Enlightened Conflict

construction, deconstruction & reconstruction (part 1 future business thinking)

October 7th, 2015
change speed market

Hugh McLeod




“The only certain thing about the future is that it will surprise even those who have seen furthest into it.”


Eric Hobsbawm


“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it.

Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you’ve got, and fix it along the way. “


Paul Arden


“Chance favors the connected mind.”

Steven Johnson



beginning to change


Let me state the obvious.

The business world is changing.


How we think, what we think, the business models to implement the new thinking and all the while … the arduous back & forth conflict between the way it was done versus the way it will be.



Overall … one of the biggest challenges the business world is facing is that the entire approach to thinking about how to conduct business is changing which ultimately means the biggest challenge is not the new model itself … it is the fact that the current leadership management thinks one way and emerging management generation thinks another.


This creates issues not only in how the generations interact in the workplace but also impacts the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, in actually training the emerging management employees to be successful.






I call the change … ‘construction thinking’ to ‘deconstruction thinking’ <or “reconstruction thinking”>.



Here is where we are today.



– The existing business world view



The traditional business world <and existing management way of thinking> is based on a construction thinking model.



Think of this as Lego blocks.


business deconstruction

You were given <taught> all the Lego building blocks one by one and taught <trained> the different ways to use them and build something solid from the ground up. Doesn’t really take into consideration what TopModels suggest are the black boxes of thinking <see later in ‘Deconstruction Thinking’> … or the Lego blocks you need to insert based on faith <or intuition> … which invariably we always use <but don’t – can’t – train for>.





Business thinking is always about balancing real knowledge, faith knowledge and intuition.



But in traditional thinking we tend to make the formula weighted toward real knowledge … and construct solutions aiming toward a cause an effect <stimulus response> relationship.
Business training still seems to continue to serve up this linear cause-and-effect thinking as if, by doing so, we’ll understand the person, predict behavior and results … and be able to make sense of everything we do.



An unfortunate truth?



Causing effect is not linear.



Never was … never will be.


directional unidirectional link deconstruction

And this is true even more so in today’s more fragmented stimulus world.



What you share as an initial stimulus is so often re-purposed in ways you cannot even envision it inevitably creates multiple effects … sometimes derivatives of the desired effect and more often an unenvisioned effect.



The reality is that the future success of a strategy is so hard to predict. This also means that … well … Big Ideas <in general> is useless <and not worth the effort to try and construct>. In today’s consumer business world it simply pays to do more things, try more things and … well … simply give yourself more chances that at least one idea takes off now … and you have other ideas which could take off ‘then.’




I’ve been saying for a long time the big idea is crap … in 2010: http://brucemctague.com/the-myth-of-the-big-idea-big-ideas-are-crap >



Suffice it to say big ideas will largely be replaced by ideas many of which will take on a life of their own. Or maybe the business seeks an initial idea that sparks interaction and thought and action/behavior and a business adapts to the resulting behavior.


The business, and the idea, is ultimately defined by what happens next.


But it isn’t just ideas … while the world isn’t stagnant or linear … thinking is exactly the same.



It’s constantly evolving and alive and fragmented into beautifully imperfect shapes and sizes.



The problem with a static brand proposition and a static strategy – or anything static other than a vision or character statement – is that the business landscape, brands and their competition, are anything but static. Business, like people, are evolving entities that live and die by the success of their actions.



Basically, construction is based on predicting behavior before implementation.



– The new business landscape



Simplistically the old way is to methodically construct solutions and ideas and then commit.


retrain thought building deconstructThe new way is more about committing <smartly> and then deconstructing as information is received and adapting until it reaches a shape that could be sustainable.


Oddly … it is actually an older leader who embraced the new way.



<Napoleon>: “On s’engage, et puis – on voit.” <you commit yourself, and then – you see.>



The traditional business cycle has always been one of “study, act, study.”



Information precedes decisions … then the impact of decisions is assessed before the next decisions are made. Each step of the way information, or earning, is the gate through which decisions must pass.


That much has not changed.






How about … with the rise of digital technologies & the internet the cycle times between the ‘act’ and the ‘study’ has been compressed. The old starting point of “study” has become a luxury few marketers can indulge. The new digital cycle is one of “act and react.”

“Act” not “study” is now the point on which everything else pivots. It becomes ‘learning on the go.’



The new landscape is based on answers needed in real time. that also means getting into market is not based on ‘perfecting before going’ but rather … well … “good enough” is, well, good enough. Businesses learn on the go, testing alternatives by doing not by asking, in the marketplace. The core of how a business operates is now more on how consumers behave than on what they think.






This new landscape is only empowered by technology … it is the people, the compete connect smartemerging management generation, who are really driving the new business thinking model. This new generation of management has some specific features which benefit the new business landscape:




– Knowledge <or information about shit> is available to anyone with access to a computer



– There are an increasing amount of things which are ‘black boxes’ of inner workings <they work … but the majority of us have no clue how they work>which compress thinking & doing time



– Great decision making in today’s business world is more often defined by on how good you are at assessing what aspects should be accepted on ‘faith’ <the black box designated aspects> and what aspects need real knowledge & understanding



– It has never been possible to know everything … but in today’s world it is mind numbingly <and humbling so> obvious … and it has become more accepted to learn on the go



– Curiosity is not just a business characteristic but also a management tool <an openly curious leader embraces team dialogue & discussion – without relinquishing decision responsibilities>.




