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.

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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

Memories

Blink and it is gone. The fleeting moment of 7 seconds ago is chased by the hurtling moment 7 seconds ahead. We hold ABCDEFG at once and then A is gone to the past and H is rolling forward. The pace of time ticks on and without holding onto the now and filing some rendition of it away, we find our minutes, hours, days and years spent without value or purpose. Memories are the economy of experience without which life has no currency.

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Our memories can represent numerous meanings of the word currency.
According to Miriam Webster;
Currency
a : circulation as a medium of exchange
b : general use, acceptance, or prevalence <a story gaining currency>
c : the quality or state of being current : currentness <needed to check the accuracy and currency of the information>
d : something (as coins, treasury notes, and banknotes) that is in circulation as a medium of exchange
e : paper money in circulation
f : a common article for bartering <Furs were once used as currency.>
g : a medium of verbal or intellectual expression < … neither side possessed any currency but clichés … — Jan Struther>

My memories act as a repository and a filter for the life I have led and a shimmering lens to the highest and best tomorrow. They contain and create truth, marketing both to my ego and anyone else who will listen. They become the chapters and volumes of the Book of Bob and in modern parlance ‘they fabricate my brand’.

As the story develops and is retold, by me and those who have heard them they begin to seem plausible and possible. When I remember a meeting with a colleague and relate the experience to them on the next encounter, it infiltrates their story just as their recounting finds room in mine. We both remodel and adapt and accept the altered version as today’s truth.

The moment I recognize as now slips past so quickly that I would miss it if I didn’t shape it as part of a bigger picture. William James gave currentness years of thought as he raced ahead of his world. His brother Henry once said, after his passing; ” William is always around the next corner.” He mused ” Time itself, comes in drops”. or in fuller exposition; “All our sensible experiences, as we get them immediately, do . . . change by discrete pulses of perception, each of which keeps us saying ‘more, more, more,’ or ‘less, less, less,’ as the definite increments or diminutions make themselves felt. . . . [All our sensible experiences] come to us in drops. Time itself comes in drops. (PU 104)” His thesis seems to suggest that only the current memory can quench the thirst for understanding, but only for a discreet pulse ( a drop).

‘I don’t know if this really happened but I know it is true’ a paraphrase from Marcus Borg’s post-modern apologetics suggests that memories (stories) can be profoundly true without being factually true. It is in that ether that we construct our reality – a recipe of factual, literal, and imagined to concoct save our sanity and a delicious cake that we can offer to those who are proximate and intimate.

What we use as a token of exchange, either memories or money are merely and intrinsically a social agreement. I accept your story and assimilate it into a trust matrix that I use to decide whether to share some of my life and time with you. Or, I receive your script or a digital version as remittance for goods or services and complete the transaction because we have agreed that the $, €, £, ៛, ₽, that we trade has some value that is factual, literal and concocted. In either case, if the agreement fails, the transaction ends without satisfaction.

Sitting around a campfire, standing at a water cooler, or in a pulpit, applying for a job, courting a lover is an exercise in bidding, accepting, and rejecting. We barter for relationship, status, position, power, and love with the memories we share and the clarity we imagine and bring to our storytelling. If my memory tales align with yours, we begin a dance. You offer a version of an event and I add or adapt to it and offer some of it back. When I say ” I love you” and hear ” I love you, too”, my understanding is framed by how I have experienced love in the past and how I desire to feel it in the future. Your words are interpreted through my arbitrary moment in time position that is informed by my recall, recognition and reflection and my unspoken desire to be loved.
Back and forth the stories go and for some, an agreeable, intimate, long-lasting relationship develops.

My ego and delusions of grandeur are both a great asset and a devastating liability. I assume my memories and their articulation exist to be a medium of verbal or intellectual expression, cherished by all who hear them. I realize that the 1000ish words of this post offer my intellectual expression, somewhat convoluted by the act of writing and the fact of reading and the faculty of recalling. My fallibility can seem either charming or troublesome because your memories, your ego, and your delusions play into the understanding; factual and interpretive, of the exchange. I trust and expect that some of this will resonate and some will provocate and I am okay with both. I would be distressed if it fell flat.

