Transcript: There’s a phrase I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot lately. Maybe I’m just noticing it more, because I know it’s been around as long as I have. The phrase, I think, is a pretty good temperature check for where our mindset is and the things that we’re focused upon.
As they like to say, the things that we focus on grow, so when we hear these words, I think it’s a really good opportunity to kind of take stock of where our focus is going and what are the things that we’re feeding. We can get a real quick idea of that based on how we react to this phrase which is, “People these days.”
“People these days.”
It’s a phrase I feel like I’ve been overhearing a lot. I’ve probably used it myself more than I care to admit, and probably even more recently than I want to admit. It’s a common thing to hear. For me, when I do hear it, it’s usually spoken with some measure of either what I would call disgust or fear.
Some of the very popular topics of conversation for a phrase like, “People these days?” Well, that’s easy: Drivers, those who run through red lights or cut you off in traffic, or people who are buried in their phones all the time and never look up and are disconnected from humanity, or poor service at the restaurant.
Politicians, that’s an easy one. “Rich people,” those who have everything and never give anything back. Or, you have the coach and the general manager of the area sports team who are clearly idiots and I could do better or we could do better or anybody could do better.
People these days!
I think that, like a coin, there are two sides to that phrase, and we get to choose which one of them we’re focused on. Thinking about this as I reflect back upon the week that I know that I’ve had, I’ll tell you just a little bit about it.
It started by going to an event where I met a fellow who had come from another part of the world entirely to get here to Canada. He completely re-engineered his life. He did that to build himself up to a level of success that any one of us would admire.
The reward that he got for that? He suffered the great personal tragedy of losing his wife. Yet he somehow found the strength to move on from that experience, and now years later is actually transparently and authentically sharing that story publicly in an effort to try to help other people find hope that are going through a difficult situation like that.
The very next day, I came across one of those “rich people;” somebody whose days are scripted down to the minute. Well, here’s the funny thing: I asked him for some of his time, and he gave it to me.
He also talked about how he’s got two missions right now. The first is to take all of the knowledge that he’s acquired through his hard work and effort over the last couple of decades, and to give it away. To give it away to try to help other people build themselves up.
The other mission is to help at-risk teens, because he had a really bumpy ride in his teenage years, and he knows how that can set you up either positively or negatively for the rest of your life and he wants to do what he can to make a difference.
Later that same day, I was at a fast food restaurant, the kind of job that a lot of us joke about. I met a woman in there who approached her role with such resourcefulness and such intense and incredible and authentic and genuine cheerfulness that I was so moved, that after I left the restaurant I stopped in the middle of the street and I told myself to go back to share with her how impressed I was. The inspiration from that connection I had with that woman and to see what she was doing, choosing to bring to her life and her work has lasted with me the whole rest of this week.
Then there was the next day, when I traveled a couple of hours away to see somebody that I know who came in from another country. I’ll say this bluntly: Here I am, a 5’7″ Canadian white guy who brought his kids to see a 6’5″ American black man, and I think about some of the things that I’m hearing and seeing going on in other parts of the world about how some people react to people who look and sound different. Well, I watched my two kids stand in front of this man with their eyes dancing and their hearts thumping with excitement and love as if they were meeting Superman himself.
People these days. I’d say they’re pretty awesome, and they’re everywhere. It comes down to which side of the coin are you seeing? The disgust and the fear, or the love?
When you gauge your response to a phrase like, “People these days,” if it’s that F-word (fear) that immediately comes to mind, I suggest you flip the coin.
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