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Hard work will define the TwentyFirst century

THIS WEEK I spoke at Deutsche Telekom&rsquo;s Innovation Day in Berlin, celebrating the fifth year anniversary of its Innovation Labs. The theme was Connected Life and Work, and there were a lot of interesting discussions about work-life imbalance in the future.<br /><br />One of the speakers said that the rest of society would learn from workaholics &ndash; who tend to love their work &ndash; that work without joy is unacceptable. <br /><br />The fusion of work and life will continue; we can see this already in the under-30s generation who don&rsquo;t compartmentalise their life.<br /><br />But the pi&egrave;ce de r&eacute;sistance came from Ze Frank, a well-known satirist in the US that pens articles for Time magazine, who brought home how the internet is connecting us all. <br /><br />Ray, a middle-aged man in the heartland of the US, wrote a song for his daughter who had called him in distress about her job. Ray didn't really know what to do to give her comfort, but he wrote her a song that she could sing when she was frustrated. <br /><br />Then he thought that he could share the song with all suffering employees worldwide, so he put it on the web. <br /><br />The song goes:<br />I&rsquo;m about to whip somebody&rsquo;s ass;<br />Ohhh, I&rsquo;m about to whip somebody's ass;<br />Oh if you don't leave me alone;<br />You&rsquo;re going to have to send me home;<br />Cause I&rsquo;m about to whip somebody's ass.<br /><br /><strong>YOUTUBE HUNT</strong><br /><br />The song travelled around the world &ndash; thanks to the net, and can be readily found on YouTube. Ze Frank picked it up, and became determined to find its composer, Ray. <br /><br />Inside a week, he found the man &ndash; knowing&nbsp; just the song and nothing more.<br /><br />Life is all about connections, and the web is simply another means of connecting, but one with exponential growth and the power to amplify a linear thought.<br /><br />Encountering a lazy colleague or a horrendous boss can make us feel lonely. Connecting to all other suffering employees in the world makes us feel connected and powerful.<br /><br />I see a lot of people in my line of work who are quite smart, but sometimes lazy. There is an internal contradiction between having ability and being disciplined enough to work hard. <br /><br />Most people have no idea how hard they will have to work to achieve something important in their life.<br /><br />There will be different speeds in the workforce in the future.&nbsp;&nbsp; Talented and hard working people will rise to the top. <br /><br />People who want to work less will drive more slowly, and live a different style life &ndash; no matter how smart they are. <br /><br />The commitment to hard work will be a defining characteristic of the 21st Century.<br /><br />Julie Meyer is chief executive of Ariadne Capital.