Enlightened Conflict

staying above even when stepping down

June 25th, 2017

 

inspire people dont give up

 

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“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

 

—-

J.R.R Tolkien

 

 

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“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

—-

William Shakespeare

 

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Ok.

 

lead togther step down dominant

This is about business and business leadership.

 

Leading is a big job. It carries big responsibilities and big burdens. You have to be big enough in some way <skills, charisma, character, smarts, etc.> to stay above the organization and employees. And I say “above” because part of leading is being able to see above the heads of everyone so that you can lead and align and step in when & where appropriate.

 

Above is not dominance per se just that you maintain a dominant position from which you can most effectively & efficiently lead.

 

Now.

 

Here is what any good leader knows … you don’t have to be big to … well … be big.

Heck. You don’t even have to act ‘big.’

 

In addition.

 

A good leader can leave the comfort of the ‘throne’, i.e. the trappings of the ‘bigness’ –the natural ‘dominance’ that comes with a title — and still remain above even when stepping down from all those things.trump dominant Genuine people fake people

 

However.

 

Not everyone is a good leader. And not every leader is particularly good at navigating the natural doubts <am I doing the right thing, am I doing the best thing, am I doing the thing I should be doing, etc.> that come along with being a leader. By the way … any good leader has some doubts on occasion … it keeps them grounded.

 

Regardless.

 

What that means is there will inevitably be business people who fear looking small. And they protect their illusions of ‘bigness’, or being bigly, mainly in several ways:

 

  • They diminish everyone they can in the attempt to make others as small as they can so that they look bigger no matter the comparison

 

  • They find a ‘safe space’ in which they place their metaphorical throne and make everyone come to them <this is kind of like the boss who purposefully has their desk built slightly higher and the chairs facing the desk slightly lower to insure they maintain a physical dominant position>

 

  • They avoid, as much as possible, one-on-one interactions with anyone their own size <unless they can control the environment>.

 

  • They ground themselves in platitudes under the guise of “flexibility & adaptability” so they can avoid having to defend anything specific with anyone who could diminish their bigness

 

 

Well.

 

Why I decided to write about this is … uhm … day in and day out Donald J Trump offers us in the business world reminders of ineffective leadership style and the characteristics of insecure leadership.

And the number one business dunce stupid brand marketingcharacteristic of insecure leadership is the inability to step down and still stay above.

 

Insecure leaders are extremely hesitant, if not completely resistant, to leaving their ‘dominant position.’

 

Let me explain ‘dominant position’ because it can sound bad <and it is mainly meant to express a position of authority>.

 

A CEO or a president is clearly in a dominant position by title and by responsibility and, in most cases, by some larger skill that got them to where they are. A true ‘dominant position’ <let’s call it “authority”> combines all aspects.

 

Therefore the person in the dominant position combines substance & style. And this is where insecurity steps in … because if a leader has any true doubts with regard to their ‘dominant position’ – mostly doubts on their substance — they start exhibiting some insecure characteristics.

They will dial up their style aspects to cloak any substance deficiencies and become excruciatingly careful with regard to how they interact with other people.

 

But the one I thought about today was “stepping down.’

 

Let me explain.

 

I heard Donald J say the other day “they should call us to participate.” In other words … they need to come to me <thereby establishing some aspect of subservience and feeds the sense of ‘dominant position.’

 

shift up or down

This was not a one-off comment.

He does this … every … frickin’ … day.

 

Trump never “goes to people” nor does he unite by inserting himself into any opposing groups <people who may not agree with him> opening himself up to say “let me be part of what you want.” I cannot envision him ever going to opposition and suggesting he wanted to work with them <they have to come to him>.

His whole leadership style is driven by an insecurity of ‘dominant position’ and he fears stepping down from his position because he fears it will expose the fact he isn’t really above anyone other than in title.

 

In other words … he fears looking small <or ‘not bigly’>.

 

And therein lies the larger lesson.

 

Good leaders don’t become smaller when they step down or go to people rather than make people go to them. They know there are no ‘little people’ but rather only big responsibilities of which everyone has.

 

Little people are little wherever they go … even if they just sit in the corner office.

Unfortunately for us a little leader knows this … and doesn’t know this.

What I mean by that is they can sense their littleness therefore they go out of their way to stay within whatever cocoon of ‘bigness trappings’ to encourage the belief they have that they are actually big. And, yet, they don’t know this rump dominant Do you think clouds look down on people and thinkbecause they tend to have an oversized view of themselves <every should come to me attitude>.

 

They see themselves through a fairly warped view of self-relevance … “everyone else becomes more relevant by being around me therefore they become bigger in my bigness.” And that partially outlines their main fear.

Loss of relevance.

Anyone who becomes more relevant than them is a danger. Loss of power, the illusion of or real, is the danger.

 

What that all means is that an insecure leader more often than not lives in a “you need to come to me, call me or ask me” mentality.

 

  • Foreign dignitaries come to visit him <and he does not visit them>.
  • Democrats should call me instead of being obstructionists.
  • People need to visit him at the White House <or Mar a Lago>.
  • He never works with people or offers to meet them.

 

He treats everyone as if they should be subservient to him and if they do not meet that desire he is dismissive or even attacks them as ‘obstructionist.’

 

leadership go your way

 

Let me be clear.

 

No sane business leader <in this generation> has this attitude.

You cannot.

You cannot because you know many of the people working for you are actually smarter than you and a shitload more just may know something you do not know.

You cannot because oftentimes your peers, who actually report to you, may actually be better than you at some things.

You cannot because you know that good people never want to feel subservient but rather want to feel being a key part of overall success.

 

Most of those who lead have learned these things not by attempting to learn to be ‘above’ but rather by learning how to lead. And you learn that mostly by getting into ‘the game’ and realizing you can play anywhere at any time. I know that I took an advertising job as a young newly promoted VP in NYC not out of any desire to be the best but because I was curious. I was curious to see if I could “play in the NYC advertising game.” I didn’t need to be the best nor did I desire to dominate … I just wanted to see if I could play.

I can tell you that once you become comfortable with knowing you can play at the biggest level and the lowest level you have a fighting chance to become a leader.

