Civil Discourse in Life, Work & Leadership Roles

Imperfect but Beautiful!

Imagine your child, or your grandchild, going off to school for the first time. It’s natural for us to be anxious; our little one is venturing into the big, bad world, all alone, for the first time. That’s almost as traumatic a time for parents & grandparents, as it is for the child. Still, we take comfort from our parenting skills. And from the values we share with friends & neighbours in our community. It’s a nice school, with respected teachers, who are reliably acting in loco parentis. Everything will be fine.

Until you collect your weeping child at the bus stop!

The gut-wrenching, heart-stopping impact of this moment can be felt by almost every human being. Upon discovering that your child was denigrated by another. Be it for reasons of appearance, affliction, race, religion, or any other cause, the immediate, visceral reaction may be one of extreme anger towards the perpetrator.

But, often, the pain was caused another child. Despite our emotion, we reign in our more agressive instincts & proceed with a more cautious & civil approach. We need to, both, sooth our child, & to address the problem. And in such a manner that it allows both children to move forward, together, in a civil & mutually respectful way.

In just about every sales course I’ve ever attended, or any sales book I’ve ever read, we are cautioned against speaking ill of our competition. Despite that, I’m guessing that most sales people will admit to having uttered a phrase that starts out something like this …

“That’s an interesting point, Ms. Customer, but …”

I should add a little mea culpa at this point, for my own, very rare, transgressions!

How about politics? It almost seems like the norm nowadays, in many countries, is to denigrate & divide. And some of us seem content, perhaps at times gleeful, that this is the case. As a politician, if you can lock in the firm support of a sufficiently large part of the constituency, you have a blueprint for successfully winning, & holding, power. It seems like everything is in play here; truths, half-truths, & possibly mis-truths, can be all be used. So long as the win is delivered. Sometimes, this is the will of the majority. And that may be democratic. But is it right?

Taking that political logic back to sales; were we to use truths, half-truths, & possibly mis-truths in the sales environment, would we be more successful? Frankly, if I could win 40 or 50% of the orders in my customer base, by modelling my approach on this political strategy, I would probably win some additional orders in the near term. Sure, half the base wouldn’t be speaking to me. But who cares? I’m still ahead where it matters. Right!?!

It almost feels like we’ve come around to believing that civil discourse is no longer required in our political leaders. Is it still required in our working life? Or in our daily interactions within our communities?

If this is the kind of world we want to live in …

Why do we pretend to teach our children that they should grow up to be nice, kind of heart, generous of spirit, & capable of civil discourse, as adults?

And if this is not the kind of world we want for our children …

Why do we sponsor & model such behavior for them?

Results … Month #23

Results … Month #23

Sorry I’m late. But the result is from a June 1st weigh-in.

The past couple of months have been a dietary disaster. I didn’t think that state of the world was having that much of an impact on me, but I guess it was. With hindsight, how could it not. In any case, I just didn’t realize the extent to which I was stress-eating because of all that’s going on. Until I stepped on the scale the first of the month. Wow!

One thing about the news over the past day or two … and it’s a positive thing finally … is that humanity seems to be showing signs of making a comeback. Is there a glimmer of hope to be found in little outbreaks of kindness that we’re seeing these past few days?

We can but hope. No idea how this month will go, from a human perspective or with my weight loss, but I’ll try to fess up on time next month. Meanwhile, I’m going back to figuring out how to contribute something positive.

COVID Conundrums

What am I?

I used to think I was a capitalist …

‘Til the government offered subsidies to help stave off layoffs & paycuts!

When those measures were announced, I breathed such a big sigh of relief & I held my hand out. Should I be worried that I’m a (grateful!) socialist now?

Since I’m sucking at weight loss during lockdown, I’m trying to distract myself by learning a little about things I’ve ignored for years. You can’t watch the news these days without wishing you’d studied psychology, sociology, political science, economics, & maybe a little Celtic mysticism! These are soft sciences. That means that you can make a very cogent argument, that is totally meaningless, but nobody can prove you wrong. Right!?!

Very useful in these confusing times.

Over breakfast news this morning, I heard that this is “the first time prices have risen to the negative value”. They were only previously positive in the timeframe being discussed. So what the duck did this mean? Why did the guy not just say the number went down? There is some sophisticated subterfuge being employed here, & it can only be designed to keep the uninitiated outside the pale.