Make Today Memorable,

B

CLEAR the Way

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The past is a different beast from the future if you choose to make changes. Today, you get to imagine a preferred future. It can be something personal; a different job, better health, a stronger relationship or learning something new. Make the preferred goal as CLEAR(r) as possible. Is it Consistent with your values? Can you Learn to be proficient? Are you Eager to attempt the task? Is it Achievable in a reasonable timeframe? Are you Ready to Risk? Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those times when taking small steps will suffice. To get from a current state to your best future means CLEAR and it also means “I am all in”.

Most of our frustration with yesterday and anxiousness about today rests in the decisions we are making that either consciously or unconsciously create dissonance with stated or espoused beliefs about the world. To live in congruence, we need to intentionally reflect on our choices and where necessary act to change the chosen path.

Stagnation; the sense that our life has us trapped in a rut or worse seems utterly meaningless is a result of our curiousity dying. For goals to have any impact they can’t just be same-old-same-old. We need to be open to learning new experiences, try new approaches and meet new people.

Have you reached the bottom or are close enough to realize that it is just around the corner. Has the current state brought you to a realization that something, everything needs to change? Is now the time? If you are eager to see your life change, you can use that energy to create stretch goals.

Now that you are an avid changemaker, I need to draw you back to what is doable, for you, in a reasonable time, with the resources available. This caveat isn’t meant to restrict the very best you can be but rather should garner a response from you ” if I can get this done, I can do a lot more.”

The double R’s; Ready and Risk are where most people fail. They can either say they are ready and don’t risk anything or take on dangerous risks without being ready. When your goals are consistent, learning focused, enticing, and achievable then you are ready to get ready. My serious action bias often makes me jump without considering the outfitting it will take to survive the jump. Being ready can be as simple as creating a checklist – 5-20 items that need to be on-hand before you execute. Without over-preparing and ending up in analysis paralysis, take the minimally viable approach to planning. Now had Risk by taking one more step in the chain without the gear you might need and see where you land.

A coach can help with the in between steps and the stumbles in CLEAR9r) goal setting but don’t be surprised by what you are capable of achieving on your own.

CLEARly Make Today Remarkable for you,

B

Socrates Suggests

An unexamined conviction is not worth having. Following up on the very high bar that Socrates has set with the ‘unexamined life is not worth living.’ Why wouldn’t he just claim that an examined life is better than the not? Why the sharp rebuke? If in fact, Socrates said this it is the kind of device he would have used to challenge an audience. In a world where absolutes reign, it is easy to understand the resistance we have to examining and re-examining those deeply held convictions that we have built our value set and worldview upon. But, if we are sentient beings; fully able to feel and perceive, wouldn’t examination be a first nature response?

I have lived about 2/3 of my life convinced that I understood and believed stuff that I had never given proper consideration to fully examining. I firmly and stubbornly held a worldview that had more to do with my father and little to do with logic. I accepted a pile of rubble because I agreed with one nugget of gold that was buried in the mess. Some of my certainties were/are embedded in ancient wisdom that is only ancient now. As we examine our world, we may see that things have changed. It has only been about 200 years since we came to understand that the world was likely older than 4004 years. Almost everyone held that belief until they didn’t because their awareness and understanding changed. As humans, we are subject to bias and prejudice whether we are willing to acknowledge them.

During my childhood and teen years, I lived in Saskatchewan and the rhetoric and myths of successive governments formed a big piece of my family’s value set. During the early 1960’s, the government of the day introduced the first form of Medicare, in Canada. The principals of universality, equality, privacy and single payer were layered into the fabric of the practice and philosophy of healthcare. For decades, I held to those principles with the zealousness of an evangelist. I defended the cumbersome system with all it’s failures because I unconditionally accepted the founding principles. There wasn’t any room, intellectually, emotionally or practically to question the system because of the sacred propositions.

