Enlightened Conflict

patriotism & enforcing conformity

October 13th, 2017

constitution american-flag-all-rights-reserved-by-jade-leyva

 

Today I discuss mandating standing for the national anthem <as President Donald J Trump appears to be advocating>.

 

While I will share my views and while I doubt Mr. Trump has ever looked at the Constitution or googled “Supreme Court decisions with regard to enforcing patriotic compulsory routines” I will share what the US Supreme Court HAS said about this:

 

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“To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.”

 

——

US Supreme Court 1943

 

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To be clear.

 

normalizing america bad behavior values phoenixI stand for the national anthem.

 

I don’t burn flags.

 

I believe people should do the former and the latter.

 

That said.

 

I could give a shit if people stand, place their hand on their heart or sing along. It’s a ridiculous empty faux act of patriotism to simply do something because <a> you have to or <b> you do it because everyone else is doing it.

 

I respect the flag and the country but if you truly want to respect those who served, well, try not acting like an asshole to those who have served.

 

I respect the flag and the country but if you truly want to respect those who served, well, try conducting yourself in ways that make this country look like it’s less full of shitheads and more like a country whose military teaches dignity, honor & integrity.

 

I respect the flag and the country but if you truly want to respect those who served, well, try and act like we are not at war or our freedom is under attack from some outside enemy and recognize that the only attack we are under are from dickheads like Trump who claim to value freedom and independence but espouse conformity & hollow patriotism.

 

Beyond all of that, and whatever constitutional freedom of speech stuff you want to attach to this discussion, there is an additional fairly basic business management aspect – building an organizational culture is never about enforced conformity.

 

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“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”america-red-white-and-blue

 

John F. Kennedy

 

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“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”

 

Rollo May

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Yeah.

 

I admit.

 

I hate codes of conduct <in general>.

 

I have never been a fan of conformity in general … and absolutely hate forced conformity.

 

I hate dress codes.

 

I hate office rules.

 

I hate meeting rules.

 

Yeah.

 

all-of-you-aligned-self-normal-accountableI say that tied to the thought of how some people are discussing creating laws, or establishing rules, for standing for the national anthem.

 

I say that because this entire discussion isn’t just about being patriotic, and being a ‘patriot’… but enforcing conformity or specific behavior.

 

We try and do that shit in business all the time.

 

Well.

 

Leaders who do not understand how to build a strong self-sustaining organizational culture try this shit all the time.

 

To be clear.

90% of the time, enforced behavior, fails miserably.

 

What do I mean>?

 

90% of the time the desired behavior, which you have always forced & enforced, stops when you stop looking and stop enforcing.

 

At the core of ‘enforced’ is that it isn’t something people want to do, or maybe it isn’t something they naturally inherently do, and they do it because they have to do it.

 

At the core of ‘enforced’ is failure. People, in general, don’t like to be told to be honest, do things certain way and how to think. Trying to enforce organizational attitudes & behaviors works just as well as forced changes of behavior in personal Life <diets, quitting smoking, chewing on your fingernails, etc> — it does not work

 

By the way.

Here is the other weird thing about ‘enforced conformity.’

 

Failure even happens with the shit that <a> people really don’t mind doing and <b> people kind of know is the right thing to do.

 

It’s just that people do not like to be forced to do things … even things they kind of want to do anyway.

 

—————————-america fix myself

Seek to impose your will, and more men will kneel (if they’re permitted), and when they rise, it will be with resentment in their hearts.

Embrace liberty, and more men will rise, and they’ll do so with joy.

I want those players to stand.

I want to see their hands over their hearts.

But I want to see that happen out of love, not fear, and so long as the fear remains, a decision to stand means nothing but an empty victory in a culture war that will tear this nation apart.
———————————

 

Look.

 

We would love it in business if everyone did what you wanted them to do.

We would love it if everyone in a society did things the way they were supposed to do.

 

But you cannot enforce conformity and, in fact, just as the Supreme Court suggested with the national anthem in 1943 … you really do not want to force behavior. You want behavior to come from within the individual and not enforced from ‘without.’

 

Oh.

This is where the role of “social norms” can come into play.

Different from enforcement, that promotes top-down direction, administration and monitoring, encouraging social norms can spur, and inspire … uhm … conformity.

 

It is conformity by choice.

It is having the freedom to conform … and choosing to do so.

 

This is a powerful conformity.

 

Anyway.

