These and other consequences of the changing world are described by Yuval Noah Harari in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The historian attributes the intense complexity and uncertainty of modern life to the rapid increase in AI, which has drastically reduced our clarity when it comes to decision-making. According to Harari, one way out is to develop our self-awareness, with meditation being the main tool used and recommended by the author to achieve this.
To this end, we are here to show you that it is possible to thrive in this increasingly uncertain and complex world (also described by the acronyms VUCA, VUCAH and BANI) if we’re willing to work on our adaptability by training the mental and behavioral skills of the future professional.
But first, let’s try and better our understanding of this world in which we live
The acronym V.U.C.A. was coined by the U.S. Army War College in the 1990s to refer to a world ever more Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The variation V.U.C.A.H. includes an H that, according to some schools, refers to hostility, while others consider it to represent hyperconnectivity. Finally, there is the most recent acronym, BANI, created by the anthropologist and futurist Jamais Cascio to refer to a world defined by Brittleness, Anxiety, Nonlinearity and Incomprehensibility.
In this context, changes occur so rapidly that some people and companies simply don’t have sufficient agility to keep up with the pace of change; without flexibility, this results in brittleness and an inability to survive.
Furthermore, we live in an increasingly connected world, where constant access to networks of people and information means we lose the notion of the repercussions this has on our lives, and how each personal choice impacts the lives of countless others, sometimes those living many miles away. This complexity prevents us from being able to attribute an effect to a single cause, eliminating any linearity from our comprehension of people and processes.
Reality can begin to seem even more incomprehensible as the societies in which we live become increasingly diverse in terms of lifestyle, culture and religion, with so many different perspectives further inhibiting our communication and generating misunderstanding, which may have unforeseen and often unwelcome results.
The COVID-19 pandemic only served to increase volatility, uncertainty, anxiety and fragility. Due to the pandemic, the world stage was transformed as never before, resulting in drastic changes in the lives of people and companies.
Yet, those companies or professionals who were able to see the new opportunities that arose during this same interval of time prospered. This allows us to understand how certain abilities, when trained, will help us to produce good results, despite living within an apparently chaotic reality.
So, how can we prosper and live well in a world that is increasingly uncertain and complex?
Of the 15 skills cited in the 3rd edition of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2025 (launched in 2020), nine (those highlighted below in bold) can be developed via this and the other books that make up the Mindfulness Design Series.
- Analytical thinking and innovation
- Active learning and learning strategies
- Complex problem solving
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Creativity, originality and initiative
- Leadership and social influence
- Technology use, monitoring and control
- Technology design and programming
- Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
- Reasoning, problem solving and ideation
- Emotional intelligence
- Troubleshooting and user experience
- Service orientation
- Systems analysis and evaluation
- Persuasion and negotiation
This series is the written embodiment of a programme comprising five active learning modules that aim to develop self-knowledge, mental wellbeing and other behavioral skills of the professional of the future.
This book, Intentional Life is the first in the series, and shares content and tools that will allow the reader to live a more present and purposeful life.
We invite you, over the coming weeks, to accompany the development of this volume, which is the fruit of our combined efforts over almost two decades. It is the result of years of investigation of human behavior, attitude and awareness, and the skills we need to develop to allow us to perform sustainably and live well today and into the future. This text is the tangible result of our combined experience applying this Programme with thousands of people across several countries, including the United States, Canada, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Chile.
Here, our aim is to encourage you to perceive how you go about your life and to establish a renewed connection with yourself; a renewed connection with what it is to be human. And it’s in our interests that, with this methodology, you discover a life of satisfaction and personal fulfillment, departing from a way of behaving that is robotic, automatic and lacking in awareness. And, in this way, you are able to live a life that’s intentional and full of purpose, in which you live every moment, whatever it is you’re doing.
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