Seventy-five Cents Worth of CHANGE . . .
I’ve heard it said that the term, “Rural Arkansas,” is a redundancy. It’s not that we don’t have really nice cities in Arkansas; it’s just that you don’t have to get far out of the city limits to start appreciating the word “rural.”
Last Saturday my wife and I stopped by a small country store, (another redundancy), and picked up a copy of our local county-wide newspaper. Now this is a wonderful little literary jewel. It comes out once a week and fills everyone in on everyone else’s business. For 75 cents you get it all. There’s the judging results from the County Fair; pictures of kids standing next to the carcass of their “first buck;” details about who got mad at the School Board meeting; and descriptions of every garden tiller for sale within a 20 mile radius. I love it.
You also find out who went shopping at Walmart last Wednesday; where they had lunch; and enough details about their latest hospital stay to make any HIPAA official curl his toes and drop over with a heart attack. (. . . the full details of which would be reported in next week’s edition.)
To my wife’s astonishment she spied, right there at the top of page 10, an article saying that our local Electric provider was planning a two hour “power interruption” starting at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Excuse me . . . did you say tomorrow morning?
Yikes! We were having company after church that Sunday, so suddenly a lot of last minute chores got moved way up in priority. Sure enough, at 6:30 Sunday morning, (we know because we were still cleaning things up), the lights blinked, backup batteries beeped and darkness descended.
Which brings me to my point: even with 75 cents worth of advanced warning, neither my wife nor I remembered to put more oil in our little emergency oil lamp. (If vacuum cleaners ran on lamp oil we’d have probably remembered.)
So what does all of this have to do with being a “Survivor” in today’s world?
Historians tell us we’re in the opening stages of the third great wave of change since the start of recorded history. Interestingly enough, this age has been dubbed, “The Information Age.” (Probably by the folks who publish our local County newspaper.)
So here’s the problem we’re all facing: No matter how much you know about the Information Age, you’ve got to deal with the fact that you don’t know what it is that you DON’T KNOW about the information age. If you knew what it was that you didn’t know, you could probably look it up on the Internet. As it is, we just don’t know exactly what it is that we should be looking up!
Every day, a lot of people in this country are waking up to the news that their jobs, the way they’ve always made their living, have become obsolete. Most of us think that no new technology, or low cost alternative out of Bangalore, India, could possibly take our place in the job market. Yeah, right.
If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you might want to invest 75 cents and pick up your local county newspaper. Actually, you shouldn’t miss any good opportunity to find out what is changing. And even with an advance waning, don’t be surprised if you forget to put oil in your lamp. It happens all the time.
In his groundbreaking book, The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman makes a convincing case that the Internet has “leveled the playing field” for virtually every profession. Can you think of any profession that hasn’t been affected by the Internet? How many subjects can you Google and not come up with information?
I’ve got some good news about this unprecedented time of change. It’s true that many people think this tsunami wave of change is a crisis; but there are others saying it’s the best time ever to not only survive, but to thrive. I like the viewpoint of Stanford Economist Paul Romer, who says, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
I hope you’ll take the opportunity to join us on November 5th for what I think will be an entertaining and informative keynote address on the subject of CHANGE. And what title do you think I’d give a keynote address on the subject of change? How about, “You Can Keep the Change . . .” I’m looking forward to being with you.