“For ten generations in a row in advanced economies,” most people have succeeded in learning how to make machines work better than the machines themselves. This era is ending. More and more machines are doing this job better than we could, ”writes Jeff Colvin in his book“ Humanity has been underestimated. What successful people know and the smartest machines will never know “(” Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will “).
What qualities do our children need to succeed in the world of the future?
1. Ability to communicate and work in a team
Colvin says there is already a drop in demand for technical skills. The fastest growing industries – including healthcare and education – require human communication skills such as empathy, collaboration, teamwork, and negotiation.
And in other areas, such skills increase the demand for a specialist. For example, a lawyer who can convince an angry and irrational client to act in their own interests, or an engineer who knows how to lead a team.
American Express is looking for contact center staff from the best hotels and cruise ships, focusing on excellent customer service skills. Even Google tests candidates for “collaborative ability” to only hire people who can work well in a team.
And while progress has made human communication skills more relevant, it also negatively affects people’s ability to develop those same skills. People are spending more and more time looking at the screens of electronic devices.
Teens are completely immersed in their phones, but mostly texting, not talking. A large-scale study involving American students showed that in recent decades, the ability to empathize has been steadily declining, while narcissism has been increasing.
Organizations are gradually realizing that they do not have work for the disconnected and socially unadapted people
Other studies show that not only does social media fail to strengthen the bonds between people, it makes us unhappy. Online communication blocks long-established mechanisms that help us work together effectively, including the ability to “read” other people and participate as equals in a conversation.
However, empathy (the ability to identify what another person is thinking and feeling and to react accordingly) is not just a character trait that may or may not be present. Interaction skills can be learned.
Colvin describes an experiment in California with 51 children aged 11-12. The children went to camp in nature for five days and spent all this time without digital devices. The researchers wanted to know if not being “connected” would affect children’s ability to read non-verbal emotional cues. The results confirmed the expectations: “After five days of personal communication, the emotional development of the students increased significantly.”
For those who do not know how to communicate, the prospects are not bright: “Organizations are gradually realizing that they do not have jobs for people who are disconnected from the team and socially unadapted people, and that such people are dangerous for the enterprise and should be fired.”
2. Ability to think outside the box
In a world of change that awaits today’s children, the ability to think outside the box will be very useful. In the book “Originals. How Non-Conformists Change The World “(” Originals: How Non Conformists Change The World “) Wharton School of Business Professor Adam Grant singles out a group of people who, by definition, are better adapted to risk – these are the second and subsequent children in the family.
He cites the results of scientific research: “Four studies involving more than 8,000 people showed that non-firstborns are 1.48 times more likely to participate in sports that are likely to be injured: American football, rugby, boxing, ice hockey, auto racing and so on. First-borns prefer safer sports: golf, tennis, athletics, cycling and rowing. “
Also, non-firstborns are more likely to take risks in politics and science, and accept radical theories when they first appear. Traditionally, firstborns are predicted to be successful, and more often they receive better education. However, by the age of 30, these advantages disappear: “The salaries of the second and subsequent children in the family grow faster, because they more often and more decisively agree to work, where they pay more.”
Parents should develop in their children the ability to think for themselves, offering explanations, not rules
However, it cannot be argued that only the birth order affects personal qualities – more important are the educational methods that are applied to children. Grant believes anyone can be raised to be more creative. While the oldest child is often willing to walk the path that has been paved for him, the youngest, unable to compete physically or intellectually with an older brother or sister, must find success in a niche that has not yet been occupied.
When the older child weighs the consequences of the risky action and abandons it, the younger acts differently. He asks himself: “What does a person like me do in a similar situation?” Grant shows that by focusing on their individuality rather than specific actions, people can become more distinctive and bolder.
Parents can help their child grow up to be a constructive person by using nouns rather than verbs — for example, “be a helper” instead of “help” and “don’t be a cheat” instead of “don’t lie”.
In addition, parents should develop their children’s ability to think for themselves, offering explanations rather than rules. This is especially effective when the consequences for other people are explained first. Over time, the practice of asking questions will lead to the ability to question professional dogmas and existing business models.
Angela Duckworth, psychologist and author of Persistence. The power of enthusiasm and perseverance ”(Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance), every day encounters parents who want to know how to develop perseverance in children – resilience and the ability to resist difficulties.
She believes that children should be encouraged to do “one difficult thing” in well-structured extracurricular activities. It can be dance, sports or playing a musical instrument, depending on the interests of the child. This type of practice has two great benefits for developing persistence.
Personality can change even after leaving childhood, and with due effort, hard work can be learned
First, they are led by an adult – not a parent, but a person well prepared to provide equal support and demand a lot. Second, unlike in school, where the child is difficult, but not necessarily interested, “these activities are designed to cultivate interest, experience, purpose and hope.”
According to Duckworth, this practice will be valuable if you persist for long periods of time, rather than immersed in classes for short periods.
Of course, this or that activity may not be suitable for the child, and in this case, it is worth changing it at the right time – for example, at the end of the class cycle – but not just because of a bad day or inappropriate mood. It is now confirmed that personality can change after leaving childhood, and with due effort, hard work can be learned.
About the expert
Helen Edwards – Head of the library of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo. Author of articles and reviews of books in the genre of business literature, as well as analyzes of business concepts.
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