Enlightened Conflict

dreams and dream incubators

June 26th, 2017

Family of four on grass with hands up and dream

 

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“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it.

I want to have lived the width of it as well.”

 

——-

Diane Ackerman

 

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“Well, maybe it started that way. As a dream, but doesn’t everything.

Those buildings. These lights. This whole city.

 

Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that is what I did.

I dreamed about coming here, but then I did it.”

 

—–

James and the Giant Peach

 

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Ok.

 

Today I am actually going to talk about dreaming and business.

 

if only dreams wishes

 

Suffice it to say … someone needs to be talking about dreaming because dreamers have been having a tough time of it for a while. Shit. I could argue dreams themselves have had a tough go of it.

 

Pragmatism is the ‘watch word of the day’.

 

Reach for the stars? No way.  You need to think “attainable.”

 

In addition … the outside world seems to get crazier and crazier and more chaotic which encourages the majority of us to just hunker down and get shit done.  It encourages us to not only NOT think about dreaming but even worse …“why dream? I just need to figure out a way of surviving.”

 

All that said.

 

I have two thoughts today.

 

The first is the increasing importance of businesses to an individual’s dreams, and dreaming, and the second is just about dreaming itself.

 

Ok.

The first.

 

I believe the business world is going to start playing an incredibly important role with regard to the future of dreaming.

 

In fact.

 

I believe the successful business organization of the future will be a ‘dream incubator’ rather than the current, more pop culture popular, ‘purpose drive’ organization.

And I say that as a ‘purpose driven organization’ believer.

 

Let me explain.dream wall sitting alone thinking

 

The outside world, as I have noted earlier, doesn’t really seem conducive to dreams and dreaming.

 

The inside world, your job and business Life, is becoming more and more focused on the daily grind and meeting the needs of the grind. In general we are getting squeezed but dreaming, in particular, is getting suffocated.

 

This means there is little space in-between the outside world and inside world for dreams and dreaming.

 

This is where I believe business steps in and maybe sharpens its elbows and creates some space for individual people to remember having dreams can be good and dreaming can actually be a good thing.

 

Businesses can step in and remind people that there is big value in pragmatism and personal responsibility in doing a good job AS WELL AS there may be an equal value in placing a dream or two within the pragmatic ‘do what you need to do’ Life … it kind of adds some rich & royal hues to what could be a duller palette.

 

Now.

Let me address the practical aspect of business and how the idea of ‘dream incubator’ can fit … because a shitload of shortsighted business people are going to suggest they have no desire to have their employees “dreaming” … they want them focused on doing their jobs.

 

Purpose was offered as a glue to hold together, and align, functional behavior <departments & responsibilities> of an organization while providing a deeper value to instill in attitudes & behavior. It certainly offered a version of a North Star from an ethical & moral standpoint but its true objective was to take the place of ‘vision’ in a pragmatic business world seemingly devoid of anything but functional outcome driven behavior.

 

Good intent. Good objective.

 

My belief of ‘dream incubator’ is less functional driven but rather attitudinally driven.

 

My belief is that in a world in which dreaming is not being encouraged a business which encourages you to pursue your dreams WITHIN the business itself will be rewarded <attitudinally, functionally & profitability>.

 

purpose versus dreams organization business 2

 

My belief is that employees, in general, are not driven by their departmental function <which is actually more the ‘keep your head down and do what you need to do’ daily grind> but rather by their dreams — $, ideas, innovations and … well … let me call the last one “perfection.”

 

<please note: this is a simplified version of a more complex organizational idea which I have shared elsewhere, in other words, I know there are more layers to this concept>

 

 

Let me start with ‘perfection.’

 

Some people dream of operational excellence. They get frustrated with politics and missteps and the normal inefficient behavior of a normal organization. These are the ones who offer up the zany process changes which, as a manager, you look at, screw up your face and think “Jesus Christ, what a mosh pit this would be to implement.” And, yet, these are the same zany changes which the organization most likely NEEDS to do to step up from where it is currently running.

 

 

 

$

 

It would be naïve to ignore the fact some employees are financially motivated and that their dreams are tied to more material aspects. They want money and things and your objective should be to inspire them to dream for more and be the organization which can enable their dreams to come true <within the construct of whatever is construed as ‘fair play’ within that organization>.

 

Ideas.

 

ideas dream make fly people think believe imagine educateSome people dream of thinking … and thinking up ideas. Imagine a business which encourages the epe who like t come up with ideas actually helps their ideas come to Life … even if they do not directly apply to the business itself.

 

Huh?

 

Here is a secret a lot of good business people know. While we love to talk about focus and ‘staying in our lane’ and the danger of less-than-strategic expansion, the truth is that a business can accommodate a shitload of different lanes if they are actually good lanes <and good ideas>.

I know when I managed groups while I needed people to focus on what they needed to do … I always encouraged them think about new ideas and talk to me about their ideas – even if it didn’t have shit to do with what we actually did to earn our living. Why did I do that? I could offer a dozen reasons but suffice it to say that it offers them a valuable sounding board for whether they have a viable idea or not <which they liked & appreciated> and I would get the brain working on non-related shit <which invariably gets you thinking about your related shit differently — and I liked that & appreciated it>.

