Deconstructing Oneself for Flexibility

I never would have imagined finding insights on The Future of Work from someone invested in helping people find jobs in the conventional world of work but the core of what’s being said here by Dick Bolles is pure gold, as it relates to becoming flexible.

In the old model, that was one place for a career, an entire lifetime, and you got a gold watch at the end. In the new era, the era that is much more entrepreneurial, your skills and interests and values can be used in dozens or hundreds of different combinations.

When the purpose driven person is ready, the network appears.

You cannot plan, but you can design.

So what we need to do, if we’re going to start to think about what is going to happen with our lives five years from now, is to watch for what keywords have to command our attention.

How I often see seemingly “invisible” connections between things.

You need to have a refuge from the concepts and pictures of yourself you’ve been living with thus far. If you’re going to learn, you first have to unlearn. Very few schools talk about that.

There are so many nutty ideas floating around that we are exposed to since we were tiny kids, that we have to unlearn. And one of them is ourselves.

What’s your picture of yourself? If we’re locked into the idea I am this or I am that, that inhibits us from being able to be creative about what we’re going to do with our lives one year from now, never mind five.

Indeed, we need to learn to Be Real Creative.

The first thing you need most is rethinking who you are.

Because what you’re going to do flows from who you are, especially if it’s appropriate work and meaningful work for you.

Because the further down toward the atomic level in the understanding of yourself that you go—the further down you go—the more flexibility you have.

Your identity of your self is formed from a relationship of information. Keep the info, shatter the relationship.

This is creative destruction applied to oneself, more commonly called “unpacking” or “unbundling” oneself. You’re breaking down your life to it’s basic “building blocks”, so you can reconstruct your sense of identity in newer, broader ways.

…most training programs. You’ve done one thing, it’s sort of not demanded by culture and society anymore, so you learn one new thing. No. That is a horrible way to go about retraining. What you want to have is flexibility.

How do you like to use your brain? What parts of the different skill sets that a brain has, just looking at it as a model. What are the different things a brain can do, and which of those do you love to do?

So if you’re going to design how you’re going to figure out what you’re going to be doing five years from now, you need have an inventory of yourself.

That inventory needs to depend upon stories. You need to break those stories down to as close to the atomic level of braindom as you can. And that means skills.

What are your favourite, favourite, favourite, favourite skills? Never mind what the marketplace wants. Who cares? You can always find ways to persuade people to give you work that lets you use your skills if you are enthusiastic about them.

…you will always end up hiring the one who has a lot of enthusiasm and passion for what they’re doing. They didn’t just choose this because they can do it—they choose this because they love to do it.

What do you love to do?

This “inventory” reminds me so much of what a Second Brain can help you with.

And your Passion is a collective emergent description of your “favourite skills” that reveals itself over time. Like if your favourite skills were people “networked” into a singular “community”.

This is the “indestructible” essence of who you are (as noted by Pema Chödrön) that gives you a sense of fluidity over time.

And as I noted the other day, this reinforces that The Future of Work isn’t so much learning “new” skills, as it is learning “who you already are”.

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