Enlightened Conflict

and from time to time they permit themselves to be told

April 4th, 2017

letters to myself never read

 

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“The world is full of stories, and from time to time they permit themselves to be told …”

 

—–

An aboriginal saying

 

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I believe that the magic and power of a story can encourage and fascinate you.

In prehistory, outside the cave it was dark, but inside they had a fire and somebody was good at telling stories.

Every time I write, I think of the cave.

We are one group, outside it’s dark and wolves are howling, but I have a story to tell.

 

—–

Haruki Murakami

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Ok.

 

stories on wallsIt’s difficult to discuss stories too often.

The fact is that being able to tell a story … okay … tell the story you want … well … is possibly one of the most important skills anyone can have – in life or in business.

 

But let me stay on the business side of stories.

 

Throughout my career I have had the fortune to work with the most unglamorous products & companies you could ever think of <industrial products, commodity like machinery, etc.> and some fairly glamourous products & companies.

 

What they all have in common is that they have a story to tell … and when told well it makes them successful — in sales, in market place positioning, in competitive scenarios, in public discussions, etc.

 

I used to think storytelling was so natural to everyone I assumed everyone would want to tell their story … or maybe better said … talk about their business, their company, their product … as a story.

 

I no longer think that.

 

I haven’t figured out if it is that not everyone can actually tell a good story or that business has beaten the shit out of people so badly that the default articulation is a list of functional features and pragmatic benefits. What I do know is that business storytelling, in general, sucks.

It is absolutely horrible.

 

Meaningless metaphors and less-than-relevant analogies and misused quotes are scattered among the useful functional and pragmatic in the attempt to elevate that which is usefully boring to interestingly useful.

And because that is the case … well … most people either think storytelling is really really hard or that storytelling really has no place in what they are doing.vivid story demonstration metaghor

 

That is nuts.

 

The truth is you can take the most boring of boring, the most functional of functional & most ‘seemingly same of seemingly same’ and wrap it within a story and it … well … becomes compelling, interesting and distinct.

 

The truth is any business contains the essential parts to create a story … heroes, villains, vivid demonstrations or metaphors, life & death and even mysteries and solutions.

 

The truth is anyone can tell a story <it is possible that not everyone can write a story though>.

 

In fact … I feel relatively confident is stating that a good story to tell makes everyone better & more interesting.

 

I do not care what industry you work within or what type of product or service you sell or represent your word is full of stories … and, most likely, a fabulous story just asking for permission to be told.

 

All that said.

 

Someone is most likely sitting somewhere scratching their head thinking … “WTF, that sounds good but I have no clue what to do.”

 

Aw.

 

You do.

You do know what to do.

 

Stop thinking about selling your idea or selling your product/service or even selling your company … think about telling a story.

 

Shit.

 

nuts and bolts commodityI could work for a nuts & bolts manufacturer and be able to put a picture of two nuts & bolts side by side <one mine and one someone else’s>  which look 99.9% exactly the same … and be able to say … “Let me tell you a story about this nut & bolt … because its story is different than this nut & bolt. They look the same but their story is different.

 

Oh.

 

And my story wouldn’t be solely some manufacturing mumbo jumbo but rather a story about who counted on it and how my nut & bolt was the best friend to someone and … well … you get the point.

 

Unfortunately we don’t seem to be in the storytelling business in business these days.

 

Instead we bore down on manufacturing specifications, stress quotients, side by side rankings and a whole bunch of technically important functional aspects.

 

And you know what?

That shit is important.

 

Really important.

 

nuts an bolts story city growTo be sure … if it is my nut & bolt holding a wing on some plane carrying 300 passengers you can bet your last dollar the technical aspects of my nuts & bolts matter. I don’t argue that.

What I argue is HOW the technical aspects are articulated and delivered. What I argue is that if I can make my nuts & bolts look like a city of ideas through some story … I win.

 

Stories make presentations more interesting.

Stories make bland functional aspects take on some color <which equals value>.

Stories persuade people think <and thinking equals engagement>.

Stories to motivate us to see beyond the simple nut & bolt.

 

Suffice it to say … what you say is lost if you do not master how you say it.

 

Storytelling has been a mainstay of the marketing world since … well … forever.

And while it tries to sneak into the non-marketing aspects of the business world it often gets stiff armed by functional communicators – “get to the point” people.

 

This ‘get to the point’ point is nonsense.

 

Storytelling doesn’t sacrifice the functional and pragmatic and practical … it actually elevates it to ts highest value.

 

I could argue that stories are the essential driver of value, change & persuasion … throughout the history of business.whispers stories

 

Look.

 

I would never tell a business to not show the numbers, graphs and facts. It is important.

But strategic use of a good story can make those same bland things surprise people, make them become compelling characters in a story and instead of being cold hard facts laying on a page they can become things that make us think & feel.

 

Story telling is important in that it engages people, communicates relevant meaningful information, builds value on some things that can often be difficult to build value on and, ultimately, it makes you, your product or service & your company distinct.

Why? Because it has a story to tell.

 

The business world is full of stories, and from time to time they permit themselves to be told …

 

 

innocent until proven guilty

October 30th, 2016

 

i-was-innocent

—————–

 

“Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made, or by dark images you hold about yourself.

 

They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused. “

 

=

Alan Cohen

 

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Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

 

One of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

In other words, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, each essential element of the crime charged.

 

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I used the opening quote in this post in my ‘recognizing the real person’ post in which I suggested judging people is more difficult than many of us make it out to young innocence decisions context inspiresbe <“I could tell whether that person was guilty or not”, immediately, being one of the most misguided, and potentially damning, things we do>.

 

Thinking someone is guilty of something is an insidious little thought.

 

Like John Green said …

 

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 “Once you think a thought, it is extremely difficult to unthink it.”

