Skilled workers of every age have prized their tools. I recently visited a Museum of Natural History and was amazed at the craftsmanship and precision of the sextants and chronometers that allowed explorers to map our world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Such tools must have cost many years' wages for the average person! I was reminded of how my Grandfather prized and cared for the tools he used on his farm. I vividly remember his showing me how to work a haybaler or oil the harness for his team of horses, tools from an age that is long-gone. But it brings up the question: What are the tools for our age, and what are the skills we will need to keep them "sharp" and useful? I suggest the following tools for your 21st Century Toolbox:
1. Extreme Self-Care: Just like early explorers took extraordinary measures to protect their compass and sextant, keeping them in beautifully finished wooden boxes, so in tomorrow's world we will need to be well-oiled, rested, polished and precisely balanced.
2. Response-Ability: In an earlier generation, a farmer could experiment with new crops or buy a "new-fangled" tractor over a period of several years. In the 21st Century, change will occur daily, and the ability to respond instantly will be the difference between success and total "crop failure."
3. Resource Management: In the 1930's the American Dust-bowl disaster was caused by a belief that the land was endless and resources were boundless, so farmers destroyed the sod, laid bare the land, and the wind simply blew it away. In the next century, the most successful will be those who manage their resources and have the most efficient reserves of creativity, time, space and energy.
4. Character: My great-uncle was known for the beautiful walking sticks he made by hand, carving them during the long winter months. Each one was unique and they have become family heirlooms. In the 21st century we won't leave our mark on wood or stone nearly as often as we will leave our mark on the memories of those who buy our products and services. But I expect the quality of our character will show through just as clearly as the marks he carved into those sticks testify to his patience, strength and dignity.
5. Fence Mending: Robert Frost wrote a poem about "mending wall", and said, "good fences make good neighbors". For a thousand generations, that meant piling rock upon rock, or stretching wire from post to post. In the 21st century, the principle remains the same. Boundaries, roles and responsibilities must be agreed upon, be clearly marked and be maintained.
6. Simplicity: I once heard that until the end of World War II, it was rare for any human being to eat anything that was not raised and harvested within 25 miles of them. Ask anyone who lived through the Depression if they remember the miracle of an orange, brought by special shipment all the way from Florida, as a Christmas treat. It happened once a year! In the 21st Century, those who achieve extraordinary success will be those who, in the midst of clutter and chaos, choose to simplify their lives, focus on their priorities, and pursue their goals.
7. Insatiable Curiosity: Something drove explorers to risk falling off the edge of a "flat earth". The "Mountain Men" (and women) explored the American frontier, and every child asks, "Where do babies come from?" or the eternal, basic question, "Why?" Curiosity will remain an essential tool for the new age. It will drive some to look, listen, experiment and learn new skills, while others will quickly be left behind.
8. Risk Management: This is a 20th century term for an ancient principle: Those who are too timid, get left behind, while those who are too impulsive, usually die young. In the 21st century, we will rarely face risks that are life-threatening, but those with the ability to accurately assess the risks and potential rewards in a new situation will flourish, while those who blindly resist change or blindly run after every new fad will quickly fail.
9. Contextual Creativity: My grandfather had no use for "modern art". He scoffed at the luxury of throwing paint at a canvas or using "gutter language" in poetry. For him creativity was grafting a branch from a pear tree onto an apple tree, and art meant growing more wheat per acre than any other farmer in the county. In the 21st Century, the most valued creators will remain those who can work with what lies at hand, and fashion something new and useful from what others have discarded as old, familiar and useless.
10. Lofty Aspirations: In every age, ambition counts for something. During the Depression, there was no more devastating allegation than that someone was "lazy." I remember my Grandmother scoffing that a neighbor "will never amount to nothing, he doesn't expect to!" Perhaps, in the new century, the most important of all tools will be the expectation that we can succeed, that we can contribute, that we can make a difference. Past generations expected life to be difficult, but they also expected to endure and overcome, and that expectation was tangible, it was as real as spring after the winter, and it kept them going. Aspiration is a powerful tool!
Whatever items you choose for your personal toolbox, choose wisely! To make a living and provide value to those around us, requires the ability to start with a vision, blend it with skill, and produce a result that has value in the real world. Almost always, whether it's the artist's paintbrush or the surgeon's scalpel, that means using tools. Please consider these ten for your toolbox!
