Enlightened Conflict

legacies, never being seen & pondering 2100 posts

June 24th, 2017

blog writing

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just-shower-thoughts:

 

    One of my greatest fears is that someone has written my favorite song, but they’re not famous enough for me to hear it.

 

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“As I make a final right-hand turn onto our street, my GPS informs me that I’ve ‘reached my destination.’

 

‘My destination,’ I laugh aloud to myself.

 

My GPS doesn’t know squat.”

 

Colleen Hoover

 

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“I’m so scared of dying without ever being really seen. Can you understand? “

David Foster Wallace

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“I did something and it was never seen.”

 

Someone’s grave stone

 

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Ok.

 

 

This is written as I ponder my legacy, legacies in general, and my 2100st post.

 

writing-typing-legacy-blog-thoughts7 years 7 months 4 days.

91 months 4 days.

396 weeks 1 day.

2773 days.

2100 posts.

A little over 5 posts a week for over 7 years.

2,100,000+ words <a conservative estimate>.

 

My words and thoughts over the 2100 posts have remained consistent … on November 18th 2009 I wrote my first Enlightened Conflict post and 6 days later I offered my second post and wrote this:

 

… it is in my DNA to be “constantly preoccupied with possibilities of new combinations.” Now. That can make me a pain in the ass to work with. One time a mentor, and a manager I loved working for, once said to me, “sometimes you are a pain in the ass, but I am glad you are my pain in the ass.”

 

And if you visit my LinkedIn site you will see a past client says:

......... Me .............

……… Me ………….

 

If you don’t want to be “nudged” into new ideas and creative solutions – don’t ever call Bruce McTague. If, however, you want to look at things through a different telescope and find 3-dimensional ideas you’ve never considered, call Bruce now. Not tomorrow. He’ll make you uncomfortable, but I firmly believe that if the idea doesn’t make you uneasy, it’s not a big idea. Easy to work with, but always stretching your mind, Bruce is a true business Partner. You’ll grow working with Bruce.

 

2100 posts later and I am still a contrarian, still snarky, still writing about the possibility of new combinations and still a pain in the ass.

 

But with almost everything I write I try and offer pain in the ass type thinking … not fluff. On November 30th 2009 I wrote this: communicating meaningful information so people can make meaningful choices.

 

I am still not a nudger and I am absolutely unflinchingly focused on communicating meaningful information, thoughts & ideas so people can make meaningful choices and think meaningful thoughts.

 

Well.

 

All that said.

 

At 2100 you have a tendency to sit back and wonder what happens if I actually

did something in my Life and nobody notices it when I am gone?

 

And before you think this topic is bullshit or “that’s not something I worry/think about” take a second and think about this.

 

Why do so many people buy symbolic bricks with names on it on a wall somewhere?

Why do we put stars in the ground with people’s names on it?

Why do we have gravestones and epitaphs?

 

We do these things because we want people to remember at least something about us. It doesn’t have to be big … but … well … something for god’s sake.

 

All of that leads me to legacies.

 

Everyone leaves something behind … some footprint.

 

With me … my largest footprint <at the moment> would be everything I have written.

Which makes me slightly wonder what happens with my 2100+ pieces on Enlightened Conflict … does somebody stumble across them and publish some or do they fade way into the nothingness of ‘something done but never seen’?

 

Will someone own my words & thoughts when I am gone?

 

I wrote recently that I own my words and thoughts … therefore … in some way I assume they must have some value <at least to me> … maybe just pennies but of some value.build legacy create something mctague 2000

 

It would be nice to think some of these thoughts get passed around from person to person like pennies — everyone has some, they are often overlooked until needed to complete a transaction and are annoying when you realize you left some in a pocket when you do the laundry.

 

But most importantly I see these pennies being used to create a transaction. In my mind … in this case the transaction is thinking … and maybe a purchase against what I see as the true corruption of our age … ignorance.

 

 

 

Montaigne:

The corruption of the age is made up by the particular contribution of every individual man; some contribute treachery, others injustice, irreligion, tyranny, avarice, cruelty, according to their power; the weaker sort contribute folly, vanity, and idleness; of these I am one. It seems as if it were the season for vain things, when the hurtful oppress us; in a time when doing ill is common, to do but what signifies nothing is a kind of commendation.

 

 

 

I admit that I believe these types of pennies are becoming more and more valuable.

 

I believe that because I worry that time is currently painting a portrait of disappearing thought in which all who see this portrait are corrupted by what they can no longer see … and walk away thinking ignorance is beautiful.

 

Yeah.

 

That corruption breeds a sense of everything changing … but in an invisible way. We only see the change in a low level slightly nagging unease & unhappiness. In a way our moral & character health deteriorates despite our relentless pursuit of feeling better through pills, supplements & absurd self improvement plans.

Mentally our focus shifts toward what is visible and away from the invisible <that which creates the unease> and we fixate on what we think we know rather than unlearning what we know.

 

We stop engaging with thought … and even engaging with the thoughtful people <the intellectuals — real & faux> because it is … well … easier.

 

The sad truth is that we are largely doing all of this corruption to ourselves. We do so because conflict is necessary to make the invisible visible … but conflict, and making the invisible visible, is hard & sometimes hurtful.

 

invisible grain of sandWhat does this have to do with a legacy?

I could argue that if your thinking is invisible in some way … possibly a big way … you run the risk of becoming so invisible that when you leave there remains no footprint to mark your steps in Life.

 

I imagine leaving Life as an invisible person has little appeal to anyone. Not that you desire to be the most visible person in the world just that you would prefer knowing that when you were gone who you were just became completely invisible.

 

Please note that I am not tying visible to any success but rather thinking <although I imagine it could be tied to ‘doing something that may truly matter’>.

 

And, while I am talking about the legacy I personally want to leave behind, I would imagine this thought bleeds into almost everyone’s Life. Yeah, in this case, I don’t think I am different than most people.

 

We all would prefer to not be corrupted by ignorance and we would prefer to want to ‘do something’ and, preferably, something dynamic beyond our own purposes.

 

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“[My ultimate goal is] to leave this world a better person, and for me to not be the only one who knows it.”

 

Gavin DeGraw

 

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Ah.

