Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Babies Born in 2011 Will Never Know ( by Stacy Johnson)

Huffington Post recently put up a story called You're Out: 20 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade. It's a great retrospective on the technology leaps we've made since the new century began, and it got me thinking about the difference today's technology will make in the lives of tomorrow's kids.

I've used some of their ideas and added some of my own to make the list below: Do you think kids born in 2011 will recognize any of the following?

Video tape: Starting this year, the news stories we produce here at Money Talks have all been shot, edited, and distributed to TV stations without ever being on any kind of tape. Not only that, the tape-less broadcast camera we use today offers much higher quality than anything that could have been imagined 10 years ago -- and cost less than the lens on the camera we were using previously.

Travel agents: While not dead today, this profession is one of many that's been decimated by the Internet. When it's time for their honeymoon, will those born in 2011 be able to find one?

The separation of work and home: When you're carrying an email-equipped computer in your pocket, it's not just your friends who can find you -- so can your boss. For kids born this year, the wall between office and home will be blurry indeed.

Books, magazines, and newspapers: Like video tape, words written on dead trees are on their way out. Sure, there may be books -- but for those born today, stores that exist solely to sell them will be as numerous as record stores are now.

Movie rental stores: You actually got in your car and drove someplace just to rent a movie?

Watches: Maybe as quaint jewelry, but the correct time is on your smartphone, which is pretty much always in your hand.

Paper maps: At one time these were available free at every gas station. They're practically obsolete today, and the next generation will probably have to visit a museum to find one.

Wired phones: Why would you pay $35 every month to have a phone that plugs into a wall? For those born today, this will be a silly concept.

Long distance: Thanks to the Internet, the days of paying more to talk to somebody in the next city, state, or even country are limited.

Newspaper classifieds: The days are gone when you have to buy a bunch of newsprint just to see what's for sale.

Dial-up Internet: While not everyone is on broadband, it won't be long before dial-up Internet goes the way of the plug-in phone.

Encyclopedias: Imagine a time when you had to buy expensive books that were outdated before the ink was dry. This will be a nonsense term for babies born today.

Forgotten friends: Remember when an old friend would bring up someone you went to high school with, and you'd say, "Oh yeah, I forgot about them!" The next generation will automatically be in touch with everyone they've ever known even slightly via Facebook.

Forgotten anything else: Kids born this year will never know what it was like to stand in a bar and incessantly argue the unknowable. Today the world's collective knowledge is on the computer in your pocket or purse. And since you have it with you at all times, why bother remembering anything?

The evening news: The news is on 24/7. And if you're not home to watch it, that's OK -- it's on the smartphone in your pocket.

CDs: First records, then 8-track, then cassette, then CDs -- replacing your music collection used to be an expensive pastime. Now it's cheap(er) and as close as the nearest Internet connection.

Film cameras: For the purist, perhaps, but for kids born today, the word "film" will mean nothing. In fact, even digital cameras -- both video and still -- are in danger of extinction as our pocket computers take over that function too.

Yellow and White Pages: Why in the world would you need a 10-pound book just to find someone?

Catalogs: There's no need to send me a book in the mail when I can see everything you have for sale anywhere, anytime. If you want to remind me to look at it, send me an email.

Fax machines: Can you say "scan," ".pdf" and "email?"

One picture to a frame: Such a waste of wall/counter/desk space to have a separate frame around each picture. Eight gigabytes of pictures and/or video in a digital frame encompassing every person you've ever met and everything you've ever done -- now, that's efficient. Especially compared to what we used to do: put our friends and relatives together in a room and force them to watch what we called a "slide show" or "home movies."

Wires: Wires connecting phones to walls? Wires connecting computers, TVs, stereos, and other electronics to each other? Wires connecting computers to the Internet? To kids born in 2011, that will make as much sense as an electric car trailing an extension cord.

Hand-written letters: For that matter, hand-written anything. When was the last time you wrote cursive? In fact, do you even know what the word "cursive" means? Kids born in 2011 won't -- but they'll put you to shame on a tiny keyboard.

Talking to one person at a time: Remember when it was rude to be with one person while talking to another on the phone? Kids born today will just assume that you're supposed to use texting to maintain contact with five or six other people while pretending to pay attention to the person you happen to be physically next to.

Retirement plans: Yes, Johnny, there was a time when all you had to do was work at the same place for 20 years and they'd send you a check every month for as long as you lived. In fact, some companies would even pay your medical bills, too!

Commercials on TV: They're terrifically expensive, easily avoided with DVRs, and inefficiently target mass audiences. Unless somebody comes up with a way to force you to watch them -- as with video on the Internet -- who's going to pay for them?

Commercial music radio: Smartphones with music-streaming programs like Pandora are a better solution that doesn't include ads screaming between every song.

Hiding: Not long ago, if you didn't answer your home phone, that was that -- nobody knew if you were alive or dead, much less where you might be. Now your phone is not only in your pocket, it can potentially tell everyone -- including advertisers -- exactly where you are.