All these things tend to make me believe we are within a great transformation in business thinking.



Unfortunately, to the existing business world & existing senior management, this transformation is one led by the next generation thought-wise. A generation also characterized by:



– One more comfortable utilizing what is called ‘black box knowledge’ and driven by instinct <but willing to adapt from learnings if instinct proven wrong>.



– One where no part of a business, or department, is out of bounds.



– One where creativity in thinking and intuition are used to imagine the future.



– One where value is in information and not things.



– One where value is found in experiences <real knowledge not speculated knowledge>.



– One where value is found more in unfolding discovery and new opportunities rather than researched discovery.



– One where expectations are in the back seat and possibilities are in the front seat.



– One where every company is actually in the information business first and foremost.



– One where value has migrated from tangible to intangibles.

 deconstruction unlearn culture


The clashing of generational business thinking can almost be summed up by Douglas Adams:



Douglas Adams’ rules about technology:

1) Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2) Anything that’s invented between when you’re 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3) Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things.





And while I believe this is the new business thinking world model, the ‘deconstruction business world,’ it inherently contains an aspect which makes the younger generation thinking engine go.



Instincts & black boxes.



– Deconstruction thinking theory<the black boxes in business>


1940's faith

Which leads me deconstruction <or black box> thinking.



This is how I believe the next generation of business leaders … those who grew up in a more digital age <albeit it began with hand held computers> … will think and manage and make decisions.



We are increasingly surrounded by ‘black boxes.’ These are complex constructs that we do not understand even if they are explained to us. We cannot comprehend the inner processes of a ‘black box’, but none the less we integrate their inputs and outputs into our decision-making <just think of your computer as the everyday black box we trust>.





Black box thinking … I cannot take credit for it … TopModels refer to it as “why faith is replacing knowledge.”



“… our world is getting more complicated all the time. Black and white, good and bad, right and wrong have been replaced with complicated constructs that leave most people in the dark.

As the world around us becomes increasingly fast paced and complex, the amount we REALLY know – what we can really grasp and understands – decreases all the time. Today it is more or less taken for granted that we do not understand many of the things that surround us, such as mobile phones and ipads. And even if somebody tried to explain the DNA code to us, we would probably be out of our depth.

We are increasingly surrounded by ‘black boxes’ … complex constructs that we do not understand even if they are explained to us. We cannot comprehend the inner processes of a black box but nonetheless we integrate their inputs and outputs into our decision making.

The amount that we simply HAVE to believe, without understanding it, is increasing all the time. As a result we are tending to assign more importance to those who can explain something than to their actual explanation.”

The Decision book: 50 models for strategic thinking

<Krogerus & Tschappeler>





The new decision making world, one driven by technology and that ‘black box’ of knowledge computers offer in terms of knowledge, is ultimately a deconstructive thinking world. A world in which it is understood that a stimulus can create desired, and sometimes undesired, responses and success is often more based on reacting & adapting to an initial stimulus than perfecting the initial stimulus.



Going back to the Legos analogy … deconstruction identifies the tangible Legos as well as the intangible ‘black box’ Legos.



– Were they used appropriately?


– The appropriate mix?


– The appropriate place?


– Could a real Lego have been put in place of a black box Lego and I would have been better?




And over time the black box thinking <the intangible and vague ‘knowing’> becomes more tangible as well as we gain more faith in certain black box thinking application.






Some people may call deconstruction thinking/solutioning <because they say the deconstruction term is too negative> is simply a more contextual approach to thinking <and learning>.



At its core they would be correct … a contextual approach recognizes that learning is a complex and multifaceted process that goes far beyond drill-oriented, stimulus and response methodologies.




According to contextual learning theory learning occurs best when people process new information or knowledge in such a way that it makes sense to them in their own frames of reference <their own inner worlds of memory, experience, and response>. This theory assumes that the mind naturally seeks meaning in context that is in relation to the person’s current environment and that it does so by searching for relationships that make sense and appear useful.



I may suggest this is adaptive thinking <a term I made up>.



Stanford calls it “adaptive strategy.”



Adaptive strategy. We create a roadmap of the terrain that lies before an organization and develop a set of navigational tools, realizing that there will be many different options for reaching the destination. If necessary, the destination itself may shift based on what we learn along the way.