But the idea of being dynamic beyond your own purposes is fraught with peril.

 

It means … well … dreaming big. Okay. It means thinking big <and, yes, I do believe far too often we aim too small and too low>.

 

As for me and my thinking big?

 

I want to attack ignorance as if it is the enemy and, looking back, the majority i will talk about anythingof my 2100 posts have relentlessly unflinchingly, never nudging, attacked ignorance. I have done so using the idea of Enlightened Conflict as a North Star.

 

I believe conflict of thoughts is healthy and believe vocalizing the conflict is necessary for progress. I believe Conflict is natural and will always exist – between countries, religious beliefs, ideologies, the haves and the have nots, etc.

 

And I believe with my writing I have a unique opportunity to insure conflict of thinking can be managed to some extent by encouraging positive conflict or enabling conflict with rules.

 

I debate with people … I write about thinking … I defend our youth … I rant about the old way of thinking … and, lately, I have found a muse in Donald J Trump <in fact … my 2101st post is a Trump business lesson>.

Trump has offered me the opportunity to have a living breathing example of almost everything I detest in business leadership, business acumen and how a business shouldn’t be run.

 

I do not detest him as a person <I don’t know him> I just detest how he conducts himself as a leader and a business person. He has reminded me that passion can inspire thinking and writing and reminds me that business sometimes needs to stop nudging and be more demanding of what is right & good.

 

Regardless.

 

think imagine legacy young learn unlearnIn the end … all I want is some enlightened thinking and new ways of looking at things and often, as a contrarian, I will use someone or something as a foil to make a comparative.

 

This style and way of thinking has proven to be a good timeless way of approaching things because should you view a post in my first 100 you would find it is still relevant and will still contain thoughts you may find scattered in my last 100 posts.

 

Anyway.

 

One last thought on legacies — compromising.

 

I still worry about compromising.

 

I know I have some fear that compromising has left far too many people numb to life … or maybe just numb to their dreams. Or maybe more specifically numb to ‘doing something that matters’ and, certainly, numb to thinking and new thoughts.

 

I still worry about me compromising. And maybe I fear that numbness if I end up compromising.

 

I kind of think this is a legitimate fear.

 

I, as everyone else, certainly want to be happy. Live. And love. And be loved. Read. Travel. See things. Meet people. Meet more people. And learn. And unlearn. And learn some more. Nowhere in there do I see compromise … I only see doing shit. And, in my eyes, nor do I see any ‘nudging’ but rather unflinching doing.

 

Yes. Doing something unflinchingly.

 

Because doing something unflinchingly that can leave the world a better place?

 

Whew.

legacy learn imagine hope mctague

I gotta tell ya … if you even have a glimmer of hope of getting to do something big … something really big … something that matters in a big way … something that someone would recognize someday  as a legacy idea … well … I don’t know. It kind of seems like you have to go for it – uncomprisningly and unflinchingly.

 

I have to think that if am going to lose, I want to know I lost doing something and not losing because I compromised in some way.

 

That said.

 

I don’t want to be known for writing 2000 posts, or however many I end up writing, I would like to have a legacy suggesting I did something that mattered <and someone could point to what that something was>.

 

In the end.

 

2100 posts and counting.

I very rarely have duplicated a thought, I have never run out of new quotes to share and I have never had “writer’s block” or not had something to write and, yet, I have consistently pounded on stupid & senseless business acumen and the misguided tripe people are fed with regard to Life.

 

That sounds big … and, yet, small at the same time. I have to imagine whether someone has written as much as I or not … most people will find that they have done something that sounds big but may look small in the harsh light of reality.

The only way I know to build a meaningful legacy <making what may appear small big> is to do what I do … not nudge and be absolutely unflinchingly focused on communicating meaningful information, thoughts & ideas so people can make meaningful choices and think meaningful thoughts.

 

And, yet, sure … I still do wonder what will happen to everything I have written because … well … at the moment they are my legacy. I imagine I am not alone in thinking that “I did something and it was never seen” on my headstone isn’t really what anyone wants.

For now all I can do is insure that I do something meaningful in a ‘non-nudging way’ and hope it gets noticed.

2000 legacy posts write

 

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About the author:

Bruce McTague is probably considered a sometimes irascible pragmatic contrarian. At the same time he is most likely considered a naïve believer in the inherent good in people and believer in the value of Hope as an engine for real progress.

He has been called cynical and optimistic.

And because of all of that he believes Life, just as people, are a complex bundle of contradictions therefore simplicity is often that refuge of fools.

He believes there is no problem or conflict that cannot be solved if people are willing to face harsh truths and make the hard decisions. He also believes that the world would be a much better place if everyone would spend just a little more time unlearning what they have learned, think a little bit more and that we would all benefit if we became better at articulating our thoughts.    

Lastly, in the end, he believes that everyone everywhere deserves to have hope.

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“I don’t want to be remembered.

 Memories age and you might remember words I whispered in your car but you’ll forget how my voice made your name sound safe. You will faintly remember that there was once warmth in my touch but the skin on your chest where my hands made a home is cold now.

 

Time will steal all the sharp edges that made it seem real. Years will rob you blind and you’ll simply be living with my blurry ghost.

 

That’s worse than being forgotten, so confuse me with another girl in a coffee shop and change my name in future stories. Walk down memory lane and unlock the exit.

Ignore the ghost that packs up the memories and leaves and do me one last favor; shut the door behind me. “

 

write-from-the-start

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one of those dumb days where

June 13th, 2017

do nothing sloth impossible every day jo

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“We are dying from overthinking.

 

We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything.

Think. Think. Think.

 

You can never trust the human mind anyway.

It’s a death trap.”

 

Anthony Hopkins

 

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“It’s one of those dumb days where nothing’s really wrong but nothing’s really right either and the sky can’t even choose to be white or gray.”

 

Andrea Portes

 

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nothing neon sign

 

“Nothing” days.

 

 

Its hard to believe with all that shit we always seem to have to do and all the shit that seems to be happening around us and all the shit society, people and culture claims we are demanded to pay attention to … there can be nothing days.

The dumb days in which nothing happens <albeit lots of somethings actually happen>.

 

I think this is one of those things I didn’t think about until I actually thought about it — how can a day be nothing when you actually did a shitload?