How is it that neoliberalism, in economics parlance, is a faith of those on the right? I thought that anything with the word “liberal” in it was at least three shades pinker than the white centre of the political divide. Are all the meanings reversed when you go from politics to economics? And now that we’re on the colour spectrum, why are Canadian liberals red, American blue? Who is being backward here!?! The conservatives adopting the reverse in both countries, of course. Is it true that the French flag represents the balance between the left and the right? And not the liberty, equality and fraternity thing, because that is just a conspiracy theory pushed by the radical centrists!

Trickle down economics. Didn’t that fade away in the era of Reagan & Thatcher? Now it’s being touted by governments again. I remember my Dad calling it “Sucking Up” economics. Because, he said, they make it look like they’re giving you something … while sticking the vacuum cleaner hose into your pocket!

I’m still sick of politicans sniping at each other. You’d never run a good company this way. It’d be like the materials manager blaming the lack of inventory on the production manager for using all the parts. When the operations manager is asked to intervene, he deflects the blame onto the temporary workers & fires them all, while requesting the human resources people hire more accountants who will recalculate numbers that look better. Without even getting into the challenges of outsourcing & upstream supply chain management, it’d be a total duckfest. So why is it a good idea to try running a country like this? Don’t we all need to be on the same team to succeed? Especially during a crisis.

One real criticism I have of our news media is the lack of real investigative analysis & critique of the COVID responses around the world. The gross data is on TV every dinnertime, but I don’t see too much detail on which countries have the better healthcare systems, for example. This is an amazing opportunity to learn about such things. Digging into those details might educate us, the general public, on some key attributes of our differing approaches & societies. Such data might influence us on how to choose our next politicians. And I’m not presupposing what that data might reveal. It might, I would hope, have an influence on how our governments makes changes for the future. Though it may touch many of us, & our families, COVID-19 has a mortality rate that isn’t threatening for most of us. Despite that, it can’t hurt if we are better prepared, in case an even more virulent & deadly KISSYOURASSGOODBYE-23 virus rolls through a few years down the road.

My biggest conundrum? If we’re all adding to the national debt, who’s loaning us the money? And can’t we just print more to pay it back? Or is there an ink shortage now!?! 😜

Okay, so I’m having a little fun with some of this. On the premise that if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. But I’m genuinely interested in learning a little more about economics. I would especially like to see some comparative studies on healthcare systems. If you can recommend a source of balanced information in any of these areas, please send it my way. Indeed, I don’t think I know any economists, so if you can introduce me to anyone in the field, I’d welcome the connection.

Let’s hope we can keep most of our jobs & that we can all come back stronger & better from this. Meanwhile, even if you feel it’s not necessary, please help make a fellow human feel a little better & safer … and if you can … wear the damn mask when you are asked! 😷😁

Stay safe out there, all.

COVID-19 Confusion & Dietary Deflection!

I haven’t smoked a cigarette all through the month of April. By quitting, I thought I was playing good COVID-19 defense. I believed that was the right thing to do. Right up until I read the stories about the smokers in China & France. Smokers are doing better than non-smokers! Apparently smokers are less likely to get COVID-19. When they do, they are less likely to develop serious symptoms. Even with serious symptoms, smokers are less likely to wind up in intensive care. I know, I know, smoking kills us in other ways. But still!

In France, the differences between the smoking & non-smoking populations prompted a study with a nicotine patch for COVID-19 patients and for front-line health workers. Just my totally uneducated guess here but I’m betting you actually have to puff on a cigarette or two every day to get the benefits! πŸ€ͺ

One other huge negative to my quitting smoking is that, in lieu of sucking on cigarettes, I’ve continued to stuff all kinds of other stuff into my face! Okay, so it’s stuff like bread, cookies, candy, chips, ice-cream, & a whole host of food-like products that I would normally try to avoid like the plague! Speaking of the plague, let’s get back to the COVID-19 thing!

That was the deflection away from diet & weight-loss right there, did you notice!?! LOL

We’ve all had enough of the social isolation thing by now, right? What happens next? Look, nobody wants to transmit the disease to Grandma. Frankly, I don’t want to go out there & catch the damn thing myself. But we all want to get back out there, sometime soon. Some want out right now! Perhaps their jobs are in jeopardy. Their business might be going under. These are all valid reasons to want things to open up sooner. But the majority of folk still seem more concerned about catching the disease, or of spreading it to someone they love. Their preference is to keep things locked down for longer. Hey, right now, staying home is a very valid position too.

Regardless of our feelings on the matter, I think we’re edging closer to getting back out there. Even the more reluctant of us will likely be thinking this way sometime soon. Why?

