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Mike: Hey guys, today we’re going to be talking about why being adaptable is going to be one of the most important skills to have in the future.
Euvie: Something that we’ve been talking about in the last couple days, [00:00:30] today I was watching a viral video of a young women driving through a forest fire in California I think. It just looks like hell on earth. It’s a wall of fire, there’s wind blowing it into the road and ashes flying in the air. It looks like Hades. It’s crazy. She is crying and crying [00:01:00] out to God the whole time, saying, “Please God, save me.” She makes it, she survives in the end but it’s very sad to watch. I think that the video resonated with a lot of people with how they feel right now about the state of the world. They’re getting this very strong sense that everything is starting to go to hell and they’re scared. It makes people feel helpless. What happens to people when they feel [00:01:30] helpless?
Mike: Yeah, they look for some higher power to tell them what to do or to fix everything, make things better again. In this case, people are doing that with thinking Elon Musk, or Ray Kurzweil, or some artificial intelligence, or some new government structure. They think those things are going to be the people or structures that change everything and fix the world. Or aliens, or Jesus…
Euvie: Any number of things.
Mike: It’s all just offloading the responsibilities to some external entity, instead of figuring [00:02:00] out how you yourself can contribute and make things better.
Euvie: Yeah, this is why we talk about sovereignty because it’s the first step, determining, “What can I actually control? What can I actually do?” Then increasing that sphere of the things that you can do something about.
Euvie: Then there’s another layer on top of it. Okay, once you regain your sovereignty, then what do you do? Things are changing really, really fast and sometimes you don’t know what’s going to happen, [00:02:30] there are just too many variables you can’t predict. It’s not a linear path anymore.
Mike: It’s more like a state of being now.
Mike: Yeah. You can’t really have so much of a plan. You just have to be able to adapt as quickly as possible. You need more mental flexibility and you need flexibility in your life and the way you earn income, the way you survive wherever you are.
Euvie: Yeah, exactly. A lot of these structures that are [00:03:00] relying on things being stable over time are probably not going to survive the transition that we’re going through right now.
Mike: For example?
Euvie: A lot of the old governments, maybe supply chains, things like that. Things are going to change and we don’t really know how they’re going to change. Futurists try to predict that all the time, but you can’t really rely on that because people are biased and they don’t have all the data. With climates thrown into the mix, it’s just very difficult to predict [00:03:30] how different parts of the world will change. Some parts might become uninhabitable.
Mike: You said something interesting the other day about how we’ve had lots of conversations in the last year or so about climate change and existential risk, you’ve expressed a lot of worry about the future. I’ve been thinking about what happens in a collapse scenario for a lot of years. Partially, the reason I wanted to start doing this [00:04:00] digital nomad thing and be able to be mobile and put on a backpack and leave anytime is because of this actual exact thing. It had two things: it was about freedom and being able to explore and travel, but also being resilient in case anything went wrong.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, about how certain things on our planet are set out to be cascading once they start failing – one thing after another starts failing and it just all piles up. I’ve been working [00:04:30] on getting my external life and our external life set up in a way that we can fix that. With that comes the belief and the mentality and looking at the future and not collapsing in horror at what that looks at. Back to you, you recently changed your viewpoint on this and started saying, “Okay, maybe things will be better. Maybe they can be better.” Maybe talk about that. How were you able to change your perspective?
Euvie: [00:05:00] Yeah, it’s funny. I wouldn’t say that I’ve become more optimistic in the sense that I think we can turn this thing around, we can basically fix the current system. I have stopped believing that the current system is functional and with that came a certain lightness, because then we can think about, “Well, what else is out there?” It’s not that [00:05:30] I believed in the political system, I haven’t for a long time. It went deeper recently, that maybe our whole societal structure is wrong. Maybe how people interact with each other is just not working anymore.
Euvie: Maybe how we think of ourselves, maybe how we think of our relationships with other people is just not going to work anymore and we have to rework everything or be prepared to change things on the fly.
