Enlightened Conflict

persistent setbacks

May 10th, 2017

 setbacks persistent alone

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“We all have a personal pool of quicksand inside us where we begin to sink and need friends and family to find us and remind us of all the good that has been and will be.”

 

—-

Regina Brett

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

 

“Making the best of things is… a damn poor way of dealing with them.

My whole life has been a series of escapes from that quicksand.”

 

—-

Rose Wilder Lane

 

=========

 

 

Well.

 

We all encounter setbacks in our lives. Some people call that ‘life.’

 

setback speed bumpThe positive psychologists just call the setbacks “obstacles” as if they were some hurdles you just learn to either leap or get around.

 

In other words … it is assumed if you stick to your guns no setback is a dead end but rather simply a speed bump.

In other words … we are offered some simplistic discussions about overcoming obstacles.

 

If you really really think about this … this advice is kind of nuts.

 

Yeah.

You may have to think really hard to come on to my side of this argument.

 

You may have to work hard because as soon as you are old enough to comprehend words you get bludgeoned with advice and wisdom with regard to ‘overcoming obstacles.’

 

In its most simplistic form it is uttered as “if you believe, you can overcome anything” or even the famous “it’s not the mistake that matters it is what you do with that mistake.”

 

You get pummeled with things like this:

 

===============medication over medictaion problemsolving2

“Do not fear the conflict, and do not flee from it; where there is no struggle, there is no Virtue.”

 

Joyram

 

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When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way.

 

But with hard work, perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what you can achieve.”

 

Roy Bennett

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

 

 

Well.

 

I don’t doubt the sincerity of this advice but what all of this trite wisdom, mostly offered by wealthier & whiter people whose setbacks are slightly different … okay … exponentially different, then not only the everyday schmuck but those who are in more vulnerable environments seems to overlook is that A setback is manageable … persistent setbacks are a whole different game.

 

I love virtue but after a while you cannot sustain yourself, mentally and physically, on virtue alone when faced with persistent setbacks.

 

What I mean is that we treat setbacks as if they were like a cold … with a little time and some fortitude and some chicken noodle soup you can overcome it and move on.

 

But sometimes setbacks are like a virus … this virus is more like ‘persistent setbacks.’

 

setbacks persistent quicksand

 

And, yes, this is different than what I call “quicksand” or “quicksand setbacks.”

 

Quicksand setbacks are more often in a defined period of time and comes to fruition mostly in a helpless unraveling before your eyes.

It’s like in a football game where one fumble leads to an interception which leads to the other team running a punt back for a touchdown. Everyone fights as hard as they can … but the setbacks stream in a way that drives you deeper and deeper into a hole. Most times quicksand setbacks stop and depending on the quicksand you are in a deep dark fucking hole or just a hole <or something in-between>.

 

A hole is a hole. It sucks.

But most times if you do get your shit together, get your head on straight and maybe get a little help you can get out of the hole <regardless of how deep it is>. And once you get out of a quicksand hole you actually find you have learned some stuff and … well … most times you see future quicksand and avoid it.

 

 

And then there are persistent setbacks.

 

problems overcoming obstacles

….. and, yet, the opportunities can only be found in darker deeper holes ………..

 

They are brutal.

Fucking brutal.

 

You face a setback.

You pick yourself up, recover and get going again. And maybe just as you get going again … well … you get another setback.

 

This one hurts a little more because you knew you had invested and you knew you had done it right … and you still got screwed again with another setback.

 

 

You figure … what the hell … I did it once and I can do it again and you pick yourself up again and get going, recover and you are starting to put the last setback in your rear view mirror and … doh … another setback.

 

 

This one hurts. Hurts bad.

 

But … you know you have no alternative but to get up, try again and get going.

This time is a little different though. This time you are a little more tentative.

Maybe even doubt a little more. You still put energy into it and you are working hard but this time your head is more on a swivel.

 

Uhm.

And then another setback happens.

 

Most will get up and go again. But this time doubt is your companion and while you are trying your best … you are most likely not really your best.

 

And then another setback happens.

 

This is where the trite positive ‘pick yourself up’ people sort of get things wrong.

 

It’s not that you don’t have the desire … you just have lost hope that you will ever get a break or that it will finally be someone else who will have a setback and not you.

 

Sigh.

 

I read this quote somewhere:

 

“Time to bet on yourself, big, huge, gigantic bet on your genius and abilities to change the world for the better because nothing is going to stop you, no force is going to hold you down or get in your way and make you lose your inner motivation again.”

 

 

Well.

