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By David Harder on December, 7, 2014

Life as if

“The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn.”

In 1970, Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock” predicted a world where the acceleration of technology would reach such a crescendo that many would sink into a continuous state of shock and paralysis.

I believe that much of the great disengagement we find in the today’s workplace personifies Toffler’s future. Does that sound a bit overreaching? Consider that Gallup’s most recent engagement survey indicates only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged.

True engagement offers far more to each of us than simply making a living. Engagement includes the very action that brings fulfillment, happiness and tangible purpose to our lives.

Constructing lives where the relationship with our work is as good as it can get improves the quality of all of our relationships. Take a moment and consider that work is the biggest relationship that we have. When we are happy and fulfilled, we have more and better energy. When we are home, our time tends to be centered on enjoyment rather than recovery.

The truly engaged become better role models.

We reinvent ourselves when it is time to change.

We savor growth.

True engagement requires personalized vision. Toffler once said,

“If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy.”

His statement fits in perfectly with my point-of-view, which is until we examine our lives we are leading someone else’s life.

The industrial revolution required pledging allegiance to our employer. In return we got predictability and survival. Everyone knows that model is over. Everyone knows that pledging allegiance is over. But pledging engagement offers an opportunity to fully live, breathe, grow and to be our best.

The most valuable teaching we can give our workers are the skills to change.

Richard Branson was discussing Virgin’s corporate culture when he said,

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

It is a bad idea to wait for our employer to reach that state of awareness. Because the payoffs from taking personal initiative to learn how to change, to reinvent, to transform is simply too valuable to put off.

I have personally witnessed thousands of people change – for good. The journey is worth every effort.

If the world has changed around you, jump in. Change might introduce discomfort but it also brings all the other great options this new world has to offer.

Mahatma Gandhi once told us,

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if your were to live forever.”

Happy holidays.