Monthly Archives: June 2011

Generational Differences Not A Great Divide – Lessons Learned While Traveling

I love the younger generation.  They see life through a different lens than someone of my generation.   It is not often that I have the opportunity to connect one on one with a twenty something person, so I was overjoyed to find myself sitting next to not one but three different young people on three separate flights recently.

On the first flight I found myself sitting next to Kaleigh a beautiful young woman on her way to Chicago to visit Loyola University for her graduate studies with a little side trip to see her beau.

Speaking with her was delightful especially as I learned a thing or two from her before the flight was over.  One of the myths Kaleigh shattered is that younger people do not read books but prefer electronic readers.  She was reading a copy of “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely.

A second book she recommended was “Made to Stick” by brothers Chip and Dan Heath,

This book  is about why some ideas survive and others die.  If you are like me, you get many ideas daily.  Some are good, some are great, and some are fleeting.  Why do some become the next Facebook or LinkedIn and others simply disappear into the ethos?  Yeah, I don’t know either but the book tries to help us better understand what is happening.    You can read an excerpt and decide for yourself.

Another book that Kaleigh recommended  is one titled “Why We Buy” by Paco Underhill.  Our discussion centered on how to get people to purchase your products online and in brick and mortar business.

These are all wonderful books and I had never heard of them until I met this lovely young woman.

By the time our flight arrived in Chicago I was completely charmed by Kaleigh and my perceptions of twenty somethings were shattered.

My next filght was to the East Coast and I found myself sitting next to Joseph a young man on his way to check out a potential college to study law.  He too was an avid reader and not a Social Media lover by any means.  He did not even have a Facebook or Twitter page.  He was not interested.  What he loves is Environmental Law and that is what he plans to study and practice.  Not much time for TV watching,  and he loves to read.

As I returned from the East Coast back to Chicago once again I found myself sitting next to a young lady of twenty who was heading home to visit family.  Her focus is on social work but of a different nature than usual.  She plans to study Epidemiology, which is the study of disease and the way it moves through groups of people.

Epidemiologists try to figure out what causes a particular disease (such as a virus), where it began, and how it spreads from person to person.  She said her intention is to return to her community and help them fight disease.

I have to say that as a seminar leader who teaches companies about communicating with today’s multi-generational workforce I was highly impressed by these three twenty somethings.

They lifted my spirit, my faith in the next generation, educated me on a few topics, and added to my own knowledge about people.

I learned from them that there are many very smart young people out there.  They may not be the ones the news broadcasts talk about, but there’s hope for America’s future.