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Can I build MY better future?

Type “better future” in google, and you will have results. With such literature of solutions and suggestions, it should be easy to get a better future, right?

With some additional research, you find out research saying that 85% of Americans suffer from low self-esteem and this is higher in youngsters then decreases and then increases again after 60’. It looks evident that working life has a great impact on self-esteem. Curious to learn about the origin of self-esteem, I found a piece of research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council UK showing that participants derived the most self-esteem from aspects of their identities that best fulfilled the values of their surrounding culture, suggesting that the self-esteem system is an important way in which individuals internalize the values of their culture on an implicit level encouraging people to act in ways that are desirable in their society, and thus help to maintain social solidarity.

Trust doesn’t require psychiatrists

Tribal instinct is typical to many species, probably one of the reasons why we human beings survived so long is that we organise ourselves into tribes. We have a strong desire to be accepted by our group – we want to be part of a social circle. It’s an ancient instinct that diverted us towards the ‘us vs them mindset. The “approval” or solidarity with their “tribe” makes people feel accepted, it augments their self-esteem and lets them feel part of the whole. Tribes created the space where members fought against external enemies, providing one another support and care. In this space where relationships are built on trust.

Today, most innovative platforms, companies and hubs build their tribes in an attempt to provide the same support for people to strive. Not being accepted as part of a tribe that is socially recognized as meaningful or powerful, means for many being excluded, stigmatized and under classified. It can happen that the need to recognize oneself through one’s affiliations, takes to misrepresenting the truth for the sole purpose of being recognized.

Pinocchio -before even being a compulsive liar - was a wooden puppet with a huge lack of confidence in himself as a human being. To be accepted as a real child, he was ready to say and do whatever was needed.

The story written by Carlo Collodi wanted to suggest to the millions of Italians who started fleeing rural poverty in Southern Italy around 1875 towards America, to remain faithful to their values in order to find happiness in their new homeland. “Embellishing the truth” was Pinocchio’s way to reach his goal: being accepted, gaining new friends, being “included”. Luckily…. his nose reacted against lies (the Pinocchio syndrome) and this helped him find the truth that really counted for him.

Global leaders like Hillary Clinton tried to solve self-esteem issues in the U.S. with more psychiatrists. I advocate for prevention, it's widely demonstrated that it helps more than cures.

A better future: a legitimate aspiration

How can I build MY better future?

It’s a legitimate aspiration, but the answer can vary as much as the meaning of the term “better”, that is to say, it depends on your circumstances. Regardless of how you picture your better future, it is essentially the place you want to reach.

The factor that makes your journey more or less difficult, is the level of trust you benefit from.

Sadly, trust - the mechanism from which all human interactions depend, is broken. It’s time to re-centre how trust works. Because trust strongly influences the self-esteem of people, their willingness to give and their ability to contribute. |the more we are trusted, the more we grow in self-esteem, are comfortable in providing others with our learning and possibly scale up our knowledge: each of us is the unique result of what we know, how we feel and who we meet and interact with. As Kathleen Wallace brilliantly explains, we are a network of selves, an image I see very well corresponding to modern human beings incessantly straddling the virtual and real world.

It's not only lawyers who can explain rules exactly from the angle that best fits the need. Human beings with the help of technology have developed an incredible ability in presenting themselves exactly in the way they like to be seen. Sometimes they do it so well, that they end up thinking that their representation is the truth.

Trust in “selves” scattered across multiple layers becomes impossible simply because the information is presented differently to please what each tribe or modern ecosystem considers acceptable, expected, required.

I have seen loads of intermediaries’ solutions miserably failing in providing instant trust, despite some records can and are continuously verified through a growing KYC industry expected to reach USD 1,568 m by 2027 with banks spending in average £ 60 m /y in KYC and a global employment screening services market valued at $4.06 billion in 2018 and projected to reach $7.64 billion by 2026.

