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!
A leading Labour critic of Jeremy Corbyn, the former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, has said a majority of the party‚Äôs Scottish MPs and MSPs now backed a second EU referendum.
Speaking at a People‚Äôs Vote press conference in Edinburgh, Dugdale suggested there was deepening opposition amongst backbenchers to Corbyn‚Äôs stance on Brexit, even amongst those who are otherwise loyal to his leadership.
When young people are fighting for action on climate change, it is time to come together for the future, not divide. The Tory party‚Äôs failed solutions represent a dead end. We must do nothing to let them off the hook.
I believe there‚Äôs a majority of Labour MSPs in the parliament who would back a final say [on Brexit] but crucially over the weekend you saw a big development in the Scottish parliamentary Labour group with Paul Sweeney saying he would back having a final say.
That means a majority of Scottish Labour MPs back it too so the momentum towards a people‚Äôs vote is growing in the Labour party and as a consequence I think the likelihood of a people‚Äôs vote across the country is also increasing. I have never been more optimistic about a people‚Äôs vote taking place than I am today.
Appearing on the BBC‚Äôs Politics Live programme today, Smith appeared to talk about people being a ‚Äúfunny tinge‚ÄĚ. ‚ÄúThe recent history of the party I‚Äôve just left suggested it‚Äôs not just about being black or a funny tin ... you know, a different... from the BAME community,‚ÄĚ she said.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reprises role as cleaning lady during festivities in home state of Saarland
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Germany‚Äôs Christian Democrat party, returned to her home state of Saarland over the weekend to reprise her annual role as Putzfrau Gretel (Gretel the cleaning lady) during carnival celebrations.
Dressed in an apron and checkered headscarf, Kramp-Karrenbauer cracked jokes about December‚Äôs CDU leadership election, the fight banning diesel vehicles and political dysfunction in Berlin in front of a crowd of more than a thousand people.
Internet expert exposes unsecured database believed to be targeting Muslim minorities
A Chinese surveillance company has been tracking the movements of at least 2.5 million residents in a province where Muslim minorities have been the target of a far-reaching security clampdown, internet experts have found.
Victor Gevers, of the non-profit group GDI.Foundation, which supports an open internet, discovered an unsecured database online that contained the name, sex, ethnicity, ID number, birth date and employer of residents in China‚Äôs western province of Xinjiang.
European People‚Äôs party and Socialists & Democrats have run parliament for 40 years
The ‚Äúgrand coalition‚ÄĚ of centre-right and centre-left that has run the European parliament for 40 years is set to lose its majority for the first time following elections in May, according to the institution‚Äôs internal forecasts.
The centre-right European People‚Äôs party and centre-left Socialists & Democrats have long called the shots in the EU parliament, but polls suggest the two big groups will win only 45% of seats, down from 53%.
Donald Trump returned to the attack against Andrew McCabe on Monday, in response to an interview in which the former deputy FBI director discussed his new book and made claims damaging to the president.
Two former military pilots, a customs officer and celebrity bodyguard among the accused
Sitting on the tarmac at Punta Cana international airport in the Dominican Republic, the private plane was set to take off for an overnight flight to Saint-Tropez in France when police swooped.
Inside the aircraft, a Dassault Falcon 50, officers found four Frenchmen ‚Äď two pilots and two passengers ‚Äď along with 680 kilos of cocaine, with an estimated street value of ‚ā¨20 (¬£17.5m), in 26 battered suitcases.
Hans Leo Maes captures the bridges and stairways that link up the hilly, population-dense city
Hong Kong is known for its flashing lights, neon signs and high-rise skylines. But the architect and photographer Hans Leo Maes documents an alternative side ‚Äď the city‚Äôs interconnecting staircases and bridges.
‚ÄúThe extreme population density in Hong Kong means [structures] are stacked and linked by stairs, often external and very visible,‚ÄĚ Maes says.
There‚Äôs a whole new craze in east Africa, fuelled by secondhand inline skates ‚Äď and a desire to unite
Photos and story by Duncan Moore
Nairobi‚Äôs traffic congestion is notorious. Minibuses known as matatus battle for space with cars, motorbikes and hand-drawn carts, causing excruciating gridlock.
Through this automotive battleground dart the daring members of the Kenyan city‚Äôs inline skating community, deftly weaving between moving vehicles, holding on to buses for speed and jumping over potholes.
Idea of topping municipal plant in Copenhagen with urban ski resort won accolades for Danish architecture firm
It might be the first waste incinerator the neighbours actually want next door. The shop at the foot of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy project in Copenhagen is packed with families desperate to be among the first to try its unique selling point: the ski slope on the roof.
‚ÄúI live so close by that I could follow the development,‚ÄĚ says Ole Fredslund, who lives in neighbouring Amager, as he helped his sons Felix and Victor strap on their boots as the slope opened its lifts for the first time on Tuesday. ‚ÄúI guess 90% of the focus is on the fact that there‚Äôs a skiing hill coming, so in a way it‚Äôs very clever. Everybody talks about the ski hill to be, not the waste plant to be.‚ÄĚ
Russian agent allegedly in Bulgaria when Emilian Gebrev poisoned in 2015 and in UK when Skripals attacked
The first sign that something was wrong with Emilian Gebrev was an itchy, bloodshot eye after a dinner in April 2015. The next day he had strange visions of flashing lasers, followed by uncontrollable vomiting. As friends rushed him to hospital, everything went black and he slipped into a coma.