 

Look.

 

We all have numerous character flaws and it is a sad truth the majority of us can’t see them. This is even more difficult in a leadership position because you do naturally become more self-aware of any of the things you are good at and yet also not good at … but you also lean heavily on the things you ‘perceive’ got you where you are today.

 

I say that because insecure leaders are relatively hollow on the self-awareness.

Looking at Trump it is easy to see that he grew up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted. He lived in a bubble in which young, mentally lazy, rich, amoral white men routinely got away with whatever they wanted. These same characteristics are exhibited in his insecure leadership style.

 

Here is what I know.

trump ominant look down on other people

Big leaders are big leaders.

 

And they are big because wherever they go they retain their bigness. That means they need not ‘stay above’ to be big … they can step down … sit in town halls answering questions from real people as well as sit down with people who didn’t vote for you as well as sit down with peers and discuss ideas … and walk away just as big as they entered the room.

 

Small leaders cannot do those things, therefore, they do not.

 

I have now given you a way to judge big leaders from small leaders. Judge away. Every leader should be judged … and judged harshly … because … well … they are leaders and that is their burden.

bad ideas never seem to die

June 6th, 2017

 

good idea bad idea fight time busines

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“If truth be told, the easy road is nothing more than an armchair in clever disguise. And if you look around, it seems that there are a whole lot of people in the furniture business.”

 

 

Craig D. Lounsbrough

 

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“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves …”

 

————–

Berean Study Bible

 

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So.

 

I tend to believe most of us learn, fairly early in our careers, that bad ideas do bad idea light up good path battle businesnot die on their own. In fact … as you gain more experience you actually find that bad ideas can often be incredibly hard to kill –they may actually have more than nine lives.

 

At exactly the same time most of us also learn that good ideas rarely are seen as the greatest thing since sliced bread and embraced as a good idea as soon as they are presented.

 

Think about that for a second.

 

Bad ideas are incredibly hard to kill and good ideas can be incredibly hard to bring to life.

 

Well.

That’s pretty fucked up.

 

And, yet, despite learning this I still believe most of us are surprised when we find a bad idea still breathing and a good idea is breathing its last breath.

 

Shit.

 

Even I forget this lesson despite having seen some of the most bad ideas in the world live despite my best efforts and some of the goodest of ideas die despite my best efforts.

that is a terribe bad idea speak out business ideas

And I seem to keep forgetting it despite the fact the world is filled with some incredibly absurdly bad factually incomprehensible, or defensible, ideas.

 

Forgetting this idea is dangerous.

 

It creates a Life & business world strewn with bad ideas which can quite easily lead to a complacency that bad ideas will exist no matter what we do … or worse … complacency when faced with a bad idea because we believe it is fruitless to fight it.

 

I will not spend a lot of time on complacency but suffice it to say it is a sneaky little bastard especially when it comes to bad ideas.

But the bigger issue is that, for several reasons, we tend to let our guard down when faced with a bad idea.

 

The difference between a really bad idea and a ‘shrug your shoulders a little’ bad idea can often be indiscernible.

 

We have a bad habit of dismissing bad in its initial stages as just “bad.” This lets run or diea hardier & sturdier bad idea off the hook. It is quite possible most of us just hope it smothers itself in its badness and just goes away but more often than not … it does not. And, yet, time and time again we make an initial assessment of “bad, maybe & good” and mostly dismiss ‘bad’ and move on.

 

I could suggest that not all bad ideas are created equal but it is probably better advice to simply treat all bad ideas as equally bad. Don’t waste your time discerning the difference; just assume a bad idea will be a motherfucker to kill.

 

 

Bad ideas have an innate knack to normalize their being.

 

Once you let a bad idea off the hook when it is initially introduced it has a nasty habit of slipping into the general conversation as “possibility.”

In other words … because it didn’t die before it could draw its first breath it somehow becomes normalized as some viable breathing idea.bad idea there is such a thing

 

Yeah. Normalizing is a word that is being tossed round a lot lately.

 

As a corollary that all bad ideas can look quite similar <bad ideas> we have a tendency to simply normalize them <as ideas that may not be as good as some other ideas>. Bad is a fucking big bucket to normalize as simply “another idea to consider.”

 

It gets worse at that point.

 

“Outsider” ideas take on some personality that almost adds viability even though it is still a bad fucking idea.

It’s like all bad ideas wear black and blend into any crowd … and almost become cool by doing so. Yeah. Just ponder that for a second. How many bad ideas get a label of “cool idea” … but it’s actually a bad idea. Once a bad idea falls into the “cool thing to consider” category it becomes an aggravating difficult challenge for the actual good idea.

 

Anyway.

A moment back to complacency.

 

Complacent is a squooshy word and concept.

 

I tried googling complacency with bad ideas and got only 514000 results. Uhm. But looking within the top 8 results … the office, west point, teen life, politics, religion and a general one … there were none with regard to bad ideas.

 

This suggests complacency strikes everyone at different times in our lives.

But in no place could I find anyone discussing how complacent in our thinking that everyone can see a bad idea as a bad idea and therefore we can relax <become complacent> because … well … bad ideas just get thrown away because they are bad.

 

Complacency is squooshy.

 

Let’s face it.

 

No one wants to invest energy chasing after some bad idea to be sure it is dead.

Sure. The most experienced of us absolutely circle back after the original bad idea has been killed to make sure it is really dead. But we don’t circle around it and hover over it to see if it is really dead … we just check in on it.

 

Basically … we have better things to do than stick around to smother the sonuvabitch to be sure it is dead. But, in the harsh spotlight of truth, this is plain & simple complacency.

 

I have been burned by bad ideas so many times I have come to sometimes think of bad ideas as tsunamis. They begin as a small shaking of the earth miles down under the surface of the ocean … completely unseen. In this metaphor you may have actually been in the frickin’ meeting where it was declared  bad idea and even been there when it got discarded … but you just were not aware of the work bad idea panda angryearth moving way way down under your feet.

 

From there the bad idea can gain some incredible momentum only to build into some huge wave which can wash over even the strongest criticism at a later date <let alone drown a shitload of good ideas>. Suffice it to say … it can drive you crazy.

