Charles Darwin, the founder of the theory of evolution once said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Your ability to adapt to change can make or break the quality of your life.
There are many different changes happening right now.
Study them, adapt to them, and learn how to use them to make your life better instead of getting lost in the shuffle.
These are the top six workplace trends that will change the way we live forever.
1. Changes to the way we learn
The traditional education system is broken. At least, that’s what many people think.
Certain aspects of the education system are based on a world we no longer live in:
- Schools were originally designed to train children to do regimented tasks on a fixed schedule, similar to the style of work that needed to be done in factories during the industrial age.
- College used to be a gold stamp you could use to guarantee a job that pays well. It was one of the few ways to prove your credibility before we had the alternatives that now exist.
- The traditional education system focuses on rote memorization and passing tests instead of critical thinking and problem-solving.
In today’s world, the usefulness of traditional education has decreased.
Many top companies don’t require a college degree anymore. They just want to know you have the skills to do the work, which can be proved in other ways.
College is a great vehicle for learning, but some argue that the ROI of paying tens of thousands of dollars (and going into debt that can’t be forgiven with bankruptcy) is much lower than it used to be.
We have tools like Google and artificial intelligence that make it less important to memorize information. Instead, you can get ahead by using freely available information to solve problems in the real world.
The e-learning space has created many different options to learn and succeed in the real world, often for much less than traditional education costs.
The industry is growing rapidly. Per Global Marketing Insights:
E-learning market size was valued at $399.3 billion USD in 2022 and is anticipated to grow at 14% CAGR between 2023 and 2032.
Instead of going to business school for $50,000 without a guarantee of a job afterward, you can spend $500 on an online course that can teach you profitable skills.
These skills can help you make big bank as an entrepreneur. I studied marketing in college and my self-taught education helped me make way more money than the skills I learned in school.
There are different ways to prove your skills now. For example, instead of a fancy degree, you can get a certification for a skill (e.g., taking a coding boot camp to learn how to write code). There are companies like Lambda school, that will teach you for free and take a portion of your earnings after you land a job.
You can also learn useful skills for free:
- Most Ivy League schools publish their lectures online for free.
- YouTube is filled with step-by-step tutorials on every skill you can think of.
- You can read free content online with guides you can use to advance your career.
And there are plenty of other alternatives to college. More options mean the traditional education system no longer has a monopoly on education.
Even at the pre-college level, parents are exploring different options to teach their children (like homeschooling), as many parents aren’t happy with the quality of education at schools, and also don’t want schools teaching their kids how to think in a conformist way.
Per data collected by The Associated Press:
In 18 states that shared data through the current school year, the number of homeschooling students increased by 63% in the 2020-2021 school year, then fell by only 17% in the 2021-2022 school year.
Long story short, you now have the ability to learn what you want on your own time and use it to create a custom education that you can use to build a custom career.
Speaking of careers, this workplace trend has changed the landscape forever…
2. The way we make a living will never be the same
Years back, you had two choices for your career.
You could get a 9 to 5 job where you have to show up in person do to the work, were paid a fixed hourly wage, and could gradually increase your income through raises.
You could start a business, but you’d need lots of start-up money to fund it because you needed a physical space, plus inventory, and had to hire people to help run your operation.
Today, you have more options when it comes to your career thanks to emerging trends like:
Instead of having to commute to an office, you can work from home, which means you can now work for a company anywhere in the world. This gives you extra free time because you no longer have to drive to the office.
Also, since everyone in the world can now apply for certain jobs, competition has increased. So, what does this mean? You can race to the bottom by competing for lower wages with employees from other countries who will work for less money.
Or, you can develop rare and hard-to-replace skills and increase your earning power.
The gig economy
There are now different ways you can earn money without committing to being a full-time employee.
You can take up a side hustle by driving Uber or delivering DoorDash and earning money on your own time and at your own convenience.
You can become a contractor who gets paid by the project instead of being paid a fixed wage. When you complete a contract job, get testimonials and referrals from the company, and use that completed job as social proof to earn even higher-paying gigs in the future.
Thanks to the internet, you can start businesses with little to no upfront investment.
There are business models like dropshipping, where you become the middleman between customers and suppliers. You can sell products on their behalf without having to package and ship the items yourself.
My print books are sold this way. I never carry inventory and I always make a profit on the sale of a book.
All these different options for your career and business mean you can no longer have any excuses for not making a great living.
A freer, more flexible, more lucrative career can happen for you if you put in the work.
3. Will the robots take over the world?
Some people are worried that artificial intelligence will displace nearly everyone. Others say it’s a tool you can use to level up your life. The answer is somewhere in the middle.
Chat GPT took the world by storm after it was released. GPT is a language learning model, which means that it can perform tasks because it “learned” how to do them by “reading” all the information available to it.
AI tools can now perform tasks like:
- Creating content
- Writing code
- Diagnosing patients
- Drafting legal documents
- Translating languages
Just to name a few.
AI tools have already shifted the game for many industries. Why hire an employee that you have to pay, has a life outside of the business, and can’t work 24/7 when you can use an AI tool that never sleeps, never rests, and will do anything you tell it to?
Some companies have already fully replaced their employees with AI. It has displaced many careers in a different way than expected. We thought it would replace manual labor first and knowledge work second, but it has actually replaced knowledge work and creative work first.
Does this mean certain fields are doomed for failure like copywriting and coding, or does it open up new opportunities? The answer is both.
