Never before has the been a time in business where a threat so strong has immobilized business owners and their management teams. Ignorance has never been a place to hide behind, not paying attention doesn’t work either. The reason nothing is happening, CEO’s are protecting their bonuses, middle managers are fighting to keep what they believe is entitled to them. This movement, this new second industrial age has been known and talked about for many years, here, and in the board rooms. But very little movement to accept or adopt keeps fear as the motivator to do nothing, to do what has always been done.
Some 25 years ago, the Internet was born, it opened the door to a brave new world, a world that brought even more confusion on top of what we already have, the pile got bigger. The pile (fear) is bigger, it’s enormous, because we chose to be spectators, we were convinced we didn’t know what to do, so we did nothing. I’m speaking to the masses in big business, those who adopted, who chose to act on what they could see, they are down the road, enjoying the fruits of their labors.
The Internet, for all intents and purposes, has removed the need for the middleman, the Internet put customer and product together without the need to be sold by that so-called person in the middle. Our BS protectors work better than ever in this new industrial age, this new or second industrial age. If we are going to act like the Industrial age of the last 150 years, we might as well name this new revolution the 2nd Industrial Age, it might ease the pain of big business. But make no mistake, the middleman is in the cross hairs, there is very little need for them, unless they can reinvent themselves to take part in a new role.
If you’re that person, the middle man / woman, find a way to get of the way, stay out of the cross hairs. If you choose to do nothing, your world will come crashing down around you. It doesn’t have to, because you have the same opportunity to go build something great, you have the tools, the brain power, and you need very few resources, what are you waiting for, now go!
The Best Way To Predict The Future, the words from a famous leader are, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”! The man who said these words was, Abraham Lincoln. Which proves, we….man / women, have been thinking about this for a long, long time.
I was chatting with a friend this morning, about the future, married kids, and our ages, it was fun but bothersome at the same time. I was consumed by the feeling that, I’m running out of time. I may spend hours on end looking into the future, where business is going, and how it will change, but I don’t worry about what MY future looks like, to a small degree.
Creating your future sounds simple enough, but it rely’s on a great many things not in our personal control. You could plan your life, write it all down on paper, then try to live it exactly as you laid it out, but the odds are, you probably got off course along the way, like a boat on water, in a massive storm. You see, I think Abraham Lincoln was talking about something else, he was seeing a bigger picture, as if standing on top of a mountain, and looking out at what could be, watching at what was happening, and how it would have to change, but there was only really one way it would come to fruition.
The only way, the best way to predict the future, is to create it, not by just saying the words, giving lip service, it doesn’t happen unless you take part. That’s the real message from the President, get involved, build, be a member of society, and a creator of the future. Help build a community, be a part of that community, in that you would be living in a future you helped create, where ever you happen to be in this world. The future is not built by one man or women on this earth, it’s built with the help of many. So inspire your tribe to create your preferred future, and bring many along on the journey, you have the power to create the future. The old saying goes, “many hands make light work”, go and make something happen, make the world a better place.
When I was a boy, I noticed my Father worked hard, long hours at his day job, and then he would come home and stay up til midnight working on his side business. He was a machine, he would work for hours and think nothing of it. Due to his working so much, we never got to have much Dad time, but when we did, it was great fun. For years I took my Father’s advice, and for years I struggled, until I realized he was stuck in the Industrial Age Program, he lived to work.
I never believed that we were to work so hard we would forget to live our lives, that we would trade that life money, like we just sold our souls to the devil. I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with a good hard days work, but why are you doing it. Many would stand up and say, “I’m doing this to support my family, so they can have a good life”. While that may be true, I have a hunch, most of us didn’t really believe it when we said it.
If helping people is important, how can you help anyone if you’re working 60 -70 hours a week, your time is eaten by your day job. Maybe your day job helps people, it’s possible that you have traded your life for that day job that helps people. It’s not all bad though, we do however have to step back and ask ourselves why we have traded our time for dollars.
In the end, my Father worked his entire life believing everything would be OK when retirement knocked on his door. It was a lie, and was angry, because he truly thought he was doing was for his family, trading his life so we could have a better life when his working years were finished. He used to tell me, “son, you have a choice, you have to decide which 12 your were going to work. You can work the first 12 hours of a day, or the second twelve, it’s your choice”. I hated it when he said it, because he had already proved his theory, his belief didn’t work.
My Father retired at age 55, he lived to be 70, so he struggled far more in those retirement years than he did when he worked the day job. Because what he was told wasn’t true, he believed what he was told by his employer and by the government. Do this, and do that, and you’ll be just fine come retirement time. So now what do we do with that knowledge?