When I found the courage to examine these convictions, I discovered that I could support the institution of care for all who needed it without holding universality, equality, and privacy sacrosanct. Under an early examination, I concluded that universality and equality were or had been reduced to lowest common denominator thinking. If we had 10,000 patients needing hip surgery (and the system could afford the cost) and 100 surgeons able to do the surgery at a rate of 1 per day, then universality and equality stated that some would need to wait 100 days or more. The system and the principles were weighted heavily on a first come first serve mentality. But if rather than equality, we used equity as the standard, we don’t reduce the wait time for some but those in most dire need would be moved to the front of the line. As I worked through my own analysis (unscientific but with rigor) on two more occasions, a few years apart, I still concluded that equity is a more efficient and humane practice. The upshot is that I let go of equality as a criteria for policy and program creation (in healthcare, education, housing …) and embraced equity.

When I suggested this to colleagues and friends, most were offended. That isn’t a good enough reason to stop the examination or toss the conclusion. In fact, it may be further reason to look at the embedded fundamental truths, that they had learned at the feet of their own history.

I will stop here with the disclaimer that I am not trying to convince you or unconvince you of any of your convictions. I confess that I am trying to convince you to examine all your convictions on a regular basis. I still regularly revisit the philosophy and practice of equity, usually when I have become intransigent and cocksure about my position.

What fundamental conviction do you hold that hasn’t been revisited for years or never? Do you have the willingness and courage to disrupt your own cart of comfort?  Fair warning – as you examine your convictions, you open the door to your life and how you lead it. Even if there is no change in how you hold the firm declaration, just by observing it under a different light, you can help but changing the observer.

Take up a conviction challenge today,

B

Alternative Aesop’s Fable

Once upon a time, A man and his wife owned a very special goose. Every morning the goose would lay a golden egg, which helped the couple care for their five children. Throughout the day, the goose had the run of the farm and could go wherever she wanted and did whatever she would do. She ate from the garden, drank from the pond and honked at everyone within earshot. But the farmer appreciated the goose because of the golden eggs and gave her free rein.

goose

Unknown to the farmer and his wife, the goose served her own needs when no one was looking. As the family slept, the goose crept into the house and climbed on the cooling stove. She then pooped into the porridge pot, that mother had made and put on the stove waiting to feed the family in the morning. As everyone knows geese that lay golden eggs poop a vile poisonous runny stool. The farmer didn’t notice the mess because there was always a golden egg waiting by the door.

In the morning, father lit the stove and began warming the pot. As his children came to the table, he served them a big bowl. At first, no one noticed the foul taste or at least no one mentioned it. Day after day, week after week, the same ritual happened. The goose fouled the porridge and left an egg. The father warmed the porridge, and the children ate. But one day the youngest child fell ill. She complained of stomach pains and had trouble breathing. The father blamed it on the weather or other natural causes and said: ” she will be fine, just wait and see.” But she wasn’t. Within a fortnight the sweet little girl was gone, and everyone mourned her passing, but life went on.

Day after day, week after week, the same ritual happened. Soon two more children were ill, complaining of the same symptoms. Father and mother thought: “maybe it isn’t the seasons or the gods bringing this trouble on our house.” But no one suspected the goose, after all, she gave them a golden egg every morning.

Soon two more children died, and the last two were very sick. Mom and dad did everything they could. They sought out experts who told them it must be the oats, the water, the air or bad genes that were taking the family. Many ‘knew’ it was the goose but didn’t say anything because they had their own goose and couldn’t acknowledge that the generous goose was intentionally poisoning them too.

The farmer and his wife were alone. All five children had been taken. Everything that they had cared about seemed pointless. Day after day, week after week, the same ritual happened. The goose fouled the porridge and left an egg. With certain blindness, the farmer and his wife continued to eat the porridge. The eggs piled up because there were now only the two of them and the farmer’s wife became very sick. The farmer nursed her; he cared for her, he cried for her. But she too soon was gone. The farmer shouted: ” Damn you, goose, you have given me gold, just as you were taking everything that was important.”

He stopped eating the porridge and stopped gathering the eggs. Day after day, week after week, the same ritual happened. The goose fouled the porridge and left an egg. Soon the pot overflowed with poop. The air became putrid, and the gold became tarnished, and soon the farmer wasted away and was gone. And then there was just the goose, and the goose had the run of the farm and could go wherever she wanted and did whatever she would do.

