Category Archives: criticism

Supression of Chinese Dissidents and Activists

The suppression of the blind Chinese activist is just one of a hundred thousand incidents per year.  China is a repressive country trying to mask itself as a modern society.  No centrally planned, code word for socialism, economy has ever prospered for an extended period of time.  You cannot manage a billion people and hundreds of billions of activities.

The pot of water is one stove, the water is boiling and the problems inside of China will become visible to the world.

Check out Push Back, my latest novel, where the recent case of the blind activist mirrors what a main character, Timothy Lee does.

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Filed under Children and poverty, criticism, improvement, integrity, productivity, self esteem, success

Self Esteem

Self Esteem and Confidence

The lack of a healthy self esteem is a dead weight on your life.  It’s like dragging around an anchor,  and it relegates you to the dark shadows of existence.

Low esteem is simply a self created falsehood.  Plain and simple.  Unless you are a truly bad person (i.e., murderer, child abuser and the like) you are an important, valued human being.

The problem is you have let others or importantly, your perception, make you feel worthless.

Origins

The origin of such misplaced feelings of inadequacy, are varied (cruel treatment as a child, lack of support, embarrassment over a physical state, failure on a large stage…)  However, let’s not confuse these feelings with the reality that you are a special, unique person who adds to the vibrancy of the universe and is entitled to participate fully in life.

Let’s play devil advocate; Someone or group thinks you are stupid, not wealthy, incompetent, ugly, overweight, boring etc.

So f-ing what? You still have to get up in the morning, live your life, go to work etc.

Tell Them To Go to Hell

Can’t you muster the will to blow these people off? Remember you may think you are the center of their thoughts but I can guarantee that you are not.  If someone is rude or embarrasses you, rest assured you will be the only person thinking about it an hour later.

The perpetrator will go on as if nothing happened, forgetting or not even realizing what they may have done.  You must get past it as soon as possible.  Dwelling on it will doom you.

Fears Become Monsters

The fears and nervousness we all feel will be virtually impossible to overcome without the confidence in ourselves that comes with having a positive image of ourselves.

Steps to Take

Stop with the negativity! Self criticism is bad!  Negative thoughts have a way of feeding on themselves, growing something minor into a major issue.

Everyone has good traits, talk up your small successes to yourself  and build upon them.  Don’t allow yourself to define yourself by external forces (maybe you are stuck in a crummy job, or are unemployed, have no fashion sense, are out of physical shape, etc…)

These things have nothing to do with who you really are as a person.

You must look beyond any criticism that anyone levels at you or that you hear whispering in your own head! Start believing in yourself, you will be amazed at how life will change!

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Filed under confidence, criticism, improvement, self esteem, Uncategorized

Danger of Insecurity

Insecurity!

We all feel insecure at times.  Sometimes it may be a new situation or environment which leads to a sense of insecurity.  However, I want to focus on those deeper rooted feelings that we may not be good enough.  This lack of self worth expresses itself as insecurity.

Bogs You Down

The manifestation of insecurity is truly an anchor.  It prevents us from living a full, normal life.  Feelings of insecurity usually result in a socially isolated life and in extreme forms can produce paranoia.

Feelings of self doubt are crippling.  Even if we are prepared to execute something we can easily do, we can be tripped up by self doubt.

Don’t confuse unpreparedness, which causes nervous doubt but is limited to a specific event, for insecurity.

Relationships

Feelings of insecurity impacts relationships negatively.  If we don’t have a good self image it makes a having good relationship difficult. If we don’t love ourselves (warts and all), how can we love another person?

Roots of Insecurity Are Multi-Faceted

There are many causes and theories of how one becomes burdened with insecurity, such as a terrible childhood or subjection to bullying.  However, I am not a therapist and though it may be helpful to unearth the root cause, I would rather focus on an acknowledgement of insecurity, moving forward to chip away at it.

Insecurity can be overcome or mitigated.  It may take time and patience but the rewards are huge and must be pursued.  You can balance an acknowledgement of any shortcomings you may have (while working to improve them) but still believe and recognize your own self worth.

