The uncertainty of the future can be daunting. Industries are undergoing massive transformations year upon year. It can be difficult to determine which skills are going to be valuable in the future when the landscape of the workforce itself remains unclear.
Monica Parker, the founder of Hatch Analytics, took the stage at Inspirefest 2017 to urge people to be more amenable to change, extolling the virtues of adaptability and experiencing awe regularly.
As Parker explained, people are only born with two innate fears – loud noises and falling, the two presumably triggering within us a self-preservation instinct due to the ostensible immediate risk they portend.
All other fears are learned and developed over time, including our innate fear of change. These fears are understandably exacerbated by pessimistic forecasts of how automation will affect the future of work. Even the proliferation of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ has caused ambiguity to spill into the foundation of our knowledge.
The best approach to becoming an adaptable employee and modifying your skill set to suit shifting needs within the workforce is a multi-faceted one, which involves a combination of re-skilling, flexibility and awareness of economic trends.
Before developing an outward strategy, however, it is important to resolve within oneself this trepidation of change so as to navigate the working world comfortably. The key to reaching one’s full potential to affect positive change, Parker explained, is getting to a point where you are not only more comfortable with change, but in fact approach it with curiosity.
Curiosity, according to research by UC Davis, motivates us and aids memory retention. This curiosity works best, Parker said, when compounded with awe. Parker calls awe the emotion “that spans fear and joy”.
Awe has been described by scientists at UC Berkeley as an emotion which can drastically change the course of one’s life. It is, as an experience, at the peak of joy and the edge of fear. While emotions of such singular intensity are generally deemed exceptional, Parker argued that awe can be something that is more frequently incorporated into one’s daily life.
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