Where Will the Next Generation of Experts and Gurus Come From?

I am worried. I have I have been a trainer, coach and college professor for nearly 2 decades now and I am worried about our future. These concerns are from my observations, obviously there are exceptions to these as there are always outliers. The current generation has grown up not knowing what life without the internet or modern technology was like. They are used to being able to push a button and get what they want. They expect fast change and immediate results. They are very trusting as well. They read something on the internet and assume it to be accurate and of the utmost expertise. I have, on multiple occasions, had students and clients disregard years of proven expertise because they found a “faster” way on the internet. Really? Here’s funny thing, as a blogger, I can confirm for you that when it comes to the information I present, there are two important tings that you should know: The first is that it has a ulterior motive, in some way, it must benefit me. I am a personal trainer, so my motive is to get more personal training clients, or at least recruit people for whom to write workouts and nutrition plans. This is how I pay my bills. Which leads me to the second thing, I don’t tell you all of my tricks. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of trial and error applying that acquired knowledge to learn the things that separate me from my peers. Do you really think that I am going to give all of that expertise away for free?! If you do, then you are naive….seriously.

Bring me a guy with a 500 pound squat that has been stuck there for 3 years. In one workout, I can increase his squat by 15-50 pounds (sometimes more). If he is following that workout from home without my personal guidance, he will get at least a 15 pound jump during that workout. If I am standing there making observations and giving tips and making adjustments, it will be closer to 50 pounds. Am I going to teach you how to do that for free? Nope. If you want to learn how to do that, you are most certainly going to pay for it (honestly, you probably couldn’t afford that information). I don’t even teach paying clients how to do that. I give them a simplified answer if they ask, but there is a lot of science, skill and even artistry that goes into that process.

Most of the information that I give away, is common knowledge among my peers. I give just a little bit more than that away, just to peak your curiosity.

The problem with the internet generation is that they expect me (and my peers) to just give everything to them. They want to push a button and learn everything that there is to know. This is incredibly lazy. Which brings me to my point. Things worth acquiring in life require work, discipline and diligence. They do not come for free. Sure, you can learn a lot for free, but you can not become an expert for free. You can not excel without certain key characteristics. Diligence, curiosity, continual observation and hard wok are all keys to success in life. The single most frequently observed characteristic among the most successful people in the world: the willingness to fail over and over again for years without giving up before they finally get it right. Then they continue to refine until they perfect it. So what happens when the internet generation leaves school, moves out of mommy and daddy’s house and has to get a real job and live in the real world?

The current observation is not promising. I have actually seen a “twenty something” client that had not even finished his degree go into depression because he didn’t get a job in his field of interest within his first 3 months of trying. He refused other jobs, in hopes of immediately achieving his dream job. I asked him why he had done this. Why remain jobless while waiting for your dream job? His response: “I am better than those jobs. I deserve this job, I have paid my dues!”…he has never even had a real job, nor has he finished his degree. I interned for 4 years, for free, while going to college to get a graduate assistant position. Then after earning my M.S. I earned my first full time position, paying a whopping 14 grand per year. Why did I take a job paying so little, especially when several of my coaches had expressed a desire for me to apply for the coming head strength and conditioning vacancy? I thought that I could learn a lot more at the job that paid less. And I am certain that I made the correct decision. Now I run a successful business an I am very good at what I do. A friend of mine that runs a business has made similar observations from this generation entering the job field. Most of his new hires from this generation are hugely under qualified and feel hugely entitled. My favorite example of this was when a new hire (3 months) that had frequently demonstrated ineptness and had been late on many occasions asked for a raise. When my friend asked why he should receive a raise the new hire responded with “Because I show up to work everyday”…..Really, that was his response, and he was serious. And he has had similar experiences over and over again.

So what should we expect from the generation that thinks that it can find everything for free on the internet, has received trophies just for trying, and has had graduation ceremonies for every grade since kindergarten? I do not know. There are a few shining lights, but for the most part, its not a bright future. I can only hope and pray that they will learn the work ethic and diligence necessary for success in their first decade in the work force. But, for now, they are certainly behind the learning curve despite the many resources that they have at their disposal.

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