Plus. People like thinking about their dreams even if they can’t actually do them.

 

Innovations.

 

I don’t need to say anything about this. This is obvious. The best innovations are usually a reflection of smart dreaming.

 

Ok.

The second.

 

I believe we need to remind ourselves on occasion that it is okay to dream … and dream big.

 

dream window of opportunity imagine

And that relentlessly pursuing a dream can be inspiring … not discouraging.

 

Now.

 

Being a big dreamer doesn’t mean that you walk around with your head in the clouds. It means that you have a purpose … a big purpose that makes your life bigger and fulfills some promise within you.

Of course … as usual … the key is to find a balance. Think ground and clouds.

Maybe think about it as being pragmatic with no guardrails. A contradiction? Sure. But big dreams are a contradiction. As a practical relatively pragmatic human race we would never have them … unless some of them defied the odds and actually came true.

 

Yeah.

Some really do happen.

 

Anyway.

 

I like the thought of business accepting the role as a business incubator and actually re-energizing the human spirit toward dreams and dreaming.

I like the thought of a business being a ‘dream incubator’ is fulfilling a role life & society seem to be abdicating.

 

Look.

 

extraordinary robbedI have always been a huge proponent that business should accept a larger role in driving societal norms & mores and, in this case, I actually believe that in doing so the business acumen & success is rewarded.

 

Whew.

 

Can you imagine how many resumes a business would get if it said “we want you to make your lives extraordinary, help you make your dreams come true, because if you do … we believe our company will be extraordinary.”

 

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Dead Poets Society:

“Make your lives extraordinary.”

 

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all sins are attempts to fill voids

February 26th, 2017

dog bacon thoughts desires

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“I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.”

 

—-

Sylvia Plath

 

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“All sins are attempts to fill voids.”

 

—-

Simone Weil

 

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Well.

stop trying to convince

 

We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard.

Or maybe they always seem to be overcompensating for something.

Or even that they know they are ‘not as good as’ and spend far too much time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something.

 

We like these people because we like the overall sense that someone is dissatisfied with the present person and seeking a better person.

 

We don’t like these people because we don’t like the overall sense of desperation and the trappings that often come with it.

 

We look at these people and … well … we think about ourselves and the crazy shit we do.

 

Let’s face it … Life makes us do a lot of crazy shit.

 

Okay.

 

It doesn’t actually “make” us … just full-throatedly encourages us to do some crazy shit.

 

It does so because it makes us desire  a shitload of things that can chip away at the better version of ourselves. And by better version I don’t mean external stuff but internal stuff … soul, integrity & character. But life has a nasty habit of encouraging us to think more about external stuff than internal stuff.

 

The size of your bank account.braver he who overcomes own desire achievment soul how winning victory

 

How you look and what you wear and whether you sport Gap or Brooks Brothers.

 

The size of your house and whether you have gold drapes or Pier1 window hangings.

 

This kind of crap can screw you up let alone destroy you.

You can get so caught up in what Life is whispering in your ear as what is important … well … over time that is all you can hear and see.

 

Life becomes almost a parody of itself.

 

‘Less is more’ becomes the mantra of everything but you personally where ‘more’ just seems to look less & less. Life can twist you into a pretzel trying to match up with all the external trappings of what it suggests you should desire.

And as you get twisted all it really does is squeeze out character & integrity & principles drop by drop as Life twists harder and harder.

 

And as you get this squeezed out of you … you will naturally get thirsty. Therein lies the big Life choice … what do you drink?

 

What do I mean?

 

Remember that kid you knew growing up who was always the bully, always the exaggerator, always the one trying so hard to show everyone how great they were … at some point they realize that they are thirsty.

Either thirsty for more or thirsty for what is getting squeezed out of them.

And don’t think Life is standing by silently.  All the while Life will whisper sweet nothings in that kid’s ear telling them what to drink to stay on their path to a ‘better person’ <and it is most likely the sweetest, least healthy alternative>.

 

Look.

 

At some point we all get thirsty … even that young bully … and your Life gets energized by what you drink <and I could suggest you get addicted to what you drink at a fairly early age>.

 

 

always more and more life desireThat said.

 

What I do know is that almost all of us end up being constantly nudged to believe we neither have enough nor are we enough.

 

And it is within those ‘not enough’ spaces, the voids if you wish to call them, in which we commit our sins.

 

We commit our sins most often as we overreach.

 

Okay.

We are tempted to overreach … in our words, our resumes, our successes, even our recaps of our ‘what we did today’ lists.

 

Some overreach more than others. But we all get tempted. And, just as I noted above, it is explainable and understandable. When Life is trying to constantly tell you ‘not enough’ you will constantly be trying to showcase ‘more than enough.’

That is a natural response.

 

And this is where people separate themselves into two basic generalized groups … those who define how they matter <enough> by an internal balance sheet versus those who define how they matter <enough> by an external balance sheet.