 

kitchen-table-study-problems-concerns-home-life-leadThat sound good … really good … but persistent setbacks are a whole different game. You can be motivated, you can bet on yourself and all of those things <which are usually necessary for any success> but … well … what happens if you have to keep on going back to the well again and again and again?

 

What happens when Life just seems to provide one more setback after you have just recovered and gained some momentum for the last setback … which you had done after the setback before that one and … well … you get it.

 

There is only so much anyone can take before they get tired … start having doubts … and then simply lose hope.

Look.

 

Everyone can pull themselves together after a setback.

A quicksand  setback is a little trickier but depending on deeply you sink … most people can pull themselves together.

 

But persistent setbacks? Whew.

 

You aren’t looking for a big break … you are just looking for A break.

 

When in a persistent setback cycle … it is relentlessly exhausting.

 

Your plans all seem to not go as planned.

 

You can do your best, and it may actually be pretty good, and it can still fail.

 

You can be really smart, have a smart idea, articulate it smartly, and it can still be rejected or ignored.

 

You can work harder than anyone else and pour your heart & soul into something and it can still go unnoticed.

 

And all of that gets exponentially harder to take with each ongoing setback.

 

In addition … persistent setbacks take on a darker hue if you start looking around you and see mediocrity winning and rising and some of the least qualified not facing the setbacks you are.

 

Now.

 

I did some research.

And I found how we deal with setbacks depends on how much control someone feels they have over a situation.

 

The study found that changes in certain brain areas were related to persisting with goals after encountering setbacks.

 

Participants more often persisted with their goals, choosing to try again to earn the same academic degree, when they perceived they had control over a setback than if they perceived that they did not have control over a setback.

 

What’s more, activity in a brain area called the ventral striatum was related to persisting with goals in cases where the setbacks were controllable. Participants who showed greater decreases in brain activity in the ventral striatum when they encountered a controllable setback were more likely to persist with their goals.

 

On the other hand, changes in a brain area called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex were related to persistence when the setbacks were uncontrollable. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is involved in regulation of emotions, and the new study suggests this brain area helps people cope with negative emotions in order to persist in the case of uncontrollable setbacks.

 

 

drowning no water lifeIn other words … when setbacks are uncontrollable they affect us in a more emotional way.

 

Yup. When persistent setbacks seem to continue in ways that are out f our control … well … they fucking kick the shit out of you mentally.

 

 

I say that because I think most of us overlook how persistent setbacks affect the mind.

 

And while I just outlined how I believe it affects an individual … there is also an effect on the people around you.

 

Say you are a parent and you are in this doomed cycle of persistent setbacks.

As a child that is all you see. That is all you hear about. That is what you start thinking Life is more like than what you see on TV with regard to ‘work harder than anyone else and your dreams can come true <or you can do anything you want>.’

 

Let me tell you what I mean by showing you some research numbers I just saw.

 

Among the dozens of research studies post 2016 election I found some number about the working class and education that made me sit up a little and think about this whole ‘persistent setback’ issue and how … if it is affects a swath of the population long enough … can affect their larger attitudes.

 

In an analysis by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic 54% of white working-class Americans said investing in college education is a risky gamble … this includes a whopping 61% of white working-class men <white working-class voters who held this belief were almost twice as likely as their peers to support Trump>.

 

Ok.

That is bad. But it gets worse.

 

This belief is even more prevalent among white working-class Americans under 30.

 

This belief means that they are not buying into the idea that if you do work really hard, if you do study and go to school, you will be able to get ahead.

 

In my persistent setback theory we have an entire swath of America who has given up hope that they can ‘overcome the setbacks and get ahead.”

 

“The survey shows that many white working-class Americans, especially men, no longer see that path available to them. … It is this sense of economic fatalism, more than just economic hardship, that was the decisive factor in support for Trump among white working-class voters.”

<Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI>

 

 

I don’t really want to discuss Trump voters and white working class people today but I do want to make a point about persistent setbacks and how they affect people’s attitudes.

 

Black, white, Asian, American Indian, whatever … persistent setbacks are an equal opportunity hope killer.

 

Any setback sucks. I don’t care how old you are … a setback is a setback and lovers quarrel life and medepending on where you are in life a setback can be crushing.

 

All the positive encouragement to pick yourself up and get going again kind of misses the mark. I don’t offer a solution today I am just making a point and bitching.

 

And all the bitching aside.

 

Everyone just needs to recognize that setbacks come in all shapes and sizes, not all setbacks are created equal, setbacks can be deceiving in their appearances and if you don’t recognize all that you run the risk of missing what someone else is enduring with regard to persistent setbacks.

 

 

sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream

April 15th, 2017

 American Workers sweat hard hats

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‘In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream …’ It’s a ‘death trap,’ a ‘suicide rap.’

