It is of the essence of the human being to participate constructively in the change, carrying out its transformative role with all the potential that it now has. The unpredictable can cause waiting to do something later perhaps become too late.

Many times I have been asked about my fondness for the game of chess, as a reference model in metaphors about change, and I think that I have always responded by mentioning that, I tend to associate it with the unpredictable.

In a talk that I used to give about the futility of resistance to change, I commented that, in the dialectic of change, a condition proper to the contradictions of transit between the present and the future is the existence of events that we cannot control and predict, as well as others manifest in response to our conscious and planned intervention, emerging a quantum point of inertia that awaits our participation, with an alternative that went from omission, unconscious or deliberate, to the manifested intention to do something, both having the potential to transform reality, promoting change, even without materially intervening.

Regarding this last potentiality, I explained that in chess it is equivalent to the rule of “A piece touched is a piece played”, where sometimes when the player is thinking about his different movement options for his pieces, he unconsciously touches a piece that he is evaluating, as if he had the intention of using it, which forces him, except for some exceptions, to move the tile in question. This consequence makes us reflect on the quantum concept that when observing an object, the object is affected by the observation itself.

The unpredictable

In a complementary orientation in these conversations, I highlighted an essence of the chess player's anticipatory thinking that, when analyzing his moves, includes the possible responses of the opponent. Imbued with his own interpretation of the game, eventually, movements of the opponent arise that had not been contemplated from our perspective, which is usually accompanied by the mental exclamation of "I did not expect it", labeled as something unforeseen or unpredictable. I also commented that it was necessary to assume that this situation showed the paradigm of the dialectic of change because, despite our conscious and planned intervention, where in addition to trying to decipher what can happen, we try to force an externalization of what we want to be manifested, it is not always possible to control what is actually going to happen.

And returning to focus on the game of chess, considering that the movement of the opposing player is based on our moves, what we thought was unexpected could be due to omission of analysis or play, the first due to not making an adequate anticipatory inventory of the possible moves, the second for not having made another feasible move that would have caused a different play.

With this dissertation, my reflection sought to trace the elements of the futility of resistance to change, understanding that once the material reality has been affected, there is no way to reverse an event, because it has remained in the past, and try to do it it would be useless, so it is more viable to carry out a new intervention. In chess, once a move by a piece is made, it cannot be undone, and the game must continue with the consequences of that move.

The immeasurable probabilities

Normally, the interaction dialogues at the end of the talks to which I referred cast doubts on the dialectic of change, pointing to unpredictability as an absolute condition, where there is no ability to control or predict. The central axis of my reflections did not approach unpredictability as a condition tied to the inevitability of change, because it is not, but rather to the result of the immensity of the probabilities derived from it, where a sequence of events can lead to a known situation, and apparently controlled, to a surprise demonstration that eventually and consequently can be described as disastrous.

Unpredictability is not a condition inherent to change, nor to its inevitability, but on the contrary, the inevitable can become, although not exclusively, the unforeseen, because it is certainly possible to foresee a situation, even of an emergent nature, but despite this, it cannot be prevented from happening, while that which is unpredictable manifests itself unexpectedly without its manifestation having been anticipated in any way.

Insisting on the metaphors of the Chess Game, I always mention a story contained in The Man Who Counted, a book written by Brazilian mathematician and writer Malba Tahan, composed of short stories about mathematical problems.

The story I refer to is the "Chessboard Problem" or the "Grain of Wheat Problem". The problem states that if you put one grain of wheat on the first square of a chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, and so on, doubling the number of grains on each square, by the time you get to the 64th square, the total number of grains would be more than 18 quintillions (18,446,744,073,709,551,616).

This problem is often used as an example to illustrate the concept of exponential growth.

And from my point of view, it's a great way to show how in the path of change, an event with minimal initial value can have a big impact over time.

I always invite people to imagine the path of life in the form of binary decisions based on the history of the chessboard. Thus, our first intervention generates two possible reactions in the next step, of which we choose one, and in the next step we select an option out of four that could have been presented to us, and thus it becomes a probabilistic mathematics where in 64 steps, which is a tiny thing in the cycles of life, can cause emergent events within 18 quintillion possible outcomes.

