Don’t Give In, Don’t Give Up

There is a substantial difference between the life you live when you give up and the life you live when you do not give up.  I’m not speaking here about stubbornness or a blinders-on determination to get your way.  No, I am speaking of this idea of continuing to work on your goal until it can be resolved.  Notice the use of the word ‘resolve’, sometimes, we make goals that simply don’t work for us and we will have to walk away from them.

Sometimes I will be trying hard to talk with a “customer service” representative to resolve an issue, request a credit or ask for a reduction in my bills.  Each and every time that I have this goal, I am put on hold for interminable amounts of time, the call gets accidentally disconnected and I have to start over, sometimes a half dozen times.  I am greatly tempted to just give up.  I am greatly tempted to get very angry and just live with the cost of the mistakes of others.  This is not a good life strategy.  

Several years ago, I lost a job and had to take work that was an hours drive away and paid substantially less.  I worked very hard at improving myself.  I dedicated myself to learning this job.  In the mean time, I worked very hard at finding a new job.  I was on Linked-In, I had a great resume’, I applied for jobs every week.  I went to several interviews and was turned down.  One morning in July, on my drive in to work, my resolve broke and I cried and cried.  I was endlessly tired from the long days.  I didn’t fit into my work world and I was deeply unhappy at work.  It didn’t help that every penny of what I made was just getting the bills paid.

Suddenly a song came on the radio: ‘Hold Onto Your Dreams’.  That song, at that moment, was all I needed.  I held on and soon I was transferred close to home with an incredible raise.  That struggle didn’t end there, it took me three more years to land where I needed to be, but every time I got discouraged I remembered that moment in the car and that song.

I think that my life would be incredibly different if I couldn’t hang on and keep trying even when things seem very bad.  That extra effort is what brings me to the win almost every time. 

The second benefit is that it really helps to keep me from faulty thinking.  Or, at least it helps to keep my faulty thinking from controlling my decisions.

I was single for a very long time.  There were times when I thought that I must be flawed and that’s why I could not find an enduring relationship.  In this area of my life I knew that I couldn’t give up.  I did everything that I could to understand myself so that I could be a good partner.  Eventually it worked.  Eventually I found my life partner and it only happened because I was willing to keep on taking chances and to keep on trying.

Imagine me getting discouraged and giving up, single, broke and downhearted.  It doesn’t seem possible now.

Mother's Day Johanna Sr & Jaxsun 2010

Mother’s Day Johanna Sr & Jaxsun 2010

Cadence Birthday - 2010

Cadence Birthday – 2010

Rhea & Jax June 28 2010

David & Jaxsun

David & Jaxsun

Amazing StuffOur First Kiss as Husband and WifeAs We Begin the Ceremony


Justice is a Human Construct

I was raised a Christian and taught to believe in the concept of justice.  I am the naive type anyway.  I actually always believed that humans’ default was a good one and only rare and awful circumstances created meanness and evil.

Not any of that is true.  First I don’t believe that justice exists in the universe without the intervention of humans.  Not even Karma is a reality.  In fact, it is all a sophisticated construct for revenge.  We want people and organizations who have harmed us to pay for that harm and often, we want that harm to either equal or exceed our own pain.  This is the way of humans.  Even our language supports the concept of revenge as justice: “he must burn in hell for what he has done to my family.”  This is language we recognize and condone.

As to the idea of human goodness as a default of thinking and behavior, nothing could be further from the truth.  Humans are not innately good as an overwhelming majority, indeed I think we would be lucky to claim that half of humans see good as a virtue.  The other half of humans are hard wired for selfishness, cruelty and trickery.  They have no interest in other human beings unless those humans can provide for them or profit them in some way.

At the moment that the crime is occurring, is the only time that we can attain justice, for all of the time after that, the only real thing available to us is restitution.  If we cannot stop the criminal at the point of robbery or stop the rapist from consummating the rape, then the damage is done and there will never be “justice.”  The best that we could ever hope for is to make the criminal give back restitution to the victim.  To hope that the perpetrator suffers to match your own suffering is fruitless, as all people suffer and mostly from their own awareness not from someone else’s awareness.

Justice is not something that exists out there in the universe.  Justice exists because humans make it so.


The New Religion

It's About You


Marcus Sakey, On Personality

“Cooper had a theory about personality.  Most people considered personality to be a singular identity.  Malleable, sure, but essentially cohesive.  But he tended to see people as more of a chorus.  Every stage in life added a voice to that chorus.  The different iterations of himself – lonely military brat, cocky teenager, faithful soldier, young husband, dedicated father, relentless hunter – they all existed within him.  When he saw a ten-year-old girl, there was a ten-year-old boy inside him that thought she was pretty.  Just one voice in a chorus of dozens, which was what marked the difference between healthy people and broken ones; in the broken ones, the inappropriate voices held an inappropriate number of spaces.”

An excerpt from the Brilliance saga.


Single Mother Cries

The hungry wolves feed on the young of the single mother.  She is blamed for everything, she can never do enough or be enough for her young – and it is for one simple reason – she is not a man.  In the hungry and predatory world the single mother works and works, thinking that with money she can make choices for her self and for her children.  What she does not know is that the hungry often wait for her to leave her brood so that they can feed on the innocence of those who are left alone.

Single mother is desperate and tries all that she can think of to make the right life for her young, but no matter what, she can never get there, one alone cannot, does not and never will be able to do all that two can do in synergistic energy.

What can the single mother hope for, what can she count on?  Will she ever stop being blamed?  Will society ever help her by protecting her young?  Will she ever reach economic freedom?  Is she doomed to blame and pain?

Her child is 4 and he cries and cries when separated from her, she says “Mommy must go to work”.  And then, still, her child is 38 and says to her “why did you leave me alone?”

Single mother cries.


Management Concepts Conversation with Bruce

Self efficacy is a well known concept that is linked with success at work and success in management.  Self efficacy means that I have belief in my own competence and I am confident.  Albert Bandura said  “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.”  Management benefits from being aware of basic psychological concepts.

If you are a manager who is insecure or, as well, you are a manager who is self-important and believes in their own intelligence above all others, then you face a challenge in managing others.

If you are insecure you will constantly challenge others in order to make your position stable.  With your fears, you constantly question what you do and additionally question what all others around you do. This questioning sends a message of no confidence.  Engaging in attention getting behavior will undermine your staff and their ability to feel confident about what they do.  Attention gaining behavior will disengage staff and when this disconnection occurs, disloyalty may soon follow.

If instead, your mission in life is intellectual superiority, similar results are probable.  The need to be intellectually superior interferes with good management, as people need to feel competent about their work.  An intellectually superior supervisor will constantly send a message that they have all the answers while others cannot and do not have answers.  These managers will use their position as managers to engorge themselves to an inflated ego. They will constantly fill their ego needs with others’ insecurity or need for a job.  People will tolerate bad management and ego inflated supervisors in order to keep work.   This almost never works to enrich and enlarge a workforce.  Good managers understand that fundamentally, staff must feel capable in order to execute their work.  Good managers will not use their staff to pontificate or to fulfill their own needs.

A staff with self efficacy is going to feel capable and confident.  Staff who are capable and confident do the work much more effectively and efficiently.  Effective and efficient work means more success in business.

Ego needs are very human, but the work place is not the place to fulfill ego needs, not if you want to be an effective manager.  When you are inside of your ego, it is difficult to recognize what you are doing.  People must often work hard to recognize what their ego is doing.  Once you recognize your egoic behavior, you can then take steps to be an effective manager.  Effective managers give credit and compliments to their staff and assure their staff that their competence is a valuable asset to the organization.  Confidence building is what good managers do for staff and good mangers do not expect confidence building from staff.


Sissela Bok – Lying

Here is the case that Sissela Bok makes for the Principle of Veracity – a principle asserting a very strong moral presumption against lying. What, she asks you, would it be like to live in a world in which truth-telling was not the common practice? In such a world, you could never trust anything you were told or anything you read. This is the reality of life now, isn’t it?  You would have to find out everything for yourself, first-hand. This is exactly how I experience life now.  In order to – not be cheated – I must investigate everything and leave no stone un-turned.  If I do not do a comprehensive research, I will surely be cheated.  You would have to invest enormous amounts of your time to find out the simplest matters. In fact, you probably couldn’t even find out the simplest matters: in a world without trust, you could never acquire the education you need to find out anything for yourself, since such an education depends upon your taking the word of what you read in your lesson books. I must say, this is exactly how we must live now, we cannot believe anything we are told, the simplest third grade history book is full of lies.  A moment’s reflection of this sort, says Bok, makes it crystal clear that you benefit enormously by living in a world in which a great deal of trust exists – a world in which the practice of truth-telling is widespread. All the important things you want to do in life are made possible by pervasive trust.  That is exactly the point the average American cannot trust anything at all because we have created a world where profit is the God of all truth and true truth is an arduous bit of work and a difficult discovery.

This thought-experiment shows you the social practice of truth-telling has great value both generally and personally. You benefit directly from the practice. But how does this fact of personal benefit translate into a personal moral allegiance to veracity? The fact that a system of truth-telling benefits you enormously doesn’t by itself justify your adhering to the Principle of Veracity. After all, if personal benefit is all that counts for you, then why not reap all the benefits that a system of truth-telling brings, and then reap a little bit more by lying for personal gain?  Which is exactly what is done in so much of all business in America – take advantage of the concept of truth to sell to unsuspecting Americans.  For example, we use a television doctor in commercials for stomache ache medicine.

Of course, you couldn’t announce your policy to the public; it would have to remain your secret. You don’t want to undermine the practice of telling the truth. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to gain anything from your lies. And you don’t want people to distrust you. A lie is advantageous only in circumstances where people will believe it – only where a practice of truth-telling generally prevails. Such a practice prevails only when most people are doing their part to support it – that is, when most people are telling the truth. The liar, then, wants to be a free rider. She wants others to do their part to maintain a system, while she skips doing her part.

A lie is advantageous only in circumstances where people will believe it – only where a practice of truth-telling generally prevails. Such a practice prevails only when most people are doing their part to support it – that is, when most people are telling the truth. The liar, then, wants to be a free rider. She wants others to do their part to maintain a system, while she skips doing her part. She reaps the benefits of the system without investing the reciprocal sacrifice of supporting it.

Now, what gets you from the fact that a system of truth-telling benefits you personally to the further fact of subscribing to a moral principle against lying? The answer: a simple egalitarianism. You can’t see any reason why you are special, why you are different from all the rest of mankind. Yet you have to view yourself as different if you think a different rule applies to you than applies to everybody else. In wanting there to be a system of truth-telling and in wanting also to lie whenever it benefits you, you want to make an exception for yourself. However, if you are unwilling to make an exception of yourself, unwilling to believe you are more special than everybody else, then Sissela Bok supplies you all the argument you need to see why you should adhere to the Principle of Veracity: telling the truth is just your doing your part to uphold the practice you benefit from.

So, there are two steps to defending the Principle of Veracity: step 1 depends the fact that you personally benefit from a system that you want others to do their part in maintaining; and step 2 invokes a principle of reciprocity or fair play, requiring you to do your part in maintaining the system if others are doing their part.  And herein really lies the problem, shall we do our part to uphold society and therefore be duped by a society that maintains no interest in the veracity of truth?  That to do anything simple like open a bank account or see a physician we must first complete a dissertation of research to locate the correctly honest bank and the fairly competent physician (who would not tell us his errors in the first place), we must work hard to search out the truth.

The Principle of Veracity is a moral, and not just a prudential, principle because it tells you not to lie even when you could get away with it.