 

I think we have all been in this situation at work.

 

Once a bad idea has some momentum they are next to impossible to kill.

 

I sometimes believe this is because <a> some people pretend a second rate idea is first rate and <b> a shitload of people cannot see the difference between a second rate idea and a first rate.

 

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“What’s terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate.”

Doris Lessing,

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But I actually believe it is because we give bad ideas a free pass. What I mean by that is we take a good idea and start running the ‘idea to implementation’ gauntlet defending it and selling it and sharing it all with the end goal in mind. All the while, as we focus on the good, we don’t notice <or maybe it is just a nagging aggravation along the way> that the bad idea is also in the ‘idea to implementation’ gauntlet … but getting a free ride because it isn’t really being sold … it just keeps appearing along the way as “the alternative idea to the good one.”

 

While you were focused on good and paying attention to something else the bad idea has gained “a voice” … it can be a person or it can simple be some “myth” associated with it. And when that happens you can find yourself hearing about a bad idea in some hallway from someone who really knows nothing about it … and they speak of its myth in some positive way.

Suffice it to say the moment that happens … you are fucked. The bad idea is not only alive and breathing … it is healthy <in almost mythical proportions>.

 

Ok.

So rather than bitch about bad ideas let me make a suggestion to everyone.

 

Life, and business, is one big mosh pit of shit. The shit is made up of stuff to do, responsibilities, everyday commitments and responsibilities … as well as ideas. This mosh pit is a big dark gloomy cloud of stuff swirling around.

 

Now.

 

The ideas shit is a little different. What I mean by that is 99% of ideas do not just happen <good and bad ones> like most of the other stuff in the mosh pit.

good bad idea battle for path business

 

Ideas need some ‘oomph’ to get thru the mosh pit. They need to navigate a narrow winding path through the big mosh pit of shit from the moment they are introduced to the moment in which it reaches a point where the idea shifts to some action.

As noted earlier … in most cases … the path usually has two ideas jostling each other along this path … a good idea and a bad idea.

 

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“Our minds are a battle ground between good and bad ideas; we are whatever side wins the battle”

 

Bangambiki Habyarimana

 

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I imagine my real point is that bad ideas do not die simply because they are bad.

 

You cannot be silent, you cannot ignore them, you cannot be complacent and you cannot simply champion the good idea. You actually have to fight bad ideas.

It may be aggravating to do so.

It may take more energy than you want fight like hell hughto.

It may even get a little absurd in how often you feel like you have put a knife through its heart and you still find it alive and kicking not long after.

 

But if you want good ideas to win you have to accept the burden of the fight. And this fight has a number of rounds and takes place over an extended period of time.

 

Here is what I know about fighting bad ideas. I now assume they never die … they simply end up in second place to a good idea that competed better.

 

That last sentence may be one of the best pieces of advice I have ever given to the business world.

 

 

 

shifting gears professionally

March 8th, 2017

 

gears working elite blue collar people experience

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“Don’t dwell on what went wrong.

Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”

 

Denis Waitley

 

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“You are always a student, never a master.

You have to keep moving forward. “

 

Conrad Hall

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So.

 

This is about shifting gears professionally.

watch-your-step

What made me think about this?

 

I recently watched a professional acquaintance who shifted gears.

 

Oh.

 

To be clear.

He shifted up.

 

He had a good business, good business model and a good business sense. In my eyes he was cruising along in maybe 2nd or 3rd gear <good … not bad … and not great> … and then … well … he found another gear.

 

To be clear.

 

When I first saw his business he was maybe in 2nd gear … not really rocking the boat or rocking the world but steady consistent and moving forward and solid business.

 

Looking from the outside in I never saw spectacular but I saw steady. I saw … well … 2nd gear.

 

He didn’t know it but, behind the scenes, I would never hesitate to recommend him, maybe not typically for those who needed to shake the etch a sketch,  but 100% for those who just needed a good engine tune up. Over the years he steadily shifted up to maybe 3rd gear … always steady and solid <good, maybe very good, just not that extra little great>.

 

But then that changed.

formula success steps

One day I saw his business newsletter and … well … I sat up a little straighter and read it a little closer.

 

And read it again.

 

It felt like he had shifted gears.

It now felt like 5th gear stuff.

 

I got the next newsletter.

Definitely 5th gear.

 

He had shifted gears professionally.

 

I tend to believe this happens a lot as you get older.

 

We shift gears.

We reach a point professionally where you have it pretty good, you have some good experiences which have taught you a shitload of different things … and you sit back and scan it all <comparing it to what you have done>.

 

This is where the shift occurs.

 

Some decide to downshift.

 

Some decide to shift up.

 

shift up or downNow.

 

To be clear.

 

There is a huge swath of people in the business world who simply go in to earn a paycheck, their only gear is the one that does their job <mostly well or well enough> and their career progresses in that one and only gear.

I would note, just for the record, day to day business relies on these essential people and their steady gear attitude <so stop giving them shit or look down on them in any way>.

 

This is not about them.

 

This is about the business people who want more. They want to use another gear then other employees … and for the most part throughout their career … they do.

 

Inevitably these people reach a point, maybe some success, maybe a title, maybe it is just some more good experience where they … well … decide to shift gears.

 

up or down shift gearsAnd, yes, this is where some shift down.

 

These ‘shift downers’ have decided they have been working hard and they see the other relatively happy one gear people and say “I am going to slow down.”

 

Some people call it selling out.

Younger people look at these older people as ‘wasted space.’

 

I just call them people who believe they deserve to down shift <so stop giving them shit or look down on them and look to maximize their experience>.

 

This is not about them.

 

This is more about the business people who wanted more … and then see that maybe they could actually “be more.”

 

These are the business people who shift up.

 

And you know what? Shifting gear seems like the appropriate metaphor here because ‘the analogy of ‘shifting gears’ is used to identify and explain the key factors (agents) involved in driving career formation, and describe the level of interconnectedness between these drivers.’

 

To shift up … in order to respond to the pressure … the gears have to be in sync, work simultaneously and coordinate the rest of the body around them.

