The COVID-19 pandemic came out of nowhere shaking our comfort zones, showing us how powerful something that we cannot see, can be.
Although we have been growing aware, fed by the news and our personal experiences, that technology advancements are bound to impact our lives, we could have not foreseen, just what has been unfolding before our eyes.
Fast approaching changes
When in Jun 2019 CNBC has predicted that 20 million manufacturing jobs are likely to be taken over by 2030 by robots and automation, we would disbelieve.
Reading about the fourth industrial revolution and technology advancements, we would sit back questioning what are the facts and what is fiction, how could the world we know really change, what it would look like and mean to us – as individuals and communities?
Little did we know that our jobs will not be claimed by technology – not yet anyway, but by something much trivial in size – COVID-19, an invisible microscopic enemy that brought grief, financial difficulties and severely disrupted our economies and daily lives in a matter of seconds.
On March 23rd, US Labour and Employment organisation reported that over 3 million Americans filed unemployment claims in one week only as a result of COVID-19, with millions following each week since then, wiping out a decade of jobs gain.
Fed believes that COVID-19 could put 47million people out of work in the United States only, over 100% increase compared to the predicted gradual loss of jobs to technology advancements.
The old skills, the new skills
With what we have seen over the past few months, it is unlikely that the old, as we know it, will ever come back.
COVID-19 and other geopolitical challenges have pushed the world towards a global crisis, shaking economies, countries and their leadership teams.
It feels surreal that regardless of where in the world you are reading this article, you, like me, are at home isolated. You, like me, have the same questions and concerns – what is going to happen to the economy, businesses, jobs and the payment of bills in the future?
Regardless in which country you reside or how many passports you hold – we are all equal and right now the value of each of our passports is the same… worthless.
The clock seems to have stopped and so have we, suspended in the disturbing limbo of the unknown – trying to predict what comes next.
In 2018, Yuval Noah Harari (a historian, professor and the author of the popular science bestsellers: Sapiens, Homo Deus, etc.) interviewed by Tom Bilyeu, educates us about frequent technology disruptions, which will force us to adapt to new demands, re-inventing ourselves, our skills, approaches, system of beliefs, behaviours.
Over the last a couple of decades we have not only witnessed, but been part of digital advancements accelerating at exponential rate, which, combined with other external influences (e.g. COVID-19) will impact the frequency and pace of our self-development and reinvention.
Facing the prospect of losing what we have built to date to start crafting our lives over and over again, will require mental stability, resilience and as suggested by Nassim Taleb – antifragility.
Taleb (statistician, former option trader and risk analyst and an author of bestsellers: The Black Swan, AntiFragile, Fooled by Randomness, etc.) explains that we are antifragile when shocks and disruptions make us stronger, more creative, more adaptable to new challenges.
After all “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger” as once said by Friedrich Nietzsche (a philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, philologist, etc.).
How to grow stronger?
Not surprisingly Harari, Forbes, World Economic Forum and others, list: emotional intelligence, creativity and flexibility as the top future skills that may assist with building this strength.
The new reality
If some of us did not believe that our future may change, here we are with COVID-19 tearing the world apart – your world and mine and each and every one of us, the 7.75 billion human beings.
As the pandemic disrupts our daily lives, it also gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on how we can start reinventing ourselves to build foundations for our future reality.
Whilst we can’t control the future, we can influence how our journey may look like.
The time is now.