Mike: Yeah. One thing I’ve been thinking about quite a lot is – since we’ve been reading [00:06:00] Sapiens and [inaudible [0:06:01] – is the nomadism aspect of humanity’s history that is no longer the case anymore. Since we achieved agriculture, we basically have stuck ourselves in one position, hyper-populated the planet in very dense, local areas, and we no longer go foraging, we no longer move if things start to suck at our local area.
Mike: That’s something that, having done the [00:06:30] nomadism thing for a while, when you go to a place where people are really set up and dependent on the system it’s really eye opening and scary to see how big the stack of cards is.
Mike: And how fragile people really are because they’re just so dependent on everything working where they are.
Euvie: It’s hard to say what’s better or worse, because having this very [00:07:00] tall stack has allowed us to get increasingly deep and complex with things, like with science, technology, automation, very complex supply chains, complex social hierarchies and all of this stuff. But it seems that now we’ve come to a point in human history where all of that is becoming unsustainable, so the whole stack is now being threatened. It’s not just certain parts of it where we can swap communism for capitalism, or swap one dictator for another, [00:07:30] or democrat or republican. The whole thing just is probably going to change.
Euvie: We haven’t experienced something like this in a very long time where we’ve had whole civilization… I don’t like using the word ‘collapse’.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Yeah, I keep saying whenever I get into conversations with people that freaks them out. Collapse isn’t really what I mean. It’s major transition.
Euvie: Yes. We’re transitioning [00:08:00] from one system to another and it’s painful, growing pains.
Mike: Yeah, but it doesn’t mean that all of humanity is going to be wiped out and all of the planet’s going to be destroyed. There will be casualties, I’m sure, but there is a chance of this being a very positive thing in the long run. Humanity being forced to be a little more self-sustaining, self-sufficient, focus on renewable lifestyles and energies. That could really [00:08:30] turn things around.
Euvie: Yeah, circular economies, closed loop.
Mike: Zero waste.
Euvie: Yeah. Right now, there’s just not enough incentives to set that up.
Mike: Yeah, you said closed loop, that’s exactly right. What was that conversation with Daniel Schmachtenberger where he talked about the generator function of existential risk and shutting down the generator functions?
Mike: Do you remember anything specific from that one?
Euvie: Yeah, one of them was rivalrous games.
Mike: Right. That’s when we started talking about finite and infinite games.
Euvie: Yeah. [00:09:00] We can’t think of this as a finite game anymore, because the stakes have become so high that we could wipe out the whole playing field with what we’re doing.
Mike: Right. Yeah, we’re playing a finite game as if it were an infinite game. Yeah.
Euvie: Yeah, we don’t realize what kind of game we’re playing.
Mike: Yeah. Okay, I wanted to talk about [00:09:30] some of the ways that people feel helpless and try and figure that out, because if people can have a little more, at the very least, belief of ability to make change in their life and belief of sovereignty, maybe they can start taking small steps towards actual sovereignty. If you believe that you have no chance of surviving or fixing your situation or adapting, then that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, there’s no way you’re getting out of that. Why don’t we talk about the root of belief and figure [00:10:00] out a way that people can actually have control and take small steps?
Euvie: Well, I think for a very first thing is to look for other option. There are other options.
Mike: Right, backup options.
Euvie: Yeah, other options than what you’re currently doing if you think that you’re not going to be doing that thing for very long.
Euvie: If you think that your industry is in decline, then start thinking about where your current skills can be [00:10:30] applied better in a growing industry and not one that is at odds with what is happening in the world – if it’s a growing oil industry in some region, that’s not going to last very long.
