Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Are we turning into Robots? The Case for Thinking Outside the Box

I'm torn between emotions right now, having been on my way to bed an hour ago when I roamed back over to my computer to shut it down for the night. And then durn it, I remembered I had to email someone....and post about an upcoming event....and then well, I'd sent myself a few links earlier today from my phone to follow up on....and here it is eighty minutes later. BUT, the reason I'm still here is this link. It's content is short and sweet; more of a question than an article; something that hits home so much for me that I had to settle down to review it and once that took place there was no walking away without commenting. THIS is home turf; stuff I know about; actions and reactions that I've seen and witnessed over and over again in my own small business. These are the things and the "thinking" (or perhaps, lack OF), which can murder off the mom and pop stores faster than a sluggish economy. The "fear of thinking outside the box" is indeed a killer and it's threatening everyone of us who isn't defined or covered by the protective umbrella of a corporate logo. (I pause here to insert an image I'd created a year or so ago and used as a profile picture to express my discomfort at watching people refusing to think for themselves......)

The link I'm referring to didn't initially seem too disturbing; after all, we need to talk about this and it's a good conversation to keep having. Broadening of minds rather than shrinking them is always a positive thing, right? RIGHT? I'm worried that I could be one of the minority rather than the majority with that thinking however.....and I've been worried about it for some time. Here's the link, which starts out innocently enough via Scott's Marketplace - "Quiz: Are You Chained to Chain Stores?" Unfortunately I could barely make myself read to the end before clicking the sharing icons and beginning to type out my thoughts.....Are YOU chained to the familiar icons and colorful logos? It's occurred to me more than a few times how much people have come to rely upon those things that are "safe" and "comforting" - unfortunately however, to the exclusion of trying something new or outside the box. That means people MAY be closing their eyes (and minds, and wallets) to the small store on the corner, or the mom and pop diner, or the locally owned bakery. We don't really want to live like that....do we?

Parents especially are critical in the development of how their children perceive whether or not to take such "risks" and branch away from the corporate lifestyle which is fed and marketed to us at every turn, on tv, through social media, and across every imaginable channel possible for advertising. We ALL have the opportunity to speak up and say "but why don't we go to Bob's Family Restaurant instead of Denny's this Saturday?", however parents you are critical decision-makers in the eyes of your kids. If you show them a stunted pattern of being unable to choose "outside of the box", what is that teaching? Does that process begin to shape a fear or reluctance of the unknown and instead reinforce the belief that only the brands that are plastered on every bus, metro station, magazine and on the borders of almost every social site, are the best options?? Surely we are not willing to see a generation of little robots formed....ARE we?

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