Written by: Abigail Stason, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Why it’s essential to focus on human development and social learning in our global gig economy and the modern world.
Now that we have control of the planet, now that technology makes life more accessible, and now that the future of work is evolving, there is time, space, and room for something else — to shift our focus to our individual and collective development.
Life, business, real situations, and interactions are the most potent laboratories for human development. Training, workshops, and offsites are still valuable. However, any training program that is a “box to be checked” will no longer support us. There is an opportunity for social learning, using every interaction as a forum to learn and grow. Furthermore, the “learning and development” function is no longer reserved for corporations – human development is a “must-do” in our modern world. Don’t wait for your company to provide growth, learning, and development.
Here are just a few reasons why there is a renewed sense of urgency for human development and social learning:
1. The global gig economy & modern world
The demands on our human existence are much different and more challenging today. In this global economy, humans from different cultures and contexts come into direct contact like never before. People collaborate, meet, and interact in multiple ways: in-person, Zoom, devices, and social media. The issue is they don’t know how to begin to connect. Leaders must be able to facilitate differences in context to bring people together in collaboration and mediate the drama that exists when people judge each other.
Inherent in the judgment between people from different cultures/contexts, a divisive “Us vs. Them” programming begins to take shape. A strong mind is required to overcome the human brain’s wiring to categorize people into an Us or a Them. It is not easy, but it can be done; the invitation is to see each other beyond the surface.
2. Upskilling is essential with advances in technology
“Today advances in technology are changing the demand for skills at an accelerated pace. New technologies can not only handle a growing number of repetitive and manual tasks but also perform increasingly sophisticated kinds of knowledge-based work—such as research, coding, and writing—that have long been considered safe from disruption. The average half-life of skills is now less than five years, and in some tech fields it’s as low as two and a half years. Not all knowledge workers will lose their jobs in the years ahead, of course, but as they carry out their daily tasks, many of them may well discover that AI and other new technologies have so significantly altered the nature of what they do that in effect they’re working in completely new fields.” ¹ To upskill ourselves, we must continue to develop as human beings.
3. Our brains – Let science support your existence
Our brains are still operating as if we are all cavepeople living in prehistoric times. In the modern world, fear is pervasive. And that is also true in companies and relationships. We must evolve past survival mode now that our needs are addressed. Most of us are privileged –plenty of food, clothing, and shelter. And yet, we still interact and relate as if our survival is always questioned.
It may sound odd to you that in our privileged society, survival mode exists. Think about this: In the late 1800s, someone woke up and spent all day on a farm milking cows, sewing their clothes, and participating in activities directly related to survival. The industrial revolution arrived when automation moved people into factories and onto assembly lines. With individuals focused on their tasks, being a skillful relator was unnecessary.
Today, in our modern world, we are well into a global gig economy – where the exchange of information, talent, and wisdom is the commodity. It is necessary to collaborate skillfully. To do this, we must be master relators. What keeps us from peace and ease is fear. Get free access to my whitepaper, Navigating The Human Condition, to educate yourself about how anxiety affects your growth, development, and collaboration ability. Let science support you!
4. Social media has forever changed the way we relate
The invention of social media has been an enormous gift, but not without its challenges. The Ford Model T was introduced to the world in 1908 when the population of the United States was about 88 million people. The impact of social media is as if today's cars were rolled off the assembly line and put into society for use in 1908. Imagine people of that era driving modern vehicles without the infrastructure and scaffolding of today – AND with today’s population of +330 million people. It would be pure chaos because the technology would be WAY AHEAD of where human and societal development were. This is social media today.
Some people suggest we should regulate social media. I suggest we reform our behavior along with regulating technology. This is our opportunity – the infrastructure and scaffolding of our individual and collective behavior still need to be implemented. Social media platforms create a forum for free speech. We can take responsibility for how we behave on social media and in life, and to do so, we must continue to grow as human beings.
5. The paradigm of influencers and obsession with celebrity
Constant learning and human development spark consciousness and awareness. With awareness comes aligned action – not being asleep at the wheel and allowing ourselves to be unconsciously influenced by anything or anyone. It’s OK to be influenced as long as you are present and taking personal and collective responsibility for any actions that come from being influenced.
Here are three prevalent phenomena on social media:
Impression management – trying to manage how people see us to avoid being genuine or truthful.
Online disinhibition effect – behaving differently online than if in person, sitting across from someone.
Obsession with celebrity – keep reading.
Celebrities are human beings, just like you and me. Yet, we put them on a pedestal without knowing what they stand for. They are PAID for endorsements. This is an inherent conflict of interest. Have you ever heard a celebrity say, “You shouldn’t buy this product because it will poison you?” Of course not!
We’ve all seen reports of celebrities and influencers behaving harmfully. Still, we don’t need to eliminate celebrities and influencers – some use their platforms for good. Discernment is essential. Here are some inquiries to bring more awareness to what you are being influenced by:
“How am I unconscious and on autopilot?”
“What am I allowing myself to be influenced by, and how does it impact my actions?”
“Why exactly do I admire this person? What qualities do I want to bring out in myself? Do they share my values?”
“Am I unrealistically trying to create my life similar to a celebrity?”
“What do I want?”
“How can I be alert and present on social media, take responsibility for my behavior, and ask others to do the same?”
6. Population growth has boomed
The global population statistics as indicated by https://ourworldindata.org/:
1800 = 1.0 billion
1900 = 1.6 billion
1969 = 3.6 billion
2023 = 8.0 billion
The global population has more than doubled since 1969, shocking social, economic, environmental, and all other systems. This event, plus technological advances, means humans are playing catch up. We can no longer wait for governments, schools, corporations, or anyone else to teach us the social skills necessary today and going forward, which brings me to my next point.
7. The urgency for social learning
Social skills are not taught in schools. Pre-COVID children attended school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. They learned social skills by interacting with each other and figuring out how to behave together instead of being intentionally taught. COVID disrupted this by forcing kids to online learning, missing the opportunity to learn how to collaborate.
The same is valid for adults. We focus so much on what we do and have ignored, HOW we do it – HOW we relate and behave while interacting. Life is THE lab for human development. If you are a leader, consciously develop yourself and your team. What is required is to transfer some time and energy to learning. I posit that all human beings make time for development. Just two hours per week dedicated to your development will spark your growth. Everyone can benefit from an individual development plan.
You can start with Evolution Revolution: Conscious Leadership for an Information Age. It’s your individual development plan, team development roadmap, and culture handbook. You can also dive into your learning and development with my online course.
Abigail Stason, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
More Master Teacher than coach, Abigail “Abby” Stason is a social activist and skill builder with 20+ years of professional experience as a leader, organizational consultant, and group facilitator. As a disrupter, Abby is committed to a new social awareness in favor of exposing outdated structures that are no longer of service, giving way to the experience of peace, freedom, and truth in the world. She is a catalyst for societal evolution. In short, she helps human beings, leaders, teams, and organizations wake up by equipping them with behavioral skills for a modern world. Abby created a conscious leadership curriculum, a series of practices that are easily accessible to everyone.