To let your fears determine what you do will not only limit what you fail at but, more significantly, what you succeed at.
A degree isn’t any better or worse than experience, it’s just that a degree is no longer enough. The only way to learn about life is to experience it and that means Live It.
At the moment, we are seeing a large number of businesses promoting the idea that it isn’t necessary to have a degree to work for them. The HR departments in many of these companies have, however, for the past 30-plus years, filtered job applicants on the basis of a tertiary qualification. While their current need is for more people – and those that are not only capable but innovative and free-thinking – this does not change the degree biases within these organisations. The thing to realise is that a prejudice for top people in an organisation to have a degree will not disappear overnight. What companies will want above a university qualification will be practical people who are capable of free thought and contribution; this is at the heart of emotional intelligence. The leaders of tomorrow will not only have a degree or two (one of these likely to be in the arts), but they will have a high level of emotional intelligence and pragmatism.
My advice to my daughter, and anyone still at school, is to absolutely get a degree but to lose any expectation that this will be enough. While a degree is a mark of education, what will be more relevant is what you do with that education. So, study the lives of great achievers and practice the art of leveraging your education throughout the period you are acquiring it. While you could look at your student loan as purchasing an education, a degree, not knowing how to use it will likely lead to limited success. Never forget your value is measured by what you can do, and your life is an accumulation of what you have done.
But where do you learn how to leverage your education? Certainly not from the academics and professors who work in the university. Why? Because generally they have leveraged their education by teaching what they know as opposed to applying that knowledge to increase its value through the success and failure of their endeavours.
With AI threatening to change the world faster than any change in history, we can assume our future opportunities will not be from having knowledge in a specific area or in professions requiring analysis or logical thought. AI is already significantly affecting the world we live in and this is just the beginning! I am currently touring Italy and my obvious reliance on AI is my GPS and its ability to direct me to exact locations in complex 2000-year-old historical walled cities. It amazes me how easily I handed over total trust to this device, blindly following its every instruction, even when at times it has felt completely counterintuitive.
Our future opportunities will come in areas of creative thought, using our emotional intelligence to engage and interact differently. Self-awareness, motivation, empathy, social skills and self-discipline are all pillars of emotional intelligence.
I predict the value drivers of our society will change, as with higher intelligence we will be more clearly challenged on our purpose, the facts and the emotional compromises.
We all need to urgently understand and value our own purpose, living accordingly and allowing for the possibilities of new social connections and emotional unity to facilitate a new era. In a future world controlled by higher intelligence, there is nothing to say it won’t suffer the current equivalent of man-made manipulations driven by ego, greed and fear; the stakes will be high. Unless we continue to enhance our collective consciousness, this evolutionary period may be the most significant adaptation we have faced as a species, with failure to do so potentially contributing to our demise.