 

Sure.

 

There are some people who get busy doing nothing <I actually call this ‘the art of looking busy’ and have a piece on his coming up>.

 

But the majority of us do a shitload of something on the days which we tend to i expect nothing still too muchview as having done nothing.

 

And I am not sure that is particularly healthy.

 

You can surely assess what you have done and apply some value less than what you wished you could assess … but even that “lesser value” is not zero, therefore, it is not nothing.

 

Personally I think this happens because the majority of us have a natural resistance to nothing. What I mean by that is being associated with “nothing”, particularly in a country that extols doing, creates some sense of diminishing or diminished.

 

And no one likes to feel either diminished or having whatever we actually did do be diminished to … well … nothing.

 

Anyway.

 

What that means is we will apologize for ‘nothing’ with a variety of reasons – distracted, bored, tired, etc. – because in the end our internal integrity compass wants to point toward something to make us happy.

In fact … someone created something called the Nothing Day which has been commemorated since 1973. The day is literally about doing nothing at all. There is absolutely no purpose or intended structure for this pointless celebration.

 

especially if its nothing days

 

My point isn’t that we should celebrate nothing or doing nothing or even the feeling we actually did nothing but rather that we see “nothing” where there really is something.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

This is even making my head hurt.

 

Let me try this.

 

Far too often we fall into an all or nothing assessment with regard to our day. What that means is we could actually do a shitload but if it doesn’t meet some “something” standard it then falls to a 100% nothing value.

That is nuts.

 

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“Either I reigned supreme or sank into the abyss.”

 

Simone de Beauvoir

 

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And I can honestly say its nuts because I do it. I can reach the end of a day with a long list of shit I have done and sit back and say “shit, I did nothing.”

And I don’t think I am that different than a lot of people.

 

I could speculate why we do it but I will not.

 

Mostly it is because we think, think & think about the shit … and overthink it … and it is a death trap.

 

Mostly I think society & culture seems to put an extraordinary amount of value on tangible recognizable outcomes therefore if you just do shit … but the shit doesn’t offer some trophy outcome you can hold up for everyone to see than … well … we think we have nothing to show for it. That is also a death trap.

 

That’s dumb.something and nothing sign

 

Not only is that dumb it is the foundation for one of those dumb days where nothing’s really wrong but nothing’s really right either and the sky can’t even choose to be white or gray type feeling … which is a pretty dumb feeling to have.

 

All I can say is that the next time you think it is one of those dumb days where you did nothing … maybe stop overthinking and make it a simple thought — I did some shit today. I will do more shit tomorrow. And eventually some good shit will happen.

communications, advertising & the battle for truth

December 6th, 2016

 

everybody needs what i am selling deserve life

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“Forget words like ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell.’

That will only confuse you.

 

Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.”

 

=

David Ogilvy

 

———————

 

“If you try to comprehend air before breathing it, you will die.”

 

=

Mark Nepo

 

—————

 

“Seeking truth is a full time job.

Communicating truth is a purpose in Life.

Embrace that truth and your Life will be significantly more complicated, but significantly more rewarding.”

 

=

Bruce McTague

 

——————–

 

Well.

 

Communicating has always been a tough gig but in today’s world it has taken on liaran increased challenge.

 

I scan headlines in magazines and online and I cannot see one topic being discussed, one industry or any one group of influential type people that isn’t under attack by ‘lack of trust’ or, in other words, ‘liars.’

 

What that means is anything you are communicating isn’t starting from a commodity standpoint <all facts and truths are created equal> but rather you are already in a hole trying to climb out of ‘prove to me this is not a lie.’

 

Truth has never had a more difficult challenge than today. This may sound odd because common sense suggests truth is truth and, unvarnished, stands clear of any and all clutter as … well … truth.

Unfortunately that is not … well … true.

Truth, more often than not, is a wallflower and not the one breakdancing in the middle of the room. The schlub doing the crazy dance alone, being watched by everyone, is more likely a lie or a semi/partial truth. You have to coax truth to the dance floor. Someone has to bring it out into the audience and permit it to be seen.

 

Truth telling is hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. Seeking truth is a full time job <which most people, frankly, just do not have the time to do as they do their paid full time job>.

And communicating truth has to be a purpose in one’s life in order to meet the onslaught of untruths, purposeful ignorance, unintended ignorance, semi-truths and … well … cynicism.

 

To be clear.

 

I do not believe we are in some ‘post truth world.’

Nor do I believe what someone said “there are no facts anymore.”

 

Facts are facts and truth is truth.

There may be some confusion around this but … of all industries … advertising and marketing communications people had sure as shit better be fucking clear on this … or they are in deep shit.

 

Anyone in the professional communications business had better be absolutely fucking clear that communicating today ain’t like communicating yesterday … or they are in deep shit.

 

While I believe business, in general, benefits if they start on day one embracing the thought they are in the decommoditization business <rather than in the ‘uniqueness business’> I believe communications would benefit by embracing the thought they are in the ‘establishing truths’ business.

 

Look <part 1>.

 

Advertising, marketing and all of professional communications is in a challenging position. Challenging in that businesses spend money on marketing & advertising most typically to sell shit. Therefore its main goal is to … well … sell nothing in boxes business selling stuff capitalismshit.

 

This means that if I represent a product and its main buying audience is white, male & blue collar <or pick any demographically based segment> … I am going to use imagery and words that will appeal to them <sometimes to the detriment to other audiences who are less likely to buy your shit>.

 

Now.

 

Of course you want to do it with style and substance and some sense of responsibility <not be stupid>. So any advertising person with any chops <any good> will figure out a way of not doing the stupid shit to sell shit.

Even then … your audience is your audience and while we would like to suggest everything is made to be created with a larger purpose of ‘bettering the world’ … to a business who only has maybe $1000 to market something <or some finite budget amount> that $1000 is spent on selling shit and not ‘bettering the world.’

 

Simplistically … you sell to the people who will buy or have bought.

 

Simplistically … you sell to those people who will buy in the most effective way so that they will actually buy.

 

I say hat because someone on the outside looking in can take apart imagery & words and make some very valid points with regard to the kinds of messages they send … but marketing people & advertising people are under a lot of pressure to sell shit. And, remember, they are in the service business … they ultimately do not do anything but ‘strategically create persuasive creations’… and a business makes the decision on whether what they create will actually be produced and put in front of people.

