AT the age of seventy-five my father was a computer wizard. In fact I remember so well dad teaching me the basics of the machine and its technology. He was a man who never slipped into a mode of ‘so much and no farther.’ He always wanted to experiment and try out new things and never ceased to have a boyish wonder for anything different.
My dad passed away some years ago, but ever since I have tried to tell many others his age to learn about the net and e-mail and all the wonders of the World Wide Web. “Talk to your children every day through Zoom or Skype,” I tell lonely parents whose sons and daughters live abroad and they shake their heads and tell me it’s too late to learn Bob!”
It is not hard to see what can happen when we refuse to improve ourselves. Do you know who set the standard for fine watch making for most of the 20th Century? It was the Swiss who came forward with the minute hand and the second hand. They led the world in discovering better ways to manufacture the gears, bearings, and mainsprings of watches. They even led the way in waterproofing techniques and self-winding models. By 1968, the Swiss made 65 percent of all watches sold in the world and laid claim to as much as 90 percent of the profits.
Which country sold the most wrist watches in the 1980s? Answer is Japan. By 1980, Swiss companies had laid off thousands of watch makers and controlled less than 10 percent of the world market. Their profit domination dropped to less than 20 percent. Between 1979 and 1981, eighty percent of Swiss watchmakers lost their jobs.
Why? Because the Swiss had refused to change the way they traditionally designed watches and utilize the less expensive and more accurate Quartz crystal.) Quartz movement, ironically was invented by Swiss.) They did not seriously experiment with a radical new way of designing timepieces.
Our lives are not so different. Without constant experimentation – daily growth and change to become the best we can be – our old attitudes, behaviours and skills will no longer work for us. The old ways of thinking and doing will be about as relevant as a grandfather clock on a space shuttle. We need to experiment and improve. We need to turn our lives into an active science.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do,” wrote Mark Twain. “So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Make your life an experiment…and something wonderful can happen..!