I have some good news and some bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: We have to reinvent the world. Now the good news: We get to reinvent the world.
Let’s begin with a sobering reality. If you’re like most people, the government where you live probably reacted very poorly to the coronavirus pandemic and there are many negative consequences from quarantines and lockdowns, to high death rates and lost jobs, to bankruptcies and emotional distress. If you’re one of the fortunate few living in an area not seriously impacted by the virality of the pandemic itself, you’re still experiencing the collateral economic and emotional damage it is radiating across the planet.
It just does. We can do our best to power through it all, search for the hidden opportunities, and try to maintain a positive mental attitude. (As we should.) But it still sucks. Because sometimes things in life suck.
I might create a pharma company, develop a new vaccine, launch an IPO, and become a billionaire by the closing bell. But that won’t bring back my two friends who died from COVID-19. Or the 568,587 other people around the globe who have already died from the virus before you finish reading this sentence.
And just staying real…we both know that coronavirus is only one of at least half a dozen serious quandaries threatening the world right now, most of which have the potential to destructively impact your health, happiness, and prosperity.
What should we do? What should YOU do?
As is usually the case, the easiest route would be the descent into victimhood. It’s not our fault, we’re the victims here, we’ve been wronged, please commiserate with us. No one can blame you if you take that path. But is that where you ultimately want to be?
We can lash out, start Twitter debates, create cancel campaigns against those we disagree with, and boycott Goya’s frijoles negroes. That really isn’t going to do much to improve the situation.
We can take the “hunker down, lay low, and see if you can wait it out” approach. You can hoard toilet paper until a vaccine is found, wait for possible herd immunity to develop, or hope it magically disappears. (Written without sarcasm. That last option is the de facto national policy here in the U.S.) But is this the way you want to run out the clock on your life?
The fact is, for a lot of the dangerous threats you are facing now, you don’t have much control over them.
You’re one individual, buffeted by bad government, racial strife, a failing press, medical establishment impotence, education system incompetence, acid reflux, and an alarming dearth of new shows on Netflix. Who could blame you if you wanted to simply crawl under the bed and pray for quick nuclear annihilation?
Two of the books I’ve written were targeted specifically for entrepreneurs: Risky Is the New Safe in 2013 and Mad Genius in 2016. In those books I sought to peek around the corner to see what the future would look like, and how readers could best prepare for it. In both cases I was sounding the alarm for the cataclysmic disruption we were about to face, and the extraordinary hidden opportunities that would be created.
On the media tours, a lot of the people interviewing me thought I had lost the plot. I was talking about asteroid mining, countries leaving the EU, human cloning, virtual and augmented reality, CRISPER bioengineering, smart appliances, ocean floor real estate, and who owns the moon. (And how we might divide it and any other planets we colonize without the wars we use on earth for this.) These days, it seems like every month there is another news item that makes me look like a prescient genius. But at the times those books were coming out, most people thought I had done too many hallucinogenic substances in the 70s. (Which, in their defense, I may have.)
My buddy Joe Vitale was interviewing me on his show and he couldn’t prevent himself from shrieking, “How do you think this way!!! Who would think of this stuff?” No less a literary sage than Steven Pressfield read Mad Genius and equated it to Mr. Toad’s wild ride, saying, “It’s a mad, mad, mad world inside Randy Gage’s head...”
In that book I wrote, “We are entering a decade that will offer exponentially accelerating growth, hyper-development, and disruption that the world has never witnessed before. The challenges you’re about to face are more daunting than any you’ve ever experienced. They’re more daunting than challenges anyone has ever experienced. Even if you’re on top right now, the whole world could blow past you next month. The entrepreneurs and companies that succeed in the new economy will have to do so in wildly different ways than have ever been attempted.
“Leaders are born in turbulent times, and we are about to enter the most tumultuous time in human history. Not in 50 or 75 years, but now. Managers will need to learn how to manage through disorder – directing harmony amid chaos. Leadership will require more critical thinking, creativity, and risk taking than ever before. It will require Mad Genius.
“We are going to need to find answers to the most perplexing questions and exhilarating possibilities humankind has ever faced.”
While I didn’t predict the pandemic, I certainly got the big picture correct. I had no way of knowing it then, but in 2016 I was actually writing the survival manual for life right now in 2020. In the books I made the case for the new economic, political and interpersonal models we would be living under by 2026. Well guess what? The pandemic has accelerated the timeline.
And that, boys and girls and non-binaries, is where we are at this particular instant in the space time continuum. We have to/get to reinvent the world. But not in 2026. Now.
Moving from behind to beyond…
By its very nature, problem solving is reactive. We’re going to need to move away from that thought process and move toward being able to recognize the opportunities inherent in challenges. The possibility-thinking model is really the only way forward to continue our evolution. Simply solving problems is a mindset geared to the past. Creating possibilities is a mindset to the future – reinventing our world.
Even in times of less complexity, I’m not sure there ever were any fixed rules for visionaries to follow. But if there were, they’re all out the window now. But there is one certainty I will guarantee you...
The solutions we need are going to take a level of thinking higher than what we’ve been employing up to this point. There is no government, pharma company, university, or think tank coming to save us. We have to save ourselves.
Just as real happiness can only be attained by the mastery of self, the same is true for the challenges we’re facing right now. Please take charge of your own health, safety, and security. The people most likely to discover the answers we desperately need are us; the freedom-loving individuals and critical thinkers who are willing to question premises.
You might feel like you’re not ready for all this. You’re right, no one is. No generation has ever had to face the specific challenges we’re staring at right now. But that’s been true for every generation in human history.
You’re going to face decisions about wearing masks, quarantines and lockdowns, and sending your kids back to school. Decisions on medical care, how you get your exercise, and food. More decisions on how you travel, vacation, and experience sports and other entertainment. Your job or business, even your entire industry, may have already been a victim of the pandemic. You may have to step back, reset and move forward with plan B, C or D. Like I said we’re going to reinvent the world.
And the most single determinant of your success is probably going to be whether you use the words “have to,” or “get to.”