CATEGORY: Human Competence | AUTHOR: Teresa Lopes
The future is human
The challenge of working and building a life is to prepare for a future we don't understand. So, we must understand ourselves.
We are all waking up in the future. Every morning. Right now.
Quantum computing, nanotechnology, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, smart devices and the internet of things. Every hour, of every day, billions of trillions of zettabytes of information run through, on and around this planet. Time is measured in nanoseconds; space in astronomical units. The universe has never felt so big and seemed so small. There are more things in the world that we can't see, explain or understand, than those that we can.
And then we have self-checkouts, self-driving cars, virtual assistants, digital twins, chatbots, intelligent robots, biotechnology. Everywhere we look, technology seems to be taking over, evolving faster than us. Even overriding us, replacing us. All the while, we walk around in masks, exchanging no more than fleeting glances. We are all the more distant, disconnected, contactless, creating roots through wireless connections.
It's mind boggling.
Suddenly it hits us: 'What now?'
We go about our lives doing the same every day, working hard and hardly living, while everything seems to go crazy around us. Brexit, Covid, unemployment, volatile financial markets, mental health issues. Still, we wake up every morning and navigate all these familiar things within a completely new reality.
Then things at work start changing. We have to learn something new, do something different, maybe even look for a new position. And then the riddle dawns on us. It's impossible to know 'What now?' or 'What's next?'
When it comes to working, living, laying down roots, building dreams, the biggest challenge is trying to prepare for a future we don't understand.
However, we don't need to know the future. We just need the ability to understand it as it unfolds, right here in the present moment. If we are also aware of how we impact the world around us, we see the benefits of being self-aware, of being present, and of being conscious of our choices, responses and our actions. We start to experience synchronicities that reality orchestrates on our behalf, precisely because we are awakened to who we truly are and are aligned to a greater purpose.
The consequences of how we show up in the world will become the creations of our life.
The nature of work has changed, and it will again
Working is already different: remote offices, flexible working, digital nomadism. In the near future, the nature of jobs is going to be radically transformed. Within ten years, automation alone will create 13.6 million new jobs. Other technology and globalisation will create new fields, new occupations, new opportunities.
Yes, some jobs will disappear, and yes, new jobs will emerge.
There is a whole new space to fill, with humans and machines working together. For them: memory, speed, calculus, efficiency, routine. For us, a higher level of thinking – and being. One driven by the human mind and heart.
In the 60s, a finance director would spend most of their time doing arithmetic on calculators and in paper ledgers to create departmental budgets. When spreadsheets came along to automate all that, those directors could start focusing on financial and investment strategies instead. The job has changed, so have people. Now, millions of jobs are about to leap forward once more, and we must evolve accordingly.
Employers are already hiring according to different skills so that machines perform their own tasks, and workforces become more... human. Recruitment now uses psychographics and psychometric tests to look for character qualities, attitudes, behaviours, and, the apparent zenith of them all, soft skills. We see more job descriptions than ever with words such as "collaborative, innovative, focused, resilient, organised, creative, strategic".
Yet, no one is learning what it is to 'be' all these qualities in school or in any formal training. People go through life thinking that they are either born with a certain characteristic or not. They are either creative or not, analytical or not, humorous or not. The truth is that we were all born creative, analytical and humorous. All these meta-skills are innate, and all of them can be developed.
It's up to us to develop our tools. To see how our universe is expanding and how we therefore can choose to expand with it.
Human skills are the job currency of the future
We don't need to compete with machines; we outwit them just by being human. However, if technology is getting better, so should we. We should become better at doing the things only we can do. Empathy, communication, critical thinking, imagination – all human skills that can't be automated.
The beauty of character-based development is how it enables anyone to develop meta-skills that are fundamental right now and vital in the future. If our mind was a computer, the Entelechy journey would be, in a way, transforming our thought process into an evolutive programme – as if we, as humans, were the technology.
Entelechy has created a journey where character, behaviours and attitudes are combined for the first time in a highly personalised journey. 54 Character Qualities encoded with the 77 Soft Skills in highest demand globally, across all industries. Then, it expanded into 324 behaviours that can be combined to benefit work, life and everything else, pretty much like coding human character.
'Educationally speaking', character-based development is radically different from traditional training – as different as day is to night. If, for example, one would want to deliver a presentation, we wouldn't focus on writing a document, designing a presentation and following a structure. Instead, we'd focus on being confident, expressive, gracious and influential, so that the natural consequence would be an outstanding talk.
In work and in life – whether the life of an apprentice, a mentor or a seasoned professional – we need to develop beyond what we think the future challenges will be. Being ahead of the game means returning to fundamental personal, constructive, and transferrable competencies applied to whatever we do and wherever we go.
No matter where the future takes us, as long as we can expand our character and our vision of ourselves, we will always be in control of our destiny.
Now imagine that everybody would intentionally work on their character qualities, just like that – being better at whoever they are. What if everyone could be more kind, empathetic, creative, and collaborative. Imagine a world inhabited by visionaries and by fair, accountable, purposeful people.
How different would reality be?