 

The Supreme Court got it right back in 1943 when a small group of Jehovah’s Witnesses declined to salute the flag. They were patriots but their beliefs wouldn’t allow them to demonstrate reverence for a flag <a symbol>. The Supreme Court rendered its verdict — with words that should be etched into the minds of anyone who truly cares about who and what America is:

 

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

Those are the most famous words of Supreme Court case West Virginia v. Barnette, but it is these words which any true patriot, or leader, should ponder:

 

—————

Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.

——————-

 

In other words, the power of the symbolism & patriotism lies with the choice to honor & dignify the symbolism of a fag & an anthem.

 

In other words, compelled patriotism … the effort to force a person to say or do what they do not believe … doesn’t touch upon the true spirit of what the country stands for.

 

In other words, if I have to compel someone to be patriotic, or do acts which imply patriotism, the American Idea isn’t working.

 

In other words, mandatory patriotism isn’t patriotism at all.

 

In other words, the government cannot force someone to violate their conscience and they shouldn’t bully private businesses into doing what a government cannot legally dictate.

 

I will say this over and over and over again until the day I die — the cure for bad speech is better speech, the cure for bad behavior is better behavior and the cure for dealing with any ‘the American ideal (and idea)’ doubts is not bad enforced conformity.

 

We should inform, educate, and recommend policies, ideas & behavior that improve America but allow its citizens their freedom of choice.

 

For the best compliance, don’t just enforce the rules, establish the norms.

 

Yeah.

 

compromise life good want you theyI am sure some NFL owners will attempt some behavior-shaping constraints <fines, suspensions, etc.>. And they have that right as a business owner managing their own business & culture.

 

But I will tell them a secret <and I am hoping President Trump, who has never managed a business which demanded building a culture, is listening in> … that will not shape behavior but it will certainly shape attitudes <unfortunately, most likely not the attitudes truly desired>.

 

Forcing functional behavior is not always the best approach to shaping behavior.

 

Here is what any business leader who has ever run a business knows:

 

It takes your own to govern your own.

Not rules of conduct.

Not enforced conformity.

 

Lastly.

Just to conclude this piece.

 

Trump the asshat.

He has no fucking clue how to build a company culture. To him culture is having all the women wear their hair the same way, everyone wear a certain type of clothes that appeal to him and wear name tags with the Trump brand on it.

 

How do I know he has no clue how to build a culture without ‘enforcing conformity’?

 

The one people skill he has exhibited to date – it seems like Trump has this unique capability of bringing out the worst of people on actually the best of things.

 

Huh?

 

By using patriotism and pride in country <good> he encourages … well … wrong thinking, wrong thoughts and wrong behavior.

 

What he has done is bring out the worst in people who actually believe in a good thing.

 

What an asshat.

 

I would remind President Asshat what every god business leader knows about their employees and their culture … both good and evil lies within the hearts of most men (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) .

Most of us have the capacity to do great and good things … uhm … do very bad and evil things.

good bad person trust reliable

Leaders have a choice.

 

Either bring the best of the good out of people or bring the worst of the bad out of people.

 

You cannot bring out ‘good’ from within through some type of enforcement nor should you be seeking to try to ‘conform’ good.

 

Good has to be encouraged, not enforced <someone should print that off and put it on Trump’s mirror so he can see it every morning>.

how hacks misuse images to make less than truthful points

January 10th, 2017
us-voting-map-hacks-images-misuse-information

………… 2016 Presidential Election Results by county …..

======

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of the country, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of people, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe the majority of counties were, overwhelmingly, conservative <or Republican>. That is false.

 

Shit.

 

If I were to look at this map I would believe this was representative of all of America. That is false <only about 60% of voter eligible people actually voted>.

 

Ok.

 

I am not a data wonk nor do I give a rat’s ass about politics and who is conservative and who is liberal.

 

seek_truthAll I care about is truth and good ideas which benefit the majority.

 

So what would be better than this incredibly misleading asshat of an image?

 

I would imagine if I were to ‘dot map’ the country coded by zip codes I would most likely get a better sense for how even in some rural areas liberals lived side by side with conservatives, in urban areas there were neighborhoods of conservatives buried amongst the wackjob liberal and that zip codes reflect a mixed bag of people who think different thoughts and desire a varied list of things <and have a variety of legitimate issues>.

 

And then I would imagine if I tinted my colors by % split between Republican & Democrat we would find that it is very rare for some county <which may be coded in the above image as “red”> to be 100% ‘red’ but rather anywhere between 51% red to 80% red.

 

And how about if I figured out some color coding to show the % split between Independent & Republican & Democrat …. & non voters … well … I imagine we would find that zip code by zip code, maybe even county by county … all the colors are a shitload less bright and a helluva lot more lighter.

 

Yeah. This kind of shit is important.

