Updated: Jan 5
George Bernard Shaw was attributed with the maxim that “Youth … is the most beautiful thing in this world—and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!” (quote may not be accurate). Similar adaptations are: “Youth is wasted on the Young” and “Education is wasted on the Young”!
My observation of the relationship between age and knowledge, within the context the ‘Young’, being those in their third decade, are “old enough to ‘know’ but not old enough to ‘know better’!”
I have observed many people approach their thirties with considerable knowledge, skills, enthusiasm, rhetoric, and ability to get things done. However, now that I’m double that age I begin to question the depth of wisdom of such people. Do they have the life experience that enables them to make sound decisions?
I strongly support another cliché, that, “you don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it”.
The world has many examples of people believing they have sufficient knowledge to make decisions and take actions but are missing fundamental pieces of information that would ensure a better decision and more satisfactory outcome. Fortunately, there are still many people who have a thirst for knowledge and will seek out appropriate information before making decisions or pursuing actions. I sometimes feel pity for those who are naïve and miss out on so much knowledge in life by simply being myopic or disinterested in knowledge!
As I observe the current events of the world and dismay at the mental state of some world leaders and the inhumanity that is inflicted quite unnecessarily upon populations, I look to the generation of 30+ years for answers.
It is not wisdom that I seek from them. It is my generation who should possess the wisdom; who should understand the root of most world issues.
Instead, I look to younger people for their naivety. Their mind-set is not bounded by experiences, observations or events of the past. Their actions are not suppressed by traditions, consequences or conflicting values.
Instead they are impulsive, brave and have a thirst for action. They are not confounded by wisdom or history. They see the world in its immediacy and life as a modus operandi; seeking harmony with the ‘state of existence’, albeit a chaotic environment.
They demand action immediately. Supporting their left-brain hemisphere cognitive functions and their right brain creative hemisphere, is their ‘third hemisphere’, Google(!), which supplies tremendous knowledge and links to the populous. These young people are equipped to achieve anything that their imagination can muster.
I have the pleasure of working with this generation, and socialising with them through family members and friends. Instead of sharing my knowledge and wisdom, gained over a lifetime, I find myself lagging behind in my endeavour to embrace their achievements and enthusiasm.
It is their boldness, lack of constrains and innocence that I admire; and encourage my generation to support and fuel.
I call on what those of my generation who are in senior management roles to support the 30+ year olds to make organisations, the community and indeed, the world, better. It seems to me there is less need for senior management to be a repository of knowledge and wisdom, as there was in the past. I am certain of a need to unravel the web of bureaucracy, compliance and governance that gave our generation structure and security, in favour of a framework, or operational plexus, that will provide guidance, freedom and incentive for the 30+ generation to forge our future.
As I lose faith in the political leaders of my generation; particularly those of the USA, and those in other countries who follow in the destructive antics of the USA, I am comforted and inspired by the younger generation who are so incredibly worldly, passionate and approachable. I not only refer to those who post their messages on social media, but also those who are unafraid to share a comment, conversation or even a beer with the likes of me, and my contemporaries, at a party or some other gathering. How wonderful it is to experience a social community that treats itself as equal towards any age, gender, race or religion. My message to my generation is ... listen, learn from, and be inspired by the youth of today! They really are amazing and switched-on!