Manage Boston Greet Your Aging With Energy and Openness, and Avoid These 3 Time Traps

Greeting the transitions of aging is a topic that brings up lots of different feelings for people. Because of that complexity, this can be a topic that writers sometimes shy away from.Indeed, ours is not a culture that is welcoming of the aging process. In part that’s because, wrapped in the process of aging, is the fact of human mortality. But the reality is that denial never helps. And once you step past denial and embrace the fact of aging, you discover that there are few things as rewarding as:

Finding time to accommodate changes as you age, and

Finding time to achieve true contentment as you grow to meet these essential challenges.

Aging probably shouldn’t be a surprise — but it truly is, for many of us.Intellectually, you know that with each birthday you grow older. However, some of the consequences of growing older can creep up on you, giving you an emotional jolt and leaving you without a plan, or even without the time required to make the necessary adjustments. When you find yourself in that spot, you know you’ve fallen into a time trap!

For example – does it seem that, as you age, projects ‘suddenly’ take much longer to complete? Of course, the slowdown has actually been occurring gradually over some period of time. But your realization of the reality of slowing down can seem to come out of the blue.The challenge, when you find yourself in this kind of a situation is to avoid three types of reactions that are really Time Traps because they keep you from living your moments as fully as possible:

First, avoid denial. It is tempting, when you first realize that it takes you longer to complete a task, to think this is a one-time occurrence and that if you simply focus and work harder, your original efficiency will return. It’s a time trap to behave as if something is going to return to the way it was when it probably won’t.

Second, avoid becoming entrenched in anger and frustration. This is a natural initial response, but as you grow angrier and more frustrated, you also become slower and less accurate. This time trap creates a vicious cycle in which your frustration grows as your efficiency and effectiveness dwindle.

Third, don’t remain mired in sadness. It is important, of course, to grieve the loss of your former level of efficiency as you work to embrace your new reality. By acknowledging and accepting this, you gain clarity about your options. Expressing your grief is one of the most freeing, cleansing, and deepening experiences that you can give yourself. The time trap comes into it if your grief is persistent and debilitating.

The difficulty that accompanies denial, chronic resentment, or despondency is that these responses limit your ability to make functional and appropriate time choices.

A much more fruitful and enriching path is to take the heart-based time management approach. Acknowledge your feelings of loss, and express them in appropriate ways within appropriate contexts. Then prepare to resolve the issues that arise. This balanced approach will keep you grounded and aware. It will enable you to maintain clarity and problem-solve effectively, to move forward, and to feel good about what you accomplish.That is your challenge as you greet your aging and avoid the time traps that can accompany this process – or really any process that involves loss! (And really, when you step back and think about it, this applies to ANY change – where there are always gains and losses… things to greet and things to grieve.)So, how are you greeting your aging – or other changes that you may be challenged by? Drop me a line… I’d love to hear your challenges, questions, and successes!

Artificial Intelligence and Our Humanity

We hear and read about it everywhere these days.

You hear people saying, “The future is now.”

“We have to give way to technology.”

“We’ll be better off and live better lives (maybe not even work) if we let AI do it.”

Yes, technology is here, and we are living at the dawn of the age of AI, and it’s a topic that we’ve seen and heard a lot more about this year.

I wonder what the opportunities will be for the average person. You know, the person who is not the founder of Facebook, Google or Amazon, which have placed such high barriers to entry that it will be rare for companies to break into that stratospheric league.

What’s Going to Happen with Humans?

Do you wonder what’s going to happen to the average person? AI are taking over customer service, writing, design, sales, law, and medicine. As a businessman and social entrepreneur, the reality is that if you’re looking at things in a purely bottom-line manner, using AI could make a whole lot of sense. They never get sick. They work 27/7/365. They never stop and can indeed produce more than any human can–in a lifetime. From a pure dollars and cents perspective, AI can make a lot of sense.

But then you have to wonder about the broader implications of AI, and I sense that society has not even started to get its head around the implications. If you pay even a little attention to the news, then you know that a few months ago Facebook engineers shut down and pulled the plug on AI that decided on its own to go ahead and develop a new language. It was more efficient for them to get the work done, but humans did not understand. It seems that the language was basic, but what happens if the AI had not been shut down? Would they have developed a highly sophisticated way to communicate and operate that completely excised human?

I agree that technology can be beneficial to society. I think most people would agree that we’d prefer to send a bot into a dangerous situation, say war, rather than ask our men and women to put their lives on the line. I think there’s something to be said for the rapidly expanding role of robotics in medicine. For example, the fact that we’ve started to print human organs with 3D is a significant advancement, and we have to hope that many lives will be saved.

The Deeper Issues Related to AI

My concern as I dig deeper into the issue of AI is what the implications are for the human race, and yes, that even includes how we in the philanthropic sector connect with each other and with the world we serve. As I noted in the previous article I wrote, the Partnership on AI, which is a collaborative effort between mega-companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and leading non-profits such as UNICEF and Human Rights are trying to lead the conversation about the implications of AI in all of our lives.

If you tune in even a little bit into the conversation about AI, you know that we have to deal with many issues, including some of the following:

Safety: We don’t want to be in a situation where AI is created, and it is not obligated to protect human life.
Transparency: We had the recent situation with Facebook where they shut down AI, but who rules (government or business) when someone says “Houston, we have a problem”?
Labor and the Economy: Whose responsibility is it to train people as AI develops and what will their work functions be in light of a much more powerful AI partner? Will people even have jobs?
Society: For communities around the world, which certainly includes nonprofit and philanthropic work, what will be the impact of AI on philanthropy, education, charitable work, science, private/public partnerships, etc.

The reality seems to be apparently developing that there are few areas–if any–that AI will not touch.

Humanity’s Competitive Advantage

When I read about issues related to AI, I think of one thing–humanity. I believe we all have to get into the conversation now about the implications of AI. I’m someone who likes and values people precisely because we are imperfect. There is a lot of prose and poetry in the human condition. AI cannot love, demonstrate courage, hope, dream, feel fear, etc.

In my mind, those qualities are what makes humans so much better than AI. Our values are our competitive advantage in comparison to AI. There is something intrinsic within people (some call it a soul or spirit, others connect the scientific dots of all the elements that make up our brains, hearts, and bodies) that makes us unique, and yes, even exceptional.

We have a serious conversation that has to take place about AI, but it involves all humans, and we have to pay attention before we have a situation we did not bargain for in the age of technology.

The Path for Humanity as it Greets AI

In many ways, I hope that AI begins to break down the things that divide us and that we discover that as humans, we are all the same. We are. Take away the issues of money, race, religion, gender and everything else; we all bleed red.

We all hurt.

We all hope.

We all dream.

The way I see it, the time is now for humanity. It can be our finest hours at the dawn of a new age–provided we all get out of our own way and engage in a global dialogue about humanity in the age of AI.