The last few weeks have been hectic for me. So hectic, I have not been able to do that which I love – write! In these weeks however I have met with hundreds of people, in an audience and in close range, and the more I engage with people, the more I realize that the world has changed. (I promised a young lady that I’ll mention her… her surname is Bello – remind me pls :))Just less than a century ago, the world ran without light bulbs, without TV and without the computer. Imagine a world without these things, yet men and women faired well. Interestingly however a lot of work had gone on in the close of the 19th century that birthed these things in the wake of 20th century. The tools changed and the old way of doing things became obsolete. In the same way, a lot of new things started to pop up in the close of the 20th century, some of these things are already taking roots in the 21st Century and except you and I are well equipped, we are about to become obsolete.
Different times call for different skills. I won’t mince words with you, if you don’t upgrade, you will gradually degrade. In this new day and age, stagnancy is redundancy, stationary is backward! If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward, the middle ground is losing it’s relevance, you are either action prone or you might not even be worthy of being called a spectator. I hope for your own sake that you do not wait for 10yrs from now to make meaning out of what I’m writing to you. It is crucial that you embrace new skills or you’ll be the gateman or nightwatch man of the next generation. Trust me, it doens’t matter how much money you have in your account today, like Warren Buffet said -“It’s all on paper”.
You want to be relevant and make impact in this generation? The following are assets you must have.
1. Communication Skills
Learn how to talk, how to write and very importantly how to listen! These have always been important skills, but their value in this emerging world economy is going to be unbelievable. It doesn’t matter if it’s to one or to a crowd, your speech must envoke respect, your letters motivate action and your attention captivating! Learn to communicate exceptionally well. Go for courses, study others, read books, develop your ability to say the same thing in the best way, and to hear what others miss. Evaluate yourself as fair, that way you can gun for better and best.
Can you talk to another person? Can you speak to a crowd? Can you sustain your thoughts in front of an audience? Do you fidget or get scattered when talking to others? Do you have a good attention span?
2. A Rich Network
Learn to cultivate and build a network. Today, life is not about what you know, or who you know. It’s about what you know, who you know, who knows you and for what? Who you know is meaningless if you can’t leverage on the relationship. Successful people in this age will be people who have a rich network. Rich is big, rich is great relationships, rich is useful networks. Friends are like clothes, when you are down to nothing they keep you looking great, ane when you are up to something, they give you presence. This is the generation that kills the lone ranger and murders it’s stars. Your relevance is not in how better than everybody else you are, it’s a function of how much you have invested in bringing others up to where you are. It’s easy to break a broom stick but difficult to bend a bunch. Exist in strong clusters, and stay alive and relevant.
Do you belong to any society? Do you have a network of people that are different from you? If you suddenly need a bailout do you have people who can come to your rescue? Do you need loans from friends or strangers?
3. Internet Leverage
The point and click technology was invented in 1993. Prior to this time, only geeks could browse the internet. It was strictly a command prompt concept and you needed to be almost a programmer to access the world wide web. With point and click, the internet was partially democratized. Today, the usage is growing exponentially. If you don’t have a footprint on the internet, you will be irrelevant and forgotten in a few years. I’m not talking about merely having an email address or a facebook account. I’m saying have presence, learn the many tools that afford you the opportunity to leverage on the internet. The age of small kiosk in the middle of nowhere is fast phasing out, get online and get relevant! People that have a few more years to live are leveraging on the internet, I pity young people without a clue.
Do you have a website? How many friends do you have on facebook? When I search your name on google how many results do I get? Is there anything else I can search for to find you? What is your address on earth? What is your address on the internet?
4. Investments in People
When something becomes a mere cliche it robs us of the true value of the meanings. Phrases like “people are our greatest assets” are so often said that people seldom pause to take in the realities, at least for this century. Mark my words, everything people are investing in will crumble and ultimately fall. Real Estate prices will crash, stock prices will further plummet, businesses will run down, and intellectual property will face lawsuits. The only thing that will appreciate is the value of the investments you have made in people! There are strong spiritual undertones running beneath the current of my words, you can go into the scriptures to search them out, but believe it, the only investment that always pays is that made in people. When you give to the poor, you lend to God! When you empower another, your reward is not bound by the earth, it transcends this realm. Are you making investments in people?
Are you anybody’s mentor? Is someone blessing God they met you? Or are you too busy taking care of yourself? Does your plan include anyone else? Is one day in a school in 4 months enough? Are you making anybody? Or are you simply focused on your own career path? Don’t be a rich fool!
I’ve said this before, I’m writing it again, everybody sells something. Either an opinion, themselves, products or services. If you can’t generate leads and convert them, you are going to be at the bottom of the food chain in this century. Develop your ability to sell, to convince or influence another. Influence is a powerful concept, like fire and many powerful things, it can be used morally or ammorally. Influence is a necessary asset for this day and age.
Are you influencial? Does your opinion count to any others? Do you have an opinion? Are you pushing your opinion? Or are you dead silent?
6. Self Development
It has been said that they key to the 21st century would be the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn. You want to succeed in this century, you must develop yourself. The centre for learning and development has moved however, it has moved away from the physical schools as we once knew it. Learning takes place not when the teacher stands, but when the student is ready. The drive of learning in this century is you and I, the students. We must learn by reading, we must learn from wise people, we must learn from the experiences of others, and by all means we must learn by our own experiences. I tell people, when you try, you fail, when you fail, you learn, when you learn, you ultimately succeed! Failure is the grandparent of success, learning it’s mother, and trying the great grand parent. It has been said that readers are leaders, I beg to slightly disagree, readers could be historians, but leaders and definitely readers!
What is your philosophy and what informs it? What is your paradigm on society, or religion, on finance, on politics or have you allowed your schooling to tamper with your education? This is an age where slowness is determined by how long it takes you to understand. Do you analyze and theorize or do you get your hands dirtied and your nose bloodied in the gathering of knowledge and experience. In the partway of knowledge there are no regrets, only lessons, are you learning for real, or are you still holding on to what your teacher told you? When you were 18, you wanted to be a Dr. Now you are are a Doctor and are 30, shoudl you continue to let the 18yr old dictate the life of the 30yr old, or should you look at your life in fresh light?