As part of the Being a Gentleman series we explore a few things better done the old fashioned way. The modern world is all about striving for the next best thing, what can we invent or change to make life easier for us? I mean were many of these things ever really that hard in the first place? Granted something like the tin opener was a game changer, but the banana slicer and diet water – I mean, really!? Both of those things exist by the way, yeah we know, who is buying this stuff?
Change is great and all but after the excitement of that change wears off, do many of these things actually make our lives better? Quite often we got it right the first time and going back to the traditional methods like a true Gentleman will help you stand out from the crowd – now that is hard to come by these days. Here are our top three things we think are better done the traditional way:
1. Printed photos
Don’t get us wrong, digital photos are a fantastic invention. The ability to store thousands of photos and look through them all in one place is a great advancement. As with everything though, it has its pluses and minuses. One of the things we have lost with the ability to take and store thousands of photos is the art of photography – picking and choosing the best photos to take and taking the time to get them right. With an old school camera you had so many photos on your role of film so you had to pick and choose your shots carefully, often this would be around 30 photos. Today some people will take that many selfies before lunchtime. Is that better?
Aside from the images we upload to social media to tell half a story of our experience (only picking out the best bits), the vast majority of these photos end up tucked away in folders or stored on a flash drive and left for eternity. With physical photos, each photo is as important to you as it was when you were taking it. The photos you love most you may put in an album or dot around your house in beautifully embellished frames of all sorts – acting as daily reminders of the incredible things you have seen, or the great times you have had with the people you love. A screen cant always do a photo justice, after all it depends on the resolution of the screen and how it has been set up. Printed photos feel more like important possessions and something we care more about – caring more about stuff in today’s world is certainly not a bad thing.
2. Handwritten notes
Following a similar train of thought as the printed photos discussion a handwritten note is imbued with a certain sense of personality and emotion that just cannot be replicated on a screen via an instant message or a Facebook post. Although many of these technologies have made it easier and quicker for us to communicate and I suppose where speed is the issue they should still be employed, however the communication certainly feels a whole lot less personal.
A handwritten note cannot be easily deleted and retyped, convenience can lead to us becoming sloppy and this is certainly the case with instant messaging and emails. We think less about what we are about to write because if it doesn’t work out, we can always just hit backspace! Instant messaging has become so much about speed that new abbreviations creep in for words that barely even make any sense.
It is impossible to copy and paste a handwritten letter, even if that handwritten letter is one of 2 sentences long it represents something special to the recipient, not only because hand written letters are so rare but it demonstrates a moment of undivided attention where you were thinking solely of them.
The old school, personal touch of a handwritten letter or even a thank you card cannot be replicated by any form of electronic communication.
3. Actual face time
Video chat is really fricking cool! That is for sure. Anyone who lived through the days of pixelated webcams will know the deal, the clarity and instantaneous nature of video calling on computers and mobile phones is an incredible breakthrough. Again as with many of these technologies we think there is a time and place for it and when it becomes the norm that is when you need to take a step back. For example, talking to your relatives in Australia from the UK can only be achieved by a phone call or a video call – it is certainly not achievable to hop a plane for 12 plus hours every time you want to see and talk to them.
This is also the case for your professional life as well as your personal life. You can achieve so much more in a short 1 hour meeting than you can over the course of 1 week worth of emails and text messages. Meeting in person allows all forms of communication to come into play, not just the spoken or typed word. Non-verbal body communication such as body language, tone of voice and all sorts of other tools of communication can be used to help remove any friction during the discussion ensuring it flows smoothly and successfully.
Of course this goes for personal relationships more than ever. Genuine face time with another person again demonstrates to that person that you are here for them and just for them. Time is important to so many of us and giving even an hour of that can really help nuture your personal relationships, which in turn can give so much back to you on a personal and developmental level.
A true gentleman is not just polite and thoughtful but genuine and personal. The world needs more gentlemen, so lets bring it back Bear Grooming style.