What do you think is a key trait for thriving in this age? A good answer, I believe, is a passion for learning.

Let me explain.

I recently read Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing by Jacob Goldstein. It’s an insightful book about the history of finance. It covers topics such as the origin of paper money, the stock market, and banks. I learned a lot from the book.

One thing stated in the book is that for many centuries, people’s occupations barely changed. They mostly just did what their parents and grandparents did. The way people lived was also similar from generation to generation.

But this changed in the early 1800s thanks to the Industrial Revolution. It was a turning point in the history of humankind. It’s as if there were two different worlds: before and after the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution was marked by inventions that increased efficiency, mainly in the cloth business. Cloth making was done by hand back then. As a result, clothes were very expensive and most people could afford only one or two sets of clothes.

In the early 1800s, machines were invented to make the process more efficient. This was good news for many people because clothes then became much more affordable.

But it also threatened the jobs of those who made clothes by hand.

This was the first time in history that there was such a dramatic change in a single generation. These people, called the Luddites, felt threatened by the machines. So what was their response? They made a movement to destroy the machines! Only after the government made destroying machines punishable by the death penalty did the destruction stop.

Well, guess what? The world didn’t slow down since then. Instead, it moves even faster than before. Just to give you an example, I remember how life was before I used the Internet; it’s almost unimaginable today! There was no Google; my only hope of finding the information I need was by getting physical books or magazines!

Today, however, there is an abundance of resources. For instance, you can learn just about anything you want from YouTube. You can buy and download e-books instantly. And there is a very thorough encyclopedia that you can access for free.

In such a world, what would make the difference between those who thrive and those who don’t? What would be the determining factor?

The answer is no longer the availability of resources. Instead, it’s the motivation to make the most out of those resources! Your level of motivation determines how far you will go.

That’s why I believe that a passion for learning is essential. If you have a passion for learning, you will be motivated to learn new things. Instead of thinking of it as a chore, you will think of it as an adventure. As a result, you will reap more benefits from the available resources.

Thomas Friedman used the term “the motivational divide” to explain the difference between those who are motivated and those who aren’t. I think it’s a good term to remember. Make sure that you are on the right side of the fence.