 

And here is where the communications folk can get a little sideways. They focus on imagery & words & ‘attention’ with the intent to gain interest … not specifically sell shit. And they ignore truth as … well … too complicated & too complex. And it is quite possible we communications folk may have gotten away with that in the past, but in today’s world, sure as shit, you better be grounded in hard, clear truth or you are gonna get screwed.

 

Look <part 2>.

 

In the good ole days … truth was appreciated, but aspirational sold.

 

sell hope i canWell.

 

That was before we all got a good dose of cynicism and started drinking from the fountain of untruths.

Messages are everywhere and simply suggesting you were offering truth because “you’re too clever to fall for manipulation” gave people permission to at least think you were offering truth.

No more my friends.

While aspirational drives value, lack of truth suffocates value into nothingness.

This doesn’t mean there will not be a boatload of products and services who make a sale standing on the superficial surface of irrelevant, but appealing, value. But that will be the geography populated by the hacks.

This truth thing may not be a battle which some people want to fight. And that is okay. But someone has to or the entire industry will become … well … irrelevant. If no one tells the truth then why would I listen to anyone.

I, personally, am not suggesting ditching aspirational but I am suggesting that truth, communicating the truth in a away that people actually believe it is true, is the key to future success.

 

Look <part 3>

 

I have worked in and out of the marketing and advertising business for <yikes> over 30 years so I feel like I have some qualifications to comment on the industry.

 

Everyone on the outside of the advertising business looking in thinks those creating the advertising think about shit that … well … truthfully … advertising people actually never waste their time thinking about.

 

And everyone inside the advertising business thinks about more shit than people outside the advertising could ever imagine they think about.we all scream for the truth

 

Suffice it to say I could gather up examples of advertising using material over 20 years and make pretty much any point I want to make – good, bad, absurd, true, untrue, semitruthful, smart, insightful or blatantly uninsightful.

 

Anyway.

 

Here is a communications truth — perception is not reality.

 

The perception is that advertising makes shit up, makes stupid vapid shit and says nothing <as much as possible> and if they do say something it is a lie and, ultimately, they try and make people feel something <to sell>.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth <with the non hacks>.

 

The problem in advertising typically arises when the ad creators struggle to articulate the benefit <or convince themselves that it is ‘non differentiating’ and then seek to ‘differentiate’ in some form or fashion>.

 

It then can unravel from there because the ‘go-to’ phrase at this point in time is ‘do something brave’ … or ‘entertaining’ or ‘edgy’ <notice nowhere in there is “smart, insightful, thoughtful, truth”>.

 

Sure.

 

Great advertising messaging always is, and will be, imbued with some sense of courage.

 

Why?

 

Because if you want to be distinct you will not please everyone.

Because if you want to tell the truth you will not please everyone.

 

on-top-of-the-worldThe hack advertising people use the ‘do something brave’ phrase indiscriminately to justify bad advertising.

 

The good advertising people use this phrase to do something smart in order to not be different but stand ABOVE everyone else.

 

Yup.

 

Huge difference.

 

Hacks say ‘stand apart.’

 

Non hacks say ‘stand above.’

 

And this is where I imagine articles about advertising should focus their attention on.

 

Why doesn’t the advertising stand above <and not be below what is good & right & untrue>.

 

Advertising should be smart and not talk down to people but actually enable them to rise up to the occasion … and FEEL like they are rising up to engage with that brand or company.

 

Communications should be truthful, regardless whether it is simple or complex, and enable people to be able to FEEL truth in such a way that doubts about that brand or company are swept away.

few thinking and feeling

And it all has to be done with an eye toward ‘decommoditizing’ or being distinct in some meaningful way <because truth, in and of itself, is not a differentiator>.

 

Advertising cannot be dull and uninspired … and you cannot use a small budget as an excuse.

 

In fact … the truth is that a limited budget is typically what drives innovative advertising.

Yup.

Inspired smart creativity tends to make each dollar be more effective <hence you can live with a smaller budget>.

 

In other words … a smart, insightful, relevant, entertaining ad will be more memorable than a typical ‘category using sacred cow imagery’ ad therefore it needs to be seen less for the same effect.

 

Oh.

And if you add in ‘truth’ <in a way in which you aren’t just communicating it but people actually BELIEVE it>, your communications is more memorable, more believable, can be seen less for the same effect … and is, of course, of higher value.

 

By the way … smart means not any obvious photoshopping or any exaggerated ridiculous claims or just plain inaccurate information or anything fluffed up or untrue.

 

By the way … smart means avoiding stereotypes, typecasting and idiotic generalizations and lies.

 

Note to advertising people:

We can see through those slimy tactics. Realize consumers are people … people who are smart and informed.

Make me aware of a product.

Educate me.

Relate to me.

Tell me the Truth.

 

Regardless.

 

 ===

 

“A dull truth will not be looked at.

An exciting lie will.

 

That is what good, sincere people must understand. They must make their truth exciting and new, or their good works will be born dead.”

 

==

Bill Bernbach

 

——-

 

Truth is truth.

 

Lies are lies.

 

Responsibility is responsibility.

 

And if you do not accept your responsibility to tell the truth as excitingly and politics lies and truth and repeatingconvincingly as you possibly can … lies will win.

 

If you choose to vulgarize the society or brutalize it … or even ignore it <all under the guise of ‘understanding what the consumer wants’> … society will lose.

 

I honestly do not despair when I look at business in today’s world … or even marketing & advertising behavior.

 

I get aggravated.

 

No.

 

I get angry.

I get angry that we are not accepting the responsibility.

I get angry that we are not strong enough to accept the burden.

I get angry that many do not even presume the responsibility is within their purview.

 

Business, whether you like it or not, shapes society. Business, whether you like it or not, shapes truth.

 

What we do matters.

 

Selling stuff doesn’t matter.

It only matters as a means to an end.

 

What really matters is the shaping of attitudes <which ultimately shapes behavior>.

 

Far too often by simply focusing on ‘selling stuff’ the byproduct of our ignoring the larger responsibility is that we brutalizing society in some form or fashion – in this case and in this time and place … it would be truth we are brutalizing.

