Hi! 👋 I’m Jessa

I blog daily about life, work, and the future

Blogging daily since 2020

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Playing scrabble looks easy.

All you need to do is find actual words out of your tiles, place them on the board, build it on top of other words on the board, and count your score. And yes, putting them in spaces with special bonuses is a plus!

However, playing it as a Gen Y (that’s me, with less experience) against a Baby Boomer (who is good at it more than he admits) opened my mind about the generational gap.

While I was too eager to dispense my letters and get it over with for the next round, hoping that I would get better tiles and perhaps use seven of them all at once to earn a 50-word bonus, the Baby Boomer who knows his game plays it with patience. The Baby Boomer commits his thinking to that best move rather than haphazardly throwing away letters that he could better use elsewhere.

This generational gap reminds me of a book I am reading at the moment. From Future Minds: How the Digital Age Is Changing Our Minds, Why This Matters, and What We Can Do About It:

Michael Merzenich is a pioneering neuroscientist who discovered through experiments that the human brain is “plastic”: it responds to any new stimulus or experience. Our thinking is therefore framed by the tools we choose to use. This has always been the case, but we have had millennia to consider the consequences. Arguably, this has now changed, and Merzenich has argued that the internet has the power to lead to fundamental change in our brain, leading it to be “massively remodeled.” We are already so connected through digital networks that a culture of rapid response has developed. We are currently so continually available that we have left ourselves no time to think properly about what we are doing. We have now become so obsessed with asking whether something can be done that we leave little or no time to consider whether it should be done.

The way I played somehow reflects that I was acting out based on whether it could be done or not. But, on the other hand, my Baby Boomer counterpart has been considering a lot about whether he should make the move or not. I even heard him say it several times as he contemplated his actions.

And the habit even bleeds into the way I do work. I mostly do the things I do simply because they can be done, not because they should be done. I’ve even worked with colleagues who also play this kind of productivity game. It’s getting pretty exhausting by the minute.

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