I will now be handing over to my colleague Haroon Siddique in London who will be covering the latest updates on the outbreak
At a press conference by the State Council Information Office of China, they confirmed that there have been 2,057 cases of coronavirus globally. China‚Äôs national health minister Ma Xiaowei said that it is possible the pathogen causing the virus came from a wild animal, and that 1,600 medical professionals were being dispatched to Wuhan to help handle the rising number of cases.
Ma admitted that the virus‚Äôs ability to spread seemed to be getting stronger and that they were not clear about the risks of the virus mutating. The incubation period is between 1 and 14 days, he said, and said it was likely the number of cases would continue to rise.
Head of powerful CGT tells French president of trouble to come unless he cancels reform
The union leader heading protests against France‚Äôs bitterly contested pension reforms has accused Emmanuel Macron of playing with fire and showing contempt for the country‚Äôs workers.
Philippe Martinez, head of the powerful CGT, said the president and his government were ‚Äúdisconnected‚ÄĚ from the real world, and their advisers needed to ‚Äúshake the hands of a few who actually work‚ÄĚ.
The Observer‚Äôs political editor has reported on Britain‚Äôs place in the EU for more than 30 years. Here he charts the key moments in a stormy relationship and the missed chances to save it from destruction
Last week, with the end of the UK‚Äôs 47-year membership of the club of European nations just days away, I looked back at some newspaper cuttings from my time as a Brussels correspondent. A picture of worried-looking farmers eyeing up their cattle at a market in Banbury stared out alongside banner headlines. ‚ÄúBritish beef banned in Europe. Cattle prices fall. School meals hit. EU ‚Äėrules‚Äô broken.‚ÄĚ Among the many crises in British relations with the EU down the years ‚Äď from Margaret Thatcher‚Äôs bust-up over the European budget in the early 1980s to the UK‚Äôs exit from the ERM in 1992 ‚Äď the beef war between London and Brussels ranks among the biggest.
It was 29 March, 1996, and the European commission had just announced a worldwide ban on the export of British beef. The EU‚Äôs executive opted for decisive action after the Tory government admitted there could be a link between ‚Äúmad cow‚ÄĚ disease and the mutant strain of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which could kill humans. I had been in Brussels less than three months. It was a hugestory, and reading through articles I had written at the time, it felt like yesterday. But what was most striking, as my mind fixed again on events of 24 years ago, was how relevant that one prolonged and tortuous episode seemed today, in the context of Brexit.
UN urges immediate action as east African nations already experiencing devastating hunger see large areas of crops destroyed
The worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years has seen hundreds of millions of the insects swarm into the east African nation from Somalia and Ethiopia. Those two countries have not had an infestation like this in a quarter century, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region with devastating hunger.
‚ÄúEven cows are wondering what is happening,‚ÄĚ said Ndunda Makanga, who spent hours Friday trying to chase the locusts from his farm. ‚ÄúCorn, sorghum, cowpeas, they have eaten everything.‚ÄĚ
New research warns that ‚Äėblue acceleration‚Äô ‚Äď a global goldrush to claim the ocean floor ‚Äď is already impacting on the environment.
The scaly-foot snail is one of Earth‚Äôs strangest creatures. It lives more than 2,300 metres below the surface of the sea on a trio of deep-sea hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Here it has evolved a remarkable form of protection against the crushing, grim conditions found at these Stygian depths. It grows a shell made of iron.
Discovered in 1999, the multi-layered iron sulphide armour of Chrysomallon squamiferum ‚Äď which measures a few centimetres in diameter ‚Äď has already attracted the interest of the US defence department, whose scientists are now studying its genes in a bid to discover how it grows its own metal armour.
Less than 48 hours before the inquiry is due to start hearing evidence about ‚Äúdecisions which led to the installation of a highly combustible cladding system‚ÄĚ, Boris Johnson announced Benita Mehra was standing down from a panel advising the chairman of the inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick. It followed 10 days of rising pressure on the prime minister from the community devastated by the fire on 14 June 2017 ‚Äď which claimed 72 lives ‚Äď to reverse her appointment.
At least 29 people killed and more than 1,200 injured in 6.8-magnitude quake
A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake in eastern Turkey has killed at least 29 people, with the death toll expected to rise as rescuers search for survivors under the rubble in freezing winter conditions.
The quake late on Friday injured at least a further 1,200 people in the hardest-hit Elazig and Malatya provinces and was followed by more than 390 aftershocks, 14 of which had magnitudes above 4 which were felt as far away as Iran and Lebanon.