If you haven’t noticed, most so-called careers have a shelf life, they don’t care how long you’ve devoted your life to it, it doesn’t care how old you are, it flat-out doesn’t care, it will spit you out regardless of the life you traded to make sure it survived. The bottom-line, protectionism, and control is what big business is mostly about, the music industry, newspapers, politicians, they are all doing everything they can to keeps under their thumb. They want you to make that decision of which twelve you’re going to trade you life for a pay cheque.
Some how life has gotten so complicated we’re not sure who to believe, how to undo, and how to unlearn much of what we believe to be true. As I said before, YOU are the secret weapon, only YOU can make a difference, only YOU can decide what, and for how long. Surround yourself with smarter people than yourself, because if you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
The truth is, someone has to drive the forklift, someone has to drive the truck, sell cars, and so on. There will always be a need for manual labor no matter how much technology invades our world. There will always be a need for human interaction. While 60% of sales may be online, we will still have big box stores and specialty shops, and someone has to work in them.
No matter how advanced we get, no matter how smart, no matter how close we get to the singularity, there will always be a need for people to look each other in the eye, and for humans to do manual labor. The question is, are you one of those people, or do you believe you were meant to do something different, something your parents never had the opportunity to do because they had to provide the basics of survival.
We all have been conditioned to believe that there is one way to organize work, to be creative, and to deliver goods and services. Today, we come to realize that’s not the case anymore, we have options. I didn’t have the same options as a young man, Microsoft started in 1975, the year I graduated in a small town in Northern BC. I had never heard of or seen a computer, just a handheld calculator, who knew we would be where we are today! We all have the same 24 hours, and we all have to provide the basics for our families. Once you have those things in perspective and under control, the choice is yours.
Do you continue to do manual labor, there is no shame in it, or journey into the world of an entrepreneur, where security has a different meaning. You have it in you do either one.
It’s easy to look back, to remember what it was like when you were a teenager, wishing somethings never changed. It’s easy to wish and wonder, but it’s much harder to look ahead and see what you must do to prepare, I know it’s harder, because most of us didn’t give the future a second thought when we were 17 – 20 years old. We might have thought, I wonder what I’ll be like when I’m 30, 40 or 50 years old, but that’s about it. I know, because I did it. The numbers are low for those who knew what they wanted to be when they grow up, and the numbers are even lower for those who aren’t in the profession they went to school to learn how to do. So it’s comfortable to look back, to reminisce about what might have been, or what you miss as a fully grown adult years removed from your youth.
One thing I’ve discovered about looking back, it has yet to move me forward, and it has yet to solve anything but bring about a sadness within. So why do we do it? It goes back to our collective human behavior, we love to be comfortable, where everything feels good, and is in its proper place. We say, I remember when…and it takes us back to a warm feeling, and puts a smile on our faces. I’m generalizing, but that’s most of us, some revert to unhappy places, but most of us want to remember happier times.
Looking ahead is much harder work, because we have trouble seeing the world in front of us, what it’s really like, and what it will be like 10, 20,30 years from now. Most of us can’t see next week let alone 30 years down the road. When looking ahead, it gets uncomfortable, and then it begins, the resistance, and the reason why we tend to get ready to get ready and never actually do anything. Because we are addicted to being comfortable, we can’t see, we can’t look ahead because what we fear is the unknown, and that makes us very uncomfortable.
You’ve heard of people being called change agents, they love change, they love making new things happen. The majority don’t like these people, because they set fear into their hearts of the comfortable, because they know something uncomfortable is coming. To embrace change agents, or the future, takes courage, and we all have courage, we tend use it when it’s safe to do so. When looking into the future, we tend to look with the wrong filter, we look for a preferred future over the one we don’t have control over. Control is the root issue. If we can’t control our future’s, we don’t want to think about it, we don’t want to open our eyes.
Building a business that will be a legacy, requires giving up control at some point on the journey. We have to see the world differently to design this business that last 30 years or more. Maybe you’re not building a lifetime long business, but if you are, you need to use the right filter, and see the world differently. The comfort zone we love holds us back, it prevents us from creating, differentiating, and delivering. Embrace the unknown future, and break the comfort zone pattern.
The comfort zone was built by the Industrial Age work and school system, it conditioned us into believing it feels like security, and we are seriously addicted to the feeling of being secure. That security is wrapped in money, which misleads us and takes us off course when our journey’s get difficult. That security immobilizes us, and it’s a dream stealer to.