By Linda Koco
PHILADELPHIA – Today’s supercomputers will keep on growing in computational powers to the point that they become an “epic force” and that will usher in a world of “unprecedented abundance,” predicted Peter Diamandis in the opening session here at the annual meeting Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).
This future world will include an abundance of pure water, communications, health care, global literacy and internet penetration, said Diamandis who is chairman and chief executive officer of X PIRZE foundation, a nonprofit focused on driving radical change for the benefit of humanity.
And the coming world of abundance will have “epic” implications for businesses worldwide, he said.
Many people are skeptical of that prediction, he indicated, noting that they will say: “Really? Really? What about the economic problems in Europe? The school shootings? And all these problems?”
One young couple he spoke with did not even want to bring a child into the world, he noted.
Diamandis countered with many examples to illustrate that not only is more abundance coming, but that much of it is already here. In the last 100 years, human life span has more than doubled, income in every nation has more than tripled in real dollars, and the cost of food, energy, transportation and education have all gone down, he said.
“We are living in the most peaceful time in history,” he added, pointing to a decline in chances of dying of violent death. In addition, the large majority of people under the poverty line in the U.S. have electricity, water, flushing toilets, refrigerators, televisions, telephone, cars and air conditioning, he said.
He blamed the constant drumbeat of negative news for the commonly-held perception that scarcity is coming, not abundance. Negative news is being pushed onto devices over and over and over again, 24/7, he said, and people do pay attention to it.
The focus on negativity been helped along by a part of the temporal lobe of the human brain, called the amygdale. This brain tissue has evolved over the years to scan regularly for negative news, said Diamandis, who holds a degree from Harvard Medical School.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, he explained, paying attention to negative news was very important. Back then, “if you missed a piece of negative news, it could mean your life.” That meant that, over the years, people have paid”extraordinary attention” to such news.
But today, people need to ask whether focus on negative news is the way the world is today, he continued.
Today, technology has developed to the point that it can impact the lives of a billion people at a time, he said. “This is world is where someone with a dream and a passion and vision can see a problem and solve it, without the resources of a government or large corporation.”
What will that mean for business? Technologies such as robotics, digital medicine and artificial intelligence mean that “every aspect of our lives will change,” he said. It will be a world where people know what is going on everywhere, where cars will no longer crash and cars will drive themselves.
This will be “the liberating force,” increasingly bringing the world from scarcity to abundance, he predicted.
By 2020, projections are that 5 billion people will be on the internet. That’s 3 billion more than in 2010, Diamandis said. “That’s 3 billion more minds that will enter the world’s conversation. It represents tens of trillions of dollars flowing into the world economy. And, to me, it represents the greatest epic of innovation this world has ever seen (where people are) truly living in a world of abundance.”
That message set the stage for other speakers who discussed another kind of abundance—the abundance of spirit and perspective.
Brad Elman, principal of Elman Insurance Services and Nine Dots Benefits, Los Altos, Calif., spoke of how the arrival of his son, Spencer, became a call to action that challenged Elman and changed him—and raised the bar on his understanding about what is possible.
Spencer has been developmentally delayed since birth, Elman explained. He and his wife Julia sought help from multiple specialists. They never received a specific diagnosis so their journey with Spencer became one without labels—and, as it turned out, without limitations.
For example, the parents were told that Spencer would never walk, but they did not accept that and, after securing for Spencer a great deal of physical therapy, Spencer did learn to walk. The parents were told he would never talk, but after two years of speech therapy, Spencer did learn to talk. At age 19, Spencer learned to shave, Elman said.
Through all of this, Elman said his understanding has changed. He grew to view any progress as good enough, and to broaden that to say, “what is wrong with good enough if it is good enough for all of us?”
And although the Elmans were frustrated at not being given a label for the condition that Spencer had, he said they grew into viewing that as a blessing. Labels tend to limit expectations, he said. Since they had no label for his condition, their expectations regarding Spencer were unlimited, he said. The result, he said, is that Spencer today is “far ahead of where he would otherwise be.”
Max Moyo, an executive coach form South Africa, stressed that each person is unique—one in 7 million -- and “you are only limited to the extent you try to imitate someone else.” The most important day of each person’s life is the day of birth, he said, but the second most important day “is the day when you discover what you were born to do.”
If people never discover who they are, Moyo cautioned, their pain in life will be meaningless. So “do what you’re born to do, and you will never have competition in this world.”
One speaker did exactly that, at age 12. This was Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children. While in seventh grade, Kielburger became upset when he read about the murder of a 12-year-old boy in Pakistan who had been a slave and who had campaigned against servitude.
This spurred the young Kielburger to organize a group of 11 other friends to do something about it. The 12 friends grew into Free The Children, an informal group of children helping children that later developed into a global organization providing education, health care, food security, clean water and alternative income programs.
Children today are still being bought and sold as slaves, Kielburger, now age 30, told the MDRT audience. But “every child deserves freedom.”
D. Scott Brennan, president of MDRT, told of how he changed “on the inside” over his 31 years in the life insurance business. As a young man in his 20s, he recalled, “I judged myself on my good intentions and I judged everyone else on their results. Some days, I expected perfection of just about everybody but me.”
Today, as a middle-aged man, he said, “I judge myself on actual results and I judge others on their good intentions.”
Later, in reviewing his life and his 31 years membership in MDRT, he pointed out a number of things he has learned over the years, including this: “Inspiration never goes out of style.”
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