To create a positive global community, we need to meet three key challenges:
1. Reaching out to humanity and avoiding isolationism.
In the global community, it is easier to reach out and easier to become isolated. Superficial communication with everyone can lead to meaningful impact on no one. We need to be inspired and educated in the value of trying to benefit the world, not just ourselves. As the opportunities for huge individual achievement and wealth form, we need to better recognize people who make the transition from success to significance. Community heroes need to be celebrated based upon their skills in giving - not their skills in taking.
2. Celebrating diversity and avoiding conformity.
Our ability to adapt to changing situations is largely a function of our diversity. Language leads us to view the world in different ways and to have different approaches to making decisions and solving problems. We need to encourage diversity in language, culture, and lifestyle to ensure our own survival. Powerful countries must not try to make other countries become like them. Residents of the global community need to celebrate the fact that "different" may be synonymous with "fascinating," "enhancing," and even "necessary."
3. Building long-term value and avoiding short-term stimulation.
Residents of the global community have almost unlimited access to sources of pleasurable, short-term stimulation. Television, movies, interactive games, virtual-reality experiences, chat rooms, and other options are available at a low cost. Yet few of these activities produce any long-term value. We need to inspire and educate people about the value of "investing" for the future. Long-term value is the result of vision, creativity, innovation, and hard work. We now have access to tools with the potential to dramatically increase our productivity, but we also have access to countless pleasurable distractions that lead nowhere.
Challenges and Opportunities
The global community has the potential to become a nightmare:
- A world of conformity:
with billions of people wearing the same baseball caps, baggy shirts, jeans, and shoes, speaking the same language, and laughing at the same jokes.
- A world of short-term stimulation:
with countless hours spent on mindless television, video games, and a virtual reality that begins to eliminate the real human experience.
- A world of isolation:
with lives spent in front of a screen, striving for personal excitement and gain with little thought for others and even less effort devoted to helping future generations.
The global community has the potential to be a dream come true:
- A world of diversity:
with billions of people being able to communicate, trade, share cultural experiences, and appreciate each other, with access to a range of products, services, religions, cultures, philosophies, and languages.
- A world building long-term value:
with countless people working together to advance our culture, building on what has been learned in a manner that is positive, efficient, and productive.
- A world reaching out to humanity:
with people helping each other in ways that could never have been imagined, celebrating each other's success, and helping less fortunate members of the community become more productive.
Will the global community of the future become a nightmare or a dream come true? No doubt it will be some of both. The increase in global communication, trade, technology, and culture will continue. By inspiring people and educating them in the values of celebrating diversity, building long-term value, and reaching out to humanity, we can build a global community that is more like a dream come true.
Life is good.
My newest book, MOJO, is a New York Times (advice), Wall Street Journal (business), USAToday (money) and Publisher's Weekly (non-fiction) best seller. It is now available online and at major bookstores.