Change Itself Isn’t Good Or Bad – It’s What We Do With It That Counts

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off well.

Not long ago, one of the television channels showed an episode of the Jetsons. It was fun reminiscing at all the things the show’s creators thought we’d have at some distant point in the future. Personal robots, spaceports, flying cars that fold into a briefcase. And phones that fit in your pocket. Who saw that one coming?

I still remember one of the greatest breakthroughs in communications technology … phones that came in different colors. Until then, you had three choices – black, black, or black. Next came long cords that could reach any room in the house, and then the old rotary dialer was replaced by buttons that could play Mary Had a Little Lamb. I’m not sure whose phone rang on that one, but I’m betting it was long-distance.

Sometime in the 80s, we got cordless phones. Big, bulky things with a pull-out antenna on the top, just like your old transistor radio. Remember those? You had to set the dial just right to hear your favorite channel, and then every time a good song came on, a plane would fly over, and you’d lose the signal completely. Ah, those were the good old days!

Back then, if you wanted to change the channel on the TV, you had to get up. That’s not to say we got a lot of exercise, because there were only three channels to begin with. Channel surfing was like a rodeo – it lasted eight seconds. And if the antenna wasn’t pointed just right, you got snow. That’s how teenage boys learned to watch digitally scrambled cable channels. You know the ones.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in our lives, even if you’re only 30. Think about it. Thirty years ago, people still carried pagers. Long-distance was a costly service, and cars still came with a clutch. Want to throw a teenager into a tizzy? Put them behind the wheel of a car with three pedals. And then, as some on social media have suggested, write the instructions in cursive.

Yes, we’ve come a long way. Some changes have been better than others. Personally, I like not having to budget the cost of calling somebody in a different county. But I do miss the days when you could get on a plane without a full-body scan and six episodes of the same stupid questions. “Did you pack your bags yourself?” Yes, but I did ball up my underwear. Will that be a problem?

Let’s face it, technology is changing our world even as we sit here enjoying our morning coffee. I read an article a few months ago about how some of the major retailers were moving toward a model of stores without customers. Instead of an attractive storefront, you’d have a warehouse with robots roaming the aisles. Place your order online and it gets delivered to your front door.

Which sounds great, unless you’ve ever seen my wife inspecting produce, or me looking for a pack of bacon where all the pieces are straight. Besides, who’s gonna squeeze my bread to make sure it’s fresh? At least you’d know if the robot did it for you. Right in the middle of the loaf, you’d have four slices shaped like an hourglass. No thanks.

But it’s coming, folks. And in a way, it makes sense. Stores are expensive. They have to be decorated, brightly illuminated, and kept reasonably clean. Items on special promotion have to be displayed instead of just moving them to the home page. Besides, it’s the only way they can sell the stuff nobody would buy if they saw it first. Soggy grapes? No problem. Order #34872.

Sometimes, fate has unexpected consequences. What was unacceptable a month ago is standard procedure today. And that won’t stop when this virus goes away. A lot of the changes we’ve seen are here to stay. That may be good or bad, but it won’t change the inevitable. Corporations learn fast. And once you’ve got a foot in the door, it’s that much harder to slam it shut.

We’ll adapt. We may complain a little, but in time these new ways will just become a part of life. I hope that new life doesn’t involve masks and a ban on hugging, but some of the changes may not be so bad. Let’s face it, curbside liquor delivery is pretty convenient. Maybe it’ll replace the ice cream truck. Wonder what song they’d play? Jimmy Buffet, perhaps?

The key to thriving in a changing world is to change with it. Technology is only part of the equation. The biggest challenge lies somewhere between our ears. We can accept change and go along for the ride, or we can embrace it and take the wheel. Change is inevitable. The only question is, will you make it work for you?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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