Today, we live in a world where information flows and our lives are impacted at a far greater pace that at any point in the history of this world. We’re living in transparent times and we currently have more visibility to what’s going on around the world than ever before.
Imagine you are 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 35, 45 or even 55 today. Imagine the amount of information that you are exposed to daily. Our visibility to what's going on around the world has never been more transparent while our own emotions, feelings and thoughts have never been more tested.
Three Big Challenges
We currently face 3 big challenges as humans that we must learn to manage before we can really start to solve the world’s biggest problems.
Challenge 1: The Speed of Information
Every minute of every day, there are now millions of emails being sent. Millions of texts, tweets, and snapchats. Millions of videos being consumed. Millions of google searches. Millions of people swiping left… and right. Millions and millions of activities are happening online every minute of every day now.
The speed at which we need to navigate through information and make choices and decisions is trending off the charts and it’s never been more complex.
Challenge 2: The Generation Gap
The second challenge we face is that we’re arguably experiencing the most extreme generation gap that this world has ever experienced. Most of this world did not grow up with the internet and what we have today.
Google and text messaging were hardly anything 20 years ago. Facebook’s only been around about 15 years. The first iPhone was sold in 2007. That’s just a few years ago. Over 76% of the US was born prior to all of this. Only those, under the age of 25 have truly grown up with the internet. Think about how much technology growth there’s been in the last 10 years or just the last few years.
If you are 10, 15, 18, 20, 25, etc., you’ve got grandparents still telling you “this is what success is”. You’ve got parents telling you “this is what success is” and you’ve got mentors, teachers, friends, coaches, politicians, governments, big business, and religions all telling you what success is today.
And… of course, there’s social media. It’s often a reflection of what “success” supposedly looks like.
This is the only point in history where parents and grandparents literally did not grow up in the same world that our kids and the coming generations are inheriting.
Challenge 3: How Do You Define Success?
Again, if you are 15, 18, 20, 25, 35, 45, etc., how do you define success today?
Today, the bar and the perception of what success looks like is getting set at a height that is nearly impossible to reach for most people.
I interviewed over 12,000 people, had over 20,000 employees reporting to me directly or indirectly and have spoken with over 180,000 business leaders in just about every industry imaginable.
I developed three questions that I would ask people when I interviewed or worked with them.
1. What is your Unique Strength?
2. What is your Vision? (what do you want your world to look like in 5 years)
3. How do you define success?
The answers to these questions would give me insight to how we could best help each other if we both chose to work together.
For most, their answers were cloudy at best, or they lacked confidence in their answers. You could literally see and hear the anxiety and fear as they searched for answers to these questions.
Ask a few people (ask your kids) these three questions today. Listen carefully. Are they able to clearly articulate their answers with confidence?
Three Big Problems
As a result of these challenges, we're seeing some big problems.
Problem One – Anxiety and Fear
The first problem we see as a global society is that anxiety and fear is trending off the charts.
Prescriptions for teen-age anxiety are increasing at a rate of 800% year over year. The US is spending about $42 billion per year treating anxiety and fear-based illnesses. And, over 70% of the world’s countries are reporting significant anxiety levels across their population. The list of statistics like this goes on and on.
As life speeds up and presents us with more and more “Transformative Moments” to navigate, we find our survival instincts being tested. We find many of our fears coming to the surface and our core needs to feel safe, secure, happy and peaceful are being tested like never before.
This pressure is affecting everything. It’s affecting our communities, our schools, our governments, our businesses, healthcare and ultimately our safety and well-being. This list of issues goes on and on.
Problem Two – Two Paths to Take
In addition to anxiety and fear being off the charts right now, the second problem we face is that when Transformative Moments occur, we go down one of two paths.
We either go down the path of fear, control and isolation (victim type behaviors) and we become a victim of that moment… OR… we go down the path of awareness, connection and accountable type behaviors and reinvent our world as an individual.
The path we choose is based on what our experiences, influences and moments have been up to that point and how they’ve been reinforced by the leaders in our lives.
The problem we face is that there are billions of dollars being spent to lead us and the coming generations down one of these two paths daily. There are billions being spent measuring our data, actions, choices and behaviors. There are billions being spent on messaging and marketing designed to lead you in one direction or another.
It can leave you wondering who’s really in control of your life? Instinctively, as humans, we’re wired to look out for our own safety while we live in a world where the bulk of the messaging is designed to speak to our fears.
Problem Three – Where’s the Consistency?
The third and perhaps the biggest problem we face as a global community is our lack of consistency.
Our educational system is full of great teachers and leaders; however, we’re currently missing the mark when it comes to consistently teaching all students in the coming generations how to manage “THEIR” transformative moments and how to navigate today’s world so that THEY can consistently go down Path 2 (the path of awareness, connection and accountable type behaviors).
Across our educational system, we are not formally or consistently teaching students how to simply play today’s game of life in a world that is changing dramatically.
We all know that consistent practice leads to consistent and predictable results. When we lack consistency, we’re left in a reactive mode.
Look around the world, we’re in a reactive mode… and as a result… There’s never been a bigger disconnect in terms of simply defining what “success” is.
Most People are Good People
The fact is that most people are good people. The game of life brings us moments after moments and each is an opportunity to learn or an opportunity to react.
And… Our job as educators, parents, friends and leaders is to inspire ongoing learning in all of those around us. It is only then that we can start to solve the world’s biggest problems. It is only then that we can empower the coming generation to create their world.
George Bernard Shaw, a Nobel Prize winner, probably said it best…
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Create YOUR World!
These challenges and problems are what we’re addressing with Project OTY.
Watch this 21-minute webinar for the full story.
Help us bring the Project OTY curriculum into a high-school near you.
Pick up a copy of “Build YOUR Roadmap – Create YOUR World” for yourself or for someone you care about. It’s applicable for anyone trying to manage today’s world and find their purpose.