Enlightened Conflict

wonder how the same thing can be both

February 7th, 2017

good bad best worst think do life be

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

 

“I’m always finding humans at their best and worst.

I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.”

 

————–

Death

<in “The Book Thief”>

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

 

So.

 

This quote is said by Death.

 

Yeah.

Death is suggesting he considers humans beautiful … as well as everything else that we are … all the while resting comfortably in his chair awaiting the opportunity to end it all.

 

We all know we're going to die, but it's one of the few human experiences we don't like talking about. How can we change that?

I admit.

 

The thought seems slightly counter-intuitive, but I like thinking the thought that Death is a lot more complicated than we may think.

 

I like thinking that Death sees us … and assesses us … and maybe even judges us a little … as not one-dimensional things to say ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down.’

 

I like thinking of death as not some grim reaper but rather a thoughtful person who has a job to do. One who contemplates the fact that some days will be good and some days just won’t be so fun.

 

I like thinking of Death One who can see the best and worst … acknowledging that good things can happen to bad people and bad things can happen to good people.

 

And, I imagine, I like thinking of Death as … well … intelligent and not simply some mindless executioner wandering about seeking his next victim.

 

For sure this quote reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote about intelligence:

 

“The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

 

 

I believe it was Keats who called this ‘negative capability.’

 

best worst faces life people good badAs he explained <or tried to > “it is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.”

 

In other words … you understand, or least come to grips with, that there is a shitload of inconsistency and uncertainty in Life and, yet, you deal with it and do what you need to do.

 

<that’s my translation>

 

The truth in Life is that we really don’t have to be one thing because you’re not another thing – or not be something if you are something <you get it>.

 

It may seem impossible to appear to be a contradiction and, yet, be quite a successful, happy, productive bundle of contradictions.

 

Not only do you not have to be one thing forever but you can actually be a couple of things now … at the same time … in this time & place.

 

I sometime believe individual happiness is found more often than not in our ‘negative capability’ intelligence. In other words … how smartly we can navigate the contradictions in Life as well as the contradiction of what is within who & what we are. If we don’t learn negative capability then we must seem to inevitably seek to isolate being one thing and one thing only as a judge of whether we are living Life well, productively and with focus.

 

And maybe that is why I believe Death was, and is, intelligent — it has mastered negative capability. Death has embraced the contradiction of being one thing and yet living another seemingly contradictory idea.

If Death can see beauty in that which it will inevitably have to end with its own hand surely we can see good in bad … as well as be both bad & good ourselves.

 

Regardless.

 

It seems like there is a lesson in here for all of us. And maybe the lesson is, unfortunately, not that simple.

 

Death looks, on the surface, as one thing … and yet … is most likely another.

 

Death does one thing … and yet … most likely thinks many other things.

 

We view Death as one thing and avoid him … and yet … should we meet him on the street on his way to meet someone other than us … he may greet us with a smile.

 

While Death’s perception challenge  is actually called “affective fallacy” <confusion between what it is and what it does> this is a challenge we all face in Life.

 

I imagine, in the end, the lesson is a simple one … sometimes Life just isn’t that simple.

 

Ok.

 

Ditch the ‘sometimes.’best worst good bad life complicated

 

Life is never that simple.

 

We are more than one thing … we are a sum of all our parts … we are part of everyone we have met <and will meet> … and we are, at our core, a reflection of a multi-faceted character containing aspects of all which we desire to be as well as some aspects which we view slightly glumly as ‘the aspects I do not desire to be … but am.’

 

We either embrace the contradictions or … well … we will most likely suck at dealing with Life and living Life.

 

Anyway.

 

What I do know is that I wish someone taught “negative capabilities 101” because we should all sign up for that class. It would be a better world if we were all competent in negative capabilities.

 

 

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

 

“When the first living thing existed, I was there waiting.

When the last living thing dies, my job will be finished. I’ll put the chairs on the tables, turn out the lights and lock the universe behind me when I leave.”

 

Neil Gaiman

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

 

fall winter and finding meaning in death

December 1st, 2016

 like-the-seasons-things-change-fall-spring-winter-time

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

 

“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”

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

 

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

 

—–

Unknown

(via ginger-and-preppy)

 

 

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

 

Well <part 1>.

 

I just read a an article in one of those local papers you can pick up at Healthy Grocery stores which attempted to discuss how this time of the year <October/November/December> is the season of ‘decay and death’ … and how it was a potent time to connect with the dead <and highlighted several celebrations around the world which do just that>.

This thought was combined with the thought we human folk balk at connecting with death because it … well … seems morbid to do so.

 

 

and summer regrets

               getting rid

       of winter wishes

 

summer and i

=======

 

 

Well <part 2>.

 

I balk at the whole concept of ‘decay & death’ as well as the ‘morbid‘ thought.

 

Simplistically, seasons remind of us the cycle of Life <not death> and that death, in and of itself a sad event, contains at its very core the very simple concept that without Death, there is no Life.

 

This was immortalized in pop culture by Blood Sweat & Tears in their absolutely fabulous song “and when I die”:

 

====

And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there,
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

====

 

While each Life is a stepping stone for every future generation each death represents a stepping stone for … well … the future.

dialogue with pain

 

I don’t need any Eastern religion wisdom to remind me of this … I think we all know this.

