Lindy Skills for the Future

‘Which skills will withstand the test of time & technology?’

Over time, I have come to believe that the answer lies in our immutable skills as humans. Skills that tap into the core survival instinct of humanity. Skills that have enabled us to survive over the last centuries. Lindy skills (From the Lindy Effect). These are a sub-set of skills whose mortality rate decreases with time. They have been around so long, extinction would mean the end of the human race.

Critical Thinking, Creativity and Communication Skills will always be Lindy.

According to the Moravec paradox, developed by futurist Hans Moravec and other researchers, skills acquired a long time ago are much more difficult to automate than skills acquired more recently.

Heuristic: The older a human skill is, the more time natural selection has had to improve the design, thus the lower the likelihood of replacement by machines.

It was great to see some Lindy skills mentioned during the #WhatsNext Education event.

Here are a few that caught my eye:

  1. Divergent Thinking (by Scott Bellows)

There are 3 modes of thinking: Lateral, Divergent & Convergent.

Convergent thinking is fueled by logic and works in linear contexts. This has its usefulness in definitive ‘black or white’ situations. But most of life is non-linear.

This is where divergent thinking comes into the picture. Fueled by imagination, it promotes a thought process aimed at exploring as many possible solutions within a short period of time. It thrives on spontaneity, non-linear situations and speaks of creativity.

A thought experiment: How many uses of a pen can you think of?

The Kenyan average stands at 6 use cases while the international average is at 12.

Lateral thinking, on the other hand, is a hybrid. It is a combination of convergent and divergent thinking based on the premise that ideas generated by divergent thinking need to be structured using convergent thinking.

2/3. Emotional Intelligence & Social Adaptability (by Teresa Mbagaya & Amos Kaburu respectively)

In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed — Charles Darwin

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is an umbrella of soft skills that involve the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s thinking & action. They constitute of the dyadic interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.

Social adaptability, which is the interpretation and response to the external environment, is reliant on our state of mind. Positive emotionality attracts sociability and negative emotionality keeps others at bay.

One of the cheat codes for developing emotional intelligence is by investing in communication skills. It forces you to define your inner-self, articulate your thoughts and be cognizant of the environment- if done with authenticity and a never dying desire to learn.

Speaking and writing (clearly & persuasively) are super-powers in their own right.

Warren Buffett claims public speaking is the single greatest skill to boost your career with a 50% value increase that will pay off for the rest of your career.

In foresight, the ability to adjust to other people’s cultures’, exercise empathy and communicate your independent thoughts will be great leverage to have in a world where new cultural societies will continue to rise.