What some years ago could be decently achieved with credentials verification, today and tomorrow, will simply not happen. Because we are much more than a few pieces of identity. Trusted ecosystems (I’d prefer saying trustless ecosystems as the blockchain vocabulary would suggest) will probably provide the underlying infrastructure to trust, however, we are far from contexts where entities and people involved equally contribute to keeping the underlying system trustworthy and transparent, for the good of everyone.

Without the true contribution of all parties at equal conditions, we can create efficient marketplaces, typically owned by a third party who dictates the rules and participants who accept the rules or opt-out. Simply, this is not an ecosystem. It’s a “piazza” where we can exchange stuff against some kind of value, where the interests of three parties need to be met: the vendor, the buyer and the underlying enabling entity. In some cases, three is not a magic number for having every party satisfied.

I see no other way to facilitate everyone’s fulfilment and self-worthiness, and consequent also provide them with the ability to access more business and better opportunities, than giving people, and not to intermediaries or institutions, the control over the validation process of who they are.

Seven sad truths:

  1. Today, companies hire based on what social and professional platforms broadcast about an individual.

  2. As an employee, your progress within your company will mainly depend on biased evaluations.

  3. As an independent worker or as an employee, when you leave a job or close a mission, you are paid with a check. However, in most cases, you are not allowed to carry with you any proof of your impact and contribution.

  4. If you change country, industry or status, and you want or need to restart: there is no way for you to merge your different self from the online and offline world

  5. The web facilitates fakes

  6. Organisations, educational institutions, tend to provide services to members if these services are instrumental to generating profit. So adding value to members' reputations is outside their priorities.

  7. Communities where individuals search for recognition and trust, have no tools or are not structured to do so

You will argue that there are countermeasures in place:

  • Yes, you can build online profiles

However, nobody will trust them, so you will be submitted to hours of research and long testing procedures

  • The HR system provides hundreds of different software to forecast and drive employees' contributions and reward them with badges for their learning and achievements.

However, a badge can hardly represent one’s contribution, in addition, can be easily lost and falsified

  • Yes, you can affiliate with a group or association with an excellent reputation and hope to benefit from their brand

Sadly, associations struggle to provide members with real opportunities because they do not have the means to say how good their members are.

  • Yes, qualifications can be equalized when you move to another country

However, who cares about qualification now? What an individual takes to the table of the next employer or client is not the degree, it is the self-learning and the expertise acquired along their professional and personal journey and how these elements correlate to each other.

We are unable to generate instant trust. Companies, people and platforms have a lot to lose; However, I doubt the outcome is adequately weighted:

- Companies: Wrong hiring makes wrong partnerships and wrong products, in addition, it makes 6bn wasted salaries per year only in the UK

- People: Difficulty to reach out to customers and opportunities outside one’s network

- Platforms: Freelancing platforms remain anchored to low paid jobs

Most importantly, I doubt that the cost to society as a whole is considered. When I talk about a cost to society, my interlocutors very often “switch off”.

Society is our countries, our companies, our families. Our children and the children of our children. Every day what we do paves the way to a better future or the worst one. The success of companies depends on how we hire and how we contribute to the happiness, self-worthiness of people within and around them.

The “switch off” function is always there for those who consider that contributing to building trust, it’s not their problem. They forget that trust is strictly related to happiness and self-worthiness. Happiness is contagious as much as disillusionment and anger. Behind the corner, I see only growing levels of mistrust within their circle that will rapidly spread to the outside, to partners, clients, products.

Winning organizations in the future will be those who will contribute to the trustworthiness of their inner circles and earn trustworthiness from their trusted ecosystems.

When I started my journey with TiiQu, somebody suggested to me: “Start with those who dream the same dream”. That’s where I decided to start from, people and tribes.

Those who are ready, to co-create, share knowledge, benchmark their skills against crowds of peers, demonstrate irrefutable facts, and become the real owner of their unique asset: themselves and their potential.

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