Politesse: The oil of a healthy world!

Today I look around me and realize something…

hmmmm, wait…. we need a solid vector of attack for this….

Okay, vaccinations.  there are people today who think that vaccines are optional…and I’ll tell you why.  They work, they work really well…SO well that we have forgotten how blissfully healthy this world we live in is.  We don’t have to compose with

Type b (Hib) Meningitis
Hepatitis B
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Rubella (German Measles)
Varicella (Chickenpox)
Tetanus (Lockjaw)

Hundreds of thousands of people avoid paralysis, deafness, blindness, braces, death.  All this is a way of reminding our selves that vaccines are important, but somehow in our first world arrogance we forget these things and build up an opinion that vaccines are optional…or worse dangerous.  We need vaccines to help keep our society moving slowly forward.

Politesse is the same.  We have come to a place, as a society where we have some how decided that being polite and showing deference to others is “old-fashioned” we are too good for being considerate, polite, generous, consistent.  We can just walk out the door and ignore the world because we are the chosen center of the universe.  There is a perverse kind of attitude that comes from being too good for your boots.

Today we need to work harder to maintain the good things from the past.  While there is plenty of bath water that we can get rid of I think we shouldn’t forget the baby.

We are living in a wonderful time that will allow us to implement aspects of participative democracy and community that will blow old ways out of the water, and all the better!  But we come from somewhere and there is something to remember, that place made this one possible, so there must be value in that way of being.

We need to remember there is value in working hard, being polite, showing strangers kindness and deference.  Politeness allows people to oil their relationships.  It makes the world a smoother place to live.  We are relational beings we need each other!  So it is important to maintain those relationships and the things that make relationships healthy.  and here we can learn something from the Swiss.   One of the reasons their society works so well is the avid avoidance of keeping up with the joneses.  They don’t talk about money, and they don’t spend their time showing pictures of their last vacation in the south. (yes Facebookers, that’s you)

So take a moment and pull out your copy of manners for idiots and brush up on a few lost arts and see what a difference it makes, in your life, your business, your relationships, and your inner peace…you may be surprised!

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Loss and moving on!

Freedom is the ultimate goal of many people and you know what…when we loose something we are freed from it.  Something wonderful was opened up when someone said, the stuff you own starts owning you.  The something is true in many relationships, places, attachements of any kind.  We are creatures of habit and it can be difficult to create a habit of change and growth.  One of the ultimate goals of many is to grow through out their entire life.

And sometimes we become fixed, we grow solid and sedimented into our relationships and we mourn them when they are lost.  But what we often forget is that we are suddenly invited by the world and life to reinvent something new to replace that lost content.  Life abhors a vacuum and we are able to invent anything that we can envision.  Life is wonderful for that.

When there is nothing we are before a kind of blank canvas, in our case that canvas is our life, our business, our relationships that we had before.  Now you have the opportunity to invent something, a style, a product, a new way of behaving that allow us to grow and create the world that we really want.

It may take great courage, or just great energy to break out of that mould that we find ourselves in.   However every body has that spark inside themselves, perhaps in your team or your very self.  The spark is always burning deep in our soul and it wants to create that freedom every day no matter how sure you are that your life is never going to change there is a way to open yourself up to growth and making something new….

So the next time you loose something or someone, remember the thing that you are feeling is not bad it is the vacuum that needs filling.  It is a call to action to make a better life for yourself, to create the thing you always wanted to do, have, be to take its place.

GO make something new…

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TANSTAAFL! Economics in Eight Words

The emergency director of the bankrupt city of Detroit used this word on the radio last year. It is in fact an acronym made famous by Robert Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress it stands for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch! ” fundamentally it means everything has a cost.

The term comes from the trend of early 20th century bars and saloons to offer a free lunch, often composed of highly salty foods, to any patron who bought a drink (and then another, and another…).

So while things sometimes appear to be free they have a hidden cost. Sometimes those costs are hidden monetary direct costs, or sometimes they are societal costs.

So two examples…first direct and then societal:

1) in the bar senario you offer a lunch that you can cover in the profits you make on the drinks. So you attract customers by giving them free food for drinks…let’s say the food costs 2$ to buy and prepare, and the beer costs 1.25$, but you sell the beer for 4.50$ you made 1.25$ profit and the next beer makes you a clear 3.25$ for all the beers that follow.

