Most times, people who have opinions and the nerve to express them create polarized reactions. The history and nature of political elections in the USA are all the evidence you need of this. There’s no such thing as business change when 54% is considered a landslide and you need to continue pandering to the other 46% if you want to keep your job.

I’ll take this opportunity to throw a quick jab at Barack Obama. Mr. President, I was part of the majority who elected you, and you have utterly failed to create the change we were supposed to believe in. Just sayin’.

Today’s musings aren’t actually about politics or elections, though; I’m thinking today about cartoonist Scott Adams’ piece is the Wall Street Journal last week, where Mr. Adams suggested that boredom is the major force behind innovation.

Even more specifically, I’m thinking about this article at Gizmodo, essentially calling Adams an old dinosaur.

Scott Adams, creator and author of Dilbert, a very smart man who I’ve written about here at Answer Guy Central a few times, has an issue with the speed of and volume at which we’re bombarded with information today. I’ve long said that the need to be constantly multitasking takes away from our ability to concentrate on individual tasks and might actually be unhealthy, but Adams has a different point:

If we’re always engaged and never have a chance to be bored, we lose (one element of) the ability to innovate.

Or to state it as a handy cliché, necessity is the mother of invention.

As the young author at Gizmodo pointed out, Adams isn’t “right”; plenty of innovation is still taking place, even with the rapid-fire pace at which we all need to run just to keep up in today’s business world.  But Mr. Loftus isn’t right, either, and Scott Adams is far from wrong; not having the time to … just … be … does turn off part of your creative process.

What bothers me is that Loftus is making this a old guy versus young guy argument.

Spoken like a young guy. Hey, old geezer, if you can’t see that we’re doing cool stuff and aren’t patting us on the back for it above, beyond, and instead of having and stating your opinion, then I’m going to write you off as an old guy and stop listening.

I’ll accept that recent technology developments, adopted more quickly by younger people, have created changes that just don’t make sense to older people. At the same time, I can’t believe that it’s a young versus old thing when people are so rude they believe it’s OK for indiscriminate texting to interrupt real-life, in-person conversation. Young people haven’t cornered the market on this behavior, by the way, but they sure do seem to have succumbed in way-larger numbers.

I was kidding when I said that young people aren’t as smart as older people. I swear I was. But to react to Scott Adams’ lament for the good old days with what was essentially an attack on people who remember a quieter time—while belonging to a generation so riddled by Attention Deficit Disorder that the very basics of human interaction have eluded them—is to acknowledge the real point: sometimes, experience just plain matters.

Share This