Category Archives: integrity

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

Dream Big

Shoot for the Moon

Why not dream? Why not have outrageous goals? Why do we limit ourselves?  There is nothing to be afraid of.

If you set your sights on a lofty goal and really commit to it, you guarantee yourself a measure of success.  It’s as simple as that!

What is the worse that could happen, you fall short of the true goal but get close?  In any case you have made progress.

I can make an argument that if you set a low, easy to achieve goal, while it has nice benefits in building confidence, and make it, that you would probably make more progress shooting for a higher goal and not making it.

Break the Mold

Don’t let the culture limit your existence.  You can still make it,  the people who are achieving their dreams (or importantly what you perceive to be their dream!) are just like you. The difference is they have acted and commited to the goal.  I can not emphasis enough the need to act, to take steps in the direction of the goal you have.

Do not get boxed in by your personal situation, such as age or weight, economic status, lack of contacts etc. etc.  There are countless people who have overcome the odds that our culture puts on us.  (First off ditch the most common mind set that you’re too old to be doing that!  You are never too old to do anything, so stop convincing yourself otherwise)

LIVE YOUR LIFE

Each of us have met people with a passion or purpose. They seem more alive than most people!  They are engaging and pumped up! (some of us say they are nuts or crazy but that is just a manifestation of jealousy)  Whether they achieve their dream or not is beside the point; its the damn journey that counts. I know it sounds like a cliche but if you get down to it, its the pursuit of whatever interest you may have that counts.  It does not matter what you do as long as you enjoy the activity and improve at it.

Don’t be a bystander in your own life.  Start doing the things that improve your life and that interest you.


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Filed under confidence, improvement, integrity, success, Uncategorized

Confidence

The Trust Connection

I am convinced confidence is the key to a fuller life.  I would like to look at the connection between trust and confidence.

The definition of confidence is often boiled down to a strong belief in yourself and your abilities. However, this definition misses an important component of confidence and the boost it provides in your ability to achieve a goal.  What I’m referring to is trust.

The trust or faith you have in yourself is built over time and plays a large role in helping you to overcome a challenge or make progress on towards a goal.

If you are attempting something you have never done before and cannot rely on the confidence that comes with having achieved a similar thing before, you can get the boost you need from the faith or trust in yourself.

Take a Leap of Faith

You may not consider yourself a success in anything.  But it’s simply not true!  It may sound basic, but you have learned and overcome obstacles since you were an infant.  You’ve learned to talk, walk, read and write!  You may have learned to drive, swim, cook etc.

I am positive that if you examined your life you will find accomplishments that you can build on.  Just because they aren’t broadcast on T.V. doesn’t diminish them. They are tangible accomplishments, even if they are from the distance past, you can use them to build a trust in yourself that you can do it. Take a leap of faith, this time for yourself!

Persistence

No matter how little you have may have achieved, the one thing you can control, irrespective of your skill set, is the effort you put forth. I am speaking to the number and intensity of the attempts you can make.  Persistence is indelibly linked to confidence and success.  You have heard the cliche; If I bang my head against the wall enough times, it will crack.  An extreme example, but it shows that if you are persistent and do not give up, you will definitely have a measure of success.

Confidence and success are rooted in the acceptance that what you are attempting to do will be challenging, and that set backs that will come, but with knowledge that with a steady application, you will persevere.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you?

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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

Slackers – How to Handle Them

We know them, they are in the office,  are in our department, they are everywhere.

They are the slackers. They do little, hide a lot and get by while aggravating the hell out of us.

Slackers take credit for work done by others, pretending to have contributed.

Slackers are experts at appearing to be busy and engaged.  We may all get equal credit or pay but the reality is that in a group of five, at least one will not make any meaningful contribution.

Take the Slack Out

The only way to deal with the slackers in our midst is by a combination of tight management and encouragement.

First, we must have an honest but polite discussion. Preferably one on one, but if you are on a team or group of some sorts, you can have a meeting and bring the topic up.   Keep it on business terms, don’t attack the person.

Try language like the following;

We need everyone to participate equally in this department or on this project.  It is not only fair but essential to have everyone share the work.  Otherwise, we will be unable to accomplish our goals and will make appropriate changes to address the failures of those responsible. Make it clear there will be harsh consequences for failing to contribute meaningfully.

With the warning in place, you need to designate, if in management or request such from a manager, a specific task and a corresponding time line for completion.  When you designate to a known slacker, you must be definitive in what and when it is expected.  If you leave anything unclear you can be sure they will exploit it.

It may be easier, though tedious, to break down the task into tiny components with corresponding timelines, or to hand feed each piece.  That leaves the slacker with very little wiggle room.  You should engage the slacker, being sure they acknowledge they have what they need to do the task at hand.  Then you need to monitor the progress according to the time line set.

Document any failures, you will need them.