Communities clash over natural resources as arrivals from South Sudan and DRC plunder environment for fuel and construction
The cutting down of millions of trees has sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The timber is being used for house construction, fuel and to make charcoal. In the north and west of the country, where an estimated 1.1 million refugees are living, massive deforestation is drawing protests by local communities.
Mike Pezzullo admits department faced ‚Äėurgent‚Äô circumstances when deal done with little known firm Paladin
The head of the department of home affairs concedes bureaucrats awarded a controversial $423m contract to Paladin to provide services on Manus Island because of an ‚Äúurgent‚ÄĚ set of circumstances, but Mike Pezzullo denies he was ‚Äúdesperate‚ÄĚ.
Officials from the home affairs department told estimates on Monday they were, in essence, forced to conduct a closed tender process for the contract because the government of Papua New Guinea advised the then Turnbull government in July it could not provide services it had signalled it would provide because it had entered a caretaker period.
Analysis of community where 73% of residents contracted Zika in 2015 offers new clues about epidemic
Scientists studying the 2015 Zika outbreak in Brazil have discovered that people previously exposed to dengue may have been protected from the virus.
Three-quarters of the inhabitants of a favela in the country‚Äôs north-east caught the mosquito-borne Zika virus during the epidemic. The outbreak left more than 3,000 babies across Brazil with microcephaly, a birth defect caused by mothers catching the virus during pregnancy.
In the midst of Venezuela‚Äôs spiralling economic crisis, Natalia and fellow members of a Chavista collective have stepped in to take over production at a local bakery, La Minka. Authorities had suspended operations when the owners were accused of overpricing their loaves and hoarding flour. In March 2017, with the tacit support of the government, the collective began selling affordable bread. This is the story of their fight to safeguard the bakery‚Äôs future and keep the Chavista dream alive
I had to gain the confidence that always seemed to come naturally to my partner to release my inner handywoman
Last year my partner and I moved into a new house. The whole exercise was exhilarating ‚Äď finally, a place we owned ‚Äď but it also unearthed in me a desperation, a deep frustration. For a long time I‚Äôve wanted to be someone who fixes things, builds things, someone who is capable in practical day-to-day tasks. I own tools, I have ideas and I tinker with my surroundings, but I‚Äôve never felt completely at ease in the tasks that various men in my life seem to take on with no backward glance.
In our just-built house there were so many jobs to do with drills, hammers, caulking guns. My drive to learn by doing was offset by disorientation and self-doubt. I wanted to begin improving our house, but I didn‚Äôt know what sort of screws I needed for the curtain rod brackets, or whether I could just drill straight into the plasterboard. My partner, a man, didn‚Äôt have much more experience in these things than I did, but approached the situation with a confidence and bluster that only confused me more.
Cardinals around the world are joining the pope at a forum on tackling abuse. But only radical reform can solve the crisis
When the first meeting in the Vatican of cardinals from around the world to discuss clerical sexual abuse was announced, hopes were high among Catholics. Finally, it seemed, the courageous, mould-breaking Pope Francis was going to force through root-and-branch reforms to tackle the scandal that has done such damage to the reputation of the institution he leads.
Yet even before 180 cardinals assemble on Thursday in Rome for this unprecedented four-day summit, the chance of such prayers being answered is looking increasingly remote. The Vatican press office has been downplaying the event as simply an opportunity to remind senior clerics of the patchy efforts that global Catholicism has made this past quarter of a century to address the thousands upon thousands of cases of priests molesting, abusing and traumatising children in their care.
From Russia to Turkey and Iraq, the rout of the caliphate brings new political considerations and shifting alliances
The collapse of the Isis caliphate‚Äôs last stronghold in Syria is sending shockwaves across the region, changing the calculations of the major powers as they jockey for advantage. Triumphalism in Washington, Moscow and Damascus risks obscuring the human cost of a ‚Äúvictory‚ÄĚ that may quickly prove transitory.
Of immediate concern is the fate of civilians, mainly women and children, displaced from formerly Isis-controlled areas where many were held against their will. The independent International Rescue Committee says up to 4,000 people are fleeing towards the al-Hawl refugee camp in north-east Syria.
Since 1992, more than 11,500 Colombians have been killed or injured by landmines, a legacy of more than 50 years of internal conflict. Many impoverished amputees without access to the healthcare system have resorted to making homemade prosthetics from wood, leather, metal and plastic bottles
The US vice-president rebuked European powers over Iran and Venezuela on Saturday, in a renewed attack on traditional US allies, rejecting a call by Germany‚Äôs chancellor to include Russia in global cooperation efforts. Describing the results of Donald Trump‚Äôs presidency as 'remarkable' and 'extraordinary', Pence told senior European and Asian officials that the European Union should follow the US in quitting the Iran nuclear deal and recognising the head of Venezuela‚Äôs congress, Juan Guaid√≥, as president
A man opened fire on Friday in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, an hour's drive west of Chicago. The shooter, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, was an employee at the industrial complex in Aurora. He also wounded five police officers before he was shot dead
Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to secure extra funding for his wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump‚Äôs decision came after weeks of wrangling over his campaign promise, which led to a record 35-day partial government shutdown, damaging his approval rating.
Residents of a coalmining region in Siberia have been posting online videos showing entire streets and districts covered in toxic black snow that critics say highlight a man-made ecological catastrophe in which British industry is compliant.
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