short human platforms

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A number of station platforms on my journey are too short for the train.

Each evening the train manager announces which carriages will fit. Passengers in carriages unable to alight are advised to make their way through to an alternative carriage.

The infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose. Stations and platforms built many years ago, now insufficient for the train lengths demanded by busy commuters. Worse, I suspect the train operators might like to add more carriages, as traffic grows and so infrastructure becomes increasingly inadequate.

Having infrastructure unable to cope with growing needs is a problem elsewhere. You only have to own a phone to know that. Or drive around the M25.

Our world is changing fast. The military use a phrase, now prevalent in business and leadership. VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. It describes the rapidly changing, unpredictable, uncertain world we live in. The inexorable expansion of stimulus, the pace of change, the ‘always on’ information flow, the societal pressures to perform, to excel, to achieve, to compete. All add to the stresses on our own human infrastructure. Sometimes it too comes up short. Unable to accommodate the sheer volume and inordinate complexity of the experiences we have, travelling on our own train of modern life.

Anxiety and mental illness is on the increase. Reported happiness increasing in some quarters but decreasing in others. Loneliness in the young growing. Society across the globe increasingly fractious, disruptive, searching for something absent.

Maybe our human infrastructure is struggling too with the modern demands of our busy world? Maybe our platforms are too short, our carriageways not wide enough, our bandwidth clogged?

Time perhaps to invest in self?

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