‘I want to guard your dreams and visions.’ ”

 

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

 

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“This man said that you can move to Greece, live in Greece, but you can’t become a Greek. You can move to Japan, live there, but you can’t become Japanese; or France and become a Frenchman; or German—or become a—all of these things.

But he said, everybody or anybody from any corner of the world can come to America and become an American.”

 

—————–

Ronald Reagan

 

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Ok.

 

I have a piece coming up on globalization but today it is about the American work flintstoneswork ethos and American workers and, I imagine, a view on any version of isolationism <extreme to practical>.

 

I admit.

I find very little appealing in an isolationist concept <any aspect of it> … even the common rhetoric of the day.

 

Simplistically I feel like it suggests we, America, cannot compete globally. In my pea like brain I view it like sports … sports in which almost every home team retains an advantage … despite the same rules, same number of players, same dimensions of the court & field. Mainly it comes down to coaching, ability and , I imagine, pride of home field … uhm … but I still get on a bus and go play away games.

 

I believe it was Ronald Reagan who said ”American workers don’t need to hide from anyone.”

 

Which reminds me of how much during American presidential campaign, and even now somewhat, I found it extremely aggravating how we had a bunch of people talking about American workers and American businesses.

work sheep wolf

They all seemed to forget that our ethos is “just do it.”

 

When set free to do the voodoo it does … American business is dynamic, energetic, innovative, can-do and actually gets out there and makes & sells shit.

 

We shouldn’t be impatient because the success is coming fast enough and in our impatience “change the rules” or “hide within our borders” but instead we should use our impatience to invite competition, sweat it out and beat the crap out of them.

 

My impatience? I sometimes get a bit impatient when I hear people moaning about the state of the world and the inevitable “the sky is falling” or “the world is unfair” <pick your poison>.

 

Given an opportunity every generation believes it is tougher for them and will create their own prognostications of doom & gloom and, yet, we are still here and still have the world’s largest economy <and best on a variety of measures>.

 

I am not suggesting there aren’t real business issues and I am not suggesting from a regulatory standpoint there are some tweaks to the system which would enable businesses to improve themselves to compete better <please notice I didn’t say “to constrict the competition” but rather to have us improve to compete>.

 

Isolation goes against every bone in our “just do it” American body & soul.

 

Nike trademarked it but the pilgrims brought it to America. From day one immigrants, with the help of Native Americans, went to work building America … stone by stone … seed by seed … idea by idea … sweat drop by sweat drop.

 

labor american workerAmerica First should never be America Alone.

 

America has never been an individual competition it has always been about a team competition.

 

America First should be earned on the playing field competing against the best of the best and winning <by the way … that defines ‘exceptionalism’>.

 

America should be about building a better engine, building a better race car and running a better race.

 

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

”It’s time to gun the engines, not put on the brakes.”

 

——–

Ronald Reagan

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It is aggravating to hear “close the borders” combined with “the world is going to shit” … which all leads to ‘disengage from the world <competition>.’

 

Really?

 

REALLY?

 

What kind of shit response is that?

What kind of “winner” doesn’t want to compete and compete against the best?

 

It seems like we should be investing not in building advantages for ourselves but rather in building a better team. That is where money and energy should be spent.

 

Hire better coaches.

Offer better training programs.

Buy better equipment.

Study better strategies.

Create better plan of attacks.

no substitute for hard work sweat edison

 

 

I wasn’t a huge Ronald Reagan fan but he got it … he hated changing the rules of the business game <tariffs & regulations> and only did so situationally, tactically and for short term ‘balancing out’ … as he says …  given a respite from predatory import practices, can become competitive in a world market.

 

But … he understood the importance of the attitude of the American worker above all else … check out these words he said to Harley Davidson:

 

… you gave some folks in Washington an important lesson about how we go about buying and selling with other nations. You see, we’ve shaken hands on an agreement with most of the other nations of the world, an agreement that sets the rules for international trade. We have problems, of course, with some of those nations—the ones that don’t let us sell to their people as freely as they sell to ours. But the agreement, called the GATT agreement—that’s the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade — gives us ways of dealing with those problems, and it also gives us ways of giving industries the kind of breathing room we gave you.

 

And if they’re as serious as you were about shaping up—now we’re about to begin worldwide talks on how to make this agreement even stronger.

 

Because of the GATT agreement, when you were ready to sell more bikes around the world, no one stopped you.

But now there are some in Congress who say, in effect, that the United States should break its word with the other countries.