Creating strategies that are truly adaptive requires that we give up on many long-held assumptions. As the complexity of our physical and social systems make the world more unpredictable, we have to abandon our focus on predictions and shift into rapid prototyping and experimentation so that we learn quickly about what actually works. With data now ubiquitous, we have to give up our claim to expertise in data collection and move into pattern recognition so that we know what data is worth our attention. We also know that simple directives from the top are frequently neither necessary nor helpful. We instead find ways to delegate authority, get information directly from the front lines, and make decisions based on a real-time understanding of what’s happening on the ground. Instead of the old approach of “making a plan and sticking to it,” which led to centralized strategic planning around fixed time horizons, we believe in “setting a direction and testing to it,” treating the whole organization as a team that is experimenting its way to success.



And that is what the new digitally driven generation of business people will inevitably do.


They will confidently use black boxes more faithfully as well as seek relationships that make sense and appear useful … and adapt.



They will be driven more by looking at solutions and not saying “why does this make sense?” logic understanding but rather ‘this doesn’t look right <or it looks right>’ logic understanding.



This will translate into an adapting mentality on everything. And, yes, I mean everything. Not just tactics and execution but strategy … and sometimes some things which in the past have been considered inviolate with regard to change <like the archaic 5-year plan>.






Black box thinking is not a new thing <but has ALWAYS made us feel uncomfortable>.



Albert Einstein received a Nobel Prize for recognizing that models and ‘logical’ systems are ultimately a matter of faith. And, yet, it is often difficult to let go of the tangible or ‘proof prior to acting’ model.



retrain deconstructIt is basic human nature to often believe so strongly in models that they take on the status of reality. But reality, in terms of business thinking and models, is … well … often not reality … and unimaginable can become reality.



Unimaginable is difficult in today’s business world because nowadays almost everything we do leaves behind some trace therefore companies can monitor how their business is running, where customers are, what they are doing and how they are doing it. And in knowing these things they know the nuances of what makes <or breaks> a business.
Practically speaking future decision makers will tend to work with prognosis tools rather than with predictive models. That doesn’t mean the formulas & models will all be thrown away … instead the formulas and models that try and predictively define iterative behavior are in ‘black boxes’ understood by only a few experts. Therefore, the typical decision maker needs to trust, or have faith, in the system without actually understanding it. Yet, even without understanding the black box <or boxes> understanding, or the ultimate proof, occurs in test and measure and watch behavior and assess attitudes and refine with real data <reactive actions>.



That, my friends, is black box thinking in a nutshell.



To be clear.


Models will not be discarded.


In an increasingly confusing and chaotic and black box world the models provide some order and assist in providing focus on what is important and to believe in what we see.


However … the ‘building models’ will be relegated to a lower priority <therefore we can invest less time and rigor> and instead we will more often assess by understanding what doesn’t look right rather than developing something with the intent of building it to look right.



I believe this is the new operating business thinking model.



I also believe, as stated initially, this will be a painful arduous transition



Companies with managers who manage and think like this <mostly the younger emerging managers> will look like frickin’ aliens to many of the existing companies with older ‘model first thinkers.’



I imagine my real point here is that there are companies with young employees who embrace black box thinking who can help those companies be better and do better … but those companies are still solidly stuck in old school logical ‘rationalize before its done’ attitude.



The future



Here’s the good news for black box companies … the business is coming to them.


Not today … but tomorrow.



And while we may try and make the transition move faster … we cannot. Most good companies will knock themselves out trying to deconstruct a black box into some logical explained system or thing. But a black box … is … well … a black box. It isn’t meant, and it really cannot, be explained in any way that an older manager who doesn’t trust or like black boxes can ever be explained.


Trying to do so defeats the real value of the black box.



This is like discussing business apples and oranges.



There is an entire tier of existing business leaders and managers that are baffled by black boxes.



Maybe worse?



They don’t trust black boxes.



Maybe even worse?
They don’t embrace deconstruction business thinking. Every bone in their body is driven toward constructing optimal solutions from day one.



Here is the interesting dilemma.



Older existing management would actually be quite capable … and most likely … quite good at deconstruction thinking.



It just makes them uncomfortable.



Uncomfortable in that it wasn’t the way they were taught & trained and therefore a younger generation shouldn’t make the ‘leap’ to deconstructive thinking without having learned the constructive principle.



What a bunch of bullhockey.


hugh 50 something same old thinking

Training needs to adapt to the thinking and thinking capabilities <some would call that technology> rather than adapt the new business thinking models to archaic training/thinking models <see my site for a number of articles on how older 50somethings should adapt their organizations and thinking to be effective in the future>.



The gap between construction and deconstruction is so far apart philosophically it is crazy to try and bridge it.


Of course business thinking is always about balancing real knowledge, black box knowledge and intuition. It has always. The ‘formula’ is simply different now.


We need to adapt training to accommodate the new formula.





The people.



– The emerging managers <next generation of managers>



Emerging managers in a company will go nuts <for a while>.



Emerging managers instinctually think about deconstruction thinking methodology and get excited and think … “let’s go … let’s do it” only to have their more methodical front loading leaders say “whoa … slow down … lets be sure we get it right from the beginning.”





I’m <and I imagine any good deconstruction thinking type company> not opposed to getting it right straight out of the box … having things as perfect and researched and nuanced as possible when you introduce it. But if you invest too much time trying to get it right the market has passed you by.


