Shift Happens

Shift Happens – Are You Ready?

This is a wake up call. The future does not unfold in a logical and predictable fashion. You have to be prepared for drastic changes that will upset your plans for the future. You have to do everything necessary, today, to secure your future. So that when Shift Happens, you will be able to take control of your life. We don’t have to accept shifts in our lives, we learn to deal with it.

When shift happens, it can be disruptive, resulting in the loss of jobs and opportunities. It could even result in a lower standard of living. The only way to mitigate the effects when shift happens is to increase and diversify your income. Many people have done this by seeking non-traditional ways of earning an income like starting your own business. In this website, you will find such opportunities. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going….

Background on Shift Happens

This thought-provoking presentation was created by Karl Fisch (from the faculty of Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado) and modified by Scott McLeod; titled “Did You Know? Shift Happens”. This first placed winner of the World’s Best Presentation Contest 2007 organized by really puts things into perspective — and makes your head spin at the same time. It shows how economic globalization, demographics, and rapid technological changes are shifting the status quo of our world. It was basically created to elicit greater government funding for education and research in the USA as well as to get educators and students to think about what they really need to know to succeed in the 21st century. The scenario in version 1.0 is deliberately bleak, to generate public support for education and research funding in much the same way as Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth” has done for global warming. This however, is not solely a US problem. It will affect every nation in the world.

In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
— Eric Hoffer

Did you know? also known as Shift Happens” begins this elegant exploration of the exponential rate at which our technology is expanding. The amazing statistics here will shock and concern you:

An American student will have as many as 14 jobs by the time he or she turns age 38.

It’s estimated that 40 exabytes (that’s 4.0 x 1019) of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year. That’s estimated to be more than in the previous 5,000 years.

By 2023, a $1,000 computer will exceed the computation capability of the Human Brain . . .

This reminds me of a story I would tell to people who assumes that tomorrow is a long string of yesterdays. It goes something like this…. “The factory of tomorrow will be run by a man and a dog. The man’s job is to feed the dog. The dog’s job is to make sure the man does not touch the machines.” If the above prediction about computers comes true, machines will certainly be able to do most of the lower and middle management jobs. It would also assume that machines will be consuming the products they make as humans won’t be able to afford them. For humans to survive, they would have to create breakaway countries or states that would outlaw such factories and products or face starvation and possibly extinction. Let’s hope corporations and governments will act responsibly and know where the real money and value comes from.

The amount of new technical information doubles every two years, which means students attending a technical school will learn information that will be outdated by their third year.

The number of words in the English language is 540,000 — that is FIVE times the number of words present during Shakespeare’s time.

The Top 10 Jobs that will be in demand in 2010 didn’t exist in 2004.

The number of text messages sent and received each day exceeds the population of the planet.

Shift Happens is a timely invitation to re-visit many of our assumptions. And with it, the suggestion of a final question: what role will each of us play in this dynamic “shift”?

In its presentation, Shift Happens makes a lot of assumptions, like governments being unable to mitigate adverse impacts to their economies, or factors like trade protectionism, energy crisis, wars, commodity shortages which can change the course of these predicted futures. Factors like the greying population, consumer awareness, climate change may also impact on technological developments. In addition, some countries are not destined to achieve global power and influence because they lack some of the critical characteristics of a superpower. At one time, Japanese products were predicted to dominate world markets. However, laws and international agreements have scaled back Japan’s global ambitions somewhat.

In summary, expect unexpected changes (shifts) and be prepared to make changes. Some changes will be good; some changes will be bad. When shift happens, sometimes shit happens.

Watch the Shift Happens (sometimes Shit happens) 1.0 and 2.0 slide presentation on YouTube:

Karl Fisch 2020 Vision – Predictions of Technological Change (you may have difficulty watching this 15 minute video in its entirety during US peak time Internet usage. If you have this problem, watch the Google Video during off peak hours. Shit Happens!):

© – shift happens

Secret to Happiness

The Secret to Happiness

Can you manufacture happiness? According to Harvard Psychologist Daniel Gilbert, you can create “synthetic happiness“. Professor Gilbert says that it is possible to create a sort of optical illusion of the mind and make an imagined happy feeling a real one.