They say American workers need to run and hide from foreign competition, even if that means other countries will strike back by not letting you sell your bikes to their people. Well, Harley-Davidson has shown how wrong that is and what the truth is. American workers don’t need to hide from anyone. America does best when America sticks by its word. And American workers can take on the best in the world, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. No one is better than you are.

 

You may have heard that my temperature’s up about some trade legislation that’s before the Congress right now. On TV the other night, it was called one of the toughest trade bills of this century. I remember the last time we had a so-called tough trade bill. It was called Smoot-Hawley, and they said it would protect American jobs. Instead, after other nations were through retaliating, it helped us—or it helped give us, or at least deepened, the Great Depression of the 1930’s. I’m probably the only one here that’s old enough to remember that. I was looking for a job then. [Laughter] Twenty-five percent were unemployed, including me.

 

The Harley-Davidson example makes a very strong statement about how government, through the judicious application of our trade laws, can help the best and the brightest in American management and labor come together in ways that will create new jobs, new growth, and new prosperity. Government’s role, particularly on the trade front, should be one of creating the conditions where fair trade will flourish, and this is precisely what has been done here. Our trade laws should work to foster growth and trade, not shut it off. And that’s what’s at the heart of our fair trade policy: opening foreign markets, not closing ours. Where U.S. firms have suffered from temporary surges in foreign competition, we haven’t been shy about using our import laws to produce temporary relief. Now, there are those in Congress who say our trade policies haven’t worked, but you here at Harley-Davidson are living proof that our laws are working. The idea of going to mandatory retaliation and shutting down on Presidential discretion in enforcing our trade laws is moving toward a policy that invites, even encourages, trade wars. It’s time to work to expand the world market, not restrict it.

 

Today, as many as 10 million American jobs are tied to international trade, including many jobs right here at Harley. For more than a century, when America’s trade with the world has grown, America has created more jobs. When trade has declined, so have the number of jobs. So, when it comes to making new jobs, free and fair international trade is America’s big machine. It’s time to gun the engines, not put on the brakes. Your chairman, Vaughn Beals, summed it up when he said, and I will quote him: “We’re sending a very strong message to our competitors and to the international industrial community that U.S. workers, given a respite from predatory import practices, can become competitive in a world market.”

 

The best way to meet foreign competition is also the right way: by sticking to our agreements with other countries and not breaking our promises, by making sure other countries also stick to their agreements with us, and by being the best. As America prepares for the 21st century, you’ve shown us how to be the best. You’ve been leaders in new technology. You’ve stuck by the basic American values of hard work and fair play.

 

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A danger we are currently meandering our way toward is one of attitude.

 

attitude foreign life adventureWe currently have a president who doesn’t foster attitude and belief in self but rather believes success is found solely in removing disadvantages, real or not, and removing “unfairness” <even if the other team were simply playing the game better or had better players>.

 

He is wrong in his approach.

 

Business is often more about attitude and fortitude then it is about whether “the pitch was mowed at 1 inch instead of an inch & a ½.”

 

It is a false narrative, and a dangerous narrative, to suggest success is based on ‘fairness’. Why? Because … well … more often than not we will always find that the world was unfair in some form or fashion … and you know what?

You still gotta compete, you still gotta play the game and you still gotta figure out a way to win.

 

America is at its best just doing it … sweating it out on the streets seeking the runaway American dream.

 

America is at its best when it ignores all the reason why we cannot do something and just go do it anyway.

 

America is at its best when we have a leader standing up in front of us not making excuses, not whining about unfairness and all the reasons why we haven’t been successful … but one who is instead saying “here is what we are gonna do and lets go do it.”

 

It was Theodore Roosevelt, in 1904, who said:

“We, the people, can preserve our liberty and our greatness in time of peace only by ourselves exercising the virtues of honesty, of self-restraint, and of fair dealing between man and man.”

But he also reminded everyone of the importance of work ethic.

“They stood for the life of effort, not the life of ease.”

Freedom, Roosevelt warned, had to be earned by the exercise of restraint, and its bounty could only be harvested by diligent labor.

 

Anyway.

 

I am not an isolationist mostly because of all I have written today. I am a compete flower bloombusiness guy and as a business guy I want to compete … and I believe I can compete well and win often enough if I put in the smart thinking and the diligent labor.

 

While I may proudly wrap myself in an American flag I also proudly wrap myself in an attitude … ”American workers don’t need to hide from anyone” … and I am an American worker.

 

We should never underestimate the American worker and American business ingenuity.

We shouldn’t hide from the world … we should be building the best team and sending them to the far corners of the world, wherever they may have an opportunity to compete, and win through hard work and fair play.

 

Isolation is the wrong path. It’s not American. We compete, work hard, play by the rules … and win more often than we lose.