I am not suggesting it has to be 100%, internal or external, because most of us figure out how to commit a few ‘sins’ as possible and try and manage what they desire in a way they don’t ultimately get destroyed by their desires. Most of us figure out our ‘best version’ is pretty good … maybe less than some but more than others.

 

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“And so we all matter – maybe less than a lot, but always more than some.”

—–

John Green

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not good enough trying

But some people truly do end up in the 100% column.

 

It is quite possible someone like the Pope is close to the internal 100% judgement … but I imagine a lot of people actually slide close to this Life self-framing. It comes with some external expenses but a shitload of people are willing to sacrifice those things because they know the gold curtains fade, the money can be lost and the houses can burn down. External trappings can only provide so much comfort.

 

On the end of the spectrum are the … well … hollow people. They look glitzy. They sound confident <if not arrogant or blowhards>. They have all the trappings of success. But their sacrifice is whatever internal compass that can guide goodness or true fairness as well as empathy & compassion.

They have sacrificed counting internal cues … because external cues are all that count.  All the while they are trying too hard, seem to be overcompensating for something and … well … spending a shitload of time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something.

 

All that said.

 

We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard.

 

This is the person who desires the things which will destroy me in the end.trying human being

This is the person whose sins are attempts to fill voids.

 

This is the person we know … wish we could change … but is quite possibly the most unchangeable person we know.

 

We all have voids.

We just need to be very very careful that what we fill that void with doesn’t destroy us in the end.

believing in your own gravity

November 2nd, 2016

  gravity-falls-breaks-sound-life

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“She believed in her own gravity, and she never considered escaping it.

 

 The world isn’t improved by reading the personal tragedy that unfolded afterwards, but there’s also no fighting it—the power that lies in hearing her words is in the totality of its acceptance.”

 

—-

Spencer Kornhaber

<slightly edited quote>

 

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“As long as I know what I’ve done, I’m not gonna worry about what other people say or think I did.”

 

 

because only I know the truth

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… believed in her own gravity, and she never considered escaping gravity-is-in-my-bonesit may be one of the strongest lines I have read.

 

 

Understanding yourself … who and what you are … is difficult.

 

Accepting yourself … who and what you are … is difficult.

 

Which, inevitably, makes believing in yourself extremely difficult.

 

Accepting less than perfection … or accepting the fact you have imperfections … is difficult.

Knowing you have flaws … and even some destructive flaws … is difficult.

 

If you bundle all of those up … well … that is your gravity.

 

For some reasons, some good and some bad, we always seem to want to fix or change our gravity <which seems … well … as I type that … kind of impossible and somewhat silly objective>.

 

Some people dislike their gravity and fight it … try and escape it … and some even suggest they want to “fly” as a version of showing their dislike for their own gravity.

 

To be clear <part 1>.

 

This gravity discussion is different than a “come to the edge and fly” Life discussion. That is about risk and trying to see what you are capable of.

This gravity discussion is about who and what you are. What grounds you day in and day out as part of what makes you … well … you.fear-of-gravity-fall

 

To be clear <part 2>.

 

Gravity can be defied.

 

Well.

Let’s just say that you can learn to jump, fly or elevate <but you will inevitably get pulled back at some point>. So you can defy your gravity for moments in time.

 

But gravity is … well … gravity, i.e., it remains no matter what as part of Life.

And, while everyone faces gravity, your version of gravity is different than someone else’s.

 

You may like someone else’s gravity. Shit. You may dislike gravity. It doesn’t really matter. You either believe in your own gravity or you end up fighting gravity your entire Life.

 

And that is where that opening quote is so powerful … such a strong Life idea.

 

If you believe in your gravity, flaws and destructive qualities included, and do not try and escape it … you use what you have to the bet of your ability rather than fight it.

 

You believe in your gravity, the good and bad, as part of what can create some space in the world for you and no one else.

 

genaertional attitudes powerlessYou believe in your gravity, and understand it, and accept it, and believe it is what inevitably guides your feet down some path in Life.

 

By the way, this does not mean you are unapologetically comfortable with yourself … you may actually even find yourself slightly uncomfortable with your gravity … you just accept it … and believe it inevitably makes you who you are.

 

 

And, in the end, I imagine if you do not try and escape your gravity you stop looking at other’s gravity, you stop listening to people telling you to try and change your gravity and … well … you decide to use your gravity to become the hero in your own story.

 

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She needed a hero so she became one.

 

—–

Unknown

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the reality of overcoming shit

October 13th, 2016

 tattoo-overcome

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“You can overcome anything … short of death.”

 

Abi Ketner

 

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I tend to believe most of us are pleasantly surprised by how well we overcome shit.

 

shit creek survivorThe reality is … well … 99.9% of the time we overcome anything thrown our way.

 

Well.

 

That is if you assess success as “short of death.” If you do not then overcoming gets judged on a variety of fairly creative measurements.

