THE INC. LIFE

You’re Better Prepared for the Future Than You Think. 3 Reasons Entrepreneurs Will Thrive

Thomas Friedman explains how the world is changing and what skills you will need in the new economy

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BY Chelsea Collier - 10 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The world is moving at an accelerated pace that rivals any other time in history. Massive change seems like a constant and there are countless examples of governments, businesses, institutions and individuals struggling to adapt to the frenzy of information and activity.

Thomas Friedman, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling author, outlines the forces, importance and predicts who will thrive in this exclusive interview with Eisenhower Fellowships President George de Lama as part of the Future of Work Conference in Malaga, Spain.

If you're concerned that the future seems bleak, don't worry. It turns out that entrepreneurs are uniquely suited for this era of disruption. Here are three reasons why you may have more going for you than you realize.

1. Adaptation is natural for you

How many times have you heard, "If you work hard and follow the rules, you will be rewarded." Friedman posits that those days are over. Hard work is no longer enough. Instead you have to also be able to learn quickly and think on your feet - a term now referred to as Dynamic Stability.

For some people who prefer to work 40 hours a week with a set retirement schedule, this is frightening revelation. For many entrepreneurs, following the rules was never even a consideration. It turns out that the skills that will be valued in the emerging economy are self-motivation, grit and persistence and the willingness to be a lifelong learner. Now that sounds like an entrepreneur's job description!

2. Impatience is finally a virtue

"Later is too late. There is no later," says Friedman. This is a big change from previous assumptions about the pace of business. Technology including network innovation, artificial intelligence and big data are making it possible to achieve new levels of efficiency at light speed.

The result is the ability to "analyze, optimize, prophesize, customize and automize" (a way to rhyme the word automate) any product or service. Entrepreneurs, who are often skilled at adapting quickly and moving fast, will be more prepared for the new world order.

3. It's all about trust

In a startup world where the risk is high, the nights are long and the resources are limited, you learn quickly who your tribe is. There are those who you can count on, some who count on you and still others that can mislead you. Skillfully navigating that space where things change quickly can mean the difference on whether your idea becomes a sustainable company.

In the emerging reality, community will become even more crucial. Friedman speaks about moving from interconnectedness to interdependence. Simply translated, that means that we all need and can affect each other.

When ecosystems can morph into a "complex adaptive coalition" special partnerships form between unlikely allies, which can create solutions engines to solve each other's challenges. Think of the business community working with the school system to translate skills demand. When these systems work together, all systems can benefit.

The future will bring some exciting opportunities and also emphasize the presence of some really substantial challenges. As Friedman rightfully says, "You can only fix big hard things together."

Entrepreneurs will have the skills, experience and mindset to lead the way. It makes sense to identify platforms you depend on, identify the gaps of support and find or build the community you will need going forward. Oh and then, just teach everyone else how to do it, too.