“But we didn’t need it, and we turned out fine.”
We hear this line more than we should. From tap water to technology, from diets to devices, from gender identification to genetic modification, from schooling to selecting a coach or advisor, our peers and mentors can often throw this line in our face – but we didn’t need it, and we turned out fine.
It can leave our sails windless and stall our engines before we’ve even selected a gear.
But here’s the thing: the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) poses one challenge that previous generations have never had to meet: prolific access.
Access to what? Everything.
One of the significant changes that we’ve seen in the world around us over the last two decades is the overwhelmingly enlarged access to information. Before the profuse use of mobile technology and cloud-based servers, data was stored in books and brochures, libraries and archives, making it harder to access. Now, we literally have the world (wide web) wirelessly at our fingertips. And those born this century have not known anything different.
Information is now so readily available that we have a new challenge: how do we find the valuable information that is relevant to us right now? On top of that, we have comparisons that we could never quickly draw before; like how the stock market performed last year, in 2008, 1998 and 1928. Heck, we can even compare the Bitcoin bubble to the Tulip bubble in 1636.
DIY is no longer about putting up new bookshelves in your bedroom; it’s about choosing, managing and prevailing on virtual shelves (platforms) for social engagement, investing, shopping, job hunting, learning, travel and just about anything else you’d like.
We are overwhelmed, our parents are overwhelmed, our children are overwhelmed.
The expectations are no longer what they were in 2004. Our opportunities are considerably more expansive, and the perceived consequences of ‘getting it wrong’ are infinitely more shareable. Now, the most dangerous words are: “We’ve always done it this way.”
We need to encourage each other to do things differently, to rely on experts, advisers, mentors and coaches to help us navigate this new revolution. These helpful people are not just for the wealthy or well-connected; they’re for all of us.
As our connections grow, we need to be willing to do the inner work of building our character and protecting our values. It’s not about changing fundamental truths; it’s about changing our perspectives about how big the truth really is.
Making decisions in the 4IR is no longer about extracting one choice, it’s about engaging in conversations.