 

Am I suggesting that selling stuff or being profitable isn’t important? Of course not.

 

All I am suggesting is that HOW you sell stuff and be profitable matters.

And that you have a responsibility in HOW you do what you do.

 

Because HOW you do things impacts society.

It shapes society. It can vulgarize or brutalize … or invigorate or instill good.

 

HOW you do things has a power way beyond simply you or what you do in that moment.

 

HOW you do things is a pebble dropping into a pond.

 

In the end.

 

I will not argue that all advertising is good.

I will not argue that all professional communications is good.

A lot of it is shit.

 

But I will argue that good communications & advertising people, not hacks, are smart and tend to create smart insightful educating communication pieces that avoid the trite and stereotyping imagery and focus on telling the truth, if not A real truth, rather than lie or some semi truth.

 

I would also argue that good communications & advertising people, not hacks, have the opportunity to save truth in today’s society.

telling-truth-piss-you-off

I think many of the world’s institutions are embattled but the one that concerns me the most is Truth.

The institution of truth is under siege.

I can honestly say I don’t think most who are attacking truth are trying to facilitate its downfall … most are simply unclear what is truth and what is not. I believe anyone in any position of influence should be proactively assuming the burdensome responsibility of telling and protecting truth <that will come at an expense> but today … I think the professional communications industry should be at the forefront of the battle.

 

Why?

 

They get paid to communicate. If they cannot figure out how to effectively communicate truth, who can?

 

They must … must make their truth exciting and new, or their good works will be born dead. Uhm. And lies will win.

seek_truth

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About the author:

I am a 50something who believes my generation hollowed out Truth by simplistically suggesting truth was best told through simplicity.

Truth is neither simple nor hollow.

I have had one framed picture in my office since maybe 2000: Seek Truth.

 

a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me

September 6th, 2016

 

 fear bird fly fall never do life

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“What I fear I avoid.

What I fear I pretend does not exist.

What I fear is quietly killing me.

 

Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me.

 

Let the light in before it is too late. “

 

 

 Jeanette Winterson from “The Green Man”

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

 

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.”

 

 

Andre Gide

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

 

Ok.

liar fear

 

 

There is no such thing as fearless and a fearless person is a … well … lie.

 

Oh.

 

Maybe there is with those badass guys who do special forces and know mental voodoo which enables to kick the shit out of people and not die.

 

 

But for most of us schmucks?

 

We all have some fear about something. And we are lying if we do not admit that. Now. It is quite possible we hesitate to embrace this thought because … uhm … it implies we have some coward within us.

 

Wow.

 

That sounds shitty.

 

Who the hell wants to ever say that about themselves? <answer: no one>

 

But maybe what helps us get over that cowardly angst is the recognition that it is actually fear of fear which probably causes more problems in our lives than fear itself.

 

That said.

 

I am not suggesting that makes it any easier in practicality just that maybe recognizing a monster is half the battle to killing a monster.

 

 

Anyway.

 

brainsnacks 5 fears we all have

………… brainsnacks 5 fears we all have ………..

 

Some smart psychologist at Brainsnacks suggests there are 5 basic fears that everyone has:

 

 

Fear of failure? Read it as fear of ego-death.

Fear of rejection? That’s fear of separation, and probably also fear of ego-death.

The terror many people have at the idea of having to speak in public is basically fear of ego-death.

Fear of intimacy, or “fear of commitment,” is basically fear of losing one’s autonomy.

Shame and guilt express the fear of—or the actual condition of—separation and even ego-death. The same is true for embarrassment and humiliation.

 

 

I thought that was interesting but most of us think about fear in our own ways, read books on how to deal with it and we either figure it out or we don’t.

And honestly … some do and some don’t.

 

I will suggest that facing fear is probably the biggest impediment to success <even beyond poverty, existing circumstances, etc.>.

 

We often give our fears far too much power by believing they are bigger than they really are.

 

Look.

 

I am not suggesting that fear doesn’t exist I am simply suggesting we often permit fear to take on superhuman powers and intergalactic sizes in our minds.

 

If you agree with that thought then it appears seeking to be successful may mean not actually eliminating fear … but simply making it into bite sized portions more easily swallowed.

 

 

Or maybe … would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me.

 

Regardless.

 

Choose however you elect to deal with fear. But choose.

 

Because you don’t choose at your own peril <what I fear is quietly killing me >.

 

fear of suffering worseHere’s the deal.

 

All people fear failure.

 

Everyone.

 

And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

 

There is no such thing as a fearless person.

 

It’s just that some people set it aside and go forth striving to seek something that lies somewhere beyond the fear.

 

Across the chasm as it were.

 

The French call this  “l’appel du vide” in French< compulsion to jump from high places or “the call of the void”>. But the truth is that ‘some’ does not equal ‘most.’ Not many people are truly tempted to jump from the edge into a void.

Most of us just talk about it <and we like talking about it>. But most do not do it. Not because they aren’t tempted by the challenge but rather because they fear what comes from stepping out into the void.

 

Do most people mind being challenged <attempting to do that which they have not done>?

 

Absolutely not.

 

The majority of people do like meeting challenges and that satisfaction which comes from meeting the challenge. I believe it is because you have not only ‘bested’ the challenge but you have also ‘bested’ the fear you couldn’t meet the challenge <even if it was only an inkling of fear>.

 

So there is certainly a level of personal satisfaction of ‘dealing with fear” … or maybe better said ‘facing the unknown’ that all people like.

 

However.

 

What about that ‘good fear.’

That big fear.

Stepping into the unknown fear?

 

Ok.

 

Remember.

 

Fear is defined as the emotional response to an actual or perceived threat of immediate or imminent danger or pain <or some derivative of the five I listed above>.

The capacity to experience fear is part of human nature that has been hard-wired into us.

 

Hardwired or not … the ‘big fear’ <whatever our personal fear monster may be> is debilitating to most people. It is a fact that a large number of people suffer the often debilitating impacts of fear and anxiety. They suffer a sense of being overwhelmed and helplessness leading to an inability to take action or make changes.

 

Interestingly I believe we tend to tie bravery and courage with being able to overcome that helplessness brought on by fear.