With thanks and respect to Aesop’s Fables, number 87 and thanks to you for considering this alternative version.

Some Ideas Should Be Self Evident

Just because someone has influence doesn’t mean they have character. ~ Art  Jonak

It became crystal clear again this week that in the absence of character bluster and bravado are a poor replacement. When authorities and leaders resort to ad hominem and strawman attacks because they have made self-righteous and self-aggrandizing choices that they can’t defend with logic or honesty.

It would seem that I should be equally skeptical of the corollary ” just because someone has character doesn’t mean they have influence”.  It would be depressing and disappointing to consider that honesty, transparent, caring people lack influence. It is likely just a matter of scale. If 100,000 Twitter followers or 10,000,000 YouTube views suggests influence then a meaningful relationship and mentorship is insignificant. But if a changed life, a changed disposition or a changed heart is the measure then influence may be inversely proportional to following or views.

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I had two remarkable meetings today where we discussed a range of issues and differences of opinions. I left both with a fresh perspective, new data points and challenges and a sense of fulfillment. Both meetings were far more influential than any Facebook post or Instagram photo I will encounter today.

Make Today Remarkable, by setting your expectations at a human scale,

B

We All Get to Decide

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

In light of so many events this week, I needed to be reminded of this quote and I thank the fates and the twitter post that brought it to me. I have chosen to use my strengths to strengthen others for the past decade. There have been many days that I did that consistently and fewer days that devolved into self-righteousness.

happiness quote

There have been days that I was completely wrong.  Days that my enormous ego got in the way and tricked me into focusing on just me. And there have been days that I was ignorant; ignorant of the circumstances, ignorant of how my action impacted others and ignorant in my choice of language.

The good thing is that tomorrow I get to decide whether to walk in the light or succumb to darkness. That good news is yours too. Whatever you did or said or thought yesterday or today, you get to choose a different path when you get a fresh 24 when you wake up. Plant a seed tonight. Before you fall into slumber, think about how you will be a better light tomorrow and wake up with that intention fresh in your heart.

Make Today Remarkably Generous,

B

The Five Thieves of Happiness

A Guest Post

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Reining in the Thief of Global Comfort

 

Dr. John Izzo’s new book, The Five Thieves of Happiness, defines insidious mental patterns that steal happiness. The five thieves are control, conceit, consumption, coveting, and comfort. In this post, a look at the thief of comfort and how it operates at the global level.

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Just as the thief named comfort tricks us as individuals to keep riding a horse that is taking us in the wrong direction, so this is true for our entire species.

 

As a prime example, for thousands of years human beings were at the mercy of nature on a daily basis. As a species we developed a pattern of seeing nature as abundant and inexhaustible. Our pattern became one in which our primary goal was to subdue nature. We learned to hunt, cultivated the land to our needs, and eventually unearthed millions of years of stored-up fuel such as oil and coal and burned them to create energy. This pattern made sense when there were a few million humans and seemingly limitless natural resources.

 

But the patterns of comfortable routine often get in the way of society’s success when reality changes. Like the man on the horse, humanity is still running in the same basic direction with the same mind-set that was established for circumstances that no longer exist.

 

Today there are 6.5 billion humans on the planet—4 billion more than when I was born only 58 years ago. The bountiful natural world that I was born into has changed radically

in less than one human lifetime. The comfortable pattern of subduing nature as if it were unlimited once worked for us. Predisposed to routine as we are, we have fished out nearly every commercial species of fish; poured tons of fertilizer into the ocean, and through carbon emissions set a course to alter the very climate upon which we depend. All of this damage has been done, in large part, not out of any evil intent but because we are still operating on an old mind-set that is no longer valid.

 

Surprisingly, there are still many people who believe that we as humans are much too small to change the entire planet. And they were right. A short time ago, there were not enough of us to reshape the earth in a way that could endanger the future of life. Our comfortable routine of rampant consumption, uncontrolled energy use, and disregard for the role that the natural ecosystem plays in our well-being once made sense, but now that comfort threatens our very existence.