I’d rather be ‘close to being right’ in the beginning and adapt quickly as it enters the market.





That last sentence will send older leaders into convulsions.




meeting the construction versus deconstruction gap



Let me be clear about ‘black boxes.’



We still need people. For all the black boxes, the stealing of sound, sight, smell through data, and all the satellites and technological garners of intelligence gathering … it still boils down to humans in the end.



No matter how advanced the technology … it is people who have to make the final assessments. People who can give access to the minds and ‘future thinking’ of thinking could bethose who we are trying to gain insight into.



Black box intelligence still needs people.



Past experience, benchmarking, good to great skill management and construction thinking isn’t enough to be successful in the new business landscape.



Deconstruction thinking is a complex combination of effectively using quickly assembled solid building blocks and implementing only to deconstruct <and reassemble> on the move. The military would suggest it is adapting the battle as you engage.



I suggest that in order to weave your way through business issues, organizational issues, people issues and real knowledge issues takes a daunting combination of strength of character, curiosity, strength of self and real leadership <of which confidence … not arrogance is embraced>.



Deconstruction is not for the faint of heart. Nor is this type of thinking conducive, nor easily compatible, to the existing style of traditional management thinking.





It is the future model of business thinking and operating.

everyone needs a place

April 25th, 2015


created my world place

“Everyone needs a place.

It shouldn’t be inside of someone else. “

Richard Siken


“It’s the one thing we never quite get over: that we contain our own future.”

Barbara Kingsolver








This opens with a line from a poem … not a quote.



I love the line and I love this thought.

lost but better place


Far too often we seek definition from the outside … the outside world and people.


Metaphorically it means we far too often find our ‘place’ inside the outside.



It makes you wonder a little why we think someone else can build this space better than ourselves.


I mean … c’mon … who can build it BUT yourself?


<sigh … and yet we let others build it again and again>



We are born to build our own place because, frankly, there is nobody who can know you more than you.



You should not be molded by the eyes or thoughts of others.


You should build a place in which “you” is safe <I imagine the corollary thought is ‘do you really trust someone, anyone other than you, to build a place that will withstand the worst storms of Life?’>.



And while this may seem philosophical … it seems like nobody else CAN build it for you because … well … it is and always will be who you were and who you will be.



You are not only the architect of your fate but the architect of your space.


I am fairly sure you would not choose to build a home inside another home.


Why would you do so with yourself?



Sadly this conversation of ‘building your own space’ seems to almost always focus on what kind of person one is … in relation to other people or societal norms/expectations.


I am not going to suggest your relationship with other people or the outside world is irrelevant … just that you shouldn’t permit it to define your space.



I think it is important to define oneself as an individual … and avoid comparisons as much as possible … or at least with minimal comparisons.



We certainly have the power, the intellect & the knowledge to define ourselves.




Some people call his ‘find your own voice’ I kind of think it is find your own space.


You find your own home within you in which you sleep, eat, think, invite, kick out, party, cry and live.

life place and time


“When they opened the cadaver, they found a house.

A couple argued inside.

There was a rhythm to their words, like the beating of a heart.”

Barry Napier




By the way. While this thought sounds sensible and practical and … well… good … it is really hard.


Essentially this means the only promise you are making is to yourself and not to anyone else. You are not a metaphor, nor an excuse nor an example to others. But this also means you have to create on your own … and many people don’t think they are creative enough to build something strong or ‘right’ or beautiful <using traditional sense as the judge>.


It is difficult because you are judged first & foremost by yourself … and then you can decide whether you want to see if you meet the ‘promise’ that others & society feel like you should have made to them.



All my bullshit philosophical ramblings aside … I love the thought that no one should build their space inside someone else.



I love the thought this makes most people uncomfortable. It makes people feel uncomfortable because they know they are part of something bigger … and that ‘bigger’ MUST be smarter than … well … me. I mean c’mon … wouldn’t they know better than I whether I was good enough or fulfilling the promise of who and what I should be?



I also think it makes people feel uncomfortable because pretty much everyone <at least anyone I have ever met> has a storm inside them. A storm of who and what they will be. The lightning inside us scares us. The electricity energizes us at the same time. And we don’t know whether we are good enough, big enough, strong enough … for the storm inside us.


“We just have too much lightning crammed into our hearts.

Just want someone to put her ear to our chest and tell us how far away the storm is.”


Lauren Zuniga


love place in mind


Aw shit … I don’t know.



Lightning & storms are alternatively scary and exciting.



All I really know is that it is my storm … and I want my space for it to rage.

giving yourself away … an unselfish view

February 22nd, 2015

saving someone drowning


“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”


Dr. Seuss








It occurred to me when rereading a January post “giving yourself away” < http://brucemctague.com/giving-yourself-away > that I had, with the best of intentions, shared a selfish perspective on giving yourself away. And that there is an unselfish perspective.






There is unselfish giving yourself away. These are the people who simply help people, giving pieces of themselves away, because … well … that is what they do and who they are.



