Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Whole New Mind

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink is a very interesting read. As a result of what he calls the 3 A’s – Abundance (abundant material goods available to all at affordable prices), Asia (the globalization of our economy means that if it can be done cheaper in Asia it will be), and Automation (if a computer can do it faster than a person, then a computer will be doing it) – we are now in the Conceptual Age.

There is a nice graphic about how we have moved from the Agriculture Age (farmers) in the 18th century to the Industrial Age (factory workers) in the 19th century, to the Information Age (knowledge workers) in the 20th century, and to the Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers) in the 21st century. He describes how the information age led to an over reliance on the left brain. Getting information is no longer enough, in fact there is so much of it that what is useful NOW are people who can synthesize, distill, and make meaning through context and analysis of the enormous amount of information available. These are all things that a computer can not do.

He proposes that what is already being valued and will continue to become more and more important is what he calls the Six Senses: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. All of these depend on both the right brain and left brain, not exclusively left. His message is that our ability to thrive in this century is dependent on our rediscovery of the benefits of the right brain and re-integration of the right brain back into our work and lives. He includes a portfolio after each chapter with suggestions on how one can develop each of these senses.

He also discusses the work of Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, founder of the “positive psychology” movement. This field of work has shifted focus to what makes people happy. And it turns out that the things that contribute to happiness include “engaging in satisfying work, avoiding negative events and emotions, being married, having a rich social network, gratitude, forgiveness, and optimism – what doesn’t seem to matter much according to the research is making more money, getting lots of education, or living in a pleasant climate.”

This fits right into a discussion that is occuring all over the country about switching the dominant paradigm from one of scarcity to one of sufficiency/abundance. Lynne Twist’s Soul of Money is a great read on this.

More on this after the 4rth. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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