Have you ever found yourself wondering when the rate of change in our world is going to slow down? An American electrical engineer, Gordon Moore, predicted in 1965 that a computer’s performance would double every two years (Moore’s Law). How right he was – remember those huge computers that would take up half of your desk space and can now snugly fit into your pocket! Computer capacity is now moving beyond the microchip and a superpower is on the rise in cloud computing, paving the way for a scary movement into Artificial Intelligence.
Twice in the past week I have been reminded of the change coming our way (actually already swelling up behind and around us!) I attended an event which shed light on robotics and 3D printing and how they are going to shake up the nature of work and employment into the future. One lady spoke of her robotic chef who cooks delicious meals in their home every night, and how reliable her robotic housekeeper was! All happening in suburban Brisbane right at this moment! Noticing the surprise in my facial expression, she calmly told me that this would be normal in ten years’ time! Apparently we’re already 3D printing houses, body parts (a 3D printed heart was transplanted into a baby last week, complete with artificial blood vessels). I was also introduced to a biofeedback headgear that measures brain activity, sending graphs to your iPhone or iPad. It’s being used to train focus and attention in athletes, students and the military! Not sure how you feel, but my mind boggles with all of these advancements.
But what does this mean for our way of life, our education and our jobs? Educators are acutely aware that many of the degrees they are offering now will graduate students prepared for jobs that the wave has already passed by. Staying optimistic about our career and our future can be a challenge for many, especially for our young people who are trying to make decisions about a future that they can’t possibly predict.
Optimism is about hope and possibility, so how can we prepare them with the skills they are going to need to take on these waves of change and stay positive and believing that their future looks bright?
As I see it, we have three choices:
1. Keep doing the same old, same old! Same education system, same degrees, same jobs. Watching the wave of change coming and allowing it to crash down on us, shaking up our world and washing us up on the shore in a dishevelled and confused state.
2. Take a deep breath, brace ourself and dive head first into the wave. Tinker with our current situation, prepare a little and hope for the best! The problem with this choice is that we’re sure to pop up intact when the wave has crashed somewhere over our head, but in the same stuck spot and the wave has passed us by.
3. It’s the third choice that gets me exited! What if we were to be proactive about this wave heading our way (like a tsunami warning heeded!) What if we started to design our own personal surfboard, equipped with all the skills we’re going to need to ride this wave, follow its natural flow & land safely in a new spot, ready for the challenge!
The big question is this – how do we design our surfboard? To get our creative thoughts flowing, here are some questions to reflect on:
• What is it that’s not being taught in our schools and tertiary institutions?
• How well do we know ourself? Our learning style, our talents and our unique character strengths?
• What skills can we draw on to help us build and sustain healthy relationships?
• What strategies can we draw on to stay calm and focused in a frenetic, fast paced world?
• How can we tune into our values and use them to help steer our decisions?
• How can we become our own personal leader, able to make congruent choices for ourself?
• What would it take for us to become our own entrepreneur; able to take risks, be flexible, optimistic and solution focused?
• What skills can we draw on in times of change?
The future belongs to those who are optimistically able to push the boundaries and harness their strengths to pave new ways of thinking, through exploration of self- awareness, personal leadership and entrepreneurship. The future belongs to those of us who are able to search for answers to all of the questions above, and use them to build their own surfboard.