These people, the few, have a gift.


girl saving fire


I know of one for sure … probably a couple.


The gift is that they always seek to give a piece of themselves away if they see someone in pain, burdened by something, or just see a person needing to know that there is someone in the world who cares.



They do this regardless of the other person being friend or foe … known or unknown. They simply seek to … well … metaphorically … give a piece of themselves away to insure the other person has something good to hold on to when things look or feel bad.



What this means is … without trying to be the world to one person … they often end up being just that.



This is a gift.



It is a gift in that these people have an unending capacity to give themselves away.



I think in biology it is called regeneration. The body’s ability to give a piece away and have it regrow on the body. That is a gift these people have.


It is a gift because they never get exhausted giving themselves away piece by piece. It is a gift because they never lose enough of themselves to not have more pieces to give away.



“You will leave a little piece of yourself with everyone you imagine,” he said.

“You will get exhausted trying to give yourself away.”

noble infinite bits



Giving yourself away and never getting exhausted.

I think I will call this unselfish capacity.



It can be called unselfish because of something called “needs.”


We all have needs.


Needs, in the harshest light, pretty much stand in the spotlight of selfishness.

And, yet, the people with the gift I am speaking of seem to have such a huge unselfish capacity that their own needs seemed to get squeezed out of the selfish spotlight and are willing to stand to the side in the shadows.


That is a gift these people have.



There is another aspect of the unselfish capacity.



I will call it the ‘saving someone’ aspect.



My perspective on this one is mainly a business perspective.


When I managed groups and departments of people I loved picking up other managers ‘discards.’ The staff that they had given up on as too flawed or unmanageable. At that time, in my mind, no one wasn’t manageable. I believed as a manager I could ‘save anyone & everyone.’


But when I began managing companies and larger organizations I found I didn’t have the capacity to ‘save everyone.’ I became a harsher judge and jury with regard to staff.



I mention this because not too long ago I told a co-worker who was evaluating a potential hire, with some glaringly obvious cultural fit challenges, that ‘you can’t save everyone.’

He looked at me and said “I know … but why not try?”


The only answer I could give is that ‘if you give too much of yourself away in doing so you end up exhausted … or a shell of your former self having given too much of yourself away.’
Silly me.




I forgot that I am not everyone.


I had forgotten there are people with a gift … an unselfish capacity of which I do not have.



These people not only believe they can ‘save everyone’ but have the capacity to actually try to do so. That, my friends, is a gift.







The ‘giving yourself away unselfishly’ people.



The world needs these people.


We needed them in the past. We need them in the present. We will need them in the future.



dreams holow places empty peopleI imagine I owe an apology to these few gifted people for what I wrote in my original giving yourself away post.



Instead of apologizing I offer this post and the words you just read.




Giving yourself away is tricky.


And not everyone has the same capacity, or gift, to do it … and do it sincerely with no emotional baggage attached to the giving.



Appreciate the few who can.

lies we tell ourselves

February 6th, 2015

lies we tell ourselves


“We lie best when we lie to ourselves.”


Stephen King




“The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves.

We live in denial of what we do, even what we think.

We do this because we’re afraid.” 


Richard Bach







Lies we tell ourselves.


I guess we all do.



The most common lie?


“I’m fine” < http://brucemctague.com/i%E2%80%99m-fine  >.




But then I began thinking growing up sucks but fineabout all the other lies we tell ourselves.



And after doing some research <because I was curious> I am now sure we all do.





A shitload of Psychologists write about this stuff.


I mean… c’mon … who would have ever thought we would lie so much … and to ourselves?


<not me>






There are some little lies and some big lies but I guess it doesn’t really matter. Lies are lies … and we tell a shitload of them to ourselves.


Read on … I just highlight the ones I had some thoughts of my own on.


Most of what is written is paraphrased from a variety of fairly well written sources <when it is real research I will source it>.




–         the “if I am positive good things will happen” lie






This may be the biggest lie we tell ourselves.



‘Think positive’ <and positive things will happen>.


Here is a truth.


Positive multiplied with a negative is still a negative. Meaning, the right thing at the wrong time is still wrong.



And positive multiplied with positive doesn’t mean an increased result <or increased positive necessarily>.

stay positive_thumb_thumb


Next truth.


There is something called ‘The Fallacy of Positive Instances’ which is the natural tendency to remember what is applicable and forget what does not fit one’s expectations.



I say that because there is an odd reflective component in positive thinking philosophy … in that if I think positive about everything … well … inevitably I can look backwards and associate positiveness with the outcome.



Unfortunately this also completely disregards all the things you were so positive of … that never came to fruition <or even the things that went south instead of north>.


By the way … this lie could also be called “wishful thinking.”


Wishful thinking also falls under some great philosophical thoughts like … uhm … optimism and faith … but never attains the heights of the those two.


My favorite thought I found on this ‘fallacy of positive thinking’ was this:




Suppose I offer a prize of a million dollars to anyone who believes that pigs have wings.

There is no doubt that, if you can only force yourself to do so, you stand to gain from believing this.