Now … I will admit that connecting with this thought is much much easier for us when we remove any personalized death and accept it as simply a turning of generations. Therefore … one of the reasons we do not celebrate death is because it can get too personal. And if that is a reason … it sure as hell is a good one.

 

But death itself?

 

While death is something we dislike, facing seasons remain something we must face year in and year out. It is a constant affirmation of the turning of time and that some things we may have gained will most likely be inevitably lost in the natural turn of time.

 

And, yes, as today is December 1st I am reminded that Winter is the time of Life’s strategic retreat and conservation of what gives it all life.

 

It is not death. And it is not decay.

 

It is Life’s thoughtful way to insure its existence and survival.

 

It is the time of incubation and rest and restoration for all things to come in the following year.

 

I could also suggest that winter is a time of reflection and … well … comfort. In winter’s dark nights the stars are at their clearest and we have the opportunity to see them as the sparks of potential and wishes and dreams and … well … Life. Uhm. And dreaming is never a bad thing … particularly during the ‘ebb tide of seasonal Life.’

 

I will not argue that as Life recedes in autumn and rests in winter we do, at least emotionally, get closer to connecting with death … but I do balk at thinking of autumn & winter as ‘things associated with death.’

 

.... a time to Reflect ......

…. a time to Reflect ……

I would argue it actually does a nice job of reminding us we need to let go of things. and, sure, maybe we connect with ‘the dead’ better at this time because … well … it reminds us to celebrate what we had and embrace letting go.

 

And that is the thing about winter … it demands to not only be felt but also that you meet it on its terms. Even better … Winter demands us to let go of things we most typically hold onto with ragged claws.

 

You cannot refuse its existence and you cannot ignore what was because what is … is … well … is starkly different. Where Life was once obvious it is now starkly absent.

 

I would note that all Eastern mysticism and ‘being in touch with the universe’ and the ‘natural ebb of the earth’ and all that stuff, at its core, just suggests that we pay attention. Pay attention to whatever energy seasons give us … and more often than not that energy it gives us is … uhm … just good ole fashioned thinking. It gives us the energy to think about our lives, lives lost and lives yet to be lived.

 

Acknowledgement of all of that increases your overall connection not just with ‘the universe’ but rather to the eternal pattern of life and invests a sense of energy into pretty much everything <yourself and Life>.

 

And just as Death breaks things down to the bare essence, winter does the same.

And maybe that is the connection.

 

When things are at their barest, when we are drawn closer to endings rather than beginnings, we inevitably ponder the ‘great perhaps.’

 

Back in September I wrote this on the first day of Fall:

 

 

 

I think we all seek a great perhaps of “what I know can be”. I think we all know what a better world really looks like. I think we all want to see the beauty that can be found in what is better in everyone.

 

And maybe it is within Fall and the falling leaves we begin to better grasp that failed plans and failed dreams can beget new plans and new dreams. And maybe it is within Winter where , in ts barest of bare essences, we are forced to begin envisioning what could be in plans and dreams because it is left to us standing in the bare environment around us.

time-seasons-change

 

 

What I do know about all seasons is that they are markers of Time … and poetically speaking … Time is always hungry for many of the things we dearly want to endure and do.

 

This makes Time both beautiful and doomed. Yeah. Time is beautiful and doomed. And that is where I really believe the whole ‘morbid time of the year’ goes astray.

 

 

for it seems all of Fall’s stars

                       have fallen

and often summer and i

run through the last warm days

through the cool grass

       gathering stars caught in people’s dreams

with the intent

           to toss them to Winter

through windows of dawn.

 

Summer & i

======

 

 

We, especially in the West, hunger for time.

Conversely, time itself <to us Western folk> has a hunger and its hunger is for ‘things.’

It is a nasty emptiness waiting to be filled.

 

Well.

 

If there is one thing humans are fucking great at … it is filling time and stuffing whatever we can into any emptiness we can find.

 

Death and dying makes us reflect. It forces us to do so. Just as the bare often starkness of Winter does.

And it makes us reflect on what ‘stuff’ we have crammed into whatever Time we have had.

 

Oh. Maybe what it really forces us to do is reflect upon time. and that is where death truly makes us feel uncomfortable … not any morbid feeling but rather it’s just being dead livingthat we have been indoctrinated to focus on living … living life to its fullest, not wasting any time, to do lists that never get completed and just doing shit <just do it>.

 

Nowhere in that list of shit I just shared does death have a place. In fact. Death represents the exact opposite of everything society & our culture almost demands we think about 24/7.

 

And when forced to face death, or feel a need to connect, we are much less likely to celebrate but rather assess … assess our doing mantra versus ‘stop.’

 

Look.

 

Most of us don’t purposefully ignore connecting with death and those who have passed away because of sadness <because if it were we would be more likely to actually do it because the opposite of sadness is reflecting upon the inevitable happiness> but rather because death and past lives force us to reflect upon our ‘doing accomplishment’ <as well as it forces us to stop … which compounds the feeling of ‘shit, I haven’t done enough and I am not doing anything now>.

 

Yeah.

If you can get beyond the ‘doing’ aspect inherently death is more about sadness <loss of something or someone or time> more so than morbidity. Conquer the sadness and you have conquered death.

 

And all of this is just not that difficult <if you are willing to actually think about it>.

 

winter-fall-snow-season-change-lifeSeveral cultures do celebrate the autumnal solstice as the time life & death is closest. I would argue it is less a celebration but rather recognition of that which came before, and that which is dying, so that what will be will come forth.

