My observation of the Fourth Revolution is that the revolution in communication capabilities places back the global nomad at the top of social and value hierarchy, after it had been displaced during the Agricultural and Industrial Age which depended a lot on huge local investments. The opposition and struggle between sedentary and nomads is age-old and it just took a new turn.
Many social movements such as the ‘Gilets Jaune’ in France, and more generally the crisis of local communities, can be connected to this major change. In addition to local territories, local elites feel displaced as more value is now captured by global nomads. This leads to strong reactions and struggles, one clear path being protectionism as an illusory protection against this trend. But that obviously can’t be effective if one also wants to benefit from modern connectivity at the same time.
This readjustment of the value chain benefiting nomads will be a major social trend in the next decades and an interesting way to understand what is happening globally. Still I believe the trend can’t be resisted and the future Collaborative Age elite will definitely be global nomads.
“This habitual way of responding to difficulty is actually what’s standing in [our] way. Training the mind to respond differently in this exact kind of situation is probably the most important training [we] could do.”
“When you notice yourself having difficulty — someone is frustrating you, you are disappointed in yourself, you’re procrastinating on a hard task or habit you’re trying to form, you’re feeling resentful or criticizing yourself — start to recognize this as your Beautiful Practice Ground. And see it as a wonderful opportunity to practice.”
It is an exceptionally fruitful viewpoint to see our frustrations, stresses and guilt feelings as learning opportunities. Let’s pause, breathe and see what we can learn from it – and change our response from there.
When to you start identifying those new training grounds?
Following on our post building on the excellent LinkedIn post “What I Wish I Knew At 22“, one particular comment has also raised my attention: “Stop chasing the girl, the promotion, and the raise. Become the person who attracts the girl, earns the promotion, is worthy of the raise. Spend your time growing into a more interesting person, and the gravitational force of the universe will shift towards you.”
Beyond the limited list of things to aim for (!) that would certainly need to be extended, I like this hint that we need to seek attracting the good stuff in general, rather than constantly chasing it. It is the ultimate aim of any marketing campaign: get people to come to us rather than having to seek them one by one.
It is also quite true on a personal level, and it is interesting to take this viewpoint or objective when considering possible direction for self development. Let’s evolve into someone that attracts what we want in life, and spend less time chasing for it.
When you go through a tough patch, the situation will leave a deep imprint in your mind in all cases. However, what this imprint is actually is your choice. The same situation will be traumatizing for some people, and exhilarating for others. The lessons we learn will depend on the individual.
By going real and testing, by getting burnt and getting scars, we create our memories. We build ourselves. Still we need to choose what exactly we learn from these situations. It is not always adequate to conclude that it is better to stay far from it; it might be better to conclude that it would be better to approach the issue from another way.
The memories and new reactions you build from the tough event are choices you need to make consciously. If possible, try to avoid falling into the trauma side which may consume you. Consider, if needed with the help of others, what good is to learn from the experience and move from there in building a better yourself.
Do get burnt and get scars, and manage your risks to survive in all cases. Then make sure you take the time to overcome the trauma and build constructive lessons from the experience.
“The lessons you learn best are those you get burned by, without the scar, there’s no evidence or strong memory” writes Julien Smith in a very interesting short book called The Flinch.
He continues, “The event didn’t actually happen or imprint itself on your brain— you just trusted those who know better. Adults know what’s safe, so you listen. Over a lifetime, those who listen too much build a habit of trust and conformity. Unfortunately, as time goes on, that habit becomes unbreakable“.
Reflecting on my own experience, it is true that those experiences that really created pain are those that are the most present. They inform the way I deal with certain situations.
The point of Julien Smith is that it is not enough to hear or read about situations, it is essential to live through them. Action is key, together with risk, and scars are proof of experience. They are needed, and there is no way you can gain experience without. Go for it!
I read a very interesting short book called The Flinch, by Julien Smith (available only on Kindle at this stage apparently). The concept is simple. “It’s about an instinct— the flinch— and why mastering it is vital. The book is about how to stop flinching. It’s about facing pain.”
A flinch is ‘to make a sudden, involuntary movement in response to a (usually negative) stimulus‘ (Wiktionary definition). The concept of the book is that this reflex is what beats us in a variety of situations in our current life.
Of course, the flinch was a useful survival reflex in the wild, but in today’s society, it becomes an impediment in a variety of situations. The split second hesitation or pull back leads to being overwhelmed by others or even creates dangerous situations for the self. An example developed in the book is boxing, where training is a lot about overcoming the flinching reflex so as to be able to push into the opponent.
According to Julien Smith, “The flinch is your real opponent, and information won’t help you fight it. […] It’s why the monolithic company gets wiped out by a lean startup— because the big company culture avoids the hard questions. It’s the reason you make the wrong decision, even though you may know what the right one is.”