 

Another example is the zealous belief in free-market capitalism that exists among many people in the developed world, especially in North America. There are many merits to free-market capitalism, and certainly when compared with other systems that went before it, like communism and socialism as practiced in places like the former Soviet Union, it seems like the best of all possible systems. And it was the best system compared with totalitarian or controlled economies that limited human ingenuity.

 

But our fear of new ways of thinking often bind us to a system that may be working in many ways but which has led to increasing gaps between the very rich and the very poor, alongside wholesale degradation of the global environment to benefit

short-term profits. Remember that this thief wants us on that horse, thinking we are in control, when habit and routine are actually leading the way.

 

The same can be said of the scourge of terrorism. In a world where enemies were other nations, the mind-set that wars were won with military power and a heavy hand made complete sense. Yet reality has changed. Fighting terrorism is a war not merely of weapons but of ideas. And in the case of global terrorism, we are not fighting another nation but bands of individuals with a way of thinking that is becoming more pervasive all around the globe. Even one disgruntled person with a perverse ideology can cause devastating human losses.

 

The fifth thief wants us to stay tuned to the old way of thinking that worked in a world in which we no longer operate. Rather than talking about building bridges and winning the war of ideas, we spend most of our time talking about how to win with greater military, security, intelligence, and technological might. It is not that technology or the military are of no use in the war on terrorism—of course they are. The point is that we are wed to old mind-sets that don’t apply in the same way to new realities. Societies and entire nations can ride horses of habit as mindlessly as we can in our own lives.

 

Take, for example, the way potential terrorists are treated in most of the Western world. With the civil war in Syria and the growth of ISIS, many countries around the world are wrestling with how to deal with citizens who go to Syria with the potential to be radicalized. Most of Europe cracked down on citizens who had traveled to Syria. France shut down mosques it suspected of harboring radicals. The United Kingdom declared

citizens who had gone to help ISIS enemies of the state. Several countries threatened to take away their passports.

 

The city of Aarhus in Denmark took a different approach starting in 2012. The local police noticed a trend of young Muslim men going to Syria. But they took an alternative tack than most of Europe. They made it clear to citizens of Denmark who had traveled to Syria that they were welcome to come home and that when they did they would receive help with schooling, finding an apartment, meeting with a psychiatrist or a mentor, or whatever they needed to fully integrate back into Danish society. Although the media dubbed the program “hug a terrorist,” it is actually rooted in psychology backed by solid research.

 

Research shows that there is a very strong correlation between radicalization and young men being humiliated and feeling discriminated against. It also turns out that if you show warmth to people, they are most likely to respond in kind. Note that this is not about coddling terrorists, as these young men are not yet criminals. They are potential terrorists. The program has been quite successful at reintegrating these young men back into society and turning them away from radicalization.

 

The point here is not to suggest an easy solution to a complex problem, but it does illustrate how comfort can mire us in old patterns of thinking that don’t serve us. Whether personally or as entire societies, we must be aware of mind-sets that bind us

to ways of thinking and acting that simply don’t work. New realities call for new solutions. What is especially important is that we take notice of the role that comfort plays in our collective responses to rapidly changing circumstances. Only by stopping the horse of habit can we begin to consider how these old patterns must adapt.

 

Taking the Reins

 

The fifth thief is the subtlest of all the thieves. We like comfort because it makes us feel safe and because it is efficient, but these very habits of comfort undermine the house of our happiness. It is the capacity for surprise, not routine, that brings vitality to life. It is when we take charge of the horse, grab the reins, and alter course away from habits that may have once served us that we find new ways of being in the world that truly work for us. Our entire species is riding the horse of habit to environmental devastation and a world that does not work for all. A new world is waiting, but only after we banish this thief and see it for what it is.

 

Dr. John Izzo is a corporate advisor, a frequent speaker and the bestselling author of seven books including the international bestsellers Awakening Corporate SoulValues ShiftThe Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, and Stepping Up. His latest book is The Five Thieves of Happiness.

