Ignorance is not bliss. It’s pain.
It’s missed opportunities, lost income and lots and lots of personal heartache. In fact, what you don’t know can kill you in many different ways. On the other hand, too much information is also useless. You and I know many people
who are drowning in data. The challenge is to pinpoint the key trends and then take appropriate action ahead of the herd. I’ve outlined the Ten Tides of Change that are transforming our lives at the beginning of the new millennium. We’ll explore the first and how to leverage this trends.
The key organizing principle underpinning everything you read is to help you “Get It” immediately. I know that when someone is talking to me and I don’t understand what they’re saying, I’m not the one who’s stupid. Seriously, have you noticed that when people are not absolutely sure of their subject, they make it seem far more complicated than it really is. Their philosophy is that, if they can’t convince you, they’ll confuse you. On the other hand, if they truly know what they’re talking about, they make it sound so clear and accessible. Well, that’s what I’ve attempted to do here. I know your time is at a premium. That’s why I’ve offered you the simple essence of each Tide of Change, followed by the suggested strategies and skills to surf them. I’ll leave it to you to add your own value and interpretations.
“Like our other core infrastructures — roads and bridges, the electric power grid, the phone system — the wired and wireless network is being built largely by private companies, yet the public needs universal access. If laptops and Internet connections and Web-aware mobile phones remain tokens of privilege, then the gap between rich and poor will grow.” (James Gleick, Life in the Wireless Age).
At one extreme of society are those who welcome change and the technology to control it. These are the individuals who have embraced autonomy and change. They are wired, independent and in control of their lives. They relish the new economy and all the opportunities it offers.
At the other end are the people who feel left out of society. They are unwired and unsettled by the way it is changing around them. They are bewildered by life’s increasing complexity. So they reject change and technology. They seek stable and reassuring guideposts. These are the underdogs who could turn into the underwolves and bite back. They consider civil disobedience, even violence, to be increasingly acceptable. They are angry, prone to addictions and often engage in behaviour that hurts both themselves and others.
In the medium term, society has been migrating towards the “autonomous independents” although, since 1997, there has been an incipient reverse shift towards the old order. The sheer momentum of change is simply exhausting and disorienting many people.
Environics’s Social Values Research shows that at least half the population is feeling left out and left behind. If you’re reading these words, though, I promise you that you’re not one of them. However, if you want to truly thrive in the new world, you have to help bring your less-empowered compatriots into the new high-performance zone. They aren’t where you are right now, not because they don’t have the intellectual capacity, but because of past conditioning or current fear. Teach them how to fish in the new waters and you will end up eating very well for a lifetime. On the other hand, if you ignore them and focus only on converting the converted, your true Personal Best will elude you.
As you read through you’ll see that a central theme is “getting through giving”. More than ever before, your country, your community, your fellow human beings need your personal gifts.
Mike Lipkin would be delighted to share your points of view. So please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.