A part of my amazing book collection (I love reading 🙂
« The Knowledge Chasm theory »
In the next 10-20 years you’re going to see more and more disparity between the quality of knowledge between people. There will be those who read and learn every day and those who don’t. The so called “1%” will get richer while the rest earn less? No, not really. I think the people who think like that have a real “loser mentality”. The rich will get richer, that I agree, but the average, or poor will probably just stay the same, but with most things costing less and less. In other words, they’ll still have more then they have now and their quality of life will still improve.
So what’s the problem then? The problem is that the vast majority of people don’t like to learn, or don’t want to allocate time for it. They’d rather take the easy way out in life, find “a job”, work, then retire. Because of that, and with a contrast of people that read at least 1 hour each day (books, self development, biographies, spirituality, health, etc), try new things, experiment, break assumptions, etc the gap between the quality of knowledge of the majority and people that are continuous learners will be ENORMOUS.
There is currently a tremendous shift of business style, information knowledge and shift of “powers” in our society at this moment and the internet is the main culprit. Big businesses that don’t follow the new reality are falling (think Blockbuster, Blackberry, etc) and being replaced by the small and nimble, à la Kickstarter businesses.
So why does that matters? Because I believe that in the future, large corporation filled with workers looking for safety will be increasingly replaced by small, fast, creative businesses and the new dominating market will be filled with SMART people that are always at the forefront of technologies and that keep learning on a daily basis, watching trends, understanding the world we live in instead of reacting to it.
Where do the non learner stands? Well that’s exactly the problem: the future has no place for them. All those people working at the government, office people working 9-5, all the jobs that can be replaced soon by websites, smartphone apps or robots will lose their jobs and be left on the street. What will they do? How will they react? They’ve never learned anything new, skills, knowledge or experience and suddenly they’ll end up in a job market that doesn’t need them or want them. Who’s going to hire a 9-5 employee that has always done the same repetitive job day-in day-out and barely learned anything new, truly useful? And that has never used his creativity to solve problem or been in a fierce competition against other people or companies? Why would the highly competitive new-era business have a place for them? The paper pushers will be replaced by beautifully simple websites and apps that will make everything 10 times faster with less headache.
That’s pretty sad. Especially because they will then take on the street with boards saying “give us jobs!” claiming that the 1% (the ongoing learners) have taken their jobs and money and they are therefore evil.
But if they live their life never asking themselves any question and never try to plan ahead and never care learning and never set goals then what did they expect?
When will this trend start?
Right now. People like Tim Ferriss, like Owen Cook, like Kevin Rose, like many bloggers that produce original content. Of course there has always been people doing continuous learning and always seeking improvement. But the age of the internet has brought a new wave of super learners and life hackers that refuse to live in this reality they were given and are building their own world with their own rules. For them, status quo is not an option.
What are they doing?
The super learners have amazing motivation, clear goals, are achievement driven and can’t wait to start learning the next thing. Here are 4 simple, key things that they do that make them stand out from others:
They read books. A LOT of books.
From most account, and from what I’ve read everywhere on internet, videos, and in books most successful people read 1 hour or more per DAY. Many read 2 hours or more. And they read smart things: books! Not the news, facebook feeds or reality show gossips.
They read self development books (like Introducing NLP or The Charisma Myth), business books (The Lean Startup, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook), spiritual books (Mastering Your Hidden Self, A New Earth), fitness or health (Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha, The Thrive Diet), biographies (there, the choice is endless: Steve Jobs, Titan), etc. The more you know about very different subjects, the better you’re able to draw the dots between ideas or situation and the better you are at grabbing opportunities when you see them (and it helps you to SEE those opportunities in the first place!).
Reading books allows you to know what people did in the past, how they failed, succeeded, and solved problems. But sometimes just the fact of being told that something is possible is extremely powerful. Having been educated in the “normal society” surrounded by normal people that don’t take risks (very different, say, from the Silicon Valley mentality), you set your own barriers about what’s possible or not and what reality is. But when I read about Arnold Schwarzenegger and how he escaped from his military training camp when he was young because he wanted to win fitness competition and how he was treated when he got caught, I find that really inspiring and it changes my mindset instantly: it sets new boundaries about what is possible.
They practice what they learn EVERY TIME they have the occasion
Until recently, I wasn’t doing that, since I was already seen like a freak I didn’t want to look even more insane. But in the last few months my mindset has started to change and now I simply don’t care anymore about what people think simply because my drive to learn and move forward is just too strong and the more I do it, the more I love it.
So I was reading Tim Ferriss 4 Hour Workweek book for the 8 or 9th time a few weeks ago and I was like “how the hell is he so smart and learns SO MANY THINGS?”. After listening to pretty much all videos of him on youtube and reading all his blog posts, and all his books I noticed something that I’ve seen very rarely on other people: he uses EVERY opportunity to learn! I REALLY mean EVERY: while waiting in line, at a coffee shop, on the plane, while at an event in an intermission. etc. In his 4 Hour Chef book, he shows a picture of a piece of paper where he learned arabic because the woman sitting next to him spoke it. Instead of doing small talk like pretty much all people do, he took the opportunity to LEARN something.
They are insane perfectionists and have an incredible goal driven mindset
They have a clear vision of what they want and will not stop until they achieve that vision. They also look for EVERY opportunity to improve, do something faster, better, with less resources or simply remove the task altogether. They never settle for comfort and believe they’re done or that they’ve achieved perfection. They are relentless. If you don’t aim to improve everyday, many people will pass you by on the road to success.
They are open minded and love change
Most people are frightened by change. In fact, it’s an evolutionary trait and we all have that mindset. But it’s up to us to reject that automatism and to practice openness and to train us with NLP to love change because in the end change is almost always GOOD. People that are closed minded will learn much less, reject information and critical ideas from others and close themselves to events, meetups, experimentation and other learning opportunities.
The new wave of super learners
I’ll conclude with the new breed of super learners: the kids that will learn in a new, flexible school system that will let them learn what they want when they’re most receptive to it in a way that maximize the retention of information. If you need ONE reason to start learning now, that’s one… and it’s a major one. If you’re 20, 30 or 40 years old and take for granted your office job, or university degree, chances are that you’ll wake up one day (sooner than later) with a pretty nasty surprise.
Remember, while you’re watching the Simpsons or reading about the new car crash in the news, someone just like Tim Ferriss is developing a new product, building a business, practicing memory techniques, learning about self development and you’ll be left behind. And this trend is only going to accelerate. You must become UNIQUE, SMARTER, MORE FOCUSED and even entrepreneur if you want to have job security. Follow the 1% or go manifest against them, the choice is up to you.
Check this video out, it’s worth it:
The potential for future strife, in my view, involves maximizing acquisition and application of knowledge. We will see both institutionally (nations, businesses, enterprises) and individually a chasm grow between those who can readily use knowledge and those who cannot. That strife will be both internecine and international. We need to stop teaching people irrelevant content which can be acquired in seconds when needed, and start teaching them how to learn, so that knowledge acquisition is natural and lifelong.
~ Alan Weiss