Generations beget generations just as falls beget springs.

 

Death begets life.

 

This doesn’t mean we should celebrate impending death but rather recognize, even in sadness, life & beauty resides in the future.

 

Fall is of beautiful dying.

Winter is of starkness of death.

Spring is of rebirth from death.

 

This doesn’t mean you can find beautiful things to enjoy throughout any season.  Seasons simply remind us of the fact time does not stand still and no matter how hard we try and fill up the emptiness time offers us day in and day out … leaves fall, winter comes and spring arises.

 

I believe it is the Celtic wheel of the year describes this time of the year as Samhain … “the veil between the worlds is thin.” Just as several other cultures they use his time to reflect upon “that which was.” In my pea like brain … it is a celebration of navel gazing. It is an intentional event to purposefully explore the valuable relationship not only between Life and Death but the past and the future.

 

Listen to the cry of falling leaves,

            but winter breaks the silence

and warms us with words

of how to change it all

      before the Fall completely ends.

So, So

 

Look.

reflect brain things

 

I don’t believe we do not celebrate death and dying because we think it is morbid. I tend to believe we do not traditionally do so because we, as in Western civilization versus Eastern, don’t celebrate reflection.

We treat reflection more as  a personal thing and not a larger more public event and celebration.

 

Should we celebrate reflection? Shit. I don’t know. But understanding that seasons can offer us enlightening thoughts about how we actually think about death & Life & holding on & letting go is surely not a bad thing.

 

As for Fall and Winter? I do not think of death and decay. I actually think of flowers. Huh?

 

I credit Mark Strand for making me think Winter is the time to bring flowers into your Life as he describes Winter in his poem called Blizzard of One:

 

“A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that …”

Mark Strand <Blizzard of One>

Every funeral deserves flowers. Every Winter deserves thoughts of Life.

first class ticket through life

April 6th, 2016

=== leading yourself first

 

“There are very few products which do not benefit from being given a first class ticket through life.”

 

 

David Ogilvy

 

 

====

“When one loves, one does not calculate.”

 

 

Thérèse de Lisieux

 

===

 

 

 

One of the most consistent business discussions I seem to have with marketing people is tone of messaging … or how to frame the product or service or scraps of ocean stonesbusiness in the marketplace.

 

With all the books & processes cramming differentiation down every marketer’s throat most businesses invest gobs of energy identifying either what makes them distinct or different.

 

At the end of that road they are tired … and then have to figure out how to tell everyone.

 

This is where we start calculating the ones we love.

 

The ‘one’ being the business, product and/or service. We have lovingly crafted everything about it and now we begin calculating how to communicate it.

 

The calculation simplistically drives most people to gravitate to one of two places – humor or humorless.

 

Now.

 

To be honest.

 

I am not a big ‘use humor in communications’ person. More often than not humor is either misused <someone has decided ‘breaking thru the clutter’ matters more than actual substance> or it is off-putting <crass humor to make a point> or it is simply forced.  That doesn’t mean I won’t, and have not, use humor in communications and marketing … but it tends to be ‘smart humor’ and not slapstick or silly.

 

And there is a reason for that beyond the overall humor ‘misused’ thought.

 

I believe people deserve a first class ticket in Life.

 

And, frankly, I believe most businesses offer products & services that deserve a first class ticket through Life.

 

First and foremost I believe a business should treat their own product & service, and business, with respect and dignity and … well … at least an aspect of seriousness as a reflection of the seriousness the business itself put forth in coming up with the idea.

 

Most businesses are neither flippant nor not thought out. This doesn’t mean you cannot laugh at yourself nor offer who and what you are with some character and humility … but rarely do I want to suggest I didn’t do some first class thinking in building what I hope is a first class offering.

 

In the parallel world … the one in which the people reside who will actually buy or use this product or service … well … these people want to be treated with respect, respect for them, their heads, their hearts & their wallets.

 

All of this sounds practical. All of this most likely resonates with business people … then why does it all go out the window with some slapstick wacky creative structure in communicating the message?

 

 

Look.

 

No.serious nonsense change anything

 

As a business I don’t want to take myself too seriously.

 

But I need to weigh the fact that I have a serious business offering developed thru some serious thoughtful business acumen.

 

 

The problem mostly lies in the fact that after beating the crap out of your business positioning to uncover the strong core to offer … a business fears it isn’t interesting enough or distinct enough.

 

Then they fall prey to the ‘to break thru you need to do something different’ advice.

 

I have this discussion so many times with businesses I have honed the discussion platform into two basic starting points:

 

 

  • Try and view it all with a fresh eye

 

I typically suggest that a business always try and look at the world with new eyes … view the things they have maybe looked at a zillion times … so many times that the things are just things. I suggest that because people want to see a world through new eyes.

 

Some people call this the sea of sameness. I do not. I believe there is a lot of good shit and good things out there … but we have seen them … and derivatives of them day in and day out <and this includes “breakthroughs & NEW”> that our eyes, ears and hearts view without viewing.

 

Nothing … and I mean NOTHING … is more impactful to someone than seeing something they have seen a zillion times in a new way. It taps into a sense of wonder … I wonder why I never saw that before, wonder what I was doing in the past that made me not see that and … well … I wonder if I will ever view this thing the same ever again in the future.

