NO ONE KNOWS WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT
Even your friends, but go to the grocery store, sit on a train, ride the chairlift, bring up a band, a TV show, any kind of recreational activity, even the NBA and NFL…and the other person will give you a blank stare, they can listen to your story, but they don’t know the reference points, the stars, the plot, nothing. And you’ll find out what is most important to you is not important to them. You may live for streaming television, they might have seen one show on HBO. They might be amped up for March Madness and not only do you not know who is involved, you don’t know who won last year, you don’t know who the coaches or players are and no matter what anybody says, you’ll ignore the hoopla and not watch the final.
As for finals, there’s one every week. A sports contest, an awards show… They all run together, you don’t even pay attention, never mind care who won. The only people who care are the victors and the small number in their coterie. The Oscars… Did you even see the movies? A bunch are on streaming services. “All Quiet on the Western Front,” the front runner, is on Netflix, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is on Showtime and Apple TV+, they’re readily available, but you don’t bother to stream them. You no longer have the passion. Used to be you followed film like sports, you knew the studios, the actors, now you don’t. Movies are special events, they’re not a consistent world that draws you in and keeps your attention.
As for music… All together it’s burgeoning. Independently? Never have hit acts been smaller. Meanwhile, more are playing stadiums. Your fan base is narrow and deep. No one is exposed to your music who doesn’t want to hear it. The Top Ten is known by almost nobody. Enjoy your status because you are never achieving worldwide domination. Meanwhile, the entire world is encroaching, we’ve got Latin, Korean, the more acts from around the world that penetrate the sphere, the less space there is for your music. You can play, but that does not mean you’ll win. Winning is harder than ever before. Complain all you want, the system is rigged against you, you’re not getting paid, even get some reporter to write an article about you, doesn’t matter, no one is listening, everybody is burrowed deep in their own world, trying to make it work for themselves, they don’t have time for you, they don’t have time for complainers, they only want winners. Even worse, they don’t build winners, you prove you’re a winner and they amplify you.
IGNORE TECH BACKLASH
The boomers control the media and they’ve been in future shock for decades. Ask a boomer to do a PowerPoint. They can’t, but any kid in grade school can. The youth have grown up on technology, it’s second nature. We are never ever going back to a disconnected world. You can disconnect yourself, but the joke is on you, because even your medical appointments are arranged online these days. As for phoning someone… Please stop. The phone allows for errors, text does not. Technology does not spell your name wrong, it does not hear you wrong. Don’t leave a voice mail, use text. It’s clearer, shorter and easier. Kids don’t even set up their voice mailbox!
As for social media… Get over it. People love to connect. Try turning off your phone for a week. You won’t hear from your friends, you’ll be totally isolated. The world runs on relationships and gossip, anything that enhances them will be embraced. Like online dating. The best thing that ever happened for relationships. You can get a date if you want one. Maybe not with the person of your dreams, but did you ever really have a chance of that? Tinder may be looks-based, and looks do count, in the virtual and physical worlds, but a good profile, an honest profile, evidencing your personality, can win you connection. The joke is on those who are afraid to play. The generations that grew up with tech are not afraid.
We’re only going to be more networked. You’re never going to fall out of touch with people, wonder what they’re up to, it’s all online. As for bad actors on Facebook and Twitter and… The dirty little secret is most people don’t pay attention to these words. Sure, they should be excised, but that’s not why most people go on social media sites, they want to connect, information comes second.
And the truth is there’s not enough money in the world to clean up all the social networks. You’d be stunned how few people they have monitoring bad behavior around the globe. This is a problem. But let’s pull back the lens, the truth is people are susceptible to misinformation, and they don’t only get it online.
YOU MAKE YOUR OWN TRUTH
Media has experienced what attorneys did after Watergate, outlets have lost respect. Sometimes through bad behavior, but other times via denigration by bad actors. To the point where we’ve got no authoritative source anymore. Furthermore, half the country believes if you’re an expert you know less, that you’re a victim of the educational system, of corporate America. And it’s not only the right, the left has wackos too. Anti-vaxxers… All those wealthy liberals who won’t inoculate their kids, long before Covid. And a great slew of the educated distrust authority. Want a bizarre medical theory? Talk to those on the educated left. They’ll tell you to see a shaman, employ alternative remedies, the thought of going to a doctor? NEVER COMES UP!
On the right… Fox admits that it didn’t believe the election was stolen, and the message doesn’t reach almost half the country. They don’t want to believe it, even if they’re exposed to it. They’ve got an explanation for everything.
