Dreams of Our Father


My name is Jacob Ingalls, I write Confessions of a Tech Addict but this post doesn’t really fit into that form so Bryan was nice enough to let me post this on his site.

Over the last 2 days, I was at a Logistics and Engineering conference, which I generally dread going to every 6 months but this conference ended up being a bit different. This time around there were a couple other young professionals and doing what young people do in a sea of older people we found each other and had a few drinks after the first day of the conference ended. As we sat at dinner and swapped stories and proposed our ideas, one thing struck me, we were all seeking purpose but not in the way that our parents and grand parents had done. We all said we wanted to be successful but we weren’t sure we had it in us to do what it took to be wildly successful. We were all fairly certain that the 70-80 hour weeks that we have seen our bosses put in to get to where they were was really, honestly worth the effort. As the night went on, it became clear to me that we were seeking purpose and had no idea where to find it. Our generation and even the generation before it has no really overarching definition to it. Almost every generation since 1900 has had something that defined it, whether it be World War I & II, The Depression, The Cold War, Vietnam, The Space Race, but the current crop of 20-30 somethings don’t. We could be called the Internet generation but that has done very little to define us expect that we can text as the speed of light and change our relationship statues on Facebook. I look at my fellow 20 somethings and wonder if we could put a man on the moon before the end of decade, and I honestly don’t think we could, not because we’re not smart enough or don’t have the technology to do it, I just think we don’t have the wear with all to actually do it. From the hipsters to the junkies all the way up to the young corporate shot with her MBA, when I look at my generation all I see is a bunch of people who are already tired of this life at 26 and just waiting for the fulfillment that our 24 hour lives could hopefully bring.


4 thoughts on “Dreams of Our Father

  1. Jason

    Does one have to know failure in life before one can truly know success? 30-somethings and younger seem like a group insulated from failure. If success is exceeding our limitations, then can we know what success is if we never discovered our limits in the first place?


  2. I would tend to agree that one must fail before one can succeed, but I wouldn’t say it’s a must. My thinking is that we just don’t have the drive to fail or succeed. We succeed less because we don’t have the desire to actually be great or to do something special. Most of the people of our generation seem to be happy with comfortably getting by and don’t want to risk the comfort


  3. American society peaked at the height of the Atomic Age (around the time we put a man on the moon). Could we do it again? Sure. Our technology has surpassed the Atari-like computers of the Apollo era. The thing is, we lack the reason to do it again. The world is no longer defined with the black and white/ us vs. them mentality that pervaded the Cold War.
    I think that people today are lazy. Plain and simple. They fail to dream big (which could be something as simple as having a family and children) because they can’t see beyond their parents basement. The economy has something to do with this but at some point personal responsibility needs to kick in.
    Success is built upon failure. Just look at the many failures our country had before successfully launching a man onto the moon.


  4. Jason

    The reason I bring up failure is this. It seems very difficult to surpass your limits when you don’t know what they are. We were told growing up that we could do whatever we put our minds to. That was a lie. We can’t. Given our individual physical and mental constraints, there is only so much that we can hope to do in our lifetimes, and there are some things that no matter the effort we will never be able to do.

    But, to the person who believes they can do anything they put their minds to, the options are seemingly limitless. The one thing we know about human beings is that if you present us with a myriad of options, we either shut down or develop brand loyalty. We don’t want to choose, and so we are stuck. I heard it put this way: You are never more enslaved than when you can’t decide what cereal to choose on the cereal aisle. You are never more free than when you walk directly to what you want and take it.

    In other words, freedom isn’t having choices. Freedom is in the choosing.

    But, we live in a world where “freedom is choice” is the ideology. If you believe you can do anything you can put your mind to, you seem to have infinite choice and therefore infinite freedom. Or, that’s the way it seems.

    I’d say that people are stuck today because they can’t or won’t choose. They are overrun by their choices and the ‘world’ likes it that way. It makes us better consumers.

    It’s the people who can say YES to one thing, allowing a NO for all the rest, that find true freedom, success, and excellence.



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