Colonel Sanders travelled throughout the United States with a pressure cooker and a secret recipe in his dusty old car. He had to exchange a dozen jobs and face failure for all his life. His life had been torn apart and his ideas were rejected. Broke and perhaps on the verge of killing himself, at the age of 65, he finally met a man named Pete Harman who bought the idea of his unique chicken frying recipe. In the year of 1952, the sales of his fried chicken tripled with an increase of 75 per cent. Colonel Sanders was 88 years old when his Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) made him a billionaire.
We live in a world that is advancing towards the future in a peculiarly impulsive manner. Good impulsive or bad impulsive? I don’t really know. Somehow it seems that the very advancement that we so proudly boast about is perhaps an odd dilemma. The future can be seen through an optimistic or a pessimistic lens but its definiteness lies solely on the actions we make today.
Where exactly are we though?
The generation that was born on and after the year 1994 is known as the generation of Millennials. Millennials, like the Generation X, are accused of laziness, entitlement, poorer human connection and lack of motivation. As much as I try not to believe that our generation is obsessed with instant gratification, I have to say that I am guilty of its pleasure. When everything is readily available to us at the tap on our smartphone screens, we somehow forget to realize that real satisfaction takes time and effort. Perhaps the story of Colonel Sanders is a reminder that persistence will always reward the patient kind.
“Instant gratification” or “instant satisfaction” is exactly what is holding us back. Everything that is interesting goes in with a filter and then the wait begins, one “like” after another, we are soaked in the glory that only lasts for seconds. Research suggests that a single “like” tends to produce a surprising amount of Dopamine (feel good hormone), which is almost equivalent to a hug. We are already aware that social networking apps have been linked to an astounding number of mental health consequences such as depression, jealousy, anxiety and low self-esteem.
The older generation brands us as “unfocused millennials” or the usual “smartphone generation” but they rarely offer us a solution or simply, they can’t. Maybe the only ones who can solve this problem are the ones who are actually going through it. To do this, we need to harness our chi and do some serious air-bending. Are we ready? Oh come on, you don’t have to deactivate your account.
If you like taking pictures, get a camera
Of course, this sounds stupid but it really helps when you are not taking Instagram stories every now and then. Perhaps, we might even learn a few things about photography without having to wave around our wand of a smartphone everywhere, producing tinges of dopamine fairy dust.
Do fewer stories
Let’s stop putting everything in our social media stories and just be present in the moment, as it happens.
Smartphones have other work too
Log out of your social media every once in a while and do something worthwhile with the free time in your hand. Try blogging, read articles, learn something new, make movies, write songs, go bonkers.
Talk to people
We swipe left, we swipe right and with no apparent reason failing to realize that there’s a person sitting right next to us. Start a conversation. Create a connection. People are really interesting if you care enough to listen.
Just about an hour before the countdown of New Year’s Eve, my phone went dead. I had people to meet and places to go, now I couldn’t even reach out to them and I didn’t even remember any of their numbers. Hopelessly barreling through the crowd, I somehow met a friend whom I had no plans with, along with him stood his 28 year old brother. We almost instantly decided to find a better spot. Every pub and every cafe was either pre-booked or had hardly any space to fit a single human body. Then a magical revelation came to my friend’s brother, he shoved us in his car and rang all of his best friends from college, none of who have met in five years. After about twenty minutes, his car was filled with a policeman, a teacher and his friend, two engineers, a bureaucrat and two college kids. We drove towards the top of the hill, from where an eagle eye view of the town could be seen. Sitting around a bonfire, in the middle of nowhere, we were lost into the trance of a whole other level. Stories of how life had transposed for them, the unexpected jokes thrown at each other, and the occasional moments of heart wrenching silences. We were marinating in the ambience.
Perhaps we are only just complicating things by trying to seek some esoteric version of happiness, when in fact we can create it anytime and anywhere. I sometimes wonder, would there be any mystery to our lives if we met after five years?