Enlightened Conflict

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

 

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

 

“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

 

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

 

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

Simone de Beauvoir

 

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

 

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

————————–

 

“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.

 

ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctium

July 13th, 2016

how to be an explorer

 

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“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

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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.

conviction that there is a better life

May 7th, 2016

 transparency rosy horizon

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“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

======

 

 

Life barrages us, with fairly relentless consistency, with the unexpected and the unforeseen which inevitably makes us feel like we are out of control.

 

 

horizon questionThis can be personal.

 

This can be organizational.

 

Heck.

This can even be on a country level.

 

 

You look around at the relative carnage of the day seeing your plans in disarray and hopes & dreams nowhere in close proximity to your current reality and you think to yourself “how the hell did we get into this shithole.”

 

That is where conviction comes into play.

 

You, or we, are not really in a shithole … you just have had what you thought would happen or should be happening … well … not happen. And you have some threads of belief that exactly the same thing will happen again tomorrow. Your conviction of ‘something better beyond the horizon’ is a little blurrier than it was the day before.

 

Look.

 

Each of us has conviction within us.

The most basic conviction that no matter how bad it is … it will get better and there truly is something better somewhere beyond the horizon.

 

And, yet, while I am 99.9% sure that this conviction resides within each and every one of us I am also 99.9% sure that all of us encounter something at some point which makes us question or doubt that conviction.

 

I call this ‘the bridge of conviction.’

 

Think of it this way.

horizon road long

Life is a long winding path. And, on occasion you come to a bridge. You hate heights and the bridge can maybe look a little shaky on occasion.

You stand at the end of it and … well … pause.

 

You maybe even question the conviction & wisdom of the path you are on.

 

What makes you finally take that first step … and the next … and the next … and cross that bridge is the conviction that on the other side is something better.

 

I would also like to point out that it is this conviction which makes you look forward and not backwards.

 

Better” inherently cannot reside in the past. It cannot be found somewhere in retracing your steps on the path you have taken.

 

What was will be as it was and no longer exists as what you once knew.

 

Conviction inherently knows this <although all of us fight conviction on this on occasion>.

 

I say all this just to point out that no matter how bad the current time may look it is actually not that bad.

hope cup of

That no matter how bad one person may appear to affect your view on what iswhat will be will most likely be affected much less by that one person, or one event, than you think now.

 

That no matter how bad the horizon may be blurred in your view … something better really does reside beyond the horizon.

 

Why do I feel so confident in saying so?

 

 

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

 

 

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.”

 

who no one imagines anything of

February 22nd, 2016

loser tshirt

===

 

 

“It’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one imagines.”

 

 

The Imitation Game

 

====

 

 

eccentric person

The misfits.

 

 

The discarded.

 

 

The eclectic.

 

 

The ‘different.’

 

 

 

 

I have always gravitated to these people. I have always tended to hire these people. I have always found these people interesting, rewardingly challenging to know & manage and … well … most likely the key to any success I have found in Life – personally & professionally.

 

 

I have found I learn more from the misfits. They are the curves in the winding road which have a tendency to share new vistas.

 

They are the ones independent of the traditional ‘expected’ and are truly the unique.

 

 

But let’s be clear.

 

 

While we seem to celebrate uniqueness & independence … society and culture has pushed back those who practiced uniqueness and independence since the dawn of civilization.

 

 

I could suggest it is because we naturally gravitate to ‘commonalities’ and are more comfortable in seamlessness but instead I will suggest it is because they are perceived to pose some sort of threat to what is perceived as the natural order of things and what should be.

 

 

The backbone of all society & culture is an undercurrent of conformity. This shouldn’t be necessarily perceived as any type of real limitation because people and society inherently coalesce around what looks best, feels best and does the best for the majority. It is kind of a natural gravitational pull.

 

unlearn fish swim

And then there are those who fight that gravitational pull.

 

The misfits as it were.

