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Kevin J. O'Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former New Jersey State Senator. (Photo: Kevin J. O'Toole.)

The O’Toole Chronicles: Next Generation

By Kevin O'Toole, October 11 2022 12:01 am

As I get a year older and see the world around me more clearly, it becomes readily apparent just how bright the future is. However, in order to ensure that the next generation takes advantage of the astonishing opportunities, it’s going to take some tinkering of this generation to get to the next level.

Most of those in my age group have been trained to work hard, learn from others, and pass along this ethic to the next generation. Most importantly, the lesson that we adhere to is accept responsibility and do not look to offload blame when things don’t go as planned. Accept it, learn from it, and move on.

One hard truth that some in the younger generation suffer from is when things go wrong it is never about them or it is never their fault. Leadership in today’s world means taking responsibility, assuming the blame when things go awry, and never taking credit when it works. Grown up perspective.

Some basics lessons that I have lived and learned is that hard work, great support, and opportunity go a long way to creating the possibility of success. I recently had a roundtable conversation with some smart leaders and these folks have lived many years and logged many miles across this country running successful businesses.  The common theme was that there is hope in and concern about our next generation.

The incoming class of leaders are generally more educated, have little or less debt, have superior schooling, infinitely more technical skills, and are exposed to advanced science and technology. By definition, this class is poised to take over the world if they can only learn to steer away from the “never about me” phenomena.

For example, for today’s malcontents, you need to take an honest look within and reflect on what is truly happening. Most of us have worked hard, taken student loans and worked our way up the ladder. Whether it be politics or the corporate world, we were taught to make your own destiny. Simply laying blame on others does not advance the ball or get closer to achieving any goal.

This is the challenge of the next generation to forge fearlessly ahead and do not play the blame game on your shortcomings.

If you want to run for an office or seek an appointment, do something concrete to make that idea a reality.

If you are not happy with the prospects in your life, professional, political or personal, do something to change those dynamics.

If you want to start a business or are dissatisfied with your job, do some research and strike out on your own or make a change.

I know this sounds rather basic and obvious. But with the advantages bestowed upon this next generation we should once again be poised to challenge anyone on the world’s stage of greatness. To do so, we need take advantage of what foundation the generation before has created and stop looking for the easy way out.

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