 

 

  • Think vivid

 

vivid element close first class jwtWhen I was at J. Walter Thompson years ago the basic premise behind crafting recognizable and relevant ideas was about “vivid”  – vivid metaphors or vivid demonstrations in communicating the product idea.

Some businesses have something that makes them uniquely demonstrable. Superiority is best communicated, and most simply communicated, through communicating performance. Sound dull? Only if you don’t truly offer superiority and the demonstration isn’t vivid.

Some businesses rely on a vivid metaphor where an actual demonstration fails to be either distinctive or effective. Great literature bursts with metaphors … for commonplace things we often take for granted.

 

Love: “my love is like a red rose.”

 

The sun: “the sun rose like thunder”

 

Night: “the dark curtain of night.”

 

 

The metaphor can make the commonplace exceptional and interesting.

 

Regardless of which vivid path a business pursues it should evoke something – surprise, synergy, sympathy, simplicity or shivers.

 

Day in and day out I stick to my guns and this point of view with regard to positioning businesses in the marketplace. Maintain the high road <because people like to get better than maybe what they expect> and think ‘vivid.’

If you pursue this kind of thinking as you frame your business, product or service … well … you actually limit your risk <that is also part of pursuing a ‘first class ticket’ philosophy>.

 

I found it interesting when I googled “first class life” and I found that First Class Life is a categorical term present in the classification of life insurance risk. It denotes low life risk.

 

Definition: First Class Life is a categorical term present in the classification of life insurance risk. It denotes low life risk.

 

Description: First class life comes under low risk category of life insurance and thus is charged normal premium charges. An individual identified as first class life is subject to normal premium rates for an insurance policy.

 

All business contains risk … it is inherent in everything you do.

 

Therefore in building your business you should be seeking to mitigate risks <so you can take the ‘smart risks’>.

 

Tone in communications shouldn’t be about risk.

But. love hate hugh

Let me be clear on this … a business should always seek to craft a message so that it is loved by some and disliked by others <that shows you have made some choices> but that message should always <always> be framed in a way that makes the people who love you feel like they just got a first class ticket through Life <and even the ones who hate you will most likely respect you in some way>.

 

You know … reading back over what I just wrote … this seems simple. If you are running a business and you have lovingly crafted some product or service you really believe in … well … why wouldn’t you buy it a first class ticket into the marketplace?

 

I call it “selling up.” I don’t want to undersell my idea, my business, my people … or my potential customers. I want them to feel like they part of something that brings Life ‘up’ … and not down. Seems like everyone would want to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

contradictions & test of a first-rate intelligence

June 22nd, 2015

===

human intelligence 1

“Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

===

 

 

Whew.

 

 

rainbow color amidst dark hopeIntelligence is a wacky topic.

 

Fraught with peril.

 

 

Therefore I will avoid IQs and any test measured intelligence bullshit and focus on what I call ‘non linear intelligence’.

 

 

Some people are great thinkers … extremely intelligent … when logic rules.

 

These people can line up the data and factors like dominoes and point you to the destination result faster than … well … fast.

 

 

They are the drag racers of intelligence.

 

 

Uhm.

 

 

But ask them to veer a little … and … oops … crash.

 

 

 

Other people are great thinkers … extremely intelligent … when illogical rears its head <or maybe a more chaotic path to the destination result>. They can navigate the disparate information gathering up the useful and discarding the less than useful.

 

 

They are the Formula One racers of intelligence.indy car formula one

 

 

I will admit that I thought about computers when I thought about intelligent people <in this frame of reference> because I sometimes worry that people intelligence will be devalued by computer intelligence.

 

 

It made me ponder <if but just for a moment> the possibility of something being developed called Artificial Superintelligence <ASI … a notch above AI>.

 

I thought about it because computers think faster and accumulate information and offer results faster and with more breadth of information viewing than most people even now.

 

 

My worries were slightly salved when I did some research some guy actually gave me the word comparison I was seeking.

 

 

 

===

A key distinction is the difference between speed superintelligence and quality superintelligence.

Often, someone’s first thought when they imagine a super-smart computer is one that’s as intelligent as a human but can think much, much faster—they might picture a machine that thinks like a human, except a million times quicker, which means it could figure out in five minutes what would take a human a decade.

That sounds impressive, and ASI would think much faster than any human could — but the true separator would be its advantage in intelligence quality, which is something completely different.

intelligence staircase

What makes humans so much more intellectually capable than chimps isn’t a difference in thinking speed — it’s that human brains contain a number of sophisticated cognitive modules that enable things like complex linguistic representations or longterm planning or abstract reasoning, that chimps’ brains do not.

Speeding up a chimp’s brain by thousands of times wouldn’t bring him to our level—even with a decade’s time, he wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use a set of custom tools to assemble an intricate model, something a human could knock out in a few hours.

It’s that his brain is unable to grasp that those worlds even exist—a chimp can become familiar with what a human is and what a skyscraper is, but he’ll never be able to understand that the skyscraper was built by humans.

In his world, anything that huge is part of nature, period, and not only is it beyond him to build a skyscraper, it’s beyond him to realize that anyone can build a skyscraper.

That’s the result of a small difference in intelligence quality.

===

 

 

 

This thought helped me feel a little more comfortable that the great intelligent thinkers will always have a place in the world <and will never be replaced by people>.

 

 

 

But.

 

I actually believe linear intelligent people will end up competing against ASI computers.

