Getting sucked into routines and repetition without thinking can be dangerous, philosopher Lauri Järvilehto says.

Working life is undergoing more drastic changes than it has seen in at least a century. Digitalisation is real, and as many as a half of the current jobs and professions will be lost as it sweeps over society. This is an incredible societal change.

In this world, success requires you to constantly update your skills. This mindset should be internalised by everyone, and people should be guided towards it already during school and later education.

Life-long learning is just not enough. We need life-wide learning, i.e. the habit of learning something new every day.

I recently visited California’s Silicon Valley, the region with the most innovative mindset in the world. The can do attitude really made an impact on me. In practice, it means that ideas should not be labelled as successful or unsuccessful in advance; instead, you should have the courage to try everything.

When combined with the pay forward method of working, we have a well-paved road ready for success stories. The pay forward attitude means that you can help others without immediately expecting anything in return. The point is to not just guard your own land, but to wish for others to succeed as well. In the end, this works in everyone’s interests.

Living in today’s world, I like to remind people of the importance of thinking, which is often forgotten when you are constantly in a hurry. Getting sucked into routines and repetition without thinking can be dangerous.

Work premises can boost thinking significantly, and the space has considerable impact on performance. Our working memory is quite narrow: it can only accommodate six to seven ideas at one time. When it becomes overloaded, you become incapacitated. A stressful environment may disturb your concentration so much that it practically causes your IQ to decrease.

Creating a focused state of mind takes approximately 20 minutes of peace; however, in an open space, the peace will be interrupted every 10 minutes on average. This is why the best work premises have seven to eight different spaces for different needs – for calm work requiring concentration, as well as free discussions, meetings and brainstorming.

Good premises can provide support for learning, networking and communality. This helps with creating new ways of thinking, implementing the can do attitude and colliding ideas. That is precisely what Finland needs right now, not suspicious glares, traditions and routines.”

Lauri Järvilehto is a researcher in philosophy. He has also had a long career as a music producer. His most recent work, Upeaa Työtä (‘Wonderful work’), was published in 2013.