Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman and Akiko Fujita discuss how to navigate relationships, jobs, and social causes amid social media and digital pressures with Pete Davis, Author of ‘Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an age of Infinite Browsing’.
ZACK GUZMAN: Welcome back. One of Harvard's most viral commencement speeches begins with a very simple observation about an overload of choice that maybe you've experienced yourself, sitting on the couch, trying to pick a movie on Netflix. That overload in choice in what seems like a sea of infinite choice and the struggle to choose one thing and commit to it might just be the defining thing about young people today. Take a listen.
PETE DAVIS: I'm sure many of you have had this experience. It's late at night, and you start browsing Netflix, looking for something to watch. You scroll through different titles. You even read a few reviews. But you just can't commit to watching any given movie. Suddenly it's been 30 minutes, and you're still stuck in infinite browsing mode. So you just give up. You're too tired to watch anything now. So you cut your losses and fall asleep. I've come to believe that this is the defining characteristic of our generation.
ZACK GUZMAN: The speech has been viewed more than 30 million times, just a few more million than my Harvard speech was, and served as the inspiration behind the book from the same speaker, Pete Davis, in his new book, "Dedicated, The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing." And Pete Davis joins us right now. And Pete, good to be chatting with you again here, man. I love the book, not only because you kind of walk through the stats that show younger people are struggling with commitment perhaps here, but also you talk to leaders who express those commitment values. Talk to me about what you learned.
PETE DAVIS: Yes, I interviewed 50 what I call long haul heroes for this book, people who committed to people, places, communities, institutions, causes, and crafts over the long haul, over many decades. And the message I wanted to share from them in this book "Dedicated" is that when you decide to close doors and forgo options and dedicate yourself to a particular thing, that is the best way to not only have impact, but to achieve joy. That's the message of the book. Don't listen to your elders telling you to keep your options open. Commit to something.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and let's talk about those stats, too, because we've seen younger generations maybe as older-- as baby boomers would say, you never commit to something. But when you look at the numbers you talk about in the book, it is interesting to see how many jobs people who have come out in their first five years of graduating, these younger workers from '06 to 2010, 2.85 jobs versus the 1.6 two decades prior. Talk to me about that and other stats that you see when we compare younger generations to older ones.
PETE DAVIS: Yeah, and this book is not a finger wagging moralist book. You know, I don't want to cast stones with this book. Part of this is a story of young people culturally, but it's also a story of an economy that pushes people into gig work and doesn't allow for a stable jobs anymore. But overall, whether it's from us making the decision or society at large pushing us in that direction, we are committing-- we're jumping from job to job. We're jumping from place to place. We're getting married later, having kids later. We're not associating with larger causes, religions, community groups, parties, ideologies.
And so, there is a cultural phenomenon happening here, where we are stuck, whether by our own accord or by larger forces, in infinite browsing mode. And the message here is that you might think that, you know, you are just waiting around the corner for the next great thing. And if you just swipe through a few more profiles or look-- try out a few more things or look at-- jump around from place to place, you're going to find the perfect thing. But the perfection of a thing comes not from its characteristics, but from your level of commitment to it. It's the committing itself that makes something more perfect. And that's the message I'm trying to get across with this book.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, I love that. I got to say, you know, there aren't a lot of books about some of these generational changes. But it really does do a good job painting not only what we're seeing here in the struggles of the younger generation about, but also the benefits of commitment as well. The book, "Dedi--