 

What about non linear intelligent people?

 

Well.

They will use computers to supplement their thinking.

 

 

My main rationale <beyond the wonderful intelligence quality descriptor above>?

 

Contradictions.

 

Yup.

 

Contradictions.

 

 

Now.

 

I am pleased with this thought because I admit that I like contradictions and I do believe they create the most powerful thoughts, ideas and progress in the world.

 

 

And a 1st rate intelligent person has the ability to grasp the contradiction <quality> … sometimes even a multi-dimensional contradiction <super quality> … and resolve it mentally with some speed <speed>.

 

 

I also believe that computers will struggle with contradiction and resolve that struggle with ‘predictatory modeling.’

 

 

It’s kind of like the computer models that simulate a game 100 times and then they tell you the probability of who will win. Many times this modeling it becomes a “55% will win” prediction.

 

As comparison … does a first rate intelligence simply go by the numbers?

 

 

Nope.

 

 

And that is what accepting and understanding contradictions is all about.

 

 

Well.

 

 

I don’t think I am a first rate intelligent person.oh boy excited

 

 

I do think I am simply someone who loves contradictions.

 

 

Regardless of computers and how they accumulate intelligence … the world will remain chock full of contradictions.

And a world strewn with contradictions should make us ponder more interesting questions and not simply debunk existing knowledge because we cannot accept the contradiction <always seeking the simple as ‘the thing’ rather than simplicity within complexity> . There is certainly some satisfaction to be found in being critical & debunking but we cannot lose sight of the fact it is more interesting to find inspiration in the questioning <and learn more>.

 

 

In addition.

 

 

 

Contradictions are almost always at the core of extraordinary bubbling up out of the seemingly ordinary.

 

 

====

The idea of the extraordinary happening in the context of the ordinary is what’s fascinating to me.

—-

Chris Van Allsburg

====

 

 

Contradiction naturally creates fascinating things.

 

And the fascinating occurs not because it is some impossible thing appearing magically as something possible but rather it is something that most people, who do not grasp two opposable ideas well or easily, simply overlook … and it suddenly occurs as a natural output of the contradiction.

 

 

 

In general I have always liked logical thinking <no matter how random the logic may be> and I always love it when someone combines some unexpected or random looking logic.

 

 

And I love the conflict that naturally occurs when the two opposable ideas are bonded together and presented as something that not only ‘could be’ but what ‘is.’

 

 

Two opposable ideas create conflict.

That just is.

 

 

Intelligent people not only accept the opposable ideas but figure out how to bond them.

 

===

“When you have a conflict that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict.

And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict.

thinking pieces intelligent

And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.”

Dolores Huerta

===

 

 

In the end.

 

 

Maybe a first rate intelligent person simply embraces the education process, the learning process, in trying to resolve contradictions and conflict.

 

 

All I know is that we need to encourage that type of thinking in everyone and we should exalt those who actually portray a first rate intelligence.

gracefully letting go

March 29th, 2015

 

 
———gracefully let go card

 

 

 

“Teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.”

 

 

via lilac-veinss

 

 

=====

 

 

 

There are moments in the life of a man, and of a nation, when it is right to say:

 

 

I have done my utmost, and I can do no more, therefore I will cease my striving and seek another road.”

 

 

 

======

 

 

“People will try to hold on when their world starts to tilt.

 

 

They will grab onto whatever is in reach.”

 

 

 

Claire Zorn

 

======

 

 

 

freedom feels like hold

Ok.

 

 

Letting go of shit may be one of the hardest things to do in the world.

 

 

Even more difficult?

 

 

Letting go gracefully.

 

 

These are the moments in which you have decided you have done what you have done, done what you consider enough … and you are … well … done.

 

 

These are the moments in which you actually consciously think:

 

 

How do I let go?

gracefully let go lemons

Where do I begin?

Do I let go memory by memory?

How many goodbyes will this take?

Do I leave words with everyone until I have no more words left to give?

 

 

Oh.

 

 

And if I do all this, will it even matter?

 

 

In addition.

 

Maybe I should do nothing.

=

Maybe I should just stand here and let others let me <or ‘it’> go.

 

This stuff, letting go in general, let alone gracefully … is hard. Really hard.

 

 

And while we typically suck at letting the right things go, let alone anything I imagine, we REALLY suck at letting things go gracefully.

 

 

Suffice it to say..

 

 

 

Most people don’t let go gracefully let alone let go at all.

 

 

You just get stuck.

 

You just hold on tight … and then when you do let go you just want to throw it away and ignore it as if you never held it.

 

 

And maybe you get a little confused.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

There is no handbook for “how to let things go gracefully. “

 

gracefully Yep time let go

 

It does not exist and so you must try to find ways to figure it out on your own.

 

 

Frankly … it seems almost cruel that a handbook on “letting go” doesn’t exist <let alone gracefully>. Because it may be one of the most common things we do in Life.

 

 

We don’t seem to notice the almost daily experience as we let go every single day of countless amounts of things:

 

 

Moments.

Minutes.

Objects.

People.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

We may not notice until we are faced with a situation that we want to hold on or that we are the ones being let go.

 

That must be it.

 

 

There comes a moment where we realize we are the ropes in a tug-of-war.

 

Someone holding on at each end … until one decides to let go.

 

 

Someone watches you leave.

 

 

Or maybe you end up watching someone else leave.

