What’s next?

We spend our lives desperately trying to remain relevant, so we attempt to learn from the past while living in the present while hoping to be part of the future – it’s exhausting.  It is so easy to be outdated, forgotten, and left behind that it takes serious work just to stay in the now and even that is not enough. To truly live in the now is quite difficult since the world is moving at fast pace, glacier pun NOT intended, and to being up-to-date is already out-of-date. To stay current one must be ahead of the game, right?

Exhibit A:

A young professional is living in a large city, has a good group of friends and a career that is fairly satisfying. He/she always makes time to read up on trends through subscriptions to multiple magazines (yes, including Wired and The Atlantic), and purchases all the newest fashion, accessories, and gadgets meaning, yes, he/she has already per-ordered the iPhone 5S.  Additionally, he/she works hard at being heavily involved with Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, FourSquare, Pinterest, Instagram, Path, Digg, Google+ so of course he/she has a great Klout score. He/she is content but always busy, finds it impossible to function without a smart phone or tablet nearby, and is always busy since busy = happiness. He/she also finds time to go to new restaurants, movies, and concerts and never forgets to write reviews on different sites with Yelp being his/her favorite. He/she is a well-respected critic. He/she also never spends time alone with himself/herself, doesn’t take a moment, and hasn’t created anything original since being forced to do so in elementary. Is Exhibit A outdated, current, or ahead of the game?

Exhibit B:

A young professional lives near a large city, has a great group of friends, and a career that is fairly satisfying. He/she always makes time to read, write, and purchase items on a whim. He/she likes the idea of owning the new iPhone 5S but is happy with his/her current phone. Additionally, he/she works hard at staying in touch with his/herself through embracing his/her creative outlets, primarily through blogging and random art projects and he/she uses social media regularly to stay connected with the world around him/her, especially including his/her friends and family. He/she also has a low Klout score and is not well-known online. He/she also thinks that “me” time is important to remain happy, creative, and innovative so he/she always finds time each day for him/herself. He/she loves thinking and trying out new things. Is Exhibit B outdated, current or ahead of the game?

“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.”
Steve Jobs

Which Exhibit would Jobs, or any innovator known for forward-thinking, think is ahead of the other? Jobs valued technology AND creative thinking, so who would “win?” If I had a guess, and I do, I would go with B since they have a greater chance of actually creating something innovative that could impact the future. A also could create but based on time constraints and a constant outward or extrinsic focus it is less likely. The motivations of B and A are certainly different so you could argue for either, but in a world that is eager to let you go, it is important to allow yourself time to think. Ultimately, a combination of the two would be ideal so that the Exhibit person is both uber-connected AND deep-thinking but the world isn’t perfect and neither are the Exhibits.

So, what’s next?

No one can know for sure, but what one can know is that it is better to allow yourself the opportunity to think. In this way, you stand a greater chance of impacting, and not being impacted, by what is going on around you.  Instead of letting what has happened impact our lives, be part of what is yet to happen. Stay ahead of the game by being creative, allow yourself time to ponder life and always find time to rest; constantly being on the go doesn’t mean you are moving as fast as the world is. Make yourself a relevant game-day player through forward thinking and soon you will able to answer the question, what’s next?

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