(Picture I took on Laguna Beach — Dec. 2018)

Forget 2019 New Year’s Resolutions…Make a New Year’s Revolution for the 2020’s.

New Year’s resolutions are pointless. While a tool for holding ourselves accountable over the course of the year is a good thing, unfortunately New Year’s resolutions reflect an incremental approach to change for the short span of time that is one year.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” -Bill Gates

2019 is a different year and I propose a new formula — I call it a New Year’s Revolution.

A New Year’s ReVolution means adopting a growth mindset and embracing 2019 as practice for the decade of the 2020’s.

Whereas a New Year’s resolution is about a finite goal or set of goals — your New Year’s Revolution can mean that 2019 is a year of discovery, meditation, failure and learning for the long and enigmatic road ahead.

The rocket fuel 🚀 of a New Year’s Revolution should originate from what Stanford researcher, Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset:

“Becoming is better than being.”-Carol Dweck

Growth mindset individuals are comfortable with challenge, criticism and see effort as a path to mastery. The opposite mindset is a fixed mindset and is recognizable when you hear someone declare: “I am not a math person” or “I don’t have time to learn about new technologies.” Fixed mindset folks exert greater energy defending the incumbency of their ideas than adapting to the evolving world around them.

*Empathy is a key 🔑 accompanying attribute to the successful deployment of a growth mindset.

(Neanderthal’s skull (right) was larger than a human’s (left) — Neanderthal’s had less brain power for higher order thinking 🤔 )

In the 21st century, this dichotomy of mindsets is akin to the evolutionary leap Homo Sapiens took over their Neanderthal cousins. (A must read book on this is Sapiens by the Israeli historian, Yuval Harari https://www.ynharari.com/book/sapiens/ )

We know that in the 2020’s we will see:

  • automation disrupt and decimate the workplace 👾.
  • humankind reaching Mars and other celestial bodies 👩🏼‍🚀.
  • Scientific discoveries that eradicate several major maladies: diabetes, cancer, stroke 👩🏿‍🔬…
  • Spatial computing’s merging of physical & cyber landscapes to create a blended form of reality. 😎
  • Synthetic biology plus the convergence of human/machine capabilities. 🤖
  • Blockchain + AI redefining the backbone of our global economy 🌎.

As someone who works at a Top 100 public university (FIU), I am spoiled because every day I am surrounded by the faculty researchers and student future-makers that are pushing boundaries that most of us didn’t even know existed.

All of the aforementioned are on deck, and still our reptilian brain (brain stem & cerebellum) keeps pulling us to think/act in a linear manner. We must use the organic supercomputer that is our necortex to resist this incremental urge. Consider that many of the organizations and institutions of today will not survive the next decade and many of the companies/sectors and entities that will dominate the 2020’s and beyond have not yet even been invented. What will be the equivalent Blockbuster/Netflix or Kodak/Instagram exchange of power in the ‘20s?

How much can things actually change in a decade?

Consider that on Dec 31st, 2008 — Amazon’s Market Capitalization was $22.7BN and on Dec 1, 2018 it was around $885BN.

In the span of a decade, Amazon saw a 40x return in growth. Much of Amazon’s success is attributable to a philosophy founder Jeff Bezos refers to as “Day 1”. Simply put, Day 1 is a corporate strategy based upon the principles of a growth mindset. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/04/21/what-is-jeff-bezos-day-1-philosophy/q. Bezos frequently refers to the opposite approach as Day 2, which is characterized by stasis and ultimately irrelevance and death💀!

If a company can experience a factor of growth of 40 times over the span of a decade, what gains in your human potential can be made in the same timeframe?

As you prepare to make your New Year’s Revolution, you should ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • What would 40x growth look like for me in the 2020’s?
  • What skills will I need to thrive in the year 2030 and what steps am I taking to up-skill in new areas?
  • What will be my primary source of meaning? (Work, Play, Discovery, Service to others?)

How we live/work/learn/play will shift into a dynamic state over the next decade. Consider that the global population of e-sports players of the game Fortnite is equal to the population of Japan 🇯🇵 — 127m!! A growth mindset should make us curious about what that even means. As a result of the above, we must actively revolt against incrementalism and linearity. Leadership in this era will be defined by those who help push and mentor others in adopting a growth mindset.

As one thinker, Salim Ismail states — we must embrace exponential thinking. Great video of Ismail on this topic 🎥 here — > https://youtu.be/FuXeh0Ymnog

(Clockwise: Daughter Rania on Magic Leap, Son Nabeel at Gaming convention, my painting of the Cliffs of Moher)

A New Year’s ReVolution isn’t easy and will look differently for each of us. I see my own middle-school children exploring/creating what the merger of the cyber and physical worlds will look like. I (in spite of being trained as a diplomate and lawyer) have actively taken up both photography 📷 and painting 🖼 as new lenses to help me navigate and derive meaning in a world of complexity. I am in pursuit of fresh perspective from these artistic disciplines, in the same way an artist would gain from exploring geo-politics and perhaps an accountant in learning how to play Fortnite 🎮!

Thriving in an exponential world with a fixed mindset is about as effective as bringing a kerosene lamp to Mars 👀. A growth mindset is the Swiss Army knife of the age of disruption. Anyone failing to make this leap of the imagination is accepting a path of irrelevance.

“The future is already here…it’s just not evenly distributed.”-William Gibson

(Mural — Wynwood Walls, Miami)