Because in our Western society, for some odd reason adolescents and young adults don't seek out the wisdom of their parents and grandparents. Odd, because parents (and especially grandparents) are a wealth of knowledge and information. Odd, because younger generations in most other "non-Western" countries in the world still have respect and reverence for what their elders have to say.
And that's why reverence for the wisdom of the elders is part of the foundational premise behind "What's Your ROI"
Here's an analogy.
Did you know that one of the reasons why thousands of people died in the tidal wave disaster that shook Southeast Asia in December 2004 was because they did not listen to the wisdom of their elders? We're talking about the effects of an earthquake in Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004 that caused the devastating tidal wave (tsunami) that rocked the coasts of thirteen countries around the rim of the Indian Ocean.
Countless died at the hands of giant waves that travelled at over 500 miles an hour as entire coastal villages were dragged into the sea. Yet there was a warning; it was issued by the elders to the younger generation. This warning could have saved countless young lives - except those who were suppose to hear this warning didn't listen to the voice of their elders. So they died. You might say they couldn't see the future when the past was screaming at them to run for higher ground. You might say they couldn't read the signs of the times. They most certainly didn't have ears to hear.
Many who died were Westerns on vacation at exotic resorts. They were well off, even wealthy in some cases. Many were not foreigners, but were from the highest levels of Indonesian and Taiwanese society. They were cultured in modern things and educated in modern thought. They just didn't believe it was important to listen to their grandparents. If they had have listened, it may have saved their lives.
Do you want to know some of the people were who did survive the death blow of that major tsunami wave of 2004? The peasants. Those who didn't know Westerns ways, or Western thought. They were not educated and they certainly weren't wealthy. But they did know how to listen to their grandparents, and saved their lives.
Now you're probably curious, so we'll drop the suspense and tell you why some lived, and some died.
The earthquake occurred approximately an hour and a half before the ten storey tidal wave slammed into the coast of Indonesia. The earthquake was felt long before the tidal wave hit, and it was the rumblings of the earthquake which was the "sign" that disaster was coming. Except very few people knew how to interpret the "sign of the times"...
...but the grandparents knew...
In the same way that the DEW line, or Distant Early Warning line of radar dishes was built above the Arctic Circle during the Cold War to give advance warning if Soviet missiles were to be launched over the North Pole at American cities, the earthquake gave those who had the wisdom to interpret its meaning a ninety minute "distant early warning" signal. Indonesian culture says when the earth shakes, run for higher ground. These words of wisdom were passed down from generation to generation. The grandparents knew this wisdom, but many of the grandchildren didn't listen to the warning their elders gave them. Those who listened to their grandparent's wisdom headed for higher ground - and lived. Those who didn't listen to their grandparent's wisdom - perished.
But what does that have to do with current affairs in our Western society, you ask? Well, if you can see a dangerous pattern occurring, where past history and experience has taught you how to recognize that pattern and the wisdom of experience would tell you that you could avoid a dangerous situation, you will probably try to warn your friends, family and loved ones. Wouldn't you?
But the problem is, if they don't listen and won't heed the warning, they may suffer for it. But that shouldn't stop those who recognize the warning signs from calling an alarm. For such a time as this, there are warning signs that many elders in society recognize, but most young adults do not, because they haven't experienced it for themselves - yet.
But they will.
And there will be a cost for many and the cost will be devastating.
And sadly for many, the cost may be completely avoidable except the warning may not be listened to because of one thing - the listeners lack the wisdom of experience. If young people have not been taught by the elder's voice of experience how to avoid the costs of financial devastation that comes when economy falls into a major recession (or perhaps, even another Depression) then young people will not understand how to count the costs of what their spending habits might be, when a major correction in the world economic markets occurs. It's only a matter of time before that next major correction takes place, and it might be happening right now. Grandparents, especially those who have experience with the Depression era, know what to look for - their grandchildren don't.
Grandparents know how to prepare when they hear the economic rumblings and the global markets "quake" and they know how to prepare, but do their grandchildren? No, their grandchildren don't, and they won't, unless they ask for advice, counsel and wisdom from their elders, who have already been down the road of our current economic uncertainty.
