In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down and the World Wide Web went up, the world changed forever. This marked the end of the Industrial Age and the beginning of the Information Age. It is not just a new world we are living in, but a brand-new world, where the changes are so profound, so sweeping and so swift that we may no longer be able to control our own lives, much less achieve the success we want.
The Information Age is exploding with social, political, and cultural change. With the coming of the internet and instantaneous communication, the world is shrinking and the earth is pressing its diverse people into uncomfortable relationships and unexpected competition.
The Information Age can be very tough and very disorienting. But it also presents unbelievable opportunity if we choose to see and take advantage of them.
As this new age emerges, each of us must choose from two very sobering options:
Option 1: You can choose to ignore that you are living in a new age, see it as a passing phase, and risk the eventual disintegration of your career and lifestyle as you currently know them.
Option 2: You can recognize that this is a new age, and begin the challenging task of preparing yourself to share in its potential and its benefits.
The obvious choice is Option 2. But Option 2, like Option 1, comes with a very stiff price. To make the second option work, you must be willing to do whatever it takes to equip yourself to succeed in the Information Age.
Here are seven keys to success in the Information Age that are critical to attaining success in your personal and business life.
1. You must develop and maintain a positive mental attitude. The foundation of your success is the total, uncompromised acceptance that you are living in a new world and it is here to stay. The world is not going to ever revert back to way things were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. You must develop a positive attitude about this new age and yourself. You must teach yourself to see only the new possibilities that exist today and be blind to its obstacles.
Accepting the new world and developing a positive attitude will position you for success, but taking action, putting these seven keys to work every day of your life is the ultimate requirement to achieve the success you want.
2. Become a master of change. Change is the culture of the Information Age. Change has always been part of our lives. But in the Industrial Age, change was slow, evolutionary, and we didnít see it as a dominant or controlling factor. In the Information Age, change is the dominant factor.
Change results from action, and the people who make things happen are the architects of the world. That is why itís absolutely imperative that you seize the opportunity to make things happen in every aspect of your life. Itís the only way youíll be able to influence things the way you want.
3. Become totally flexible. In the Information Age, you choose some change, and some change chooses you. So, you must prepare yourself to deal effectively with the change that chooses you.
Change that is forced upon you can leave you in a state of shock. Your comfort zone is invaded, your plans upset, and your psyche is shaken. Change can immobilize and defeat you, if you let it.
The primary antidote is to develop total flexibility of your mind and actions. You must learn to respond to change, not react to it. When change impacts you, take some time (at least 24 hours) to clearly assess it before you plan an appropriate response.
Be flexible in your response to change. More times than not, changes that initially upset you turn out to serve your interests and prove to be far better than you think.
4. Become a great communicator. Communication is the most powerful tool we possess and probably the most underutilized. Its role and influence on literally every aspect of life in the Age of Communication is enormous. Harnessing its power is an absolute key to your ability to make decisions and to educate, motivate, influence, and persuade others.
To become a great communicator, you must understand, appreciate, and master all forms of two-way communications, both outgoing (speaking, writing, and personal image projection) and incoming (listening, reading, and observing).
Regardless of its form, communication can be your greatest source of power in achieving what you want. Never underestimate its value, and do whatever it takes to seize its power.
5. Become a global networker. Most of us grew up in a time when the pace of change was relatively slow, and career and personal loyalty was very high. It was easy to become relaxed and comfortable with a fairly small group of personal friends and company or industry acquaintances. If that describes your life today, you are putting yourself, your family, and your career at great risk.
In the Information Age, where change often a daily occurrence, departments, companies, and even entire industries come and go with bewildering speed. To protect yourself against these potentially devastating effects, you must start building a broad network of contacts outside your existing group of friends and professional associates. A carefully built and actively maintained network will provide you with an incredible source of new information, ideas, and options. It will open your eyes to new opportunities and create new avenues to deploy your talents. It will build confidence in your ability to be successful in new ways and in new places.
6. Become a dynamic goal achiever. The world does not reward goal setters, but it pays off big to goal achievers. Setting goals plays an indispensable role in building your road to success. It puts you in control of your life. It makes you a better decision maker because you know whatís important and whatís not. It establishes your targets, focuses your energies, and gets you back on course when youíre spun around by events or circumstances out of your control.
Just setting goals is not enough. It is only by writing them down, making detailed plans to achieve them, and then by taking action on them every day that you will attain the success you desire.
7. Become a student for life. To succeed in the Information Age, you must create and maintain a competitive advantage for yourself. To stay ahead in this fast-paced game of survival, you must constantly acquire new knowledge and skills. You must develop a broad base of knowledge and a variety of skills so you can move quickly in new directions, seize new opportunities, or avoid disastrous twists of fate.
If you are banking on what you learned in school to keep you competitive in todayís world, forget it! If you donít have a personal-development program in place right now, you must start today, or the Information Age will pass you by.
In the Industrial Age you could get a college education, get a secure job for life, and have a company pension plan along with social security to set you up for a comfortable retirement. In the Information Age there is no job security. And there will be no guaranteed retirement benefits from the companies you work for or the government. It is up to you to take care of yourself in the new world.
To win in the Information Age, you must prepare yourself by getting a good business and financial education. Educating yourself has never been as easy as it is today with the wealth of information that is put on the internet on a daily basis. Set aside time to read in your field every day, listen to audio programs, attend educational seminars on a regular basis, and use the seven keys Iíve outlined and youíll enjoy the success and benefits the Information Age has to offer.
Copyright© 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.