Don’t confuse, for example a lack of education, or physical awkwardness with your value as a person.  The world is filled with smart, athletic, successful individuals who are terrible people.  Our culture elevates someone with Hollywood good looks, tons of money or possesses some talent.  However, those superficial attributes are just a tiny slice of each of us.

You are important and valuable. You have as much to contribute as anyone else on the planet. Some may be able to express themselves or a point of view easier than you, but that does not make what they say or believe any more valuable than your views.  Don’t let yourself get caught up with what other people may or may not think of you.  Being a selfless, humble, honest, loving individual is the true measure of a ‘valuable’ person and in the end the only thing that counts.


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Filed under Blog, criticism, improvement, insecurity, pride

Occupy Wall Street and Class Warfare

Just a few quick points on the growing divide and debate over our nations finances.

(P.S. – I am not nor ever have been a part of Wall Street, Finance or Banking)

1. The 99% Versus 1% – If you took all the money that everyone in America made over $100,000.-, capping the incomes of everyone at maximum of 100K per year (even for Brad Pitt, NFL quaterbacks, Google execs etc.) It would only be enough money to fund the US Government for two (2) months.

2. If you took all the money everyone in the country (taxing it at 100 percent) the US Government would still have to borrow money to pay its bills!

3. The Great Divider in Chief, Barack Obama, made a lot of noise, protesting the crazy bonues Wall St executives got.  It was out of whack, HOWEVER, where is he now when the Government Agencies, Fannie & Freddie Mac, are paying 100 million dollars in bonuses!?!  These two agencies have LOST 142 Billion dollars of our money.

4. Could it be the rancourous rhetoric being thrown around have helped to harden positions and contributed to the failure of all politicians to agree on a deal to cut our debt?

5. The debt owed by America is now over 15 TRILLION Dollars (not counting trillions of debt off the balance sheet)

6. Anyone reasonable has got to agree we have to cut spending now!

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Filed under Blog, Class Warfare, criticism, integrity, Occupy Wall Street, success

Fear

Fear is a part of our existence.  Our DNA is hard wired and our physical responses to real danger are instinctive.   But fear is not danger but a mental perception of a possible danger.  This is a key distinction that almost everyone misses.

Fear lives in the unknown. We are afraid of what we don’t know. We feel fear when we are unsure of the outcome of a situation and it cripples us.  We need to learn how to tame fear.

Permitting fear to guide your existence allows your mind to create a negative response to the unknown. You hear a sound in the middle of the night and immediately feel threatened. You lie still in the bed hoping nothing else will happen as your mind bubbles up all kinds of negative scenarios.  It is simply illogical!

Why not get up and see what the sound may be?  If it is a real danger you are not helping yourself lying in bed!  Check it out if it bothers you and get back to sleep.

We have fear of looking foolish, heightened by the media’s projection of their image of perfection.  This fear prevents us from becoming who we really are.  It keeps us from pursuing our dreams, living small, stagnate and full of regrets.

What’s the downside?

If for example, you have to speak in front of a group what is the worst thing that can happen? You flub it, or do just an okay job? So what!  You are not the focus of the audience’s day, it is forgotten so fast.  Ever been to a boring speech or bad concert? How long did you hang onto it?

It’s a good thing to feel nervous and desire to do a good job. However, we need to channel the nervous energy we feel into positive action.  Acknowledge the presence of your nervousness, it happens to everyone, even seasoned pros, athletes and performers.   If you don’t feel nerves at all, you don’t care and that’s worse!  You just need to put it into proper perspective.

If you cannot convince yourself that your presentation is not going to cure cancer and feel undue pressure, then get better prepared.  Practice and prepare if it’s a presentation, performance etc.  If it’s a social thing, ‘practice’ in smaller, less intimidating situations.  Preparation is the antidote but will not completely cancel your nerves.  It is also important to know that your audience wants to like you and that you know your stuff better than 90 percent of them.  Prepare, do and move on.

