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Small Choices, Big Consequences

February 21st, 2012

Remember when the Internet first became popular, many years ago?

Did we have any idea what changes were in our future?

We enjoyed what we had then, and looked forward to things that were to come.

We consumed information differently, and we bought things differently.  It changed our world, changed our lives, and changed the world.

We loved it.

We were excited about it.

That is, we loved it IF we weren’t a travel agent.

What’s that, you ask?  That was a title/role that was very popular, somewhat coveted, fun and rewarded, and utterly destroyed by the internet.

Oh well, too bad for them.  Just a casualty.

Then, the Internet started infringing on other industries and jobs.

What has the Internet done to the car sales, especially the used car sales, industry?  What about the movie industry, the newspaper industry, the post office, the ________, the ______, the ______ … the list can go on and on and on.

I’m going to say in general we didn’t care about the changes in those industries when it happened.  As consumers (of products, services, information) we were glad to see the changes, which enriched our lives.  As long as the downsizing, industry slaughter and casualties didn’t affect us directly, it was all for the good of society, and we could enjoy and be detached from the painful side of change.

Fast forward to today.  I’m not saying the Internet is responsible for any economic downfall, but it caused change and shifting in what our normal used to be.  And really, we voted for it.  With each click, and purchase, we voted for the change.  And now, we’re starting to realize what this change means to us, personally.

It’s the same thing with Wal-Mart.  I like Wal-Mart.  I shop there regularly.  It’s one of the first places I go to find something because they’ll usually have it.  There’s a Super Wal-Mart close to my house.  But every time I spend money there there, it hurts any local store.  (there aren’t many local stores around anymore… most of them are just smaller, or more niche, versions of Wal-Mart)

Its argued that buying at Wal-Mart hurts the U.S. economy, since most everything (gross exaggeration, I know) is manufactured outside of the U.S.  but we don’t think about that too much, when we drop $20 on something.  How could our $20 help, or hurt, the U.S. economy?  It can’t, can it?  Unless, of course, all those $20 bills add up to hundreds of millions, and billions… then it can hurt.

But my $20 can’t hurt.  Plus, it would take too much time and gas to go to two or three other stores just to find what I need.  Wal-Mart is… convenient!

What’s convenient now might be a killer down the road.  Speaking of killer….

What about McDonalds?  Just dropping by the drive-through can’t hurt, can it?  It’s just one meal… how can that have an impact on my body?  I’m hungry and need to feel my belly.

I drive by a McDonalds every time I leave my tiny town.  The last time I drove by I was with my kids and we were talking about nutrition.  I wondered if anything on the MickeyD’s menu had any nutritional value (or, any value that wasn’t outweighed by the horrific ingredients).

But it’s convenient, and cheap, to eat at McDonald’s.  Just this once.  Not a big deal.  It can’t hurt that bad, can it?

I was talking to a nutritionalist a few weeks ago.  She said one of the most addictive and harmful things her clients eat is french fries.  She said McDonalds rolls their fries in sugar, which makes them more addictive.  And her clients are on them like crack addicts are on crack.  Here’s a google search with more info on rolling fries in sugar.

What’s the point of all of this?

Change is inevitable.  No one can stop the Internet, even as it changes industries (ie travel), products (ie books), services (ie phone services).

Instead of getting in the steamroller’s path and then whining about being destroyed, how can you move, and then look for new opportunities?

Also, small decisions that we make will have an impact on the future we live in, and create for our children.

Attitudes, habits, ethics, our language, how and where we shop, will have more of an impact than we think.

My message for the last six years has been a message of “you CAN take control of your career, and your future.”  Today’s post is more macro, bigger than your career… you CAN take control of how you live, and what you get out of life.

You can even start today.

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One response to “Small Choices, Big Consequences”

  1. Marc Miller says:

    Jason,
    Most of us baby boomers were raised to be employees for father like corporations that would take care of us. We would work for 30+ years, keep our nose clean, take out the trash, educate our kid, pay our house off, and then retire into a blissful existence.

    That AIN’T happening for most!

    I just released “Don’t Retire Even If You Can – A Baby Boomer Manifesto” which expands on your post. You can take control!

    Download at http://careerpivot.com/2012/dont-retire-even-if-you-can-a-baby-boomer-manifesto/

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