In the future, will we acquire skills, not degrees?

Nontraditional education options are on the rise.

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  • U.S. college enrollment has declined for the eighth consecutive year.
  • Recent survey found that a majority of freelancers found skills training to be more important than having a degree.
  • It's becoming harder for universities to keep up with a rapidly changing workforce.
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Go slow to go fast: A counterintuitive way to improve your work habits

Today's fast-paced culture leaves no time for relational intelligence. Here's why it's worth slowing down to eventually speed up.

When your method or worldview clashes with a colleague's, how do you respond? Leadership expert Angie McArthur has one word for these encounters: exciting. She views them as opportunities to develop relational intelligence—a skill that is sorely missing from most workplaces today. McArthur believes that the confusion of not understanding why someone acts or thinks a certain way is a growth opportunity that, in the long run, builds more productive teams that make stronger decisions. The problem is that our fast-paced performance culture leaves no time to step into that confusion and explore it—in fact, we don't even like to admit our confusion exists. Here, McArthur speaks with diversity and inclusion expert Jennifer Brown about slowing down and retraining your relational intelligence for quality results over fast deliverables. This live conversation was part of a recent New York panel on diversity, inclusion, and collaboration at work. Angie McArthur is the co-author of Reconcilable Differences: Connecting in a Disconnected World.

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Want to boost your career and income? Pick a hobby and run with it

Here's why you should always be looking for new income streams—even if you already have a full-time job.

Some of the most innovative ideas and products in the world come from interdisciplinary collaborations. So what if you could become a one-stop interdisciplinary shop for bright, outside-the-box ideas? According to marketing expert Dorie Clark, that's what happens naturally when you start to build a side project or immerse yourself in a new hobby—even if it's just a few hours per week. Devoting yourself to learning how to build an app, run an e-commerce site, sell to clients, or create an artisan product expands your skills portfolio and makes you more valuable to your employer—plus the additional revenue streams will afford you some income cushioning should something happen to your full-time job (touch wood). Not only does your gusto show initiative, but it could allow you to solve problems from a perspective that is unique among your colleagues. Beefing up your skills is an entrepreneurial tactic that can transform your career and income potential. Case in point, Clark shares the story of how one nurse rose up the ranks like lightning to become the communications director at a major New York City hospital. Make your hobbies pay off and become professionally independent. Dorie Clark's new book is Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive.

Learning Speeds and Styles: Is Your Mind a Hiker or a Race Car Driver?

What's the best way to learn something new? Embrace your inner imposter, and don't worry about speed—here's why.

There are two things we typically consider to be points against us in life: feeling out of our league, and being slow learners. Here, however, Professor Barbara Oakley turns convention on its head to show how they're really assets to your education. If you're about to start a new skill or job and feel the onset of imposter syndrome—are you the least qualified person in the room? Did you 'fake' your way into this opportunity?—embrace it; Oakley contests that seeing the world with a beginner's mind actually opens you up to learning. Overconfidence can make us blind to our mistakes, so humility is a tool in itself. And as for being a slow learner, Oakley uses the analogy of a race car driver and a hiker to describe two distinct learning styles. Both these types reach the finish line or the mountain peak, but one takes the time to look more closely at details and learn a lesson more deeply, while all the other might see is a blur. Barbara Oakley's most recent book is Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential, and you can find the Mindshift course here.

How to Grow Your Empathy Through Better Visual Perception

"We don't notice one another nearly as much as we think we do," says Alan Alda. Here's how the actor inspired a scientific study on empathy.

The simple act of noticing someone's eye color can build your empathy, explains Alan Alda, who got so curious about empathy one day that he began to experiment on himself. Any time he'd interact with someone, he would try to figure out what they were feeling, and name their emotional state (using strictly his inside voice). This exercise inspired psychologist Dr. Matthew Lerner to conduct a scientific study on empathy, and how it can be bolstered by practicing visual perception. Alda lists the benefits of paying more attention to the people you encounter each day as numerous: annoying people become easier to tolerate, discussions become more productive, you feel more relaxed, which is contagious to those around you—you can even become a better conversationalist and writer. He is full of praise for the effect of empathy on communication, but not without caveat: he warns that empathy must be managed and edited in order to be a successful tool, otherwise it can work against you. Alda has summarized his adventures in the art and science of communication in his book If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?