I wish that I was twenty years old again. If I knew then what I know now, I would have created a different legacy… maybe not one my kids would post on the Internet but it would certainly be a more colorful canvas. I’d be much more adventurous. I’d live out of the box, even more than I do today, and I would not give credence to the saying that wisdom is wasted on youth.
Young adults today have no idea how great they have it. The digital tools that are accessible to them make creating a dream lifestyle possible. Professionals starting out are not solely relegated to the grinding wheel of the corporate business model. They can create businesses that just some years ago were not possible. They can implement ideas or recreate themselves nearly overnight.
Think about it. It would have taken your grandma and grandpa nearly a lifetime to build up a brick and mortar business. They probably would have invested their life savings doing it. If that business failed, they probably wouldn’t have had the time nor the energy to recover. That’s not the case today, no matter your age, thanks to the digital economy.
BUSINESS WITHOUT BOUNDARIES
There are endless online professions today. If you can think of it, you can implement it. Let’s talk about one: app creators. If you’re an independent digital wizard, you can work from anywhere in the world. You’re not tied to a desk, an office or have any geographical constraints. As an entrepreneur, you call the shots: the hours you work, the vacations you take, the business model you create, the benefits you pay yourself.
Besides changing how people live and consume, a successful app can provide passive income from the comfort of your laptop. Just three decades ago this kind of business model was not available.
Unlike an employee, an app creator has no constraints on the content of the material. There are no bosses to “judge” if the idea is good and there’s no chance that someone else will take credit for its creation. In today’s digital economy, it’s the marketplace, not an individual, who decides if a product or service has merit. How awesome is that? You are in charge. You are the creator.
For individuals who love to teach, they can brand themselves as an online educator or teach in educational platforms like Udemy. Either way their reach is global and not constrained to a classroom anymore. The power to influence is limitless when you think out of the box.
There are thousands of subjects one can learn online. Many are free. Lack of money is no longer an excuse for learning. I’ve taken several courses, from the comfort of my sofa, that include quantum physics, online marketing, photography, advertising, vlogging, writing, investing, ancient cultures, mindfulness, evolution, holistic and sound healing and many more. I make it a point to learn something new every day.
Today business professionals can pool ideas online for the benefit of all, something that was not available prior to the Internet. Digital forums, workshops and interest groups provide valuable platforms of information exchange where anyone from anywhere can participate. Online communities are a great way to mastermind and think out of the box.
When we “travel” physically or digitally, we expand our horizons. Interacting with people who have different views and ideologies than ours opens our minds. It helps us to see that there are many ways to solve problems. Too often we become rigid in our thinking because we’ve stayed in our comfort zones too long. One of the greatest ways to grow is through exposure to fresh ideas and different ideologies.
When we engage with people from other cultures, we realize that there is little that differentiates us. Our outer garb, skin coloring and language may be different but most of us want to live with purpose, have a roof over our heads, have food on our tables and live in peace.
In 1940’s Europe, the concept of people from different cultures with diverse philosophies cooperating economically and contributing to a common welfare would have seemed foreign. How far we have come and how blessed are we to be alive today!
ENDLESS IDEAS FOR SUCCESS
Accessibility to information has put billions on the planet on an even playing field. That’s the good news. The downside is that the world has become one small village and many more people are competing for the same space.
Take the college admissions process for example. Where applicants from the United States, until recent years, competed primarily with others from the U.S, today they compete with students from around the globe. This isn’t necessarily bad. Competition is healthy. Having served on acceptance committees, I know that those who get accepted provide some piece of information, something that makes them stand out from the crowd. They’re unique because they got out of the box. Living life to the fullest requires creativity.
THE MARKET IS YOUR AUDIENCE
In the traditional brick and mortar business model, it’s the product that matters. Bringing a product to market takes a lot of consideration, planning, money and time. If the market changes, it takes considerable investment to make changes and implementing them takes a long time.
In today’s digital economy, it’s the audience that matters. Since we cannot control their behavior, it’s a great advantage to own an online business because we can change the trajectory rapidly if we need to. Analytics gives us instant feedback to respond quickly to economic trends.
You may have noticed that as soon as a demand emerges, thousands of ancillary businesses pop up. When crypto currencies hit the market products and services such as investment consultants, trading schools, insurance and trading platforms emerged overnight.
RESPONDING TO MARKET DEMANDS
The 21st century ushered in an explosion in the self-help industry. The personal potential and self-discovery movement started in the 1900’s with the likes of Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Les Brown and Zig Ziglar. Today we have gurus like Tony Robbins, Price EA, Gary Vaynerchuk, Oprah Winfrey, Rhonda Byrne, Jason Silva, Seth Godin, Jay Shetty and thousands more. These influencers understand what society demands today and are successful because they dare to be different. They’re not afraid to be authentic and they speak with conviction.
It’s an incredible time to be an entrepreneur. Today, we’re no longer relegated to the pulpit alone to promote great ideas and messages. We no longer have to submit to outdated religious or dogmatic institutions to spread ideas of love and hope. It’s one of the reasons YouTube has such a large audience.
PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH
Think about how easy it is today, thanks to Google, to be healthy. But, to be in peak wellness requires living out of the box. I seldom visit a doctor. I keep away from pharmaceuticals by researching and applying holistic, herbal and natural methods.
Herbs and plants were once the preferred method of healing. In the U.S. pharmaceutical companies took over the health industry in the early 1900’s. Since that time we’ve seen a huge decline in the health of the population and note that cultures that practice holistic methods have healthier citizens with longer life spans.
I don’t live as most people do. I don’t follow crowds, fads or trends. I’m not influenced by masses. I’ve always been a sole searcher and finder. I’m happiest reading, researching, being in meditation, doing yoga or serving those in need. For great physical, mental and spiritual health, one must live out of the box and stay away from mass thinking and hysteria.
In an interview with Seth Godin, he recaps the importance of thinking and acting for yourself. Referring to the turn of the previous century and the industrial revolution, he says “For one hundred years we had this wonderful system: ‘Do what you’re told, go to the placement office, you’ll get a job for 50 years. You won’t like the job but you’ll be able to go home and watch TV, buy enough stuff, you’ll need a storage unit, and then you’ll die.’” Regrettably many still live like this and social media has made it worse by telling us that we have to fit in.
Living out of the box means being an independent thinker, a selective consumer and a unique action taker.
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash – Federica Diliberto