I must be getting old. Much of today’s younger generation seem soft, socially awkward and selfish. I’m not alone in pointing out the negatives traits of kids as there are plenty of other grumpy buggers out there too! The finger pointing may well be justified but in doing so I neglect my responsibility to shape the next generation. Why are things turning out this way and what can be done about it?
Societies on a global spectrum are urbanizing very aggressively. People are migrating to the city attracted by opportunities and big lights. This has provided a weird science experiment where the contrast of rich and poor can be seen right next to each other. London, Johannesburg, Sydney, Chicago and Hong Kong all provide relevant examples. This movement from rural to urban is having a huge impact on individual’s lives, health and happiness. Everyone seems to be connected to the net and daily usage is increasing all the time. This is also lending itself to even greater social media usage which may contribute to this ‘Now’ culture. The rich, famous and beautiful have never been so accessible. I can see what Lady Gaga or Pink are up to on any given day by checking their social media pages. We can see how these people live, what they do and all the things that go with fame. Unfortunately, it’s a natural instinct to compare yourself with others. If I’m to compare my humble life to Gaga’s, I’m in for a jealous experience. Consumers see the wealth, the flashiness and fame and start to believe that’s normal. It’s almost as if fame is a right and everyone wants a piece of the action. I have a few friends who have worked as crew on super yachts in the Med. Their common feedback is that fellow crew members eventually start to act like they actually own the boat. Through repetitive experiences. the mind can start to transform make belief into reality.
Ironically, the city life is making us lonely. Neighbors don’t speak, families don’t see each other and we become just another number. Hong Kong is an amazing city but if you experience the underground train in peak hour traffic, you’ll quickly see that it’s Hunger Games. Nobody smiles and elders are left to fend for themselves. The loneliness of the city is met with a quick fix of our friends Youtube, Netflix, Tinder or Facebook. Urgent desires can be met with the click of a button. Another example of instant ‘happiness’ is the abundant supply and consumption of cheap carbohydrates. These foods supply a quick hit of endorphins to keep us happy in the ‘now’. Unfortunately they are also toxic and detrimental to our health. It’s clear that our environment and culture is changing us as people.
The easiest way to avoid someone being a product of today’s ‘Urban Now Culture’ is to remove them from that environment. This might not be possible or desired so we must look at ways to minimize the damage. Firstly, maintaining a strong social scene with a positive family culture is paramount. Without the positive support of elders, kids can be left to develop negative characteristics. Secondly, daily movement is necessary to fulfill a hardwired need to sweat and increase work capacity. Lastly, temptation is very high in the city so be prepared and be mindful every day. The younger generations are being negatively affected by the environment they live in and the guidance they are receiving. In a rapidly developing world, we must be quick to adapt and lead our kids to a successful start in life.