Enlightened Conflict

recovering from WTF

November 19th, 2016



They <Democrats> are our intellectual and social betters. They didn’t lose because of their positions.

They lost because they think we are misguided fools and they didn’t do a good enough job of educating us.




A sarcastic RedState Commenter






I scan all news outlets from bleeding heart liberal to scary Armageddon right.

The main thing I have noticed is that Trump has sucked the oxygen, and intelligence, out of all media <social, cable and ‘mainstream’>. It is an event unlike anything we have seen before.


He does nothing, says nothing of any consequence, maybe throws in a random insanely juvenile tweet or two … and it sucks all the oxygen out of anything & everything. This is like the OJ in the Chevy Blazer but the Blazer is still driving in its 18th month.


All I can conclude from this is that he is an attention whore who loves any attention and will do nothing to calm the attention storm <because he could stop the insanity if he wanted to>.


And this leads to me to what I am referring to as the “ongoing WTF hangover” and how Republicans and Trump surrogates <and, yes, they are different> keep on suggesting ‘get over it, he won.’


That is crazy.

doom sucks negativity divide unfair

And, worse?

It shows a lack of insight into what happened.


This is not about being a sore loser. This is not about not accepting a loss.



This isn’t even really about politics.


This is not that they lost … it is about who they lost to.


So, please, all those who say ‘he won get over it” take a deep breath and think about it this way.


If this had been Romney versus Clinton and she lost … yeah … people would have been bummed … frustrated … but not protesting or standing up and asking the VP to think about ‘the people’ with concern and a tinge of fear.

Romney is sane, a good man with some policies you could agree with, and some to disagree with, and he clearly stated what you could expect from him <none of those things can be checked with Trump>.


If this had been …






Rand Paul

Cruz … okay … maybe less so.



Yeah … people would have been bummed … but not really concerned with what was going to happen <okay .. maybe with Cruz> … certainly not protesting and asking the VP to think about the people with concern and a tinge of fear.





I am not going to suggest Clinton won the popular vote and bla bla bla … but there is this absurd Republican stance that “the people have spoken and the winner is clear.”






Clinton: 63,049,607 votes … 47.9%


Trump: 61,610,484 votes … 46.8%


Everyone else … maybe 8 million+ votes … 5.3%


Trump didn’t even win enough votes to beat W. Bush … and, boy, does Bush look good now <George W. Bush 2004 62,039,073 … Donald Trump 2016: 61,610,484>.


My point?what-stupid-shock-wtf-surprise


They are acting like the 72 million <or so> people who did not vote for Trump didn’t wake up the next day saying “WTF just happened?”


They are acting like maybe let’s say 20% of those who actually did vote for Trump, maybe 12 million people or so, didn’t wake up the next day saying “Holy shit … uh oh.”


They are acting like 28% of those who didn’t vote at all didn’t wake up the next day and saying “WTF happened … holy shit … I fucked up <because I would vote for Hillary if I had the chance today>”

                           (research conducted with non voters by international paper)





The Wake Forest football team could beat Alabama one weekend.

99% of the people would wake up the next day going “WTF happened?”

Maybe 90% of the Wake Forest fans would wake up the next day and say “Holy shit.”

But pretty much 99.9% of the people know Alabama is a better team.





WTF doesn’t just fade away.


In fact … it has a number of levels.


wtf-20-times-a-dayThe farther the WTF edges toward true outrageousness the deeper the WTF.


The farther the WTF edges toward sheer shock the deeper the WTF.


The farther the WTF edges toward real disbelief, as in “how could someone so unqualified assume such an important position that could affect my life, career and country”, the deeper the WTF.


And then … when the WTF wears a cloak of “oh shit” … well … it is the kind of WTF that is not tied to the loss but rather to the “WTF happens now.”

It is that last one that lingers … and lingers until there is a better sense of ‘what will happen.’



As I have stated … not all WTFs are created equal.


And it is absurd to not understand that and stupid to diminish it. Especially if we are talking about the majority of the population and the WTF candidate didn’t even gain 50% of the population to raise its hand and say “yeah, I think you can do the job” <let alone I think “you can do a job I want”>. Compound that with the truth, a cold hard fact, that more people actually believed someone else should do the job … well … ‘get over it, he won’ just doesn’t hack it.


I can guarantee you one thing … no real business leader would sit in their new corner office going “well, I won, they just need to shut up and line up outside my door and love me and my plans.”   




I know.


We have all seen it in business … there may be nothing worse than when the new leader ignores the WTF or is oblivious to the WTF.


It doesn’t happen often … but most of us have seen it <if not on just a lower management level>.


Treating a ‘WTF happened’ attitude as if it doesn’t exist is just not good leadership.




Cultures and people, in general, don’t like vacuums. In fact, their presence compels us to fill the vacuum … well … mostly with shit.shit well nuts


People do not like to extrapolate. People do not like to guess.

And when forced to … well … we come up with shit.

Oh. And shit multiplies fast and is sticky.

Cleaning up shit is not just a messy job it can almost be an impossible job.