 

American workers can take on the best in the world, anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

why women get aggravated by men

October 7th, 2016

 

 

stupid-men-smart-beautiful-women-1

 

I had no real reason for posting this thought today other than:

 

<1> I saw these two gifs posted, and

 

<2> it reminds me how stupid condescending sexist assholes like this make my Life more difficult, and

 

<3> it reminds me how far we still have to go with regard to some fairly stupid masculine attitudes.

stupid-men-beautiful-smart-women-2

 

And just because I do think far too many guys don’t think about gender equality/inequality enough nor do they think about it thru a woman’s eyes <as best they can> if they do think about it … every guy should read the following from For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It <Carol Diehl> and just take a minute to reflect upon it:

 

 

“What if
all women were bigger and stronger than you
And thought they were smarter

 

What if
women were the ones who started wars

 

What if
too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos
and no K-Y Jelly

 

What if
the state trooper
who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike
was a woman
and carried a gun

 

What if
the ability to menstruate
was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs

 

What if
your attractiveness to women depended
on the size of your penis

 

What if
every time women saw you
they’d hoot and make jerking motions with their hands

 

What if
women were always making jokes
about how ugly penises are
and how bad sperm tastes

 

What if
you had to explain what’s wrong with your car
to big sweaty women with greasy hands
who stared at your crotch
In a garage where you are surrounded
by posters of naked men with hard-ons

 

What if
men’s magazines featured cover photos
of 14-year-old boys
with socks
tucked into the front of their jeans
and articles like:
“How to tell if your wife is unfaithful”
or
“What your doctor won’t tell you about your prostate”
or
“The truth about impotence”

 

What if
the doctor who examined your prostate
was a woman
and called you “Honey”

 

What if
You had to inhale your boss’s stale cigar breath
as she insisted that sleeping with her
was part of the job

 

What if
You couldn’t get away because
the company dress code required
you wear shoes
designed to keep you from running

 

thinker thumbtack

…… just think about it ………

And what if
after all that
women still wanted you
to love them.

 

For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It – Carol Diehl

 

 

friends and enemies and interests

August 29th, 2016

friends goofy unintended together

 

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“We have no permanent friends.

We have no permanent enemies.

We just have permanent interests.”

 

—-

Benjamin Disraeli

 

===

 

Well.

 

I admit.

murderers among enemy

I have always had a slightly contrarian view on relationships with competitors in the business environment.

 

I always met with them.

 

I always encouraged my people to meet, and interact, with them.

 

I always debated and discussed with them.

 

I have always had some friends at competitors … and certainly had some enemies at competitors.

 

Oh.

And I have always been quite willing to put them out of business if, competitively, I felt like my business was better than theirs.

 

Yeah.

I just said that. In fact. I said two things.

 

First.

 

Put them out of business. This doesn’t mean doing anything evil nor does it mean going behind anyone’s back in some slimy undercutting way. This is about confidently putting yourself alongside the enemy and beating the living daylights out of them. And doing so over and over again until you suffocate their business or they just quit.

 

Second.

 

Please note ‘my business was better than theirs.’

 

Well.

 

Yeah.company culture die trying

 

Sometimes you are actually not the best and sometimes you are actually not different in any real significant way.

Sometimes you are just a different alternative.

Sometimes you don’t compete exactly directly.

And sometimes your enemy actually is a better fit for someone then you are.

 

But.

 

If you are better, then beat them.

 

Now.

 

Beyond beating the crap out of some competitor … 90% of the time I find the ‘enemy’ quite the delight to rub elbows with.

This doesn’t mean I was flippant with regard to confidential information it is just that I believe ‘unique’ or ‘proprietary’ are more often than not … well … not. I also believe that my ‘enemy’ was simply a business competitor who had the same interests that I did <selling more shit at the highest price possible>.

 

But I have never understood some absurd ‘never talk with the competitor.” And I think it is absurd for a variety of reasons but let’s go through why business relationships are always tricky But no reason to not interact openly with a competitor>.

 

Your best employee may become the best employee at your competitor at some point.

 

Your favorite boss may leave and start a new company … competing against a portion of your offering.

 

You may leave, leaving behind a boatload of people you like & respect, to take a promotion at some competitor and … well … compete against those same people you like & respect who happen to be at a company you still like & respect.

 

And the trickiest?

 

Sometimes you actually decide to partner with a sometimes enemy because of mutual interest <and money of course>.

 

What business teaches you … well … what it should teach you is that there are no permanent allies, no permanent friends, no permanent enemies and, really, only permanent interests.