 

And that is what happens. You have accumulated a lot of knowledge, expertise and experiences <practical functional stuff> and then you decide to incorporate some personal clarity to the horsepower.

 

It is almost like you find some clarity … in yourself professionally which permits you to better identify the largest and most influential parts in the gear box.

And then … you shift gears.

 

I feel qualified to write about this because I did it. I shifted gears up.

And I have seen others in my generation shift up … and down.

 

expectations outcome disappointment 1I will admit that it has taken me awhile to not have disdain for people who down shift … mostly because it is so far out of my DNA I, frankly, couldn’t understand it.

 

But I do now.

I certainly see the value of ‘down shifters’ and believe any organization would benefit from having a mix of good, qualified, experienced, downshifters.

 

As for shifting gears up?

 

Whew.

Seeing someone in my business generation do it is … well … a joy.

Mostly because, in general, the shift is tied to a decision that our generation may have not always been the best for the business world and possibly injected some flawed thinking with regard to business acumen & principles. This means that most ‘shifting up’ is tied to trying to address those ‘wrongs’ or at least try and inject some ‘righter thinking.’

 

I get some shit from people because I am hard on my entire business generation … everyone.

 

Look.follow heart brain tupac

 

I think more of us should be.

To be clear.

 

I don’t expect everyone in my generation to decide to shift gears up but I would like more of my generation to at least understand some of the consequences of our behaviors & principles.

 

And for those who decide to shift gears upwards? I hope they get a chance to implement their new horsepower because today’s business world can make it pretty difficult for people in my generation, who truly have something to offer and are willing to not be attached to the old ways of doing things to actually get to do what they truly offer.

 

little but big & 100

December 21st, 2016

 little things big things

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“You’re little but you’re  big.”

 

—–

Pretty Little Liars

 

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“The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things.”

 

—-

Georg C. Lichtenberg

 

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Ok.

 

Today is December 21st … the littlest day of the year – the winter solstice. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year in terms of hours of daylight one tree christmas winter<solstice basically means “sun stands still”>.

 

On the winter solstice, everywhere south of the equator have day lengths greater than 12 hours. Meanwhile, everywhere north of the equator have day lengths less than 12 hours.

 

The good news?

Daylight gets bigger from here. From here on out the days gradually get longer and the nights shorter.

 

Anyway.

 

On the littlest day it seemed like a good time to talk about big things … and their relationship to little things.

 

Couple of quick thoughts.

 

Time. We bitch & moan about not having enough time to do everything we want to do. I could argue that most people actually get more real practical pragmatic shit done on the shortest daylight day of the year then the longest daylight day of the year.

More focus. Less distractions. More shit done. less daylight hours. Littler day. Bigger productivity.

 

Time is time … neither little nor big.no-time-to-be-looking-at-the-bright-side-silver-lining

 

If you ever need an example of how littler can translate to bigger … well … the shortest day of the year is adman good place to start.

 

Little, or few, is more often than not a harbinger, forerunner or precursor to big.

 

From few, many. From one, multitudes.

 

This leads me to the heinous concept called ‘the big idea.’

 

I admit.

 

I get tired of hearing about ‘big ideas.’

 

In fact … in my cynical mind … whenever I hear big idea I hear hyperbole, fantastical thinking & likelihood of big failure.

 

I perk up when I hear someone say … “you know … I have a little idea that I think can make a big impact.” That I can get onboard with.

 

Let me make my point by showing how few, let’s say 100, can be the beginning of something big.

 

100 monkeys.

 

cancelled ThinkingMonkeyYeah.

100 monkeys.

 

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100 Monkey Theory

In 1952, on the Japanese island of Koshima, a monkey named Imo washed a sweet potato before she ate it.  She and her fellow, Macaca Fuscata monkeys were given sweet potatoes by the scientists who studied them.  The monkeys like the taste of the potatoes, yet did not like the dirt.  Imo taught her mother and the other monkeys she came into contact with and over time more and more monkeys were washing their potatoes.

 

Imo’s practice catches on.

 

Well, the interesting observation is that after a significant minority (let’s say 100 monkeys to use a number) of the monkeys were washing their potatoes, the scientists observed that very quickly after this, all the monkeys were washing their potatoes.  Like a critical mass had been reached and now all the monkeys were able to access this knowledge somehow even if they did not come into contact with Imo and her friends.  More interesting is that scientists observed that at the same time, on other islands monkeys were also washing their potatoes.

 

It appears that when 99 monkeys were washing potatoes and one more joined, a critical mass was achieved and this awareness was now available to everyone (please don’t get hung up on the exact 99 or 100 numbers).

 

This is known as the 100 Monkey Theory.

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

 

So.

 

The foundation of the theory is when a certain critical number achieves an awareness of “something” <an attitude or behavior)> and that ‘something’ becomes accepted … it shifts into a norm, i.e., from the few, many.

 

I believe the truly stunning aspect of this theory is the ‘island to island’ aspect.

 

Oh.

 

And these monkeys didn’t have internet.

Nor a classroom.

Nor any physical contact.

 

This theory suggests that, although the exact number may vary, when only a limited number of people know a new behavior it may subconsciously reside as the conscious property of the collective people. I am NOT suggesting some telepathic mumbo jumbo … but … I am suggesting that accepting new behavior <and attitudes I imagine> has a tipping point.1 2 3 gif score rate life people

 

In addition … I do believe the ‘100th’ is reflective of my overall belief that great minds puzzling over similar situations are quite likely to have the same idea & thought <and inevitably the same innovation> wherever they may be and never having crossed paths with someone who is having the same idea at the same time>.

 

If you agree with that, then the 100 monkey theory is not as wacky or cerebral as it may seem at first blush.

 

Look.

 

You may not buy it.

 

You may not think people are related to monkeys.

You may think 100 isn’t enough.

But you should think about it.

 

You should think about how from little … something bigger arises.

 

And while I really do not want to get hung up on the actual numbers it is fascinating to think that there is a point at which if only one more person absorbs the new attitude and changes its behavior that somehow this awareness is picked up by almost everyone.