 

Doesn’t it matter to anyone thinking about this if I have a 1,000 person county that voted 95% Trump and a 100,000 person county that voted 39% Trump <but he still won the county? <answer: yes>

 

And then I would imagine that if I even went down into a household zip cluster we would find that there is a mixed bag of people even living in the same neighborhoods let alone a house.

 

But, no, some hack wanted to make some point and shoveled this shit image round for people to gobble up and spew out platitudes of mandates and elitism voting and working class bullshit.

This map is shit. If only the world were this simple. But it is not.

 

Now.

 

I admit.

 

In my past business life I have not been above not only using selective information to make a point nor am I not guilty of creating an image to showcase a vivid metaphor for the point.

 

However.

 

It doesn’t take you long in business to recognize that decisions are made based off of some simplistic net conclusions. And if you are not careful you could … well … present an image like the one I opened this piece with and make some really important overarching conclusions and, ultimately, some fairly important decisions are made.

 

Here is what I know about that.

 

In the business world people get fired for presenting shit like this and misleading people to make some misguided decisions. I know for sure I would get fired if I tried this crap.

 

Regardless.

 

Disingenuous use of information is what hacks do. They don’t know any better.no brains stupid people jellyfish

 

Purposeful disingenuous use of information is what assholes do. They know better.

 

And maybe this is where I get grumpy with people like FoxNews. In general I think they have some really smart journalists … particularly in the day time when it is more journalism rather than opinion. That said. I think they, as do all major news outlets, have a responsibility to their audience to not only say what people want to hear but to also nuance it with some perspective so people don’t walk away with a misguided simplistic thought.

Their responsibility lies in exactly the same responsibility I, as a business presenter, has … managing the net conclusion <because inevitably I know someone is going to make some decision based off of that>.

 

And, yeah, the burden of responsibility does vary depending on the entity & person. While I do believe everyone has the responsibility to use information properly, factually not selectively, and portray it in a way that makes your point in a non-disingenuous way … your burden increases or decreases depending upon who is dependent upon your information.

 

Someone like FoxNews knows they have a diehard conservative viewership therefore their burden to enlighten is higher than say someone who has a mixed viewership like an ABC, CBS or NBC.

 

Worse than maybe Fox? Republican Politicians. They are chosen to be honest representors of truth so that we, the people, can be better informed and more enlightened as to real issues rather than ‘false flag’ issues <which permits us to better evaluate what is being done and what is important and what are the real issues>.

 

<note: to be clear … I could choose a different topic and make the same point about Democrat politicians and their lack of responsibility on that topic>

 

Here is what I know.

 

Hacks play to their audiences’ worst devils and play to existing perceptions & attitudes.

 

It is the cheap way to use good information <and cheapens not only the information but cheapens the truth>.

 

It is the lazy way to present.

 

And it is admitting no personal responsibility for portraying the real & total truth.

 

Sigh.

 

As for this stupid map and stupid <but somewhat important> information.

 

Would I use an image showing voting districts? Sure.

But only internally.

If my job was to elect someone and therefore I had to figure out where and how to spend my money, I would use it.

 

But everyone should be clear that voting districts have been bastardized to maximize their party voting base so much that voting districts are meaningless to anyone outside of those who are looking to get someone elected. They misrepresent general takeaways.

gullible CharlieBrown

I say that because I think it is not only disingenuous but also misleading to people by showing shit like this in a mainstream way. People who know better should be better than this. Its crap like this that not only divides people even more but encourages further discussion on elitism versus ‘working people’ when the truth is significantly more nuanced than that.

 

Using images like this only hurts the discourse and increases the sense of divide between the haves & the have nots, the intellectuals versus the manual labor and the city folk versus regular folk.

 

Look.

 

Set the maps aside.

 

A shitload of ‘elitist’ rich people voted for Trump.

 

A shitload of ‘creative artsy types’ voted for Trump.

 

A shitload of smart blue collar hard working people voted for Clinton.

 

A shitload of smart hard working ‘intellectual’ people <who poorly articulated their thoughts> voted for Clinton.

 

A shitload of rural/suburban people voted for Trump and a shitload of urban/suburban people voted for Clinton.

 

I have written far too much and far too often on the real issues behind the most recent election in frustration over the simplistic bullshit people throw out as for ‘why Trump won’ and ‘how Trump won.’

 

If I were to reference one thing I have written for people to think about it would be ‘the death of the malls’ which, to me, reflects the complexity and nuances of what hollowed out non-urban America and created some attitudes which

.......... searching for water ......

………. searching for water ……

governing officials have ignored <and Trump hasn’t acknowledge either … but a camel dying of thirst will drink any water … even poisoned>.