 

This shouldn’t be construed in any way as morally hollow or ethically challenged.

just keep trying flourish grow

It is a simple business truth that it is in the interest of a person and business to maximize behavior in a given situation. That means you give your best, you offer your best and be your best regardless of who is in the room or whomever you may be competing with.

 

I imagine the net translation on that thought is that through individual behavior the interests of a business are being best served and ultimately it is the interest of the business itself that is the only thing that truly remains constant.

 

The corollary?

 

Friends and enemies may keep changing depending on what suits the business interest best.

 

Sure.

 

There are potential costs … as well as potential benefits to rubbing elbows and being friendly, or at least conversationally cordial, to your competitors.

 

But that should not mean ignoring competition nor should it mean not maintaining some dialogue with them.

 

Some people will not agree with this.

 

What I have on my side is diplomatic history. The concept of ‘continuous dialogue’ originated in the 17th century with the French and Cardinal Richelieu.

It is a “belief in the utility of diplomatic representation and communication even between states that have reached a hostile relationship short of war.”

And you do so not to be friends, nor to seek to be allies, but to maintain the respect of two entities with different interests, but a similar interest to succeed, as a way to reduce the chances of war.

 

But let me point to what I believe is the truest of benefits.

 

People.

 

As long as your business is well defined, as long as your business has a strong culture, as long as your business fosters the attitude of ‘being the best’ without arrogance … I would suggest that nothing strengthens your people than interacting with the people of friends, enemies and those with different interests. Your people, through interaction with others who may be seeking things on their own self best interest, are the surest arbiters of what is right, wrong, true, false, lawful or ethically hollow.

 

And while I do not think this is solely an American trait it was Alexis de Tocqueville who said this about Americans in 1831:

 

[T]hey hold that public opinion is the surest arbiter of what is lawful or forbidden, true or false. … They hold that every man is born in possession of the right of self-government, and that no one has the right of constraining his fellow-creatures to be happy. They have all a lively faith in the perfectibility of man; they are of opinion that the effects of the diffusion of knowledge must necessarily be advantageous, and the consequences of ignorance fatal; they all consider society as a body in a state of improvement, humanity as a changing scene, in which nothing is, or ought to be, permanent.

 

 

ignorance is their powerIt is the people who are the surest arbiter of true & false … therefore if you ever want someone to truly believe in your business that you must mentally believe “the consequences of ignorance fatal.”

 

And embrace that an industry, which is often a society within itself, is a body in a state of improvement.

Keeping yourself, or your employees, cocooned within just who and what you are endangers the livelihood of the business itself in that you miss the opportunity for potential change and run the danger of ‘permanent’ <or stagnant>.

 

I personally find nothing wrong with positioning yourself as close to your competitors as you possibly can. The benefits outweigh the possible negatives.

 

On a separate note.

 

I tend to believe this idea works just as well in non-business life.

 

I have friends & acquaintances who clearly have different political points of view, different views on religion as well as significantly different views on a spectrum of different things. I watch news programs and listen to news programs which clearly do not appeal to my sense of what is true or right.

enlightened conflict think

It doesn’t harden my point of view but it certainly makes me more self-aware with regard to how others think and why they do the things they do.

 

And it certainly reminds me that no matter how much I may disagree with someone the majority of the time they have the same interests that I do – a better country and a better way of doing things.

 

I don’t think this makes me any better than others but it may make me a little more enlightened and aware.

And I have to believe that isn’t a bad thing.

dependence on women in life

May 5th, 2016

king is a woman feminism power life

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.

Life’s a bitch.

You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

 

Maya Angelou

 

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“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.”

 

Joseph Conrad

 

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So.

 

Feminism and gender <women> inequality will be inextricably tied to the end of time.

 

history feminism women anonymousI will get to feminism but let me take on inequality first.

 

While we flippantly talk about opportunities for women and young girls and how they can be whatever they want to be reality suggests otherwise.

 

And it does so for a variety of reasons.

 

But you know what? I could talk until I am blue in the face about the barriers women face and … well … men will not care <for the most part>.

 

They may shrug their shoulders, maybe say “gosh, that isn’t fair” and even say “boy, we should do something about that.”

 

Again and again it seems women are forced to … well … convince everyone else <men> that there’s something in it for them if they actually became involved.

 

That seems crazy.

 

That said.

 

A report from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that greater gender parity in the workforce <pay, hours worked, and access to full-time jobs> would also benefit the entire country’s economy. The report makes the case for both the government and businesses to take a more proactive role in bringing about gender equality.

 

I would also point out some sobering statistics to men.

 

It is inevitable that women will actually earn MORE than men in the future <so, men, get your head wrapped around that>.

 

Women outnumber men on college campuses <men earn only about 42% of the degrees>.