 

Well.

I don’t think that’s right.

 

In most cases it is more about having the ability to see <or conceptualize> what is somewhere across the chasm and using that as the focal point to step toward.

More often it is the ability to see the fear as … well … fear of fear and nothing more than that.

fearless controlling fear

 

Regardless.

 

That’s not courage … that is simply focusing on what is important. Or, let’s say, an ability to focus.

 

I guess I find some support in my belief in that most individuals we look to as brave or courageous people openly admit that they were not free of fear when they faced the unknown <death or simply stepping into the unknown>.

 

They simply kept going with their plan of action, in spite of feeling scared, because they were generally resolute in their decisions, knew the risks attached to what they were doing and in many cases believed that their actions served a larger cause for a greater good.

 

People like that don’t lessen the fear … they simply accept it.

 

Patton once said this about equating bravery with a lack of fear:

 

“If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, I have never seen a brave man.  All men are frightened.  The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.”

 

Anyway.

 

Fear is a real issue. As real as poverty, lack of education or some disease.

 

It is a real issue because, simplistically, the inability to overcome fear translates into a lower quality of life.

 

No shit.

 

Quality of life <and, me being me, I have some proof to back this up>.

 

Someone called fear the “…nameless, unjustified, unreasoning terror which paralyzes needed effort.”

 

And according to a psychologist quoted in a 2009 Psychology Today … “the inaction that stems from excessive, irrational fears or fear-based thinking often shows up as a decision to live life from a “safe” position and not take risks, even if that means forsaking opportunities that might provide greater joy and expansiveness to one’s life.”

 

No shit.

 

I tend to believe we lla sense that fear holds us back but also have a tendency to shrug our shoulders and say “if it were meant to be I would have done that something” as a justification for not facing our fear.

 

Well.

 

Maybe think about that choice a little harder next time.

 

The cost is high if you decide to not face your fear.

 

So.

 

Circling back to the beginning … people who have overcome fear have learned to focus on what is truly important … they have either faced their monsters or decided that they were less important then what they really wanted.

 

And I actually believe most successful people have done exactly this … these have faced their inner demons, monsters, and have asked them to come along for the ride instead of hiding from them <or being safe>.

 

Or.

 

They have had a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is BurningBridgescoward in me, and found what is lost in me.

 

 

We all have fears. Accept it. Do what you have to do. Do what almost all of us do. Push on.

 

And know this:

 

85% of what we worry about ends up having a positive or neutral outcome. <research>

 

ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctium

July 13th, 2016

how to be an explorer

 

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

 

“There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before.

 

‘If I have seen further than other men,’ said Isaac Newton, ‘it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

 

Isaac Asimov

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

 

 

Ok.

 

 

More often than not we talk about the important new ideas and discoveries as “disruption” or “innovative.”

 

disrupt disruptor

The implication is that this type of important idea, which supposedly will change the world <but, more often than not, is just a nice idea which will make an impact in its own little universe … assuming it doesn’t die a quick death>, is the only type of idea we should pay attention to.

 

In other words … the implication is … If it’s not disruptive its crap.

 

Well.

 

That’s bullshit.

 

Many, if not most, of the most foundational ‘innovative’ ideas & discoveries the world has ever seen tend to be the most overlooked, unseen to the naked eye, unobtrusive ‘disruptors’ we have ever interacted with.

 

And I can even point out some examples why it is bullshit.

 

ununtrium ununpentium ununseptium and ununoctium

 

 

These are elements.

 

 

Yeah.periodic table

 

 

New elements which will now be placed in to that amazing thing called “The periodic Table of Elements.” <here is a link to The Los Alamos National Library interactive elements Table.

 

 

“IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118).”

 

New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist.

The four new elements, all of which are man-made, were discovered by slamming lighter ­nuclei into each other and tracking the following decay of the radioactive superheavy elements.

 

 

ABOUT THE PERIODIC TABLE

 

Dmitri Mendeleev published in 1869 the first widely recognized periodic table. He developed his table to illustrate periodic trends in the properties of the then-known elements. Mendeleev also predicted some properties of then-unknown elements that would be expected to fill gaps in this table. Most of his predictions were proved correct when the elements in question were subsequently discovered. Mendeleev’s periodic table has since been expanded and refined with the discovery or synthesis of further new elements and the development of new theoretical models to explain chemical behavior.

 

All elements from atomic numbers 1 (hydrogen) to 118 (ununoctium) have been discovered or synthesized, with the most recent additions (elements 113, 115, 117, and 118) being confirmed by the IUPAC on December 30, 2015.[1]

 

===

 

Look.

 

This particular element discovery may seem fairly dry or insignificant but apparently they could be considered key discoveries which will ultimately enable future technology innovations.

 

Anyway.

 

 

In my mind … things like the elements are innovations which I like to call ‘portals to discovery.” They are the incredibly small discoveries which enable key to life doorhuge discoveries.

 

 

Just think about it.

 

 

Sure.

Maybe this discovery itself is not the most useful … maybe it’s not the most disruptive … nor the most innovative <in the traditional sense> and, yet, the smaller ‘whole’ inevitably leads to a larger more ‘life intrusive’ type improvement in our lives.

 

How do I view this?

 

As a nonscientist, non-chemist, non-whatever you need to be to actually use an element directly … I honestly could give a rat’s ass if someone has discovered some individual atoms which affects the overall relationship with other atoms it hangs out with.

 

But I do know … and I know this for sure as I can be sure … out of the process to identify a unique atom … and maybe even now that someone understands the properties of this atom … someone somewhere will have a light bulb go off in their heads and trundle out of the house with some new idea the rest of us haven’t thought of yet.

 

Yet.

 

As I type this … even though I most likely knew every element on the periodic table when I was in grade school … I doubt I could name … well … I would guess I could name maybe 75% of the elements <by looking at their signs>.

 

I would also guess anyone reading this had no frickin’ clue what this crazy enlightened conflict site post today was going to be about when “ununtrium ununpentium ununseptium and ununoctium” popped up.

 

I would also guess that this is most likely the first time 99% of my readers have thought about an element in decades.

 

That seems kind of crazy when you really think about it.

 

Most likely some of the most important things which make up how we live, eat and breathe … and live our lives … and the majority of us don’t know diddleyshit about them.