 

A book has been written on this theory, “The Hundredth Monkey,” by Ken Keyes Jr., I don’t suggest reading it because, well, the concept is pretty simple and you don’t need a book to explain it nor do I believe a lot of pages with graphs and explanations will convince you.

 

But.

Here is my point on the littlest day of the year.

 

It can take a littler amount than you may think to create the change and behavior you desire. Add to that thought the importance of 1 – as in 99 to 100.

 

Whenever you doubt that 1 can make a difference just think about the 100 Monkey Theory.

 

I believe any one even remotely interested in creating cultural change should invest some time thinking about this theory. Instead of needing dollars to create change or wacky ideas to affect attitudes or investing energy trying to create “a wave of change” someone should focus on “the 100” or ‘the few.’

 

Think about creating change by offering relevant useful behavior information and focusing on the few.

 

Gosh.

 

Sure would make life a little simpler huh?

 

<note: some people, like me for an example, call this creating an influencer base to influence mass behavior>

 

Lastly.

 

If you focus on the littler stuff, the fewer, well … this means you can have a planned what happenedlittler plan than normal.

 

I can hear the screams of disagreement from big idea people … “big ideas need to be nurtured and protected by big well thought out plans.”

 

Well.

 

The main issue with big plans and big planning is the fact that little things are always changing.

Even worse, these changing little things are oblivious to the neat orderly plan you had in place.

 

And even with all this change I imagine you have a choice … plow through the little changes swirling around with an unchanging plan … or watch the little changes <kind of like watching a double dutch jump rope> … and let your neat plan take on some less neat fluidity.

 

Little things can make big differences.

 

Little things can make big plans & ideas die.

 

And not everyone can see little shit when there is a big shiny looking shit dazzling you as if it were a star you shouldn’t take your eye off.

 

I would suggest that you know you are a big planner <as in one effective at creating Big plans> if all the little things that go wrong do not make your big plan go awry.

 

Little things can make big plans go awry.

 

Shit.

Little things can make anything go awry.

 

On the other hand.

 

Little things can make big impacts.

 

Little things can become big things.

 

So.hard to plan success_and_happiness

 

On this littlest day of the year think a little littler.

 

Think small.

 

Take a little time and focus on little things which, if nurtured, can become big things.

 

And maybe think a little about the fact that there is not too little time but rather maybe we should seek to do bigger things in the little time we have.

 

Oh.

 

And always remember … big shit is always a composite of a shitload of little things.

 

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

 

“That is the problem, we give larger space to small things. We give them power to break us in the tiniest form.”

Kajapajo

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

cannot resist the invasion of ideas

December 16th, 2016

 strategy think anger angry business ideas filter

===========

 

“One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”

 

 

Victor Hugo

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

 

“Our ideas, like orange-plants, spread out in proportion to the size of the box which imprisons the roots.”

 

Edward Bulwer Lytton

 

==========

 

 

Well.

 

Whether we like it or not … whether we admit it or not … we are all ignorant. It ignorant people understandingis impossible for s to know everything therefore we have ignorance boxes <different topics> in our heads just sitting around collecting dust waiting to be pulled off the shelf.

 

Now.

 

Those ignorance boxes are interesting boxes.

They come in different sizes and shapes and depths.

 

In addition.

 

Ideas are an interesting plant to … well … plant in the ignorance box.

 

Why?

 

The roots of ideas will inevitably end up in conflict with the box they have been planted in.

 

That is the inevitability of the invasion of ideas … conflict.

 

That is the inevitability of the invasion of curiosity … conflict.

 

One territory … let’s call it ‘the country of what you do not know’ is always being invaded by an army of ideas and thoughts <some true and some untrue>.

 

Yeah.

 

There are winners and losers in this whole knowledge, curiosity & ideas battle … of which you, yourself, can be victor or vanquished. The only thing you can be sure of is you will always be in conflict and always be at war.

 

That is one of Life’s biggest truths.

 

Curiosity comes with a price … and a reward.

 

I wrote once … ‘far too often we place curiosity in some unequivocal good or bad space … “curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning” or “curiosity killed the cat” … but, truthfully, curiosity embodies both good and bad. And I say that as one who is unequivocally in the camp of “knowing more of anything is good.’

 

The constant invasion of ideas seems to revolve around two things near and dear to my heart:

 

  • Positive friction.

 

 

  • Enlightened conflict.

truth and conflict

 

The first is based on curiosity plus friction equals better ideas and thinking … therefore … the friction has a net positive effect. I could even argue that even bad thoughts that are well thought out and well articulated is positive friction. I imagine  could argue any thinking is better than no thinking.

 

Anyway.

 

The second is that … well … any conflict of thought & ideas will enlighten in some form or fashion. I tend to believe the arc of conflict leads to true knowledge. But “arc” is the key word. I think we get a little hasty with regard to people and thinking and this constant war. We forget it is a battle by battle thing and not a ‘battle which embodies the outcome of the war.’ We look at someone who we deem as ‘ignorant’ rather than viewing them in the midst of battle and somewhere on the arc of true knowledge.

I can honestly say there are few people I will not debate with, discuss with or have a discourse with. I will discuss anything with anyone and listen and respond … “go to war” in other words.

 

Yeah.

 

Other than purposeful ignorance I tend to view ignorance as simply the opening gambit in the battle of the day.

 

Regardless.

 

i will talk about anythingI am definitely a curiosity guy.

 

And, well, I guess I am definitely a conflict guy <when it comes to ides and thoughts and issues>.

 

And I love the thought that I am not actually seeking ideas or ‘working hard to learn’ but rather ideas and thoughts are constantly seeking to make battle with us … constantly invading our space, our ignorance, and … well … we go to war because it is a war worth fighting.

 

It is a fight for knowledge.

 

Look.

 

I have heard many people say “I want to know everything there is to know on this topic.”

I often wonder if they are up for the battle that will need to take place to make that happen.

 

I know someone can know a lot.

 

I absolutely know that you can know enough to be dangerous.

 

But I am 100% unequivocally clear that knowledge is a never ending battle.

Even on one topic you probably don’t have enough hours in a lifetime to know everything there is. I guess that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try … but suggesting you know everything is … well … not only silly but may actually be a reflection you do not understand the extent of the conflict at hand.

