Every one of us is deeply unique. Our individualism is what makes us special. It is something that has gotten more attention in the last few decades. We are no longer just wheels in the machinery but have the opportunity to choose who we want to become. Individualism is one of the greatest gifts of the 21st century. However, it also comes with lots of stress. Individuality preaches that we can become anything we want as long as we work hard enough. Thus a lot of pressure is put on our shoulders, both in terms of choosing our path and in terms of putting in the effort.
In the past, we simply chose the profession of our parents. We married someone who it made sense to marry. We settled somewhere practical and had kids. Because this was how it was done. No questions asked.
The current times are different. From a certain age on, everything can be questioned:
- Instead of only sticking with one profession, the trend is to move from one job to the other. The trend is to explore different professions and roles.
- Instead of relationships being a matter of logic and reason, today we follow our hearts and our feelings.
- Instead of settling somewhere locally and building a family there, we travel more. We move abroad and perhaps choose not to start a family at all.
Just like it’s the case with startups, people now have the opportunity to decide if they feel like their life isn’t serving them or if they’re in need of change. Exploration and self-realization are the defining concepts of individualism instead of the family, society, or the culture deciding what and who you should become.
Opportunities of Individualism
The world is not going to become less individualized any time soon. Instead, it’s likely that we’ll see a rise in our opportunities for realizing ourselves and personalizing our experiences.
Here are some aspects that will further fuel this trend:
- AI and algorithms are creating personalized online experiences
- Exponential technologies will soon take care of a lot of uninteresting jobs freeing us up to do what we really enjoy doing
- On-demand learning enables us to gain multiple skills and knowledge on all sorts of topics, making life-long learning possible
And this is available for everyone around the world with an internet connection. And although we are not there yet, according to UN, we’ll reach universal Internet access (defined as 90% global population) by the year 2050.
Challenges of Individualism
The greatest challenge of individualism is the pressure that’s put on people to continuously develop themselves and find out what they’re passionate about. Currently, schools and most cultures are not doing enough to develop the skills of independent learning and reflecting upon one’s life and dreams. As of yet, many elementary school students have to go through a similar curriculum without the opportunity to have it individualized to match their natural talents and interests. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll find a way to personalize this more, so students can both gain basic skills such as reading, writing, and maths, but at the same time get more opportunities to individualize their studies.
How to Experience Your Individuality
So what can you do to prepare yourself well for a future of increased individualism?
- Engage in learning activities: So much learning is available on Youtube, in books, or at events. All you need is to google your interests and you can start learning.
- Create a vision: Know what you want to achieve in this life and what drives you personally. It will help you make choices when you’re faced with the vast amount of opportunities made available through this megatrend. If you want to find some simple steps to discover your personal values and vision, check out our recent blog post.
- Explore & be inspired: Seek out experiences and people who can broaden your horizon and show you what’s possible and what might interest you.
Individualism is a gift, but a demanding one. It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by all those opportunities and to feel tempted to try all and nothing. Individuality also means finding a strong sense of identity. If you need a little guidance to find your path, our mentors are here for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out!