 

Teenage boys in wealthy countries are 50% more likely than girls to fail all there basic subjects in school – math, reading & science.

 

Women with no high school education dropped from 32.9% in 1979 to 11.4%, compared to men at 12.4%, in 2013.

 

In 1960 among never married American adults 25-34 there were 139 men with jobs for every 100 women <with or without jobs>.

 

In 2012 there were only 91 employed men for every 100 women. This gets worse for African American men … not even counting employed or not employed … there are only 83 men <not in jail> for every 100 women. In some inner cities it drops to only 50 black men with jobs for every 100 women.

 

Working class labor intensive jobs <which males tend to dominate> are decreasing globally while occupations which women tend to dominate are projected to grow.

 

In America pay for men with only a high school diploma fell 21% in real terms from 1979 to 2013 <women actually increased 3%>.

For those who dropped out of high school it fell by 34% <women dropped 12%>.

feminist cobain

 

<primary source: The Economist>

 

 

What is tamping down the growth of women professionally, and income wise, is that despite the sobering male work numbers the majority of leadership <where jobs, pay & employee services are decided> are made up of old white men <95% of Fortune 500 CEOs are male as well as 93% of government heads>.

 

Suffice it to say.

 

Men are getting stupider. Men are less qualified for the work force. And, yet, men maintain the reins on this horse & buggy situation.

Boy oh boy.

 

Does anyone doubt this situation will change once women assume more leadership roles? <and we wonder why old white men scoff at feminism and women inequality in the workplace? … said sarcastically>

 

Ok.

 

Feminism may be one of the most mis-discussed and misunderstood words & topics of my generation.

 

Feminism has lots of company in the tricky business because causes, in general, are tricky things.

 

Tricky in that bringing them up publicly tend to bring out the worst in … well … everyone.

 

Some people balk as they protect their own interest.

Some people balk feeling like the cause implies some sense of entitlement.

Some people balk over an implied ‘victim mentality’ aspect.

Some people become obstinate in their approval.

Some people become obstinate in their disapproval.

 

And mostly tricky because everyone would benefit from a little more education on any topic and, yet, causes almost seem to shut down our inherent listening & learning muscles.

speak listen ear

Causes are discussions. Discussions about important issues. I imagine I could point out it is tricky to discuss something if you are either shouting or not listening.

 

Regardless.

 

Feminism, while about equality, is about women and status and roles.

 

And maybe because I sometimes shake my head at how women sometimes speak of equality for women and feminism in general I begin my own thoughts where I believe the discussion in general should begin:

 

 

  • Do we doubt our dependence on women?

 

 

  • Do we doubt a woman’s value?

 

 

  • Do we doubt a woman’s importance <beyond reproduction>?

 

 

Simplistically the answer most people would give is ‘no, we do not doubt’ to all of the above. So, surprisingly, you would tend to believe feminism is off to a roaring start.

 

Next.

 

This one may be the hard part. I tend to believe many of the discussions are grounded in the wrong place … they begin with inequality.

Inequality, to me, is never where I would begin.

 

 

Why?

 

Seems like I would want to start any male/female discussion with simply assuming everyone is equal upfront <and then move from there>.

 

This permits us to discuss maximizing what should be rather than figuring out how to ‘fix something.’

 

I admit.

 

The discussion of feminism seems mired down in emotional haranguing where rational simplicity seems to be a more fruitful path.

respect women feminism

I admit.

 

I love the fact that Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named a cabinet that is equally balanced between men and women.

The ministers – 15 women and 15 men – are mostly aged under 50, in a team marking both a generational change and a commitment to reflecting Canada’s diversity.

 

Asked to explain his gender parity promise, he answered: “Because it’s 2015.”

 

I love the actions but there is still an attitudinal issue.

 

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“I’m all for empowerment and equal wages and the such.

Just don’t expect me to understand or care about feminism as a movement.

I’ll be honest, I don’t care. It’s got nothing to do with me.”

Corey Milne of WhatCulture.com

 

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“It’s got nothing to do with me.” <what a fucking idiot>

 

That sums up the biggest issue female equality faces.

 

Men and their attitudes. Its not me. I am all for equality. I do not disempower women. It is never “me” it is always someone else … and therefore it is always up to someone else to change things.

 

This is crazy.

Frickin’ crazy.

 

Of course someone is going to point out one of the few jobs that are not mainstream typical for a woman … but in general … any women can do anything that  a man can do in the work world.

 

Reflect upon that as you ponder equal pay for women.

 

Ok.

Ok.

 

Let’s set aside can women ‘do as good a job as men’ <which, frankly is not the issue> and go to the root issue of men’s attitude … “their work is not of the same value as mine”.