However, the fact that you win a million dollars in no way tends to show that pigs have wings.







I don’t say this is a lie simply to be a jerk. I say it because I believe this lie can actually encourage many people from doing the things that actually offer their best chance of succeeding.





Positive thinking, in an odd way, can actually convince you that you don’t need to do the actual things you need to do to succeed.




People who are emotionally positive about their chances for success have a history of succeeding.




They tend to ‘do’ and tend to not just ‘dream.’


I say that because therefore success isn’t about positive thinking … it is about doing what need to be done <working toward the goal you want to achieve or practicing the skill you actually need>.




Be positive … but not too much. Just be a healthy positive.

Leaning toward the positive while remaining mindful, aware, and curious.





management what growing-global-executive-talent


–          the “other people have some special talent <and I don’t>” lie





This one is a tough lie that lurks underneath many a person.


One of the common lies we start telling ourselves at a very early age is what we believe we’re talented in and what we think we’re not.


Being artistic or creative is a perfect example <or the right brain/left brain myth>.


We look at the work created by others and tell ourselves that they must have been born with some natural talent to have been able to do it.


On the other hand … for ourselves … we know <not believe> that doing the same thing would take unimaginable effort. It’s pretty easy to conclude at that point we just weren’t meant to be or do … well …. <fill in the blank>.


By the way … this often slides into an ‘I’m not good enough’ self esteem lie. This is a slightly different kind of lie we tell ourselves … but just as damaging to ourselves.






I will state unequivocally … everyone is good at something.


Let me repeat.


Everyone … everyone … is good at something.


It may take a while to figure out what it is.


You may often be led astray under the guise of ‘I like doing this and this is what I want to do’ <but you actually either suck at it … or it takes so much effort and energy to be competent that it is maybe a drain rather than something that elevates you>.


Sometimes you may be guided by others incorrectly.


And sometimes life just gets in the way of it.


“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”

Jonathan Safran Foer




This ‘I am not talented’ lie is a burden.


It is truly the weight of all the lives you are not living.


You kind of have to live your own life.


Not someone else’s.


Nor can you burden yourself with the lives you may not be living <the one, or ones, maybe you should be living>.




Once again.


Everyone is good at something.


Everyone has some talent.


Which also inevitably leads to the fact that someone will always be better than you at something.


If you focus on that last point as a negative … as in ‘why can’t I do that?’ … you are not only lying to yourself <in that it matters> you are also wasting energy.


Figure out what you are good at.



That’s no lie.






secret happiness 5 things

–          “happiness comes from how others see me and what I achieve” lie








We live in a culture that reinforces this belief, and lie, every day.

I am certainly not suggesting there is no value in external affirmation and stimulus … but they just aren’t the end all be all.


Each person needs to develop a core of positive self-regard that is not dependent on achievement or dependent upon what others think.


If you do not do that you become … well … hostage to others.


Just a note.


One reason high status professionals tend to have high suicide rates is because society pounds it into our heads, all heads is my point, that gaining a certain status will bring us happiness.





It can … but it is an empty happiness.


On the other hand … if you believe that your life has meaning and purpose, and you direct your actions in that way, then both internal belief and external reinforcement can work together towards greater satisfaction with life.


Interestingly … contrary to popular opinion with regard to ‘specializing’ or ‘mastering one thing well’ … research suggests if you want happiness you should diversify <not specialize>.


Studies suggest putting all your self-worth in any one thing <no matter how worthy … parenting, work, marriage, relationships, financial success> puts far too much pressure on that aspect.


My point?



Happiness is internal first and foremost. Labels, titles and other’s acceptance should only be important in that they are a reflection of your inner purpose … not reflection of outer value.






indulge less i needed 

–          the “I need” lie






I need.


Need, in general, outside of food, water and air … is a qualitative attitude based on perception.



I need a new <bigger> house.


A new <better> car.


A new shirt or dress.



“I need” can span from big to small.


Here is a truth <let’s call this a non-lie>.



If you’re alive and surviving without it right now then you most likely <I hesitated but wanted to use ‘clearly’> don’t need it.


Ponder that.



Because freeing yourself from this ‘need’ lie means freeing yourself from some really unnecessary angst & pain in your life. Because this lie suggests some sense you’ll be hurt in some way if you don’t get the thing.



Understanding that ‘need’ is actually ‘want’ is … well … freeing in and of itself.







right am i

–          the “I’m right” lie



This is one of the most damaging lies we can tell ourselves, says Carol Tavris, PhD, social psychologist.



“It’s called the basic bias—the idea that everyone else is biased, but we’re not.”




This lie resides in the belief that you know best and that you’ve got all the facts.


Ultimately this lie prevents you from even listening to any evidence that you’re wrong.


It becomes impossible for you to comprehend any possibility that your memory is wrong or maybe your perception is wrong or even that your explanation is wrong.



‘It’s self-damaging, in that it keeps you stuck within the confines of what you think you know.’






I imagine I included this lie because it is almost the ‘anti-enlightened conflict’ thought.


And worse?