 

Why?

 

I would guess it is because they are too little. I would imagine we view them as too insignificant compared to more seemingly significant glamorized ideas and ‘innovations.’

 

Why do I guess this?

 

Most likely because … well … if you go online you will find over 3.2 million articles <in less than one second> on finding joy in the little discoveries in Life.

something missing round here

And while I didn’t read each and every one of them … the ones I did sample didn’t say shit about real discovery.

 

They were all about paying attention to the little things in Life around you.

 

Well.

 

WTF.

 

If there are over 3.2 million articles on that shit why aren’t they mentioning taking a moment and paying attention to the truly meaningful little things which have an inordinately big impact on everyone’s Life.

 

And by ‘big impact’ … maybe you should think about it this way … if today’s innovators have been successful … have seen farther than others before … it is because they have stood on the shoulders of giants … well … maybe stood on the shoulders of some element in the periodic table.

 

Regardless.

 

Take a moment in the near future.

 

Click on the link to The Los Alamos National Library interactive elements Table above.

 

Refresh your memory on the elements you learned about when you were young and maybe become acquainted with the ones which have been discovered since you learned the elements.

 

If you have a child? Maybe talk about the elements a little bit.

standing on shoulders elements ideas

In a world where some seemingly meaningless shit reaches into the headlines on a daily basis … where flashy discovery is defined by new technology and some new widget … some real meaningful shit, like the elements, couldn’t make a headline even if they paid for it.

 

Give them a moment in your spotlight.

 

Remind yourself that almost everything that is meaningful in our daily lives stands on the shoulders of some element in the Periodic Table.

intervention when you are the world’s most powerful military

April 16th, 2016

 intervention proof of life 2

 

 

“They were stolen from their beds in a school dormitory — hundreds of teenage girls kidnapped by gunmen.

A few dozen escaped to tell of the night that Boko Haram militants brought terror to a Nigerian girls’ school.

From the rest, silence. No sign of where they had been taken or what could have happened to them for almost two years, even as the world screamed #BringBackOurGirls.”

Until now.

CNN has obtained a video of some of the “Chibok Girls” sent to negotiators by their captors as a “proof of life.”

====

 

CNN

 

—————————

 

 

Well.

 

Sometimes as an American you see something and you wonder “if I have the world’s most effective military why am I not using it?”

 

intervention proof of life 3To me … Nigeria’s Boko Haram kidnapped young girls made me think this.

 

I watched the Nigerian mothers watching the video released from Boko Haram … and my heart broke.

 

 

 

I have little interest in using military to intervene in civil wars <like Syria>.

 

I have  little interest in using military to ‘institute democracy.’

 

I have a lot of interest in selectively using the best of the best military to let them o what they do best and resolve solvable humanitarian situations.

 

 

But this Nigerian issue is solvable.

And it is solvable by using the best military in the world.

 

I mean, c’mon, isn’t that what we, as in America, are supposed to do as a world leader? Solve solvable problems for the greater humanitiarian good?

 

Does anyone seriously doubt that should the US Marines, the Army Rangers or any special forces group be tasked with “get those girls” that they wouldn’t?

 

Does anyone seriously believe that Nigeria, or for that matter, any country in the world would be chastising USA for putting US military on foreign soil?army special forces intervention

 

Does anyone seriously believe some well-intended hashtag initiative is going to compel some resolution?

 

In some cases in some situations the person who CAN do the right thing needs to stand up … walk across the street … and actually DO the right thing.

 

Some people, in fact, a lot of people are gonna bitch at me … we are not the world police … it is not our problem … we should support Nigeria but not put our soldiers in harm’s way.

 

They will be wrong in this case.

 

If not us, then who?

 

If it were our children, would we just stand by?

 

If I were to ask a military person to risk their life would I prefer it to be to save a child or put some new government in place <which I cannot promise will last>?

 

I challenge anyone in America, shit, around the world … watch the video … watch the mothers … if you could do something … I believe you would.

us special ops intervention

And we, as in the USA, can.

 

Look.

 

I am not a betting man but here is a bet I would take.

 

I bet … any special forces military person asked to take on this assignment who would call home asking for permission from their mother & father to accept this assignment would only hear one thing from their parents … “go get them.”

 

a wrong turn

February 6th, 2016

field of sun flowers===

 

“A wrong turn lead me to a field of flowers and suddenly I’m second guessing every wrong turn in my life.”

 

———

Source: a thousand words tumblr

 

===

 

 

Well.

 

 

I have never analyzed nor have I seen any research with regard to how much time we use to plan out the ‘right moves’ to make in our careers and lives. I planned what happenedimagine, if a study were done, between consciously planning and the ‘in the moment analysis’ planning … those two ‘life plannings’ would represent some inordinately absurd amount of our time.

 

 

When I saw this thought on athousandwords I began thinking about how often most of us attach ‘bad’ to wrong turns and how less often we attach ‘good’ to wrong turns.

 

 

Simplistically we attach wrong to bad.

 

 

Wrong turn = Bad choice/decision

 

 

Sure.

 

Sometimes that is true.

 

 

But I think I could argue that a wrong turn simply puts you in some place you hadn’t planned on <and you assume the plan was a good plan because … well … you had planned it>. Therefore the unplanned place is a bad place because it … well … was an unplanned place <some circular logic which seems kind of doomed to conclude bad even if it may actually be good>.

 

 

Setting aside the whole planning thing … turns are part of life.

leading one way

Life is not one huge straight boulevard you place your car on and start driving.

 

Life is more often like seemingly random patchwork of inner city streets with dead ends, one ways and no left hand turns which seemingly are only placed at only the intersections which you had planned to make a left hand turn.
Whether you plan the shit out of your life or not we all make a shitload of turns in Life.

 

Some are planned.

 

Some are unplanned.

 

Some you have the time to invest a lot of time thinking about.

 

Some you cannot invest a lot of time thinking about.

 

Some end up in a good place.

 

Some end up in a bad place.

 

 

I imagine my only point is that sometimes, maybe more often than you think, a wrong turn puts you in a different better more interesting place. A wrong turn exposes you to something you maybe never imagined you would ever see, ever face or ever think about. And that is the ultimate value of a wrong turn.