 

Over the last twenty years he has spoken to over one million people, taught at two major universities, advised over 500 organizations and is frequently featured in the media by the likes of Fast Company, PBS, CBC, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and INC Magazine.

 

www.drjohnizzo.com

 

Twitter: @drjohnizzo

 

LinkedIn: Dr. John Izzo

 

How to Combat Certainty in 5 No-so-Easy Steps

Certainty lays itself at our footsteps, across our thresh hold, in our email inbox and crams itself tightly into our heads. It robs us of creativity because ‘ a conclusion reached becomes a conclusion held.’ We conduct pseudo-experiments, gather strings of garble data, and hearken back to the theories of great scholars without so much a howdy do. The research confirms a suspicion and aligns with a desire and so it becomes a premise and then a fact. We continue to measure it and make it sacred. It can never be questioned, doubted or checked for its current relativity. Charging down the path towards an expectation, the certain choices lead to a specific and potentially altogether wrong destination. The surprise we feel when the findings, response or sales are chalked up to something else. We must have misread the data. The focus group was biased. The communication collateral wasn’t clear. But we never stop to consider the certainty that took us down the yellow brick road to Utopia. That certainty must be forever true. We need a manifesto of destruction and adaptation to lean comfortably into uncertainty but for the time being here are five steps to make your certainty intentionally uncomfortable.

1 Reframe. Begin with rattling reframing questions. ” If x isn’t entirely accurate, what might I observe?” ” When I am sure of my position, what might I be missing?” ” If I am not curious enough to see a different perspective, why do I expect different results?” Keep asking yourself challenging big picture questions so that you can concede that there may be another valid point of view, opinion or approach.

2 Reflect. I pause and wonder, where did this surety come from? Is my unshakeable belief based on bias, indoctrination, ‘education’ desire? Why am I afraid, uneasy, resentful that there could be many possible approaches? As I swim in the reflection, I learn more about myself that about any rigidity that I am harboring.

3 Refrain. It is a bit ironic that refrain can mean both ” a regularly occurring phrase” and ” to stop oneself from doing something.” This step is a bit of both. On occasion, when you hear yourself tugging on the same threads that you have pulled for years, I compel you to stop unraveling the tapestry and in just this one instance don’t go down the familiar path. Become a tourist who curiously explores a new journey and records your observations.

4 Remove. Take yourself out of the mix, when your certainty turns into intimidation and bullying. When you dig in your heels and because a tightly held ‘value’ is being challenged and you rise to a defensive or aggressive posture – remove yourself from the situation and repeat the first three steps.

5 Release. Release the tension of trying to hold onto the unknowable. Feel the stress drain away when you allow the edge of uncertainty to overlap with your defensive position. Relish the relaxation of curiosity and allow yourself to be renewed by unimagined possibilities.

Make today, and next year, remarkable,

B

 

Lean into Uncertainty

Certainty is one of the3 c’s along with comfort and convenience that are eroding creativity, courage, and curiousity and replacing it with the mire and muck of complacency . In my  opinion we need more uncertainty, inconvenience and discomfort. 

Certainty justifies and facilitates intimidation and bullying. When you or a ‘leader’ are so sure that you are right, you stop listening and asking questions. You stop widening your knowledge and begin digging a narrow trench. From the rut, outsiders begin to look dangerous so the ditch gets deeper in order to keep them at bay. Soon they are so far removed from the trench worldview that their unclean ideas feel like a threat so whenever you are able you put them down and diminish their worth. The self fulfilling prophecy of reciprocal resentment leads to ad hominem mud slinging. He said ” nasty stuff”, they said “nastier stuff” and the barrage escalates until someone is pushed too far.

Certainty means that I don’t need to be creative because “my way is the right way”. Comfortably entrenched, I punch the clock and trust the “tried and true”. If we weren’t so certain we could be open to the possibility of different ideas and positions. I could be curious about how, why, what you believe and you might be open to listening to my h,w,w.

I challenge all of you to be observant today and throughout the week for opportunities where you are certain of your position or conclusion and then lean into uncertainty and see how uncomfortable it makes you. – Stay curious.

Make Today Remarkable, by leaning into uncertainty,

 

B