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How to be in touch with our Human potential in the era of information?

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

We are now living in the era of Information where people are empowered to access and use data, in order to make the best decisions for their own lives. But, the overload of information also gives us the responsibility to reach for the right information and make the right judgment to base our decisions. That responsibility can sometimes seem so daunting that we are still more relying on broken education systems, capital-driven companies and others, to reveal our own human potential than ourselves.

However, we should not be afraid to embrace that responsibility and take full charge of our destiny. All the more so since we already hold all the keys - and the data - to find the truth and be self-reliant on our personal development journey. Indeed, it just takes us to reconnect our talents with the real needs of the World, with our True Self and with the data.

By reconnecting our offer with the real demand for talent in the World.

Nowadays, Human beings have access to more information than prior generations. Those information raise our awareness about more opportunities, and also empower us to make better choices for ourselves. However, we are witnessing an exponential increase of mental health issues from people “Lost”, including due to existential questionings and frustrations. Here are some interesting facts:

- 89 per cent of 16 to 29 years-old in Britain believe that their life lacks purpose and meaning. And only two out of 10 people in Britain said that they’ve found purpose and meaning in their lives.

- Millennials and the following generations are looking for a purpose in their job

Some people seem to be disconnected from their lives and from their jobs but that should not come as a complete surprise. We have known for decades that the Education and training systems were broken because they expected people to follow standardised curriculum and life paths at odds from who we were as individuals.

And as of today, despite the abundance of information, some of us are still not making themselves a priority and are still living a life, or choosing a career, not aligned with who they really are as individual human beings. Eventually, they hope that, through the eyes of other people or the Companies they work for, they will be revealed, find meaning and a purpose. But that rarely become the case when personal interests are opposite. And therefore, on one side, we are witnessing a growing pool of human talents frustrated to see their uniqueness dismissed, their creativity silenced and discouraged to reach their full potential while at the same time, they are burning to contribute and to solve the problems that the World is facing.

And on the other side, there is a growing number of challenges in the World requiring innovative approaches, authenticity, creativity and fresh insights. The World needs the people that the Education and training industries have put in boxes, come out of their boxes and start thinking outside those boxes. And the World needs new types of intelligence at work because relying on cognitive intelligence alone for Humankind progress is falling short. We are still betting on cognitive intelligence and STEM for our future, and disregarding other types of intelligence more humanistic. As a result, the people who are building the world of tomorrow believe that any current problem will be resolved by Robots and Artificial Intelligence rather than by Human creativity, wisdom and common sense…

To sum up, there is a pool of unique talents ready to help to solve growing challenges and a mountain of problems waiting to be solved with new talents and intelligence. Why didn't the offer meet the demand yet? Maybe because we have been fed for too long with information which was not real or at least accurate.

From very little we have been trained to value Academic skills as the most important skills when the World needs a variety of innovation. We have been taught to value cognitive Intelligence when the World needs other types of intelligence including Social, Intrapersonal, Emotional and Spiritual kind of intelligence as much. We have been taught to invest time and money to gain unfamiliar skills, in order to be more competitive and useful for the needs of a Company, but not to grow our inborn talents and knowledge for the real needs of the Community and the World.

From very little, we have been trained to look for and grow a career (fulfilling the needs of the Economy) before a purpose (revealing the true potential of the Self).

But today, we are not any more passive individuals in our education and personal development so should we keep blaming others, or should we start looking where we have lost track of ourselves? Because the disconnection is not just external between “the offer and the demand” for talents, it is also internal between who we really are and what we choose to be and to do.

By reconnecting with our True Self and True potential

Each one of us already knows who we really are. We know our personality, our values, our strengths, our weaknesses, our passions and we know the lived experiences which have made the person that we are today. Most of the time, people would define their personality first from their own personal insights, then based on insights coming from their friends and family and ultimately from insights coming from complete strangers or personality tests. Interestingly, If you doubt about the accuracy of self-reporting, a study has revealed that most of the time, our perception of our own personality matches that of our peers. We know who we are with more accuracy than any other external party will be able to know us. And so we should not let external parties tell us which kind of person, they think that we are meant to be.

Then you are probably aware of what you love doing, your interests, what boost your energy, inspiration and creativity, what you are very good at without making any great effort or even for what people are often asking for your help. But are you aware of what is your true inborn gift? We have been told for too long that intelligence was measured with IQ which is not true. How many of us have witnessed individuals with a lot of credentials but clueless in real-life situations, and people with no qualifications but resourceful and overly smart?

According to psychologist Dr Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, human beings have 8 different types of intelligence. The plurality of intelligence is also present in the work and studies of Constantine Ngara PhD around the concept of giftedness. There is a large variety of type of “intelligence” but here is a non-exhaustive list of 19 of them:

1. Aesthetic intelligence is about having good Taste. This is the ability to understand not only what feels good, but why and how to deliver on it.

