If you regularly consume the news, you’d likely think that the combination of recent events are leading us to a dystopian hellscape. That the world has entered a chaotic vortex circling a drain of despair. And that may be a valid perspective for some. But interesting opportunities form as we circle the drain.
When you consider that we’re also living through the digital transformation, you’ll realize a lot of these changes shouldn’t be framed as dystopian. On the contrary, they should be thought of as productive evolution. Many “newsworthy” events actually signal that societal changes are underway. And they only become dystopian if you resist the inevitability of change.
The future could not be more bright for those that properly read the tea leaves and adapt to the change at hand.
The Digital Transformation’s Macro Trends
For most people, however, the problem isn’t that they can’t identify and embrace the changes underway. For example, it’s not overly complex to identify the macro trends at play.
Centralization vs decentralization, late industrial age gatekeepers vs a growing and open world of infinite individual choices free of constraints. Digital network value vs physically present value.
These trends aren’t hard to spot if you take a step back and ask yourself, how is society changing? Most people have intuitively identified these trends and are ready to formally accept many of them.
The true challenge comes from actively adapting to these trends and positioning yourself to take advantage of the inevitable outcomes. It’s a challenge because most people struggle to think and act outside of conventional wisdom.
What does that mean?
Think of conventional wisdom as the mimetic programing of the past age. It’s the collective wisdom gained from the experiences of the late industrial age. And while this wisdom was sage advice for times gone by, it no longer applies for preparing to take advantage of future trends.
And so, our reality becomes dystopian when we see changes happening but have no conventional wisdom to help us navigate the changes.
Recent Events Are Dystopian Only According to Conventional Wisdom
Most people struggle to break free of conventional thought.
They may intuitively understand the world is changing but they struggle to convert these small changes into actionable insights. Their instinct screams to take action and to prepare for this future, but there is a general lack of sense for what to actually do.
And so, they struggle on. Following conventional wisdom in a world that no longer rewards insights from times gone by. This experience fosters a sense of fatalism. That our places in life are preprogramed. That we lack control over our own futures. It’s a toxic mindset that leads to self fulfilling outcomes.
When we feel resigned to fatalism, that life and society are evolving outside of our control, and that we have no means to evolve with it, we begin to rebel against the establishment.
Conventional Wisdom Isn’t The Right Playbook To Navigate Future Trends
Conventional wisdom leaves us impotent when it comes to preparing for our future.
That lack of actionable insight ties into a recent fascination of mine. Which is that most people, if given $100,000, would not know how to put that money to productive use. Most people would certainly use it to pay down debt, to purchase homes, and modestly upgrade their lifestyles. But these are all conventional choices.
Let’s assume that the $100,000 easily covers a person’s debt with ample funds left over for other purposes. Does it make sense this day and age to plow money into real estate or index funds? Maybe for most people. But aren’t there better alternatives to put money to productive use?
Society’s Legacy – We’ve Adapted to Playing Short Term Games
When you’re accustomed to living in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, you become accustomed to living in the moment. Playing the short game. Any modest windfalls go towards temporary relief and rarely get put towards longer-term growth. (Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule)
But that’s not my broader point. Say a person received this monetary windfall and they no longer had to live paycheck to paycheck. How would they approach this excess money? Where would they go to put it to work? Would they even consider investing it towards the digital transformation or would they follow conventional wisdom and put it towards a home or some 8% a year index fund?
More than likely, they’d pursue a mix of conventional wisdom and then they’d chase memetic ideas. Meme stocks and investment ideas that ride the public zeitgeist. For most people, there’s no depth of knowledge or insight into selecting mimetic investment strategies. It’s an act of rebellion against the conventional wisdom and established order more than an act of financial planning.
And if you assume this to be true, it reveals an interesting opporutnity.
The Digital Transformation Isn’t Dystopian – It’s An Opportunity
There is an opportunity for early adopters to write the conventional wisdom of tomorrow. There is an opportunity for the people that identify trends to take action today. And there is an opportunity to reposition yourself from a dystopian mindset, designed by conventional wisdom of times gone by, to a hopeful and positive mindset empowered by conventional wisdom of tomorrow.
There is an opportunity to attack fatalistic mindsets and empower people to play the long game. To educate them on what they intuitively know. That we are living through the digital transformation. And that the digital age requires a new conventional wisdom.
Those that learn to adapt to this new age quickly and that decisively deploy their money towards it can break free of the established order of the late industrial age.
The opportunity is that most people will make the right choices if properly educated and given a chance to make them. And they’ll pay for the information that shows them the way.
Find your own path forward into the digital age. Reject conventional wisdom where appropriate. Document your path towards success. And teach those that are willing to follow you.