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By David Harder on November, 13, 2017

Trust Your Answer

Every day, new technology brings obsolescence to another segment of task-based work. For those of us who view work from any remnants of the Industrial Revolution, this is the very time to cast aside complacency and to take action. The work of today as well as tomorrow is more creative, empathetic, innovative, and focused on solutions. Twelve years ago, Daniel Pink predicted this positive revolution in his book, A Whole New Mind. I propose a whole new mindset. Rather than villainizing change, embrace the probability that technological advancement every one of us more freedom. What is our biggest obstacle? Our thinking. For three hundred years, we were conditioned to seek security and predictability. While that is the behavioral default for many of us who work, perhaps this is the turning point of defining what we do with new freedom.


History demonstrates that we have always attacked change. So, while media and politics talk about bringing back jobs from the past and we patronize our most frightened workers with false hope, we are wasting precious time to reboot. I predict that fifty years from now, we will look back and feel very sorry for those of us who hung on to the bitter end, waiting for our clocking-in and clocking-out job to come back.


This reaction is hardly new, humans have always attacked change.


Today, we are used to the revolutionary freedom that automobiles bring to our world. We’ve had over 100 years to get used to them. But in the beginning, there were many that believed cars posed a threat to pedestrians, bicyclists, and horses. Vermont passed a law that required someone to walk in front of the car waving a red flag. In Illinois, steel cables were stretched across a road to stop “the devil wagons.” In some towns, automobiles were banned outright.


Not long before 1910, the Farmer’s Anti-Automobile Society of Pennsylvania proposed the following additions to state law:


  • Automobiles traveling at night must send up a rocket every mile and then wait ten minutes for the road to clear.
  • If the driver of an automobile sees a team of horses approaching, he is to stop, pull over to one side of the road, and cover his machine with a blanket or dust cover which is painted or colored to blend into the scenery.
  • In case a horse is unwilling to pass an automobile on the road, the driver of the car must take the machine apart as rapidly as possible and conceal the parts in the bushes.


When we opened the first railway in 1825, people feared that if the body traveled at the incredible speed of 25 miles per hour, it would melt. Preachers characterized the first phones as, “instruments of the devil.” Years later, warnings were issued that women would miscarry if they sat too close to a CRT monitor. More recently, Y2K spawned so much fear that the technology industry reaped billions in fees to protect us from “the apocalypse.”


Pronouncements, experts and fear mongers have always been here to scare us. And, the idea that we will get hurt from technology has always been a companion to progress. Today, the idea of losing one’s livelihood to technology is very real. But, the most toxic reaction is that some type of unseen force is out to get us and we have no control over our lives. The “adult” animated series South Park has always poked fun at our culture. Recently, the program showed legions of white middle-aged men marching down the streets chanting, “They took our jobs.” The sympathetic town outlawed Amazon’s Siri and gave her role to the men. Quickly, they found the new work “demeaning” and quit. I am not quoting a cartoon to trivialize our reactions to the loss of task work. However, I am committed to shining a light on the fact that change and technology offer us new freedoms. If we are getting paralyzed, the transition is going to be really rough. And, to some ears, these words probably sound as if pods have landed in our neighborhoods and eventually, every one of you will have to submit!


For 27 years, Inspired Work has been delivering outrageously good results for people who want to improve every aspect of their work life. Telling people what to do doesn’t work. No, the real power of personal change comes from answering life’s most important questions. I have witnessed that the right questions lead anyone with the initiative to explore to come up with unique life-changing answers. That said, I have yet to hear one participant declare, “You know what? I am most excited about increasing shareholder value.” The real power of authentic self-definition is in identifying the work that matters to us. That deeply personalized mission not only leads to fulfillment, it becomes the fuel that drives us through the waves of change.


The industrial revolution created millions of jobs that are repetitive and force people into machine-like behavior. After years of repetition, is it a surprise that so many of us are stuck? How do we think “out of the box” if we are still in the box? Giving people questions that lead them to their own truth engages their unique brand of life outside of the box.


Were are in the vortex of exciting, transforming and world-changing change. 3-D printing will impact assembly lines, shipping, and distribution centers. 3-D printing will also make manufacturing cheaper and accessible to millions of new entrepreneurs, artists, and craftspersons. Virtual Reality will impact business travel, training, entertainment, and education. It will also give us the freedom to spend intimate time with our colleagues and clients without leaving home. Bioengineering will give us longer lives and greater freedom from disease. What will we do with that time?


I am a lifelong fan of Dachshunds. You know, short, obstinate, smart and mischievous hound dogs. Years ago, we brought home our first little puppy from a pet store. She had been in a small cage for about a month. We brought her home in a carrier, opened the door and placed her on the floor. For a few minutes, she sat in the living room terrified and walked around in the exact same space as her cage. Then, she looked up and saw a whole new world of possibilities. It wasn’t long before she was running through the house exploring. For the next 16 years, Golda ran our house.


So, today’s question isn’t, “What the hell am I going to do with my life?”


The question is, “What am I going to do with my freedom?”


Trust your answer.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.

(C) Copyright, 2017, Inspired Work, Inc. – (All Rights Reserved)

If you would like to discuss your workplace or your career with David Harder, schedule fifteen-minutes, Here.