Because we’re pretty predictable as a species. Once the burden of frustration exceeds the burden of fear, we’ll all start moving towards getting back out there. Some combination of things will reduce the fear factor. The people who caught it & survived will feel better about getting out there. If my grandma died already, I’m not really protecting anyone at home now. The odds are in favour of that younger person surviving it, they’ll want to escape sooner. What if my government wage subsidy ends in a few weeks time? Put enough good reasons in my basket & I’m suddenly far more motivated to get back out there too. As more & more of us shift across to that position, it will start to feel more like getting back to work is the right thing for some, perhaps many, of us to do. Since there are some braving the more aggressive approach already, any reason the rest of us shouldn’t just sit back & watch what happens for a bit?

Personally, I’m still more in the fearful & careful camp at the moment. But I recognize that this shift in attitude may already have started. There was a noticeable uptick in my day job activity this week. It just feels like people are starting to get used to this whole COVID-19 thing. Of it being a part of our lives now. You might even say it’s beginning to feel normal! Okay, it’s not quite like the regular old flu yet. But you can start to see how it might be one day. There is a shift towards this new normal. No violence, no protests, & no bullshit required, it will happen all of its own accord!

Peace, love & stay safe, y’all!

PS … I think that was a pretty good deflection away from my monthly weigh in, don’t you!?! More dietary self-deprecation & humiliation will follow. I’ll come clean on how bad this month really was, I promise. Just not now. Besides, I really could use a cigarette!

COVID Cranky!

Doubling Down on Lockdown!

Okay, I’ve had enough of this nonsense. No, not the social isolation thing, I understand how necessary that is just now. I’m talking about politicians. I’m sick of some of these “representatives of the people” parodies. I wonder if some of them, spouting their anti-the-other-party rhetoric, even believe it themselves. Or is it just a show for their followers? Does everything have to be thought of as an opportunity to snipe at the other guys? How did it come about that we think this is the best way to run a country?

Sure, I understand that we need checks & balances. I get that we need someone reining in the power of those currently in charge. Yes, of course we need contrary perspectives. But this negative, agressive, bitchy, bickering style of party politics is dead to me. I don’t always agree with everything on any one platform anyway. I’d rather cherry-pick my positions on those issues that are of import to me. There ought to be a national voting app for that.

Even on this weekend, a holy time of the year for many, I’m hearing some religious stuff coming out of the mouths of some people that I wouldn’t even buy a used car from. Nor do I believe all the empathic stuff we hear from some of them either. It sounds like preaching from a moral high ground, but sanctimony always has a bit of a smell about it.

That said ….

At the moment, is there just a little less of this BS going on in our political circuses? During this COVID-19 outbreak, does it appear that there’s a touch more sanity? Is there a slight reduction in the level of sniping between sides? Are we more focused in the face of the real problems we have to deal with at the moment? I think some of our politicians, from all the different political parties, are actually working together. I might even be … just a little bit … impressed! Please, please keep it up, this is what I voted for. With a bit of luck, some of this will carry over to whatever normal might be in the post-COVID-19 era.

We’re all going to pay a big price for this war on the corona bug. But if our leaders figure out how to lead, if they remember that they are all, individually & collectively, in the service of the people of our country, there might be something of value to be salvaged from this mess afterwards. If nothing else we might all have a better appreciation for a good healthcare system. And maybe we’ll whine a little less when it comes to paying for it.

Okay, enough of my whining, there are still a lot of things I am grateful for. Though losing weight this month isn’t one of those things. This month, that project is going backwards! Come on now, cut me some slack. I bet I’m not alone in gaining an ounce or two during lockdown?

However …

I have done one other thing this month. Or rather, I’ve not done one other thing this month … I haven’t had a cigarette in the month of April. Not a single one. Not even a puff. No idea if it’ll stick but I’m giving it a try.

Amazing that I’m doing all that & not getting cranky, eh! 😜😁

Now while you can be grateful that you’re not sharing your lockdown space with me, I’m grateful to those who have the dubious honour of having to endure my detox! πŸ€ͺπŸ˜‚

Whatever you celebrate … Easter, Passover or Ramadan to come … I wish you all the best. Here’s another big digital, socially-isolated, group hug for us. Stay safe & spread the love around. Send some my way too, please, & maybe I’ll be a little less cranky next time!

Meantime, I’m off to see if anyone hid any Easter eggs round here!!! πŸ˜œπŸ‡πŸ£πŸ₯š