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Open Your Mind, Change Your Life

Vikki Hankins at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (Photo Credit: Garry Jones)

by Vikki Hankins|

A large number of businesses that have been around for decades, ranging from Macy’s and JCPenney to RadioShack and Office Depot, are closing at a record pace. People are quickly losing jobs, with families panicking and retail workers understandably concerned about how they are going to pay their bills.

So, why are longstanding retail stores falling like dominoes? Some aggressively blame technology and its inhibitors, such as the internet, people like Mark Zuckerberg, entities like Amazon, and financial systems like PayPal. But the question has become, are they to blame, or does the fault lie with traditional thinking and methods of conducting business?

The internet has opened a wave of opportunity for oppressed thinkers that longed to have a hand in sales and creativity, often in the form of new inventions. Born out of zealous ambition, Facebook, along with social media platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn, connects the globe in ways that were once unheard of, and at record speed. Place these platforms at the fingertips of entrepreneurial spirits and it should come as no surprise that competitors for brick and mortar stores have emerged, often on an entry-level basis. With ideas no longer oppressed, gatekeepers are being pushed aside and the status quo centering on the chief financial officer level of big businesses has changed.

What we have here is the rise and fall of two very powerful forces—a modern day David and Goliath.

When you have an untouchable mindset, you begin to fail. It may not be quite as evident at first, but as time progresses, onlookers are able to see the failure. In the sales department, general managers often can’t determine why the quota is not met and why their local store location is threatened with closure.

Traditional thinking never wins in a rapidly evolving climate. When an executive is stubbornly set on making an old system work in our modern-day, tech-savvy world, it sets everyone beneath them up for failure. This can come in the form of low sales, job loss, and more.

Time has brought about new ways of watching movies, communicating, and paying bills. Each of these daily rituals can be done online, and the same is true in the business sector. Personally, I love some of the traditional practices in retail, but I also recognize the limitations that it places on the average person. With that said, I’ve embraced simple, easy, and less time-consuming ways of shopping and doing business, despite those that felt it couldn’t be done.

The economy is much more productive as a result of new ways of doing business that further involve community improvement, social change, and small businesses. While it has had an impact on some of the larger chain and brick and mortar stores, I wholeheartedly admire everyone who has an idea, works hard, puts it into motion, and succeeds as a result of internet tools like Facebook, Etsy, and personal websites.

The old way of thinking that can often yield resentment towards social media, technology, and e-commerce practices has to become more open and inviting to everyday innovators. It can be difficult to accept that old habits or methods of thinking are being put on the back burner, but I’d rather let go of a thinking pattern than see those around me suffer the consequences. It’s never too late to learn new things; it’s an integral part of life. No matter one’s age, upbringing, or familiarity, when you open your mind, you are opening yourself to a world outside of yourself. Learning to accept the new norms and let go of the old ways of doing things is important, as it ultimately affects those around you, as well as the economy.


Vikki Hankins is the owner of Vikki Hankins Media & Publishing, a top-of-the-line book publishing and media company. With two office locations – Atlanta, GA & Los Angeles, California – the company uses new technologies and global access to produce marketable books, videos and services with a high success rate. 

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