PRISM: Five Meta Skills for the 21st Century

The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” Or something to that effect, attributed to Albert Einstein

It’s often been said that “change is the only constant in life.” Most of us have experienced significant changes in our lives and careers. Some of which have bumped us off the path we were on. 


In their book, Tomorrowmind: Thriving at Work with Resilience, Creativity, and Connection—Now and in an Uncertain Future (Amazon Kindle; no affiliation), Gabriella Rosen Kellerman and Martin E.P. Seligman identify five psychological powers critical to thriving in today’s workplace. They’ve termed these meta-skills PRISM.

Prospection is the key meta-skill for today’s workers. It helps us anticipate that change is about to come.

Resilience is the cognitive ability to help us thrive through change; “to flex in and out of new ideas.” It describes how we adapt to change and hang on to our professional “why” among constantly changing “whats.”

Innovation is about integrating the connections among disparate actions. It demonstrates our uniquely human trait of creativity.

Social Connection is the ability to rapidly build rapport and trust with new colleagues; to build the connections we need to flourish.

Mattering is the ability to find meaning in change and to connect it with our essential why.

Why It Matters

Significant change is occurring faster than ever, with more wicked problems, where past processes don’t apply and their causal problems have broader impacts.

The pace and nature of change make it difficult to thrive in the workplace in the 21st century. The solutions we’ve used in the past to address the current nature of change just don’t cut it. We require new tools, new meta-skills, new psychological powers. 

Whaddaya Think?

When was the last time you were impacted by change you may not have seen coming?

How did you cope and adapt?

Were you able to bounce back? If so, did you have to acquire new meta-skills to do so? 

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Image copyright: natallik