Find your passion.
To find success in the 21st century you will have to take risks and start professing your ideas. The new era of work is anything but work. The imperative in an exponentially changing technological environment is to find your passion and act upon it. We are living in a privileged nation, given the opportunity to utilize the free flow of information to the best of our abilities. The internet provides access to explore the adjacent possible and to stumble upon a subject that we may have never even known we liked. Taking that first step to actively seek out a serendipitous experience can be the most difficult. But it doesn’t have to be, it can simply be a matter of getting lost in a Google search for that class you kind of liked from last semester! We are in a unique place, at a unique time, in a uniquely transformative society. Grasp at this notion, throw pessimism to the curb and act upon what is right and what is happening. Think exponential, not linear. Think different, because that is exactly what the future will be.
Work with the emerging system.
We are living in a world run by ideas. Information technology is not hardware; it’s software. Luckily, our neural software is exactly what enabled humanity to rise above animal limitations. We are the transcendent brain-beings. History hasn’t been kind, it’s been a long transformation, but we are finally learning. Knowledge, ideas, and information breed productivity, results, and progress. Create a meme and extend your mind into the primordial culture soup. Creating environments which allow ideas to cultivate and mature ensures a successful business. Allowing employees and customers to directly help each other maximizes profits. Create a service that helps people, and the wealth follows. Create a product you believe in, and the wealth won’t even matter.
Innovation and originality are valued more than ever. It’s time to start broadening your perspectives and getting used to flipping your evaluative strategies on their face. Repetition and mundane busy work may have gotten you through the education system, but it won’t get you much more than a degree or stagnation in an entry-level position if you don’t know how to apply it. With the world’s information eagerly waiting to be summoned, right there in your pocket, knowing how to think is becoming more important than memorizing what others have thought before you. The ability to stand on the shoulders of giants and use those thoughts to synthesize new ideas is our essential information-age toolkit.
Allow yourself to be amazed.
Awe opens our minds to new possibilities. Creativity is a result of curiosity. If you shut out the questions and attempt to wrestle your existential angst into submission, you will be sad to learn that reality fights back, hard. Letting reality feel like magic enables you to use the magic that’s been made available. So jump on that smartphone and start projecting your thoughts across the planet, into the universe (at the speed of light), condensing time and space and affecting more people than anyone ever dreamed was possible. Questions lead to answers, and those answers will help to form new connections in your brain, maybe even original connections, i.e. creativity. Brain plasticity is one of life’s greatest marvels, and exercising it is cathartic and productive.
Be a leader.
Because it’s never been easier. There’s no more red tape, locked doors, or bureaucratic obstacle courses. The digital age is one that is open, free, and opportunistic. Align yourself with these principles and you’re aligning yourself with the future. As much as you may want it to be true, the future won’t reward keeping your head down and completing a task a computer can (or very soon will) do. Embrace the trajectories that are manifesting before our very eyes, and people will soon follow.
Be a good person.
Express your virtues because as society becomes more transparent through the expressive media of technology, being a bully becomes less of an asset and more of a liability. If you aren’t the kind of person people want to work with, then chances are your coworkers have access to an ever-increasing number of ways to act on that fact. As immoral dogma and perversion of secularism decreases, being a moral entity becomes increasingly prosperous. The techno-philanthropist has the greatest potential to sequester the full benefits of exponentially evolving information technologies. We must understand that liberating humans from the constraints of basic sustenance and enforcing human rights will usher in new markets and unique perspectives to the global conversation.
Don’t listen to the pessimists.
Change is an integral part of reality and is inherently neutral. It happens, regardless of human qualms. We’re left with a choice; to take that change optimistically, or take it pessimistically. The former yields results, the latter becomes static. Successful companies understand the changing landscape, and will prop up those who are optimistic about the future. We all hold enormous power in creating a future that is worth living in; it’s time to take action. Pessimists love telling people things are impossible, and yet the impossible is where the future resides. Expect the unexpected, and you can expect success. Create the unexpected, and you can create success. Look at the unexpected optimistically, and you’re in for an exciting ride.