 

 

They are the ones who for any variety of reasons fight against the undercurrent of conformity not to ‘be different’ but rather because they see that conformity has a tendency to make people give up their dreams and play small <or smaller than possibilities may suggest is possible>.

 

It’s more common to “fit in” and slot yourself in some sort of ‘dream of who I could be’ rather than step out and create that dream.

 

 

That’s maybe why I love misfits.
As an enabler of misfits I often found myself benefiting from the fact I was part of ‘dream creators’ rather than ‘dream slotters.’

 

But the path of a misfit is not an easy one. It is a tricky path strewn with obstacles, resistance, and frequent feelings of isolation/loneliness/ self doubt.

 

 

It becomes very easy for a misfit to get angry as they perceive more obstacles, more resistance and more isolation than the average person.

 

 

That is the lot in life of being a misfit.

 

 

And I loved teaching misfits, or maybe even just encouraging them, to learn how to successfully swim upstream and go against the undercurrent of conformity in the river of life.

 

 

Look.

 

 

I am not one of those people who will unequivocally state that Misfits can win big in Life <although they can>.

 

I would simply suggest that many <most> misfits aren’t really misfits.

 

They come in all shapes & sizes.

 

They are simply people who embrace their personal characteristics as part of not what makes them different but rather what makes them successful as a person.

 

scarecrow misfit unusual interestingThe most comfortable of the misfits do not really celebrate their so-called misfit characteristics but rather wear them like a comfortable sweatshirt.

 

 

These are the people who don’t ignore the beat of the majority drummer but are more in tune with their own drummer.

 

 

These are the people who tend to create things beyond the norm. They imagine what could be more easily than the ones who see more of what is <and try to improve it>.

 

 

Later in life these are the people who tend to exhibit compassion. They have fought the undercurrent and faced the obstacles … and have endured the nicks & dents and proudly stand as no longer a misfit … but just a unique person who has a strong sense of self. Therefore they tend to be compassionate not to misfits as people but rather a person’s sense of self <which is actually the more important key>.

 

 

I have been extremely fortunate in Life and I credit the misfits.

 

Having had the perfect seat to get the best perspective on all that is ‘misfit’ I have been able to develop my own belief system and independent individualistic perspective on business and life.

 

 

 

They have also shown me the challenges of fighting the status quo.

 

They have shown me how tiring it can be swimming against the undercurrent.

 

They have shown me how a powerful conviction, without some selective strategic compromise, is often destined for a weary bitter Life.

 

 

They have shown me what happens when you choose to not follow the norms and customs of the environment.

 

 

Ultimately, though, there is a power that is associated with misfitdom.

 

There is a power found in acknowledging that you are different … and most likely have always been different.

 

And that different is not necessarily bad.

 

It is just different. That is all it is.

 

 

I am pleased that I was one who appreciated the differences and encouraged the ‘misfits’ in life.

 

I am pleased that I encouraged people to find what was within and to remember that you are allowed to be different and you are allowed to be who you are.

 

 

I am mostly pleased because by embracing misfits I became a better person and a better business leader. Misfits changed me from being yellow to … well … a variety of colors.

 

 

=====writing colors

 

“All your life you’re yellow.

Then one day you brush up against something blue, the barest touch, and voila, the rest of your life you’re green. “

 

 

Tess Callahan

=======

 

 

 

 

I most likely learned significantly more from misfits than they learned from me.

 

And I am sure I would have been a significantly more bland person if I hadn’t had the pleasure of the company of misfits.

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I think we have a tendency to overlook misfits far too often. And they are the ones, the ones we least imagine having the capability, who are most likely to imagine what no one else imagines.

 

 

I will always embrace the misfits. I will do so recognizing not everyone will. And whenever I get the opportunity I pull them off to the side and say ‘be stubborn and keep working and keep fighting.’

 

 

I do so because without them we would all be yellow.

 

 

==

 

 

“I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

 

 

Barack Obama

Enlightened Conflict