Its not that you aren’t actually interested in learning more … but instead because of this insidious lie you are telling yourself … you remain stagnant in what you know.


This is a truly insidious, evil … and sly … lie we tell ourselves.


I fight this lie tooth & nail every day.




By the way.


If you are questioning whether this is a lie you should worry about.


The social psychologist  also adds … “it also makes you a miserable person to be with.”





lies we tell bach 

–          the “I have no willpower” lie



Holy cow this is a damaging lie.



And of all the lies I am writing about this one may be the most unequivocal lie.


Or the truest of non truths.





This is a really bad lie to tell yourself because it is … well … an excuse.


You have some willpower.


We all do <says Roy Baumeister a social psychologist>.


However … Baumeister also discovered in lab tests that willpower is finite.


In other words … after people used self-control for some tasks, they had less of it for subsequent tasks <this suggests you probably shouldn’t quit smoking, get organized and go on a diet on the same day>.


But he also found that willpower, like a muscle, can be built up over time through regular training.




Ponder that.


Will power is like a muscle.



The first time you use it … it will be weak … and hurt like a sonuvabitch afterwards.


But if you stick with it?


It will become stronger.




Suffice it to say this truth … we all have willpower.


We all ‘can do this.’


We all may not like ‘doing this’ and it will always be difficult … but anyone and everyone can ‘do this.’


There you go.


A life truth.


In general … it is a lie to say “I can’t do this” if the basis is not physical … but emotional <as in will power>.


I imagine I could suggest “it’s all in your head” but I won’t.









–          the “I’ll never get over it” lie <or the “I will never get through this lie>







I included this one because this is a scary lie we tell ourselves because it firmly places you in a dark hole … and you are, in some way, accepting the fact your ass is residing in a black hole of despair and unhappiness.


And purposefully placing yourself in a dark hole seems insane.


But it isn’t insanity … it is simply we tell ourselves this sneaky little lie.


‘I’ll never get over <through> this is … well … typically just not true.


“We’re not necessarily conscious of how rapidly we recover from adversity,” says Richard J. Davidson, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin.





At some point in our lives we feel the  intense challenges and the corresponding  underlying fear that we simply can’t handle all that is going on <compounded by  what you fear MAY unfold in the coming days, weeks, and months>.


Here is the good news.


It is a Life truth that you have more than all of this requires.


I didn’t caveat this with ‘in most cases’ because, given the opportunity, we will make whatever situation we are discussing the exception.


When in fact exceptions to this truth are inordinately rare. In other words … you will most likely never face it in your lifetime.



If you take a step back and take inventory of some of the adversity you’ve overcome in life you will inevitably be reminded you are quite resilient.


In just about every situation and circumstance in life, we really do have more than is required to not only deal with what’s happening.


In fact … we have a tendency to thrive in the face of it. oh. And by ‘thrive’ I don’t mean anything but that we have a tendency to find a new capacity … a newer and better version of ourselves.





It sucks when you are in these kinds of moments and periods of time.


Feeling overwhelmed is feeling overwhelmed, regardless of what it is we’re feeling overwhelmed about.





By the way.


Overwhelmed doesn’t really have depth … it just is.

One overwhelmed is no deeper or worse than another overwhelmed.



It is a lie to yourself to suggest ‘I can’t get over it <or through this>.”


A thought for you on this lie.


Richard Summers, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, tells most of his patients undergoing a crisis “to allow themselves to really feel some of the negative emotion and to trust nature—those emotions have really a finite lifespan and tend to abate over time.”



That said, he offers a benchmark for people who are grieving.



“There’s a big spread, and it’s important to remember that but a good rule of thumb is that after six months there should be at least some sense of forward motion for the person.”

<If not, professional help may be one answer>



My point?


We are pretty resilient hardy folk.



It may feel like you can’t get over it … or through it … but you can.

And in almost all cases … you will.







Done with lies.


There you go.


I could have listed a bunch more but these are the ones if I could fix … I would go to the ends of the earth to solve for anyone and everyone.


I wrote this because I think we should all think about these things.


It’s really really easy to say <to yourself> that you ‘know yourself well’ and ‘know your strengths & weakness’ … and you may.


But you may not.




Because just as a good liar is … well … a good liar and can effectively pull a lie off.


Yourself can be just as good a liar.


Effective in pulling off a good lie.


That said.


I read somewhere that you do not really know how sick you are until you decide to recover.


Lying to oneself is exactly like that.


Your lies are often slippery images that only appear in the corner of your eye.


Seemingly there … and then not.


And inevitably those slippery images come to focus not as lies … but as truth. Because you have said them so many times they are no longer anything but what is.


The cost?


Its not self esteem.birds freedom hair


Its not self actualization.



It is … well … self. The core of who you are has less meaning.


Or, as Dostoyevsky says:


“Above all, don’t lie to yourself.

The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.

And having no respect he ceases to love.”


Fyodor Dostoyevsky



I don’t think anyone wants that.




