And now for something completely different.
How about we write a book for Millennials. You know, something which could help them shortcut around some of the crap that took us Old People far too long to sort out when we were coming up?
Here’s how it might begin:
(simple title art):
Intro: Grok’n the Gap
Two sides of a Revolution:
Your birth details “chosen sides” for you in a cultural war of behaviors. This conflict is not a simple two-sided affair as in “us” versus “them.”
Rather, it is a matrix (or array) consisting of Old People on one side, the Young People on the other, but only in one plane of the matrix.
In other planes it is about excess consumption versus conservation, about high-energy-use versus small footprints and renewables.
It about headspaces, too.
This might be “me’s” versus “us” or other any of dozens of psychological delimiters drawn between people: Mental, income, energy, spirit, technology, green, political, economic, and so forth.
Sadly, you have likely been short-changed in your education. The emphasis has been on “thing-ness” and memorization. Little comprehension of certain keywords that make up the flow of life.
You may have the gift of youth – as all of us have enjoyed at some point.
However many of us older people spent far too much of our limited years trying to “figure shit out.”
This book is an effort to give you a better futures by showing you how a few things really work. The critical keywords that may have only been hinted-at in school.
Old People’s Burden
I share this as an Old People.
The gulf between us may be visualized by counting video channels.
When I was born, no one on my block had a television.
Our first television – an old Magnavox tube set – only received one channel well.
By the time I was in junior high school, a new antenna had upped that. First to three channels, then five, and eventually eight.
Radio through grade school was one channel (mono) AM, with no vibrant highs.
My first job as a radio engineer in high school was at am AM Rock & Roll station (KOL). A second job consisted of reading the meters at one of Seattle’s first FM stations (KLSN). Third job was the R&B station KYAC. The music sounded better on FM and definitely less mushy than on AM.
Channel expansion came slowly with the arrival of UHF channels. KPTV went on the air as Channel 27 in Portland, Oregon in 1952.
Channels 13 through 83 filled-in slowly.
Video channels remained confined to television until the arrival of computers in the 1980s. Still, through the middle 1980s, computer graphics were generally coded “sprites” that moved lazily on platforms like Commodore-64s and their ilk.
By the late 1980s the Internet was coming into view and in 1991 the first webcam was turned on at the Cambridge University Computer Science Department. It stayed on until 2001.
If you were born when the first webcam went live, you’d be all of 26 years old.
Traveling life at the “speed of tech” probably means something to you, by now: Facebook didn’t launch until 2004. Ditto Vimeo.
YouTube went and the video explosion began in earnest February 14, 2005.
Twitter came out in the spring of 2006.
Tinder launched in September of 2012.
For sure and for certain: The Old People’s Burden has been keeping up with the increasing rate of change.
Imagine if you were born in 2000: A world without videos on the phone!
New People’s /Millennial’s Challenge
Let’s talk life-long learning.
I doubt there is a person alive over 50 who wouldn’t give up all their worldly possessions to start over at age 21 in a young, healthy body.
The reason is simple: We have the brains and knowledgebase that comes from experiencing half a century (and more) of life.
Most Millennials don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain or not to waste their lives dribbling out on social media.
The key “missing ingredient” that your education may have skipped in the notion of “Personal Mission.”
Ask yourself “What lights my fire?” “What do I love doing more than anything?” “Is there something I can do for 30-years and still get a kick out of it every day?”
And more than ever: “What can I do and get paid for that can’t be easily replaced by a) a lesser-educated and less expensive immigrant OR b) by a robot?”
My wife and I produced a mixed bag of results: Some of our children were successful, others not so much. Those that weren’t lost the most productive time in life due to bad relationships and bad drugs, meth in particular.
If drug addiction isn’t enough, there’s social media addiction as well. In 2010, the UK Telegraph headlined “Twitter and Facebook costing economy £14bn a year.”
By early 2016, CNBC headlined “Facebook turns 12 — trillions in time wasted.” Work the “slope of the curve” on that one. It’s like CB Radio on TV in the workplace. Brain-candy to rot the soul and steal your one shot at riches.
Somehow, amidst these potholes and trip wires, you will find a way, or one will be made for you.
Our modest suggestion is to be proactive and make your own decisions before circumstances make them for you.
If you have a personal mission that has good long-term prospects, you stay clear of drug and time-wasting social media behaviors, your odds of being a leader in your own generation will be very high.
Search for Best Practices
A young man – with dreams of becoming a famous musician – visited New York City for the first time. As small-towners are prone to do, he became lost; disoriented by the bustle of Gotham on a cloudy day.
“Excuse me, sir,” he asked of a man passing by “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”
The man simply glanced at him and said a single word:
Whenever we look at people who have achieved a high level of income, fame, fortune, health, achievement in any field, there are certain Best Practices that emerge.
This book will not preach this plan or that, but it will show you, through a series of keyword discussions how you can mimic those who have already “dared to be great.”
Although not a separate chapter, let me start with on keyword to get thinking:
Repetition and Recording
Playing the piano is a fine example because it instructs us how to move “things we need to think about” out into dispersed parts of our body. Psychologists often refer to “muscle-memory” when working with athletes. The role of the coach is to find that absolute peak of performance that everyone has, and press beyond that.
A Coach is usually not be the fastest runner, the best football player, or even a concert-quality instrument player; their value is their knowledge of best practices in a particular field.
Since your best coaches, your parents, will likely kick-the-bucket sooner than desired, and you may not have life-long gifted friends, the surest road to personal accomplishment is to begin collecting your own book of “best practices.”
I mean, it makes sense, right?
People make mistakes – and hopefully learn from them – every day.
You’d think that EVERYONE would write down the major lessons Life hands them; perhaps in a journal or a notebook…
But you see, your (mislabeled) “education” hasn’t taught you many of the basic “habits for success.”
Even if they had, it’s likely have “blown up on you” because most people do not keep paper notes anymore. Instead, they keep devices and when devices change, all the old “notes to self” too easily disappear. Just how many people export their phone book files?
A friend and long-time colleague, upper 70’s and living a seriously upscale retirement in his condo with views of both the Atlantic and the Intercoastal Waterway, expressed the importance of “keeping your platform” up with your Life well.
“One of the most important things you can do in business,” he advised me along ago “…is to keep your Outlook files backed-up.” He also called people from his distance past now and then to keep up. That is not social media. That’s success media use.
He understood that much of our success in Life comes not from what we do alone, but what we do in groups. We create teams to move projects along.
Looking back he was right, of course. But who in the education system in 1967 when I graduated from high school was teaching this simple principle?
“We succeed with the efforts of others and the more people you know and can tap, the easier success will come.”
“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent…” wrote John Donne (1572-1631) wrote in Mediation XVII.
In today’s digital world it could be updated:
“No person is a program, entire of itself; everyone is a node in a network of their own design…”
So we ask: “What are the things your “node” does, repeated so often as to be done at the muscle-memory level, that no robot or lesser person could perform as well or excellently?”
This is the Millennial’s Challenge: Deal with change, excel at learning the change, practice and repeat, then execute across your personal network these hard-fought Best Practices.
Next week (or when I get to it):
“Chapter 1: Keyword: RECIPE “
And my thanks to the 22-year old Millennial who was the last caller on Coast-to-Coast AM early Tuesday morning. He asked (in so many words) “So WHAT should we Millenials DO?”
If you don’t mind coming back once a week, I will try to lay out some ideas on Thursday morning’s. There are answers, but like building a home, one of the key things to get right is the foundation and sadly, I don’t think enough Millennials have a solid one.
Pass it on and write when you get rich,