 

My site is called Enlightened Conflict.

 

My motto is ‘seek truth.’seek_truth

 

And I do feel as if I am constantly fighting a war … and fighting on the side of Truth.

Do I believe I know truth or at all truth? … absolutely not.

 

As any warrior would tell you … I get closer to be the best I can be as a warrior every time I fight. It is the conflict which fights ignorance and seeks to enlighten in victory … or maybe just survival of the battle of the day.

 

Maybe that is why the two quotes I opened with interested me.

 

The conflict of ideas does not have to reside in any open debate. You don’t even need another person. Ideas invade in any number of ways. They plant themselves in boxes you have forgotten you even had. They grow to a point where you cannot ignore them anymore and begin to battle existing ideas you have. It becomes … well … a war between learning and unlearning … new and old … what you knew and what you know.

Oh.

And once ideas bloom enlightenment occurs.

 

 

==========

 

“Enlighten the people, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

Thomas Jefferson

 

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

experience, enablers and innovators

July 1st, 2016

 data connecting-dots-stevejobs

 

“The human condition can almost be summed up in the observation that, whereas all experiences are of the past, all decisions are about the future.

 

It is the great task of human knowledge to bridge this gap and to find those patterns in the past which can be projected into the future as realistic images.”

 

====

Kenneth E. Boulding

——————————–

 

“Sureness will always elude you.

The detective will always circle around what he wants, never seeing it whole.

We do not go on despite this. We go on because of it.”

 

=====

Sara Gran

 

—————————-

 

Well.

 

We business folk talk a shitload about innovation. Shit. Even I have written innovation wackysome bullshit about ‘innovation being the lifeblood of any ongoing business’ <in my defense I may actually have anchored that thought by suggesting “restless thinking” itself is the lifeblood of any ongoing business>.

 

Innovation is one of those broadly defined words which people grab onto whenever they want to sound … well … like they are representing some fresh thinking <versus the old way of doing things>.

 

And while that may be so innovation is significantly different between an entrepreneur and an established company. Well. they may be the same in intent but they tend to have different challenges in order to reach the intent.

 

That said.

 

I have said t before and I will say it again <and again> that innovation whether you are an entrepreneur, a start up or an existing business is very very <very> rarely associated with anything ‘outside some box’ but rather assessing, evaluating, analyzing that which is WITHIN the box in an unconventional way.

 

It is mostly about looking at the patterns and things of the past and project out to some envisioned future state.

 

And, inevitably, while we blab about innovations and innovators we start creating some weird perception that innovators are some different people who live somewhere outside of whatever box the rest of us live in therefore can see shit we cannot see.

In this alternative business universe to be an innovator you must naturally be a disruptor.

 

Simplistically this suggests the business world naturally evolves into enablers disruptors enablers majority peopleand disruptors.

 

It’s crazy.

 

And … well … it is wrong.

 

Here is a business truth.

 

The great thinkers and innovators live right inside the same box as the rest of us. They see the same shit as we do. They do not necessarily take more risks than we do and they do not seem to embrace chaos very well.

 

In fact.

 

The best business problem solvers are not innovators nor do they invest a lot of energy discussing innovation.

 

Rather.

 

They understand the proper roles of experiences, they don’t make trite statements like “if we don’t look to the past we are doomed to make the same mistake” and they do their creative thinking inherently.

While it may not be popular to state … they are simply a different type of enabler.

 

They enable what could be to … well … be.

 

And while there is another weird perception that they are mad scientists who dream up insanely imaginative ideas …

 

  • They know what they’re doing.

 

  • They know how they’re doing it.

 

  • They know why they’re doing it.

 

hugh brainstorming box peopleIn other words.

 

They are not making shit up. They are not finding anything outside of any box.

They simply use what exists in a different way.

 

But they don’t necessarily call it innovation. In fact … many of these people get confused when it is called innovation. To them it is simply grasping the patterns of the past, recognizing the experiences that matter, and deciding that something that should be done that … well … matters.

 

The whole idea of being called some “Innovator” often confuses them because to them it is simply aligning information and ideas that matter. Innovation sometimes confuses them because they simply see it as enabling past learnings & patterns to come to Life <just in a different way to you & I>.

 

<You can typically uncover the ‘innovation posers’ by the fact they call themselves ‘out of the box thinkers’ and call the thinking they do ‘innovative>

 

 

They also have an innate ability to see outwards, to see what could be and, yet, question what is yet to be.

 

And the good ones?

 

Their ideas are never really in some clear ‘that’s impossible’ space … they all have at least a glimmer of ‘possible’ somewhere within. I imagine this is so because there is always something of ‘patterns of the past’ inherent in their so-called innovative idea. There is always a healthy aspect of enabling some aspect of the status quo or ‘what there is to work with.’

 

But you know what they all have in common?

 

Some good experience and an innate ability to make some decisions based off of some relatively disparate information <most of the information reflects what is existing>.

 

In other words … they are really really good at asking the inevitable and ‘oft-asked’ question in business … what must be true to make it work?”

 

—————————-

 

“Failing to strengthen an idea by throwing tough questions at it is a disservice to the idea itself. The key question is “what must be true for that to work?”

 

It’s a powerful question that quickly separates high-potential ideas from the blizzard of distracting ideas that can result in lost traction.

 

Ideas are not treated as precious pearls to be polished but as sparks born of friction.”

 

===

 

Mark Payne

enablers do themselves society can do should do

———-

“There are so many good ideas that get thrown out for being “too unrealistic” when, in reality, they might just need some tweaking and a little creative thinking to give them legs to stand on. If the idea is good enough and will deliver excellent ROI in the end, it might be worth a little extra time, effort and money up front.

 

So, sit down with that “too-big” or “we can’t do that” idea and give it a chance. Write down all the things that need to be true for it to work; then, tackle those things one at a time until you have a sound, realistic frame for your concept.”

 

===

The Garage Group

———————

 

Anyway.

 

I imagine one of my most important points today is that innovative ideas are more likely to come from people we may think of traditionally as ‘enablers’ rather than some disruptive jerks running around trying to set the world on fire.

