Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sound Familiar?

I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.
Abraham Lincoln

We have seen it as children and probably experienced. In fact, maybe we were once this type of person in our childhood yet managed to learn and grow out of it. And then there are those who continue to bully well into their own adulthood.

The definition of a bully is a blustering browbeating person; especially, one habitually cruel to others who are weaker.

Those who are bullies in childhood often continue to be bullies as adults. And many times the victims of adult bullying find little or no sympathy from others. After all they will say, we are grown now and should let any little or silly things such as bullying bother us.

But it happens.

What are the marks of a child who bullies others;

- Have witnessed physical or verbal violence at home as a means to get what they want.
- Hit or push other children their means to get what they want.
- Often physically strong, so they use physicality to get what they want.
- May or may not be popular with other children around their same age.
- Have trouble following rules and believe rules do not apply to them.
- Show little concern for the feelings of others.

And as they grow into adulthood, what are the marks of an adult bully;

- Are prone to physical or verbal violence at home as a means to get what they want.
- Hit or push other people when they are unable to get what they want.
- Often physically strong, so they use physicality to get what they want.
- May or may not be popular with other adults around their same age.
- Have trouble following rules and believe rules do not apply to them.
- Show little concern for the feelings of others.

Sound familiar?

There are additional habits that adult bullies tend to exhibit as well. These include political backstabbing, socially undermining someone, publicly belittling others, and ostracism. While the stereotype is that bullies tend to be bosses, there is a reason for it.

People tend to bully because they have power and when we think of power, we think of bosses and their charge over subordinates. But power comes in different forms. Some have more power over peers, either due to a dominant personality or aggressiveness. Others might have a higher social status which gives them more social power.

In its simplest form, bullying means being deliberately cruel to another person or group, for any reason. And while bullying is easy to spot in children, adult bullies are sly, subtle and difficult to expose. The older one gets, the more years of practice.

Some have learned to be very cunning while others hide behind masks of authority, superior knowledge, money or other types of power. Many are very good at finding plausible excuses to justify their cruelty or deflecting criticism of their behavior when called out on it. And in many cases, bullies think highly of themselves.

Bullies like being looked up to and often expect everyone to behave according to their wishes. They like having people parade to their doorstep or whim with all of the pomp and circumstance so others can watch. In childhood, kids who bully were many times not taught to think about how their actions affect other people. So putting others on public display is a thing bullies enjoy and it empower them even though it can have a devastating effect on others.

All bullies have one thing in common: they want to hurt someone.

What can someone do to stop from being bullied? When someone is bullying you, it is unlikely that there is anything you can say or do to make the bully feel differently. The best strategy is to change how you respond to the bullying behavior. In many instances, bullying cannot continue to have its desired effect if the intended victim successfully stands up to the bully.

Once you have identified a bully and know what kind of behavior to expect from this person, you must choose not to be a victim. Expose the bullying for what it is; take a stand, and don’t back down.

- Tell someone you trust and tell them what has been happening to you.
- Name names and give details; make your situation very clear.

This may require a bit of courage, but you can find it.

- Arrange for a witness to the bullying by asking someone you trust to watch or listen when the bullying takes place.
- Confront the bully which you can do yourself if you feel able or have a someone you trust there to support you.

The point here is to expose the bully and call him or her to account.

What you do not want to do is;

- Get into a fight; avoid physical confrontation because someone will get hurt or possibly go to jail. It also is very likely that nothing will be resolved.
- Return the abuse; becoming a bully yourself is a dangerous pit to fall into when you are hurt and angry so resist the temptation to lower yourself to the level of your abuser.
- Acting out in frustration; do not fall into the trap where you have a mean boss, who humiliated you so you went home and shouted at the wife, who slapped the oldest son, who punched his little sister, who pulled then pulled the dog’s tail, who ran down out the door and bit the postman.

Cruelty spreads like a contagious disease and quickly becomes epidemic in nature; so wash your hands of it!

I know life is not easy and we will always have varying degrees of hate. But when we encounter it, when we see it, and when we are impacted by it, we can choose to do the right thing.

Stay inspired my friends!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Dead Cat

The eye is diverted from the real business, it is caught by the spectacular action that means nothing--nothing at all.” ― Agatha Christie

In politics there is what many call a "Dead Cat" strategy. In its simplest form, this strategy is a diversionary tactic most commonly used in politics. When things are not going your way or the news is bad for you, throw a dead cat on the table which will divert attention from something damaging to you by giving people something more dramatic or shocking to talk about.

In use and metaphorically speaking (there is not a real dead cat on the table), please will shout "Hey, there’s a dead cat on the table!" People will then be talking about the dead cat, the thing you want them to talk about, and they will not be talking about the issue which has been causing you so much grief.

If you can make a comment or stir something so shocking that it shifts the entire focus of discussion to something else. What you did not want to talk about will no longer be talked about. How can anyone not talk about the dead cat? They have to because it is so outlandish and eye catching.

Very powerful in shifting and gaining media attention.

We have seen plenty of this during our most recent election process and it continues post-election as well. By nature we humans are curious to the wild and shocking noise which permeates our social and news media outlets. My father always said, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that is very true.

By simply focusing on the squeaky wheel, are we forgetting to pay attention to the other three wheels? The air leaking quietly from one tire or the wear of the tread on another which are equally important. Do we do it to fool ourselves into thinking everything is okay in our lives?

Do we throw dead cats to deceive ourselves?

How many times have we allowed ourselves to be diverted by the bright and shiny things. You want to that new job which promises great sums of money but are unwilling to admit that you do not put in the effort in your current job to advance. It could be a relationship in which you want the handsome attentive man or the attractive fawning woman but fail to measure your own self.

