If you think life is challenging now, consider how 2050 will look.
Some researchers estimate that 2050 will be Mad Max meets The Social Network. A dystopic, post-apocalyptic society will be bumping up against small cadres of intellectuals solving problems through software and social media in isolated and remote locations.
Bryan Lufkin, editor of Future Now for BBC Future, listed an outlook for 2050 in his article, “10 Grand Challenges We’ll Face in 2050,” including:
- Dwindling resources. Expanded populations will compete for limited resources. There will not be enough raw materials for everyone.
- New geopolitical tensions. War will consistently loom on the horizon among potential superpowers.
- Artificial intelligence dominance in our lives. Automation and robotics will replace a less educated and skilled workforce.
- The evolution of social media. Augmented reality will allow content creators to transform traditional education into more practical experiences but drive a deeper wedge between human connections.
- Boosted brain power. Artificial intelligence and pharmaceutical companies will innovate ways to maximize brain usage and output.
Also include escalating crime rates, a widening education, income, and skills gap, and the further destruction of traditional values, and you have the end of civilization as we know it.
Or is it the end?
Although 2050 appears dire, such conditions always create opportunities for intelligent, innovative, and ambitious individuals.
Often, they are introverts.
In this context, introverts will discover ways of turning a dystopia into a utopia.
A bright spot for introverts is their ability to embrace minimalism.
Charles Lieberman, in his article, How Strategic Introverts Use Minimalism to Flourish During Hard Times, said:
Strategic introverts don’t merely do a lot with a little; they are content with a little being enough.
These introverts view minimalism and frugality as strategies for succeeding in life.
It is easier to pivot or change direction when the situation requires a light load.
Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection posits that organisms most adaptable to changing environments are apt to survive.
And the long game is remaining competitive until an objective is achieved.
But to do so requires that participants use viable resources to gain small wins.
These small wins add up to cumulative success. Consequently, success in life is a collection of small wins.
For introverts, winning is different than that for extroverts.
Quiet wins by introverts under less scrutiny outperform loud proclamations by extroverts.
In 2050, quiet results are strategic maneuvers where the actors are purposely anonymous and difficult to discover.
What essential skills will you need in the future?
Writer Sara Burkhard in her article, “5 Skills the Next Generation Will Need for Success,” recommends:
- Critical thinking
- Excellent communication skills
- Cultural understanding
- Initiative and drive
Many pundits suggest that these are the same skills necessary for today’s society.
However, these ideas are bandied about but are nice to have rather than need to have.
For example, could an avatar of this employee succeed today?
- Relies on supervisors and needs handholding to complete projects.
- Becomes anxious and stressed with new, complex software and technology.
- Uses acronyms and memes in written communications.
- Embraces doubtful and untested concepts and philosophies.
- Changes jobs due to boredom and a need for more leisure.
Many hiring managers say that this employee is eerily accurate and functional today.
An old saying about what got you here won’t keep you there will be visceral in 2050.
These opportunities are a boon for ambitious, enlightened, and self-aware introverts.
The five strategic reasons the future is bright for introverts are:
Living out loud punishes the learning process severely.
In the past, there was little evidence about your mistakes for self-development. In the future, everything will be held against you. Extroverts who live through TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook will painfully discover that a digital footprint is permanent.
Introverts who live under the radar and share very little personal information will thrive because the only documentation available should be scholarly reports and insightful ruminations demonstrating your ability to think critically and solve problems.
Image management will be an essential skill.
Secrecy is critical for innovation and groundbreaking initiatives.
As the world grows in population, not only will resources become scarce, but transformational ideas will be at a premium. Trade secrets and confidentiality will always be critical for a competitive advantage. The ability to monetize ideas and insights will give introverts an edge. Particularly with tested educational models and software that allow individuals to develop new skills fast, at reasonable prices, and within emerging markets.
Being self-contained and self-reliant is indispensable.
Minimalism allows introverts to live off less because they lack the necessity for public approval. “Little houses” and “Container homes” will grow in popularity because they are affordable, have lower overhead, and are more mobile.
Introverts who have all their necessities centralized and at arm’s length will be able to conserve resources and store reserves for future use.
Easier opportunities to self-actualize
Eminent psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a human motivation construct that suggested that a need had to be met before an individual could go on to complete a higher demand.
In Maslow’s hierarchy, the ability to self-actualize or become all that you can become is the highest level of human progress.
Because introverts are inwardly driven, they can find solace inside when things are chaotic in the outside world. This ability to find serenity inside oneself is most important during crises.
In the future, introverts will more readily self-actualize because the standard for success will change. Although materialism will be an overt indicator of well-being, it will also be a target for opportunists.
An introvert’s ability to transform raw material into valuable resources is an intangible, in-demand skill that cannot be taken, easily duplicated, or depleted.
Consequently, introverts’ work and well-being will be the same.
Escaping the psychological traps in life
Thinking strategically to sidestep the minefields in life will be an asset to introverts. While there will be online courses on the rudiments of strategic thinking, introverts will develop self-directed curricula and models that will give them proprietary control over their works and a process tailor-made for their personality, genetics, and environmental influences.
Although the mechanics for strategic thinking and planning might have similarities, the execution will be flexible based on individual introverts’ worldviews.
The world has always been an intellectual and economic construct. And 2050 will be no different.
However, the stakes will be higher, and the ability to learn fast and adapt quickly will be indispensable.
Such an environment is a training ground for introverts.
Whereas extroverts seemed to have thrived with short gains in the past, introverts will win by playing the long game.
The year 2050 will be a winner-take-all proposition. And the smart money is on introverts.
–Edward S. Brown III