I will not become obsolete

will I be obsolete

This week I sent a special message to my newsletter subscribers and received an overwhelming response to a piece I wrote about getting older and the fear of becoming out of touch. The post had an incredible response and many people asked me to post it on the blog so they could more easily share it and comment. I never publish the same content twice but I do want to be respectful of the many loyal readers who wanted me to post this. Here we go.

This is my birthday week, the sixth anniversary of my blog, the second anniversary of my podcast and the fifth anniversary of my first book The Tao of Twitter.

Usually birthdays don’t phase me. I don’t like a lot of attention and fuss any way. But this one has got me thinking about my relevance. What does it mean to be a Baby Boomer in a Millennial World? Will I inevitably reach a point of obsolescence? After six years of constant andmassive content production is there a point the well runs dry?

I think this is a conversation that runs in everyone’s head at some point. I recently had a friend tell me, “When I look at how these young people use technology, I wonder if I can keep up.”

My friend? She’s 25 … and she was talking about her 18-year-old sister.

Are you keeping up?

So even though I am … seasoned … I’m not alone in my thoughts. Is there a point when our perspective becomes obsolete? Will we even know it when it happens?

My parents — in their 70s — are clearly mystified by my world. And at some point their parents were probably mystified by the technology and lifestyle of my parents in the 1970s and 80s.

But I choose to believe that I am in a generation that can break that cycle. I think it will take a mindset shift in three areas.

Three ideas to break the cycle

1) Get over it. In almost every class I teach, somebody asks me, “Don’t you think young people today are losing social skills by texting all day? No. They are gaining NEW social skills that will be relevant in their world and we need to encourage that. We are never going back to the days when the family gathers around the dinner table to discuss their favorite books. Move forward.

2) Be humble and LEARN. This is no time to be confident just because you have had a 20-year-career in business. Truth is, you may not know anything about business today if you are living off yesterday’s accomplishments. Get on top of it. Find a way to keep up on trends to at least understand impact. You don’t have to be an expert in every new platform but you need to understand what is happening in a broad sense and why. This requires reading and listening. If you think you are too busy to keep up with the trends, you are working yourself into a state of uselessness.

3) Refuse to lose. I am probably the oldest blogger you are going to read today. But you know what? I’m at the top of my game. My content has never been better. I have a backlog of 162 content ideas. I started two new businesses in the last six months. I’m taking on more clients and more projects and I’m having fun every minute of it.

I will not become obsolete

Here is what you can expect from me. I am going to be the Mick Jagger of blogging. Even if I get to a point where you think I look tired and half-dead, I am going to be turning out content that blows your mind. I really can’t imagine it happening any other way. I won’t allow it to happen any other way. You are my reader, which either means you’re my friend or you will be my friend. There is no way I am going get myself into a place where I would disappoint you. I will not become obsolete!

Are you putting yourself in a position to break the obsolescence cycle too?

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and qiquinhosilva

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