It is not a secret that we are facing exponential threats from resource crunch and environmental degradation. This 5 post series argues that in response, we are inventing a new idea age.
- Exponential Threats talks about the seriousness and inevitability of growing threats humanity is facing.
- In Exponential Technology, we argue that our technology, our best ally, is not sufficient to tackle these threats. We will also need unprecedented level of human ingenuity.
- In Origin of Ideas, we see where human ingenuity comes from.
- In Age of Creativity, we see that we are entering an era of unprecedented global creativity.
- In this last post, we address how you can prepare for the idea age
It’s all about Networks
To understand creativity, we need to understand networks.
- Creativity is the process of combining two or more existing ideas (shown as a ‘node’ in the image above) in a new and useful way.
- Every idea is a network of two or more ideas. So, each node is a network in itself.
We can use the image above to represent a single brain by taking each “node” as an idea (or knowledge or information) inside that brain. Or we can use the same image to represent creativity at the level of a society. Then each node is taken to represent an individual brain. A network becomes ‘stronger’ when the number of nodes or the interconnection between the nodes increase. Now, let’s see how we can prepare ourselves for the idea age.
Idea Age is also Exponential Era
We live in an exponential era where changes happen in ever increasing pace. One bad thing about the exponential era is that the difference between the winners and the ‘also-ran’ is huge. We are presently in an important point in history. People who ride the exponential tide now will have a very different future from the people who remain in the 20th century. Of course, we are not arguing that the life in the bleeding edge of exponential era must necessarily be better than the slow and steady pace of the past. But some like it hot. And fast. Here are few simple things you can do to hitch your super-exciting exponential ride.
Get out of Paucity Mentality
Openness will be a substantially important hallmark of the idea age. People who operate with paucity mind-set are usually too afraid to open up. In the Idea Age, operating in isolation are too slow. Also, team consisting of different skill sets is usually much more effective than a genius operating in isolation. The difference will be more striking with passage of time.
What are the things that you are too afraid to share? What is the worst thing that will happen if you start sharing them? How do you know you are right about it? Don't forget to apply this question to your personal life too!
Become an Idea Altruist
In Idea Age, everyone has an idea that they don’t have enough time to implement. So, you are less likely to have your idea stolen today. Start sharing your ideas. You can start by sharing ideas that are not critical to your livelihood. And then move on to sharing life-or-death secrets. When you start sharing ideas, you become visible to others with similar interest. They might incorporate your ideas in their scheme of things, or lend their ideas for you to use, there by making both of you better off.
List three ideas that you think others will benefit from. And how can you share them with others? Blog, FaceBook, talks, forums, interest groups, white papers, stories...?
Education and Experience
Education is a journey. Not a destiny. Never stop educating yourself. We have cart load of online educations resources available these days. Some of them are listed below:
Most online education resources are free. There are interest groups, discussion forums, group efforts… In Idea Age, education is a life long process. Every time you learn something new, you increase the number of idea-nodes inside your brain.
If self-education is not your cup of tea, try by learning something that you love. It does't have to have practical value.
Once in a while, learn something that is completely unrelated and irrelevant to you. In an area where you already have proven expertise, any new learning will bring only incremental advantage. When you deal with a completely unrelated subject, anything you learn will increase your knowledge graph by a huge margin.
Of course, we shouldn't forget that 'doing' is a form of learning too! So, go and do something that you haven't done before.
More importantly, block time out for solitude. Most people require some quite time once in a while to digest and assimilate what they have learnt.
Future favors the Networked
Idea Age is all about networking of ideas. Learning increases the number of idea-nodes inside your head. To increase the number of nodes outside your head, connect with other heads. Identify at least one person from each of the following category and connect with them:
- People who have common interest
- People who have no common interest
- Idea altruists
- Life-long learners
- Opinion makers
Have habits built into your life that provide ample networking opportunities. For example
- Participate in networking events
- Write/talk about your ideas
- Participate in online forums
- If needed, block out time every week (or every day) specifically for expanding your network
Of course, when you are expanding your network, you must take care to ensure that the quality of your network is maintained at all times. Or else, you can easily end up being inundated.
Network. Look for quality, similarity and variety.
Healthy Body and Brain
Of course, if you can’t maintain a healthy body and a physically fit brain, none of the above really matter. Here are some basic guidelines for maintaining healthy body and brain. These are rudimentary, but non-negotiable:
- Maintain healthy weight
- If you have cardiac or glycemic issues, eat low GL, zero oil, no dairy, vegan
- Moderate alcohol, no smoking
- Supplement with multivits, antioxidants, Omega 3, etc. Anti-ageing?
- Sleep prepares the brain for creativity
Here are three best kept secrets that will help you live much longer and have a healthier life:
- You are the designer of your body – at least, from this point on
- Your brain starts dying when you stop learning
- Your body starts dying when you stop having sex – except when you go on calorie restriction, in which case you extend your lifespan, but shut down your sex drive
A New Chapter?
In all probabilities, Idea Age is mark of a new chapter in human history. By the time this renaissance is through, our lives would have become more different than any of us have dreamed of. When you prepare yourself to enter the Idea Age, I want you to keep one thought in your mind: You are very likely to live past 100. If that is true, how do you plan to spend the additional time?
This post has four prequels and they are listed below in their order - Exponential Threats identifies the growing threats that are going to hit is so fast we won't have a choice but to change our present way of living - In Exponential Technology, we argue that our technology, our best ally, is not sufficient to tackle these threats. We will also need unprecedented level of human ingenuity. - In Origin of Ideas, we ask where human ingenuity comes from. - In Age of Creativity, we see that we are entering an era of unprecedented global creativity.