Those of us who live in this part of the world have been educated in a materialistic model of life. Everything – or almost everything – is measured in relation to tangible objectives: money, property, cars, assets, and so on and so forth. But education, in general, has left by the wayside essential aspects such as the search for personal fulfillment, emotional well-being, the enjoyment of learning, learning along the way, that not everything is about results and profitability, that life is much more than that. Finding the balance of these two worlds and applying it as a business and life management style option is not easy.
In the midst of this digital era, voices are beginning to emerge that believe and above all apply a new model of business, of life that is more directed to a combination of two eras: the digital but also the emotional. A model that prioritizes the human, because it understands that the better the person is the impact on their sphere of influence improves the world. Within the endless range of challenges presented by the Digital Era, opening a door to reflection so that we value other ways of developing projects, doing business, creating companies and, above all, living the journey, is one of those that should be at the top of the list. The re-encounter with the human should not be incompatible with meeting the numbers and objectives of our business world.
If we were to establish the ROI of knowledge whose essential value is completely alien to any utilitarian purpose, what would it be? If we let the gratuitous die, if we renounce the generating force of the useless, if we work only to pursue profit, we will only be able to produce a sick and deactivated collectivity that, lost, will end up losing the meaning of work and life. The usefulness of the being who sees how body, mind and soul are in balance, of the being who values humanistic knowledge and, more generally, all knowledge that does not produce profits, will help us to reflect on our responsibility as protagonists of this new emotional era.
67% of CEOs believe that technology, not humanity, is the key to the future of their companies. A fact that highlights the widespread confusion that dwells in the vision of the future of many of those who pull the strings of today’s world. I say many, but not all. The business world has already begun to change. Not at the speed at which it is taking on technological advances, but it has begun an awakening. It is clear that the armor of the corporation is more secure than the permeability of a more sensitive, connected, human world, but for that to happen many things would have to change and not everyone is ready for the exposure that a more creative and transparent world can attract. Curiously, we almost always decide with emotion, and that is regulated by the deepest part of the brain. We are what we feel, but do we prefer to hide it so as not to expose ourselves, being what we are not?
The daily avalanche of emails, WhatsApps, messages on social networks, real-time information, apps and so on has filled executives, businessmen, entrepreneurs with stress, has exiled them from the here and now, has taken away their concentration and attention. And in many cases it has made them less productive, even though technology was supposed to make work more efficient. What we do now is not multitasking, it is not even procrastinating, it is changing tasks at an unacceptable speed and it has made us less productive, generating higher levels of anxiety. Seeing someone thinking, reflecting is synonymous with wasting time. With the irony that time is not wasted except when you are not aware of its passing. And for this it is good to stop, breathe, reflect and then act. Because the truth is that the only truly transforming thing is action.
I am convinced that everything begins and ends in education. Today it is not so much a question of children and adults learning how to design robots, but of learning how not to look like them. We are constantly talking about the importance of coding, programming, that children and adults know about software, and what you wonder is what happens with social skills, where is critical thinking or the ability to doubt things. Today education and the business world are facing that big dilemma. In a changing era we need to have a new look and above all a new mentality.
If we review some of the “soft skills” such as change and time management, communication, personal interaction, negotiation, conflict and stress resolution, motivation, delegation, and public speaking, we can return the focus to the essential, which coincidentally is the important thing: the education of a business society that was not and is not prepared for this new emotional era. An education in all areas, starting with something as essential as remembering that technology must be at the service of human beings and not the other way around.
I join all those who defend the usefulness of knowledge whose objective is not to produce immediate profits or practical, professional benefits, but those that make us morally and spiritually better and happier. We cannot continue to build our civilization around things that only contribute to increase our material conditions of life. Life is much more than that and the search for balance is a challenge that cannot be postponed.
I hope and wish that we change the focus from which we come: a great majority looking for immediate return, immediate satisfaction, immediate reward. Everything is measured in material and tangible benefits. This is the focus we are moving towards: but few seek to invest in knowledge, talent, education or love because it is not immediate; there are no shortcuts on this path (profit is the path).
José Luis Sampedro already said: “time is not gold, gold is not worth anything. Time is life.”