The flinch is what prevents us from taking risks and from responding quickly to new situations. We need to be able to overcome the reflex in many situations. And it can only be learnt by practicing. When do you start?
In the post she explains how she has difficulty accepting the mantra ‘your work should be your passion’. She describes some experiences where she converted her passion in work and it did not work out! Too much strain and too much focus almost killed her passion. Her advice is then to be careful and not necessarily mix the two together. And while work should be interesting, she states that it is also important to have a passion outside work.
The contrary argument of course, is that if you want to become good at what you are doing, you should be a minimum passionate about it otherwise you won’t put in the effort required.
All in all, and that’s an advice that can be found in several places, it is probably safe to say that you should be passionate about your work, AND at the same time, have a great passion outside work for the balance.
Maybe you have been using the ‘Instapaper‘ application. It is an application that allows you to bookmark webpages and read them later, even when you are disconnected, from any device (more on Wikipedia).
What you may not realize, is that this application was developed single-handedly by one person, Marco Arment, during 5 years, from 2008 to 2013. With no full-time employee, this self-funded startup attracted more than 2 million users!
Marco sold it in April 2013 to allow it to grow and in a very humble blog post tat is worth reading explains how that was needed to allow the product to grow and tackle competition (he still remains involved and has only sold a majority stake).
Think about it: “If a multi-million dollar business can be developed and managed by one person with a laptop in an apartment, what happens to your business and your job as this rapid innovation and digitization continues to ripple through every industry“? This question by Mitch Joel in his last book “Ctrl Alt Delete” is worth considering for a moment. In the Industrial Age, such product development would have required a large staff and a huge investment. Not any more.
And I have personally met a number of entrepreneurs running very profitable companies from home with the help of part-time contractors.
Indeed, the Fourth Revolution is marching on! Are you in?
The interesting side of this book is how our physiology is influencing our decision-making, and how it can be contagious in a group. The book describes in minute detail the working of our nervous and hormonal system when we are faced with the stress of modern life.
If there is a proof that the rational approach of economists and market theorists can only be wrong, it is this book. In effect our primitive brain happens to drive a lot more of our actions than what we’d like to believe – and thus creates irrational behaviors that can have far-flung impact on our economy and our lives.
Read this amazing book to understand to which extend what we believe are our choices are in fact dictated by our deeper, primitive nature; how our physiology influences deeply our behavior and choices – and how seldom in fact our rational, evolved brain intervenes in our decision-making.
Welcome to the world beyond the rationalism of the Industrial Age.
A little useful etymology I stumbled upon – and which explains why career management is about riding a merry-go-round!
‘Career’ comes from the Middle-Age French carriere (race-course), itself a deformation from Latin. It thus means ‘racing’, a competition in scarcity where the few top positions are reserved to those who will be fastest or the strongest.
‘Manage’ comes from the Middle-Age French ‘mesnager’ or Italian ‘maneggiare’ which was used to mean ‘drive a horse’ or ‘hold the reins of a horse’.
I don’t know why and I associated the two ideas and suddenly I was looking at Industrial Age career management as people riding wooden horses on a merry-go-round, always racing and never getting anywhere. Just going around on an absurd race.
Where is your current racing on the ‘career ladder’ really taking you?
“Being productive isn’t about wringing every last minute out of every day doing something or checking stuff off a to-do list and building a relentlessly efficient system that allows nothing through the cracks.” – Amber Naslund
Amber Naslund is an entrepreneur and she’s working in social networks business. She’s quite advanced in the Fourth Revolution. So, no wonder that when she looks at productivity, she looks at it from the point of view of the K.E.E.N. (Knowledge Exchanging Enhancing Networker): productivity of the K.E.E.N. is very much about creativity, not about repeating tasks efficiently!…
Let’s leave the last word to Amber:
“We need time to float along on the breeze. Have a casual, spontaneous conversation. Enjoy some silence. Write a bunch of random stuff that we never finish, and be okay with that. Productivity, at its essence, means being able to bring things about.”
The good thing, is that it just killed our guilt of doodling around (next time you’re asked, say that you are growing your next ideas)!
According to Simon Sinek, what makes the difference for great organizations – and great leaders – is that they know their ‘Why”. It is from their purpose that they derive how they do things and what they do in detail.
All individuals and organizations know their “What”. Some organizations know their “How”, but very rarely their “Why”.
Watch Simon Sinek give a great explanation with fantastic examples related to the Wright Brothers versus the establishment, and other great examples in this TED speech (if you’re a hurry, watch from 1:20 to 5:50 – if you can stop then!):