If you are not in a management position then you must get the evidence and be tactful.   Ask for a review or meeting and during that time of feedback you can say you are being held back by someone who is not carrying their weight.  This is a time to identify the person and specify the failures.    General, wishy-washy complaints will not work.  If you want management to take action give them hard evidence!

The Effort is Worth It

We must acknowledge that in any setting there will be one or two who step up and do the lions share.  That is a fact of life.  However that being said, we should not allow ourselves to be taken advantage.

The main thrust is to grow and improve our situations, failure to address slackers is unacceptable.

If you can either expose a slacker and they contribute or are tossed out, you will reap benefits in productivity, not to mention the stress reduction!

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Social Science Experiment Is Over

Somewhere along the way we lost ourselves. We no longer demanded that you act responsibly, work and civilly participate in society.

No One to Blame but Ourselves

We looked the other way, selfishly enjoying ourselves, while ignoring our responsibilities to parent and teach.  We didn’t set expectations for those dependent on us and attempt to manage the results.  We needed to instill core family values and discipline them, instead, we threw money at problems and poverty and went our merry way. You see it is much harder to do the tough work to form behaviors than to buy them and our conscious off.

We gave things without requiring anything for it.  They had no skin in the game, why are we surprised they feel entitled?

Different kind of Ellis Island

We also compounded our problems with newer immigrants.

What a difference a generation makes!  When millions flocked to our shores for a better life, they toiled hard at work and even harder at becoming Americans.  They learned the language and assimilated quickly.  It was not an abdication of who they were, they still practice their customs and cultures, but realized and desired to be a part of something bigger – AMERICA!  Their contributions are legendary and a reason prospered into a beacon for the underclass around the world.

Newcomers to America are accommodated to such a large degree that they have no incentive to learn English and integrate into our society and culture.  Thinking we’d make it easier for them led to neighborhoods filled with signage in other languages and children unable to learn in school because they didn’t know English, resulting in tremendous disaffection.  (Interestingly, Arizona, now maligned for its immigration policy, actually mandated that children be taught in their native language and ‘imported’ Spanish speaking teachers from Mexico!  It proved to be a colossal failure as Spanish speaking children performed even more poorly.)

Disastrous Results

This disaffection and resentment manifested itself in many ways but some recent events like the riots in England are ringing alarm bells.   In short, we need to turn course quickly in order to have a chance at changing the tide.

In order for a democracy to survive and prosper it needs the far majority of its people participating.  We cannot have the outrageous amounts of folks we have now living off the government!  Fiscal disaster that it is, it is just not sustainable for democracy.

We must make the distinction between those who are unable to take care of themselves and those who are simply unwilling.  Safety nets for legitimate, verifiable reasons should be maintained.  Other programs dealing with poverty must be managed with an eye to outcomes.  If it does not change behavior, leading to independence, it should be changed until it does.  If you get something (Sickness and aged etc aside) from the government or society you should be required to do something. Is there a legitimate reason, that those getting a year or two of unemployment checks not be required to gain a new skill to be employed (or clean a park?) as a condition of getting the check?

Nothing less than the very fabric of our society is at stake.  We need ideas and action now!

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Filed under Blog, Children and poverty, integrity, pride, success

Why be Loyal? Key to Relationships

Key to Relationships and Happiness 

Loyalty can be expressed in many forms, to a brand, company, family or person.

We hear people professing their loyalty to products or brands,  “I only shop at Saks” or “I’m hooked on Apple” etc. but the most important expression of loyalty is the type shown to other people.

Being loyal to others is a fundamental ingredient to having integrity.  You simply cannot have integrity by acting in self interest.

False professions

Often times we profess our loyalty but abandon others  whenever that loyalty comes with a cost to ourselves.  People make promises and commitments to others but break them.

This evidences a total lack of loyalty.  At times legitimate issues prevent us from honoring a committment. Thats ok as long as we take the time to explain the reason we can’t live up to our commitments.  We all know people who always have ready excuses but anyone who contiually disappoints another lacks loyalty and integrity.

Dependable

We need to be loyal to our friends and families who need and rely on us, if only for support or company.

Even when some other opportunity presents itself we must keep our commitment. That is the ultimate expression of loyalty, putting yourself behind the needs or expectation of someone else.

Its central to your integrity and connected directly to unselfishness.

Believe it or not it is personally rewarding to honor your commitments!

Loyal to a Fault

As with most things there can be a downside to loyalty when we remain blindly loyal to someone to their detriment.  Protecting some one under the guise of loyalty when their behavior is destructive is unacceptable.

In that case true loyalty and love would demand that we stop enabling and approving of the behavior and help them seek the help they need.

Don’t Break the Trust

Can you be trusted with loyalty? Can you be counted on?

Loyalty –  the elixir for healthy relationships!

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Filed under Blog, improvement, integrity, Loyalty, success