It’s a free-for-all. Everybody does their own research and picks and cobbles together their own beliefs. There’s a thin layer of educated elite who scratch their heads at all this, but they’ve given up trying to change it, it’s a Sisyphean task. And then there are those who work for the man, or who are the man. They won’t go against the company line, they say what is expedient. The corporate spokesperson should be ignored, they’re just the frontline defense, before the high-priced attorneys come on board.
And online there’s information to support any belief.
And when you have Congresspeople who are nincompoops speaking blather that is untrue on its surface, who should you respect? Who’d want to be President anyway?
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO WIN THE LOTTERY
Do not play the market. That’s a professional world, and the pros are experienced and won’t let you win. I don’t care how smart you think you are; the game is rigged for the usual suspects.
As for the lottery itself, it’s a tax on the poor. And money isn’t everything, it won’t make you happy. Having no money will leave you very unhappy, but you only need a small amount. Well, maybe 100k a year. And the truth is 100k a year is middle class today. If you’re making less, downgrade your desires or work yourself into a higher job. If your job requires no thinking, you’ll never make the big bucks. And now that schools teach to the test, kids don’t learn how to think. This is what they teach in elite institutions. And sure, some “government schools” (that’s what the right wing labels public education), are piss-poor, but the truth is a lot of private ones are too. And despite the constant criticism of liberal campuses, you go to college to learn how to think. And sure, not everybody needs to go to college, but even worse, it’s only the elite institutions that focus on learning how to think and analyze, assigning papers, giving essay tests. If college is easy for you, transfer or drop out. And know that college is really about what happens outside the classroom, who you meet and… I hate to say it, in the business world it is all about who you know and if you know nobody you’re not going to move up the economic ladder. Of course there are exceptions, but their number is very few.
NOT EVERYBODY CAN BE AN ENTREPRENEUR
Oh, you can try to create a new business, but that does not mean it will succeed. Most fail. And execution is more important than the idea.
NOT EVERYBODY CAN BE A STAR
Whether it be musical, sports…the odds are long, your dream is dim. Some will make it. And talent comes after work ethic.
The tools are in your hands! You can write a screed and reach people for free! Ditto with music. Like I said above, not everybody will win, but it used to be most people couldn’t even play!
And you no longer have to be lonely. Everyone can find their tribe online. There are a zillion niches, just look at Reddit. Nerd out all you want, there are like-minded people online. And for everyone trying to project a two-dimensional image there’s another one who wants to go deep emotionally. Want to spread your truth, want to organize a group, a protest, any organization, you can do so for free online.
Yes, a lot of these platforms want to charge you, Facebook ads, etc. But the dirty little secret is if you can’t get traction for free, give up, either your idea is bogus or your execution sucks. Everybody gets a ticket, not everybody gets to go on the ride. But the opportunity! It’s for everyone!
And you can access the famous and infamous.
You need an attitude adjustment. It’s all right to be overwhelmed, today’s world is overwhelming, but stop thinking it’s someone else’s fault you’re unsuccessful, that the game is rigged against you. Income inequality is rampant, the national government is gridlocked. But that does not mean you can’t go on your own hejira online. YouTube is a hotbed of information. Want to solve a problem at home, just YouTube it. Ditto with Google. If you ask someone what something is, you appear a doofus. I mean can’t you Google that?
Your everyday life is small. Don’t think top down, but bottom up.
But know everybody can be on TV, everybody can be famous for a day, it’s about lasting.
The internet has shrunk the world, we’re all in it together, but we also have so much information at our fingertips. Sure, bad actors are trying to scam us and… It’s your responsibility to educate yourself on money, on web-surfing. You’ve got to be a self-starter. If you’re whining, you missed the point.
And know there’s a story within a story, always. What looks simple usually is not. You can spout nonsense, but the powers-that-be in that field will just ignore you. People didn’t care that you didn’t vax, they were just anxious that you would spread Covid to them! Do whatever you want, just as long as it doesn’t hurt people. Then again, the FREEDOM PARTY speaks out of both sides of its mouth. How is it freedom if you can’t get an abortion, if they’re involved in your personal business?
But the only way to counter this is to use online tools.
Whenever you have a problem, think of the internet first, and the information and people on it. Knowledge is power, never forget that. And most of the information you need to play is available for free, online, you’ve just got to spend the time.
Try to be an influencer, try the shortcuts, but you’re better off finding out what you are interested in and pursuing it via the information and people online. Forget about press, forget about what outsiders say, just do the work, stay the course.
But when you do succeed, don’t expect anybody else to care.
Which is why you must put yourself first, decide what you want to do and execute, don’t be beholden to those who tell you what to do.
The internet is your starting point. Anybody who rails against smartphones and social media and talks about disconnecting should be ignored, ABSOLUTELY! Don’t be discouraged by the weekly iPhone report showing how much time you’ve been online, you’re doing it right, online is where all the action is today. DELVE IN!