Decode the Happiness Coach by Xu Li ( Thank You Xu Li for this lovely article)

In Hinduism and Buddhism, there have been the swami and the guru; in Greece, the mentor, and in the West, in physical and literary form, the teacher and sage.

Times and priorities have changed. In today’s fast-paced society, the modern guide for spiritual fulfillment comes in a new form—professional life coach.

After quitting her job at Cathay Pacific Airways Hong Kong, Shveitta Sethi, in her 30s, became someone who helps people pursue happiness in life. This began as a hobby when she was still a flight attendant, but now she has fully devoted herself to the joy-spreading business and is trying her best to make this world a happier place.

With an impressive sign of smile besides her name on her business card, Sethi branded herself a happiness coach, a trademarked niche for a life coach that facilitate the growth and achievement of goals for individuals looking for more happiness and who want someone to listen and help.

Born into a military family in India and who moved to Hong Kong in 1989, Sethi has been living in this city for almost 20 years. She has seen people suffer from great pressure here despite the affluent material life, and developed a strong drive and responsibility to spread happiness and make Hong Kong a happier place. She believes happiness is a skill—the more we practice, the better we are.

With a MBA degree from the University of Hong Kong, she may have a mind of a potential entrepreneur, but more importantly, she has a heart of a philosopher.

“I think I should be awarded a degree in HAPPINESS instead,” she laughed, “as I am doing well in the business of ‘selling’ happiness.”

Moreover, as a keen reader who also enjoys writing self-help columns and blogs, Sethi has becomes more and more recognized for her work as a happiness coach.

She said there are five conditions for a happy life: material, spiritual, intellectual, relationship and health. If people can have achievement in each of these areas, they then can be considered as having a happy life.

However, nowadays, in a metropolis like Hong Kong, more and more people lead stressful lives because they put too much attention on money -- their only source of happiness.

“It is because of the lives we lead. We live in a society where money talks,” Sethi said. “People today are too busy with earning money. They work so many hours a week and have too many things to do, so other important things like relationship, family and health get left out.”

She added, “Rarely do people get time to sit down and really think about what they want out of life and the steps necessary to take them there.”

Consequently, she said people gradually slip into “reactive” lives. “That is, they only take action in response to things that happen to them. They look for a new job when they lose their old one; they begin to take care of their health only after they've been sick.”

According to Social Indicators Research, 37 percent of the people on Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average American, which signifies that money alone sometimes cannot promise happiness.

“We live in a world of so much information that it is easy to become confused. Life coaching helps the individual clarify their wants, needs and values,” says Chan, president of Hong Kong's Coaching Community, a leading association of coaching professionals.

And this also applies to Hong Kong. According to a random telephone survey by Lingnan University’s Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) in October 2008, the percentage of unhappy people is actually highest among the highest income group.

Therefore, in Sethi’s eyes, to some extent, the recent financial crisis is good. “Finally you have a chance to stop and think about what is really important in your life and what else I can do in addition to making money.”

And so she hopes that the economic tsunami could provide an opportunity for people to value something else -- like family and health – as a measure of true happiness in life.

As to her methods, she hopes that the lessons learned and the benefits derived from life coaching will sound like homespun advice -- plain common sense of the sort dispensed by mothers and best friends over coffee, rather than academic instructions from books.

“That’s because I have a degree in LIFE, not in psychology,” she laughed. “If these strategies and steps weren't straightforward and easy to grasp, people wouldn't do them.”

Unlike teachers of the past, or today's other mentors, a good life coach does not give out the secrets to happiness, but instead unlocks the potential that resides in anyone to live a fulfilling life by getting them to take charge.

“As a happiness coach, I never give orders or instructions to others what to do,” Sethi said. “I help them see the possibilities and the positives, and we set out steps that they have created in consultation with me.”

“Don’t fix things. Fix yourself,” Shveitta said, using a comparison to illustrate her idea: “If you want your garden to be attractive to butterflies, the best way is not to chase after them with a net, but to grow beautiful flowers inside. Naturally, butterflies will come themselves.”

She added, “The answers to a happy life are inside everyone, and I believe each one of us instinctively knows what we want and need to do to be satisfied in life. It is just a matter of bringing it out.”

Indeed, selling happiness is a growth industry that began nearly a decade ago with a large number of social scientists turning out experts in the joy-spreading business.

Studies into the power of optimistic thinking conducted by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman led to a new branch of social science—positive psychology. Researchers at Harvard, Princeton, Michigan and Kent State are among the leaders in the field.

Christopher Peterson, a clinical psychologist at the University of Michigan, said that there is great interest by the number of books and college courses on this subject and he called it “a hunger to be happy.”

However, at around HK$750 to HK$800 per session for individuals and even more for corporate groups, the “cost of happiness” may be too high for many people.

Actually, when people came to Shveitta Sethi for help and consultation, most choose to ask the following question at first— “How much money do you charge for an hour?”

“How can I give a price on happiness? One hundred? One million?” she said. “If someone’s life will be changed by what I say, it is the greatest rewards for me. Not everything can be measured in terms of money, just like happiness.”