Enlightened Conflict

communications, advertising & the battle for truth

December 6th, 2016

 

everybody needs what i am selling deserve life

————————–

 

“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

===

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

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

 

“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.

yes

December 2nd, 2015

———-

yes yes yes yes

Why is the word yes so brief?

 

it should be

 

the longest,

 

the hardest,

 

so that you could not decide in an instant to say it,

 

so that upon reflection you could stop

 

in the middle of saying it. “

 

 

Vera Pavlova

==========

I am a self-admitted lover of “no” in the workplace. I am because I learned at a very early age in business the power of saying a clear cut ‘no.’ In addition I have an inherent distaste for ‘yes people’ and have built a healthy fear of yeses that create a false sense of positiveness in suggesting the impossible is possible.

 

stop

No has the power of stopping therefore it can afford to be concise.

In fact … in its conciseness it actually can often represent the sharp cleaver which cuts the cord to wasted energy and wasted actions.

 

 

And while ‘no’ in and of itself is incredibly powerful … ‘yes’ in its abruptness seems … well … too abrupt.

 

Too short.

 

Too simple for a word that does anything but encourage stopping … it more often is the initial push to movement <not necessarily forward but in doing something>.

 

 

Yes. <unstated … we should do something.yes type

 

Yes. <what?>

 

Yes. <as a statement … as an agreement>

 

 

Let’s face it … yes, just like thinking in general, is a quagmire.

 

 

It is a quagmire because far too often the majority of yeses are asked without either party <or one of them> truly understanding the problem therefore they have no right to be asking for a solution.

 
Business is all about choices – making them or agreeing to them or shutting choices off.

 

 

Simplistically every yes is a no to something else.

 

 

Saying yes as a ‘can do’ person or organization or simply because it is “the mantra” simply means you will continually fail to recognize limits.

 

Mostly the limits you fail to recognize are the “truth” ones you blast through as you blindly commit to something believing “you will figure it out as you do it.”

 

 

Well.

 

Sometimes you can figure it out.

 

But most of the time you do not … or at least not the way it should be done.

 

Of course the ‘yes sayers’ hold up completion at the end to justify the ‘yes’ ignoring the clumsy process on the path to completion or even the compromised solution which is represented in the completed action.

 

yes no hands

I tend to believe at the core of the quagmire is that there is actually more positive thinking & attitude in a ‘no’ then there is in the typical ‘yes’ … yet on the surface a ‘no’ appears negative and a ‘yes’ appears positive.

 

 

No’s … and I mean ‘non-lazy’ or ‘non irascible contrarian’ no’s are positive in their ability to sharpen whatever else is about to happen.

 

Yes’s are more about … well … the energy of obligation. An obligation or a commitment to a larger thing than a simple ‘yes’ often communicates.

 

 

And maybe that is where I think Yes fails us the most.

 

It should be longer, more complicated and less brief in its utterance. It should be reflective of the obligation, the responsibility and the choice of the moment.

 

It should be larger in its reflection of its overall impact not just on the moment of its utterance but also in the ripples of its effect as it reverberates almost infinitely through a business decision.

 

 

I do not have research on this but my guess, based on years of experience, is that more businesses fail and more businesses have lost money, people and wasted energy based on ‘yes’ more than ‘no.’

 

 

I am not suggesting we never say yes.

 

For god’s sake … the fundamental bedrock of a business is based on a ‘yes.’

 

Yes. Let’s go do it.

 

Yes. We will implement that idea.

 

Yes. We will hire that person.

 

 

But I am suggesting, even as you ponder the flippant three examples I just gave you that yeses echo in eternity. yes common area work

 

And while yeses embrace possibilities & opportunities & hope … they also are wrapped in cloaks of vulnerabilities.

 

 

Well.

 

After reading those last two sentences … kind of makes you think that yes “should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it. “

living in defiance of all that is bad

November 5th, 2015

blanace greater good matters do

====

 
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic.

 

It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.

If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future.

 

The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

Howard Zinn

====

“Choice, not chance, determines human destiny.”

Robert W. Ellis

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

body making a live for

Well.

 

 

What a great thought … Living in defiance of all that is bad.

 

 

 

These days I sometimes worry we focus, and dwell, upon the things that could be construed as ‘bad’ in life. Let’s combine that worry with a general belief that things are worse than they are.

 

The former are things like not liking your job or maybe getting caught up in the grind of life <and feeling like there could be more>.

 

 

The later are things like war in Syria or someone shot in a city somewhere in your country.

 

 

But both seem to be rooted in some form or fashion of … well … a desire for some grand utopian future.

 

 

That may sound too grandiose for what we everyday schmucks actually think about and desire … but it isn’t really.

It isn’t because while we always want things to better our version of better … those things are most typically not viewed in increments but rather substantial change.

 

Therein lies the ever unreachable grand uptopian future.

