We are living in times of prosperity that have never been seen before in our world history. Innovation is beating world hunger, eliminating poverty, and increasing longevity. Many of us live in societies that are strong economically, politically, culturally, and socially. These fortunes have existed for the entirety of life for many living today. Who wouldn’t agree this is an excellent time to be alive! Yet, in the richness of life, we, too, have developed a sense of entitlement that could erase the momentum history has given us.
It is human nature that when we are bored, lack something significant to champion, or lose a sense of purpose, we misplace interest and begin to fight among ourselves. Often disagreeing over little things, petty things that are made up subconsciously in exchange for something more significant.
One doesn’t have to look far to see the chaos our prosperity has created. We want to triumph, to say, “we did this.” Yet today’s younger groups can’t say that. The Greatest Generation had World War II, England had World War I. We are tribal at our roots; we don’t need war but a catalyst that unites us as a team. Think how cheering on an Olympic athlete or having a championship team in your community brings together groups who typically wouldn’t find common ground.
My great grandmother, Irene Simmons, was born in 1889. At that time, homes were lit by candlelight, and heated by the fireplace. Air conditioning was not even thought of yet. During her life, she saw electricity introduced into everyday use, roadways, and highways built where only trails existed, and unimagined air travel carrying us anywhere in the world. Did anyone in her early life ever think a man would walk on the moon? If you had suggested to anyone in the late eighteen hundreds what she would see in her life, people would think you were crazy!
The future of humanity and the life of the planet is at stake. Civilizations throughout history have perished where there is a lack of imagination. We need dreamers! Their ambitions must be big enough to challenge our entrepreneurial spirit while simultaneously utilizing the power of our economies. We are at a fork in the road; one path will lead to destruction or the other that allows us to stop arguing with one another and champion meaningful things.
For us to succeed—bucking the trend—we must look at the big picture. This requires that we understand history knowing we aren’t perfect, and fantasize over the unknown. On the desks of engineers, scientists, and business is the technology that can solve world hunger, provide clean water, eliminate toxic pollution, and utilize the abundant energies of the future. Let us challenge the paradigms of the past, realizing the dramatic difference made by those who have gone before us.
My great grandmother’s life may seem quick in retrospect, yet it will come even faster in the future. It is on us to ensure that those who are born today will have their grandchildren reflect on the positive changes we made. I know as you read this, your mind has already gone to places where you can help. We need you! Rise up, be the one who is thought to be crazy. Create a ruckus, innovate, produce, and use the talents you have been given. Together, we will lift the human condition now and into a yet unknown safe, and bright future for all.