“If you are in school today, the technologies you will use as an adult tomorrow have not been invented yet. Therefore, the life skill you need most is not the mastery of specific technologies, but mastery of the technium as a whole — how technology in general works. I like to think of this… as techno-literacy.” – The Technium
Applying diverse skills and tools is like breathing for folks like you and me.
Most of the time it’s automatic and what makes us feel alive.
But why is this so important?
For starters, breadth of knowledge means more than specializing to us. Yet intentionally leaving room for new skills and tools is a challenge for people who always tinker.
The problem is that we’re often unprepared to experiment with and best use the technology, concepts, and tools of tomorrow. Tomorrow might literally be tomorrow, or it might be shorthand for years from now.
Either way, it’s in our best interest to develop certain skills so that we can quickly practice and love things that don’t exist yet. Like steering the dark chocolate powered space ship that recycles its fuel into your taste buds (I want to be instantly ready to drive that sucker).
This is called future-proofing your brain.
And it’s actually possible to future-proof your brain for a world that doesn’t exist yet. Essentially, becoming equipped to embrace the things you’ll love… but can’t predict.
Adapting some principles from the technium (everything technology related) can help us do this.
Your Future Success Depends on This
Henry Ford learned the general skills required to become an auto industry visionary. Awesome, yes, but many people were unprepared to drive his Model T. Those that could had an advantage over everyone else.
Many scientists and engineers combined to create the Internet. But most people weren’t equipped to use it for almost three decades. Those that were – like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – could quickly embrace this lovely thing and make magic happen.
It’s crucial to rock at operating in beginner mode with the pace that culture and technology evolves.
Besides, the technium says we can expect to devote as much energy, money, and time in maintaining a technology as we did in acquiring it.
Adopting this principle means having the skill to know when to switch beginner mode on, and more importantly, when not to.
If I act on the urge to join every new social network and online community, I won’t have the time, energy, or money to be ready for the dark chocolate powered space ship.
Bottom line: Be selective in which new tools and skills you add. Allow enough reserve resources for what will truly make you come alive.
Sabbaticals Don’t Have to Be Radical (but It Helps)
The technium believes in sabbaticals, and so do I.
Sometimes you need to give up one thing to squeeze in another. It sucks, but there’s only so much time in the day.
I had to give up TV, movies, and video games for new things that I loved more. Things like blogs, the Continuous Creation Challenge, Primal living, and helping other people.
It was only by going on sabbatical from what was holding me back that I had the time to build skills to future-proof my brain.
Skills like better awareness and absorption of new information. Learning how to learn better. Or building the blueprint to honor my ancestral health. These skills are valuable now … and will be a decade later.
Bottom line: Intentionally and consistently take sabbaticals from your current skills and tools. Just because we let something go doesn’t mean we can’t add it back later.
Speaking of letting go …
Cultivate Intentional Ignorance
Did you know that modern science still doesn’t fully understand how general anesthesia works? That’s insane!
The critical lesson here follows the technium principle that, “understanding how a technology works is not necessary to use it well.”
I can still drive a dark chocolate powered space ship without understanding how it works.
But it’s hard for people to cultivate intentional ignorance and not find out what makes something tick. After all, we’re wired to discover how everything works.
Here’s a super-quick personal case study.
For a decade, it was my job to tell co-workers and vendors how their software systems worked. I had to do it.
But during my personal renaissance, I learned that I’d rather spend my life enjoying the world instead of just learning about it.
I’d rather enjoy watching my son’s toddler brain grow than trying to understand how it operates. Becoming toddler-literate (being able to read his signs) is more important than having toddler-comprehension.
Bottom line: Letting go of the need to understand how everything works leads to more enjoyment and energy for new tools or skills.
Untold Rewards Await …
The more we master timeless skills, the better we future-proof ourselves against the volatility of evolution.
Be selective with the current and future tools you use. Intentionally and steadily take sabbaticals from your current toolbox.
Let go of the urge to find out what makes everything tick.
Once you apply one or more of these future-proof skills, you’ll find your path to a rewarding tomorrow.
So tell us:
Which of these principles resonates with you? And what principles would you add to future-proof your brain?
Join the conversation here or on a (hopefully) future-proof social media site to share your insight!