Warning – Rant Ahead

I often feel compelled to comment on the state of the world or the news of the day. I recognize that by opinion and my interpretation is personal and based in the sum of my experiences, education, and other biases. Most days I resist the urge to use this platform and share my outlandish views on social media and in speaking opportunities. This is mostly to honour the unwritten agreement that I have with subscribers to Make it Your Problem. For long time readers, you will have recognized dozens, maybe hundreds of times that I stepped into the fray and ranted away. Let this introduction serve as a disclaimer – if you don’t want to hear my latest rave, it would be best to exit this page and head over to my Patreon site for something completely different.

pof

 

The headline reads ” President Suffers Third Degree Burns When his Trousers Spontaneously Ignite.” The rant is regarding alternate truth and what we are to do when someone we need to trust disregards the facts and says whatever serves his self-serving agenda. Do we say ” Oh, that’s just Donald.” Should we continue to ignore everything that flows from his lips? Can we hold up a light and shine truth on his statements? What could/would we achieve?

To be clear, not everything that is spoken is a lie, and not everything that turns out to be false is a lie either. When, he/we misspeak and are careless about how he / we tell a story, it may be wrong, but without malice aforethought, it is just bad practice and poor preparation. But there comes a time when the glaringly ridiculous isn’t negligent but rather malicious. When the statement is meant to manipulate and deceive, forgiveness and concessions shouldn’t be available.

The line was crossed with mean-spiritedness in statements about Mexican rapists, 911, NATO commitments, wiretapping, Russian involvement and election fraud. Reputable officials and appointees as well as media have continued to discredit conspiracy theories, self-aggrandizing assertions, and ‘woe-is-me’ whining.

Back to the question ” What do we do?”. I wish, we could just ignore the diatribes but the ramifications and consequences that these may have would mean that I am dangerously naive to ignore the message and therefore the messenger. Holding him and his utterings to a lower standard is a disservice to the country, the planet and ourselves and the danger is still that they inflame and conflate tension and do nothing to bring back a level of hope and truth.
So, by my reckoning, we are left to challenge the recklessness with all ammunition at hand. We have a voice, in face-to-face conversations. We have an audience in our blogs, podcasts and social media channels. We have friends and colleagues that we can recruit to speak their voices. With the power we have there is a responsibility to exercise good judgement and check the veracity of our message. A lie that is meant to defeat a different lie only serves to perpetuate the downward spiral.
If you read something, see something, feel something check it against at least three disparate sources before you forward, retweet, or share in any form.
It may be prudent if we return to Descartes 17th century Method before creating personal havoc by haranguing with only suspicions.
1. The first precept is never to accept a thing as true until I know it as such without a single doubt.
2. Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.
3. The last rule is to make enumerations so complete, and reviews so comprehensive, that I should be certain of omitting nothing.

After working through the Cartesian process, I/we should be capable of creating with brevity and clarity (and humour if possible), a well reasoned and compelling rebuttal that makes sense to and resonates with our specific audience.

I can’t be sure that I won’t go flying off the deep end and react to something that I believe to be inaccurate or venomous or even mischevious. I will attempt to hold myself to a higher standard of verification and thought. I will try to hold the importance of truth over the urgency of being heard. I will do my best to gather information, data, and opinion from a variety of sources with a variety of positions. I will use my voice to shine a light when I have done my diligence. I won’t ignore and I won’t minimize.

As Edmund Burke said, and JFK restated, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

B

Happy Pi Day

Pi Day 3.14 π

A small symbol π provides us with a glimpse of an ordered world and a view of beauty and efficiency that is unrivaled. 3.14159265358979323… goes far beyond mathematical calculations. After all how often do I need to know the circumference of a circle. Pi shows herself in our DNA and the spiral double helix. She predicts the path of a river and the total distance traveled. She foresees and designs our communities and helps us understand our reciprocal relationships. Pi wasn’t a Eureka moment. Archimedes carefully calculated her value based on 2000 years of other’s estimations. About 2000 years later we are still enthralled with her power.

In honour of Pi Day, I am offering you the opportunity to make your own calculated discovery – about yourself and your larger world. If you are struggling to understand the meaning of your life and are hoping to discover a personal purpose, this opportunity may be for you. If your circle of influence and relationship is skewed or broken, this proposition can help you redraw boundaries and recalculate your position.

Remarkable coaching will uncover your greatest strengths and assist in finding alternatives to weaknesses. Through feed forward solution-focused sessions, you can discover specific intentions and actions to move you on your adventure.

My Pi Day Offer.

I am opening up 10 spots in April ( the start of Q2 2017) to clients who are interested in creating a significant change for themselves (in work, in life, in love, in health). The Pi Day Offer provides 3 – one-hour remarkable coaching sessions (either in person at our office or on the phone) where a commitment, that is the highest and best use will act as our guide. You will discover what immediate, relevant and concrete first step you can take and how to intentionally calculate and recognize when you complete it. You will be held accountable for your first, second, third … commitments and coached to recognize and reduce barriers that impede your goal. In recognition of the importance of π and your courage to take the next big step in your journey, we are offering this package to the first 10 adventurous and courageous clients for $314. If you respond before March 23rd, I will make you a pie.

Please let us know that you are interested and we can find 3 dates and times that works best. Contact Bob McInnis 5872271449 or bob@remarkablepeople.ca

I Don’t Understand

 

curious

I am a prideful guy and I think that I am a pretty sharp pencil. I like it when people think that I am clever. Sometimes I am clever, and sometimes I wing it. I rarely say, ” I don’t know” or ” I don’t know”. I am choosing to make Thursdays my “I Am Just Trying to Understand’ day each week. Thursday will be the day that I proudly declare my ignorance. I won’t synthesize what I do know and try shape it to fit an unrelated question. I won’t bluff my way through conversations. I will just say ” help me understand” or ” tell me more, so I can understand”. I am trusting that by being transparent and inquisitive, I will learn more about the subject under discussion and the person or people I am in conversation with.

