The main reason I love writing is to get clarity. I have been thinking about my children’s education recently so I thought I would look 20 years ahead and review what skills will still be relevant.
Computers and machines are taking on many tasks and will continue to take on more. We need to be realistic that the requirement for humans in manufacturing and production will reduce. As ill the human requirement in any repetitive tasks.
While there will always be a need for a few specialists (there are still a few blacksmiths), certain skills will be far more in demand than others.
Timeless Skills that Will Remain in Demand
Communication and Inter-Personal Skills
- Critical Thinking and Reasoning – The ability to pull apart an argument, approach, position or process needs a certain type of thinking which will remain valuable – These are so transferable that they are essential to all jobs. A good understanding of the different ways of communicating will also be a valuable skill eg Written word, Verbal and Visual imagery.
- The Ability to Dramatically Simplify – Stating something simply is much harder than being long winded and a skill well worth cultivating.
- OPV – This is an Edward de Bono technique called “Other People’s View” It is essential the skill to see something from another person’s perspective. Skills in this area are very valuable to relationship building, marketing, career and many other areas and will remain so.
- Ability to Express Emotions – Getting people on board is part communication skills, but also part ability to touch people emotionally. Understanding your own emotions allows you to understand and motivate others.
- Conflict Resolution – Can you make someone feel at ease? Can you hose down an escalating emergency? Can you find an acceptable compromise. This is sales, this is people, this is life.
- Responsibility – A sense of responsibility goes hand in hand with community belonging. Community belonging leads to higher achievement and increased happiness. For brevity, I would group honesty and morality with responsibility.
- A Second Language – Although a second language on’t help so much in the future, the benefits from learning a second language will make it a valuable skill. Benefits include delayed onset of Alzheimer’s improved problem solving skills and the ability to relate better to people of different cultures.
Problem Solving Skills
- Curiosity – People who are naturally curious will seek out better ways of doing things and find useful and fulfilling work for themselves
- Visualization – Einstein used it, it is the fastest way to get the largest part of your brain working to solve a problem.
- Creativity – There will always be a need for new ideas
- Problem Solving – The future holds just as many problems to solve as today. Good problem solvers will always be in demand
- Stamina – Once you have identified a problem and worked out how to solve it then you need to see it through. Stamina and staying power is critical to success.
- Ability to Copy and Incrementally Improve – This is a skill which will always be in demand. It may mean looking at a process and speeding it up or making it cheaper or more reliable. Incremental improvement is part of evolution which is timeless.
- Analysis of Arguments – Marketing is ubiquitous now and will remain so in the future. We all need to be able to determine a solid argument that will bring us value vs a hollow sales pitch.
- Critical Thinking and Reasoning – The ability to pull apart an argument, approach, position or process needs a certain type of thinking which will remain valuable
- Estimation and Probability – The ability to quickly estimate to a reasonable accuracy is a skill that is highly valuable. An understanding of statistics and this branch of mathematics will remain valuable.
Personal Mastery Skills
Your body including your brain is the most flexible and useful tool that you have. Personal mastery covers a number of different areas
- Ability to Concentrate – Many people suffer from lack of concentration and focus, and this is a killer in the workforce and life. Encouraging the ability to focus for longer and longer periods of time is a critical factor in achieving success in any field.
- Fine Motor Skills – Fine motor skills take practice, but can be built upon. Fine motor skills are useful in a host of areas which will take machines longer to enter. Examples include medicine, rapid prototyping of inventions and demonstrating finesse in social circles. Fine motor skills are also useful in performing tasks outside factories for example locally in people’s homes and offices where there will be ongoing demand for install and repair type services.
- Freedom – What allows you to hold the sense of freedom and what encroaches on your freedom? A solid understanding of this has multiple benefits including keeping you energized, happy and sane!
What is Not on My Future Critical Skills List and Why?
- Reading – Personally, I love reading, but in the future, this may be a skill where only basic knowledge is enough. There are millions of training videos available today and I would argue that being able to watch them at double speed would allow you to achieve your goals as fast as reading.
- High Level Maths – I believe that basic day to day maths will be needed and estimation will be highly valuable, but high level maths is unlikely to be a skill that is required by most people in the future. There will be enough people who love maths to ask or look up when needed.
- Geography – Look it up when needed.
- History – Search for events and issues that people have previously encountered when needed.