How does the science of extinction begin?

Albert Einstein said, try not to become a person of success, but a person of value. Our value starts with how many lives we have touched or impacted. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both impacted billions of people so that we say them billionaires. If iPhone and computer systems code is changed, our complete office and business system including even our non-web related affairs need to be reshuffled to adapt that code change.

There are two ways of getting success and create value, either we alter the circumstances, or we alter ourselves to adapt the change. It does not matter where we came from yesterday or who we are today. Success is the constant battle of adaptation for what we do tomorrow. I am a firm believer that the only way to succeed tomorrow is to create value for tomorrow, and it lies in our ability to adapt. Success comes when opportunity and adaptation meet.

I asked Durga, “Could you come to cheerlead 5K Run participants next Sunday?”
She replied, “Don’t you think I’m so busy”.
I said, “I know”.
We all are busy, but sometimes we’re busy for being busy.
I’m not judging Durga, I’m just reporting.
She is twenty-seven-year-old two hundred thirty-pound lady in my office.
She visits McDonald’s fastfood pretty regularly via drive through because she doesn’t have time to cook at home. But she never visits in fastlane gym to workout. She is getting out of shape because she isn’t congruent with eating and workout. She says obesity runs in her family.
I respect her genuine excuse of non-action.

More than one-third of Americans are obese costing billions of dollars in medical expenses. Very few of us do minimum aerobic activities because we are not adapted to regular exercises. Not doing it creates stress and slows down the production of new brain cells. It also brings reduction in serotonin and dopamine making us poor memory person.

Tomorrow’s work stations should adapt free massages and free yoga class for their employees, if we want high performance and productivity. Workspace should not be cubicled, but open, and pets should be allowed so that everyone could feel like home. Very few people are aware of the relationship between productivity and pets. This is the future of office culture so that everybody enjoys going there. This new practice will make normal office hours obsolete.

Most of us know that meditation significantly lowers stress and anxiety, and elevates attention and creativity. Ray Dalio’s company, Bridgewater Associates, offers free meditation service to its employees. This is another example why we need to adapt new tool in office culture. This exotic vision and willpower come from sheer leadership to adapt new tomorrow. This not only brings sustainability and profit to the organization but also maintains work life healthy balance to employee.

In today’s world, specialized skill in any area is required, but it has both good and bad ramifications. The good aspect is we become expert in the area with keen understanding and knowledge, but the bad part is, there is also high possibility of becoming a trivial market value that has high chance to become obsolete. For example, the specialized expert in automobile industry never thought about the robotics when they were in peak of their career. Now their job is gone. The person who can envision the future spends time to study the forthcoming. The specialized automobile engineering skill could be diverted to the robotic skill. This is called adaptation to change.

My dad used typewriter and also used to repair it when I was kid, but now our typewriter is once upon a time story.
Specialized skills in stock brokerage now, is not far from extinction due to Robinhood and Vanguard.
Priceline dot com already engulfed my friends travel agency office located in King’s way.

Uber and Lyft have now transformed the travel industry, they own nothing except one app, but that single app has put thousands of taxi drivers’ career in jeopardy. Today, dependence on one skill specialization has high risk of obsolescence. When we become experienced in one skill set, our activities revolve around repetition over and over again every day. Daily job becomes monotonous rat race. Our mind goes to autopilot and acquiring new knowledge with hours of learning commitment becomes a distant goal.

The real personal growth in life comes from everyday new life experiences, not from everyday job. New uncomfortable conversation with someone whom you never talk before gives competitive advantage. Single visiting card of a medical science liaison officer who was next to you in your Dubai flight last month can open plethora of avenues. New thoughts, ideas, and experiences don’t come from regular job but from seemingly unrelated dots we experience in five hundred miles away in Florida beach. Growth happens outside of our comfort zone if we are open to adapt it.

Success in career, business, and life is built with time. Time is asset only if we are able to convert one skill set to another with required adjustment and modification. Otherwise, time becomes liability for us. The more we work with people environment, the more we learn about ourselves. This is the key to develop new ways of thinking, new skills, and new ways of serving for tomorrow. Obsession in one area of skill without open mindset to change hurts. And it hurts another skill set. Insanely good at one skill may also take us to obsolescence, if we don’t listen to others.

If we are resistant in adapting to change, we may go out of business. Many of us know that, in 1952, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa both conquered the peak of Mount Everest and also returned safely on the ground. But very few of us know that George Mallory had also reached the peak of the Mount Everest before Edmund and Tenzing, in 1924, but died while returning. It’s not the strong that survives the best, but the one who adapts the quickest.

Many of us have a vivid memory of renting DVDs from Blockbuster Video, an iconic original VHS and DVD rental industry. But now, Blockbuster became the history. At one time, Netflix wanted to sell its company to blockbuster. Blockbuster ignored to adapt to change assuming that live-streaming Netflix is transient. The result is with us, failing to adapt to change is extinction.

Finally, I am coming to conclusion with one alarming note of our current teaching system inside the class room, it is still a teacher centric unidirectional. Holding iPhone and sitting inside the class means we have unlimited accessibility of information. I am curious how long do we attend boring and tedious history and English literature lectures from one-person knowledge bank, the instructor? These teaching practices are endangered to be extinct in coming years. Adaptation to online information tool with advanced curriculum is indispensable now, even in elementary schools. Those who absorb the changes and assimilate to take advantages of it will remain forever. If anybody is not willing to adapt to change, extinction is the inevitable outcome.

-Yam Timsina