 

But if you strip away everything but ‘death’ as the only failure measurement … well … that means if you recognize you cannot be destroyed, you actually recognize you can overcome just about any and every thing.

 

That affects how you make choices & decisions.

 

 

That affects how you feel about yourself.

 

That all sounds good … and relatively simple … but it is relatively difficult to embrace as a thought and attitude.

 

I actually do not believe this is a Life lesson.

 

I believe it is something we simply struggle with throughout Life.

 

We gain & accumulate things as we grow older. Life experiences, titles, professional experience, money, things and acquisitions … oh … and family.

 

That is reality.

 

And reality hates … absolutely frickin’ hates to be destroyed.

 

We face shit everyday … some big shit and some small shit … and as we face it we view it through bifocals — what reality will be destroyed and how do I protect against it and … well … what do I really want to do.

 

If you focus solely on the latter you will feel really really good about yourself <in Bad 27 7 doing shita semi selfish way> but I can almost guarantee that doing so will come at the expense of some reality in your life. It may be a small expense and it may be a huge expense … but an expense it is.

 

If you focus solely on the former you will most likely have a fairly comfortable reality but I can almost guarantee that doing so will come at the expense of some moral relativity <sense of self stuff> in your life. It may be a small expense and it may be a huge expense … but an expense it is.

 

That is why I said this is a constant struggle for us in life.

 

We know most of the decisions and choices we make will not kill us … but we have to weigh what that choice & decision will kill in our reality.

 

On this one topic I can actually share some personal experience.

 

I have shed the former stuff at some point in my Life & career. I dropped the titles, the compensation, the career, the responsibilities <I do not have a family> and all the past stuff <as well as I could>.

 

Now.

That doesn’t mean that simply destroying it all meant it went away mentally.

Just because destroying everything you feel like you have earned <not deserved> doesn’t translate into some personal ‘slotting’ from that point on – I had that salary so anything less is bad, I had that title so anything less is bad, I had that type of home so anything less than that is bad, etc.

 

That mental aspect takes some time <at least it did for me>.

 

But once I reached a point where I recognized that the only way I could actually be destroyed was death itself … well … doing the right thing and doing what I wanted to do became a shitload easier when trying to overcome shit.

 

I admit.

While not a luxurious life … it is a luxury not many people have.

 

But to attain this luxury I almost had to destroy reality. That sounds kind of extreme. I imagine there is another way to do it <one would hope, wouldn’t one?>.

 

Ok. Look.

 

That isn’t really the point.  It isn’t because I am certainly not suggesting people ditch their reality just so they can always make their decisions based on what would make them feel good as a person. Reality comes with some responsibilities which deserve to be acknowledged.

 

 

I imagine my real point is that more of us should recognize everything is overcomeable. Your worst day, your worst decision, your worst choice, your worst anything … if it doesn’t kill you, can be overcome.

 

I say that because far too often in the moment where the worst is occurring most of us aren’t thinking about the fact we cannot be destroyed … we are worrying about being destroyed. That in and of itself most likely puts us in a position in which we are much more likely to make the worst worse <and, at best, make the worst as palatable as possible>.

 

do what you must by YoshiteruShit happens. That is a given.

 

But not all shit is created equal and not all shit outcomes are created equal.

And while all shit can be overcome … if you are a little more fearless when the shit hits the fan, a little more inclined to believe “what the hell, I am not going to die,” I would argue you may actually be more likely to come through the shit not only alive & well … but not as stinky.

 

And even better? Whew … you will sleep well that night knowing you had destroyed what may have destroyed you without destroying your soul & character.

 

unapologetically comfortable with yourself

October 2nd, 2016

 reminder-unapologetic

 

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when youre unapologetically comfortable with yourself, people really dont know what to do with you.

 

—-

 

from monochromaticblack

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people get mad when they don’t understand the source of someone else’s confidence. lol thats wild.

 

 

from monochromaticblack

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Well.

 

projects-complete-finish-progress-businessI loved both of these thoughts written by a young African <Nigeria I believe> woman on her tumblr site.

 

I love them because they do not mean you don’t want to improve <in fact most of these people acknowledge they are work in progress which actually is the foundation for their confidence and comfort with self> but rather espouse a strong belief in self – or being comfortable in your own skin.

 

I say that, yet, most people see these things as cocky or not willing to listen or be accepting constructive criticism.

 

They are wrong.

 

It is just a reflection of a strong self-awareness. And an awareness of what is going on around them. And a willingness to adapt to the situation at hand <therefore each situation aligns with the appropriate confidence rather than trying to stay a square peg and face a round hole on occasion>.

 

To me … this type of discussion around self awareness driven confidence is almost like discussing the difference between the actually appropriate “I couldn’t care less” versus the more common less appropriate phrase “I could care less.”

 

They clearly mean different things and, yet, misused so often they are misheard and misinterpreted.

 

But … about the self awareness the quotes suggest.like-thought-bubble

 

 

I like the stubborn kind of love of thyself.

 

I like the semi-unconditional love of who and what you are.

