Robert Kiyosaki used to say that if everybody is talking about getting the same stock, then it’s already too late to make a killing. The same can be said about people and their place in life. If people talked and acted just like everybody else, then they are not taken seriously by those who matter.
Why, you say? Because he is not unique. And he does not have what is needed, or valued. It may be a skill, a personality, a way of life, a possession. If a person does not make the effort to make himself significantly more valuable from the rest of the madding crowd, then he is flying beneathe the radar. He is left unnoticed, forgotten and ignored.
Nature has made sure of this even in the animal kingdom. Darwin observed that male animals that strongly and aggressively asserted themselves, competed and overwhelmed their adversaries, gets to mate with the females in the pack or herd. These males that won are called alphas. The rest of the males are either driven from the pack or relegated to beta (secondary) status males. Winner takes all.
Though we homo sapiens do not have to worry about getting physically killed off by our competition, we might as well have been annihilated. We get virtually killed all the time. In work, in the family, with our friends, getting a date, at the grocery line, at the fastfood counters. If you feel that getting cut off by another car gets you really angry, it’s because you felt defeated by another for real estate you want, namely that parking space.
This is a bit of an exaggeration, but it makes a simple point: If you are not making yourself special, nobody else will want to do it for you.
Now focus on where modern man makes his presence felt: the workplace. Yes sir. The new battlefield is inside corporate, government, and office buildings. You can see the blood flowing from those cubicles.
The dawn of the Industrial Revolution steamrollered over the skills of most craftsmen and made everybody with two hands work to the tune of the same drummer. Living standards went up, people had more money, more food, more wonderful gadgets. And for what price? Everybody had to conform.
Now things have turned full circle. The Information Age requires people who are specialized at something. A talent, a skill, contacts, or possessions. Gone are the days when conforming isa good survival tactic. More and more menial jobs are being relegated to software and machines. Many ordinary people’s livelihoods are in danger. The only way out is to now be unique.
Alvin Toffler mentioned that the problem isnít that there arenít any jobs to fill, but there are not enough people to fill the jobs with. Take a million job openings and advertise, but if the applicants have little to no skills to qualify, then the exercise is moot and academic. Conversely, it is even more difficult to replace a specialist than before because the skillsets being utilized more or less isnít the only thing required to be successful.
The Age of Information also shows that skills become obsolete at an even faster pace due to the introduction of even newer and better technology and skills. Realizing this, more and more executives and staff in corporations have made an effort to take higher or vocational education to move up the corporate ladder or out of it. Some have taken to entrepreneurship, engaging in commerce, manufacturing, and services. Others have shifted to another field altogether.
Other strategies include migrating to countries with a shortage of some labor skillsets, taking opportunities offered by countries with incentives, or entering zones of danger in the hopes of being one of the few willing to brave the dangers for a higher sum of money.
The old anecdote of death and taxes being only the sure things in the world need to be updated. Death, taxes, and an ever-increasing cycle of Change. Like Darwin’s theory, man as a survivor and as a competitor for scarce resources must adapt. He must use all his wits and resources at his command to win, or perish.
So a word of advice. It doesnít have to be new, it doesnít even have to be spectacular. But it has to be uniquely yours and you better try hard to find a way to make your skill valued in the city you live in. Or perish into obscurity.
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