Dear Fellow Human
Dear fellow human,
We have never met in person. And unfortunately probably never will. But if you have 5 minutes to spare, I would like to discuss a worrisome realization I have started having.
Is it possible that we are being babysat most of our lives, are becoming lazier and lazier as a species, and never fulfill our actual potential?
We used to be explorers and hunters, inventors and scientists, scholars and philosophers, caregivers and artists. We build this world. Yet now we claim there is nothing left to discover, nothing to invent or change. In fact we have become so complacent that we just expect the systems we have created to run our lives for us.
We go to work monotonously every day, complain about the public transport, our neighbors, our jobs, our careers, our bosses, never seem to be sufficiently challenged or happy. Yet all we do is talk, and accept the status quo. We follow 1000s of people on Facebook and feel the need to show off, yet we have very few close friends we get to spend much time with and can have a deep conversation with.
We have stopped pushing ourselves and stopped growing as people. In fact, did you know our brains have physically shrunk over the past 10,000 years?
As a species we have come up with countless incredible inventions over the past centuries, from the wheel and agriculture, to the steam engine and the Internet. All these tools and inventions are designed to make our lives easier and safer than ever before. And free up a lot of our time. And we succeeded.
But what are we doing with this free time? Are we using it to do discover and make further improvements to society? Or are we just wasting it?
Let’s take the smartphone for instance: an incredible piece of technology. All the information we could ever need, whenever we want, wherever we are. Right?
Yet have you looked around a bus or a train lately? How many people are staring at their phones, earphones in, with not a single conversation happening? Are we collectively using these devices to learn and grow, or just playing the latest candy crush? Do we strike up a conversation with our seat neighbor and find out a little about them? Maybe help them in some way or learn something ourselves? Or are we spending our time commenting on funny cat photos on Instagram?
That one conversation with another human taken in isolation is not important, but imagine an entire generation that no longer knows how to make real connections to other beings, or have a conversation with a new person; A generation that does not know how to ask for help or express themselves without an emoji; one that cannot read a map, doesn’t read full books, or never disconnects enough to develop it’s own thoughts.
Because this unfortunately seems to be where we are headed. No one is pushing us maliciously in this direction, but slowly, without realizing, we are giving up on certain skills and abilities, slowly becoming complacent, lazy and dependent.
Should we worry about it? I believe this is terrifying. But that’s just me. Maybe everything will turn out great. But what if, just to be safe, we each took two small steps:
1. Challenge your reality — seek to learn:
There is a huge misperception that someone else out there is to blame for everything happening to us. For some reason, we believe that our schools, our companies or our governments should be taking care of us.
The truth is we are in charge. The rest of the world is there to help, but we are the only ones in charge of our wellbeing, of our development, of our success. No one else is. If we don’t do something, no one will do it for us.
So what if we simply started with buying a book and applying a few concepts to our life? I don’t mean the latest fictional best seller, but a good self-development book, one that we actively read and highlight, trying to apply one or two learnings to our life? Micro-news and tweets are all great, but do we really learn anything from them? Imagine a Billion people reading 1 or 2 books each month?
2. Challenge someone else’s reality — share a controversial thought:
We are all in this together, but we have stopped sharing thoughts with each other. I don’t know if its because we have stopped communicating or are trying to get ahead, but we have accidentally become more selfish, trying to show off rather than teach, and are not taking the time to invest in others.
What if we picked a controversial belief we have or a new learning; it doesn’t have to be something revolutionary, but something interesting or meaningful to us; and then pick up some courage and sit down to share it with another person? What if we managed to get them into our reality, to understand this life learning and then helped them apply it?
If we all helped a couple of new people over the next months, we would have billions of new thoughts and learnings flying around the world.
Or maybe just sitting around and commenting on the cat photos is the right call to action.
Sadly there is a lot wrong in our world and very few people dedicating their lives to make sure following generations are not dealing with our shortcoming.
Let us start a dialogue going. I believe each and every one of us has a responsibility. We have one life and that we have to make the most of it. We have to grow and develop, to take charge and help others. To give back to society more than we take from it.
I am committed to applying myself throughout life and helping as much as I can. Are you?
Until next time.