Mike: One thing I’ve recently been realizing… I’ve been a self-learner for a long time, I’ve taken a lot of courses and watched a lot of YouTube videos about design and coding and all kinds of stuff. I’ve recently tackled scripting and automation and programming, just so I can automate [00:11:00] my streaming setup and video editing and that sort of stuff. It occurred to me, after taking a few courses and getting somethings working, that it was super easy and way easier than I ever expected it would be. I could get design, I can learn Photoshop, I can learn video editing, but programming’s that next level thing that’s just too hard. Then I learned it and I started applying somethings and a couple of days of solid learning and I figured some things out.
I realized how easy it could be for people to retool if they [00:11:30] just stopped believing it’s so hard, because I pushed off learning how to do this for years. Now, I’m not a coder, I’m not an expert by any means, but I’m actually solving some real problems and getting stuff done that I wouldn’t expect that I’d be able to do in just two short days of learning.
Euvie: Yeah. That reminded me of something funny. When I was in college, I went to a career [00:12:00] course that talked about how to find a career and build your skills. The lady who was presenting talked about a woman in her class who was an ex-prostitute. She came to the class and she was like, “I don’t know where I can apply myself but I don’t want to do this anymore.” The coach told her, “Okay, write down what kind of skills you have.” Then they worked through it and it’s like: [00:12:30] negotiating with clients, creating proposals, entertaining guests. They wrote down all these kind of skills just in human terms and it turned out that she’s an excellent fit to be a salesperson. She retrained and she became a salesperson and she’s great at it. You wouldn’t think how your skills apply to something else, but they most certainly do, especially [00:13:00] these kind of soft human interaction skills. They can apply in so many different areas.
Mike: I think there’s a lot more demand for online work and freelancers and that kind of thing, push button solutions for different types of problems that internet business have. Each of these things can be discovered by going to upwork.com, for example, and then just browsing the skills section and seeing what would be a fit for you. If she wants to be a salesperson, she could go through to the sales [00:13:30] category and figure out what jobs there are and make a profile, sign up. All of a sudden, you’ve gone from prostitution to working online, having a global client base, having online income, being location independent. Suddenly, you can pick up and leave if things go bad in your country, your city, your whatever, and you can actually have a completely different life.
That sort of adaptability and nomadism is, I would say, probably one of the key things, key lessons, key takeaways from what we’re talking about right now, about adaptability. [00:14:00] If you can be location independent, you’re so far less fragile than you were previously.
Euvie: Exactly. It doesn’t mean that you have to be constantly traveling or living from a backpack, it just means that you’re able to choose your location whenever you want, which also means that if you want to stay in a location for several years or decades. You can but then if you want to leave, you also can.
Mike: Yeah. It’s funny that this is such a recurring subject for us, because we’ve done the nomad thing for [00:14:30] quite a while, then we’ve suddenly got a home base now in Bulgaria. As soon as you start to get stuff, that stuff accumulates and starts to own you and then you feel like you can’t travel as much. Obviously not for everyone, not everyone can just pick up and leave and just operate an entire business on a laptop. For us, doing a studio, obviously that’s going to take more gear and stuff. You know what I mean. Working against that accumulation of [00:15:00] stuff is probably the next step after you’ve got your online income. Start clearing out junk. Clear out space in your house so that you can be mobile if you choose to.
Euvie: Yeah, become more minimalist.
Mike: Yeah. That’s the word I’m looking for, yeah, minimalist.
Euvie: Yeah, because there’s so many things that are just pushed onto you and sold to you that you don’t need. When you try living without them, you realize just how much [00:15:30] they own you and that’s one of the most liberating things about what we did six years ago – we sold almost everything we owned and just picked up to go traveling. It was so liberating, I remember that.
Mike: Then we got into the crypto thing, too. That whole thing started because of lack of trust in financial systems, the inability to transfer funds across borders, that sort of thing, to pay people instantly without delay, without transaction fees, [00:16:00] all that stuff. That was, to us, a vision of what the future would look like.
Euvie: Yeah. Okay, let’s circle back to some of the practical stuff. We’ve talked about being location independent. Not necessarily digital nomad but just being able to go somewhere else if you have to. We’ve talked about retooling, learning skills. We’ve talked about minimalism and not [00:16:30] owning so much stuff. What else is there? I think mindset is probably going to be something important.