I am no business leader genius but even I know when you assume a new leadership position you do not assume everyone knows who you are, what your plan is and what you want to do.


Silence creates a vacuum which, until all of us every day working schmucks fill it with our shit, is only filled with uncertainty, questions and maybe a little fear of what’s next.


Silence only does one thing … increase the initial WTF factor. It does not diminish it.


To diminish the WTF factor you need to fill the vacuum with something other than shit, vague shit and bullshit.


Set the agenda. State the plan.

It gives even the skeptical & cynical a measurement stick and something to hold on to beyond a simple ingoing “WTF attitude”.


Once again … this inherently leads me to my latent disdain for Trump as a business person. Trump has no idea how to lead nor does he understand, or have the experience, how to positively build an organizational culture nor does he show any signs he knows how to lead.

He is solely a purely transactional operator. That is not a leader.



watch uh oh shit bad day crisis businessSo … Mr. President elect Trump.


Maybe you should not consider this a win but rather a promotion where:


  • About 100 million of your 200 million employees are, at minimum, skeptical you have the temperament or the skills to have earned that promotion.


Let’s call these the “WTF employees.”


  • About 72 million of your 200 million employees unequivocally did not believe you were deserving of the promotion.


Let’s call these the “WTF … holy shit” employees.


  • About 40 million of your 200 million employees were so indifferent as to whether you got this promotion or not that they most likely had no clue who you were when it was announced.


Let’s call these the “I don’t give a fuck” employees.


  • About 60 million of your 200 million employees thought you should get the promotion … but … uh oh … about 30 million of those employees didn’t think you were actually qualified or had the temperament for the job … they just didn’t like the alternatives.


Lets call these the “oh shit, what happens next?” employees.



So, Mr. President elect Trump, time to grow up and lead.euper into giving a shit bad decisions



And Republicans.



Maybe you should consider you fucking won because 28% of the other team decided not to show up on game day because they thought their team was going to win easily.


Maybe you should consider the fact that about 100 million adults or so are fairly sure your nominee is an incompetent asshat with the maturity of a spoiled teenager and no discernible moral compass.


Maybe you should consider a sizable portion of your own elected party woke up the following morning fairly sure your nominee is an incompetent asshat with the maturity of a spoiled teenager and no discernible moral compass <and said ‘oh shit’>.



Maybe you should consider the harsh fact that around 72 million adults clearly stated they had little interest in the ‘Republican mandate’ and another 68 million or so adults were indifferent <they did not even vote>.


In the end.




I am not pissed about losing I am pissed I have to worry whether the winner is actually competent enough to keep the country out of the shithole.


wtf-per-hour-24-7I am clearly one of the “WTF” employees.


And, no, this is not about politics … this is about leadership and leading a country.


So maybe everyone should consider taking their proverbial heads out of their proverbial political asses and recognize the country is suffering from a major case of WTF … and deal with it rather than ignore or diminish it.



what did we do before Life Coaching?

January 15th, 2013

“… life coaching is quickly becoming one of the leading tools that successful people use to live extraordinary lives.” – some Life coach

“WTF.” – Bruce


I just received an email advertisement for “new year, new you” life coaching.

Call me naive … call me cynical … call me whatever you want … but what did we do before we had “professional” coaches for Life?


And is there a minor league in Life that coaches coach in where they accumulate a win/loss record and then eventually get hired in the Life major leagues to coach?

<that was sarcasm for the folks who didn’t get it>


Life coaches are claiming … “coaching is quickly becoming one of the leading tools that successful people use to live extraordinary lives.”

I did some research and most Life coaches believe “having a life you love starts with gaining clarity on your values, enabling more meaningful choices and consistent action.”


I may take issue with some of those things. Or maybe I would debate the prioritization in the hierarchy of Life needs. Or maybe I will just scratch my head and say “WTF” again.


Apparently <part 1>… through these intense workouts … these coaching sessions … people <oops … clients> identify what is most important to them and align their thoughts, words, and actions, accordingly with the help of this Life coach.

The coach works with you to identify what you want personally and professionally. And even better?  They support you in achieving a life that you really want and love <gosh … they better … don’t you think? … didn’t they just help you ‘align your thoughts, words & actions’?>.

Apparently <part 2> If you hire a Life coach … your commitment to your life through coaching offers a means for more balance, joy, intimacy, energy, financial abundance, focus, and action in every area of your life.

<sign me up>


I am sure <relatively> that most Life coaches mean well. And in some cases they may actually help. But before we had Life coaches <who we have to pay I assume> it seems like most of us schmucks had to do with 2 basic things:

  1. Friends. I don’t know about everyone else but I probably have a long line of friends just chomping at the bit to give me some ‘life coaching’ if I gave them the opportunity. Are they professional Life coaches? Heck. I don’t know. It seems to me most of us are not amateurs at living life. Life plays a pretty tough game with everyone <at least it seems to me>. I am not sure what makes a Life coach more qualified at Life than anyone else … but regardless … talk to enough of your friends and inevitably they will ‘coach’ you <whether you actually want it or not> … and most likely it is shit you already know in your own head. You just need to hear it out loud maybe for affirmation or maybe simply because an expert is always someone in another town <or in another head>.

