I saw a commercial recently that made me shake my head in derision. The ad was obviously aimed at the younger generation because it was full of clips of young people doing amazing stunts and recording them on their phones. At the end, the narrator concluded that young people with the right phone could do anything, especially if someone told them they couldn’t do it. Wow, I wonder how the world made it this far before the smart phone was invented?
I started my first business in 1978, long before I bought my first cell phone in 1984. I had to go to work every day and figure stuff out without any WiFi connection or the internet or Google to answer my questions. It was tough and I frequently heard people say that I would never succeed in my quest. I was attempting to perfect a photographic process for reproducing printed circuits so that the design could be accurately reduced to a fraction of design size and both sides of the PC board would line up within .005″. The harder I worked at it, the more people showed up at my door asking me to try their designs and one improvement led to another. Eventually, I was recognized as one of the best in my field by everybody who hired me to do their work. Instead of likes on Facebook, I got paid well and many clients referred me to others. I made a nice living all through the 80’s and then we made the leap to computer generated design in the 90’s, when the internet finally made it’s appearance. The smart phone didn’t arrive until the turn of the century.
Here’s my question to the younger generation, who are so devoted to their phones. What can you do without your phone? Can you find your way from Point A to Point B by reading road signs and a map? Can you cook dinner by yourself? Can you get a date with someone interesting? If not, why not? What’s holding you back from the adventure of life? Millions of people throughout the history of the world achieved amazing things without the benefit of WiFi. Most of them did it by just trying harder than anyone else. Do you know how many times Edison failed in his experiments? He failed way more often than he succeeded. I’m sure his family and friends told him to “Give it a rest, Tom”.
So let’s think about this objectively. Which would you rather have – the light bulb or cat videos? – electrical power or fashion advice from J Lo? – organ transplants or Apps? – true friends who care about you or likes on Facebook? Go ahead, think about it for a minute, I’m sure this is going to be a quandary. You might even need to Google the meaning of quandary…………………….
OK, time’s up. What’s it going to be for your generation? What are you going to contribute to the world at large and when are you going to start? Here’s my challenge for all of you. Do something that helps someone you don’t even know. I know for a fact that there are thousands of foster kids who need a home. I know for a fact that there are thousands of people in Third World countries who don’t have enough clean drinking water. I know for a fact that malaria still kills more people each year than any other illness. I know for a fact that sitting in a car waiting in line at Starbucks is contributing to global warming. I know for a fact that unless we start caring about the person who lives next door, none of us is going to have a bright future because selfishness is the root of all evil. I dare you to make a difference for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.
Yes, that’s right, I just made a clearly moral declaration. It’s not a moral dilemma either. It’s an absolute truth. If we don’t figure out a way for everybody, everywhere to live together as one, then each of us is to blame for the horrible fate that awaits us in the not too distant future. The younger generation has more ability and more tools at their fingertips than any other generation in the history of the world. So let’s see what you’ve got. It sounds to me like you just need to be challenged. To help you get started, here’s some good advice from one of your own generation. According to Sturgill Simpson “Life ain’t fair and the world is mean.” Consider yourselves challenged.
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