Dr. Leonard Sweet said something years ago that is more true today than when he first said it. Due to the fast pace of change in our world, he suggested that the human population be divided into 2 segments:
You either feel very much at home with new technology, the new way of working in teams, new language, nuances, and values — you’re like a native in this world — or you feel a bit like an outsider to all these things — more like an immigrant.
It isn’t just about how old you are. Many Baby Boomers have totally embraced the changes in our world today. At the same time, some young people feel like a foreigner and wish change would happen much more slowly. It’s all about how you think. If we don’t cultivate new thoughts and ideas — we will certainly begin to resist societal changes like a foreigner in a strange country. If we plan to lead the next generation well, we must work to stay current — and even lead the way — in our thoughts and ideas. Because we tend to get “stuck” as we age, this usually becomes harder once we pass mid-life. In fact, Dr. Sweet felt that people under 40 are usually “natives” and those over 40 are often “immigrants.”
Let me suggest 4 questions to ask yourself to see which you are:
1. When a new device is introduced to the marketplace, do you study it to see if it will improve your productivity, or do you dig your heels in and stick with the familiar?
2. Do you find yourself too tired to explore new innovations or new ideas in your line of work, or are you energized by the thought of exploring?
3. Are you interested in talking to college students (twenty-somethings) to hear the latest issues or ideas that have captured their imagination, or do you feel apathetic?
4. Does your hunger to grow and improve outweigh your habits and routines in life that allow you to put things on “cruise control”?
Tomorrow, I will share the other side to this coin about immigrants and natives. Talk to you then.