Living In The 21st Century

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I’ve spent more than my share of time staring at the problem of living effectively in the digital age we find ourselves in. In that time a few core ideas keep popping up, basic concepts that I think will become the foundations on which the next stage of our economy is built. The following are 49 points that I believe make up the basis of this new system, while the list is by no means exhaustive I do believe that it is comprehensive.

1. For the first time in history we all have the tools to craft our own jobs and set the course of our own lives.

2. This does not imply that it is easy or right for everyone, different people have different paths to meaning.

3. All the meaning and happiness in our lives is wrapped up in doing something incredibly hard, for an incredibly long time that we can believe in right down to the core of our beings.

4. Our greatest failure in life is that we rarely take a moment to discover this belief — what makes us tick, what brings us meaning, the reason that we keep breathing.

5. There is this idea that working from 9-5, 5 days a week at a job you basically hate is the only rational path to meaning — the modern economy is proving this notion false.

6. The modern economy rewards those who understand that a career is an ideology, a point of view, not merely a daily grind designed to keep us in bread and beans.

7. The modern economy rewards those who can separate themselves from the sea of resumes by shining a light on the talents and expertise that distinguish them as individual human lives.

8. “Shining lights” and all that is not easy work, it requires self knowledge and a deep belief in your own value.

9. One of those values is that we’re all entrepreneurs, we can all be agents of change — big, small or otherwise.

10. Change does not necessarily mean changing the entire world, it can be just as meaningful to change your neighborhood or your household.

11. Most people have no idea what they’re good at and walk around blindly thinking they are boring and colorless, get over this lie and start nurturing your talents.

12. A job is what you do to pay the bills, a career is what you live within to improve your world, you take on one to work towards the other.

13. Until your career can pay your bills, it’s probably prudent not to give up your job.

14. Without goals however, the job will consume your life, establish goals and spend as much energy as you have available to work towards them.

15. If you’re not learning you’re dying, if you’re not adapting you’re being left behind, the world changes in a blink and so must you.

16. Be on the lookout for any technology that makes your life easier.

17. Be certain to ignore all technologies that don’t.

18. The best ideas have always been simple to explain, never get caught up in your own complexity.

19. Time is and has always been your currency, the thrust of life should be towards earning more of it and using what you earn more wisely.

20. To that end, automate everything that you can, that will leave room to concentrate on all of those things that you can’t.

21. Money should always be a tool and never and end in and of itself, spend it freely if it helps to grow your business your knowledge or your happiness.

22. The things that we do are always more memorable than the things that we have, understand that long term happiness is always drawn from experiences rather than possessions.

23. Your possessions should be shaped and determined by your life, your life should never be shaped and determined by your possessions.

24. Maintain a broad perspective on the world, learn what you can about as much as you can and bring that wisdom into everything you do.

25. Genius is combining two seemingly unlike things into a third in a unique way, genius requires perspective and punishes those who see the world through the mouth of a tunnel.

26. Never underestimate your capacity for error, being human means being irrational.

27. Everything, especially error and trauma has a lesson to teach, learn to treat failure as a tool rather than as a penalty.

28. Don’t let work consume you, a few hours of time off can grant more perspective than a few days in front of a desk.

29. Understand that the trappings of success are less important and less valuable to you than success itself, that the culture of fame and wealth is as much a trap as it is something to strive towards.

30. Never add unnecessary complexity to your life, complexity consumes times.

31. Never hire an employee when a contractor will do, never hire a contractor when an employee is necessary.

32. Your dreams of a fancy corner office with a huge wooden desk probably has little or nothing to do with the goals of your business, often we are better off giving up the former for the latter.

33. Learn how to build a website, put up a blog, design a mobile application, work within the context of the web — the Internet is here to stay and those skills will drive the future forward.

34. The only things that can’t be outsourced are clever thoughts and the brass to speak your mind. Cultivate your ability to communicate your thoughts and the courage to implement your ideas.

35. Accept advice willingly, seek it out — in the end you will ignore most of it, but you’ll change everything because of the rest.

36. Give something back to the world.

37. Develop an interest in the problems of others, make time for voices outside of your head.

38. Travel as often as you can, get some perspective on the world outside of your front door.

39. Learn another language, you never can tell where your next client will come from.

40. Nurture your relationships, your work should never become the sole driver of your life.

41. Save like you’re going to spend 20% of your life miserably unemployed.

42. Learn to invest what you save, never underestimate the power of compound interest.

43. That being said, an iron clad law of investing is that the more complex your strategy the more likely you will end up spectacularly poor because of it.

44. Never take on debt you don’t need, but understand when debt can acutally serve a need.

45. Like money, ideas are wealth and should be saved as you would anything else, write all of them down and store them away for a rainy day.

46. Build those ideas that you are capable of producing well, develop a sense of your strengths and your weaknesses, and have the courage not to get wrapped up in one to the exclusion of the other.

47. Ideas are your fuel and fertilizer, believe in them, embrace them and challenge them.

48. Challenge your perspective constantly, always assume that you are wrong and strive towards becoming more right.

49. In the end, be the sort of person that someone can believe in, that you can believe in, that whatever small part of the world that you care about can believe in.

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  • fella myth

    Ugh. Rick warren for materialists. Look, distract yourself until you die, and don't put any offspring in the same execrable position.

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    The best way to chase away your problems are to face them, this article teaches an important lesson of how to face them and how to fight out of them.

  • Some of those lines are just a part of our daily lives and problems. Since we all know that people now a days are quite being a servant and are workaholic. Only few are happy with there work while others just work since they have no other choice due to the fast rising of poverty and unemployed people. While crisis and poverty are lurking in each aspect of the society. 

  • "
    1. For the first time in history we all have the tools to craft our own jobs and set the course of our own lives."  

    This is exactly why I want to work from home and not for someone else.  Because these days it IS possible to do so.  We have the tools.  We just need to do the work to make it happen.

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  •  It's good to see this information in your post, i was looking the same but there was not any proper resource.

  • I have to
    confess I sometimes feel lost because I’m not very well adapted to some of the
    rules of this New Century. Thanks for listing and reminding me them. Great

  • great) liked everything very much) keep it up
    and dont stop)

  • I found lots of interesting information here. Thanks you for the info

  • habibbogra

    nice post. it is  so beautiful

  • Very popular post. I like it....! I think the readers are like this article.

  • great in-depth and fascinating article. thanks for sharing.

  • Very nice information shared by you. I was just searching this type of information and luckily I got it from your blog. I like your blog also. Keep it up.

  • Your idea is very constructive for the guide of our life. If you do anything according to this instruction, you will be success.

  • Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!

  • 50. realize, by whatever means, that the consciousness you access within is connected to everything and everyone in existence everywhere, without limits.

  • Steve - this is being printed out and carried around with me in my bag to continually remind me of the time I'm living in, but more importantly, what I can be doing with my short occupation here. Great list of truths that can be expanded into several different chapters if we had time.

    Thanks again!

  • sbspalding

    Thanks for reading mate!

    Testing this @reply thing -


  • Phew, what a list ! Gives some thoughts for over Easter.

  • Powerful stuff, Steve. Well done!

  • sbspalding

    Thank you mate, I appreciate it.

  • Excellent manifesto, it distills a lot of the things that I have been thinking about. Each of these points could make a good chapter title for a book.

    In fact, Hugh MacLeod makes some similar points in his book 'Evil Plans'.

  • sbspalding

    Thank you so much! I haven't read Hugh's new book, I should pick it up.

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