First published Nassau, Bahamas, Tribune July 30th 2019
“The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure that you seek”. (Joseph Campbell).
<Our world has changed immensely in the last ten years, in the last ten months, in the last ten minutes in every possible way and it will continue to do so as technology grows exponentially. The obvious and the one most familiar to us is the internet and how we universally accept this method of communication. We have accepted it as our new normal and the younger ones, with the flexible thumbs that seem to fly to a rhythm of their own, don’t even know a world where it didn’t exist.
But there are so many other ways in which our environment both socially and in the workplace has also changed, that the question becomes, are you ready for it and if not what do you have to do, what do you have to accept and how will you adapt? The continuation of civilisation or life as we know it is not dependent solely on who is the smartest or the richest or even the most powerful, it will be on which individuals, which communities are the most resilient. It is the individual who is willing and able to change, accept new ideas and adapt his or her behaviour, who will survive and thrive.
The work-place, for example, is where one of the most significant reversals can be found. In my parents’ days and even at the beginning of my own early career, the goal at every level of ability, was stability and to provide for one’s family. This meant finding a job and staying in it often for life but at least for ten or twenty years. The rare souls who went against this commonly held traditional belief (myself included) were not regarded as entrepreneurs or free spirits with curious or creative minds, but as “jacks of all trades, masters of none” and dealt with dismissively as if there was something amiss with us. Fifty years later and in the so-called “gig economy” this different way of thinking and doing is now a credible reality and a complete reversal of those previously held conservative ideals. Now we find it unusual for anyone to stay in a job whether low or high on the totem pole, as they might have done back in the day. This change has been initiated and influenced by technology which allows us to more easily roam the world, experience other cultures and ways of doing things both virtually and literally. Whole populations are undergoing a seismic shift in perceptions of what it takes to create a happy and rewarding life. Not everyone has got there yet – it’s an ongoing process – as we learn to live in altered circumstances.
If we open our minds and accept the endless possibilities which exist for all of us we will see that there is an infinite source of opportunity, more so than ever, to have absolute freedom of choice. No excuses, about lack of means, education or opportunity – the world and those things are literally at our finger tips and if we master our minds and open our eyes, we will see that in this era, we have chances that previously never existed and by tomorrow or next week, there will be even more including jobs we haven’t even imagined yet. We can become entrepreneurs in the widest use of that word and create our own paths to fulfillment and well-being but it takes different skills – open-mindedness, curiosity, creativity and the willingness to take risks and enter that unknown cave.
I’m not saying either the old or the new viewpoint is right or wrong, merely different in perception, time and place and we all have different needs and means of finding a way to satisfy our ambitions and to make a place for ourselves in this changing economy. Adapt or die is the figurative watchword and we must conquer our fears, our mistrust of change and stay alert to prosper by keeping our fingers on the pulse of evolutionary progress.>