Free knowledge and training on the Internet makes it so easy for a person today to become the best in the world. Even persons with disabilities now stand a wonderful chance to become digitally powerful.
Today, a kid living in Essequibo, Berbice, Moruca or Lethem, connected to a wireless internet with a US$100 mobile tablet, could become enormously empowered.
The Knowledge Age in the global village now kicks in with astounding possibilities for the individual, to offer blessings to the individual unheard of throughout history till now.
Every corner of the global village now connects to a worldwide social order of meritocracy.
This opens up a highway of possibilities for anyone. It creates an environment where the individual could no longer whine excuses for a bad life.
Of course, billions of people around the world feel poor, helpless and unable to live a life they love.
Yet, today, right now, you dear reader could go online and read a literary classic. You could go online and train to become a computer programmer. You could learn guitar, or to play chess, or how to create a movement in your community.
And all this is free. Millions of sound books, including scores of literary classics, now lie in online libraries.
Google’s Gutenberg Project sees tons and tons of great books becoming digitized, and free to you and me. Knowledge is now a free gift to everyone in the world.
Our world continues a rather traumatic transition from the old industrial age of narrow specialization, to a new age of collaboration, sharing, and the recognition that we could get ahead based purely on merit, on our knowledge, talent and innate abilities.
Here in this naturally blessed land, where a young person in Linden could plant a kitchen garden and own a fish pond and mind a couple chicken and sheep and own a milking cow, this new world opens up myriad possibilities.
A young Essequibo farmer, lounging under a coconut tree in the backdam, could now read Socrates, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Hemmingway or Naipaul, on his smartphone. That young mind could come back to his family in the night a much improved thinker.
The possibilities for individual empowerment are truly astounding.
Videos, essays, articles, books on self-improvement and personal and professional development abound online.
The ted.com library hosts a brilliant array of the best thinking in the world today.
Yet, how many people benefit from this new world?
In villages across this land, we see scores of people idling on street corners, or wasting time drinking rum, or just plain drifting through the day with no purpose, goal or desire for self-development.
And these are the folks who complain that the society is unfair to them. We so easily blame Government, itself filled with inept officials, or our backgrounds, or the “breaks” we get in life. We look to blame others, when we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and take responsibility for our personal and professional development.
Our society lacks role models, coaches, that culture of striving for excellence. But even these we could find online, because exceptional leaders making an impact on communities around the world are easily available online, even for one on one contact.
Given this global social scene, where anyone from anywhere can become knowledgeable, educated, connected and well-known as an expert, talent or leader, where one’s potential becomes a public profile, why so few of our citizens remain clogged in life?
Why so few people take the personal responsibility to transform themselves, to self-develop, to constantly work on their professional development?
In our villages across Berbice, Essequibo, and Demerara why so few of our Guyanese citizens make full use of the national library? Why so few read a literature book online?
The sad fact is few people take personal responsibility for their lives, for their own development.
In the global village, most folks just drift through life.
We live in a world that has developed these amazing free social tools for personal professional development. But most of us refuse to take personal responsibility, for our own lives.
Refusing to take responsibility for personal development is a tragic neglect of one’s own life.
Most of us refuse to take any kind of responsibility, especially for the state of our society, for any kind of community contribution.
It may take some time for a new personal development culture, for a new personal philosophy of one’s life, to take hold of the masses of Mankind.
In this new world, how we build our personal life has completely transformed from a decade ago.
No longer is it enough to get an education and choose a career and spend one’s life working for a corporation or for Government.
Now, it is all about designing one’s life. A person’s career now is all about branding. It is all about one, for example, building one’s digital image online, through social media and showcasing one’s smarts and intellectual capital.
In Europe, Canada, the US, India, China and the Pacific Rim developed nations, we see a total re-engineering of education, career development and how the individual charts his or life.
In this new world, the individual can become self-defining and self-designing.
Back in the 1990’s everyone talked of the new world of the 2000’s. That new world is here, and the future generation will grow up in it and reap the fruits.
But for this generation, suffering the effects of such comprehensive social transformation, we must lead, coach, mentor and show people how the new world operates.
A remarkably stunning book by Reid Hoffman, founder and chairman of LinkedIn, the social media career engine, titled “the start-up of YOU”, maps this new world.
Hoffman says, simply, of building and designing personal lives in this new world: “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’. If you’re not growing, you’re contracting. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”
And he built LinkedIn as the global tool for such growing, moving forward and living.
Hoffman himself became a powerful world leader and billionaire using the free tools now available to you and me. The world now offers every person a real opportunity to live a great life.