2) Let’s use consumerism as the next example. I buy a MASEM industries useless-widget number 4. It comes in packaging, it was shipped to me and I eventually throw it out, because, well, it’s useless… Now I paid 2$ for the UW#4 and MASEM made 1.50$ profit. But who pays for the cost of the CO2 in the air, the shipping of my garbage to and from my house and the storage of the non-recyclable refuse created when I throw it away? We all do! It costs taxes for the garbage disposal, we no longer have access to the land that is the dump, our collective health declines due to the worsening air due to climbing CO2 levels, and I have less money in my pocket due to investing in a UW#4. Those costs are not all directly related to my purchase of the UW#4 but they do cost all of society something. And we have no choice but to pay.

So as you can see There is no such thing as a free lunch!

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A request for the best!

“Don’t wear that! It makes you look poor!” Is that something to say to a woman in maternity wear 3 months after giving birth? Was that rude? Not when my grandmother says it!

And now I’ll tell you why! When we communicate there is a second level of communications that rests behind the words that we say. That level of communications is as important or more than the words that we have spewed out into the world.

In this case there was consideration and respect behind the words ” don’t wear that, it makes you look poor.”

There is also another layer to the communication that was there, and it was the following: You are a pretty, intelligent and driven woman who deserves to look beautiful and successful stop wearing stuff that makes you look like a balloon! And there was truth behind that as well. My wife looked at her and she said…”your right!” And her wardrobe changed almost over night.

When we are a request for the best from our environnement and we look towards our surrounding to lift itself up and generate themselves as the best that they can be for themselves, sometimes it takes words that shake us up. Words that aren’t the nice ones. Words that make us stop and think. And all things can be delivered with tact and politesse even if the words would otherwise be seen as offensive.

I also wrote an obituary recently that generated some controversy when someone read it because of the choice of words. And I had to stand my ground on the content of that text until the other person came back to me and said…”you know what? [I love this…]You were right.”

You can get away with almost anything if you deliver your communications with the appropriate levels of concern, consideration and appreciation for the perspective of the others involved in receiving the communications that you have to deliver!

Commit yourselves, make sure you have something to say…and SAY IT!

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Empires fade! Is it worth the work?

I was listening to a song by the Imagine Dragons, called “Ready, Aim, Fire!” and it got me thinking ( if you listen to it you’ll see why.

Why do we work so hard.  Empires fade, no matter what we do it will end and we will fade away.  So why should we get out of bed and do the work???

But although it is safe to play the Master Game, this has not served to make it popular. It still remains the most demanding and difficult of games and, in our society, there are few who play…Here it is sufficient to say that the Master Game can never be made easy to play.  It demands all that a man has, all his feelings, all his thoughts, his entire resources, physical and spiritual. If he tries to play it in a halfhearted way or tries to get results by unlawful means, he runs the risk of destroying his own potential. For this reason it is better not to embark on the game at all than to play it halfheartedly.

So asking the question of whether it is worth building an empire for the future, the inevitable answer is always no. No matter what we do, the fate of the human condition is that of death and passage. We can only work for ourselves. We can only be and create the things that we are called to create. As people no matter what we will fade away and so will what we create.

But if the question is: should I build an empire because I seek to create a world that I will be a part of? Or should I invest in creating the vision that I am called to make real? There the answer is yes! And a resounding YES! You must play that game.

As an entrepreneur or intrapreneur we are artists of the material, we are creators not of art on a canvas, but of art as life. The art of living is expressed through our daily action and we must strive to create the best world to live in.

And if you play that master game you will only be rewarded everyday and in every action because you are creating the world you want to live in! But don’t take that game lightly, it’s important and will eat you up if you cheat

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Hindsight is 20/20, but useful is in the future!

Names have been changed to protect the innocent!

Q1: we have a free block of time this evening, who can make it to a work session tonight?
Useless answer 1: I didn’t know we were meeting tonight! I’m in Moscow all week!

We knew that! Please don’t tell us what you would have done!


Q2: I’m looking for CDs any suggestions?
UA2: if I would have known I would have brought bunch yesterday!

Not helpful!

Please don’t communicate to people in the past it is a way of admonishing people about their actions without being direct. I it’s kind of like saying
“Why weren’t you thinking about me before you knew what you wanted!?”

If you want people to think of you as being useful you have to be able to go out and make sure that they are getting what they want and now what you would have given them if you would have been informed before!

If you have a sense of insecurity that needs people to think of you, please do not tell me what you would have done. Tell me what you are going to do now!

My needs and those of your clients exist in the future not even in the present! You have to be able to tell them how and when you will be able to meet their needs. So don’t show them what you would have done or even what they should have done. Show them the answer lead them towards the light.
The past is the past.
It’s done.
Stop talking about it!

Thank you.

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