 

Really?

Really???

 

Rather than theoretical pontificating or made up analysis of data … how about a real case study?

 

Iceland, 24 October 1975

 

Sparked by the activism of the Red Stockings radical women’s group, 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike on this day to protest against men’s exploitation of women’s free labour within the home and women’s underpaid, underacknowledged and underpromoted labour beyond it. For one day, they didn’t go to work and refused to do the childcare, cooking, cleaning and family admin. Iceland ground to a halt, as it would if women in any country did the same. It demonstrated just how much of society ran on women’s uncredited free work. More than 30 years on Iceland is famed as one of the most egalitarian countries in the world. Perhaps we should all take a tip from the Red Stockings.

 

 

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‘Well-behaved women seldom make history.’

 

———

 

Nope, Marilyn Monroe didn’t say it. The historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said it.

 

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Someone has to do the care work in an economy, otherwise nothing else works, but because care is not valued, it is either badly paid or not paid at all. On some level, we still believe that professional nurses, caretakers and child minders are simply extending their natural family role as nurturers. It’s not a real job, “anyone can do it”.

At least … any woman.

 

But let’s take the women out of the home and into the economy.

feminism unfinished rights hillary

Calculations about how much growth would go up if women and girls had the same opportunities as men are important. They show us that gender equality is not just a question of fairness but something that everyone could benefit from.

But they are also problematic in that they don’t acknowledge the economic contributions that girls and women are already making.

 

When married women in the west entered the workforce, they started to devote more time to the kind of work that is counted and less time to the kind of work that isn’t. This dramatically increased the GDP in the western world.

But was this increase accurate?

 

Because no one had bothered to quantify housework, we might have overvalued the actual increase in wealth. The calculations we make today about how much wealth would increase if more women in developing economies took up paid work might be wrong for the same reason.

 

We need a new economic story. One that stresses the need for change, without ignoring the economic contributions women and girls make today.

 

Girls and women are not an untapped economic resource in the world; their work is the invisible structure that keeps societies and economies together. But they haven’t freely chosen this role. And they are not being paid, compensated or acknowledged for it.

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Well.

 

That would suggest that we are not only dependent upon women for keeping the behind the scenes world running but we are also dependent upon them for the future economic success of the world.

 

<how many men ran to the liquor cabinet after reading that?>

 

I shared the economic stuff because, well, going back to the beginning … I felt like while gender equality kind of seems like a no-brainer I had to point out ‘what is in it for us.”

 

I hate having to do so.

But the end justifies the means.

 

And, that said, let me mention where I believe feminism seems to go awry <at least with men>.

 

It seems to far too often the discussion devolves into some bra-burning diatribe or strident loudly asserted  statements that women are better than men … or some other ludicrous ‘women are unique’ diatribe.

 

This all gets in the way of the simple fact that men seem to struggle with the fairly simple concept that feminism attempts to address unfair discrimination against women and attempts to create gender equality.

equal we are all

It is not a ‘better than’ discussion <although I do understand the intent is to ‘build value perceptions beyond current belief> but rather an equality discussion.

 

Yes.

 

Sometimes the discussion can get a little ludicrous. But even I will admit that in some way … even in its absurdity there is value. It only <most often> becomes absurd because without the absurdity it may be ignored.

 

Absurdity or not … issues of equality and civility concern everyone.

 

I’m not sure how anyone can be part of a society that treats women, even if it is only occasional, like ‘lesser thans’ in some way and say “it isn’t me.”

 

It is me.

 

It is you.

 

It is us.

 

And me, you & us should care.

 

And we should recognize it is a real issue and , consequentially, a real problem.

 

This certainly doesn’t mean every man should devote their life to fighting gender inequality. Nor does this mean that every time you encounter one of the more absurd aspects of the feminism debate you should stand and applaud.

 

It just means that you are more aware.

 

More aware that we are more dependent upon women than maybe we perceive.

 

More aware that gender inequality more often than not arises in more subtle nuanced ways than in some loud obvious behaviors.future past present

 

More aware that remaining silent in the face of gender inequality permits misguided behavior to thrive.

 

More aware that we should be concerned with the society we live in because … well … we live in this society <as do our girlfriends, wives, daughters, nieces, etc.>.

 

More aware that even though it doesn’t appear to affect you … it surely does affect you <whether you like it or not>.

 

The future of the world is dependent upon a number of things … women being one. An important one … but one. I say that to insure I am not an extremist and at the same time I will suggest that addressing gender inequality benefits us, all of us <including men> economically, socially, psychologically and societally.

 

That last sentence alone should be the rallying call for feminism and gender equality.

Enlightened Conflict