A dangerous pattern is occurring in our Western society that most of our parents and grandparents can recognize, but is anyone listening to them when they sound the alarm? The warning signs are on TV, in the newspapers, the magazines and all over the Internet but many of us don't know what it all means. Like those who perished in Indonesia, we don't listen to our elders so we don't know to run to higher ground when the economic rumblings around the earth "quakes".
Many people can't see where things are going in our society because they don't know how to read the sign of the times. But their grandparents do, because their grandparents have lived through this kind of stormy weather before. And their parents probably know the signs as well, as they have lived through major recessions in the past 30 years. But how many young adults are keen to listen to their parents or grandparents?
In our society, often the adult children are less likely to listen to their parents as they are to listen to their grandparents. That means that grandparents have a special opportunity, or even a responsibility, to pass on the wisdom from their experience. Maybe today's young adults will listen to their grandparents. So grandparents need to speak up, to save their grandchildren from the devastating financial consequences of what can happen in a major recession when young people lose their jobs, while being under the burden of consumer debt. Grandparents can be that distant early warning signal, but they might need help to bring the sign of the times to the attention of their grandchildren.
"What's Your ROI?" is that form of help.
The book gives grandparents a fighting chance, to give their grandchildren a "fighting chance" by using the book to open dialogue, helping their grandchildren to avoid the costs of making mistakes in young adult life, because in many ways, grandparents can see the future because they have survived the storms of the past.
For the moment, let's leave the grandparents out of it. Let's say, for arguments sake, that you could actually see into the future. Let's say that you could see a major catastrophe brewing like a storm coming, because you knew how to recognize the signs in the sky. Rather than run for cover like the few who also could see the signs, instead you choose to warn people. Except maybe your grandchildren don't have your economic savvy, and can't understand the economic jargon you keep telling them about the dangers of being in debt. They can't make the connection from the high school social studies class that taught them about what caused the Great Depression and how people had their life savings in stocks and were in debt up to their eyeballs, so when the market crashed people were left destitute. Maybe they believe (naively) that this could never happen again so they see the Great Depression as some sort of "folklore" like the Indonesians thought about the warning to seek higher ground when the earth quakes.
Maybe they just think that the fall in the US dollar, along with the rising cost of oil, the rise in the cost of wheat, rice corn and other basic staples in the past couple of years will somehow simply not have any effect on them or on their current habits about spending and their work ethic. So they do nothing because they have never seen the warning signs for themselves.
So if there is a major correction in the stock market, which is exactly what we are seeing by the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by over 3,000 points in a nine month period, can today's young adults recognize these signs of the times?
Probably not. At least, not unless someone older and wiser tells them what these signs mean.
Except many parents, and grandparents, will lament that they can't get the younger generation to listen to them, even though they have tried and tried. So they have simply given up.
But maybe the younger adults would listen, if you could only communicate in the kind of language that they would understand. Communication has always been the root of the problem with the generation gap. Younger adults say to their parents (and grandparents) that they just don't understand the younger generation.
Which is what younger adults have been saying for centuries.
It's not a generation gap, it's a communication gap. All that's needed is to communicate to younger adults in their level.
Maybe if we presented the sign of the times in storyline, then that "story"could be the warning. Maybe the story could demonstrate, at least in an allegory, what the problems are that face our society in general and that face our young adults in particular. Maybe they would read the story if their grandparents offered to discuss the contents of a book. And maybe the younger generation would be prepared to listen to the elders, if the story extolled how important and how valuable it is for the grandchildren to listen to the grandparents as the grandparents pass on wisdom from their experience, to those of the younger generations.
That "story" is what was meant to bridge the communication gap between the generations, and that story is "What's Your ROI?"
So when we ask "Why ROI? Why Now?" the reason behind the first question of "Why ROI?" becomes self evident. As for the second question, the reason for "Why Now?" is that this story needs to be shared now, while the sign of the times are still only rumbling.
Before it's too late.
Before the tsunami hits.
It's a sign of the times.