The development and production of Self-Driving cars became all the rage at the beginning of the 21st Century. Tesla was early out of the gate, and “autonomous trucks” soon followed: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a30196644/self-driving-truck-cross-country/ The stakes are extremely high. [However, one has to wonder: Whatever became of railroads – where whole bunches of unmanned “cars” and “trucks” are connected to a single locomotive on a fixed track?]
But what if we made the same kind of effort – and investment – toward the development of SELF-DRIVING PEOPLE? The stakes are even higher here!
- Too many high school students are not job-ready or college-ready
- Too many college students are not career-ready
- Too many unemployed are unemployable
- Too many already employed are not promotable
- Too many highly skilled and elite professional jobs can’t attract qualified candidates, and they’re increasingly having to be filled with more highly functioning foreign nationals
- Too many, overall, aren’t LIFE-READY
One might well ask: What characteristics would exemplify SELF-DRIVING PEOPLE?
First of all, they have all the hardware [Physical and Mental Fitness, “Grit” and “Guts”] and software [Knowledge] necessary to get critical jobs done.
They are fully engaged – with a sense of MISSION and PURPOSE – in finding solutions, not in creating problems!
They have SKILLS and CERTIFICATIONS, plus a record of performance already well established sufficient to be considered certifiably TRUSTWORTHY.
They are Self-Motivated, Self-Managed, Self-Developed, Self-Engineered, Self-Directed, Self-Disciplined, Self-Differentiated, Self-Determined … (with a lot of help, of course, from significant others, including parents, teachers, mentors, and community and business/industry leaders.)
They are always monitoring the environment around them for possibilities and pitfalls; following some sort of PLAN; having some sort of DIRECTION; having an on-board platform for decision matrix conjecturing, e.g., “If …, Then … “algorithms for safe and effective navigation to promote the most positive consequences; …
Isn’t this what science, medicine, commerce and industry are all desperately seeking? Not externally pre-programmed robots, but autonomously creative, adaptive, innovative “Questing” and “Questioning” Jedi Knights and Ninja Warriors engaged in the positive, progressive evolution of civilization.
BULLETIN I: They’re certainly not looking for people who are merely “looking for a job” or who are looking for ways to “Beat the System”!
Zig Ziglar used to marvel at how many individuals “stop looking for work as soon as they get a job” … at which point they, instead, start looking for ways to get out of work!
Metaphorical gleanings from experience with robotics are, nonetheless, worth noting, and space exploration is perhaps the most fertile reference point.
For starters, poor choices are not part of the line code. And distractions and bad habits aren’t in the play book. And there’s no “Pleasure Center” constantly interfering with and co-opting advancement. So the cultivation of SELF-DRIVING PEOPLE is a much more complicated enterprise.
Maintaining a GOAL-TARGETING TRAJECTORY along RELIABLE COORDINATES is critical. Being MISSION-ORIENTED, PAYING ATTENTION, and making appropriate COURSE CORRECTIONS are essential.
MOMENTUM is critical:
“The only thing that will overcome the standoff
between an irresistible force and an immoveable object
FOCUSED ENERGY is critical. We have to generate sufficient THRUST in the direction of our GOALS to overcome the gravitational pull of ANIMALISTIC INSTINCTS and NEANDERTHAL INCLINATIONS.
TIME MANAGEMENT is critical. There is no such thing as “Free Time”.
HEALTH and WELLBEING are critical. Bingeing on Ding Dongs, Twinkies and Spaulding Donuts is out; bingeing on sit-coms and horror movies is out; tobacco, drugs and alcohol are out; EXERCISE is in!
So, is this proposal some sort of dystopian, socialistic, communistic plot to instill “Mind Control” in the masses? Not really!
NOTE: Our “United States of America, Democracy-Based, Constitutionally Guaranteed Mantra” is “I am the boss of me, and I don’t need no gummint intervention in MY life! Give me LIBERTY or give me death!! I am the Captain of my own Destiny! And I’m doing it MY WAY!”
Given this perspective, there is technically no lack of “self-driving people” asserting themselves in self-centric ways to “do their own thing” toward their own purposes … and generally toward disappointment and regret.
BULLETIN II: The better we are at governing our own behavior, the less we need “gummint” intervention.
Unfortunately, the negative consequences of self-centric orientations are all too evident in the 21st Century, particularly as we sit in the middle of a Corona Virus pandemic … with a critical election just past. The co-pandemic of “Me First” and “Screw You” has, so far, driven nails in more than a quarter million coffins and eliminated over 150 million jobs … with many folks bashing the “gummint”, such as it is, for interfering with their self-destructive behavior and, then, for not bailing them out!
No, this is a “call to action” for a reverse-engineering kind of “mindfulness” … designed to help move the innate personal “self-driving” forces from the primordial brain stem UP into the pre-frontal cortex where appropriate Executive Functions can be exercised to get us to our Truest Destiny.
“Everything you deserve is going to take everything you’ve got.
How far short of ‘everything you deserve’ are you going to settle?”
Let’s not “settle” for ANYTHING LESS than everything we deserve.