 

That said.

 

It is using information improperly in images like this that actually convince some of us everyday camels we are actually dying of thirst … when we are not <that is a warning to citizens and politicians>.

 

It is using information improperly like this that actually convinces some of us to make some fairly important misguided decisions <that is a warning to business people>.

 

I hate crap like this.

 

Fucking hate it.

elitism versus experience

December 20th, 2016

 intellectual-intelligence-emotions-feelings-facts

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“Success is a lousy teacher.

It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

 

Bill Gates

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“We’re all working together; that’s the secret.”

 

Sam Walton

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Original commenter:

It isn’t scientists’ role to package facts and theory for the general public, let alone the most willfully ignorant.

 

 

Response commenter:

Surely scientists have some responsibility to make their findings understandable to the public?

Otherwise how do their findings get incorporated into policy?

 

====================

 

 

So.

 

With so much discussion going on about “the working class” it may become easy this-is-the-part-you-find-out-who-you-are-contrarianto ignore the implicit backlash against ‘intellectualism’ or ‘the out-of-touch elite.’

 

I do not believe there is an anti-intellectualism crisis.

 

I do not believe we have reached an era where any influencers who are smart, or intellectual, are dismissed as the reigning voices of truth & expertise.

 

But.

I do know that elites, or so-called elites, are despised and the opinions of experts are disregarded in favor of emotions or gut feelings, i.e., feelings are as important, if not more important, than facts.

 

And I do know that Michael Gove said “people have had enough of experts.”

 

Whew.

Not only is that a bullshit quote … it is a scary thought.

 

I could walk into a crowded blue collar bar and after some discussion I could be construed as ‘thinker not doer’ … despite the fact I have over 30 years of doing practical experience.

And therein lies the issue.

 

Depending on how you articulate your experience you can sound intellectually elitist <too smart for your own good> or you can sound pragmatically hard working. And within those two bookends is a fairly wide spectrum.

 

There has become a blurring of … well … everything actually … but in this case … true experience & expertise and ‘elitism.’

 

This is creating a horrible thing in society and our culture. If you have gobs of experience you are labeled as out of touch with the everyday schmuck.

 

If you are an everyday schmuck you are immediately labeled as anti-intellectual and, far too often, less educated.

 

This is a horrible situation for everyone <because no one wins>.

 

Simplistically … education and experience are two different things. I can certainly intellectual-elite-asimov-false-notion-ignorance but it shouldn’t diminish experience wisdom <and vice versa>.

 

And that is where the whole communication and communicating aspect comes into play.

For if neither side can clearly communicate their value then … well … everyone assumes the worst.

 

It would be far too easy for me to suggest that if someone has the experience, and the wisdom that comes with it, they should be able to articulate it and communicate it in a way that anyone would not feel condescended to or diminished or simply out-of-touch with either hard working or ‘thinker’.

 

But experience doesn’t necessarily translate into effective communication.

 

And it gets even more challenging when both sides have a pair of perception filtered glasses on as they view the opposite they are seeking to communicate with.

 

My prime example is easy … climate change.

 

The simple fact is that climate activists cannot sell their story effectively – they fall back on … well … facts and numbers. This is deemed as ‘arrogance’ because they get frustrated you don’t see the truth in the numbers and you are deemed ‘ignorant’ as you get frustrated because you aren’t a scientist and don’t want to extrapolate numbers … you just want a simple truthful story.

 

Even non-science people  recognize that cherry-picked statistics and trends & projections are not the same as long-term accurate predictions and effects. But if the case is so strong it must be possible to bring it forth in a compelling way combined with compelling measures to address it.

 

That said.

 

intellectual-behave-as-intelligenceThe most egregious act with regard to elitism versus experience actually takes place when people smart enough to know … undermine other people smart enough to know … within the leadership we seek to take our cues from <or let’s label them what the everyday schmuck would call ‘the ruling intellectual elite’>.

 

They sacrifice acceptance of the value of their ‘competitor’ for undermining the value. And in doing so they undermine everyone’s value. Some would suggest this is ‘not seeing the forest for the trees.’

 

I would suggest this is actually a doom loop. If every day people have no one to trust with regard to their experience they become anxious. And, then, in this state of anxiety, many of those same people no longer trust the experts <let alone anyone attempting to lead by thought leadership>.

 

If you cannot trust experience it all falls apart. Because then gaining experience just doesn’t matter <or specific experience doesn’t matter>.

 

In addition … it seems to foster an environment in which individual thinking is discouraged, the value of scientific/researched fact is diminished and, contrary to belief, the power shifts to some authority figure who leads through opinion rather than fact <and people follow off of ‘feelings’ rather than truth>.