And I always ask to focus on the fact that the inexorability of the end of life leads to only one possible conclusion.

For this last reason, when the material reality that emerges from the change is not what is desired or expected, the potential that comes from being alive must prevail so that everything possible continues to be potential in the future, making it useless to cling to it. Events that have occurred that cannot be recovered due to the irreversibility of the previous reality.

In effect, assuming that life paths can be thought of as a series of binary decisions, where each decision has the potential to lead to different outcomes, the chessboard problem is a good analogy for this concept, as it shows how small decisions or actions can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

It is also true that life is subject to the probabilities of the inevitable, which means that certain events or outcomes once predetermined cannot be changed. However, this does not mean that we should resign ourselves to being limited by that default result. Each of us can still strive to make the best of the situation and take full advantage of the available opportunities.

It's important to note that while some results are predetermined, others are not, and the choices we make can affect the final result. Life is complex and multidimensional, and even if there is only one possible conclusion, our journey to reach it can vary depending on the choices we make. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that we have the capacity and the power to shape our lives to give reality to the most extraordinary aspirations.

Confronting the inevitable

Faced with the inevitable manifestation of change that directly affects our personal reality, reactions always acquire that emotional character that is typical of our essence as human beings.

I have always insisted that the entire review process, which is typical of the initial paralysis that an unforeseen change causes in our path, must lead us to affirmation, where our improvement capacity can help promote a growth mindset and increase self-confidence. When people assume that they can improve and develop new skills, they are more likely to take on change and persevere in the face of new challenges. This can lead to personal growth and success because it allows you to exploit the potential of possibilities that are yet to come.

This way of facing the new emerging reality seeks to overcome the common recipe of acceptance of change, which, although sometimes it is much more than passive resignation, focuses on recognizing one's behaviors that led to emerging changes, trying to discern the responsibility of our actions, decanting what must be improved to find ways to adapt and advance accordingly positive way. However, simple acceptance can lead to an uncertain course, in whose dynamics we tend to wander through the set of possibilities that arise, step by step, mismatching the potential for a better future. It is at this point that the determination to stop and restart must arise.

The denial of the new reality is a complex reaction, because the behavior pattern and the sequence of actions, almost always as a result of difficult or painful experiences, are focused on continuing to advance under the apparent non-existence of the manifested change. It is a form of resistance, but those affected can get trapped in a journey with a sequence of situations based on a non-existent starting point, so eventually any new reality is sustained by unfounded conditions capable of causing a collapse with even more unpredictable consequences.

The rejection is a refusal to continue advancing in the environment that arises as a consequence of the change, and because it generally manifests itself in actions oriented mainly to the containment, deviation, or alteration of the consequences exhibited by the new reality, it is a coping mechanism that causes difficulties, but since change is a continuous process that reveals new realities, it is also a behavior that allows one to continue, even in a positive way.

It is not possible to determine the mechanisms that each individual will use to deal with change, taking into account that these responses are not mutually exclusive, which is reflected in a combination that progresses according to the particular situation, jointly, or as a process.

For some, denial and acceptance is a formula that reflects the extremes of a process, while rejection and affirmation are combined and strengthened by the willingness to transform harmful situations into exercises for improvement.

However, I have always insisted that our responses to change are not always as simple as a binary “this or that way” decision.

Although for many it is difficult to count on the necessary fearlessness to move towards the unpredictable of the future, it is also not recommendable to remain in the comfort of an immobile attitude, since the inevitability of change, endowed with the essence of alterability by which nothing remains the same, it will always lead us to a new reality that we must assume, even when we have not participated in its construction.

I explained beforehand that in a quantum point of inertia, a fundamental concept that in quantum mechanics contributes to understanding the dual nature of matter and light, material reality awaits our participation. Therefore, in this point, to believe and to create are enough to produce a change, and to do is an action that results in change itself.