All that said … if a Life coach takes payment in a cold beer at my favorite bar maybe I would hire one … until then? I will submit myself to the painful <but typically useful> coaching from my own friends.

  1. A mirror. I am fairly sure just about everyone has a mirror in their bathroom which pretty much insures you gotta stare at your mug every morning. Maybe even every night before you go to bed. Now. That life coach staring back at you in the mirror doesn’t always say “and, dammit, people like me!” but it is a fairly good judge of character & actions. And, frankly, most of the time that face in the mirror, just like your friends, knows the truth … and what is the right thing to do <or just simply what to do>… it is more about actually doing it.

All that said … I am not sure there is a more painful & harsh discussion then when you take a moment and ask the person in the mirror ‘what the fuck am I doing with my Life?” … but I have to tell ya … no matter how painful that discussion is … it is best made with yourself.


I get financial planners <not everyone is good with money/finance and these experts actually have expertise>.

I get professional therapists <they got snazzy diplomas hanging on their walls and they actually have studied how to help us schmucks>.

I even get landscape ‘coaches’ <they know how to keep plants alive and actually makes things look better>.

I just don’t get “Life coaches.”

As I started with … WTF.

As in “why the fuck would I want someone else tell me, excuse me, coach me, on how to live my life?”

I hated it when my parents tried it out on me when I was a kid and I certainly doubt I would feel any differently now.


If we start talking about Yoda as a Life coach?

I will be first in line to learn the Force.

Until then?

May the Force be with you <in your life without a Life Coach>.


June 13th, 2010

So. While the site was down trying to fix whatever we had to fix john wooden died. I knew it was coming (ok … immanent) and had something written and ready. Here you go.

I never met john wooden. But I imagine he was a lot like the greatest man I ever knew – my grandfather. They were of a similar generation. They seemed to have similar values and ethics. They were both inspirational – each in their own way.

But this is about john wooden. His accomplishments on the basketball court are going to be recounted ad nausea by everyone else. Suffice it to say he never had a losing season in 29 years as head coach. I don’t care about anything else on the court. Even in the wacky world of college kids coming and going he figured out how to get them working within his system and win.

I would also imagine he was a taskmaster. Tough love but love. In the end my sense was he wanted to win on the court but it was more important that his legacy be that his players won in life. His players (and assistant coaches I may add) went on to be successful in life. Regardless of whatever he did it is his words that, to me, will be his legacy. And while it would be easy to think of these as sports coach type thoughts I would feel comfortable suggesting that they are usable in business (if you own a business or if you just want the people in the organization to think about things) as well as just good personal ‘life’ thinking.

When I think of john wooden I think first of uncommon grace, humbleness, respect and being a teacher – teaching life lessons.

And me, being a collector of moments, would suggest that Wooden was a Zen Master of the “teachable moment” grasping not only the overall picture of life but possibly even better at recognizing individual moments to make an impact and steer someone down the right path in life.

So. Some of his teachable moment words:

“Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”

–          Conflict and adversity in the workplace and life not only shows you who your true friends are but also who your true “self” is. Awesome thought.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

–          If you can live with yourself I would imagine others would be happy to live with you.

“Be prepared and be honest.”

–          Business 101. Particularly good lesson for young people … oh … and new business sharks.

“It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.”

–          I cannot even imagine wooden bending the rules let alone breaking a rule. Winning within the rules. That is winning with character.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

–          Every school should have this up somewhere to remind the “know-it-alls” … okay … it should be up everywhere.

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”

–          Another tip for business management

“Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.”

–          Anyone can win once. Win twice .. now there is a challenge

For an athlete to function properly, he must be intent. There has to be a definite purpose and goal if you are to progress. If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren’t able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment.

–          This would be workplace time management 101

Young people need models, not critics.

–          If only we could remind our superstar athletes and coaches and parents every day

What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.

–          Character. You get judged by who you were more than by what you did.

I believe he changed many people not only through his actions but his words. We can only hope he continues to teach for years to come.

Wooden was not only an icon for his generations but all generations.

to be nobody but yourself

April 5th, 2010

where you should be and where you want to be

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

e.e. cummings

Being yourself is tough. Not because you don’t want to be yourself or because you don’t know what you want to be as yourself but because the world around you is constantly suggesting you should be something else. That doesn’t mean that the world is always wrong. Growing up means learning that some things about yourself should change. But I think if I had been there when e.e. wrote this I would have suggested he be more specific … for the hardest battle you are fighting is one of character.

Life and other people are constantly trying to put some thick clouds up in the sky so that north star of “what is right versus wrong” gets more difficult to locate. And that is where it gets tough in the battle for self. Sometimes you just have to know where that star is even if you cannot see it all the time. And you just have to wait for the clouds to depart. And waiting is tough. That to me is sometimes the battle.

So. If you would like to get a glimpse of the battle from a 20something perspective click here to see what Jamie has to say.

Enlightened Conflict