Now wait a minute. Before you think this as some new age hocus pocus, mumbo jumbo, let’s examine Professor Dan Gilbert‘s credentials and his study. Firstly, Professor Gilbert’s study is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. He is generally considered the world’s foremost authority in the fields of affective forecasting and the fundamental attribution error.

Dan Gilbert is a Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Hedonic Psychology Laboratory. He has published numerous scientific articles and chapters, several short works of fiction, and is the editor of “The Handbook of Social Psychology”. He has been been awarded the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology by the American Psychological Association, fellowships from both the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Philosophical Society, and has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Research in the Behavioral Sciences.

In 2002, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin listed Gilbert as one of the fifty most influential social psychologists of the decade, and in 2003 one of his research papers was chosen by the editors of Psychological Inquiry as one of four “modern classics” in social psychology.

At 19, he was a high school dropout with dreams of writing science fiction. When a creative writing class at his community college was full, Dan Gilbert (already a father) enrolled in the only available course: psychology. He found his passion there, earned a doctorate in social psychology in 1985 at Princeton, and has since won a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Phi Beta Kappa teaching prize for his work at Harvard. He has written essays and articles for The New York Times, Time and even Starbucks, while continuing his research into happiness at his Hedonic Psychology Laboratory.

Dan Gilbert’s immensely readable book “Stumbling on Happiness“, published in 2006, became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages.

Well that is Professor Gilbert’s credentials. But what exactly is his secret on synthetic happiness?

According to Dan, the secret to Synthetic Happiness is “what we make (i.e. choose) when we don’t get what we wanted”. Whereas Natural Happiness is “what we get when we get what we wanted”. He says that by changing one’s perception of what is good and bad, we have the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience. Dan says that synthetic happiness is “every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for.”

He challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel real, enduring happiness, he says, even when things don’t go as planned. Synthetic happiness enables you to imagine an experience in your head before you actually try it out in real life. This happens because our brain acts like an experience simulator generating the appropriate response to your needs. In his study, he found that paraplegics were just as happy as lottery winners one year later.

“The human brain is, at every level, a change detector,” Gilbert explained. Change, not stable qualities, is what the senses are attuned to. Eyes don’t see objects, for instance, but changes in objects, so they constantly jiggle in order to keep the visual world in motion. Or take smell: That smelly guy on the subway doesn’t smell himself, Gilbert explained, because “three weeks ago he ripened to perfection; his smell isn’t changing so he can’t detect it.”

It’s the same way when evaluating the value of things like DVDs or cars or jobs — the brain looks for comparisons. When we buy things, we get excited and reach for our wallets when we see a “price cut” or discount. The change in the price of a product is a delight and makes us happy (at least temporarily).

What Dan says here is that in reality, gaining or losing something turns out to have far less impact and duration than you expect them to have. After about three months, the event (or item) has virtually no impact on your happiness… Your ‘psychological immune system’ actually works best when you have no other alternative but to go forward. When this happens, your mind finds a way to be happy with your reality. This is not the same as a fatalistic acceptance and resignation to one’s fate. But rather, it is one in which you make a conscious choice of another reality that will give you more long term happiness than any future you could not get.

Professor Gilbert’s study is in line with many other studies which demonstrates that happiness is a state of mind. Happiness is what we make of a situation. If you can’t be happy from within, and be satisfied with what you have or who you are, then you will never be truly happy. Appreciate what you have and your troubles will become insignificant. Concentrate on having more fun and less on collecting “stuff” and we will find the stress of living fading away. The Danes are said to be the happiest people in the world because they have “low expectations” of material things. If you desire less, and aspire more, you too can be happy.

Positive emotions are the key to life. Olympic champions manage their expectations of success for maximum happiness. If you do what you love and share it with others, you will experience joy like no other.

Now you know the Secret to Happiness, go out and make your own happiness. Happiness is the secret to Staying Healthy and Living Longer. Make Happiness your top priority.

Once you are happy, and you know how to stay healthy, being successful would be within your reach.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Herman Cain

Now let’s watch Dan Gilbert’s engaging and hilarious 22 minute lecture on YouTube (available online only recently).

© – the secret to happiness