by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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The Future ain’t what it used to be”  Yogi Berra

 

This reference will not likely be one that most of my readers will know, so please do check the wikipedia link for who this is.  Yogi Berra was one of the best catchers in Professional Baseball.  He was also known for his many “Yogi-isms” such as the one above.  His simplistic yet thoughtful wit was underappreciated by many of his time.

But let’s think about this for a moment, was he onto something?  Maybe.  Every generation thinks the one following it is softer, less self sufficient, and has things so much easier than they did.  And if you can look backward through time objectively, there is no doubt that much of this is true.  And I am not pointing fingers, I am aware that I am part of the problem.  My Dad can install a new dishwasher, fix the sprinkler system and build a bookcase from scrap wood all in the same day.  I, on the other hand, am calling two different people and purchasing the bookshelf.  Sad but true, I am not a handy man.  I wish I was, but I have never applied myself in these areas and now I am paying the price.  While some Do-It-Yourself stores are increasing in overall paint sales and other minor in-home projects, the major retailers like Home Depot, Lowes and others are scrambling to find ways to stay alive in the coming decade as the knowledge of how to do most home projects is quickly diminishing.  Their target audience has shifted to those who still know how to do things, which is a dwindling crowd.

This is one outlook on the future not “being what it used to be”.  There was a point in history not too long ago where many people lived on farms and grew their own food and were almost totally self sufficient, minus a little bartering here and there.  Then we became industrialized, moved into cities and took factory jobs and became “civilized”.  With this came a diminished capacity to do things for ourselves, and the knowledge went dormant.  The education system has followed suit, just look at this final exam test from 8th grade for the year 1890.  I will fess up that I knew little if any of this.  It used to be that you had to know things, memorize them and apply them regularly.  Now, you just have to know where to look up the info, or worse, ASK SIRI and they will tell you.  It turns out that the movie Idiocracy was a documentary, not a comedy.

Now you may be asking why I am focused on the past despite the title of this blog being about the future.  In case you haven’t made the connection yet, allow me to connect the dots for you.  The world was a very different place just two generations ago.  My grandparents were referred to as the greatest generation for a reason, some of them listed above.  Their goal was to work hard to give their children a better life with more access to things they didn’t have.  By doing so, they have fulfilled their “job” as a parent and grandparent.  But we hit a tipping point a while back, and now the pendulum has swung too far.  Everything from single parent homes due to rising divorce rates, instant gratification for things like entertainment, food, or a ride somewhere has made us soft.  And it is getting worse.

If you have ever seen footage of a Physical Education class from the 1950’s, you’ll have some idea of what I mean.  Back then, almost everyone was fit and healthy.  Now, childhood afflictions like obesity are running rampant.  It is our diets, our mindset and our cushy lifestyles that are making the future look bleak.  Photos of people on the beach in the 1970’s showed very few people who were not physically fit to some degree.  Life required more of us physically back then, and because of our advancements we now how to pay money to go to a place to lift heavy things to get fit.

I have concerns, some of them great.  We are not trending in a good direction at the moment and I have no real good idea on how to rectify that.  I am going what I can by mentoring those who will listen and want to embrace a lifestyle a little more reflective of days passed.  Some of the ideology of today cannot last, in my opinion, and I hope to assist in preparing a subset of people ready to start steering things in s better, more logical direction moving forward.  My advice: get fit, learn how to fix things and grow things and build things, as these skills will be invaluable moving forward in life.  Even if the main reason is to not pay money to someone else to do something for you, there is a great satisfaction in that.  I know, from the few things I can do on my own, it is very rewarding to fix something broken instead of replacing it or calling someone to the rescue.

While you will need to know how to use AI and all that comes along with it, don’t lose sight of the “old skills” that still make the world go round.  If you can do some of both, your place in this world will be all but guaranteed.

 

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