Narrative connections

Be Useful

Be Useful

If you haven't heard, there is a new AI platform where you can ask the system anything you want and they will write you a detailed report, article, or proposal within seconds. It is pretty accurate and is, quite honestly, a bit of a marvel. The fact that the computer can spew out just about any content you want may seem super cool to many people, but I find it downright scary.

ChatGPT is owned by Elon Musk and was developed with the intention of open communication and a better world overall. And while I realize that we digest content in a very different way these days, I still believe in the power of real human connection. I subscribe to the idea that true learning is born from live, in-person experiences.

Real-world experiences provide a level of engagement and immersion that is difficult to achieve through other forms of learning. When we are actively participating in a live experience, we are fully present and engaged in the moment, which allows us to learn and absorb information in a much more effective and efficient way. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of making a client visit that resonated with me for days. Initially, the customer said “Why don’t we just zoom. You don’t have to spend the time and money to come see us.” I pushed backed and said, “I’m coming” and after a bunch of us went to dinner and shared some stories, I knew it was the right decision. At one point, I looked around and saw people laughing from their bellies and eager to share more of themselves.

It was a cathartic visit because it reminded us of the importance of in-person connections. You see, real-world experiences provide us with a sense of context and relevance that is difficult to achieve through other forms of learning. When we are learning through live experiences, we can see how the information and skills we are acquiring can be applied in a practical, real-world setting, which helps us to understand the value and relevance of what we are learning.

Live interactions provide us with opportunities for collaboration, communication, and problem-solving that are difficult to replicate through other forms of learning. When we are physically engaging, we can interact with other people and work together to solve problems, which helps us to develop important social and communication skills.

Finally, when we discover things through real-world experiences and connect live with people, our self-confidence skyrockets. When you do the discovery on your own, you take a certain pride in it. When we do the work for ourselves without the help of a bot, our spirit is lifted, and we are a bit more fulfilled.

I worry that we are losing ourselves by outsourcing our humanness. And the reality is that we probably cannot stop it. We all use technology shortcuts, and we never stop and ask if we should. The law of “Everyone else is doing it” dominates our culture and anyone who attempts to push back is like Don Quixote fighting windmills.

I may simply be howling at the moon, but I am truly concerned about the lack of personality that comes from a scarcity of non-digital interaction. At some point, when we have no real stories share, we become boring. If we use no discipline to discover things for ourselves than we truly are dumber. And if we continue to rely on digital shortcuts rather than the sweat of our brow, we will most certainly lack self-esteem.

It cannot be overstated. The ability to participate in live experiences and engage with the world around us is a crucial component of effective and meaningful learning. And our growth is why we exist in the first place. As Ralph Waldo Emerson stated “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 

Begin useful matters.

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Mark Potter

Founder / Consultant

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