 

That said … all things being equal, it means this issue comes down to its most basic level <which actually creates a real divide in ‘us versus them’>.

 

 

Here is where the biggest gap in skills & experience exists.

 

Survival skills.

 

test think smarterSurvival in corporate America is significantly different than survival in … well … survival.

 

If all of urban/suburban America lost their microwaves and fast food restaurants … well … they would be screwed.

 

Sure.

Most people know how to light a fire <with a match>, wash underwear and make soup but that basic skill set is not even close to the survival skills of the majority of the world let alone rural America.

 

Therefore … experience is measured in two different ways … basic survival versus ‘elitist’ survival. And neither side values the other’s skills equally … or maybe worse … they devalue the other’s skill set.

 

It’s a dangerous state of affairs.

 

 

We are shortchanging our ability to shape events by having each side believe they are the only ones capable of shaping the events.

 

 

We are shortchanging the people who are much more confident in the assessments of what to do and when to do it.

 

 

We are shortchanging the people who understand that in any situation and in any choice there are winners and losers and just because you may have lost smart and stupid peopledoesn’t make you a loser.

 

And, of course, we shortchange the people who don’t have the experience to lead by undervaluing the experience that they do have … and what they have to offer in terms of thinking & ideas.

 

We don’t know what we don’t know.

 

And in those words of wisdom resides our biggest challenge with regard to this crisis of elitism versus experience … we need to figure out how to better articulate expertism and experience … because if we do not … the inexperienced will seek to take on the responsibilities of the experienced … and we will be doomed to fail.

 

 

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“The pen may indeed be mightier than the sword, but the wordsmith would do well to welcome the blacksmith back into the fold, so that artisan craftsmanship the world over may fend off the ravages of industrialised homogeneity and bland monoculture.”

 

Alex Morritt

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an obsession for learning

May 9th, 2016

obsessed 1

 

“Sureness will always elude you.

The detective will always circle around what he wants, never seeing it whole. We do not go on despite this.

We go on because of it.”

 

———–

Claire DeWitt

 

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“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”obsessed 2

 

 

Virginia Woolf

 

====

 

 

Ok.

 

I had not really thought much about obsession until I came across this Harry Potter gif.

 

He has a point.

 

A really good point.

planning my day learning

Far too often we seem to judge obsession in absolutes … as in absolutely unhealthy, bad or creepy.

 

Obsession is clearly one of those words which seems to be made up of a lot of bad perceptions.

 

But what if you have an obsession with learning … or reading … or some specific topic like science, math or woodworking … or any ‘increased knowledge-based’ aspect of Life.

 

That kind of seems like a good worthwhile obsession.

Well. At least it offers some sense of ‘reason’ that you can bolt on to the everyday survival aspect of Life.

 

But let’s take a moment on obsession with learning.

 

Life, and learning, and even curiosity in general … means most of us are trapped in an endless chase.

 

The real scam people try and sell you is that some milestone or some objective represents some end point. I imagine another part of the scam is something I tried to debunk back in 2010 … the whole concept of “well rounded” learning and people.

 

What we are taught about learning — how to learn, what to learn & what learning is important – is very different than what most of us feel & perceive when we encounter learning.

And the rules look even more out of whack if you are one of the ones who is obsessive about learning something.

 

Those of us who have encountered, and embraced, obsession recognize that the game is rigged. We know there is no perfection. We know there is actually no end. We know that our obsession is a means to an end and more often a favorite piece of clothing we will inevitably store away on the closet to be replaced by some other piece of clothing we will wear endlessly … until we become obsessed with another.

 

What this means is that anyone with a relatively healthy obsession will endlessly circle around whatever they want more of … and do so willingly because it was what he/she wants.

 

We visit the extremes seeking the extreme edge of something that is infinite and, yet, we find solace in the extremeness and not an unhealthy pursuit of something that will never actually be sated.

obsessed uninterested switch

A good obsession may actually mean you have the high unrealistic expectations and yet are able to mix and match them with the curiosity exploration of the day.

 

I was a young obsessive-topic  reader <which concerned my parents on a number of levels> … and to this day have aspects of obsessiveness in all learning and exploring opinions, truths and belief.

 

I tend to believe obsessive learning is effective for a variety of reasons.

 

It is self imposed.

 

It is defined by a chosen environment & topic rather than a dictated one.

 

Measurement is … well … unmeasurable in traditional terms where the measurement objective is an unquantifiable “enough when it is enough” <we dictate the ‘satedness’>.

