Oswald Hates Technology

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This past week my Uncle Oswald died at 97 years old.

During the eulogy, his grandson Lydell talked about how his grandpa was a very successful businessman but hated technology.

He recounted the time he called to talk to him and his grandma answered the phone (they weren’t into cell phones.)

She called for Oswald to pick up the extension.  Lydell could hear his booming voice in the background say, “HELLO?” but he wasn’t on the phone.

Again his grandma said, “Oswald, pick up the phone!” And again he heard the same gruff, “HELLO!”

After a third hello, he overheard his grandma say, “Oswald, that’s not the phone, that’s the TV remote!” 

He had some serious limitations interacting with the modern tech world, didn’t have a facebook page, and likely didn’t know what social media was.

And yet his funeral drew a packed crowd.

That’s a very unusual thing to happen to a 97-year-old man.  I’ve been to funerals of elderly people and often it’s just immediate family attending, because all their friends have died long since.

Not Oswald.  He had friends of all ages.  Business partners sang his praises at the funeral (doesn’t happen often btw).

The things that stood out to me were:

  1. He took relationships very seriously.  His son mentioned that while in hospital, his dad mentioned that he would have done some things differently in his life, but that he had no one that he could think of who he needed to reconcile with.  He was on good terms with every single person he knew.
  • He viewed every new person he met as a friend that he was about to make.  Anyone who drove on their yard was invited in for coffee.  He was constantly stopped by friends while walking through the mall.  He knew the value of relationships.
  • He was very interested in mentoring young people and passing the torch on to them.
  • He wasn’t afraid to die because he had a deep and abiding faith that he nurtured throughout his life.

What will people say at your funeral?  That’s a question worth thinking about.  Begin with the end in mind because your life is a sum of what you do every day. 

Life at work and at home is about relationship.  Handle yours carefully.  If you’re good at relationships you’re good at life.

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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