Boris Johnson‚Äôs partner and animal rights activist was briefed by Badger Trust weeks before the policy was changed
The influence exerted on the prime minister by his partner, Carrie Symonds, will be explored in court after permission was granted last week for a judicial review into how the government came to pull a cull on badgers in Derbyshire.
The case could embarrass Boris Johnson and raise questions about the government‚Äôs willingness to listen to its advisers when formulating policy.
Ahead of critical trade talks, Steven Mnuchin says ‚Äėdiscriminatory‚Äô levy no place in budget
One of the most senior figures in the US government has warned Sajid Javid to delay a ‚Äúdiscriminatory‚ÄĚ tax on big tech companies, in the latest sign of tensions with Donald Trump‚Äôs administration ahead of critical trade talks.
Steven Mnuchin, the US treasury secretary, used a breakfast meeting with the chancellor on Saturday to warn him directly against applying the new tax as part of his forthcoming budget. The confrontation comes as the US mounts a last-ditch attempt to stop Britain using technology from China‚Äôs Huawei in its 5G network.
The Senakw development aims to ease the city‚Äôs chronic housing crisis ‚Äď and to challenge the mindset that indigeneity and urbanity are incompatible
The scrubby, vacant patch beneath the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver looks at first glance like a typical example of the type of derelict nook common to all cities: 11.7 acres of former railway lands, over which tens of thousands of people drive every day.
This is not any old swath of underused space, however. It‚Äôs one of Canada‚Äôs smallest First Nations reserves, where dozens of Squamish families once lived. The village was destroyed by provincial authorities more than a century ago.
Amazon have arrived in force in rapidly expanding Hyderabad, with designs on the currently almost non-existent Indian e-commence market
The futuristic lobby of the new Amazon building in Hyderabad feels as though it should have a permanent orchestra blasting out Also Sprach Zarathustra. The scale is intended to awe. A large slogan on a wall suggests the company is ‚ÄúDelivering smiles‚ÄĚ. The only sound that rises above the hush is a synthesised beep, coming from a giant screen playing a video of the campus at various stages of its construction.
Built on nine acres in this Indian city‚Äôs financial district, it is Amazon‚Äôs single largest building globally and the only Amazon-owned campus outside the US. It can house over 15,000 employees, but its size is its main architectural feature: it resembles the same cube of glass steel and chrome seen in corporate offices across Hyderabad, though a flash of magenta reflected in one of the top floor windows, from a billowing sari across the road, is a nice Indian touch.
Minibuses that run on Friday evenings and Saturdays buck state‚Äôs religious restrictions
Tel Aviv is one of Israel‚Äôs most dynamic cities, but the latest local craze could appear fairly humdrum to outsiders ‚Äď a bus service that runs at weekends.
Packed 19-seat minibuses fill up fast with passengers, who excitedly gossip about the new routes. People patiently queue at bus stops, knowing they might have to wait for two or three buses to pass before there is a space. Still, they are upbeat. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a pleasure,‚ÄĚ said Ben Uzan, a 30-year-old electronic engineer. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a blessed initiative.‚ÄĚ
The Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, India, is helping to tackle the country‚Äôs plastic waste problem ‚Äď and their novel idea is catching on
On bad days, when his employer made some excuse for not paying him his paltry daily wage, Ram Yadav‚Äôs main meal used to be dry chapatis, with salt and raw onion for flavour. Sometimes he just went hungry. For a ragpicker like him, one of the thousands of Indians who make a living bringing in plastic waste for recycling, eating in a cafe or restaurant was the stuff of fairytales.
But last week, Yadav was sitting at a table at the Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, in the state of Chhattisgarh, over a piping hot meal of dal, aloo gobi, poppadoms and rice. He earned the food in exchange for bringing in 1kg of plastic waste. ‚ÄúThe hot meal I get here lasts me all day. And it feels good to sit at a table like everyone else,‚ÄĚ he said.
As Boris Johnson assesses project, Tory mayor for West Midlands warns of political cost of scrapping it
Scrapping the HS2 rail project will cost at least ¬£12 billion in write-offs and compensation and plunge major construction companies into financial peril, ministers are being warned.
Sources close to the beleaguered scheme told the Observer that extra costs of ¬£3bn-¬£4bn would be incurred even if it were scrapped immediately. ¬£9bn has been spent already. With the issue causing tension inside the Conservative party, Whitehall insiders said that Boris Johnson could decide on the fate of the project as soon as this week as concerns grow that costs are spiralling out of control. Billions have already been spent on the first leg of the line linking Birmingham and London.
