By John Sumser
The top 10 jobs in demand in 2010 did not exist in 2004. Sixty percent of new jobs require skills that only 20 percent of workers have.
The pace of change is accelerating so rapidly that it seems impossible to keep up. The media and the internet are full of stories about technologies and circumstances that seem like science fiction. As information explodes all around us, it feels overwhelming.
It's really easy to get fooled into thinking that you're in a race that you will be forever losing. The relentless flow of ideas makes it look like the world is moving faster than you. Sometimes, it's hard to see where your options are.
Things HAVE changed and the pace of change is going to keep getting faster. Here are a few things you can incorporate into your life to keep your career current. This is not an exhaustive list. Rather, it's a way to start to take control over the way that you respond to change.
1. Play more video games. Really.
Much of tomorrow's technologies look and feel like games. Gaming is a new form of literacy. Already, the video game industry is larger than Hollywood and it's continuing to grow rapidly where the movie business is aging.
Getting used to the kinds of concentration and focus required to successfully navigate game universes will familiarize you with ways of thinking that are useful in the coming decades. While you can't (yet) put your video game prowess on your resume, you can benefit in other equally important ways. If you master games like World of Warcraft, you can be introduced to online collaborative work environments that may not be otherwise available to you.
2. Open and use a Pinterest account.
Silicon Valley's latest fad is a website called Pinterest. The site allows you to collect and share visual information. Most people use it to collect pictures of things they'd like to own or images of their long term future.
Pinterest is the fastest growing website in history. As people learn how to use it, its relevance is expanding. While it is not clear whether Pinterest is a fad or the future, you can be sure of one thing. Visual communication is a part of how we are going to cope with the pace of technological change on information overload. You may not have a Pinterest account 10 years from now, but you will be communicating visually. Join now and start learning how to do it.
3. Start and maintain an exercise program.
The best answer to feeling overwhelmed is to have the discipline to walk away from the problem. Routine (5 Days a week) exercise gives you the mental flexibility and the physical stamina required to cope with rapid change. The first benefit of exercise is more mental capacity.
Rapid change and the information barrage create enormous amounts of stress. If you ignore it, you become less able to handle it. Routine exercise allows you to channel the accumulated stuff into sweat and aerobic benefit.
4. Don't believe everything.
The opening lines of this article come from a viral video called "Did You Know?" You've heard those sorts of claims repeated ad nauseum as if they were truth. Are they? How would you tell?
As more and more information comes across our desks, critical thinking will become a necessary skill. You might be noticing that it already is. Learning to question what you are hearing is a key component of navigating the storm. The next time you see an infographic, take it apart. Are the claims true? How do you know? Then search the internet for classes to build your thinking skills.
Here's the surprise. By exercising, participating in a fad, playing games and developing your mind, you have your arms around many of the most important skills in the coming years:
- Visual information processing
- Collaborative work environments
- High concentration task solving
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Next generation communication skills
- In app problem solving
- Digital research
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