Updated: Oct 9, 2020
A documented fact today people are finding themselves in a state of anxiety and conflict (internal and external). The state itself appears to be in drastic contrast with another fact - in the history of humankind, human life has never been so secure and supplied with abundancies of peace, health, work opportunities, workplace flexibilities, connectivity etc. etc. (for those who haven’t read yet - please do get familiar with John Calhoun’s 1960s experiment, a grim prediction for humankind species when all needs are being met, and the actual challenge we have to deal with).
This is a comfortable and at the same time increasingly challenging world for us. The big questions of the day: How to be happy, how to be secure, and how to be competitive?
The key to understanding this HOW is the level of our understanding of “instruments” concept.
A personal example as a soft intro to it:
There are 6 kinds of instruments accessible to us throughout our life.
Your mind and your knowledge of how the mind operates and impacts your decisions, behaviours of others
Communication, diplomacy (as omnichannel - from Athens agora public debates to viral TikToks today)
Money (from precious silver coins to any future medium which will be used to acquire goods and services)
Diagnostics and prognostics tools (e.g. your Macbook operating system and apps, financial market terminals, astrology, tarot cards)
Physiological ones, or your body (e.g. quality sleep, healthy joints, balanced hormones)
And those have one dominating distinct functions:
Allowing us to understand and explain the world we live in
Allowing us to acquire other instruments
All these six instruments are linked. Let’s take an example of the Fibonacci sequence concept as a diagnostics and prognostics tool. For the first time I encountered and had to operate with it back in college while handing Bloomberg Financial markets terminal and analyzing oil companies performance, and so-called Fibonacci lines (ratios) were one of the techniques we were supposed to use. Digging deeper in the concept I was able to discover the whole new understanding of the sequence
discovered and documented by Leonardo of Pisa in 13th century, its reflection in the animal world, spiral galaxies, hurricane patterns, and why certain melodies a human ear finds more harmonical than others. Whilst, most certainly I won’t use it to create a beautiful melody (because a path of the composer is not in my plans) but this helps me to look differently at the product design in the industry, understand while certain products resonate with consumers more than others.
Another way to look at the six kinds of instruments is like tree roots. When a tree has one root it might be taken away by a wind, destroyed by a fire. When a tree has massive body of roots, so-called root system - it will likely survive even severe externalities. Think of yourself as such tree with a root system.
And here we come to another important message of this note. For me, the “instruments” concept explains both individual's professional and business competitiveness. An organization where people individually and as whole share the value and importance of development and enrichment of the instruments kit - are those who are successfully competing today, will sustain the changing world and will grow in (and very likely shape) the future, whatever that future would look like. But as always - it is a choice, we make every day.
Postscriptum. If you look at yourself today - how vibrant and diverse a set of instruments you possess that help you to understand the world? Do you happen to be ignorant or arrogant to an opportunity to explore a new one? (e.g. when people of one religion refuse to learn about others' beliefs forgetting that it is not about changing the faith, rather exploring a new prism people use to explain their purpose, order and life. Or you tend to overlook the state of your health preventing yourself from having an active body and sharp mind to work with various models to better understand trends and developments in emerging industries and sectors? Invitation to ponder...