Economic Multipliers (12)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

YOU are an economic multiplier IF you use your time and energy well.

Social Problem No. 3 that I’m going to discuss is:

Internet and cell phone cruelty

I sometimes wonder whether I could survive high school if I went through it today. I did well academically in math and English but only had a year of general science, no foreign language classes, was a mediocre athlete with ‘average’ coordination and had no great academic aspirations.

I lacked social skills and given my interests, it’s likely that I would have been labeled gay. I had no fashion sense or, if I did, I didn’t have the clothes or the hair style to go with it.

In high school, I didn‘t realize my ‘lack of knowledge‘ or even that I lacked social skills. Given the ‘chatter’ on the Internet and on cell phones and the BROAD distribution in comparison to years ago, I’m absolutely sure that I would know today.

But back then, even without social skills, I sat with some girls at their lunch table and they included me in many activities (I can’t ever remember planning a one). I would have been an easy target for gossip: If I was, I didn’t know it. I am ‘lucky’ that I lived in that world.

I did not cultivate those friendships longterm: I never really learned ‘girl’ talk. I’m usually thinking about how you solve some problem and over the years have done extra research (beyond original degrees and formal education – last formal class: on power transmission) on:

    • solar design

    • distillation

    • education

    • economics

    • systems analysis

    • energy systems and the ‘grid’

    • social and physical infrastructure, etc.

I enjoy talking to neighbors about things like ‘drainage’ and energy efficiency. Most women just don’t relate: I don’t expect them to. A lot of guys wouldn’t either.

I’m doing better on clothes and hair. I found that if you accumulate clothes that stand the ’test of time’ and take care of them, the years will give you a fairly decent wardrobe. I enjoy dabbling in jewelry making and artsy ‘stuff’ so I occasionally end up with something ‘cool’ ALMOST by accident (OPEN). Most people I meet wouldn’t know this though because I rarely wear jewelry.

Why am I rambling on about these things on a page on economic multipliers?: I want you to know that EACH and EVERY action you take in your life, from the time you are young to the time you are old should reflect who you want to become.

ANY negative comments you TAKE TIME to make about others or any negative comments that you TAKE TIME to listen to about yourself will change who you become (either because they will never be forgotten – the Internet has a long memory and someday the person you talk about might become your neighbor – or, because you won‘t do something because you‘ll think you can‘t).


When I was in high school, the thing I planned on doing that I did not do was become a carpenter. Over the years I’ve gotten fairly handy with many tools anyway.

I wanted to climb mountains for some reason (and have). I thought I’d learn a foreign language someday (and I’m working on French right now).

What amazes me the most though is all the things I’ve done that I never planned on doing when I was young: I didn’t even know that I could:

    • got engineering and business degrees

    • presented at national quality conferences

    • served on a board for a state chamber of commerce

    • lived and worked in numerous cities across the nation

    • trained in karate and Tai Chi (karate was a great lead-in to Tai Chi)

    • traveled to Europe (on frequent flyer miles from many work trips)

    • wrote articles and a few books

    • learned to ski (it took a while but I finally got the hang of it)

    • learned how to do a flip off a diving board (in my 30’s but don’t ask me to do it today – I never learned when I was kid, still thought it was a ’cool’ thing to be able to do, and since I was taking some kids to the pool anyway (aunt kind of thing), I thought I’d take advantage of the time)

    • etc.

I have many ‘duh’ stories along the way. My first ‘real’ job out of college was in Denver (from Wisconsin). I drove into Denver from the Dakotas and thought the clouds that I was looking at were mountaintops … turns out you can’t see the mountains from the foothills … you have to ‘stand’ farther back. I didn’t even know Denver wasn’t IN the mountains when I accepted the job.

I went cross country skiing with some Denverites one time. They took me into the mountains and we skied up a rather steep trail. I did GREAT! And then we turned around. The snow in most places was over 6 feet deep (which means you could not walk down). I did not yet know how to downhill ski and was at the top of a mountain with a group of people who thought it would take about 5 minutes to ski back to the car. The first thing I proceeded to do was break a ski pole: After putting a BandAid on mine (really!), one of the expert skiers lent me his poles.

Obviously they never invited me skiing again: One even commented that he thought they’d have to airlift me out because he didn’t think it was possible to fall down and get up that many times. Even though I worked with these people professionally, they never mentioned my lack of skiing ability again (to me) – (THAT is CLASS!)

Guess what? I then went on to learn how to downhill ski.

My simple point in all of this is that if I had spent a LOT of time (I am not immune to the ease of sinking into it) gossiping about people when I was younger and as I've grown older (landline phones and social organizations were originally the main ‘avenues’ for my generation) – or accepted their gossip as ‘facts,’ I don‘t believe I would have done OR learned a lot of things.

Now I know that these things actually aren’t very impressive in and of themselves. They were done over the course of many years and many people my age have done much more. Many people are a LOT smarter than I. Many people are a LOT wealthier than I. Many people have lived much more ‘normal’ lives than I.

But I’m not them. I turned out OK and like who I am. I attribute this to using my time and energy well.

Today, aside from wishing that when I stepped out of the house I ALWAYS looked great, there’s only one thing I believe I still need to work on: I could still do better on thinking more before I speak. (Somehow, I think I’ll spend the rest of my life working on that).

Now, I don’t believe this page will change the ‘nature’ of cruel people.

But for all of you young people under some sort of attack, I would encourage you to plan your strategy:

When you are attacked, think to yourself (try NOT to say these things – just thinking them will be enough):

    • Wow, this person is a ‘negative economic multipler’ – even just knowing why that is so is pretty cool.

    • Wow, it’s almost impossible to fathom the depths of stupidity of this person.

    • Wow, this person is probably going to fail at just about everything that I will be able to accomplish in 20 years because look at how they are spending their time. (People who have a lot of time to tear others down normally lack the time to build themselves and/or other people up).

And then go to the library and DO this:

    • Find something funny to read or watch that will lift your spirits.

    • Find a book or educational DVD which will teach you something that you want to learn (I’ve noticed that people with more skills enjoy their lives a LOT more than other people).

If you’ve got a good network of friends, enlist their support and try to focus on building yourselves up versus striking back. (What project are you working on?) Always keep in mind: If YOU have time to tear others down, it’s very likely that you will not have the time to build yourself up.

This time I’m NOT going to say: 'The law enforcement agencies need your help' (although in extreme cases, you do need to get help). I am going to say:

This is a call to the youth of this nation:

YOU need to be your own and everyone else’s best friend.


I start here: Any social problem that is created when you are young, you will have to pay for in time, energy and dollars when you are older. Do you want to pay for a lot of PREVENTABLE social problems?

I go here: Technology and the Internet have made it a LOT easier to create a LOT of social problems.

I end here: If the youth of this nation (who tend to be the highest percentage of technology users) do not start thinking about creative ways that they can help THEMSELVES prevent THEIR OWN social problems, the nation as a whole (and the future you could envision – in a lot more ways than one) is in a LOT of trouble.