle desperately against inflation. Value systems splinter and crash, while the lifeboats of family, church and state are hurled madly about. The proverbial man in the street says the world "has gone mad", while experts points to all trends leading towards catastrophe (The Third Wave - 1980).
More than three decades has passed since Toffler wrote his best-seller, "Future Shock" and more than two decades since his follow-up best-seller, "The Third Wave". It is now the year 2014 and future shock, floating on the third wave, is already a scary reality that everyone of us lives with... and are confronted with each and every day. As individuals, our lives have become more and more complicated and our future an overwhelming pool of uncertainty and confusion.

As managers, we face increasing pressures and uncertainties. As employees, we are constantly confronted with change. As parents we find it increasingly difficult to assist and guide our children in these changing times. As South Africans, we generally struggle with the notions of reform; with the idea that something bad must be replaced by something good; that old dispensations must give way to some new social order.... literally overnight.

Things are changing all around us, nationally as well as internationally. We are confronted with and must deal with today's stress and surprises, while we are planning for tomorrow. We have to deal with today's business demands effectively, even while we have to create a new and radically different kind of business for the future. We must sustain today's society even while reinventing it for tomorrow. It's a daunting task, BUT also one that we cannot postpone... because the future simply doesn't wait for any one of us.

We collide with the future and changes do take place, whether we realise, acknowledge and/or accept it or not.

NOW (i.e. the power of now and seize the moment) is the only time we have to think and plan for what is lying ahead. The past taught us lessons and provides us with plenty of experiences and wisdom, the future is uncertain and possibly quite different from what we are used to... and the present, the present is all that we have to work with. There is not a moment to waste.

Many of the “solutions” hinge on a new socio-political system and one thing stand out above the rest: Institutions, organizations, business and each South African - and each inhabitant of this planet for that matter - has an important responsibility to......
This is not an idealistic, politically altruistic inspired thought. When we as South Africans are to survive the future, with just a semblance of our cultural persona intact, we must somehow preserve our present cultural values that are dear to all of us. All people - especially leaders - have a vital role to play in the future of this country. Demands made on us will grow; we will be called to deliver more and more - under increasingly strenuous and mentally exhausting conditions - as each year passes. The question is...
  • Are we ready for the responsibility?
  • Can we do it?
  • How will we do it?
  • What resources will we need?
There are no easy solutions for South Africa. There are a number of socio-political and educational-training models presently available that we can call on, without any certainty or guarantee that they will work today and under present circumstances. Thus, we can learn from the experiences in other countries, BUT in essence we have to invent our own future!


This is a mind-boggling challenge for each and every South African. It demands imagination, courage, perseverance, self-control, loyalty, respect for diversities and it demands “something different” rather than “more of the same”. It demands that we rethink and re-plan each aspect of our lives and reinvent (renew) our life's from start to finish and top to bottom.

An overwhelming task... YES, an impossible ideal, NO! It implies that we have to return to the basics. The basics of strengthening the South African chain, by strengthening each individual link of that chain, through responsible and an answerable self-empowerment and/or psyche management drives.

Like a man on a high wire, we're all tempted to freeze in times of danger. We assume that when we stop we'll be safe. But in times of change, it is the worst thing to do. The only way in which a tightrope walker can maintain his/her balance - and survive - is by moving forward. He/she must progress. And so it is for all people, all companies, institutions, organizations and all nations.


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