Mike: Yeah. Emotions and mindset. Yeah.
Euvie: Reframing things and being able to hold multiple frameworks at the same time, especially if you live in the same city and you decided which political party you’re following, you’re in the same bubble of people, you might think that the way that you think is the correct way to think but there’s no such thing. If you go and live somewhere else, hang out with a different group of people, [00:17:00] suddenly start reading different literature, you realize, “There’s just a million different ways to look at the world and I can pick any which one of them.” None of them are absolutely correct. Everybody’s biased. Everybody’s using partial information or making emotional decisions. There’s no correct way to view the world. You pick from a menu what kind of view suits your purposes with what you’re currently doing.
Mike: Yeah. For me, a lot of the [00:17:30] struggle that I’ve created in my life is from not being specific enough on what I wanted to go out there and do. As soon as I started getting specificity, then things started to really take shape. I think people probably don’t realize how many options are available to them and that they can get specific on any sort of thing they want in their life, just make that a goal, and go after it and achieve it. Just like retooling, it’s not that hard to go after that, especially if you aim high, too. I forget if it was [00:18:00] Tim Ferriss’ book… When he said, “The competition at the top is far less than the average.” You just aim high, it’s way easier to compete than it is if you just aim where everyone else aims, which is the sensible choice.
Euvie: This is also actually a nomad attitude that I think both Sapiens and [inaudible [0:18:22] talked about this, that in nomad mindset when something became overcrowded or resources became depleted, they just went for [00:18:30] greener pastures, they just found a new area to go into and explore and a new niche. It’s the same with your mindset. When there’s too much competition in one area, you go somewhere else, you try something new, you try to combine two different fields in a unique way that nobody else is doing and you make that your thing, find how that applies, how that makes you valuable.
Mike: Yeah. The whole thing about nomadism and about agriculture being such a destructive thing for our civilization was [00:19:00] pretty eye opening, how there might be a way for us to get back to nomadism with all of the modern tech and connectivity that we have. That was really intriguing for me to envision what the world looks like when we’re all somewhat nomadic, or we at least have tribes and an extended range of movement, instead of home/work, work/home and that’s it.
Euvie: Give me an example.
Mike: [00:19:30] I don’t know. On a global scale, I don’t know what that looks like. I do think of the experiences that we’ve had in the last few years, where people just work online, they have a laptop, they buy tickets to the next place they’re going to live and it’s always a one-way ticket generally. They link up with communities online and then meet those communities in real life. That’s probably the harder thing, the community aspect. It’s so transient. [00:20:00] Yeah, I think the idea that people are going to connect more before they meet up in person and then communities will be formed very fluidly and easily and quickly. I think that’s probably a pretty accurate view of the future.
Euvie: Yeah, I was thinking about people organizing around ideas or memes or values, rather than locations.
Mike: Yeah, that’s a good point, too. Yeah.
Euvie: We’ve had this on [00:20:30] the internet for a while now, that people would go into chatrooms about specific subjects or they would go into forums. Now it’s a bit more fluid, where people just self-organize around the people and ideas that are interesting to them. Who knows, maybe tribes of the future will be meme tribes.
Mike: [00:21:00] Right. It’s already kind of like that. People have meetups all the time. Comic Con is an example of people meeting up over a handful of memes right.
Mike: It’s a giant event.
Euvie: Or conferences around a certain subject. We went to Oslo Freedom Forum and that was all about human rights. It was a lot of people very passionate about that. Some of the earlier blockchain conferences before it got really commercial were interesting, focused around decentralization. [00:21:30] People were very passionate about that.
Mike: Yeah. Last points and questions before we finish here.