 

 

At its root level obsession is all about “wanting more.” And with regard to learning … the ‘more’ is not some well-rounded evenly shaped smooth journey. And therein lies obsession biggest challenge in life. Unevenness makes people feel uncomfortable. They seek ‘well rounded’ and ‘planned exploration’ in terms of what is right. Therefore if you are obsessive on one topic or one task you are not … well … doing it right.

 

And that kind of seems silly to me.

I am sure that someone will point out that there truly is a ‘righter way’ to learn but in my pea like brain learning driven from the inside of someone is significantly more powerful than learning dictated by someone outside of me.

 

Anyway.

 

I tend to believe part of youth is learning about obsessions and constantly being obsessed with something and some things.

Unfortunately, adults confuse exploration with youth obsession.

Sure. Sometimes the exploration can verge on some unhealthiness but more often than not it is a pursuit of ‘more’ within something liked or desired. The pursuit itself becomes a means to a different end in that exploration means one encounters new things … which can encourage a diverting path and a new obsession.

 

That is partially what youth is.

 

It was in my day and it remains so today <although reading things online suggests many adults seem to think the young are more obsessive than ever – note: no research proving that>.

 

For some this obsession learning path provides a focus for adulthood.

 

For some this obsession becomes an unhealthy adult pattern.

 

For some this obsession becomes a healthy relentless pursuit of something ‘more’ in adulthood.

 

 

I would never suggest that an obsession with learning is easy mostly because … well … anything extreme runs the risk of edging a little toward madness <or at least maddening to the people around>. But I will suggest that an obsession with learning is one of those youth obsessions which translates fairly well into adulthood. I could even suggest that an obsession with learning, as long as you don’t get too full of yourself, means you maintain a certain youthfulness toward Life.

 

Anyway.

 

 

Me?

 

To be honest, I haven’t completely figured out how to resolve obsession I simply manage it and think I am always working on it.obsessions people

 

What I do know is that those of us who are obsessed with learning will always be dissatisfied with what we do not know.

 

Shit.

I assume anyone who struggles with some obsession and even manages it has figured out a way of managing the overall dissatisfaction versus “satisfaction I have actually made some inroads with regard to my ‘more’ desire.”

 

But I have learned that the pursuit of your obsession has to have meaning in order for it to be a healthy obsession.

 

And meaning can take form in a variety of ways … but it cannot be a simple milestone or objective but rather an embodiment of some growth or ‘moreness’ <not actual attainment of something>.

 

Well.

 

At least that is how I figured it out.

 

 

 

 

Speeches and speech writing

March 17th, 2016

 speechless

 

===

 

“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word.

The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.”

 

 

Joseph Conrad

 

====

 

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”

 

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

====

 

 

Well.

 

With an election going on all you have to do is turn on the television or go to any news website and you will see someone giving a speech. Great oration is a skill … almost an art. Some people are naturals. More people are not.

 

But.

 

process presentationHaving given some presentations in my lifetime, as well as provided some training, let me share one of the biggest secrets to presenting … if you have a great speech it is easy to present it.

 

 

In business we spend so much time trying to train someone on ‘how to present comfortably’ and ‘tricks’ to connect with an audience that it masks what presenting & speeches have in common with social media – content is the key.

 

Give me the best speech in the world and the worst presenter can give it.

Conversely … even the best presenter will stumble over the worst speech.

 

I thought of this as I watched several presidential candidates give a post mortem speech after the Tuesday elections.

 

I watched Rubio <sadly, yet defiantly, dropping out of the race>, Kasich <touched by a win in his own state>, Clinton <stepping up to the bigger beast in the room – Trump> and … well … the beast himself.

 

I won’t go into specifics of the four speeches but let me say that Rubio & Clinton must have great speech writers. Poetry and prose mixed with aspirations & hope & pragmatic expectations.

 

By the way … that is incredibly tough to do in a speech.

Very very few people can write that stuff.

 

Kasich speeches are easy to write because he has some common themes that come from his core beliefs & values. But suffice it to say that all three of those speeches were about ‘we the people’, what ‘we’ can do together, the spirit at the core of a country, hope for something better … and a dose of caution to not be enticed by the easier road of frustration, fear & hate.

 

Oh.

 

And then there was Trump.

 

He has no speech writer. He is the speechwriter and you can tell.

 

There was no ‘we’ it was all ‘me.’

My poll numbers. My popularity. My smartness. My success. My creating voter turnout.dumb ass me

 

And the only “we” incorporated in were the stupid people who were losers or the enemy peering over the gates like China, Islam & Mexico <who he is gonna punch>.