 

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John Green

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That is the reason why innocent until proven guilty is difficult to grasp, difficult to do and difficult to practice.

 

And it is even more so in today’s world.

 

While our court system continues to practice ‘innocent until proven guilty’ … this practice continuously crashes into a society, and certainly a social world online, that immediately rushes to a “guilty until proven innocent” verdict world.

 

And if you do try and suggest that someone should wait until the facts come out … or that maybe, just maybe, someone is innocent … you are blasted for be being naïve or ignoring ‘common sense thinking.’

 

Well.

 

The whole scenario bothers me.

5.0.2

5.0.2

You are either a believer of innocent until proven guilty or you are not.

 

It is not contextual or situational or ‘right for one person and not right for another person.’

 

It is one of the basic beliefs of the American society.

And maybe we need a lesson in social studies or civic studies to remind ourselves of that.

 

 

I once wrote … we all have guilt for something. The something could be big … it could be very small. But that is the funny thing about guilt … its size doesn’t matter. Normal laws of space & weight do not apply to guilt. A sliver of guilt can bear the same weight as a mountain of guilt.

All that matters is how we choose to bear that weight.

 

 

innocent no_one_is_innocent-graffitiI sometimes think because we all know we are guilty of something that we struggle to find innocence in others in the public eye. And, yet, I should remind everyone, that while we may be guilty of something, we are more likely than not … innocent of more than we are guilty of.

And, maybe we should all self reflect a little, I tend to believe we would all like to be judged more often by the bulk of our innocence than on the sliver of guilts we may bear.

 

We should sit and think about that.

All of us.

 

There is no such thing as an innocent word.

 

They are all going to end up being guilty of something.

I say that because we should use words wisely with regard to people’s innocence.

 

Anyway.

 

I could get extremely philosophic with regard to why we people may err on the side of wanting to jump to ‘guilty’ rather than innocence but I will not.

 

I will not because America actually makes it much simpler.

 

Innocent until proven guilty is part of who we are as a country.

 

Just as a right to bear arms.

 

Just as a right to speech.

 

Just as a right to believe different thoughts.

 

Just as a right to your own religion and religious thoughts.

 

And, yes, even people in the public eye deserve the right to be innocent until proven guilty.

 

And that means people in roles of responsibility … well … have a responsibility to maintain that same belief and vocalize it.

 

This presidential election has not only been crazy but it has brought out craziness with regard to who and what we are as a country.

 

What someone is guilty of is not something to be speculated.innocent-until-proven-guilty

 

Why?

 

Because they are innocent until proven guilty.

 

The right to be presumed innocent is one of the mainstays of who and what we are as Americans. And, yet, the presumption of innocence is undergoing an uncomfortable change in ‘society law’ which is encouraged by an increasing amount <oddly> by extreme conservative websites & spokespeople <who are supposed to be the ultimate purveyors of the constitution and constitutional rights> as well as … uhm … natural human behavior <which embodies a natural instinct to ‘where there is smoke there is fire’ attitude>.

 

We cannot, and should not, ignore these dynamics. But the right to be presumed innocent is one of the main procedural safeguards in the framework of an American criminal system. And it should remain one of the main procedural, mental, safeguards in the societal framework.

 

It not only benefits the accused but it benefits society.

If we sacrifice that we sacrifice more than just the right we sacrifice a significant part of … well … a ‘better society’ and better citizenship.

 

As Ben Franklin noted … giving us liberty for the sake of security means we are not deserving of the freedoms.

 

Look.

 

Yes.

 

Presidential campaigns seem to bring out the worst in everyone.

 

One of the things that forces us to bring out our best is … is … well … innocent until proven guilty.

 

Yes.

 

The worst thrives in a public social online universe that feeds on ‘guilty until proven innocent” <which our forefathers inherently understood that ‘perceptions of guilt are almost unrecoverable in the public eye and thought to head that off at the pass>.

And that means ‘our best’ needs to have some backbone and resolve and resilience in the face of our worst.

 

Innocent until proven guilty.

 

This is a constitutional right.

 

And maybe some Republicans <and the RNC> need to be reminded of that. It is part of what makes America different and makes America fair & reasonable & … well … makes Hillary different from Trump.

 

I believe if you feel like you have done nothing wrong of course stand up and say so.

 

I believe if you have done something wrong of course stand up and say so.

 

But ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is not about what you have done right or wrong … it is what America stands for.

guilty-until-proven-innocent

Someone smarter than I needs to figure out how to remind everyone of that.

This is simply my small attempt to do so.

 

I have no idea whether Hillary Clinton has done anything criminal or is a criminal. What I do know is that we are all innocent until proven guilty.

And shouting from the mountaintop that someone is guilty, without specific proof, does not make it so.

 

If I were the Clinton campaign I would make the ‘high road’ pivot in the last week based on ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

I believe they have the opportunity because of this new FBI thing to pivot against the so-called law & order candidate and his “law” surrogates who seem to have forgotten that the whole foundation of law & order is innocent until proven guilty. The heinous “they look guilty” is at the root of profiling, stop & frisk, prejudice against Muslims, Jewish people, Catholics as well as ‘anyone who does not look like me’ … and the rights of everyone in America.

we-are-innocent-until-proven-guilty

Regardless.

 

This is bigger than any presidential election.

 

Innocent until proven guilty is institutional.

 

And to defray this part of our institution is to seed rot in our house. And, at this time and place, I see far too many responsible people irresponsibly planting seeds of this rot.

 

Anyone shouting guilty, without any real proof … and I mean REAL proof <not speculation or innuendoes or ‘common sense’> is rotten.

 

We need to eliminate the rot. We need to refind who and what we are as Americans. Americans who are innocent until proven guilty.

Enlightened Conflict