Dear Society

Note From Aaron: This will be the last ‘personal’ blog I write publicly, and will be temporarily shutting down AaronPlaat.com to launch a new redesign, with content more ‘article’ style than personal entry. I’ve spent nearly 15 years blogging about my personal experiences, and feel as if it’s time to ‘graduate’ to more focused articles that help others with personal development, entrepreneurship, technology, and living a life of substance. 

In the last year, I’ve learned more about myself than in the previous 26 years, combined. In fact, the past few years have been really impactful.

I recently spoke to somebody who had to be rushed to the hospital, last weekend, as a result of an infected wisdom tooth, which triggered inflammation, convulsions, and intense pain. This reminded me a bit about how something so small as a wisdom tooth can lead to an emergency that has the potential to end one’s life; death from tooth infections is a very real thing.

That being said, I think there’s something to be said about masking the issues we have in our lives from those we care about – or the internet. It makes headline news when a celebrity has a meltdown and decided to shave her head; as if the public is somehow ‘entitled’ to an image of perfection, rather than being introduced to a real human being.

I’ve had a few paradigm shifts, as well. Several of my close friends, as well as myself, have been chastised for not being ‘responsible’ with our lives. Responsible, meaning the ‘standard’ career/life path of going to school, getting an internship, job, 401(k), saving for a house, then tying ourselves down to a 30-year mortgage note and having ‘stability’.

Did the real estate crash not teach society anything?

Our lifestyles have begun to creep upon the limitations of our incomes. Even a stock model BMW 6-series creeps up on the $100,000 mark. Rent (in some cities) comfortably surpasses $1,500 per month for a studio apartment – depending on how one chooses to live, which is exactly the problem.

Our liabilities have the tendency to impose how we live our lives; mortgage notes, car payments, fashion, etc. 

I recently received a scathing email from an extended family member, who belittled me for being ‘materialistic’. My instinctual reaction wanted to be angry. However, I made a conscious choice to forgive and extend grace to this person, who made their knee-jerk reaction (probably alcohol-fueled) without having any knowledge of my day-to-day life; their only perspective was social media.

When somebody puts on a beautiful dress, you compliment them. This is considered ‘nice’ and ‘normal’ according to our society.

How much more of a compliment is it, to somebody who spent their own life/time/money/effort to develop a product, to purchase it and put your money where your mouth is? To me, purchasing an item is a ‘hat off’ tip to the person who designed it. While there are a lot of ‘items’ in my life, almost every one of them has a story and reason for purchase.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 10.09.41 AMEvery time I fire up my Dyson, I think of the time and years Sir James Dyson (society will belittle you when you’re nobody – then reward you with a title when you’ve proven yourself resilient to its criticism) spent developing his prototype. The Dyson vacuum cleaner was developed as a result of observation of industrial wood chippers; he wanted to find industrial-grade products (rather than household ready) that had to work efficiently, constantly, and without error. Thus, he took this concept and applied it to a common household item.

Elon Musk had to borrow rent money after putting $100M of his earned money into several of his new ventures. Any man with $100M doesn’t need to start a new business, according to society. However, that’s not what drives Musk – or myself. No, I’m not worth $20B…however, I can assure you that Musk and I share many personality traits and passions in our lives, as do many people who aren’t being ‘responsible’ with their lives.

The way I personally feel about our society is that we are about to undergo very major changes that will shake and rattle every ounce of our economy. Electric cars (or hydrogen) can only be held back from the public for so long before they’re adopted. Look at Tucker.  When the US no longer needs foreign oil, and the long line of taxes associated with our fuel; from gas station taxes to the costs/taxes/salaries associated with pumping gasoline into gas stations, is no longer needed, one can only imagine what impact this will have on the ‘steady’ jobs that we’ve depended on.

McDonalds is introducing robotic technology that will replace nearly all store employees; requiring the few staff to be specialists in robotic operations, rather than flipping burgers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can and will replace many white-collar jobs, as well as those in the medical field. Doctors and nurses, which are only human and restricted to the knowledge they’ve studied (or their peers) will soon be replaced (almost entirely) with AI systems that connect into the Internet of Things (IOT) that track and monitor all of your lifestyle habits; sleep, diet, exercise, drinking, drug use, etc.

A smart cup, like Vessyl has the ability to decipher the ingredients of any beverage you place in the cup. These items will soon replace the need for medical staff telling us (which is often little more than guesswork, gained from knowledge in a 5-minute consultation and based on prior medical records.) that we have an allergic reaction to an ingredient in our new protein shake.

The small housing movement is growing very rapidly, as more people are realizing that less is more.

Virtual reality – don’t even get me started on this field (or AR). It will change everything.

So, what does this all mean?

The rapid rate of technology growth is creating new and improved technologies that we’ve never seen before. As all of these technologies come to fruition, it’s as if one is cooking a meal with all new ingredients.

Traditional employment models are task-oriented based on the idea that all moving parts are somewhat known. This is an outdated management model, taken from the industrial age where every element of production was known and controlled. 

Holacracy – a new management style, recently adopted by Zappos, resulting in 14% of their staff leaving overnight, is a new method that eliminates management and empowers the individual ’employee’ to be multi-disciplinary, rather than restricted to their roles associated with their title.

This management style is on-par with the changes we’re seeing in the world, because it empowers every single employee to provide new value to the company, rather than being seen as an itemized cost for the owner. E.g. if an accountant stumbles across a new piece of technology/service/etc. that could benefit the company, they have the ability to request the ‘power’ to spearhead the implementation of this project, as voted on in a town hall setting.

When you encourage your staff to innovate – you simply create an extension of yourself, rather than hiring an employee that sees you as nothing more than a paycheck.

There is no better time to be alive as an innovator or early adopter.

That being said, I truly hope that our nation will be able to embrace and weather the storm of changes that are going to happen in the next 5-15 years.

Personal freedom is being able to have compassion for the critics; embracing them, where they are at, rather than hoping they will ‘get theirs’ for the venom they spewed. They simply didn’t know.

Featured Image From Deviantart

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