Euvie: How else can people become more adaptable? Actually, I will answer that question myself. I think we talked before, it might have been on the sovereignty episode, about how to take different perspectives from Robert Anton Wilson that exercise where if you’re Christian you just stop reading all Christian media for a month and start reading [00:22:00] the opposite, Pagan media.
Mike: Read the Koran.
Euvie: Or Atheist media, or some weird esoteric thing that you’ve never heard about before and see how that changes your perspective. You can do the same thing with everything. I think that the more you do that, the more you realize that no single perspective is right.
Mike: I think you also come… I don’t know if I agree with that because I think it is possible to get to a single [00:22:30] answer and that’s the point of argument and debate and disagreement is two parties don’t necessarily have the same information and what the process of arguing does is give you the same information if you’re both willing to supress the ego and talk to each other and exchange. Hopefully, you can get to a new place where you both have learned something and updated your models, then chosen a better course of action.
Euvie: Yeah. This is something that we talked about the other day where I think at the end of the day it ends up being [00:23:00] not who is more right but what is more useful.
Mike: Exactly, yeah. What can people do was your question. Yeah, I really do think that point you made is quite good. If you can argue your opponent’s perspective for them, you just know every angle of it, even if you still disagree you’re going to be so much more informed and able to make your argument. [00:23:30] I don’t know how we got onto the argument thing but it’s really about updating models and having mental flexibility and the ability to take other people’s perspectives.
Euvie: Yeah, I think in this case it’s being able to switch between different models depending on the situation and being able to hold multiple models at the same time.
Euvie: Because when you are operating in a very fast changing or chaotic world, then sometimes one model might be insufficient and you have to – because you’re in different situations with different people in different locations – [00:24:00] you have to be able to switch between different models or hold multiple at the same time.
Mike: Or discard models, too.
Euvie: Or discard models.
Mike: That’s another one that I think really slips people up is they’re not willing to discard what they believe is true and what they’ve built their life around.
Mike: No wonder scientists have such a problem sometimes updating when new theories or new evidence comes out and proves what they believe to be wrong, but then they fight for it because their entire career is built often around that thing being true, that theory being true.
Euvie: [00:24:30] Exactly. Not just their career but also the broader institution of academia and all the corporations that are funding various research. Their way of getting grants and getting funding for the research depends on them holding a certain world view, so then if anything contradicts that worldview they can’t get funding. That’s hard.
Euvie: Any closing words?
Mike: No, I think that hits most of it for me. [00:25:00] What can people do to be a little more adaptable? I guess it all comes back to the attitude thing. What do you believe is possible? Which is why we make these podcasts, because people generally think change is way harder than it is and it’s really not. As two people who just have constant change, it never stops.
Euvie: A torrent.
Mike: Yeah, a torrent of change. You realize it’s way less harmful than you thought it would be. Even the worst thing you imagine, once you go through it, [00:25:30] it’s like, “That wasn’t so bad after all.” Change is not so bad if you just put your nose into it and don’t run away from it.
Euvie: Yeah. Even if it is painful, which it can be sometimes, at the end of the day, nothing is permanent, everything is changing. This too shall pass.
Mike: That’s a good mantra to keep in your head. This too shall pass.
Euvie: Yeah, then something new will come along. Often, we have this tendency to project [00:26:00] the current situation or current mindset into the past and the future. We assume that if everything is bad now or challenging now, then it will continue forever.
Mike: It’s going to get worse.
Euvie: Or get worse. Sure, it might. But then it’ll get better at some point.
Mike: There are waves.
Euvie: There are waves, yeah. Ebbs and flows for sure.
Mike: For me, the big thing… We discussed another thing today. I value skills, right? [00:26:30] If I feel like I’m not competent in an area that I should be, then I’ll just go learn it right away. In some ways, I prioritize that over team building. In business, that’s a really stupid thing to do. We were discussing that today, about how important it is to focus on community and team from a business context rather than building up skills all the time. However, if you’ve got nothing – that’s really the place I’m starting from when I say, “People should learn. They should take the time, [00:27:00] take courses, build up your skillset.” What’s your perspective on the team building thing, too?