 

 

It exposes you to something beyond the plan you ever envisioned.

 

I don’t propose building a Life around a disproportionate amount of purposeful wrong turning. field dirt road sunset

 

That kind of seems a little chaotic and absolutely suggests a shitload of wasted time & energy.

 

 

However.

 

Maybe we think about Life more as a shitload of turns … just a blanket ‘shitload’ … instead of categorizing them simply as right turns & wrong turns.

Turns are turns and more often than not they don’t lead you some place you can never leave they simply lead you to some place.

not charging and getting paid

December 8th, 2015

paid dollar bills

————–

“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”

=

George Carlin

——

 

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

hope to money-bags-sticky dreamstimeI am not sure if there is anything I get more shit about from business people <friends & acquaintances> than how I don’t charge people for helping them and their business.

 

 

My philosophy elicits a lot of discussion around ‘my worth’ and ‘value I provide’ and lots of ‘people will take anything if it’s for free.’

All well intended thoughts grounded in some aspects of truth.

 

 

Simplistically I avoid most of the thinking they all bring up because … well … I am not charging what I am worth because I am not charging anything.

 

 

Here is what I say on my LinkedIn page <which it seems I have to send gobs of people to as I try and explain how I charge what I charge … uhm … or don’t charge>:

 

 

Consulting:

I assist anyone who asks – in any industry and with any project. Compensation is only received if I provide value. I don’t believe in being compensated for something that has no value to them <even if I thought it may have had some value>.

Projects have included assisting small business operations, chamber of commerce assistance, advertising new business, creative thinking, organizational behavior, key note speeches, think tank opinion papers and provided thought pieces to assist published authors on a variety of topics including foreign affairs, capitalism and the youth, business leadership, education and the internet, youth unemployment and obesity.

Apparently, by doing what I am doing, I am breaking some common sense business rules.

 

1 – Offering services for free <at least initially>.

 

 

2 – Not offering a specific service or expertise.

However, because I am breaking both rules at the same time I would suggest there is some logic.

 

 

I am certainly a wandering generalist which burdens me under the cloak of generality … but certainly not a commodity. My generalist services, while difficult to offer in specifics, is clearly not something anyone and everyone can do which makes it a non-commodity. Therefore … I can charge some premium rates if I am engaged in a compensation discussion.

 

 

And while I get shit I clearly see the danger and the opportunity.you guys are getting paid

 

 

The main danger resides in the fact I am not a specific solution for a specific problem/issue.

 

The opportunity resides within the danger … I become a known quantity for solving shit that ‘specialists’ seem to struggle resolving.

 

 

The secondary danger is that … well … I never get paid. But I could argue, and I will later in the post, that danger only exists if I suck.

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I certainly cannot argue with those who coach specifics as the path to selection & success. It is certainly the easier path.
In addition it aligns performance & payment neatly so that I could most likely offer an invoice upfront and earn the money as I went along.

 

=====

So many times I see people jumping into a niche and being vague about what it is they do. They’re a marketing consultant. They’re a life coach. They’re a writer. The thing is, people don’t hire wandering generalities.

They hire outcomes. They pay for specific solutions to specific problems, and if it’s specific enough (and positioned correctly), they pay premium rates.

Dave Navarro

<The Launch Coach>

– note: he offers some good solid advice –

=====

 

 

My path is … well … my path.

 

 

On my path I clearly understand any value that I do, or may, offer is basically a function of two things:

 

 

– The value the potential payer sees

 

– The value in terms of the ultimate outcome <if it generates sales, revenue or some measurable aspect>

 

work flintstones

Note neither of those pertains to my labor … solely value received <perceived and actual>.

 

 

Also note that neither of those is reflective of hours.

 

 

Sure.

 

 

Time <labor> is a component but haggling over will it take 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days seems silly when the outcome is the prize.

 

 

I clearly understand the amount of money I could help make the potential payer. Present outcomes as well as future outcomes. And it’s because of that the reason I take the jobs that I do is typically because I see the potential and I enjoy making potential reality. I assess if I CAN help them, and only consult those I think I can bring real value to.

 

 

Ok, frankly, invoicing someone or charging someone is a shitload easier if you have provided something they value and they can envision the final value of the service provided <rather than speculated or ‘hoped for’ value>.

 

 

And, frankly #2, if they don’t see the real value of services provided most client people feel a responsibility & obligation to pay for the effort and will typical default to the “I want to pay you for the time you invested.”

Notice the default is ‘time.’

Default is labor and not thinking or ‘incremental value above just doing.

 

 

But I imagine the real point is I actually get to charge what is basically a percentage of what the other person gains from my time and output – that is real value.

 

 

Look.

 

 

I certainly have no fear of charging.

 

 

How I go about business may mean I ‘give away’ more free 15 minute increments than I do charge 1 hour increments but as long as I feel the ‘asker’ has valued what I brought to the table I am happy to help.

 

 

I also find if my advice & solutions & work is ignored … well … then it actually does feel like wasted time and it swiftly moves from ‘no charge’ to ‘I have no time’ <or if my time is actually demanded for some reason – because why would anyone demand time they don’t see value in … but some do – I will charge>.

 
Look.

 

 

Do I leave some income on the table? Sure. I am sure I do.

 

 

Do I feel full value in the money I do earn? Absolutely. Because I didn’t set the value … the person who receives the services did.

 

 

Does this create value in myself … as in my esteem or belief in myself? Absofrickinlutely.
I am confident in my business abilities but that doesn’t absolve me of any doubt … in fact … I tend to believe the good confident people HAVE a strong thread of doubt which keeps them grounded from being arrogant business fools.

 

Getting paid not just because I cranked out some invoice permits me the luxury of external stimulus directed feedback.money earn rain dollars

 

 

Do I recommend this business philosophy to everyone? Absolutely not.

 

 

But I get to speak with more people in a wide variety of industries then almost anyone I know.

 

Sometimes that ‘speaking’ is 15 minutes of ‘here is what I would do’ and sometimes it is 15 hours of in depth research and output.

 

 

And sometimes I get paid <without charging>.

 

 

What I do know for sure is that opening my email inbox every morning is fun and never boring.

Enlightened Conflict