 

It was all about his polls, his numbers, and him.

 

The contrast between speeches is stunning.

 

Everyone else talks about the people and attitude and spirit … he talks about how popular he is and … well … how stupid everyone is because we are losing too much.

 

The difference between the words, tone and attitude of the speeches was … well … truly stunning.

 

Anybody in business who writes presentations and gives speeches knows the Trump speech path is ultimately a dead end. People like to hear confidence & strong leadership but they want to feel participation and connection.

Solutions are always preferred to problems.

Implying people together is always preferred to tearing people apart.

 

Suffice it to say that without a grander purpose, something beyond an “outcome” objective <like a ‘win’> a speech only leads everyone down a dead end path.

 

A speech should attempt to find that sweet spot of prose, real facts, anecdote and the commitment to a greater purpose. People deserve to hear the good and it shouldn’t be overwhelmed by any bad.

do souls need to be hugh

Trump offers speeches carved on … well … tombstones and not hearts.

 

===

 

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.

 

A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

 

 

Shannon L. Alder

 

===

 

 

I love words and I love hearing a great speaker give a great speech. While Trump may be one of the most comfortable people I have ever seen behind a podium and a microphone he also may be one of the worst speech writers I have ever heard.

Simplistically … he delivers bad words, bad thoughts & bad rhetoric … but he does it well.

 

I admit.

 

Give me the good, the hopeful, the commitment to a higher purpose any day of the week. And I honestly believe most people want to hear that.

Great speeches, given well, lift people up off of the easy angry, resentful, blame-paved path and let us fly when we don’t even realize we can fly.

 

Anyway.

 

I can write an okay speech <I have two posts coming up – one on writing a presentation and one on giving a presentation … as if there aren’t enough “how to” garbage already available online>.

But I am honest enough to know that even on my best day and in my best speech writing moment I may only get a glimpse of what a great speech writer can accomplish.

 

As I share that thought I remember a nice little scene from West Wing where Toby <the chief communications director> comments on Presidential State of the Union speeches and who can write them. He suggests there are maybe 6 or so in the country that can do so. I will not haggle over the number but suffice it to say he is correct … great speechwriters are few and far between.

This also means the everyday schmuck <think … “you & I”> writes a generally crappy speech <even though we all think it is great>.

 

I believe I am in the minority in this thinking.

I think many people <more than can actually do it> believe they write great speeches.

 

Maybe worse for the business world is that I think many businesses believe too many of their own people should, and can, write speeches.

 

Look.

 

As a word guy I want to teach & coach everyone to use words well & wisely.

But, in business, it is … well … business.

This is not a popular thought in the current business world view of collaboration & empowerment but I believe businesses should identify their great speechwriters and empower them to write the business speeches.

 

What this means is that some people end up delivering speeches written by other people.

This freaks a shitload of people out.

 

I actually believe they get freaked out for two main reasons:

 

<1> conceptually it fights the internal “I am best at delivering shit in my own words … words I would use”. The key here is ‘conceptually’. Good words are good words and good thoughts are good thoughts. The kind of words you would actually use shouldn’t change the meaning of a great speech or presentation. But we freak out nonetheless … even before we even see the speech

what want need give

<2> pragmatically most business presentations and speeches are written by crappy writers therefore I do end up freaked out just by looking at what I am being asked to speak. This is beyond the ‘corporate speak’ stench that emanates from every hallway in every business. That is just business crap. a great speech has order and ebbs & flows and seamlessly slides from point to point. Most businesses do not have a shitload of people who can do that.

 

 

In business … you almost cannot pay a great speechwriter or great presentation writer enough money. If you have one in your organization you should treat them like gold.

 

 

Anyway.

 

Within a great speech there is often a paragraph or a line that you know is great even as it slips across your lips:

 

 

  • Clinton’s line about Trump … “it doesn’t make him strong … it makes him wrong.”

 

  • Kasich’s indirect jab at Trump … “I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.”

 

 

But the greatest of the great speeches cross over into some unseen universe of euphoria. As a listener you listen, hear … and may not remember specifics but you remember how it made you feel.

 

Nowhere has this been showcased better than on the old television show West Wing.

 

For example … after a pipe bomb explodes at a university killing 44 people, including three swimmers, the president gives a speech that includes the following:

 

 

“… More than any time in recent history, America’s destiny is not of our own choosing. We did not seek nor did we provoke an assault on our freedoms and our way of life. We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people’s strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive. Forty-four people were killed a couple of hours words big brevityago at Kennison State University; three swimmers from the men’s team were killed and two others are in critical condition; when after having heard the explosion from their practice facility they ran into the fire to help get people out … ran ‘into’ the fire. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight. They’re our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars. God bless their memory, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”

 

 

Or.

