Resilience is a mark of strength, and it will be tested on multiple fronts, as disruption becomes a trend and dealing with ambiguity a standard. Last decade the ‘norms’ were challenged in ways that were unfathomable in the past. We saw dramatic shifts in geopolitics, political leadership, relationship orientations, media (news), and business models.
Major predictions failed, the unanticipated hailed!
It’s likely that the impetus of change powered by technological advancement, compounded by the speed and range of digital reach, and their impact on human behaviour were hugely underestimated. The courtship between humans and technology reached an interesting space, with each moving into the other’s space. Humans are getting increasingly dependent on machines, and machines powered by AI are becoming fiercely independent. Old jobs are being displaced by new ones, requiring old skills to be supplemented with new ones. It is therefore no surprise that 54% of employees of large companies would need to up-skill in order to fully harness these growth opportunities (WEF 2018 report). Over half of the companies surveyed said that they plan to train only employees in key roles and only one-third are planning to train at-risk workers.
Basking in the comfort of routine .. a thing of the past?
Human beings are creatures of ‘habits’. Doing the same thing over and over again helps them gain mastery over a skill, and makes them feel comfortable. The challenge is that repetitive tasks are being taken over by the machines, leaving the ingenious and creative ones to humans. Statistically, by 2025, machines are expected to perform 71% of tasks being performed by humans as of now. This requires us to prepare for the jobs that are hitherto unknown.
Uncertainty. A new norm?
Repetitive jobs, however monotonous, are predictive. We like to find out about the future as it makes us feel confident; no wonder ‘ fortune-telling and forecasting’ is a multi million dollar industry. From sports to exit polls, and from markets to life, we like to unravel everything in advance.
Uncertainty is unsettling. In current times, the presence of ambiguity can be felt in everything, ranging from relationships, workplace, world affairs, and environment. It is only going to gain momentum, as the change is happening at an aggressive rate due to technical revolution. It is difficult for us humans to gauge the impact since we think in linear terms. We live in linear time and space, and tend to think in terms of what we can relate to. Our expectations are based on our experience. However, technology is fundamentally different: it grows exponentially. Each step is double the one before it, compounding with each iteration.
It is a common knowledge that from opinion polls to nurturing relationships, technology is meddling with our thoughts every second, and it is only getting smarter at doing that. Children are addicted to smartphones, and couples finding solace in the company of their phones rather than their partners is a common sight. Millions have been scammed on social sites, and debunking fake news has become a perpetual battle. We need to think differently to understand, predict and plan. What worked in the past, may not work for the future.
When the rules of the game changes, we play it differently.
The information era revolutionised the way we access data. Knowledge became freely available ‘virtually’ on any topic, easily accessible on the little gadget we hold in our palms. Friendships, sports, meetings, professional networking, entertainment, recipes, fortune-telling - all have a digital alias, and are only a click away. Consequently, we have become wired to look for information from external resources. Given the fact that from seeking approval of parents, teachers and bosses, evaluating success in comparison to peers and colleagues, and looking good on social media, all our reference points are - external. Meanwhile, preparation for change is a self evolutionary process. It requires focussing - inside.
Immense internal strength is required to stretch ourselves to stick to initiatives, especially during these times of change that are laced with uncertainty. We need to introspect, define, and even redefine the goals we wish to accomplish; identify the larger purpose that drives us; and align our thoughts, beliefs and values accordingly. 375 million workers worldwide will need to change roles or learn new skills by 2030 (McKinsey). This appears to be a scary proposition for people who are already experts in their fields, and are well settled in their jobs. It entails wading into the murky areas and exploring, trying, failing, and learning. It requires people to move from ‘fixed mindset’ to ‘growth mindset’. Because they like to rely on their talents alone, a person with a fixed mindset tends to stick to “business as usual”, and is hence averse to exploration and diversification. Whereas a growth mindset comes from the belief that the best work comes from trying new solutions, people with fixed mindset believe that the techniques and languages that have worked in the past are the success mantras for the future. Preparation for change would require shift in the mindset, which in turn would require questioning the belief system, and replacing disempowering beliefs with empowering ones.
Beliefs fueled by emotions, stimulate people to take action
Our beliefs guide us and can help us endure, but they are not sufficient enough to make us take action. It is our emotions that spring our thoughts into action. For example, no matter how rational our thoughts about helping the needy may be, it is an emotional impulse that pushes us to actually volunteer. The word emotion is derived from the latin word ‘emotere’, which literally means energy in motion. Emotional energy can be experienced moving through the body, and is generally felt as sensations of contraction or expansion: emotions like joy, love, faith, hope correspond with expansion and fill us with positive energy, while emotions like hatred, resentment, sadness, and fear correspond with contraction and drain our energy away. As a matter of fact, emotional energy is neutral. It is our interpretation of the emotion, which we call feeling that creates a sensation and physiological reaction that makes an emotion positive or negative.
A breakthrough occurs when you recognise, you are more energy than matter - Caroline Myss
In the era of disruption, Emotional Resilience will be a key determinant of success
Resilience comes from the ability to continually choose the feelings, thoughts and actions that help achieve results and perform the best at personal, team, and organisational levels. It is a continual process to sustain, overcome and succeed. Since emotions propel us to take action, we need to manage them, lest they start managing us!
Emotional resilience is an approach to perform at your best through a combination of understanding of self and action. Many of our day to day jobs effect us and people around us emotionally, yet most people do not have problem-solving strategies for dealing with emotions. To most it is like swimming in uncharted waters and walking into the unknown. ‘Keep your emotions aside, now don’t get emotional’ are the sentences heard / implied often at the workplace. Staying in a state of denial is a great self defence mechanism, and it is akin to the proverbial ‘ignorance is bliss’. The skill of ‘emotional competence’ therefore is hugely ignored and deserves due attention. Emotional Intelligence helps us maintain emotional stability, retain energy, and bounce back.
Disrupt yourself, or someone else will
The journey to success is often bumpy, it is full of failures and setbacks. While our successes give us the adrenaline rush, it is our failures and setbacks that help us build character. Use your failures to analyse your thoughts, and apply your emotional knowledge to bring thoughts into action.
Spring into action, the harder you are hit, the higher you bounce
Author - Preeti Dubey Founder, Director Strive High Pte Ltd
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"Emotional Intelligence is more than twice as predictive of business performance than purely cognitive intelligence and is more predictive of business performance than are employee skill, knowledge and expertise" -Gerald Mount
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