A Moslem admiring the majestic architecture of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
Unemployment reach 7%, scarcity of jobs in various country, companies are firing their employee to cut down cost, the world looks on fire from the perspective of newspaper these day. But is it true that the world is having a down turn? Of course not at everything, we could even say that the world as we live in now is much better than the world a century ago. First, industrial revolution replace labor worker with machine that brings more efficiency and control, industrial revolution change the way we live too. We could enjoy more product diversity with less cost, customizable goods with high quality material, and mass production of everything. Crops and farming are not the major contributor to a nation Gross Domestic Product anymore, it was replaced by textile, alumunium, steel, and other commodity. We enjoy the output of industrial revolution and pay the price as well, pollution from plants, automobile, airplane, more trees are cutted down for office use. Now we are still paying the price, we are being dependent on oil, coal, and pollute our environment to maintain the lifestyle our parents had in the last century.
Then another breakthrough was invented in the late 1990, the internet. Like industrial revolution, it brings more effciency and value to us. We don’t need to pay enormous price to have a phone call to other country or even continent, books are replaced with pdf files in our tablet, and the most important is the unlimited access to all knowledge in the world. We call it “the knowledge era”. Knowledge are available to anyone who seek it for free or very little price, all university textbooks are available to be downloaded, and there is even an online learning that we don’t have to attend a class to hear a lecture. What is the impact to job scarcity? Well, just like in industrial revolution where labor worker are replaced by machine, now less people are needed to complete a task. Only people with valuable knowledge and problem solver are hired in the company, and more manual worker with less contribution are fired.
College kid like Zuckerberg, facebook inventor becomes a billionaire, surpassing the wealth of many CEO. This rarely happened in the past where people work from the lowest position and climb the rank. Start up companies are generating millions in their first year of operation, and they are the power today, hiring people to solve customer problem. And we won’t go back to the way it were where companies hiring numbers of people in a big scale. This is an evolution we are passing, and like any other evolution we could adapt, or extinct. The question remains, is college degree a necessity?
I would say it is nice to have for 90% of young people who want to work in big companies and climb up the ladder, living a conservative life and be in a crowd filling resume, applying to various company. What about the 10%? They still probably go to college, not for a degree but rather because they want to learn the discipline in the fields and use it to solve customer problem in their start up company. From where I stand, I don’t see a scarcity of job, but I see a scarcity of entrepreneur who make a job vacancy.
“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
I often hear people complaining about their too busy schedule and exhausting work they have to do everyday. I’m sure every of us living in a big city like New York, Tokyo, London, and my city, Jakarta have heard people saying things like:
“I wish I had 48 hours a day”
“Oh no, I don’t have time to deal with this”
“I might as well work all night long”
“I wish I had the time to practice my hobby”
“If only my children could grow up faster”
“I’m too busy these day, I never have time for myself”
They seems exhausted by the things they did today and they have to do next, most of them would rush from one task to another, thinking if they could rest after they finished it all. Sadly, it rarely does. Another project coming up, another task to do, children to nurture, and countless “things to do next” lining up on our notebook. It would be a mistake to think that if they fasten working tempo, they would save more time to do things they love.
The essence of my post is not to teach how to be more productive, efficient, and effective (although I’m competent to teach about it) but I’m trying to enlightened my readers to have a paradigm about time and tasks. Time is limited, we were given only twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and fifty two weeks a year. And only God knows how many years we have left. We couldn’t change the amount of time we had daily, but we do have the freedom to choose tasks we do. We could say “no” to tasks we have no interest in doing, cut the amount of “doing random things that leads nowhere”, and prioritizing our activities.
“Things to do” list on my notebook never goes empty, for every task I finished and crossed from the list, I would write another task shortly. Not because I didn’t write the new task there earlier on purpose, but because it just came to my attention at the time. It became a pain for me earlier, as a human being trying to enhance quality of my life at many different aspect, I always had a project in mind. Although those project are contributing to my long-term happiness and meaning in life, sometimes I would feel bad for not finishing it at the time table I made earlier.
One true phrase I’m quoting today is:
If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse”
It all roots in priority we have, when we say that our family is our priority, we would make time for them no matter what. Yes, a man may need to work to give a decent living condition for his family, but leaving a legacy to his children is more important than trying to strive for the next promotion. Even if people are given 48 hours a day, we would still complain we have more. The man problem is not in having a limited time but rather in having priority in life.
Just like a car needs gas to run, we need to have time for nurturing our well-being. We need to reflect on life and what we want out of it, to make sure we won’t regret our priority in our death bed. And what about doing all the things my Boss ask me to do? Well, I would answer it this way, “If you submit it all today, what is the probability of your Boss giving you a one month holiday instead of giving you another pile of task?” I think what we can do about it is to do it the best we can, in the time we have allotted for it, and stop trying to rush finishing it all.
“Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts, exercises, even over the appearance of external objects. Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision.”
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
Have you ever had a mini deja vu? Yesterday or last week you were thinking about something you want or vision, and today you got exactly what you were thinking. It looks supernatural of course, but viewing from psychological perspective it isn’t a rocket science. You may have read or heard about a very popular book several years ago titled “The Secret”. It was a groundbreaking book about the power of our thoughts, how it translates to reality and the importance of having a vision in life. What I’m saying here is not merely supernatural events happening, it is about the subconscious mind working without us realizing it is working right now as you read this post. Everything we see, hear, and feel is recorded in our brain. The first time you ride a bike, what your parents said about you, how you react in the previous similar situation, etc. Our subconscious mind never stop working, even when we are sleeping we had dreams which represents our deepest thoughts and feelings.
In daily practice it translates to our action, when we believe that we are competent person we behave like a competent person in the fields we are working at. And so does the reverse. There’s an experiment where students are told they were less capable than students in other classes, when actually they have the same average score previously. What happened next was surprising, they did perform worst than the other classes compared. But when they are told that they were being experimented, their average score improve again to the previous level. What I’m higlihgting here is the importance of our perspective on ourselves and public view regarding us. We could deny negative public view (like when we are being gossiped), but if we are not strong enough, or if we don’t have a strong values we will be swayed by the negative effect.
We have to reflect from very early on what traits and beliefs we have, assess whether it is reflected in our action daily and formulate a self development plan from the weaknesses we have. It’s no shame to have weakness, I used to have a discipline problem, so. I disciplined myself using pain/pleasure for my action. By knowing my strength and weakness I know if I’m going to be tempted by others proposition or not. When we know we would succumb to a temptation, we could do better in avoiding it at all.