I just finished reading Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. I’ve added it to my reading list.
In a nutshell, he believes that left-brained thinking (reasoning, linearity, logic, rules) is no longer enough to thrive in the current world. The abundance of goods, the outsourcing of labor to Asia and the growing use of automated machines are putting pressure on workers to nurture right-brained thinking (big-picture, context, creativity, empathy). According to Pink, we’re exiting the Information Age and are at the dawn of a new age: The Conceptual Age.
As I was reading, I was reminded of a story:
I was having dinner with a few music colleagues – I was at least 30 years younger than everybody else. One of them started ranting about the music scene. She was frustrated for three reasons.
One was that there is an over abundance of musicians on the scene, making it harder for her and her colleagues to find work. Secondly, the excess of musicians is forcing everyone to accept less pay, making it harder for her and her colleagues to find good work. Third, because they flood the scene with more and more young players every year, music institutions are to blame for these issues.
Do these issues mirror the issues in A Whole New Mind?
Abundance isn’t exclusive to the music scene; it’s happening everywhere to everything! Lower costs aren’t exclusive to the music scene either. We’re all familiar with prices at mega-shopping sites.
Blaming music institutions is shortsighted. The development of music institutions followed, and continues to follow larger trends in education and economic growth. Those trends are the reasons why we enjoy so many luxuries compared to 50 years ago! I don’t think any industry is immune to the challenges that musicians rant about.
Considering these challenges aren’t going to disappear, what do you do about it?
I would recommend starting with Pink’s book. He talks about how to nurture six essential abilities that one needs to navigate through these difficulties. All of them are centred on improving right-brained thinking.
If you’re unconvinced, here’s a quote from Pink:
“To survive in this age, individuals and organizations must examine what they’re doing to earn a living and ask themselves three questions:
- Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
- Can a computer do it faster?
- Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?
If your answer to question 1 or 2 is yes, or if your answer to question 3 is no, you’re in deep trouble. Mere survival today depends on being able to do something that overseas knowledge workers can’t do cheaper, that powerful computers can’t do faster, and that satisfies one of the nonmaterial, transcendent desires of an abundant age.”