 

And if you think about that <and maybe try and believe it> … well … think about the most basic enablers in your life.

 

  • Do you know the name of the person who picks up your trash?

 

  • Do you know the name of the person who stocks the shelves at the supermarket?

 

  • Do you know the name of the person who made the bowl you put your cheerios in this morning?

 

These are the semi silent majority of enablers in our world. And while we far <far> too often take for granted the labor which keeps the world running we absolutely ignore these people as possible ‘disruptors.’

 

Enablers play an important role in the ecosystem of … well … things. Just google enablers embedders engagers enhancersthis thought and you will get a bunch of semi-intellectual writings on the ecosystem of how things are done and created and the role of enablers <versus “Engagers, Enhancers, and Embedders”> in the world of things.

 

It is a little embarrassing to see how we so easily slot people into some space.

And while I do believe some people are inherently better at thinking and critical decision making I do not believe that there are ‘innovators’ and ‘enablers.’

 

Look.

 

We certainly need “maintainers” to keep the world going and stuff appearing on shelves for us to buy and to make shit for us to use … but that doesn’t mean they are not also capable of ‘innovating.’

To me … enablers, maintainers and disruptors are all 99% the same.

 

Not everyone wants to assume the innovator or a disruptor mantle but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of contributing.

 

And I also do not believe it is wrong to believe your Life “dream” is a steady typical hour workday, with a reasonable commute, making enough to afford a home, food, healthcare, education for their kids and a little more to have some small luxuries … in other words … okay with not being rich, but not okay with being poor. In other words … slotting yourself into some self accepted ‘enabler’ status.

 

In fact … I would suggest that those people are the engine that keeps the world running … they are “the enablers of all things” just as so-called ‘innovators’ are enablers workers doers society“the enablers of new things”.

 

Each plays their role to enable the world to actually work properly and enable ideas to flourish & leaders to do their gig successfully.

 

And you know what?

 

Each enabler, whatever their specific skill & experience is, will always circle around what he wants, never seeing it whole. We do not go on despite this. We go on because of it.

 

 

Sure.

The world is enamored by ‘leaders’ and ‘disruptors’ and whatever seemingly unconventional thing is out there.

But what if we stopped being enamored by ‘out of the box’ crap thinking and simply suggested all of those milling around inside the box will enable that which needs to be done and will create that which will be done <implementing & ideation>.

If we do that then … well … it kind of seems like we have the experience on hand to decide what makes the world work and ultimately reject the crappy things that just clog up the engine.

 

I admit.

I get tired of all the disruption and innovation talk.

And I can honestly say I have worked with maybe the best packaged goods innovation team in the world and have certainly worked with some of the best, most talented & smartest, ‘disruptive thinking’ people in the world.

 

Yes.

The world.

 

What I can unequivocally say is that the best forward thinking ideas, startups/entrepreneurs/large company portfolio thinking, has all come from experienced thinking and not amateurish pie-in-the-sky thinking. The ideas are grounded in some ‘new view’ of existing patterns and a pragmatic view of unconventional thinking.

 

While I love young people and their minds and thinking … the best idea come with experience. That doesn’t mean that everyone with experience actually does come up with ideas … just that experience enables the best ideas.experience

 

And it is quite possible that experience enables you to navigate the ‘unsureness’ and permits you to go on despite it.

 

Oh.

 

And everyone is an enabler. Don’t forget that thought. Mostly because the best of the best so-called innovators most typically see themselves not as innovators … just people who are enabling what could, and should, be.

the stars in the skies are wishes yet to be

June 29th, 2016

 

 

memories pictures life sky dreams wishes stars

 

Ok.

 

So when I saw this picture I thought of … well … stars.

 

 

What if each picture hanging was a star?

 

What if each picture was representative of some wish, or dream, that came true?

 

What if each star above us represents some ‘moment’ in Life glittering above us to remind us?

 

What a nice thought.

 

What if the stars in the skies are wishes yet to be and wishes redeemed?

 

Boy.

 

If that was ever a reason to take a minute and look at the stars on occasion that should compel us all to look upwards on occasion.

 

Back in 2012 I wrote something that began ‘stars are special things.’

 

In that post I mentioned the power of star gazing.

 

In this post maybe I am suggesting you can actually build your own starry night sky

 

I mean … what the hell … most of us are not astronomers and most of us do not have telescopes and I imagine an even fewer of us actually count all the stars in the sky.

 

So how do we know that each time we take a mental picture of a moment that another star isn’t added to our night sky?

 

Practically speaking I imagine that sounds silly.

 

But from an empowering Life perspective? Shit. It sounds anything but silly.

 

It sounds … well … fucking good.

 

It sounds … well … like I own a part of the night sky.

 

It sounds … well … like every night I can look up and my life makes up part of the beauty of that which is a starry night sky.

stars and thinking boy

I like the thought.

 

I like the thought that every moment we take a mental picture we hang a new star in the night sky and that each night, if we choose to look up, we can see our moments flickering and sparkling above us to wish for more, to simply admire what is there and hope that someone somewhere is wishing on one of our memorable moments for themselves.

 

And you know what I may like the most?

 

I could pick a room and hang picture after picture from the ceiling and make believe they are the stars I have built in my own Life sky.

 

 

spinning out of nothingness scattering stars

December 20th, 2015

 

star wish fly by think dream

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

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.”

Rumi

===========

 

 

 

When I started on this one I wasn’t sure if it was about self, life, dreams or maybe even starting a business. And then I realized, in some weird way, it was kind of about all.

 

How?

 

 

Think “connection.”

 

stars in handOr maybe connecting with something in a multi-dimensional way <emotionally, physically, experientially> which not only grounds us to us <our self> but has a commonality to ground us to other “us”es.

 

 

I like the thought that maybe each of us is really a star <shining brightly for something good or hopeful … within ourselves as well as possibly for someone else>.

 

 

I like the thought we spin out of nothingness as people, as careers, as thinkers and as doers, scattering to find our place in the expansiveness ahead.

 

 

I like the thought that maybe, because we really are stars, we seek them to find whatever secrets they could share about us.

