Start Living in The Future

Yesterday, my 83-year old grandfather found a Facebook group for older adults in his area. He then had his favorite BBQ meal delivered through Grubhub. He settled in to eat while looking at the photos I sent to him on his new digital photo album. Indeed we are living in the future, and my grandfather is adapting well.

Real-life picture of my grandpa, enjoying his dinner ;)

On the other hand, I recently read a sad NYTimes article titled: Seniors Seeking Vaccines Have a Problem: They Can’t Use the Internet.

This stark difference in abilities is a harsh reminder about the need to learn and adapt continuously — it may be life or death.

It certainly is for your career.

We experienced many changes and challenges in our work and personal lives during the past year. But change is an opportunity to evolve — to start fresh, reset the status quo, and become equipped to deal with a new world.

The pace of change is accelerating. Research done by the World Economic Forum showed that 65% of students will have a job that doesn’t yet exist. This is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time — how do you prepare for work that hasn’t been identified yet?

To be ready to participate in the next evolution, everyone will need to adopt habits and practices that empower lifelong learning, and a huge part of this is moving past your assumptions of what you aren’t good at.

One thing I hear a lot (and sometimes think myself) is:

“Well, I’m just not good at computers, driving on the highway, public speaking, etc.”

Eight years ago, I worked at a University helping professors identify their skill gaps to help them grow professionally. One thing I heard over and over from these brilliant and talented experts was, “Well, I’m not a computer person,” and they would wait for a student or TA to get their slide deck to work. I believe 2020 will have been a rude wake-up call that resting on their laurels isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Assuming that you can’t do something or learn something is an excuse. It’s finding the easy way to get out of the discomfort of learning a new skill.

You can take control of your learning through the Growth Mindset.

The Growth mindset is simply the mentality that you can’t do something “yet,” but the ability can be grown with effort.

It’s common in schools and has become common in business.

Just think about the skills you have certainly grown over the past year:

  • Increased abilities with remote work
  • Distance learning
  • Understanding what someone is saying through a mask
  • Resilience

You may have started 2020 with the idea that you are good at using Teams/skype/zoom. Do you still feel that way?

Would you rather be like one of those professors waiting for a competent and proactive student to help them turn on their computer for the 500th time? Or would you rather dig into some delicious BBQ-lovingly delivered to your doorstep like my grandpa?

You decide.

For more resources on continuous learning, check out these links:

A socially awkward jumble of contradictions, questions, and tangents.