 

 

Let’s be clear … “better”, all by itself…  is a slippery little fellow.

 

Better always seems somewhere other than where we are … physically as well as in time. At least it can feel that way sometimes.better blob

 

 

I sometimes think this uncomfortable feeling is a reflection of a natural desire for wanting to know what the end looks like … and yet the end hasn’t even been written.

 

 

=====

“I’m afraid we’ll always be a book with the end pages ripped out.”

Madisen Kuhn

===

 

 

 

I do believe many people feel uncomfortable being a book with the end pages ripped out.

 

Not only can they not read the ending but they also feel the inherent incompleteness in their own story as well as Life.

 

 

And, yet, within that incompleteness Life requires us, no, demands us to make choices … day in and day out … through an infinite amount of presents.

 

 

And sometimes you will need to make decisions that direct the course of your life and that decision will not be associated with a smiley face or some positive quote you can find on pinterest or facebook.

 

Yikes.

 

It all sounds so frickin’ overwhelming.

 

All these ‘presents’ and ‘choices’ and no smiley faces … well … not just overwhelming but possibly just bad <as in not how I would prefer to live my life>.

 

 

Well.

 

This is where defiance comes in.

 

 

Unless you can live defiant of bad and see the happiness which is not only inherent within life itself but intertwined in the infinite succession of presents you are certainly doomed to thinking everything is bad.

 

 

And if you are defiant I can almost guarantee you will see quite a bit of happiness intertwined throughout your Life and the world’s life.
Because if you are defiant you will not overlook the little events.

 

 

====

“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens.

nothing bigger than the littleIf you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time.

If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness. “

Andy Rooney

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

 

 

Look.

 

While I have written about the fallacy behind “manufacturing happiness’ or the whole idea of ‘purposefully creating happiness’ I do tend to believe you can affect your happiness.

It helps if your happiness is more likely dependent upon some realistic expectations … or maybe … viewing the little moments within the larger grind that is known as Life instead of seeking some larger more grand utopian vision of happiness and big events to define happiness.

 

 

Let’s say that happiness is built on discrete moments of now.

 

 

Uh oh.

 

 

This means that happiness is driven not only by awareness but some common sense and clarity … and there is no secret code.

 

Darn.

 

No secret code.

 

 

Unfortunately … without a code I have to offer the unfortunate truth about happiness … you have to do something to gain happiness. Make choices. Choose to go somewhere. Choose to do something. Choose to explore something or somethings < including ideas and opinions>.

 

Defiantly choose to choose.

 

 

And choose to live in defiance of all that is bad.

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I remember reading that JFK once said: “I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty.”

 

Replace America with people … and I agree.

 

Grace & beauty.

 

Well.

 

Seems awful hard to think about those things if all you see is a bad world in turmoil.

 

 

Philosophically … the way to beat bad … is… well … in that infinite succession of moments idea.

 

The world can look pretty frickin’ bad when looking at the larger picture <which is a little weird because while bad things do happen in the larger scheme of things there is less violence in today’s world than almost any time over the past 200+ years>.

 

letters to myself note to future selfThe only way to make things NOT look as bad is to manage life in that infinite moments way … that awareness in the present permits you to have some clarity with regard to the good that exists in the here & now.

 

I mean … well … if you always have your eye on the future or the larger picture you are either living in something unreal <an unwritten but hoped for future> or viewing all things around you assessing threats <the bad stuff> to maintaining your existence and reaching your desires.

 

 

Simplistically … if you avoid the succession of moments you have no chance of seeing what exists in that moment.

 

 

Defiance is not easy.

 

It is much much easier to not push back but go along for the ride … wishing it were better than it seems to be.

 

 

Defiance is a choice.

 

 

And that is why I opened with the quote that choice defines destiny not chance.

 

If you are defiant, and push back, you are more likely to control the destiny of … well … your happiness … let alone anything I imagine.

 

 

The person and life you want to be DOES exist you just have to be defiant in the pursuit of it.

 

====

One Tree Hill Quote:

“There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroads. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days.”

“And, of course when faced with the unknown, most of us prefer to turn around and go back.

 

But, once in a while, people push onto something better.

Something found just beyond the pain of going it alone. And just beyond the bravery and courage it takes to let someone in.

Or to give someone a second chance.

Something beyond the quiet persistence of a dream.

Because, it’s only when you’re tested that you truly discover who you are.

“And, it’s only when you’re tested that you discover who you can be.”

“The person you want to be does exist; somewhere on the other side of hard work and faith and belief. And, beyond the heartache and fear of what lies ahead.

There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroads.

The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days.”

 

=====defy word defiance

 

 

Living life in defiance of bad.

 

 

Or maybe we should say ‘defiantly pursuing good in life.’

For if you are defiant and seek the good … the good can, and will, be seen.

Enlightened Conflict