2. Affective Intelligence (or Emotional Intelligence) is the ability to manage and control our emotions and also influence the emotions of other people.

3. Artistic Intelligence is the ability to make tangible the vision of something from the mind.

4. Bodily-Kinesthetic / Psychomotor Intelligence is the ability to access knowledge through physical interaction.

5. Cognitive Intelligence is the brain-based ability and mental processes needed to carry out tasks

6. Contextual intelligence (or practical) is the proficiency at adapting knowledge and skills to different situations and environments. They are the street smart people!

7. Creative Intelligence (or experiential Intelligence) is the ability to invent new ideas and solutions when dealing with new situations.

8. Cultural Intelligence is the skill to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations.

10. Humanistic intelligence is the personal growth to reach the full human potential

11. Interpersonal / Social Intelligence is the ability to build relationships and navigate social environments.

12. Intrapersonal Intelligence is to have Self-awareness and self-knowledge.

13. Intuitive Intelligence is the ability to access and interpret inner guidance.

14. Leadership intelligence is the ability to influence others, a situation or task.

15. Musical Intelligence is to recognize sounds and tones with ease.

16. Naturalist Intelligence is knowing how to be in touch with Nature.

17. Spatial-visual intelligence is the ability to visualise space and objects within the mind's eye.

18. Spiritual Intelligence is the ability to understand the purpose of life and reach a higher level of Consciousness.

19. Verbal / Linguistic intelligence is the intelligence of language and communication.

Most of those inborn talents can not be trained following a predefined curriculum, but from practices. And most of those types of intelligence are not, and will never be, taught in the Education system or encouraged in a Corporate setting. But it’s not because some types of intelligence are not into external parties' agenda that they should bear no importance for us, and at a bigger scale, for the World. So it may be time for people to become fully in charge of their personal and professional development. We have information about ourselves and about what we can do but to be able to make sense of everything and take the right actions, maybe we just need to “visualise”.

By visualising data to make sense of the whole picture

The concept of data visualisation is more commonly used in Science and in Business. “Data has a better idea” or “Data leads to better decision making” are just a few of the most known business analytic mantras. Stepping away for a moment from the business use and purpose, I would argue that data visualisation can also be a powerful tool for people in their personal development.

Data visualisation is the graphical display of information with two purposes: sense-making and communication. Visualising data can help in memorising, analysing all the information, see trends and make sense of the whole picture. This can be an interesting application of AI/ Augmented Intelligence to enhance human perception and decision making.

Applied to personal development, data visualisation can be used to visualise who we are and what we have already achieved in our life. The simple fact of being able to visualise our personality traits, our strengths, our passions, our values, our talent but also their importance and how they can influence our lives is a great way to remember the person that we are now. No one is completely resourceless in life and it is crucial to stay aware of our current, available and directly accessible assets, and see our inner potential so we can have a better guess of what are our best opportunities. More specifically, Data visualisation applied to personal development can be powerful in, at least, four different ways:

First, data visualisation can help us track and see our progress, milestones and achievements. We have all succeeded at something at some point in our life and we are all able to achieve even more. Being able to visualise the challenges that we have overcome in our lives and our wins can increase and strengthen our self-esteem and our self-confidence.

It can also have a powerful impact on our mindset. Rather than seeing the glass half empty, we may be able to see it half full and therefore switch from a feeling of lack and scarcity to a feeling of contentment and even abundance.

Then, Data visualisation is also useful to help us rely more on our intuition. There is nothing contradictory in using data in order to be more intuitive because intuition is based on data. In fact, our intuition is based on the objective and subjective information that we already know. We are not consciously aware of the fact that our brain processes millions of bits of information all day. Bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings are signals as valuable and valid as hard-data. Data visualisation is just another tool to enhance that other innate human power. However, the purpose is not to become data-driven but data informed to make better decisions.

Data visualisation is powerful to see the bigger picture. Stepping back from details, we can see and make sense of the whole picture, understand dynamics, influences and relationships. And we can also detect patterns, a direction, draw conclusions and find meaning. Data visualisation will not give us our life purpose but can point us toward the right direction to find it. Because finding a life purpose matters as, beyond being a theme to express our inborn talents, it helps us make healthier choices with less effort, can extend our life expectancy and improve our spiritual health.

Finally, data visualisation can help us make the right decisions and take the right actions. As we gain more clarity about ourselves, we see what is aligned with us and what is not. What makes sense to carry on and what will just lead us to a dead end. What are the real challenges and rewarding opportunities in our personal development journey. And what is just a waste of time, resources and energy. Freed from all the white noise which prevents us from making sound choices, we can nurture our potential in the right direction. It doesn’t mean that the path will be easier or that our actions will always be successful. Our personal journey will be always made of trials and errors. But what really matters is that while we are heading toward our goals, we are also enjoying the ride.

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