Make a Real Effort, Its All That Counts

We all have different interests and goals; it’s what makes life and people so interesting!  I love meeting people with unusual passions; it’s refreshing to see them pursue them vigorously.  Don’t be shy, whether you want to learn to dance, swim, read tarot cards, learn to ride a bike, paint etc. block out your fear and start participating.  Stop being self conscious, the world does not revolve around you.  When and if criticism comes your way, use it constructively even if it came mean spiritedly.  Learn from it and strengthen your resolve to grow.

This quote by Teddy Roosevelt says it all, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; who strives valiantly; who errs, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Get Going

There is a substantive difference between fear and danger.  Our need to control and insulate ourselves imprisons us in a small, supposedly safe existence.  Say yes to life now, stop saying no due to unfounded and unrealistic feelings of fear.

If you do not do well in your endeavor don’t allow it define who you are and don’t let it get to your heart. Just as importantly, if you do well don’t let it get to your head!

For a memorable example of dealing with fear in a life threatening situation check out Marble Mountain – a memoir of a Vietnam helicopter pilot. It’s a gripping insight at the incredible challenges the brave men and women who served faced.  Marble Mountain Link Check it out!

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Filed under Blog, criticism, improvement, integrity, pride, productivity, success

Occupy, Smoccupy, Its Not Protesting

The disorganized mob known as Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots are another media creation.  The media coverage is lending credibility to the nonsensical gatherings.

They get favorable media coverage and when things get violent as they often do, they are quick to point out that it is only a few of the many protesters.

The mob has had ample time to formulate a message or purpose for their disruptive ‘occupations’.  A protest, by its definition, is an objection to specific policy or actions. It must must have a goal.  Overthrowing capitalism is not a goal.

There are many effective means of protesting and with the advent of social media its been easy to get thousands of people to be involved.   The so-called Tea Party had definable goals and coalesced around them to become a formidable political force.  They have sucessfully converted their displeasure into action, what polar opposites the occupy gang is.

Closing businesses or a major port as the Oakland mob did, does not accomplish anything but make economic matters and quality of life worse.

This looking like a third world protest, with property being damaged, people injured and general chaos.  If the folks who grumble are unwilling to offer anything other than they dont like our systems they are fee to leave for say Cuba or Venezuela.

Occupy Oakland Movement

The Occupy Wall Street nonsense has reached a new low as a mayor, Jean Quan, of  Oakland lent her full support to the movement. This unbelievable support was reinforced even after the mobs violent activities last week.  This deranged mayor even allowed city workers to take the day off to participate.  Who the heck is paying the city workers salaries?

It’s gone way too far, police and city officials where these mobs camp out must stop accommodating them and force them off private property.

Capitalism may not be the perfect system but it clearly is the best one, providing a living standard far higher than those outside the United States. There are surely inequities, some people make way too much, but do we want the government dictating what people can make?  How did that work out for the Soviet Union?

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Filed under Blog, Class Warfare, criticism, Occupy Wall Street, Wall Street

Class Warfare – Occupy Wall Street?

We are in a dangerous period in America.  The pitiful state of the economy has exposed a volatile split in the way people view the current state of our nation.

This split is now being exploited and inflamed by politicians who believe they can somehow benefit from the anger and protests.

I realize there is tremendous anger towards what is called Wall Street.  Some of it is justified, they took big risks, get crazy bonuses and some firms got bailed out by the taxpayers.

Although it sounds good to blame our current economic straits on Wall Street, they didn’t crater the economy alone, there are others who contributed significantly – the Government – who pushed bankis to lend to people who could not afford to own a home, thousands of government regulators who failed to do their job, borrowers who hoped to flip the properties they bought for a quick profit, and people who simply lived beyond their income levels, using the equity in their homes like a piggy bank and maxing out their credit cards.

Does it make sense to target what people call Wall Street?  I don’t think so, we need the banking system, it acts like a utility.  Without electric for example, we cannot do much and without a sound financial system we are dead in the water. Also let’s not forget that for every CEO or hot shot trader making ten million dollars a year, there are thousands of hardworking employees making normal salaries.

