New Responsibilities are Opportunities

In Thomas Friedman’s 2016 book, “Thank You for Being Late”, he forcibly insists, the time when we could be average and do well is over. In this “Age of Accelerations” as he calls it, it requires us to be better and to continually improve.  As discussed previously and now updated with what I learned in this book, ” Evolve Maintenance to Improvement to Create +3’s

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He explains, we used to be able, in Western countries, to pay high wages for middle skilled jobs. He says that time is over. For us in the older generation, we would get our skills, look for and find a job, and life long learning could be a helpful hobby. No more, now life long learning is a requirement just to keep and maintain a job. Today, just to have a job, it may need to be invented. This is what he refers to our need to develop a dynamic stability to keep up in this new time.

He explains the new norm is to work harder, go faster than change and regularly reinvent yourself to stay relevant. No longer can we just show up to succeed, we need dynamic stability and must keep pedaling and learning. This new on-demand world requires on-demand learning.

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In an earlier book he wrote, “The World is Flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century”, he explained how technology had leveled the playing field and made the world flat. That new reality now means  the digital divide, those nations that have access to technology versus those that don’t, has disappeared and this means that only thing left to separate us that matters is the “motivational divide”.  The Internet enables all to learn so people need the self-motivation to take advantage of what is offered.  As he states, this is a situation where we must choose to opt-in, we can’t just be average, if we want to thrive.

In other words, it is important we work to exceed expectations by opting in and getting all we can out of these learning opportunities.

He explains learning and gaining skills is important because of how our world has changed. What was valued has changed over time. We have gone from valuing, treasuring and using agrarian capital, to valuing and using physical capital to now valuing and using human knowledge capital. He also points out this presents our best opportunity to equitably distribute and use these resources because they are plentiful and provide a non-zero sum gain opportunity.

This non-zero sumness opportunity means everyone and everything can benefit, a true democratization of society. This opportunity is what Robert Wright discussed in his book, “NonZero: The Logic of Human Destiny”. He describes non zero sumness as different than zero sum, where what I win you lose or vice versa, but as situation where interactions leave everyone better or worse off – not the same or zero. He also gives a less optimistic but relevant discussion in his TED Presentation, “Progress is not a Zero Sum Game”.    (which relates to Steven Pinker’s work highlighted at, ” What Makes Sense Leads to Moral Progress“)

My understanding of Non Zero sumness is that we either all win or all lose. What seems obvious and has been the focus of my efforts and what are the desires for must is for all to win. This is to practice paneugenesis by creating pervasive, reciprocal selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker
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