 

 

The explanation that the director of communications gives when discussing free trade:

 

Toby Ziegler:

 

You want to know the benefits of free trade? Food is cheaper.

Food is cheaper! Clothes are cheaper. Steel is cheaper. Cars are cheaper. Phone service is cheaper. You feel me building a rhythm here? That’s because I’m a speech writer – I know how to make a point.

It lowers prices, it raises income. You see what I did with ‘lowers’ and ‘raises’ there?

It’s called the science of listener attention. We did repetition, we did floating opposites, and now you end with the one that’s not like the others. Ready? Free trade stops wars. Heh, and that’s it. Free trade stops wars! And we figure out a way to fix the rest.

 

 

Words really do matter and, possibly even more important, words delivered well really matter. The wrong words and speech can kill the best idea. Back in 2012 I wrote about elections and words used well and made this point.

Hugh something to believe in

 

Regardless.

 

Speeches are not like stories. Just as presentations are not really stories.

Speeches are all about using words well to lift people from one place to another.

 

Yes, lift.

 

Speeches are not meant to lower themselves into the ordinary uncomfortable truths of what we feel. Speeches are meant to recognize the uncomfortable truths and then lift us above it so we can see a horizon where things are better … the comfortable truth that what is will not always be and what will be is better for you, me & everyone – that no one gets left behind.

 

Bottom line.

 

A great speech lets us see what will be and not what is. Anyone who writes a speech … and gives a speech … would do well to remember the wise words of Hugh McLeod … “the market for something to believe in is infinite.”

All I know is what’s on the internet

March 17th, 2016

 stupidity handicap napoleon trump

 

 

Here is the quote of the day.

 

 

From aspiring president candidate Donald Trump:

 

 

 

“What do I know?” Trump replied. “All I know is what’s on the internet.”

 

 

trump generation of idiots

Well.

 

This actually explains a lot.

 

Credible sources track Trump comments/claims he makes running at about 75% false.

 

Now we know why. He clicks on Wikipedia or urban dictionary or instagram <scanning an image with some quote or factoid> and then tweets it out or parrots it in on-air interviews.

 

 

He has no credible sources … he just makes shit up or maybe even worse … he doesn’t truly think about what he believes.

 

 

I know many of my readers do not live in USA … but for those who do … please think about that before you vote.

 

 

Ok.

 

Now ponder this Trump wisdom.

 

 

 

“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things. My primary consultant is myself and I have – you know, I have a good instinct for this stuff.”

 

 

Well, Donald, that sounds quite reasonable. It’s not as if the world, let alone the Middle East, Ukraine, the South China Sea, is particularly complex or that there are nuanced delicate diplomatic situations or even that it is important to get it right.

 

I imagine just going on instinct makes sense. Or maybe go on the internet because there you will surely find all the answers you will need.

 

 

<note some heavy sarcasm there>

 

 

When I read what he said I thought of a Samuel Adams quote:

 

—-

 

“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

 

===

 

Samuel Adams

 

——

 

 

With Trump we are facing a vain man, maybe the vainest of vain, and an ego amigoaspiring man – one who aspires with no rules, no boundaries, seemingly no moral imperative, or … well … any trivial nuisance that could get in the way of a win.

 

He appears, alarmingly so, to be free of any actual solutions.

 

He appears to be free, alarmingly so, of any real policy <beyond his ‘good instincts for this stuff.”

 

He appears to be free,  alarmingly so, to offer frighteningly hollow rhetoric.

 

He is the ruin … not of the country <we will still be standing despite him> … but he is the ruin of what makes the country great <which is not simply ‘winning’ as he suggests it is>.

 

 

In my little corner of the world I will do everything in my power to convince everyone of the sham Trump is and what he offers.

 

Why?

 

I will refer to Samuel Adams again <and let everyone who has not spoken out yet think about these words>:

 

 

“… the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.”

 

==

Samuel Adams in The Boston Gazette 14 October 1771

 

online megaphone listen speak

 

Speak out now.

 

For what we say, and do, today has an impact … an impact that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.

 

We seek to circumvent the miserableness for the millions yet unborn.

 

 

 

========

 

 

Toby Ziegler <West Wing>:

 

“We don’t know what the next president is going to face. If we choose someone with vision, someone with guts, someone with gravitas, who’s connected to other people’s lives and cares about making them better; if we choose someone to inspire us then we’ll be able to face what comes our way and achieve things we can’t imagine yet.”

 

———-

Enlightened Conflict