The illusion of the good old days

True, we lie to ourselves. We do it every day. All the time, our innate capacity called selective memory allows us to retain the good and ban the bad. We rewrite the past with every recollection. Our memories travel back to times when we were young, sexy and legacy-free.

Our future was still to be written. That future is now the past.

For some, the past is a prison. Caught in outdated experience, knowledge and diplomas, it proves very hard to cope with the exponential change at work. Efficiency with digitization as brother in arms has enabled machines and robots to replace human labor. Artificial intelligence increasingly replaces the knowledge worker. Nobody escapes, including doctors and engineers. The half-life of most skills has shrunk to a mere 5 years. The cognitive capacities of the human mind in the world of work have been overtaken by the digital revolution.

Luckily, humans are not limited to cognitive capacities. What moves us determines us far more: passion is the key to escape the past and create the future. This source of endless energy not only fuels our failures, which we strive to selectively forget, but also produces our successes, which we selectively magnify. Passion allows us to reinvent ourselves over and over again. It is the essential life-skill.

Yesterday, I admired products of people following their passion. No, it wasn’t an Apple computer. Yes, it was an old motorcycle rebuilt beyond recognition. Yes, it was a unique product of a happy, passionate creator. Yes, it was better than his previous model. Yes, his next model will be even better. And yes, he will not be overtaken by the digital world.

 

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