 

I like the persistency and acceptance of the undeniable compass that resides within.

 

I like the understanding and almost commanding hold this belief has on someone’s character and behavior and attitudes.

 

I like the fact it leaves someone nowhere to go and, yet, at the same time enables the ability to embrace some type of expanded self.

 

 

I like the sense that this is a different type of self love which one can never escape no matter how hard you may try <because Life suggests you should ‘escape it’>.

 

I like the thought that it remains a version of a good friend to rely on regardless of the time of day, situation or crisis.

 

I like the fact it suggests a version of ‘home’ regardless of how far you may be tempted to stray.

 

I like it represents a source of healing from which one can replenish who and what you are … no matter what happens.

 

I like the sense of true companionship strength <thru thick or thin>.

unapologetic-false-world-real-person-pain-life

 

I like the unapologetic faith in head, heart & humanity.

 

 

I like the … well … consistency … and the flexibility. I call it a consistent flexible personality.

 

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.

If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

 

 

Friedrich Nietzsche

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I like the idea someone can change innumerable times, yet in each iteration, will remain fundamentally the same.

 

I like the idea that the personality & character doesn’t change for, basically, functional reasons.

 

 

I like the idea it maintains the attitude of ‘the self’ and continuing to change, constantly aligning itself to changing world and what it learns.

 

And, I imagine, what I like most is that this type of self-confidence and belief in self insures that no matter how often Life and the shit it throws at you tries to put an end to its existence … you exist.unapologetic-power-go-on-scared-life

 

The dictionary tells us you cannot ‘put an end to the existence of something’ more than a single time. I would argue with the dictionary <which is surprising because I like unequivocal truths>. Life can, and does, put an end to the existence of lots of ‘self’ things. Sometimes for good but more often for the bad.

 

All I would say is that if you are unapologetically comfortable with yourself you are more likely to insure the existence of what matters and put an end to the existence of that which does not matter … when it matters.

 

People may not know what to do with you but you will always know what you can do.

 

luck & life

April 28th, 2016

 lucky chanceux

—————-

 

Luck.

 

Leaving things to chance and the outside world.

 

——————-

 

“I don’t believe in luck.

I believe in being harbingers of our fate, determining our own path, taking action and creating our own destiny in life.”

 

===

 

Celestine Chua

 

——————-

 

 

While, in general, I believe most of us make our own luck there is actually two types of luck.

 

The type you do make … putting in the hard work and being ‘in the game’ which really isn’t luck … it is just making the most of opportunities that arise and fateputting yourself in position for those opportunities. Maybe I could just call this ‘being harbingers of our fate.”

 

And then there is truly the luck that occurs randomly … chance events in which … well … you are lucky or you are not. Maybe let’s call this “the whim of fate.”

 

Because of what I just said personally I think it is too simplistic to suggest “I do not believe in luck.” I believe that because you can work your ass off and you can do all the right things as often as you can … and random chance … luck as it were … comes whether you invite it or not.

 

This is not to suggest you shouldn’t work your ass off and put yourself in as many positions and opportunities as possible to increase the likelihood that “luck” or ‘chance’ veers in your direction. But I am suggesting that if you do this you are simply controlling your position, place and proximity to the contextual fabric of what is happening around you.

 

And while, yes, there are certainly things you can control I could argue that most things are truly out of your control.

 

Because of that I believe luck does play a role in people’s lives. And luck does not favor anyone, probably does not even recognize it is impacting anyone individually and is relatively indifferent to any scorecard of winners versus losers.

We should all understand that Luck is neither a friend or foe … it is simply a selfish individual always acting in its own best interest. And therefor should our interests coincide with its interests … we are good <lucky> and if our interests do not coincide … well … that is bad <unlucky>.

 

All this said.

fate waiters luck

One of the reasons I decided to discuss luck is that research shows over and over again we <people in general> have a natural tendency to overestimate the degree of responsibility for our own successes.

 

I am certainly not suggesting we shouldn’t take some ownership & pride of our successes and how we have managed to take advantage of the opportunities.

However, to simply suggest it was our own perseverance and hard work that created the success tends to overlook the importance of a dash of luck on occasion <which happens more often than we tend to believe>.

 

And by overlooking luck we then have a tendency, in our minds & attitudes, to adapt what was reality in our reflection … which then encourages us to stubbornly persevere in the future in the face of sometimes insurmountable obstacles.

Ignoring luck more often than not sets some incorrect self-expectations.

 

Now.

 

I tend to believe all of us know that almost all success results from a variety of factors which include hard work, talent, some aspect of the mind & thinking, perseverance and chance. And those factors ebb and wane depending on a variety of factors <things someone who is more passionate about will tend to work harder on>. This means that while we seek consistent behavior & actions to replicate our success that success is more often a result of inconsistent factors.

 

That said … the inconsistency with these factors permits us to reflect backwards upon the parts & pieces we want, or choose to see, to reflect upon as we construct our stories.

Needless to say … this inconsistency within the factors of success makes it very easy to drop luck from the story.

