This is true throughout nature. Glaciers that took millennia to form calve off into the sea in a matter of moments. Old-growth forests filled with thousand-year-old trees can be decimated by a single wildfire. The bubonic plague "Black Death" pandemic of the Middle Ages killed one-third of the Earth's human population within just four short years.
Fast change is also a hallmark of human society. Movements and ideas — oftentimes simmering for years, decades or longer — suddenly reach a critical state in which the populace is swept up into history-making action. The outbreak of World War I. The Civil Rights movement. The dissolution of the USSR. The Digital Age.
When it comes, change happens swiftly. And life after — for better or worse — is forever different.
I've witnessed this time and time again since co-founding PeakProsperity.com. And in pretty much every instance, I notice that the vast majority of people — including even many of the the watchful and preparation-minded folks who read this site — are caught by surprise.