 

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

We have lots of personal experience letting shit go.

 

 

Most times things are let go little by little. And in these small but significant changes we don’t really learn the ‘gracefully’ part … just the letting go part.

 

 

In addition.

 

 

Not only do we let most things go in small insignificant increments … often you have no control.

 

 

Things get lost.

 

 

People are going to begin to let you go regardless of whether you ask them to or not.

 

 

I have said it before … but part of growing up is leaving shit – regrets, stuff, people, choices, etc. – behind.

 

 

Well.

 

 

That is the gracefully part.

 

 

Learning to let things go that you not only made the ‘let go decision’ but also the things that were ‘let go’ by someone else.

 

 

In other words … learning to let things go even when your world starts to tilt.

 

 

Simply.

 

 

Holding on is a shitload easier than letting go.

 

 

And, in fact, I am not sure there is such a thing as ‘holding on gracefully.’

 

 

You are just … well … holding on.

 

 

Sigh.

 

 

Let’s end with this thought.

 

Unfortunately … I tend to believe you encounter more things not meant for you than those things actually meant for you in Life.

 
And while we may eventually get better as we get older with regard to sifting through all these things inevitably you will end up with a lot of shit that … well … aren’t really meant for you.

 

And even more unfortunately … there really isn’t anyone to help you sift thru … no one is going to … ‘teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.’

 

 

That is something you just gotta figure out on your own.

 

gracefully Life

Me?

 

I am a work in progress.

 

 

 

I have certainly learned to let go of things … but still learning to do so gracefully.

 

 

I can only hope that I am more graceful on the important things.

when not to let go (and balloons)

March 28th, 2015

—-

hold on let go balloons

“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go.

Balloons are designed to teach small children this.”

=

Terry Pratchett

————–

Well.

 

 

I have written about how difficult it is for people, in business & Life, to let go of things so much I am not sure I can find any new words to share on that topic.

 

 

In fact … if you google “reasons to not let go” you get nothing.

 

Nada.

 

 

You get jack shit on the topic.

 

 

All you get is page after page of ‘reasons to let go.’

 

 

And, yet, there are certainly times to know when to not let go.

 

 

To be clear … a purposeful ‘not let go’ is a different difficulty for us. While not letting go is something that is mostly based on some version of fear or doubt … knowing when to not let go of something seems to be more about our difficulty in discerning what is important, or good, and what is unimportant , or bad.

 

 

In fact.

 

I think part of the ‘not letting go’ difficulty resides in how we learned to hold on in childhood <the balloon thing>.

 

 

We learn very early on that when you let go of something good it floats away never to be seen again. So we have learned to hold on a tightly as possible to goodbye handanything that could be construed as good <even if it is really a crappy balloon>.

 

We have become so good at it we are almost proud of not letting go. Therefore the problem isn’t our ability to actually hold on … it is choosing what to really not let go of.

 

 

Not letting go is complex compounded by the fact we are complex people.

 

 

Why does the complexity matter?

 

Because there is no formula. No ‘rules of not letting go.’

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

 

Some things are obvious.

 

 

The self stuff, the character stuff, the ‘who you are as a person’ stuff you don’t let go of. They are good balloons.

 

 

 

But after a while you have so many balloons you can’t discern the good ones from the bad ones. Which leads me to suggest I sometimes believe the ‘what not to let go’ choice is an acquired intuition thing.

 

Yup.

 

I just typed acquired and intuition side by side.

 

 

I like to remind people that you are not borne with good intuition. You may be borne with a good intuition muscle but experience strengthens the muscle and it takes some time & experience to ‘acquire’ the intuition necessary to ‘not let go’ of the right things.

 

 

Regardless.

 

I suggest intuition because unless one of the balloons has lost all its air and has sunk to the ground you are choosing amongst a shitload of balloons that maybe all look pretty good to you.

 

 

This may sound crazy because balloons float above you and should seem obvious at all times … but the connections to many of the balloons in your life are actually like links of a chain underwater.

==

“The moment of truth, the sudden emergence of a new insight, is an act of intuition.

Such intuitions give the appearance of miraculous flushes, or short-circuits of reasoning. In fact they may be likened to an immersed chain, of which only the beginning and the end are visible above the surface of consciousness.

The diver vanishes at one end of the chain and comes up at the other end, guided by invisible links.”

Arthur Koestler

==

learning to fly hands
You see the balloons.

Okay. You see some of them.

But the strings get all tangled up and you cannot tell which string to let go of <because you are not sure which balloon will go away> and which one to hold on to. Some of the choices you make as you look at the strings is intuitive. And given some time and experience I imagine the string feels a little different in your hand as you pluck it out from all the others. That is this version of intuition.

 

 

So.

 

 

One of the things I admire most in people is consistent great intuition and how they manage what to not let go of.

 

 

It is an interesting characteristic to assess when you meet people and is fairly easy because you can just look up and see the balloons they carry with them.

 

 

So, in the end, maybe the balloon metaphor is bad … or maybe I simply overused it … but suffice it to say that while there is a lot of free advice on ‘letting go’ there isn’t a whole shitload of advice on ‘what to not let go of.’

 

 

I think it is obvious that there are certainly some ‘be yourself’ characteristics that you should never let go of <although figuring out what to not let go of as you try and improve yourself is not easy either>.
What is less obvious is the other stuff in your life. Experiences, knowledge, even people.

