Now that this year’s fireworks are a glittered memory, what will you do before recognizing the country’s 236th anniversary (next year)?
Last night I enjoyed the fireworks at my friend’s Outback Steakhouse in Fairfax, Virginia. Tim Burrows is a big deal in Fairfax and as manager of that location, he throws an amazing party. We all left with a heightened sense of American pride as is typical; if you sit back and just watch the annual replica of the rockets red glare. I wondered quietly, “What’s next?”
People often ask what I talk about as a speaker or what I write about. The easiest answer I can give them is I talk about YOU:
- The son or daughter you try to be
- That spouse you want to be
- The employee or business owner you aspire to be
- That person who on your least cynical days, still believes that you too are a “big deal”
What does our country, mired in $14 Trillion of debt and parallel challenges just as large, really need? Our country needs you.
Beyond the rocks, water masses, purple mountain majesty and our flag (that’s still there), our country needs you, to be everything you thought you could be. Our challenges are domestic and foreign much like our competition. It isn’t enough to compete well locally without considering the ramifications of a global economy that’s growing in size and savvy around us. When it comes to savvy, countries like China, India, Brazil and others have been getting better educated and better capitalized as one would expect emerging nations to do over time. When it comes to size, China and India alone account for over 2.5 billion people versus the United States of America at just over 310 million. If you like arithmetic, you’ll notice that as a relative ratio the USA is merely 12% of India and China in size. If history is any measure however, I like our odds when it comes to global competition.
THE WAY FORWARD
Take yourself on a brief historical journey of our country’s growth by reading Tyler Cowen‘s brief essay entitled The Great Stagnation. Unlike Dr. Cowen, I am neither an economist nor a Harvard graduate; though we both received our Bachelors of Science degrees from George Mason University (Go Patriots!). The reason I recommend his writing is because it awakens a basic understanding of innovation. Many of our earliest heroes at the turns of the 19th and 20th centuries understood this clearly: a true innovation is the implementation of a new invention. New inventions take creativity, effort and in business they must be monetized to forcefully effect the economy. By way of contrast, this is how Dr. Cowen explains our contemporary innovations:
“Contemporary innovation often takes the form of expanding positions of economic and political privilege, extracting resources from the government by lobbying, seeking the sometimes extreme protections of intellectual property laws, and producing goods that are exclusive or status related rather than universal…” Professor Tyler Cowen, George Mason University
He goes on to reference the false “innovations” that precipitated the last financial crisis. True innovation must become a conversation that we have with our bosses, our clients and even our families. How can we produce new items and services of value not just for ourselves but for the world’s eager consumption?
What is it going to take? Everything we are and everything we have always wanted to be.
JULY 5TH, 2011
Your new years resolutions are dusting themselves off and getting ready to be shared once again, just before 2012. Ignore them, as they will do what they annually do. Think of a larger mission, one that takes into an account the generation that will follow yours. On the day after our U.S. Independence Day, what will you resolve to do for the sake of your country’s future? Beyond the platitude of my use of the word “country,” what will you do for the people who have not yet learned to compete globally as well as domestically? What can you teach them about the success you have learned and earned over the years?
In 2050, when domestic and world demographics shift again, what will you tell people when they ask what you did to sustain the competitiveness and independence of the United States of America? The answers to these questions is what I have entitled Patriotic Development™ and I hope you will join a generation of people who will answer our country’s call.
Happy 5th of July.
Jason Howell is the author of AMERICA: Still the Land of Opportunity, Always a Home for the Brave.” For more insights on success in business and in life, pick up your copy today. Also, be on the lookout for his newest book in the Patriotic Development™ series coming this Fall (2011).