Several US veterans‚Äô organizations call for president to apologize for remarks about injuries suffered by service members in Iraq
Veterans of Foreign Wars, a prominent organization advocating for US military veterans, has called for Donald Trump to apologize for remarks downplaying brain injuries recently suffered by nearly three dozen American service members in Iraq.
At Iowa rallies in the last week before the caucus, some fear the Indiana mayor‚Äôs sexuality will make him a risky choice as the Democratic candidate who can beat Trump
Jerry Pinneke is backing Pete Buttigieg for president despite himself. The retired engineer, who worked in the US, Brazil and the UK, likes the Indiana mayor‚Äôs youth, is impressed by his ability to speak eight languages, including Norwegian and Dari, and calls him a natural leader. But he has had to set one issue aside.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm a homophobe,‚ÄĚ said Pinneke after attending a Buttigieg rally in Ankeny, Iowa, as campaigning in the first vote to select the Democratic presidential candidate heads into the final stretch before the state‚Äôs caucus on 3 February. ‚ÄúI get around gay people, that isn‚Äôt the world that I grew up in and it bothers me.‚ÄĚ
Chief medical officer says Australia is ‚Äėincredibly well prepared to isolate and deal with‚Äô any more cases
Australia‚Äôs chief medical officer has warned there will likely be more cases of the deadly coronavirus confirmed in the country, as the federal government explores plans to evacuate Australian citizens from the pandemic‚Äôs epicentre in central China.
Prof Brendan Murphy, Australia‚Äôs chief medical officer, said more cases of 2019-nCoV were likely, following the confirmation of four cases. NSW Health said on Sunday afternoon a fourth person had tested positive, according to their preliminary test results, though more follow-up was needed.
Campaigners say education funding would be ‚Äėinappropriate if not irresponsible‚Äô in light of ban on pregnant girls attending school
An opposition MP and activists in Tanzania are urging the World Bank to withdraw a $500m (¬£381m) loan to the country, amid concerns over deteriorating human rights, particularly for women and girls.
In a letter addressed to the bank‚Äôs board members, Zitto Kabwe said he feared the money would be used by the ruling party ‚Äúto distort our electoral processes‚Äô‚ÄĚ and ensure an easy victory in an election year.
Researchers sound the alarm after statistics reveal almost half of impoverished children in rural areas do not have enough to eat
Poverty has reached unprecedented levels in Zimbabwe, with more than 70% of Zimbabwean children in rural areas living in poverty, a UN study has found.
The report, compiled by Unicef and the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, shows high levels of privation in rural areas, where 76.3% of children live in abject poverty. Statistics seen by the Guardian suggest that almost half of these children do not have enough of the right food to eat.
As the death toll in Yemen passes 100,000, questions must be asked about UK arms exports to the Saudi-led coalition
As British politics reverberates with the results of the general election and Brexit approaches, the announcement from researchers that the death toll in the war in Yemen now exceeds 100,000 went unnoticed in the mainstream press at the end of last year.
With heightened US-Iranian hostility after the US government‚Äôs killing of Qassem Suleimani, the prospects for the war in Yemen look increasingly bleak.
Wellington has restricted foreign political donations but its lax approach to Beijing suggests economic interests still trump national security concerns
Transparency International announced yesterday that New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the world. This is excellent news, but New Zealand cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
Transparency International‚Äôs Corruption Perception Index assesses whether countries have a corrupt judiciary and public sector. Some other aspects where corruption can also occur, such as political funding, are not included in the index.
Huge locust swarms in east Africa are the result of extreme weather swings and could prove catastrophic for a region still reeling from drought and deadly floods. Dense clouds of the ravenous insects have spread from Ethiopia and Somalia into Kenya, in the region‚Äôs worse infestation in decades
Representatives from Europe, Russia and America warned against the resurgence of antisemitism at a memorial event at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem. Prince Charles, representing Britain, said the lessons of the Holocaust were 'searingly relevant to this day'
Authorities have shut down public transport and airports to prevent Wuhan's 11 million residents from leaving the city as they look to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Police have been seen patrolling railway stations and setting up roadblocks
Iguanas are falling from trees in south Florida as unusually low temperatures sweep through the region. The invasive species can become sluggish when the temperature drops below 50F (10C) and are susceptible to freezing once temperatures drop to around 40F (4.5C). Once frozen, these cold-blooded creatures lose their grip on the trees they call home. Residents have expressed shock at the sight of rigid reptiles lying motionless in the middle of sidewalks and backyards. But while they appear lifeless, they are simply too cold to move
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