SUCCESS IN A BRAVE NEW WORLD
It is famously said that the only constant in this world is change. Evolutionary theorists would agree that our civilisation has progressed so far because of our intense desire and action for change. Otherwise we would still be living in caves like our forefathers.
I would think that this change had picked up pace since the industrial revolution. There is no doubt that over the years, the world has changed a lot. Even the attitude of people has changed. As could be expected, even family relationships have taken a different twist.
Earlier it was joint family system with all members living under one roof, sharing joy and sorrow. There was collective responsibility, which had given a sense of security to all.
Now personal ties even within the nuclear family have changed. They – the young or old – insist on separate room, and of course exclusive toilets. Gone were the days when the entire members of a big family shared a couple of toilets and patiently waited for their turn. There was a sense of accommodation and camaraderie.
Today everyone appears so busy that he or she wished a day had 48 hours. When members of the family assemble for meals – a rare occasion – most of them are busy with their latest cell phones. They don’t glance at each other. They are busy communicating through WhatsApp.
Such is the widespread practice of smartphone-dependent relationship, that even in small groups individuals do not appear to exchange verbal communications. There is not even eye contact. Everyone is looking down – at their cell phone, tablet, laptop – whatever. The shoulder muscles are fine-tuned to stoop, not to look up. This is the most visible phenomenon, not just at home, but at bus stops, railway stations, airports, inside buses, trains, planes. Everybody is busy with themselves. I used to wonder whether we could describe this social phenomenon a sign of success and modernity!
What is success? Let us just look at the cycle of life. At the age of 3, success means not shitting in the pants. At 12, success means having friends and at the age of 18, success means having a driver’s licence.
From there you graduate further in life. At the age of 20, success means having sex. When you hit 35, success means having money. When you reach 50, success means having more money. At the age of 55, success means having extra-martial activities. Five years later at 60, success means having sex twice a week.
The definition of success takes another twist when you reach 65. Success then means having sex despite attaining male menopause. At 70, success means having still a driver’s licence. At the age of 75, success means having friends of both sexes.
When you reach 80, success assumes some interesting meaning. At that time you gain the ability to mentally undress women. At the age of 85, success means having the ability to disassociate from worldly possessions. At 90, success means not shitting in your pants.
All the old concepts have changed. They have taken a 180 degree turn. Let me give you a couple of examples: The world’s largest taxi company, Uber, owns no vehicles. The world’s most popular media owner, Facebook, creates no content. The most valuable retailer Alibaba has no inventory; The world’s largest accommodation provider Airbnb owns no real estate.
Well, something interesting is happening in this modern age. So let’s get ready to face this new brave world.
By John S Powath, CEO, Asian Business Media