A hundred years ago, my survival skills as a woman would have depended almost entirely on being attractive and charming enough to find a successful husband. (And avoiding childbirth or infection, of course.)
Today, it’s different. And it’s different in a way that affects all of us.
As a member of the knowledge workforce, my survival seems to depend on how well I can cope with an endless, ever-changing Niagara Falls of information, opportunity, and risk flying into my brain around the clock.
Every moment of rest offers me a million movies, shows, albums, or books to fill it with.
Every idea I have is shot down (or boosted up) by a hundred books, blogs, quotes, tweets, and short videos I’ve come across in 15 years of being a digital citizen.
Every business plan, every product, every networking opportunity… you get the idea. There’s too much to process, and it paralyzes me.
It also brings me back to The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
I’m paraphrasing, but in this powerful book, Gay pronounces the challenge of the modern age to be learning to live in abundance.
To accept the shift from food-shelter-safety — where we all spend so much of our time — to wealth-purpose-peace — where we all say we want to be but never seem to arrive.
To adjust our internal thermometers to accept success, opportunity, and good things without the impending downside.
Because when you’re stuck in a survival mindset, you see abundance as an error state — one that the universe will correct very soon. You’re too busy waiting for the shoe to drop to do anything smart with all you’ve got.
Of course, many of us are still in a survival mindset, and still focused on food-shelter-safety. That’s a valuable and valiant place to be.
But it serves no one to stay in that state long after you’ve secured those things. In fact, it limits your ability to look back and give back to the people coming up the ranks behind you.
The new survival skills — and the new definition of survival — requires us to welcome the abundance of the world. Immerse ourselves in it to get the support we need. And then put limits on it, or somehow float to the top of it, in order to be able to make our own contributions without being distracted.