 

We, none of us, don’t particularly feel comfortable giving credit to luck.

luck points dumb

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E. B. White

 

“Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.”

 

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Psychologists use a term called “hindsight bias.”

 

It is our natural tendency to think about the past that some event was predictable <even when it wasn’t> and therefore we tend to focus on the thought we had purposefully put ourselves in place for something that was inevitable <smart, hardworking people that we are>.

 

Studies show that “hindsight bias” actually is even stronger when associated with greater than expected successes.

 

For example.

PewResearch shows people in higher income brackets are much more likely than those with lower incomes to say that individuals get rich primarily because they work hard. Wealthy people overwhelmingly attribute their own success to hard work rather than to factors like luck or being in the right place at the right time.

 

Anyway.

 

Yes.

 

Hard work matters.

 

Yes.

 

Perseverance matters.

 

Yes.

 

Talent matters.

 

 

But the one that that also matters I do not believe we discuss enough.

 

A connected engaged thinking mind.

 

———–

 

“Chance favors the connected mind.”

 

==

Steven Johnson

———good luck bad luck

 

I mentioned earlier that chance, or Luck, is indifferent to us. I would also suggest that luck, or unluck, unfolds and therefore how you react & adapt may be one of the most important behavior traits you can own in Life.

 

In something I wrote back in June 2014, horse racing & life, I suggested … “so many times we say ‘this is the way to win’ … but you know what? … everyone is trying to win. Oftentimes winning is about context and managing the moment.”

 

In this I believe I am suggesting you accept the fact that luck plays a role in Life and that you cannot control it … and you should actually expect it to stick its face into your business. and that if you have a connected mind, a mind which isn’t closed to learning & unlearning, a mind which is open to adapting against ‘status quo’ behavioral rules, well, you may actually have a chance with … well … chance.

 

 

 

we can do hard things

March 4th, 2016

life strong enough

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“Because if there’s one thing I learned from remaking my entire life, it’s this: we are strong as fuck, we can change our stories, and we can do hard things.”

 

Nicole Antoinette

 

====

 

 

So.

 

 

When I first started writing enlightened conflict I read a variety of other blogs just to get a sense of what is good writing, good storytelling and … well … what was good. In my heart of hearts I knew what I wanted to write and how I wanted to write but over the years I had so much of the “here is what you need to do & how to do it” shit pounded into my head that I was second guessing myself.

 

 

never know how strong until only choiceTime and time again I kept finding myself reading blogs that … well … were unfiltered well written thoughts and Life episodes. They tended to be stream of consciousness and tended to make you laugh, cry, shake your head and sigh … and think.

 

They were … well … real. Real glimpses of how real people think about shit.

 

 

Interestingly, two roommates in the same city I lived in at that time <although I never met either of them> wrote separate outstanding blogs – Jamie Varon with A Life in Translation and Nicole Antoinette with Nicole is Better – which set me on the path of how I write enlightened conflict.

 

Be Real.

Tell the Truth <as it is really seen>.

 

Share it all with, hopefully, thoughtfulness and with some real-life attitude.

 

 

I say all that because I am using a quote <slightly edited> from Nicole to open this post.

 

Life rarely goes the way we plan it.

 

Shit.

 

Life rarely goes exactly the way we want it <even without specific plans>.

 

 

That is neither good nor bad … it just is. And yet in its neither goodness or badness it is unsettling. Sometimes uncomfortable. Like squirming in a hard plastic chair waiting to hear what the test results are uncomfortable.

 

 

Whether you take life by the horns and run with it or wait and seek specific opportunities at some point you will find yourself on that uncomfortable chair.

 

And on that chair you will assess who you are, where you are and what you are.

 

Uh oh. And then, sometimes, that chair seems even more uncomfortable.

 

WTF. How did I get in this chair?

 

And not only do you want to get up off that chair but you want to get out of the fucking room. You may even want to remake the entire house you live in.

 

jamie life do what the fuck

++++++ Jamie tweet +++++++

And you think … I am not a builder … how do I build a new home? I am not an adventurer … how do I go somewhere I haven’t seen before? … I am not sure where I want to go just that I don’t want to be here … how do I choose a direction?

 

 

We are strong as fuck.

 

 

We can change our stories.

 

 

We can do hard things.

 

 

Every one of us gets to a place in Life where we look around and go WTF.

What happened? How the hell do I get out of here?

 

 

Some of these places are a little deeper in hell than others … but suffice it to say they all reside in hell. And you want to get out.

 

Not to be flippant … but … you move. You get up & go. You get up & do.

 

 

You are strong as fuck.

 

 

You can change your story.

 

 

You can do hard things.

 

 

We face Life with strength or … well … you lose in Life. And most of us decide to face the hard shit because we have this inner true strength as described by philosopher Immanuel Kant … that even small decisions should be made as though we were deciding for all humanity, not just for our paltry selves.

 

In other words we realize we can change our story because the bigger story is Life … and not our ‘paltry self’ – which is actually just representative of some words on the larger pages of Life.