You can let AI replace you or you can use it to be more effective and efficient.
Examples of using AI to your advantage
If you’re a copywriter, you might get wiped out if you’re mediocre.
But if you are a great copywriter who knows how to think, market, and sell, you can use AI to create effective copy based on the inputs you give it, which means you can take on more clients.
The same goes for skills like coding, where several programmers have used AI tools to whip up new websites, SaaS tools, and companies from scratch at a much faster pace than they’d be able to do without it.
The camp is split when it comes to AI.
Some companies don’t want AI-generated work because, as advanced as it may be, it still lacks that human touch. AI can only do what you tell it to. It can’t truly think. At least not for now.
Also, ChatGPT is still imperfect and can make mistakes like coming up with incorrect assumptions, providing factually incorrect information, and making poor “decisions” because the person using it didn’t feed it the correct prompts.
Others have embraced it fully and use it to either replace humans or make them more productive.
The bottom line: If you don’t learn how to harness the power of AI, you’ll fall behind.
It’s the number one workplace trend, so it would be foolish to ignore how it works.
4. Reality no longer has a monopoly on…reality
Remember when Pokémon Go took over the whole world? This is an example of augmented reality (AR) where you can add simulated images and experiences on top of reality.
Apple recently announced a new product called the Apple Vision Pro, which can do things like generating a set of work screens in front of your face or projecting movies on your wall. You can interact with apps on a screen by moving your hands around.
There are several different real-world applications for AR:
- Interactive video games
- Instruction for tasks like repair work
- Adding an interactive experience to education
- Immersive buying experiences like being able to see products you want to buy right in front of you
- Enhanced fitness experiences like having a digital personal trainer coaching you in your living room
Then there’s virtual reality (VR) which is a fully simulated experience.
Imagine being able to sit at the 50-yard line at a live football game or getting an immersive tour of a home you want to buy across the country.
VR has similar applications to AR, except you can truly put yourself in a new world. Some people imagine the future to be like the movie “Ready Player One,” where people spend more of their time in the virtual world than they do in the real world.
Many people argue that AR and VR can lead to more isolation because people will choose to spend less time engaging with other humans in real life because they’d rather interact digitally.
Like most technologies, AR and VR are double-edged swords that can either enhance your life or change it in counterproductive ways. With all tools, the spoils will go to those who learn how to use them to their advantage.
5. Powerful tool or dangerous distraction?
Some experts argue that we will look back on social media and smartphones like we currently view smoking tobacco.
Apps, notifications, and infinite feeds with infinite content can affect your life because of the way they harness your attention. There’s a chemical in your brain called dopamine; it’s the pleasure center of your brain.
The release of dopamine makes you feel good, which can cause you to keep seeking more of it. Social media and smartphone use can create addictions that are just as strong as addictions to physical substances like recreational drugs.
When your attention is spread thin, it becomes harder to focus. And if you’re constantly distracted, you’ll have less time to focus on what matters. If you want to create more time to work on important tasks, look no further than the screen time on your phone to find the said time.
If you’re on your phone too much, try a dopamine detox to reset your focus. You can also use other strategies like turning off your notifications or turning your phone screen gray, which makes the app symbols less appealing.
Smartphones and social media can be used as tools to make your life better. If you become a creator instead of a consumer, you can use social media to connect with smart people all over the world, switch careers, start businesses, bring attention to social causes, and increase your knowledge.
Jobs like “content creator” didn’t exist years back. Now you can get paid to make content about hobbies you enjoy, skills you have, and life experiences you want to share. Social media power users like Mr.Beast, the Kardashians, and the Paul brothers have used these tools to create multi-million and even billion-dollar empires.
If you understand how to use media to your advantage, you can create tons of leverage, which means you get more out than you put in. For example, you can create a piece of content that has the potential to reach millions of people all at the same time.
Use these tools. Don’t let them use you.
6. Beyond the workplace: The way we think and live will never be the same
One of the biggest trends in society isn’t a technological one, but a social one.
People’s attitudes, beliefs, and opinions have changed over time.
In a controlled society where there were only a few media sources, a few ways to earn a living, and a few ways to communicate, the powers that be had a lot more leverage to shape our attitudes and the way we think.
Now, more people take advantage of the options available and feel more empowered to live life as they see fit.
Instead of listening to one news source, you can use the internet to compare many different sources and determine what’s true.
Instead of feeling confined by where you live and who you have access to, you are free to communicate with people all over the world for different reasons like work, dating, networking, and more.
Rather than feeling powerless, you can use technology to spread your message far and wide, start movements, and bring like-minded people together to champion causes.
You no longer have to follow the traditional methods of working and living.
You don’t have to follow outdated and arbitrary rules for living.
The only constant we have is change
You can either adapt to change or sit on the sidelines while the world levels up around you.
Focus on spotting and taking advantage of these workplace trends. When done correctly, you can use them to make you happier, healthier, wealthier, and wiser.
Also, avoid letting these trends influence you in the wrong direction. Use technology as a tool instead of a distraction.
We are in a new Renaissance period. The possibilities are endless. You can create a tailor-made career, learn many different skills, and become a polymath.
As Nassim Taleb says:
Only the autodidacts are free.
This is a fancy way of saying that, in order to be free, you need to be a multi-faceted and skilled person with knowledge of many different subjects.
Thanks to these modern workplace trends, the process of doing so has never been easier or more freely available to us all.