Abundance: Do You Believe The Future Is Better Than Most Think?
Last week I was at a conference where one of the speakers was Peter Diamandis, the author of Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.
In this environment of what seems like unending pessimism, particularly when it comes to the economic situation and future, it was refreshing to hear a highly credible speaker (undergrad and grad engineering degrees from MIT, Harvard MD, accomplished entrepreneur) talk about how great the future may be.
The book’s message is not one of unbridled optimism or “irrational exuberance”; rather, it acknowledges that the world is facing many acute and some potentially catastrophic problems. The positive side of the book’s message and Diamandis’ talk refers to the abundance of “exponential technologies” that have put the human race in a position to solve such longstanding problems as hunger, water shortage, energy crises, healthcare costs and diagnostic deficiencies, among many others. Although I’m only part way through the book at this point, based on what I’ve read thus far and what I learned from Diamandis’ comments and luncheon at the conference I mentioned, I highly recommend Abundance.
I’d like to share a couple of the key points I’ve learned from Diamandis so far and discuss how, based on my experience, they play a part in the entrepreneurial journey.
First, Diamandis makes the point that, as human beings, given our survival instinct, we are much more prone to pay attention to negative and potentially dangerous information. A part of our brain called the amygdala, which I’ve referenced many other times in my writings, particularly on the topic of the panic response, plays a very important part in how we process information that gives us clues about potential dangers. The media know this, and as Diamandis points out, the old news adage that, “if it bleeds, it leads” is as true today as it’s ever been. The simple truth is that if it seems potentially dangerous, human beings are much more prone to pay attention to it. The media play on this. Advertisers play on this. Many others who are trying to influence us play on this.
So, as an entrepreneur, how can you use this “amygdala reality” to your advantage? Most importantly, as I’ve written before, it’s critical that you learn to overcome and manage the fear/panic response. Next, to the extent you can do so within the boundaries of your business ethics, use the amygdala and fear response to your advantage. Acknowledge and use the fact that your target market is a lot more likely to try to avoid danger and mistakes, than they are to try to “seek pleasure”. This is not true in all markets and all circumstances, of course, but the vast majority of the time, it holds true.
Next, a key point that Diamandis makes is that “local and linear” thinking, with the aid of technology, in many markets, has become “global and exponential”.
How does this reality matter to you as an entrepreneur? First, when you are considering business opportunities, ask yourself whether you are looking at the big picture, or just approaching it from a “local and linear” perspective. The most valuable businesses that have been built in a relatively short period of time, have almost always capitalized on the extraordinary leverage potential of being “global and exponential”. Think Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, to name a few of many. Such a perspective is not always the right answer, but more often than not, at a minimum, asking yourself whether you’re unnecessarily limiting yourself to thinking and behaving in a local and linear fashion, will open your eyes to potential you would not have seen otherwise.
I found it refreshing to hear Diamandis’ extremely well-informed, data-supported thoughts on the future and its potential, and thus far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his recently released book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. Whether you get the chance to read his book or not, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the future, and in particular, whether the news we receive on a somewhat continuous basis these days, paints too much of a negative picture.
If you’d like to get more of a taste of Diamandis’ thoughts on Abundance and the future, check out his roughly 16-minute TED talk here: Diamandis TED talk.
I look forward to your thoughts. Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.
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