“We are moving toward incredible times when the only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing.” — Peter Diamandis
We are currently living at a crossroads between an immense opportunity to build solutions and the risk of falling victim to some of humanity’s greatest challenges.
Amid the global pandemic, we face an escalating financial and mental health crisis that will likely dwarf the scale of the impact of the virus itself.
Many of my colleagues are keyed in on various solutions that will allow us to build a better future as we move through this highly disruptive period.
Technology offers one perspective, ancient wisdom another, and the science of optimal wellbeing and human potential yet another. Over the past 10 years, I have become increasingly convinced that we need all three of those, and more.
Following is a slice of my journey that brought me to this conclusion, as well as a look at the role exponential technologies will play in our future.
Exponential Technologies and the Road to a Better Future
In 2011, I found myself at a turning point. I had spent the past five years as a social entrepreneur, working to apply my professional experience and talents on a number of ventures intended to make the world a better place.
Part of my work included running a non-profit called EarthTones, which aimed to help ensure the best possible future by leveraging the power of music and film. I was determined to take what I had learned in the heart of the film and music industries to utilize the power of music and storytelling to engage and positively influence audiences at scale.
But the idea wasn’t attracting the attention, resources and financial resources we needed to fulfill the vision. I felt misaligned with the worlds of business, entertainment, and finance upon which the model depended. Without a new approach, I wouldn’t be able to sustain the organization, not to mention make a positive impact at the scale to which I was committed.
It didn’t take much looking around before it became clear that technology might be the game-changer I was looking for.
When I looked deeper into where technology was taking us next, I was drawn to the work of Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, and the leadership at Singularity University (SU). SU offers leadership programs focused on educating entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the application of new and exponential technologies.
I flew in to meet with SU President Rob Nail and founding faculty member Salim Ismail, the leading voice on disruptive organizations and founder of a global spinoff of SU called OpenExO (Exponential Organizations).
A few weeks later, Rob and Salim invited me to take part in my first Executive Program at SU, headquartered in Silicon Valley at NASA’s Moffet Field facility. The program was a seven-day introduction to the power of exponential technologies.
Exponential technologies are technological areas that continue to have exponential increases in their capabilities, while the cost of developing them radically decreases. These include fields like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), data science (Big Data), biotech, machine learning, digital health, nanotech, 3D Printing, blockchain, robotics, and autonomous vehicles.
Even in 2011, exponential technologies were already disrupting, redefining, and accelerating major industries and nearly all aspects of our lives. In the midst of the exploding entrepreneurial culture, SU had created a forum to help thought leaders use this knowledge and apply these technologies to take on some of the greatest challenges we face today
As program co-founders, Diamandis and Kurzweil fueled the entrepreneurial spirit of the 80 invitation-only participants by challenging each of us to take on our own “moonshot.”
The goal was to leverage exponential technologies to “positively influence the lives of a billion people over the next 10 years.”
Our moonshots were built on the premise that creating solutions for humanity’s greatest challenges is our greatest opportunity for having a positive impact at scale, and for building successful businesses. The challenges include some of the world’s biggest issues like hunger, clean water, education, health, poverty, and energy.
We witnessed how these disruptive technologies could empower tomorrow’s leaders, or quickly leave behind those who turned a blind eye. I realized how important it was to have a deep understanding of these new technologies if I wanted my own work to have greater reach and lasting impact around the world.
Coping in an Exponential World
But something was still missing. Aside from the potential to solve many of humanity’s greatest challenges, the accelerated deployment of these technologies could create new problems for the very people we were trying to help, possibly causing millions of people overwhelming amounts of disruptive stress due to the enormous and rapid change.
My motivation, then, became less about helping to create these world-transforming technologies and more about giving individuals the tools they would need to cope with the challenges that come with them.
Diamandis predicts that the legacy systems we’ve come to know and depend on will soon collapse and be replaced by exponential technologies.
But human beings are emotional beings, and we aren’t naturally equipped to adapt to the volume of information and rate of disruption coming our way.
To face this challenge, we need resources and tools that will grant us resilience, creativity, adaptability, discipline, compassion, inclusion, community, mindfulness, love, balance, and wellbeing.
The Exponential Power of Humanity
Tapping into these resources requires focusing on another kind of technology. It will require us to optimize the capacity and potential of the greatest technological masterpiece the universe has ever seen—the human being.
The realizations that became clear during those early days at SU are quickly proving themselves to be true during the current crisis. If we are to survive these times and thrive in an increasingly disruptive future, we must learn to master the inner technologies of our mind, emotions, energy, and consciousness—to reign over the universe within us.
It is those who are able to stay calm and highly attuned in the eye of the storm who will rise up and lead us courageously toward the better future we all desire.
Fortunately, there are opportunities for accelerating growth and building resilience and adaptability at our fingertips through the convergence of ancient wisdom, neurobiology, inner sciences, new technology, spirituality, and modern psychology. In the future, we will need exemplary leaders to demonstrate the integration of these practices into their own lives and work.
Although human beings are clearly not machines, and they are by nature resistant to change, they represent the most miraculous creation on the planet. Even with the most amazing technology, humanity’s evolution will be limited until we help people to co-operate at their highest potential, together. Imagine what the world would be like if we could optimize our human capacity for exponential growth in compassion, mindfulness, creativity, wellbeing, and conscious leadership. As Peter told us on that first day of the 2011 SU Executive Training, “We are moving toward incredible times when the only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing.” Beyond new technology, let’s equip people with the wholistic tools and mindsets they need today, to better navigate the turbulent waters of exponential change and unpredictable disruption that will shape our tomorrow.
Resources For Exponential Leaders:
Learn to optimize and amplify your energy with a Free Optimal Energy Masterclass.
Learn how to 10X your performance and impact working 1-on1 with Frank at BeyondPerformance.Life.
Unleash your potential and add some music-charged power tools to your entrepreneur’s toolkit with the bestselling book Amplified.
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