SLR 071: The Value of Nimble

Simple Life RebootThe oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
–H.P. Lovecraft

Change is something people have always resisted. It’s something we fear and try to avoid, even knowing it is inevitable, part of life, itself.

Today, change is occurring at a pace never before seen in history, making it virtually impossible to predict the future. Whether it’s the work we do, the products we buy or produce, or the laws we rely upon, the life we lead increasingly resembles a Picasso painting rather than a paint-by-numbers.

It seems we have created a world of disruptive innovation, a term coined by Clayton M. Christensen, in his book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.

Disruptive Innovation:  A process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.

And while such an economy is dynamic and exciting, it seems no sector is safe, not lawyers, doctors, accountants, or taxi drivers. While change has always been part of our economy, creating new products, new companies being formed, the difference, now, is that the speed at which products, companies, and even whole sectors, are displaced, is outstripping our capacity to react and to cope.

So, what is the solution?

Our ability to adapt, to pivot quickly when circumstances dictate, has never been more needed than it is today.

Consider what mind scientist John Medina says about human history and our ability to adapt:

“How, then, did we go from such a wobbly, fragile minority population to a staggering tide of humanity 7 billion strong and growing? There is only one way. You give up on stability. You don’t try to beat back the changes. You begin not to care about consistency within a given habitat, because such consistency isn’t an option. You adapt to variation itself.”

Being Nimble

We believe that personal and financial nimbleness is a key factor in determining to what degree we retain control over our circumstances, and still maintain the level of safety and security we desire.

Nimbleness occurs when we have fewer physical, emotional, and financial obligations, weighing us down, when we are able to pivot and keep moving without losing momentum and power. When we have the time and inclination to learn, to think, and to grow.

As a practical matter, being nimble looks like this.

The 10 Qualities of Being Nimble

1)    Financial margin
2)    Time margin
3)    Energy margin
4)    Learning margin
5)    Career margin
6)    Family margin
7)    Living-Space margin
8)    Physical margin
9)    Emotional margin
10) Vocational margin

In our list, financial margin comes first, because without it, the other goals become more difficult to achieve. With financial margin, however, the other qualities become easier to reach.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by life, by debt, by the sheer speed at which the world is changing, you are not alone. We believe the steps we can take to become happier and more adaptable in this environment, includes understanding and adopting the 10 qualities of being nimble.


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3 thoughts on “SLR 071: The Value of Nimble

  1. The way you pose the problem (lots of change and uncertainty) and the solution really got me thinking. I have many friends who are looking to outside events and circumstances to bring about the security they want; in the past. Creating margin isn’t about looking outside to what we can’t control, it’s about what is in my hand and abilities to influence. Thank you for this post- I need to make a plan of how to create more margin- not more blockades- in my own life.

    • Thanks Melissa! Creating margin is a challenge for all of us, but when progress is made it can make a profound difference in our lives. -DB