There is enough blame to go around but the question is where do we go from here?

We can never achieve anything if we are pitted against each other.  Targetting those who have acheived some measure of success is a zero sum game.  I find it interesting that the finger is pointed at Wall Street excesses, but no complains when dysfunctional Hollywood actors get thirty million dollars a picture.  Are we also going to attack athletes who make tens of millions? Or how about Google, Facebook, Apple etc whose founders make zillions.  Do they make too much?

Whether the compensation is fair or not is not the question, its the system we have.  I don’t agree with the crazy money some make, but why are we wasting time attacking them.  It is called capitalism and it is the best system by far.   Occupy Wall Street and its supporters don’t like the bailouts (and neither do I) but bailouts are a type of Socialism not capitalism! Government intervention in the private sector is definitely a part of the problem.

A point that the Occupy Wall Street crowd claims is that no one makes it alone, that America provides the infrastructure, system (capitalism by the way) and education.  True to a small degree, but lets not forget that these things were built and supported with your tax dollars.

Americans have always been able to come together against an external threat or problem that needs solving.  Yes, we do have a terrible habit of waiting till the water level reaches our noses before acting, but I fear we are losing our ability to pull together and get problems solved.  It appears we have turned into a nation of blame placers.

We can never be the great country we have been with only half the people in the game.  Protests are fine but should not inconvenience people, hurt local business, destroy property and obscure the real problems.

Instead of these silly protests, why don’t people present detailed written proposals with solutions and start doing the hard work to get America back to the top!

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Filed under Blog, Class Warfare, criticism, Occupy Wall Street, Wall Street

Breakfast of Champions or Food Poison? Feedback Can Crush or Build Confidence

Words are powerful

Criticism or Feedback are powerful.  We all know the term constructive criticism, the problem is we rarely practice it.  Its unfortunate, as criticism is necessary to grow in any endeavor.

Breakfast of Champions or Food Poisoning?

Proper feedback from a coach, teacher, friend, co-worker, client etc is an invaluable tool to improvement.  If the feedback is given constructively and and delivered in a caring manner, the recipient will incorporate it, using the suggestion to achieve their goals.  This type of criticism is what has been called the Breakfast of Champions.  Those open to constructive criticism ‘eat’ the feedback and improve!     Those that shut it out, struggle or fail, its that essential!

On the other hand, criticism can be poisonous.  Belittling, negative feedback is unquestionably destructive!  Sorry, but even if it is well intended and meant to help, it hurts!  Very few people are truly motivated by being humiliated.  We must ‘restrain’ our judgmental tendencies and craft our interaction in a way that is helpful.  Just think how nice a world this would be if we can give and receive this type of support.

Why good teachers/rare impact

Invariably, anyone who achieves a level of accomplishment in anything, 9sports, arts, business, etc.0  has had a memorable teacher, coach, mentor or guide.

The impact they have in nurturing a pursuit cannot be overstated.  The feedback they dispense is always framed positively,  meant to support the individual on their journey.  Good deliverers balance the criticism, offering praise for any progress, no matter how small, while pointing to an area for improvement they know is within reach.

This is not to suggest that it is ok to mislead and be dishonest, but to recognize that people have different skill sets and learn at different paces. The key here is for the coach/teacher to determine that the person has the drive and will to do what is needed to achieve reasonable goals and working alongside, support their pursuit.

Do we enjoy judging?

The flip side is judgmental dismissal!  It seems many people relish in the harsh put down of others, cloaking it as criticism or being ‘real’

Pure nonsense, that type of poisonous feedback not only disheartens but also erodes a person’s self esteem and confidence.

In some cases it causes a backlash, where a receiver shuts out the feedback and gives rise to animosity towards the person giving it.

Look for the positive

No one is an expert out of the box.  We need to look for the positive aspects of a person’s endeavor, even if its just their effort or interest, and praise that. Then we can craft ‘suggestions’ about how to improve, mindful of the damage or help it can render.

Try thinking of parenting as the ultimate feedback machine, it may help to soften the criticism we render.

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Filed under Blog, criticism, success