Ladies shaking hands

Chapter 1

A series of essays on the past, the present, and the future

In the early 1970’s, I read Alvin Toffler’s book titled Future Shock, in which he foretold of the acceleration of change and obsolescence we are experiencing today. His observations and predictions were radical at that time and many laughed him off as a smoker of too much weed! Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have offset some of the isolation of technology he predicted, but here are a few key quotes of his to think about:

“Change is not merely necessary to life-it is life.”

“The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.”

“The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all small things go in the right direction.”

“If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy.”

If I stop here and never share another life experience, this first paragraph could change your life…if you are capable of learning, unlearning and relearning. Look around at our world, your neighbors, your friends, your family and finally, yourself to see where you fit into this brave new world. My friends, we are living in one of those rare periods in time that the entire fabric of civilization is being rewoven-it’s not bad-it’s just different. Can and will you adapt, or just keep running blindly as the dinosaurs did millions of years ago toward extinction?

Just as wooden wagon wheels, oxen shoes and buggy whips are obsolete, so are ideas, skills and products just invented in the last decade! How about Blockbuster, AOL, pagers and very soon, newspapers and books? From highways, bridges, roads, railroads, skyscrapers and beyond, there are not “shovel” ready jobs…instead of 100 men toiling by hand, just a few highly skilled operators manipulate computerized heavy equipment.  Factories now hire strong minds, not just strong backs. Those who cannot or will not relearn are doomed to fail in this new economy and many over the age of 40 can only hope their children get the message and stay on course to be educated and trained in economically viable skills.

Risk, Reward, Effort, Time – the Little Red Hen said it all- “who will help me plant the wheat…tend the wheat…harvest the wheat…mill the wheat…who will help me bake the bread…who will help me eat the bread…? How would your answers stack up against her questions?

Hopefully, this introduction provokes some serious thoughts in your quiet moments. In coming sessions, we shall cover a lot of ground on both business and life; they have never, nor shall they ever be of separate worlds.

The principles and efforts are far more important than the need, want, idea, project or venture; preparation, planning and execution of a strategy applies from cradle to grave for us all…you figured out how to cry to be fed, changed or held…didn’t you? What’s different now?

by: Bill Hewgley