 

birds on hand

I don’t have any answers today. Just questions. And maybe some prompting that this is something we should think about a little more.

 

 

Most letting go advice online is vapid and a waste of time <albeit with good intent>.

 

 

I don’t have any advice for ‘not let go’ other than think about it. We all learn to hold on to balloons because they represent freedom and hope and good things waiting above us. Those should be the things we hold on to and not let go of.

new normal in marketing … demographics are dead

February 26th, 2015

new normal old normal

———

Demographics are dead.

Successful products, services and brands will transcend their initial demographics almost instantaneously.

As a result, executives who continue to attempt to navigate using demographic maps, with borders defined by age, gender, location, income will be ill prepared for the speed, scale and direction of change.”

==

Trendwatching.com

—————-

 

 

 

So.

 

 

While gobs of people talk about the effect of ‘social media’ on marketing <which is kind of crazy because it is simply another tactic and not a strategy> not many people discuss how people’s attitudes are shifting … and the effects on HOW marketing approaches the voodoo it does.

thinking attitudes change
What do I mean?

 

Well.

 

 

 

 

Not many people talk about the impact of globalization on marketing this way … but … an overall impact of a more connected global world is that marketing is a shitload less about demographics than it is about attitudes.

 

 

Uhm.

 

 

That thought is going to make a shitload of people in the marketing business tear their hair out.

 

Why?

 

Because targeting via demographics is much much easier than targeting attitudinally.

 

 

In addition … the foundational attitude everyone is tapping into is … well … unlearning <wow … that sucks for marketers>.

 

 

What I mean is that as we become more globally aware we also then begin challenging conventional wisdom more often <and change what we think more easily>.

 

 

That is the new normal.

 

Yup.

 

Conventions are increasingly being overturned as we … well … encounter a new normal.

 

The new normal attitude is more often reflected in “why?” … instead of “of course.”

 

 

To a marketer this can seem disconcerting.

 

Shit.attitudes behavior humans

 

To someone looking from the outside in with regard to the world this can seem disconcerting.

 

 

But … you know … while it may seem like you may be suffering from a mild form of chronophobia <fear that time is moving so fast I’ll never be able to catch up> … the reality is that most people like the changes occurring around us … and are quickly changing their behavior to accommodate what, overall, they see as improvements.

 

 

Therefore … as a marketer <or business in general> this behavior shift is less about convincing anyone to do anything … it is more that the bulk of the people are simply seeking permission to do the changed behavior.

 

 

This should change how marketers view what they are doing and how they are encouraging change … because permission is significantly different than convincing.

 

 

It becomes more about reducing barriers and embracing less negative product impacts for a consumer.

 

==

Understanding consumers’ needs and wants remains critical.

However, it will be those that take a broad view and learn from innovations that are satisfying consumers by reducing negative issues in seemingly dissimilar or even opposing demographics that will succeed, regardless of which ‘traditional’ demographic(s) they serve.

==

 

 

In today’s world people can <and increasingly do> pick and choose what products and services they purchase and the brands they identify with, without any regard to demographic ‘conventions.’

 

 

They are sharing a product, and the product experience, regardless of age.

 

This means the only way to sell <or give them permission to buy or do> is to tap into some ‘shared attitude’ of a group you have identified of interest to your product or service.

 

 

 

Now.

 

 

This will confuse a lot of marketing people because … well … shit … they are already confused.

 

Huh? … Why do I say that?

 

Well.

If you stay focused on demographics it becomes easy to become confused when looking at behavior.

 

 

It looks like consumers are constantly not behaving as they ‘should.’

 

 

That said … I come back to attitudes … and permission versus convincing.

 

 

Trendwatching called a version of the idea I am discussing – POST-DEMOGRAPHIC CONSUMERISM.

 

 

==

People – of all ages and in all markets – are constructing their own identities more freely than ever.

As a result, consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more.

==

 

 

 

Now … to be clear on demographics … in general … younger, affluent people are the most likely earliest adopters of new products and services. They are certainly more open, more experimental and have fewer commitments.

 

 

But now innovations are being rapidly adopted by, and almost instantly reshape the expectations of, any and all demographics.

 

 

Society is now too fluid, ideas now too available, the market now too efficient, the risk and cost of trying new things now too low for any and all people to ‘up their game’ with products & services. The ability to experiment and, ultimately, identify personally with a wider variety of brands and products fuels increased personalization and yet creates a larger collective attitude <whew … there is an interesting dichotomy>.

 

 

Just look at smartphones.

 

 

While we look at the disconnected/connected world as a ‘young person issue’ … smartphones has an almost 75% penetration of people aged 12 to 54.

 

Yes.

 

 

I just said almost ¾ of anyone under the age of 54.

 

bond smartphone why attitude

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

If you end up skipping the whole demographic thing and are not clear where to start … let me help you out.

 

An attitudinal marketing world actually almost begins not with the people … but the enabler.

 

 

Huh?

 

 

If I am selling an app I look to smartphones <and attitudes of smartphone buyers>.

 

 

If I am selling a book I look to amazon <and attitudes of amazon users>.

 

 

If I am selling a car I look to car lots <and attitudes of car lot shoppers>.

 

 

Attitudes get driven by who uses, and likes to use, the enabler.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

This actually makes this whole attitudinal thing slightly easier because now I have a place to at least start … some existing behavior <and the attitudes attached to that behavior>.