Euvie: It relates to the community, as well. Relationships build upon each other. Also, humans, we specialize because we evolved in tribal situations where there were 150 people in a tribe, so you only needed one or two types of each person in a tribe. [00:27:30] You didn’t need 150 shamans in a tribe, you only needed one or two.
Mike: Yeah. That was actually exacerbated from agriculture, where we were able to specialize even more because we had so much other specialization with the people around us.
Euvie: Yeah. Very large-scale societies.
Mike: Yeah. In some ways, I don’t know, [00:28:00] it’s hard to make the swing of the pendulum. I don’t know which side I should be on. I usually end up going the skill route.
Euvie: Yeah. I think it’s a balance, like with anything. You need to have some sort of skills that make you unique, but on the other hand you need to be able to plug into other people’s systems or be able to create your own systems that contain more than you.
Euvie: That, actually, is another way that you’ve got to become flexible. You should be able to operate as an individual, or as a small group, [00:28:30] or as a large group.
Mike: Good point.
Euvie: This is something that Daniel talks about, that sovereignty is fractal. You can have sovereignty as an individual, then the two of us when we interact we create another superbeing that is the Mike/Euvie superbeing. That being can have its own sovereignty. Then when we’re in a group, that group is its own being that can have sovereignty etcetera, etcetera.
Mike: Yeah. This makes me think of people who are quite isolated and spend a lot of time indoors [00:29:00] in front of a computer screen – I’m part of that group of people – and how important it is for them to get out of that and actually meetup with people. You can still do that online, you can find your tribes online. But you can actually meetup with them in real life, too. You can travel, you can be nomadic. You can be that cave dweller and be nomadic.
Mike: That’s actually very compatible.
Euvie: It’s been really interesting, [00:29:30] actually, to meet all the different people who have been familiar with our work throughout the years and meetup in different parts of the world, make friends where you meet somebody online first and then you meet them in person.
Mike: Expand on that.
Euvie: I guess I’m thinking about creating meetups, in-person meetups for people who share the same ideas or the same views. [00:30:00] I think that we can’t really cut that out, that in-person connection is very different and deeper and more valuable and longer lasting etcetera, etcetera.
In this episode we talk about adaptability as one of the most important skills to have for the future. The current chaotic state of the world often leaves people feeling scared and helpless. We discuss how to move into a more resourceful mindset. We talk about mental flexibility, self-sovereignty, modern nomadism, minimalism, the need for retooling, and other options that can help us become more adaptive and transition more readily into the world of the future.
In This Episode of Future Thinkers:
- Practicing self-sovereignty instead of offloading responsibility to external entities
- How to build mental flexibility to adapt as fast as possible to the rapidly changing world
- Re-adopting a nomadic lifestyle as one possible response to the state of the world
- Re-framing the collapse of current systems as a transition into a new state of being
- The importance of retooling in order to overcome the feeling of helplessness
- Why it is useful to adopt a minimalist mindset instead of accumulating possessions
- How to hold multiple perspectives and frameworks at the same time
- How to overcome fear of competition and be more specific about your goals
- Building meme tribes of the future
Mentions and Resources:
- Facebook video of a young woman driving through a wall of fire in California
- Oslo Freedom Forum
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, a book by Yuval Noah Harari
- Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray and What It Means For Modern Relationships, a book by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
- The Four-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join The New Rich, a book by Tim Ferris
- Prometheus Rising, a book by Robert Anton Wilson
More From Future Thinkers:
- FTP064: Developing and Practicing Your Self-Sovereignty
- FTP057, 058, 059: Daniel Schmachtenberger – Solving The Generator Functions of Existential Risks
- FTP056: Emmanuel Jal – The Incredible Resilience of The Human Mind
- FTP048: Jordan Greenhall – Sovereignty in Chaos
This Episode is Sponsored By: