Enlightened Conflict

ignored truths for temporary happiness

March 13th, 2017

temporary fleeting g



“Who in the world am I?

Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”


Alice in Wonderland



  “We ignored truths for temporary happiness.



six word story



“Most people do not realize that thinking about something is inviting the essence of that something into their experience.”


Abraham Hicks



presentist 1Ok.


One of the most difficult things to figure out is what to do ‘now’ when given a choice … particularly if that ‘now decision’ would appear to provide some happiness.


I mean … WTF … who would pass on happiness?


We have a tendency to either not think long term when facing happiness … or maybe we weight happiness to such an extent it appears to have a higher value then it may actually have.


Fortunately for us … we actually have an inner scale.


This scale makes this decision a fairly easy one.  That inner scale is the “I know who in the world you are’ scale.


If you know that your happiness assessment glasses are clear, not smudgy and provide you at least fairly good vision … well … you have a better than even chance of actually figuring out whether it represents temporary happiness or ongoing happiness.




The desire or seeking of Happiness cloaks everything. Even truth. And maybe exponentially so for truth.truth people hate

Truth is tricky.


We confuse it with common sense, intuition & instinct.

All of which suggest the real truth about … well … truth without actually being true.

None of those things truly reflect truth … just a characteristic of truth.


The characteristic? Glimpses. Glimpses of truth are temporary. That isn’t to suggest truth is not everlasting or steadfast but rather our viewing of truth comes in glimpses.


That said … I will offer a word to everyone on temporary … a word, if you take some time and consider it a little, which partially explains ignoring truth – evanescent.


Evanescent refers to that which almost vanishes as soon as it appears, implying that a thing is ‘tenuous, delicate or unsubstantial ‘ as part of its nature <an evanescent glimpse of the truth>




“If you put your happiness in temporary things – your happiness will be temporary.



Nick Vujicic



last haven evanescent temporary glimpseI chose evanescent to make a point … I could have used momentary, passing or fleeing.

All synonyms of temporary.


I could have used transient or transitory … both of which stress brevity and impermanence and the fact it will not endure.

Both synonyms of temporary.


I could have even used ephemera which denotes that which changes aspect rapidly and continuously.

Another synonym of temporary.


I could have even focused on temporary which is a nice general term that implies measurable but of limited duration.


But I didn’t.

I didn’t because truth, more often than not, can vanish just as quickly as it appears.


Let me explain why.


Truth is rarely simple and is even more rarely a “it just is” factoid. Instead it is more likely represented in a disparate range of factoids and fragments. They all swirl around this truth and most often we, seeking simplicity & happiness, ignore all the fragments and put our arms around the easier happiness.


The danger in this is that we then have no depth of understanding. We are not forced to assess the fragments and think. We don’t because , in our heads, truth should be simple, clear and obvious <hence the reason we far too often confuse it with common sense>.


This is where evanescent comes back into the conversation.

As noted earlier truth is most often represented in a big blob of swirling disparate fragments … and, yet, on occasion if we look at just the right time all the fragments align … and truth appears.wow excited astonish no


Some may call this an “ah ha” moment. I would suggest t is simply a moment of clarity.


It is a moment in which you truly become a conduit of truth.


It is a moment where everything is aligned and Truth stands there … right in front of you … still amidst the swirl & chaos of Life.




“Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.”





Of course … you actually have to be paying attention.

Of course … you actually have to not be distracted by happiness.


Of course … you actually hate having to do both of what I just wrote.

I mean, c’mon, to have the opportunity to be wrapped in a nice cozy blanket of happiness for the rest of our existence <because that is what we hope every time happiness snuggles up against us … that this is the time it lasts forever>?




What a fucking fairy tale.

That is like basing truth & happiness on unicorn farts.


Here is what everyone needs to remember as they ponder ignoring truth for happiness.


Everlasting happiness is a myth.




Everlasting truth is a myth.


Whew. How ironic is that?



“I have lived with a sense of irony and cold curiosity.”



Friedrich Nietzsche




Two of the most valued things in Life are myths.




It sure sucks to think that.


bad decisions for temporary happiness



Here is the most basic truth of all <a non temporary truth but an everlasting one>.


Truth will always be truth … but it will never be easy … easy to gather, to understand and to believe.


And because it is not easy … and we would much prefer happiness <even temporary happiness> we will accept being right sometimes … wrong sometimes … and at all times believe things on insufficient evidence.



We should just face the fact that even on the things we believe, and claim we understand, we are doing so often in an incomplete way <even if we are correct>.


I believe my smartphone works … but I have no clue how.


I believe … well … full in your own “black box belief” here … things you just assume will work and assume we understand how to make it work but certainly do not understand the ins & outs of its workings.


This is the economy.

This is effective government.

This is climate change.

This is finance.


This is most of the big stuff in Life.


Which brings me to my conclusion … something little … evanescent.

The glimpse of truth.

The moment when all the disparate fragments align and truth stands in front of you.


It is the moment when … well … things are sufficient enough to understand and believe.


It is the moment we should not ignore truth for either temporary happiness or the temptation of what may appear to be everlasting happiness.


It is the moment when we have the opportunity to … well … “see who I am” and yes or no importanceplace an important piece of the puzzle in place.




That sounds like an important moment, doesn’t it?


You bet.

Pay attention for it.

Pay very very close attention.

Pay attention … because the glimpse of truth is evanescent.


Pay attention … because the last haven of truth often resides in the evanescent.

Owning up

October 26th, 2016





“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”



Bruce Lee



“If you own up to your mistakes, you don’t suffer as much.

But that’s a tough lesson to learn.”


Lee Iacocca






responsible act feelOwning up is all about the respect for the boundaries of responsibility.


Owning up to what you have done and said is possibly the truest test of character you will ever see.


When you are managing people you learn a shitload about employees by how they handle a mistake … and how they ‘own up.’




As a manager … you always filter the ‘owning up’ through your own management style <because you affect your employees behavior whether you admit it or not>.


Any leader worth half a shit encourages the people on their team to think, go and do.


And, in doing so, they also accept the inevitable mistakes that happen with those who are often reaching beyond what they are currently capable of <that reaching is called “growth” by the way>.


Leaders aside … anyone, in any organization worth a shit, is going to find themselves in situations where well intended actions which have become mistakes have been made.


<note: I will ignore the crappy organizations who believe stupid ongoing mistakes are a fundamental building block to everyday business>


This is where ‘owning up’ moves to the forefront.


In general … you will find owning up falls into three basic categories:



  • Cocoon the mistake.

It is mine. Examine it. Accept it. Blame yourself for it. Own it as an isolated incident.



  • Leverage the mistake.

It was mine. Examine it. I learned from it. Own it. Use it moving forward as a stepping stone.



  • Equivalize the mistake

<note: I made up the word “equivalize” … I could have used ‘equalize’ but it is actually more about someone searching for some equivalence that they can pony up in their defense>


It was mine … but … it was pretty similar to this other mistake … and remember when <insert name> did this? … which makes it not so bad, right?my bad mistake



<note: there are certainly degrees of each and every of these response categories>



Let me talk about these.


The first is a martyr. Throwing themselves at the mercy of the court.


The last is a victim. Saying … well … if you are going to convict me, be aware, you will also have to convict all these other people.


The middle one? Well. Before you convict me let me tell you how it makes me, and us, better.


Once again, any good manager worth half a shit will reflect upon their responsibility for the response before they respond. Good managers understand that they set the tone for ‘encouraging mistakes’ and managing the main filter someone flows through when assessing and articulating their own mistakes – fear of repercussions.


All that said.


If you remove fear of repercussion you gain some true insight into the person.


For example … a senior person who feels entitled and ‘above the fray’ will have little to no fear of repercussion and you will see who they truly are in their response. And they can fall into any of the three categories I outlined.


Younger employees, on the other hand, are more likely to be scared shitless and their response is like looking into a mirror of your management style.




Here is an interesting thought with regard to owning up.


Shit hitting the fan is like … well … a hurricane. Rarely is it simple and even rules not follow shitmore rarely does it stay a simple storm if you ignore it … it will eventually become a hurricane if you let it.


The thought?


The ‘i’ of the word hurricane is also in its center.


That is where owning up truly resides. How the “I” in the middle of the hurricane acts.


Still amidst the buffeting winds?


Scared of the mountain high waves?


Make little nuanced responses to remain in the calm of the hurricane?



“The little things? The little moments? — They aren’t little. “


John Zabat-Zinn



I imagine my point is that in owning up there is certainly the larger “am I willing to accept responsibility” but there are numerous little things within the acceptance which showcase character.


Being accountable, in general, demonstrates you are responsible. It certainly demonstrates you are willing to do shit, to make a mistake and are prepared to take accountability for it.


Being unaccountable creates an incredibly irksome dilemma to a manager.


“I didn’t do it” , when all the obvious evidence states you did do it, creates incredibly stilted conversations circling some alternative universes.


It can become an absurd dance around reality.


And, worse, not owning up to something actually creates a spark which creates a smoldering fire which needs to be constantly dealt with over and over and over again.


And each time its little flame appears it scorches that person’s integrity just a little more.


I know.


It is incredibly easy to point fingers when things go wrong. Even easier to not even speak up and hope that no one notices.


Good things, the right things, are always harder to do.


Which leads me to a really neat thing I found about ‘owning up’ … which I found when doing some research — an organization called ‘cultures of dignity’ that has a curriculum they offer for young people.



Owning Up teaches young people to understand their individual development in relation to group behavior, the influence of social media on their conflicts, and the dynamics that lead to discrimination and bigotry.


Whether you’re teaching in a school, a team, or a youth-serving organization, Owning Up is a flexible, dynamic curriculum that respects your knowledge of the young people you work with and the communities in which you serve.

Owning Up is a tool to help educators work with the most interesting, funny, and challenging people in the world: tweens and teens. It’s also a tool to teach young people the capacity to understand their individual development in relation to group behavior with their peers, the social dynamics that lead to discrimination and bigotry, and the skills to be socially competent in the difficult yet common social conflicts they experience.




I love it. I love we go out of our way to show young people the power of ‘owning up.’




Now adults have to exhibit the same behavior <or have their own class>.



Which leads me to Trump who is, unfortunately, serving as a potential role model for our young people.


I imagine I thought about ‘owning up’ because of Trump.


He has mastered the art of not owning up to anything. But he does it in a way that I am not sure I have ever seen before. He just ignores what he has said and done. He just keeps moving onward <not upward> and I imagine in his head he shows a disdain for ‘owning up’ because it is so far in his rear view mirror he can’t even see why others want to keep talking about it.

accountability quote

I am not sure if in his own alternative universe <in his head> he never did anything to own up to … or if he is so focused on where he is going next he cannot be bothered by going back to what was.


Either way … it teaches nothing about the value of ‘owning up’ to our young people and sends a horrible message with regard to accepting responsibility for words & actions.


I would be quite pleased if Trump ‘owned up’ to that.




All I would suggest to everyone is that there may be nothing more reflective of someone’s character than their ‘owning up’ behavior.

in order to do what we want to do

October 20th, 2016





“We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.”



James Farmer Jr.




“Success doesn’t come to you – you go to it.”


Marva Collins






I have written a number of times with regard to passion and how I tend to afraid lose mind find soul lifebelieve it is misguided advice to ‘follow your passion’ … in fact … I wrote ‘don’t find your passion’  as one of my thought pieces.


I will not recount my concerns with it.


Instead let’s focus on this little gem: what we want to do.


What we want to do spans everything from some grand audacious objective to some small ‘I want an ice cream cone’ want.


But I don’t care where you are on that spectrum … if you decide to do what you want to do you … well … you end up doing what you have to do in order to do it.


I imagine this is a different version of ‘go get it.’


I am fairly sure the line “if you want something, go get it … period” comes from “Pursuit of Happyness.” But this is not about happiness this is about doing what you want to do.


Doing what you have to do is not a passive thought. It is not ‘bending the rules’ or ‘do whatever it takes to win.’ It is all about actively pursuing what you want … going after it and … well … go get it type attitude.


This attitude is fairly consistent in its aspects & overall formula. I say it is a formula because you need to do all three of the things I list below … not just one.

I tend to believe everyone knows these aspects and this formula … and actually agrees with them … but not everyone actually does them.

But here you go:Bad 27 7 doing shit


Work … or … doing shit.


What you want almost certainly never comes to you.

I can almost guarantee that anything you want you will need to go get. It will require you to do some work and do some hard shit to get to some place where what you want is within reach.


If you do not take any action there will be no ‘what you want’ anywhere in your Life.






Relentless & resilient.


Work and doing is, unfortunately, not enough. Some people would suggest you need persistence … I will not. I think you need to be relentless and resilient.


Relentless implies not just persistency but a real ‘go get it’ attitude. Fortunately, participate relentlessly in manifestation liferesilience is inextricably tied to that attitude.


Relentless people tend to be more resilient.


I say that because, truth be told, rarely is ‘working hard’ enough. Because even though you are working and doing … Life has a nasty habit of throwing obstacles in your way. And, let’s face it, it is always easier to find an excuse then it is to fight thru the obstacle <especially if the obstacles are relentless>. Resilience is kind of the engine for your progress … no resilience and the engine will stop.




Relentless and resilient may not insure Life won’t find some way to beat you down but it sure makes it more difficult for Life to do so.

Relentless and resilience keeps you in the game. It keeps you on the path toward what you want.





“It isn’t normal to know what we want.

It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”


Abraham Maslow






Give your best.


Not all work is created equal and not all ‘relentless’ is created equal. In other words … you can work long and hard and still fall short of what you want to do.



Never forget.do your best boy


You are the architect of your own fate. And the architects’ best tool is … well … doing your best.

And, unfortunately, you cannot know if the day you take off … or the day you decide to give something less than your best … is the day Fate decides to pay attention to you.


You have to give your best every day and every minute you can.


The other unfortunate thing is that rarely is ‘your best’ and ‘something’ <the outcome> immediate. It can sometimes take days, weeks, months and even years before you can see the results for your actions and relentlessness.


The only thing that is for certain is if you stop or give up you will lose it all.





That’s why this is a formula … you gotta work, be relentless and give your best to do what you want to do.




Here is the good news <because that all sounded like a shitload of work>.


If you really do all the things I just suggested and do what you need to do to do what you want to do … your success will be on your terms … and no one else’s.




“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”



Anna Quindlen




In order to do what you want we do what we have to get it.

work in progress i

Not only does good shit ‘just happen’ but you have to work hard to have good shit happen.


Most of us know that.



We all wish to that success, and gaining what we want, would just be a little easier on occasion.


The only solace I can offer is that if you do things on your own terms, you do what you need to do to get what you want and you work hard doing your best … well … that is the best tasting success you will ever be served.


is the fault in the stars?

August 21st, 2016

 fault mine




“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”



Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar





fault in our stars dear brutus julius caserFate, fault and personal responsibility.


John Green made this quasi famous Shakespeare quote famous again to an entirely new generation.


John Green made an entirely new generation start thinking philosophically about fate … and how you deal with it.




I have written about fate and destiny before.


Personally I don’t think much about it. Mostly because … well … I kind of figure if there is such a thing as fate it is completely out of my hands <it is in the stars> and I would be better off getting out and doing shit … my shit in particular, seizing fate by the throat as it were, rather than awaiting Fate to stop by and tell me, like an odd little waiter, what I should or shouldn’t do.


But … yeah … some things are written in the stars. Some things are out of your control and they happen … even if you do absolutely everything right in your Life <which is, practically speaking, almost impossible>.


In his book John Green used cancer as what as written in the stars.


I could most likely list a long list of various shit things many people are faced with that … well … they certainly had no desire facing.


But the point of the quote is how we respond to what the stars fate us with.


Our choice, or non choice, to do something in response.


Our choice, or non choice,  to make the best of whatever it is we are faced with in life.


Our choice, or non choice, to say it is the fault of the stars or the fault of ourselves in where we go with whatever Fate has handed us.



fate is a motherfuckerLook.


Fate is a motherfucker the majority of the time.


A real bastard.



Why do I say that?




How often do we view Fate with a smile?


<not that often>


More often we view that sonuvabitch Fate with sadness and dismay.


More often we view that sonuvabitch Fate with a yearning to be able to better control circumstances.


And, on occasion, we ponder Fate as if we actually did something to deserve it.

We reflect & opine upon on our actions and suggest to ourselves “if only”, with regret, thinking that somehow & someway we could have mastered Fate and redirected it.


That somehow if we had acted differently Fate would have been different.


That somehow we could have rearranged the stars in the sky.




Stars are stars.body making a fault in stars




Fate is fate.


And Fate listens to no one but itself.


Sometimes fate is fate and you can’t do anything about it.


But here is what you can do.

Truly your own acts with regard to fate reside in how you respond not in how you can avoid.




Shakespeare certainly was pretty good about suggesting that your actions, and your decisions to become involved, can impact other’s Fate … and by not taking action you assume some ‘fault.’


And I buy that.




Fate is fate.


You can act and something good can happen … and something unintended bad can happen.


You can not act and something good can happen … and something unintended bad can happen.


Acts you take are rarely simple cause & effect.


Acts you take are also very difficult to find correlations with <note: cause and correlation are two very different things>.


I imagine some people reading the last few things I have written start thinking … well … Life sucks if you cannot be sure that anything you do is right or good.


They shouldn’t.




created my own worldNo one shouldn’t.


While Fate may reside in the stars … ‘fault’ in Life resides within us.


Fate will be fate and will be there regardless of anything we do or don’t do.


Let Fate own the stars.


But … Life is ours to own.


And it is our fault if we do not own it.


in this place time moves away

June 9th, 2016

time moves away clock eternity


Aici lo tems s’en , va res l’Eternitat.”

<here, in this place, time moves away toward eternity>




“The first to do nothing, when a situation demands nothing, often gets everything.”



Bruce McTague







In this place time moves away toward eternity.


Echoes in eternity ripplesWhenever I see this phrase I think two thoughts:


  • those moments in which a decision is made, a choice is arrived at, and life moves away from that time, and place and choice … toward eternity


  • All things in their own time.


In today’s world everything is urgent, a crisis or a life directional decision.

And that is a false narrative.



We make hundreds of decisions and choices daily. More often than not decision 133 relegates decision 27 to the scrap heap.


It is because of this more often than not we make any decision we can, when we can, and move on. It’s not because we are lazy or because we are thoughtless but experience tells us that on most choices another choice will arise in which we can correct whatever we may have got wrong in some past choice.


That is a basic understanding of consequences of choice.

And, more often than not, that is a Life truth.


I would suggest this basic understanding partially drives how most of us await choices and decisions rather than proactively seek out ones to make. We assume choices have a mind of their own and will … well … all things in their own time.


The challenge with this approach to Life is that inaction is also a choice. And it is actually an active choice. I say that because many times in action can be the correct action.doing something doing nothing life



For example.

If a decision is not needed and yet you force a decision upon the moment … an unintended consequence may be that you have circumvented the arrival of a more correct answer to choose from. Hence … as I said upfront … doing nothing can sometimes get you everything.


And then, of course, there are the moments to push a decision and choice into the moment. And, yes, I purposefully used “push.”


Because these are the choices and decisions which time moves away toward eternity.


These are the choices which you push because you want it to get started and gain momentum toward eternity … not just lollygag its way toward eternity.





We don’t have many of those. While we reflect back on Life we may think we see more than there really are … in truth … while all choices & decisions move away toward eternity only some truly have consequences on eternity.


It is difficult to know when and where to push. Just as it is difficult to know when and where to do nothing.


Moments don’t come with directions and choices & decisions don’t come in certain packages so you can recognize them for what they are.


I sometimes worry that we have created a world, certainly a business world, which is increasingly hasty and we are conditioning everyone to not only demand an answer <even if no answer is called for> and, maybe worse, even to grab the first answer that comes along.


We certainly are not teaching to any extent that do nothing can ultimately give you everything.


We certainly are not teaching to any extent that not all do somethings are created equal and that the immediate consequence is not always a reflection of the ultimate consequence.


Here is what I know.


It can feel overwhelming to admit to yourself that you have a personal responsibility for any and all choices & decisions you make … all hundreds you make every day. But each and every one of us do have that responsibility. And I say that because if you accept the responsibility you have significantly increased your odds to not only do nothing in the moments which you could gain everything as well as identify the true moments in which what you do or say will move on toward eternity.


I do it every day.

feels perfect to be imperfect


I weigh my choices, decisions and words. And by “weigh” I gladly accept the burden of this particular way of Life and responsibility.


Does this mean I get it right? Shit no.


But … I do believe that this attitude has made me better at choices & decisions over time. While practice , in this case, certainly does not make perfect … it makes ‘less imperfect.’


And maybe that is the goal for all of us … not perfection … but less imperfection.



resilience, personal responsibility & progressively not getting stuck

March 10th, 2016

resilience tattoo




“Our humanity is not an attribute that we have received once and forever with our conception.

It is a potentiality that we have to discover within us and progressively develop or destroy through our confrontation with the different experiences of suffering that will meet us through our life.”


Xavier Le Pichon





“You’ll have to help yourself.”



Lemony Snicket






This is about us.


People. Individuals.




Let’s call it “the power of I.”

where are you moving better




And the fact we either grow or diminish what we have in terms of “I”.






That begs the question … what is the power each of us have?



I would suggest that your power is actually a reflection of your character <and its resilience>. Character actually begets all the shit we truly care about … resiliency, personal responsibility, integrity, morality, In addition … it is character that dictates whether, and how, you either progressively develop or diminish.


And therein lies the true power of I.



Yet, we face an inherent ongoing challenge to this power.



Character is not solid … it can get chipped.

What I mean by that is once you start taking shortcuts, the ones that appear to make the Life travel a little easier, a little cheat here … a little lie there… maybe a little taking advantage of the system … all of which chips a little of your integrity & character away.

That may not seem so bad … but character is a non-renewable resource.



In addition.


Each time you take a shortcut, no matter how small, and get away with it … it becomes even easier to decide to do it another time – that’s the slippery slope of character erosion.



Just think about what I just wrote for a minute.


You can be crappy at reading, writing and arithmetic … or pretty much anything that people bitch about all the time … but you can’t get along being crappy at Life itself.


And you certainly cannot get along with a crappy character.


You have to fight the good fight in Life, try and avoid the short cuts, and maintain your character and have faith, and courage, to keep character from eroding in the face of Life. Surprisingly … this is an ongoing fight day in and day out week after week.



Now. That said.


Character is a tricky thing to self assess. Interestingly … we all think we know ourselves well, but, psychological studies show otherwise.main thing dedicate


In fact, <unfortunately> most of us are somewhat deluded about ourselves.



And in that delusion we tend to be slightly misguided with regard to what we should do and how to do it <because the basic premise of who we are is flawed>.



This is really really important for us to think about because research has clearly linked social mobility to social and emotional skills. Emotional skills ranging from empathy and the ability to make and maintain relationships, mental toughness, delayed gratification and self-control all contribute to social mobility <and Life success>.


These research findings all point to the same conclusion — that character counts.


Now. Research also points out that character is developed not necessarily instilled <experienced versus taught>.



Research shows that people who overcome adversity and realize their full potential tend to exhibit many of the same traits.


Traits that can be thought of as a belief in one’s ability to achieve, an understanding of the relationship between effort and reward, the patience to pursue long-term goals, the perseverance to stick with the task at hand, and the ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks.


These various traits all fall under the broad heading of “character and resilience.”





That said.


If character is about experience then I get to bitch a little about personal accountability or personal responsibility.



Or … in other words … responsibility for your own actions.



Today it seems like a shitload of people suggest their actions, faults, any excessive unacceptable behavior, or any … well … generally heinous or unacceptable behavior … are a reflection of outside influences, society driven/motivated, challenging home growing up, poverty, ethnicity, or any experience that we can identify as ‘generated pain’ which inevitably impacted us irresponsibility made easyin childhood. Let’s title all of that under one big fat heading of “excuse.”



It is almost like no one, okay, far too many, wants to accept responsibility for their problems.



All I can think is that some people … this is what they learned. Which makes me ask … :who the hell taught them this?”





On the other hand … I know for sure that some of us learn that when you screw up it is on ‘you’ and no one else. This ‘learning’ teaches us that basically you can be frequently wrong, frequently stupid, frequently imperfect … but if you have been taught to be accountable … to admit it … you may get some shit from people but you will also be known as someone who is accountable for their own actions.


You assume responsibility for all the good and bad that you do.



This can be harrowing at times and incredibly rewarding at other times.






“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”




Anna Quindlen





And this leads me to destiny, fate … and resilience.






I believe we make our own destinies.

A destiny may await us but we need to go & do things, to make choices, in order to actually get to our destiny.


Every day we are presented with choices.


Some we don’t even recognize. Some we don’t even see <until they are past>.

Some we see and make a choice. Our destiny is a reflection of these choices … made and not made.


Making your destiny is hard. Because we see, and don’t see, choices and make, and don’t make, choices.



“Of course it’s hard! If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Hard is what makes it great.”

<For the Love of the Game>



This is a Life truth. Shit. It is true about everything we do <even making the perfect cup of coffee in the morning>.



And that is where resilience comes into play.



fail persist succeed resilienceBecause you will always have disappointments. You will always have dreams that don’t come true. You will always have bad shit happening. And you will always make some bad choices.


And in all of what I just wrote we have a habit of getting stuck.



You get stuck knowing what you already know.


You get stuck on what happened in the past.


You get stuck thinking about shit that you cannot do anything about.


You get stuck on disappointments, dreams that don’t come true and bad choices.



We just get … well … stuck.



Resilience is all about being able to overcome all the simple tragedies you face in life. Not the big dramatic shit just the everyday shit.







George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”





As far as I’m concerned, Shaw was a punk.

‘Cause you know what? Tragedies happen.

What are you gonna do? Give up? Quit?

No. I realize now that when your heart breaks, you gotta fight like hell to make sure you’re still alive. ‘Cause you are, and that pain you feel, that’s life.

The confusion and fear, that’s there to remind you that somewhere out there is something better. And that ‘something’ is worth fighting for.





Resilience really isn’t about hope or dreams or vision for what you want & desire and doing what you need to do to stay on that path.


Resilience is more about recognizing Life is hard and the practicality that if you want to make some progress and develop … you gotta fight like hell to not get stuck.



Simplistically you take personal responsibility for not getting stuck.growing up life challenge resilience


And you now what? You have to.


Because Life makes it really really easy to get stuck. You can get stuck on so many things it is scary if you think about it.


But you can really only get stuck if you let it happen.



Progress is, more often than not, in your hands. Which means your destiny is in your hands. That, my friends, is the power of I … the power driven by the engine of Character. Character is your destiny.


I’m not that great a guy, OK?

March 2nd, 2016

blanace greater good matters do



“I’m not that great a guy, OK?


I’m just doing the best I can.”




John Kasich





“The difference between people who fail and people who succeed in many cases is not fear, it’s what they do with that fear.”




Donny Deutsch





I recently saw two people on television <at different times> that made me think about … uhm … following.


And by ‘following’ I mean working for someone or following a leader.





Talk with anyone I have ever worked for and you would most likely hear that I am not an ‘easy follower.’ What I mean by that is I like to lead and can be one of those ‘good difficult employees.’ I work hard, I think hard, I like my businesses to go hard, and I err on the side of doing what I believe is right <in terms of ethics and tangible decisions>.


That may sound good but it can sometimes put me in a different place & decision than the place & decision the people I worked for was thinking.



To be clear.


I never was adamantly stubborn on ‘I am right and you are wrong’ nor was I never willing to compromise and I was always willing listen … it was more “if you haven’t thought your decision out well I am not going to follow that decision without some challenging.”


dont follow me

I say all that because my business style made me very very aware of people I would follow.

Because of my style and business acumen I had to attune my leader antennae for leaders I would have a healthy respect for and would … well … work for.



<note: … I believe we should all fine tune our antennae on this>



Anyway. As for the two people I saw on television.


I have never met John Kasich. But I sense I would unhesitatingly work for him.


I have met, briefly <he would never remember meeting me>, Donnie Deutsch and I would have liked to have worked for him.



Let me begin with Donnie.

Prior to meeting him I was sure I would hate working for him. My sense was dictator style management, some version of narcissistic and a clear ‘my way or the highway’ decision making within his company.



I was wrong.



He has a wonderful matter of fact style of communicating, with a wonderful ability to communicate some insight in a few amount of words, an absolutely intense style of listening and is charismatic and engaging as a person.


And, after talking with a friend of mine who knew Donnie well and had been in a number of meetings with he & his team, I discovered he enjoyed hiring good people and getting out of their way as much as he could.donny deutsch quotes



I walked away from him that one day saying to myself: “whew, I would work for him if he offered me a job.” <He never did>



And John Kasich.


In a world in which we shout at the top of our lungs that everyone is extraordinary and can do something extraordinary <which sets some fairly daunting heights in Life> all of a sudden on television, a man running for president says “I’m not that great a guy.”


Compare that to several hours later another man running for president says “I am the best” … well … so many times you had no doubt what he thinks of himself <”I am a great guy & people love me” is an exact quote>.



It reminded me that the line between humility and arrogance is massive. And that leadership is often defined somewhere in that massive space.





After listening to John Kasich … I thought to myself: “whew, I would work for him if he offered me a job.” <he hasn’t>


To be clear <part 1>.


This is not about me thinking I am exceptional in any way.

This is about recognizing following someone is not a decision to be made blindly.

Frankly, recognizing this can make or break your career.


I have a responsibility in the equation. In other words … if I choose to follow someone I have a … well … responsibility to follow.


That said … I do have some leader DNA in me which means that I have to find leaders who don’t just have a title which enables leading … but has a title and can lead.



This certainly makes it tougher for me to find a job but I also know that when I do find a job I am happier and more successful.


That’s the bargain I have made with myself and with whomever I follow.



To be clear <part 2>.


This isn’t about politics nor is it about who is actually the best qualified. This is about character and what inspires a person internally to be, and do, the best they can … and lead people in a way they follow.



I will clearly state that option one in my Kasich explanation <”I am not that great a guy”> is exactly where I am personally. But. I also recognize, and have friends, who need to attack Life differently in order to get to where they want to go.


Some absolutely do it with more élan and more outward confidence.


I am not one to judge for many many others are more successful than I and have walked a different path to get there.



character_traits1But let me suggest the glue that holds the style and the substance together is character.


It’s what makes anyone stand out regardless of whether it is in times of stress or simple everyday moments.


Not only do I watch my own behavior and judge it on character I tend to watch everyone closely seeking signs of character.



To be very clear here. I am not endorsing anyone for president <I am simply in the “anyone but Trump” camp>. And maybe I am discussing some things that are important as we select a president … but I believe, more importantly, I am discussing leadership and following.



And, please, do not dismiss the idea of ‘following’ or being a ‘follower.’


99.9% of us are followers, i.e., we are following someone. We may chafe at that fact but it is the truth. I sometimes believe we do not think enough about “what kind of follower am I” and “what responsibility am I going to assume as a follower.”


Maybe we don’t because it kind of sucks to suggest “I am a follower.” But following is not a bad thing … if you are following the right ‘lead.’


We put leaders up on a pedestal – in terms of expectations, criteria and criticism – and we should. They are leaders for God’s sake … they are not us <nor should they be>.


But we should also be judging ourselves as followers – in terms of expectations, criteria and criticism.



All I know is that I accept I am a follower and I believe I have a responsibility in choosing who I will follow <in the choice as well as my behavior once I have made that choice>.





Donnie Deutsch and John Kasich.


Two people I would follow. Two people I would have worked for. I would imagine they wouldn’t give a rat’s ass that I typed that and said that. But I wouldn’t, and I cannot, work for anyone.


In fact … the list of people I wanted, and want, to work for is significantly shorter than all my fingers & toes <and I have all of them>.


Just listening to Donnie speak on TV the other day reminded me of the moment I knew I could work for him <and follow him>.


And let me share the moment I felt that way about Kasich <who I’m not voting for but would work for>.


There was a vivid demonstration of character in the presidential campaign the other day. One that makes you realize that there is hope within our leadership and that good still does reside in the hearts of people.


John Kasich often notes that sometimes you have to celebrate the success of others, and sometimes you have to cry with them.


kasich the hug

At one campaign event Kasich demonstrated the kind of leader he is by showing empathy for, and with, a young man who after walking us through verbally a heart wrenching personal story suggests he has found ‘his president.’


<the video I am including is not the most used one … I included this one because it has the words and it follows Kasich … who has the character to walk toward the young man as he talks instead of maintaining distance as he listens ….


<I have also included the typical video clip you see of this event on TV>

This is what a leader should embody.  Compassion, intense listening, character, heart, ability to create followers <with heart>.


To me? The moment when Kasich walks to him, hugs him and offers comfort cannot fail to not only touch you but remind you that character matters.


It should remind us that while character resides within us … that if we do it right … our character can uncover the hearts & soul of those AROUND us. And therein truly lies the power of character.


the best things


I am not that great a guy.



I am just doing the best I can.



Words to live by. Words to guide. Words that make you want to follow the person who says them.


In the end.


I wrote this not just to discuss the importance of character in a leader but to suggest that we, the ‘following majority’, should be consciously not just looking at our careers as “job responsibilities” but also “follower responsibilities.”


Throughout my career I have seen gobs of job descriptions which have made me salivate and think “I would do anything to have that job” and, yet, upon closer look have uncovered managers or leaders who I would hesitate to follow. Jobs are part of careers. And careers are bigger than jobs. And careers are often made, or broken, not by your job but rather by how you follow.And that is because, well, 99.9% of us are following and not leading.


Think about that.




“any life, no matter how long and complex

it may be, is made up of a single moment.

the moment in which a person finds out,

once and for all,

who he is.”


jorge luis borges




Enlightened Conflict