 

 

The enabler also enhances a latent ‘purchase desire’ … for other things.

 

 

What do I mean?

 

 

The enabler enhances a desire to ‘do more like this’ or a desire wrapped around a sense of ‘shit, if I can do this this way … why can’t I do this thing this way?”

 

 

That is a powerful desire to tap into.

 

perfection looking at htings differently

And that innate desire simply comes down to ‘permission to do’ rather than ‘convince to do.’

 

 

This attitude is an odd <interesting?> aspect of democratization of purchasing.

 

 

This attitude also bleeds into a larger ‘how will I enter the world’ type attitude.

 

 

Because there is this democratization of the purchase it almost eliminates an aspect of early adopter <which has a “get ready for me world’ attitude> and instead almost forces a mass of people into more of an ‘I need to get ready for this world’ attitude.

 

 

This democratization of purchasing impacts attitude so significantly <creating this ‘new normal’> because the overall ‘heads of the people’ has changed at the same time. The ‘head change’ has been driven by a world where, increasingly, conventional <traditional> basics can no longer be taken for granted.

 

 

What i mean by that is because people perceive they are facing a seemingly never-­‐ending onslaught of challenges and issues, people tend to see today’s world as a tough, difficult place where someone needs to focus on survival long before someone can consider ‘thrive’.

 

 

 

And, once again, this is not a demographic thing … this is a pervasive attitude among all demographic groups.

 

 

This is the new normal.

 

 

And the new normal attitude leads to some rebelling against, or complete rejection, of conventional beliefs, conventional way of ‘doing things’ … and also traditional businesses. As people reluctantly adjust to today’s version of a mature reality, all the while professing they will never lose touch with how it feels to be young and relevant, the democratization of purchase feeds into an ‘I can be young & old at the same time.’

 

 

This attitude is easy, and difficult, to track because while almost all the ‘individuals’ carry this mindset around wherever they go … the actual ‘individual’ chooses when & where to apply it in Life.

 

 

“They choose when and where they will attack.

If the issue seems below their threshold of importance, they save their energy and let it go entirely.”

Neil Howe, Demographer

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

This means that if the issue seems below their threshold of importance, they save their energy and let it go entirely. This thought captures an overall attitude among all people.

 

Ok.

Maybe not everyone … but it is an increasing attitude among a significantly increasing amount of people.

 

 

We could call it simply … a survival response.

 

 

Survival?

 

Well.

The world has shown people that shit happens <and some pretty fucked up shit> that you can’t plan for … but you can kind of prepare for.

 

 

 

Sort of prepare for.
Anyway.

danced on the edge

 

With this new normal attitude and the fact marketers have to focus on tapping into attitudes and not demographics … I feel the need to say that … well … edges matter when you talk about attitudinal.

 

 

No.

 

 

I am not talking doing something ‘edgy’ … I am talking about drawing some lines in the sand. Avoiding fluff and focus on the fold. Eliminate ambiguity and dial up some certainty.

 

 

Why does it matter?

Raised on a steady dose of truth <and untruths>, straight talk <and double talk>, honesty, and some heavy doses of reality, people today expect the world to be a tough place.
They’ve been taught the motivations of brands, corporations, and institutions are seldom what they seem.

 

 

This translates into the fact that if businesses that pander, condescend, or rely on lazy stereotypes … they will not connect.

 

 

Speak truth, the harsh truth, or die. Get out of the gray. Place an edge on everything you say and create some distinct feelings about whatever it is you 19 speak the truthwant to sell or say. Avoid ambiguity. Clarity & certainty are almost mandatory <and, please, do not confuse this with ‘simplicity’ … because one can provide clarity without overt simplicity>.

 

 

 

That said.

 

 

Standing out, being distinct, may matter more than success.

 

 

This is a reflection of an overall societal thing … kids are more and more raised by parents less obsessed with winning or their kids obtaining traditional status symbols of ‘success’. This results in an attitude more focused on standing out rather than being #1.

 

 

Suffice it to say … being distinct matters.

 

 

Not being better or being ‘unique’ but instead simply being clear with regard to who and what you are. Distinct differentiates in a fluffy grey world.

 

 

 

Both of those things, edges and distinctness, matter when it comes to attitudinal marketing.

 

 

I say that because while the world may feel overwhelming on occasion <mostly driven by what social media fake journalists keep telling us we should be overwhelmed> most of us are becoming quite good at judging … well … the turn on, tune in, or drop out choices.

 

Frankly … it’s a survival mechanism people have honed as a reaction to the babbling insanity that surrounds everyone and which can eat life away if permitted.

 

 

We actually have learned relatively well on how to choose wisely with regard to what to pay attention to.

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

If you are a marketer … shit … if you are a business owner … success may often not be found in focusing on some ‘demographic appeal’ to what you are selling or saying. Success may actually be found in tapping into some attitude.

 

The business world is becoming more and more ‘age democratized’ and therefore you are just as likely to piss off potential customers focusing on a demographic as you are in appealing to the demographic you are trying to attract.

new normal marc johns

 

More importantly?

 

 

You are probably leaving potential customers at the table if you use a demographic focus.

 

I can’t remember the source but I know I have read that attitudinal marketing & targeting can be 6x more effective than a demographic approach.

 

 

 

I imagine if I wanted to close this article with a factoid that’s a good one.

Enlightened Conflict