Today, this week, this era. There are, at least, three necessary and interconnected abilities we need individually and collectively to survive. They are as — if not more — important now than they have been for generations. While I will not unpack them in a substantive way in this one post, they’ll continue to be a source of contemplation and writing for some time to come.

Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

1. Literacy in Easily Obscured Areas

Distrust is ameliorated by literacy. When we understand something in a nuanced way, we are more likely to notice irregularities, false arguments, and conflations. This is especially important in two areas of our modern lives: data and media. People lacking critical thinking and literacy in these topics regularly share media and data to support weak arguments, or worse, obfuscate the truth.

2. Adapt to Changing Environments

A common theme in books by historian Jared Diamond is the need for humans to adapt to their surroundings. The fall of nearly every great civilization or empire traces to an inability to adapt to changing environments or conditions. When humans refuse to respond to new information, the results can be catastrophic.

  • Force yourself to take risks
  • Encourage others to be open-minded
  • Embrace learning

3. Shared Understanding of Truth and Reality

When we create a shared reality with others, we connect with them, we establish or strengthen our social relationships, and thus fulfill our fundamental need for belonging (Baumeister and Leary, 1995). A shared understanding of truth and reality allows to lever our relationships into making meaningful change and progress. It gives us common footing to tackle our most significant challenges.

Andy Busam is the director of digital strategy at United Therapeutics. He writes at

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