 

 

That doesn’t mean you feel any less lost or any more sure of where to go or what exactly to do next … it just means you have the strength to get up & go and do the hard things.

 

acceptance life adventure hugh

———–

 

“To feel lost is an indication that you want more out of your life.”

 

===

 

Jamie Varon

 

————

Now.

 

Part of what I am discussing about this WTF moment is a warped version of existentialism. It is the moment you face up to where you are in Life and make a decision … a decision to be less self-deceiving, more decisive, more committed, and more willing to take on responsibility for the world you exist within.

 

 

A philosopher named Martin Heidegger suggested the reason why it takes “the moment in which you make that decision”  to make this personal decision to “do what needs to be done to address where we are in Life” rather than just doing it pretty much all the time is because we have a nasty habit of mentally creating this obstacle called das Man <translated as “the they”>.

 

 

Some nebulous “they” who suggests “they say it is a waste of time” or “they say it is impractical” or “they say the opportunity has passed by.” When pressed we cannot really exactly identify who this “they” is but we know “they” is everywhere and circumvents our personal decision making power.

 

What ‘das man’ suggests is that we convince ourselves we are not actually free to make the decision and do what needs to be done.

 

“They” constrict the likelihood of success.

 

“They” gives us the excuse to not admit we are actually free to do something.

 

 

“They” will obstruct our change and edit our story.

 

 

To be clear.

 

We all indulge in this thought process.

 

In fact.

 

We indulge in this thought process the majority of the time in our lives.

 

 

That is, of course, until you reach a moment. A WTF clarity moment. And in that moment you have a choice … free to believe you are not strong enough, you cannot change your story, you cannot do the hard … or … free to believe you are strong as fuck, you can change your story and you can do the hard things. That is the choice.

 

 

Let me end where I began.

 

With Nicole’s quote.

 

 

When you hit that moment. Just get it in your head the truest of true Life truths:who dares strong possible

 

You are strong as fuck.

 

You can change your story.

 

You can do the hard shit.

 

 

Life rarely goes the way we want it to go let alone plan it … but we are all more than capable enough of dealing with all the twists & turns … and when faced with the WTF moment … we have enough to do the hard stuff to change our story.

when bad shit happens and you need to talk with yourself

January 17th, 2016

life interesting scared shitless doing

===

 

“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and applause of the many, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.”

 

 

 

Longfellow

 

 

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“Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul.

 

He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions.

 

His virtues are not real to him.

 

His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him.

 

The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly-that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar.

But their own souls starve, and are naked.

 

Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. “

 

 

 

Oscar Wilde

 

 

====

talk to myself

Well.

 

This is Life … shit happens. And, more importantly, inevitably shit happens to us.

 

 

When that happens, the shit, suffice it to say … we all have a talk with our self.

 

 

Unfortunately … most times we have a shitty talk with ourself. Yeah. We tend to know shit about talking to ourself.

 

At the root of our shittiness of self conversation is typically a variety of creatively destructive aspects:

 

 

 

You can blame external ‘forces’ <”not my fault”>.

 

 

You can blame yourself <blame spans lack of confidence to lack of skills>.

 

 

Let me stick with the latter <because only losers consistently think the former>.

 

 

To begin … what I will tell you is that when the shit hits the fan you can get a startling clear picture of who & what you are.

And sometimes it ain’t pretty.

 

And it ain’t pretty because we do not even begin the conversation right.

 

 

====

 

“Some conversations are not about what they’re about.”

 

 

Anne Carson

 

==

 

 

 

More often than not the conversation you have with yourself aren’t the conversations you think they are.

 

What I mean by that is when bad shit happens most of us, in the moment or near the moment, are thinking causally – stimulus/response stuff.

“Shit happened because this shit was done.”

 

 

At worst this conversation with yourself sounds something like “you stupid shit.”

 

 

It is really only later that the problems truly arise … because the conversation continues and you start delving deeper & deeper inside yourself.

These conversations are sometimes call ‘soul searching.’

 

I, instead, refer to them as ‘soul wrenching.’

 

doubt

During the deeper conversation you encounter doubt, fears of being good enough, self-uncertainty … these are the assholes you sometimes have a conversation with when bad shit happens.

And, unfortunately, they all went to a debate school and unfortunately they all like to talk a lot when given the opportunity.

 

 

 

Here is what I have to offer <as someone who has certainly had his share of both bad shit happening and shitty conversation with myself – albeit I tend to believe all of us have>.

 

 

We spend far far <far> too much time in these conversations on comparison type shit.

 

 

Yeah.

 

It is natural … I mean … well … how else can you decide whether you are worth a shit unless you compare yourself to someone who IS worth a shit?

 

 

But, frankly, most of our sins are borrowed … just echoes of what is around us.

So when bad shit happens the conversation really should be about you and with you.

 

 

And therein lies the next level of a self shitty conversation.

 

 

And it is a little weird because it is a Life paradox.

 

In general … research shows over and over again that we overestimate our abilities … we think we are better than we really are at things.