Above all, don’t lie to yourself.

giving yourself away … a selfish view

January 25th, 2015

not good enough trying

“You will leave a little piece of yourself with everyone you imagine,” he said.

“You will get exhausted trying to give yourself away.”


“I wonder how much of what weighs me down is not mine to carry.”




“I ruined myself for a lot of people that weren’t even worth it.”









I like every single one of the quotes I began with because they’re not blaming anyone else for their problems.


That said.


While this topic is mostly about ‘self’ … let me be clear … keeping yourself whole is one of the most difficult challenges in Life.


trying fucked it up







We all have a tendency to give little pieces of ourselves away … with good intentions <most of the time>.
And then there will be times you have a piece taken away.







If you are not careful not only do you get tired … but you have nothing left to give.





And at exactly the same time you run the risk of accepting some shit from other people and end up having to carry it around <along with your own shit>. This shit is not only their problems or issues … but more dangerously … their perceptions and attitudes.


Uhm. The ‘what they believe’ type shit.



I will note here that other people’s thoughts, perceptions & attitudes can be the heaviest burden you can ever assume. So while you give yourself away piece by piece you are inevitably gathering up pieces of other people.


When things get completely out of balance this means you can actually be carrying around more of other people <and their wacky opinions> then your own.



Scary, huh?  Kind of makes you hesitate to give yourself away.





Maybe this means I am talking about being selfish.


And actually finding a positive aspect of selfish.



Because, yes, there is a twinge of selfishness in deciding to not give yourself away.


I say that because there are always people wanting a piece of you.



Especially if you are worth a shit.



But even if you are not worth a shit … other people are always in need of something more than what they have … and will always seek to get what they need.


Sometimes this is meant with good intentions.


thinking trying to
Sometimes it clearly is with bad intentions.


Intentions or not … at all times … if you ‘play’ … you give yourself away.





What this means is that if you are not very very <very> careful … you can ruin yourself by giving yourself away. I say ‘very careful’ because it can happen piece by piece.



So ‘being careful’ brings me back to the selfish thought.




You have a right to set respectful boundaries.



You have a right to decide when to give something away, of yourself, and when not to.
You have a right to tell the world “I have nothing left to give.”



trying getting started


“It’s okay to care about yourself the most.

It’s okay to do what’s healthy for YOU. When someone hits you, it’s okay to hit back and then ask them what the hell they expected.

It’s okay.

You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you.

You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy.

You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”.

You have a right to say “Let me feed that back to you; tell me, how does it taste?”

You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions.

The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.”






And maybe that is what not giving yourself comes down to.



The right to set your own boundaries … and rules for interaction.





This will confuse the world on occasion.





“The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.”



But you gotta do it or … well … you give yourself away.



Giving yourself away can be exhausting.



Giving yourself away does not always translate into ‘getting back something of equal value.’


Giving yourself away can ruin you.






In the end.



I am certainly not suggesting lack of compassion or not embracing a giving nature or even a belief that giving yourself away doesn’t have returns <actualization, esteem, gratification, etc.>.



However.trying human being



I am suggesting that if you give yourself way piece by piece to anyone and everyone who asks … well … you run the risk of no longer being whole. The essential parts that make up the whole have been given away.




I am suggesting that it is okay to be a little selfish, maybe self serving, when it comes to giving yourself away.

ideas versus obsessions

January 13th, 2015

idea ease love passion


“I have no ideas, only obsessions.

Anybody can have ideas.

Ideas have never caused anybody’s downfall.”

Emil Cioran



I just saw this quote.



I loved it.



What a frickin’ awesome thought.



Especially in today’s world where we talk ad nausea about how anyone can have a ‘good idea.’







Not all ideas are created equal.


obsessed interested




Not all people can come up with good ideas.




The quote suggests an injection of energy and passion and ‘belief’ into an idea … to make it something other than just an … well … idea.



Why is this important?



Because so often we sit in meetings and brainstorm and flippantly toss out ideas. And they are … well … just ideas.


Hollow? Maybe not completely.


Flat? Possibly.



Deep? Rarely … mostly created from some individualistic opinion or belief.




Obsession? Extremely rare.



And that is what differentiates ideas. The depth. There is an obsessive aspect to a great meaningful idea.





People can obsess over an idea … and that idea can be crappy.



But if an idea generates obsession among people ?? … yikes. That is a frickin’ good idea.


What a great thought … “Ideas have never caused anybody’s downfall.”



An idea empty of some obsession qualities ain’t gonna rock the world.



And I imagine that is my point.




There are ideas.



And then there are ideas that change us <which means we have an opportunity to change the world>.





Unfortunately … these types of ideas come with a responsibility … a burden as a matter of fact. And not all people are capable of accepting this burden and not all people WANT to assume the responsibility of these types of ideas.


<a 2012 post about the burden of good ideas:

http://brucemctague.com/the-burden-of-good-ideas   >




To finish up … I will end where I began. obsession mercilessly bend



There are ideas you don’t love with ease … you love with passion.



Some of us desire these types of ideas.


And we obsess over them.

Enlightened Conflict