The personality traits that keep you sane in the digital economy


If I had to choose one key trait that both enterprises and people need to thrive (or even survive) in the digital economy, it would be adaptability. The ability to handle whatever comes your way, the ability to change when and as fast as necessary, the ability to constantly evolve. Adaptability spawns agility and creates opportunity.

The fuel that powers adaptability is applied knowledge. You learn about something, then you develop the skills to apply that knowledge. The process is the same for programming, surgery, or flying a plane. But how well a person learns relies on a combination of personal traits, or skills. Learning app company Wabisabi compiled a list of what it calls the 10 “most beneficial lifelong learning skills to have and why.” They are:

  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Information management
  • Adaptability
  • Curiousity
  • Reflection

Unfortunately, many people and organizations don’t “exercise” those traits or skills, so they remain dormant, or worse, atrophy to the point where they can’t easily be accessed and applied. In an age when change is accelerating, such sloth and inattention can be disastrous.

The good news is that most of the traits or skills listed above can be developed, even if someone isn’t a natural leader, communicator, or collaborator.

If I were to add one more item to Wabisabi’s list, it would be “perspective.” That’s different than “reflection,” which Wabisabi defines as assessing (after the fact) the learning process itself as well as its purpose. Sort of a forensic analysis.

By perspective, I mean the ability to step back from the crisis or problem of the moment and remember the big picture. No situation is permanent, everything will pass. People who maintain perspective are less likely to panic, burn out, or short-circuit.

In a world of accelerating change, perspective is what allows you to stay on course (not to mention stay sane). Develop it, maintain it, protect it.


  1. Paul Ishak says:

    Well worded insight. Thanks

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