April 27, 2023

Business Insights Buried in the History of WWII

Business Insights Buried in the History of WWII

I visited the Anne Frank House recently. It was a moving experience. I felt challenged in many ways regarding society's history and current climate.

 I had 3 key epiphanies during this experience.

First, Be a self-thinker and have values that, no matter what, you will not forsake. How could 13 million soldiers be persuaded to follow such harsh orders? Was there not an internal alarm going off inside of them to reform or revolt against the inhumanity? This troubled me. Can we really be brought to the point of such a need for change that we would blindly follow someone even if it is against our core beliefs? As a marketing professional, I constantly consider the information being fed to us as a group. Reading and studying a lot on marketing, propaganda, and informational distribution, I have discovered something very interesting. The fewer people with a voice, the fewer voices you need to control the masses. The con of modern-day technology and social connectivity is that everyone has a voice, even those misinformed and poorly-studied. The pro of this connectivity is that it could lead to a point where there are far too many voices for a single power to control or manipulate an entire nation. The pro of informational technology advancing is that we might reach a point where we have an entire world full of self-thinkers, people not afraid to do their own research and speak up about what they believe. My hopes and prayers are that Gen-Z and Gen Alpha will be the generations to reach a place of being self-thinkers. That we are not jeopardizing our core convictions and values to what information some tyrant or political dictator desires to feed us. I am fighting for this. This will only be achieved by the younger generation committing to making educated decisions, having values worth committing to, and not allowing hardship to test our commitment to such things. We are heading that way with numerous reports of young people rioting in Russia to stop the bloodshed in Ukraine. Many reports of young soldiers burning their tanks and walking away because they do not believe in greedy slaughter. Not here to get political, but I think an educated generation and a well-diversified source point of information is an extremely healthy component for humanity. 

Secondly, Keep your hardships in perspective. You hear a lot from Anne Frank's father on the tour. There was one particular moment that got to me. After the Allies raided Normandy, the process of liberation began. Anne Frank's father's concentration camp was liberated, and he started his search for his children. He stated, “he wanted to see his children again more than he wished to breathe.” He traveled and searched all over for them, running into some old family friends who were, at the time, recently liberated from their concentration camp. They knew of Anne and Anne's older sister Margot's death. They informed the father, and he wept. This piece got me. The drive, the desire in his voice to see his children again, wrecked me. The following evening I was sitting with my wife in a restaurant, and the waiter was taking a very long time to greet us. I got so heated and frustrated and remembered Anne’s dad. Wow… How soft have we gotten? Patience is so important, and learning history really teaches this. 

Lastly, Write down your dreams. Anne Frank wanted to be a published writer so severely, and she expressed many times in her journal that she would be a writer once they were free. When her letters were found, they compiled and published her as a writer. Now she has had movies, plays, many books, and so much more produced by her stories. Her dreams came true long after she had passed. We would not have known about these dreams if she didn’t write them down. It makes it that much more special. Sure, your story may not be as impactful as hers, and mine may not be either, but writing these things down may allow your story to continue far past your heart’s beat.

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