The former CEO of Chrysler Corporation, Lee Iacocca, wrote what I consider a must read for anyone walking the planet today who’s fed up with politics running rampant in every facet of life. The book is entitled, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
In one chapter titled, “Are we too fat and satisfied for our own good?” Iacocca states, “Sometimes I wonder if we’d be better off with less success. Maybe our minds are getting a little warped. We have five hundred TV channels, plus the Internet. Too much TV, too much Internet, too many e-mails. I’m not knocking computers, but as the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Do you ever stop and think about how you’re actually benefiting from this brave new computer world?”
While the above paragraph truly resonated with me, I’m not naïve to the benefits computers and technologies have had on society. But beyond making things easier, you really have to ask yourself how have they made the quality of our lives better?
There’s no arguing that as an advanced society we’ve achieved the epitome of success, but at what cost?
We live in the most affluent society in the history of mankind and are afforded opportunities that many other parts of the world can only dream about. Yet too many of us are anxious, depressed and nervous even though citizens of the United States have never had it so good.
We’ve turned into an instant gratification society and care little of the cost associated either personally or financially just as long as our short term needs are fulfilled.
And who could ignore the hatred we seem to have for our fellow man today. We’re disrespectful of other’s property, other’s feelings and other’s way of life — believing we have the authority to do and say whatever we please.
As successful as we think we are, it doesn’t sound like it to me.
I often enjoy listening to stories of the past, recanted by those who lived decades ago. While they all share hardships and struggles in common, there are drastic differences from our lives today. There was a sense of gratitude for the gifts you were fortunate enough to be blessed with. A lack of technology might seem inconceivable, but it forced family and friends to share more of their lives with each other — to get to know people for who they were not what they represented as in today’s materialistic based world. A time when saying “hello” to an unknown stranger on city streets was commonplace; when respect was something we had not only for each other, but for ourselves.
As Iacocca said, “I wonder if we’d be better off with less success.” Maybe then possessions wouldn’t be a sign of one’s self-worth, but the way in which we behaved towards each other would be. Our lives will continue to progress — becoming even easier if you could imagine. But life is about more than just convenience — it’s about quality. Maybe it’s time we stop and think about how we’re actually benefiting from life today — benefiting where it truly matters.