 

 

I like the thought that stars can be seen by anyone, anywhere if you only look up on occasion.

 

 

I like the thought that stars connect people and thoughts and dreams and wishes and … well … anything hopeful.

 

 

I like the thought that while stars are about space they are actually more about managing space by circumventing distance to activate that which can exist between stars and people.

 

 

I like the thought that stars actually embrace the strongest business building concept thru actively engaging people in a physical way … an emotional way … and an experiential way.

 

 

Stars engage us, connect with us, in a way that businesses and brands should attempt to emulate any authentic way they can <because I am not sure I can find any one person who dislikes stars>.

 

stars and night sky

Regardless.

 

 

Whether we truly are stars spinning out nothingness or stars simply represent our sense of ‘nothingness to what could be’ mindset … it is pretty amazing to think that anything spinning out of nothingness can inevitably create one of the greatest connections a person can ever have.
Stars represent life moments … stitching together all that we are and all that we want to be to form thoughts & attitudes which fuel behavior.

 

 

Stars are part of everyday lives and occupy critical space in a person’s grander Life story. They never dictate behavior but instead inspire behavior. They do so by nudging us toward both emotional and transactional personal investments into ourselves inevitably shaping life patterns, creating behavior, and ultimately encouraging us to make personal identity statements about who we are.

 

 

Stars are the beginning, middle and end of Life. They represent life and how we live it.

 

 

They are the small cornerstones to our Life stories.
Somehow they transcend the transactions we make with ourselves by resonating with something inside as well as outside the moment of ‘transaction’ with the star.

 

And maybe most importantly?

 

 

This multi-dimensional transaction we make with a star perpetuates a bond which unites, influences, inspires and scatters us out of nothingness toward … well … somethingness.

 

 

I imagine that means stars ultimately represent a connection with ‘what could, or can, be.”

 

 

Stars help us answer the ultimate life question … “how do people fulfill their potential and figure out who they are and what they’re capable of?”

 

 

Shit.

 

Here is what I know for sure.

 

 

We should all look at stars every once in a while.

 

Some of us may find hope.

 

Some of us may find clarity.

inside us stars find self

Some of us may find ourselves shrinking before the immensity of Life.

 

 

Some of us may see possibilities.

 

 

And some of us may find that they take the moment and make a Life transaction.

 

 

But all of us WILL find something.

Large and full and high the future still opens

October 24th, 2015

imagery black ink write

————————

“I take up my old pen again – the pen of all my old unforgettable efforts and sacred struggles. To myself – today – I need say no more.

Large and full and high the future still opens.

It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life.

I like these words.

For anyone approaching middle age, or wading through it, they may be the most useful words anyone has written, words that if we repeat often enough we may even start to act upon.

Words that could change our lives, or the long sweet stretch of it that is left.”

==

Henry James

<wrote in his early 50s>

—————————————

“We know that greatness doesn’t come from building walls, it comes from building opportunity.”

=

Obama

<note: the original quote has “America’s” before greatness>

————————-

 

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

Bad we help that

 

Yesterday I wrote about ‘no chance means no chance.’ Looking back upon it while I don’t regret the truth, or pragmatism, of it … I began recognizing I kept going back to it again and again … my fingers hovering over the pragmatic side of it and the ‘delete’ key … and having my thoughts hover over the hope portion with itchy fingers, and itchy mind, to write more and talk about how glimpses of ‘having a chance’ are the things that often not only get us thru the day but get us thru life.

 

 

That is the power of words. A word has the power to change the way you think about things but maybe more importantly a word … yes … a single word … has the power to change your life <because what you think often begets what you do>.

 

 

A word can surely be a wall … but more often than not … a word is a building block for opportunity.

 

 

Such a small thing is large and full and … well … high the future still opens.

 

 

And while that sounds big & sweeping and maybe easily dismissed as words of a dreamer and things that are nice to think about but will never happen … I would like to point out that for almost 20 years now the internet has brought more new & different words into our lives.
These words are opportunities.

 

 

These little things are big and full of the future.

 

 

Because of this seeming barrage of words our lives, our culture; our minds have been forever changed.

 

 

There is no going back and there is no ‘giving back.’ Words when encountered remain your companion to be hugged, bewildered by, spurned, loved and shadows you wherever you go from that moment on.words big brevity

 

 

Even on the days when we shut ourselves away from people and the bustle and grind of Life there will not be a single day in which you will not interact with words.

They are your constant companion <friend or foe>.

 

 

Whole companies are now dedicated to words.

 

 

Any search engine or browser company.

 

Any social media company.

 

Shit.

 

Whole industries these days has been developed solely on the use and management of words.

 

 

Your words beget their words.

 

They organize words which inevitably force you & I to consider, an reconsider, words.

 

 

At the core of our lives is one simple thing … a word.

 

 

one plusOne word at a time our life is built.

 

One word at a time … opportunity … a dream … a hope … is built.

 

 

This means that a word, or combination of words, is the key to everyday life.

 

 

The way we interpret a word can not only change the present but impact the future. One word can … well … actually change our behavior <Amazon is the most practical tactical example of this>.

 

 

 

Technology has actually given a word ‘super powers’ <and they were pretty frickin’ powerful before>. a word is no longer something we simply observed & absorbed … it now has acquired a more active role in life … it creates and impacts how we interact.

 

 

Simplistically.

 

 

A word is a fundamental catalyst of Life.

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

It is impossible to imagine the world without words.

 

 

A word enables us to do things that maybe seem unthinkable.

 

A word encourages us to think … well … we have a chance.

 

 

And, maybe most of all, while I think of a word as the small key to greatness and opportunity I continue to think of the one syllable 4 letter word that is possibly the most powerful word in any language – hope.

words a minute fast

 

Whenever I wonder why I sit in front of my computer and write I remember that words not only are the only constant companion we encounter every day but they are involved in almost every aspect of our lives.

 

 

 

In some small way maybe I think of James’ words … “today – I need say no more. Large and full and high the future still opens. It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life.”

 

 

Weigh your words carefully today my friends … and take a moment and ponder the words you encounter … for most do not build walls but offer opportunities.

Enlightened Conflict