 

And, yet, when bad shit happens and we start having this shitty conversation with ourselves … we have a tendency to think of ourselves as flawed … not good  … flawed.

 

 

<figure that one out …. Will ya?>

 

 

truth perspective post christmasSomehow you gotta find the middle ground in that paradox.

 

You have to first uncover a realistic perspective of whatever shit that happened and then focus on … well … moving on.

 

 

 

====

 

“One does not walk into the forest and accuse the trees of being off-center,

 

Nor do they visit the shore and call the waves imperfect.

 

So why do we look at ourselves this way? “

 

 

 

Tao Te Ching

 

 

=====

 

 

 

I imagine I could just suggest here that bad shit happens, you have shitty conversations with yourself and that you should have these conversations with the non shitty aspects within you when it happens … but I kind of think what gets you through shit sometimes needs a little more ‘oomph’ to get you through it. The ‘oomph’ is rooted in the moving on thought I just shred above.

 

 

I suggest something simple. It’s kind of a mindset. Not any ‘happy hippie shit Secret stuff’ just an attitude that can kind of get you through when bad shit happens.

 

 

I don’t know where I found this quote but I love it:

 

 

=========

 

 

“I didn’t come this far, to only come this far.”

 

 

Unknown

 

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

 

horizon road destination open

I love it in its simplicity.

 

Bad shit happens.

 

In work and in Life.

 

And inevitably we have those shitty conversation with ourselves when bad shit happens.

 

 

But … you know what?

 

You didn’t get that far just to get that far.

None of us do.

 

And sometimes you just have to remember that and, possibly, one of the best times to remember that is when you are in the middle of a shitty conversation with yourself.

 

what will you look at

June 26th, 2015

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look attention listen

“No matter what you are looking at, you can find something wrong with it, something imperfect, something that is not okay with you.

Don’t worry, if you look hard enough you’ll find it.

There is also something ‘right’ with everything.

No matter what you are looking at, you can find something right with it, something perfect.

There remains, then, only one question: What are you going to look at? “

Neale Donald Walsch

===

 

Ok.

 

I have written about how we “see things” before < http://brucemctague.com/seeing-and-well-really-seeing  > but this thought piece is a little different. This one is more about how attitude can affect what we see more than heuristics and real psychological stuff.

 

 

That said.

 

 

 

 

I am not an optimist.

 

Nor am I a pessimist.

optomist hope

 

I tend to believe I am a cynical optimist.

 

 

I love hope.

 

I love pragmatism.

 

 

I am pragmatically hopeful.

 

 

 

I decided to begin that way because I love this quote.

 

 

We choose to see what we desire to see.

 

Ok.

 

Maybe not desire … but what we expect to see based on out attitude toward Life <not just visual cues we have stored up in our heads>.

 

 

Life does not make it easy for us to see what is actually there because it rarely makes something simple for us.

 

 

Most things are complex.

 

 

 

In all there is bad and good.

 

 

In all there is wrong and right.

 

 

I don’t believe what I just wrote is an epiphany to anyone.

 

 

However.

 

 

I do believe not enough people think about it and how our own personal attitude can skew what we actually see.

 

seeing is seeing eyes-are-useless

Many, maybe most in today’s world, people see wrong …. and focus on wrong <albeit we may do the infamous ‘say something nice first’ before becoming maniacally focused on what we have identified as  ‘wrong’>.

 

 

And a smaller group of people, who hate those people who focus on only the wrong, become blindingly oblivious to wrong and talk about sweeping hope and the inherent goodness to be found within everyone.

 

 

Both options are bad. It is like only have an ‘on/off” switch when most of us should have an attitudinal dimmer switch.

 

 

 

Look.

 

 

For most of us … no matter what you look at … you will choose to see what you want to see.

 

 

The one thing I can guarantee you will NOT see?

 

 

A completed puzzle.

 

 

Life, the one around you or even your own, remains a puzzle yet to be put together.

 

It is a puzzle with pieces which can be pulled out and replaced … it is a puzzle with pieces yet to be found … and even with pieces yet to be made.

Attitudinally I believe we all know this but … well … we hate it. A work in progress is difficult to judge because you never really know where it is on the progress scale, therefore, we like to view things & people as ‘almost finished’ or even ‘main puzzle pieces are in place.’

 

 

We are wrong to do so … and most of us know so … but it is still natural for us to do so.

 

 

====

“Things are pretty terrible but then again you don’t buy a puzzle that’s already put together.”

a tweet Jonah Green

====

 

 

That all may sound terrible.

 

And it may sometimes even look a little terrible around you.

 

 

But .. is it really terrible? Are you looking at the wrong things or are you simply seeing what you want to see?seeing is seeing tree

 

 

All I can suggest is to look … really look … because sometimes the obvious is not really obvious and what you are shown is not really representative of what could be seen if you push what is being shown to you off to the side.

 

And, maybe most importantly, you need to push your attitude off to the side and try and see what is as … well … what is.

 

 

 

In the end …. all I can ask is … well … what will you choose to see?

Enlightened Conflict