Here are different ways I can say “I do not understand”

“What did you say? What do you mean? Ca you tell me more? Can you say more about that? I don’t understand. Excuse me, I didn’t get it. Excuse me, can you please repeat it? Sorry, I did not catch that. I missed that. That went right over my head. Can you please speak slowly? I don’t get it. Do you mind explaining it again? I’m afraid it is not clear what you saying. Would you mind clarifying what you said? I am sorry, but I don’t follow what you are saying. I don’t catch what you said. Sorry. I am not trying to be smart, I just don’t get it.”

Even writing those words makes me a bit uncomfortable. There is a script, in my head, that tells me that I should know everything or at least not disclose any lack of awareness, experience or education. It doesn’t matter where my scripts came from. I just need an awareness that the foundation informs my decisions. I can’t change yesterday and the actions or inactions that are embedded in my nature but I can move forward, slowly and subtlety altering how I choose to react to familiar and unfamiliar stimulus. Today, I recognize my desire (need) to be right and to be seen as clever and I challenge myself to be open and transparent by asking awkward and clumsy questions to clarify and learn.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Seems Bill understood that we need to accept that we don’t understand everything/anything. Where we see certainty Hamlet saw other possibilities. I am excited to see what Thursdays bring and whether my horizons will expand beyond what I am comfortable knowing.

Make Today Remarkable, by allowing some confusion,

B

Coping

We have numerous coping mechanisms and self-defense practices to help us get through the day. Many seem innocuous and inconsequential. But like most devices, we can dangerously overuse them and isolate ourselves from our reality and those around us.
To the world, I look like an extrovert and in the sense that I process outside my head, I am. But after spending an afternoon, a day, or a week in the midst of people – I am exhausted and need to retreat to a quiet space where I can ‘be’ inside my head and heart in order to get refreshed. While not quite the dictionary definition of ruminate, I do ponder the intent, the words, and the actions I took today and consider where I may have been unnecessarily harsh, too provocative, or selfish. In my rumination, I review and revisit but I don’t beat myself up. I try to learn from my missteps and I try to do better next time. Connecting dots backwards helps me see how I can be more supple and subtle in the future. On the days that I wrestle with myself and am open to my gentle probing and receptive to being better, I am invigorated.

hive

When I allow distraction or laziness to keep me from reflection, I begin to seed trauma. While I pretend to keep busy with other tasks, my head and heart are using kinetic energy trying to reconcile fragments that require focus to understand. I bury the instance or interaction and insist that it is forgotten but until I acknowledge the emotions, atone for any infractions or forgive myself, I allow the boil to fester. The trauma compiles with and compresses yesterday’s stuff that wasn’t dealt with and the day before and … Before long the stress is too much to bear and I present and resent in unhealthy ways. I either lose my temper, my composure, or I begin plotting some ridiculous vengeance. None are necessary or helpful.

There seems to be evidence (I know not pure scientific research) that when I let the boils of discontent fester without rumination, I suffer from stress and when I reflect, grimace and reconcile I celebrate growth.

I am better when I am better at mulling, accepting, confessing, and remedying. I will reflect on that last sentence tonight before I fall into blissful sleep.

B

You and Your Neighbours Can!

I really like talking with eager, talented neighbors about social change. Maybe, too much. Conversation, discussion, debate, brainstorming, ideation, evaluation, analysis are all great tools but without action and disruption, it is only empty rhetoric or worse self-absolution.

I heard Mark Lakeman speak last night at a Resilient Community event. He made many provocative statements and offered dozens of actions that he and his village have taken in Portland, Oregon. My paraphrase of the one that stuck with me was ” We don’t deserve to talk about sustainability if we can’t solve issues of abuse and injustice towards women.” I would add that we don’t have the right or reason to survive as a species if we can’t solve abuse of children, women, and seniors.

Action

I recognize that issues can be wickedly complicated. But when we use the complexity as an excuse for inaction, we become complicit in the issue and its impact. When we delay our action, hoping to find the best options, we leave people struggling and in danger. Many readers know that I have a significant action bias and that I have made hundreds of decisions that later need adaptation and improvement. But by acting, the ball started rolling and its momentum, direction, and scale could be altered.

I recall seeing a sign in the airport in San Francisco, a number of years ago. ” If you see something, say something”, resonates with my action focus and I would amend it to read ” If you see something, say something, and do something”. Do anything, do the best that you can in the moment, do the least that you can do in the moment, just do something.

You/I may not be able to solve the issue for all sufferers or even solve the problem completely for one person, but we can act. And we can surround ourselves with like-minded, willing and able, neighbours. What if four concerned citizens all agreed that there should be no child hunger at their community school? Or that the two children from their block would always have lunch. Or that the senior, living alone, would have someone to have a cup of tea with and talk with, every afternoon. Or the woman from the house where there is always shouting would have a safe place? If you look at your world and see something amiss, can you ask ” what can I do?” And then can you imagine you and your ‘team’ taking some meaningful action?

Every day in thousands of communities, millions of neighbours have come together to make it their problem. Their ‘it’ is different from yours, their response isn’t the same each time, but they are all acting and in their action they are making themselves and their villages a better place.

Make Today Remarkable, by beginning a conversation with a commitment to act together,
B