This Is 1950

Today’s Lesson: The world has never been better than it is now.

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In 1950, there were planes, but flying was for the very wealthy or for people who really needed to fly somewhere. Even when I was growing up in the seventies, flying was expensive and only for special occasions–you dressed up for a flight as if you were going to church.

Most people, even in the seventies, but especially in the fifties, were born, grew up, and died within a 30-mile radius. There wasn’t even Google Earth to virtually visit Paris.

Imagine that. Imagine if all the input you had about religion, morals, ethics, education, art, literature, and culture all came from no further than the town in which you were born. What would your tiny social bubble have you believe? Blacks are less than Whites? Marriage is only between a man and woman? The Russians are coming? The South is still fighting?

What flight did for the world is the same as what the car did for the nation. It opened boundaries and provided access to food, knowledge, and worldviews that transformed society. It allowed scientists to collaborate, politicians to regularly meet in-person, and engineers to stretch both their imaginations and their set of tools and teams.

The internet is doing the same but it is odd because it works in both directions, expanding and contracting at the same time. Thanks to the internet, you can explore the world on a 3-D map and communicate with businesses and people in foreign territories at your leisure. You can stay in touch with family and friends no matter where their journeys take them.

However, you can also shut the world out, filtering your social circle so you only receive news you want, interact with people who believe what you believe, and hear only music you have heard before. You can close the world out and stereotype and spread animosity, unfettered, with people in “your” tribe, losing contact with the rest of the world. You can stagnate, sustaining the dry husk of your potential on a diet of rotting ideas and long-dead ideals.

The nostalgia of the past may seem alluring but, by definition, it is also a whitewashing of history and denial of reality.

Yet, for perhaps the first and only time ever, you can choose to live in 2015 or in 1950.

You know what I am going to say here, right?

Choose wisely.

 

 

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Y TV?

Do you own a television? That is SO 2014…

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I see almost no point to owning a television. There is so much great content online with Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Google Play, Amazon, Vimeo, and many other services. I like that I can watch entire seasons at a time, any time, and for a lower monthly cost than cable, without the interruptions of commercials.

I can watch shows anytime and any place on my phone, tablet, or Chromebook. When I want the big screen experience, I can connect any of my devices to my projector. A projector, to me, is a much cheaper and better choice than a television. The projector is portable, smaller than a big screen TV, and can shine a 100-inch image on any wall, even in HD. I connect my tablet to my projector with a HDMI cable and to a Bluetooth speaker (I like my Big Jambox). With one cable, I have a portable entertainment system that fits any room and delivers the goods with room pleasing sound.

Maybe the best part is, my entire, portable system costs significantly less than most televisions by themselves.

Virtual Reality is on the forefront of big breakthroughs now, too. Samsung’s Occulus Rift is a mind-bending experience. Imagine being able to watch Guardians of the Galaxy or Lord of the Rings in an environment where you can actually walk around, look up and down, and explore. What if you could be there for those epic scenes in Star Wars, seeing Darth Vader battle Obi-Wan Kenobi from every angle, as an invisible bystander! How cool would that be?

Choosing a minimalist lifestyle has helped me scale down my entertainment system, but for the tech-savvy apartment dwellers… my low-key solution is an easy win!

Today’s lesson: Think outside “the box”. Why be screen-locked or shackled to archaic services like old-school cable companies anymore? 

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Today’s Lesson: Who’s Your Buddy? [140928]

 

My boss said something last week that resonated with me today. He said his wife is his favorite drinking buddy and talked about how much fun they have together.

 

Today, as Nicole and I walked around town, she said, “I love the spending the day with you,” and we talked about how much fun we have being together.

 

I remember one of my first bosses taught me the same lesson many years ago. He asked if I was single, and, looking at an attractive young woman nearby, I quipped, “No… unfortunately.”

 

I was joking because I thought that’s what men do–you know, the “old ball and chain” and “being whipped”, and other men versus women jokes. He set me straight, though, with two simple sentences. “Huh,” he said, “I love my wife. She’s my best friend.”

 

From then, I never looked at relationships the same and, to my regret, I never told my boss about the impact he had on me and we lost touch over the years.

 

I love spending the day with Nicole and for sure, she is my best friend and favorite ally.

 

The obvious lesson here is to be with someone who adds value to your life and makes you feel good about who you are when you are together.

 

The deeper lesson, though, is to be aware of how you portray the people you love to others. Your jokes about your relationship are the reality of your relationship to people who have not met you both or do not know you both well.

 

Put another way, choose your words carefully. They create the tapestry of your life.

 


 


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Today’s Lesson: Let The Music Play [140918]

I gave up listening to music for about 6 months. The following 6 months I listened only to instrumental music. It was a fascinating experiment and I was reminded of it today when a friend shared one of their favorite songs.

 

The music was great but when I heard the lyrics, I immediately remembered what I learned from my experiment. Popular musicians are crazy.

 

So many of us find comfort, solace, or worldly wisdom from pop songs. The only problem is pop musicians do not live in the same world as most of us. People like Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Prince, or Tim McGraw are so far removed from normal relationships, social and political struggles, or common hardships that they are simply not qualified to have a relevant opinion on these matters. Do you think Prince has ever had any dating/living situation that even remotely resembles any relationship you or I have had? Yet, people flock to these performers in fantasy worlds for guidance. We learn about love from Sting and Van Halen before we ever read a book about it or turn to actual professionals.

 

If you are getting advice on love, sex, religion, society, or politics from complete nutters like Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Shania Twain, Elton John, Lil’ John, or even John Mayer… just consider the source.

 

You would be better off taking advice on Quantum Mechanics from your actual car mechanic. I am not a total curmudgeon. I like music. You should enjoy music… I just think you should also remember you are listening to, at best, talented crazy people.

 

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The Lesson I Learned Today… 140620

Nothing is real until it’s real.

As a sales manager, I hear a lot of stories about the “one that got away”. Ironically, I often hear the story of the one that got away… before even happens.

The story usually starts the same. The salesperson thinks they are telling me something like this: “Boss, I just closed 5 sales!” But what the person actually says is something like this: “If my customer comes in for a 3 o’clock appointment, and if he brings his wife and their bill from our competitor, and if he still wants the thing I have in stock, then we might close 5 sales at some point in time… possibly!”

I try not to live in possibility but rather to deal directly with reality. It is fine to have a positive attitude and good intentions and big goals and wishes but I try to remind myself that what matters in the end is none of the wishing–only the results.

Whether we are talking about making sales, losing weight, or just showing up for a date on time… our best intention to generate a result is not the same as actually having a result.

I would rather keep most of my unfulfilled intentions to myself and instead celebrate the results I actually deliver. Before I bring them into reality, even my best wishes are no better than my worst wishes. They are all just wishes.

Nothing is real until it is real.

 

 

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