The promises made to us and by us are the dead cats thrown in front of us. They distract us from what is really going on in our life. It could be politics, relationships, our money, job and even our religious beliefs. We deceive and are deceived by the diversions created.

How do we remove the dead cat?

The first thing is to realize that the dead cat is on the table and to ask why was it thrown out there in the first place. We must always question why the topic changed. Is it in order to focus us on something more important or keep us from discussing what truly is important.

Secondly, we must hold ourselves and others to task in understanding and resolving what really matters. The dead cat is not the important thing here, it is a ploy to keep us from holding ourselves or others accountable. We should not allow the diversion to hold our attention.

The last thing is to call it what it is, a diversion of the truth either in social media or the news. Call people out on it and bring the attention back to the important things. Call yourself out on it for only we can allow ourselves to be deceived by the dead cat on the table.

Stay inspired my friends!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Ass in the Lion's Skin

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.”
Walter Scott

From Aesop ... a story.

An Ass once found a Lion's skin which the hunters had left out in the sun to dry. He put it on and went towards his native village. All fled at his approach, both men and animals, and he was a proud Ass that day. In his delight he lifted up his voice and brayed, but then every one knew him, and his owner came up and gave him a sound cudgeling for the fright he had caused. And shortly afterwards a Fox came up to him and said: "Ah, I knew you by your voice."

Aesop's moral - Fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool.

Stay inspired my friends!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Continue To Make A Difference

Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu

Despite our ever changing world and disagreements we have, I shall continue to do so.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper
He should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted
Or Beethoven composed music
Or Shakespeare wrote poetry

He should sweep streets so well
That all the hosts of heaven and earth
Will pause to say
Here lived a great street sweeper
Who did his job well

~Martin Luther King, Jr~

You can make a difference every day simply by doing what you do to the best of your abilities.

Stay inspired my friends!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Are You Ready

We are not preparing for the world we live in - we are preparing for the world we find ourselves in.” ― Michael Mabee

Today, November 7, 2016 is the day before our presidential election here in the United States. A day which seems long in coming and very unconventional one to say the least.

The pundits, the memes, the arguing and the craziness which have marked this particular election will reach a full crescendo today. There will be last moment appeals for one candidate or the other and enough predictions to fill a rain barrel or two.

What just happened.

Much of what we witnessed over the past year has been both historical and hysterical in nature. The unexpected has happened and the division has widened among citizens and family members alike.

We have our first female presidential candidate who carries with her like any lifelong politician (male or female) both the good and bad baggage of a long career in politics. There are people deeply divided and opinionated of this candidate for these reasons.

On the other side we have a truly non-political candidate who many have referred to as a carnival barker. But there are many things he says which resonate with people due to the failure of our entire political system to address in a meaningful way.

Outside of the United States, many have commented on what they would call the demise of our democracy and the system used to elect a President. And the fear is not as much how we have gotten to this point but what will happen after the election results are in.

What Wednesday will bring.

At some point on Tuesday night, the projections and results will come in and we will know who the next President of these United States will be. The person might be your candidate or maybe not, but how will you respond?

Will you accept the results and implore your fellow believers to join and support the new President. Or will you continue to be a part of the political problem that all of us seem to agree needs fixing?

And yes, much of our change relies upon the politicians themselves. But we can be the ones who start the change by changing our ways, by lowering our own divisiveness in how we use social media and in our conversations with others.

The show must go on.

After we have made our choices on Tuesday and had our celebration or pity parties on Wednesday, the act of getting on with the business of life remains. We can choose to continue our complaints or to hold a victory over others.

Or we can choose to work together in a civil and respectful way to bring the changes all of us can agree upon. If not, life and all of its consequences will proceed without us one way of another.

My belief is we will be better regardless of Tuesday's outcome because we can be.

Vote this Tuesday and stay inspired my friends!

Friday, November 04, 2016

All Generations

My happiness comes from the donation of my life in many ways for the current and for the future generations.” ― Debasish Mridha

Every generation has a set of challenges encountered which are either created by the past, by the present or by our reluctance to confront the future.

The old might predict the demise of a present generation but fail to remember they were considered the future by an older generation. Even the present generation can fail to put in context the past and what was or could have been achieved by their elders.

What always exists is possibility.

Regardless of the generation, the time or the circumstance, all of us can strive to make life better for others which in turn creates a better life for ourselves. To say we want to return to the greatness of a time long past is to forget the pain and mistakes of that past.

There is only tomorrow and the lessons learned from yesterday. We keep looking to improve upon what we have done and create the best future that we are capable of. The next generation will take up the mantel and proceed as we have.

We can look at life as failure or as success.

I choose to look at life as success and to overcome the obstacles and mistakes we will inevitably encounter.

Refuse to let the wrong happen, believe in what can be and then try to create something better in life for both the present and future generations of us.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Where Does Truth Come

"The truth is now an opinion. Unfortunately, thanks to social media, you can live in your bubble of opinion truth for as long as you like." - Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah made the statement above in response to a question regarding this years presidential campaign in that "we don't agree on a truth anymore." And so it is, another meme gets posted by opposing sides and truth becomes a victim of exaggerated context.

We find ourselves normally influenced by the friends we hang around each day. Those people could be co-workers, family members, social friends or acquaintances. Many times there are varied political, social and religious views among all of them.

In many cases, we can have a face-to-face disagreement or discussion. The points being made can become heated but most always, the discussion means to look for a common ground of truth. And granted, it is not always found but the rhetoric has to be defended.

Social media changed and changes the rhetoric.

In the early days of Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets, people would post breaking news or events. It was a time when people would try to post the truth of a situation and when it wasn't others called them out on it. It began as 'the peoples' way to report those things the journalistic community was accused of not doing.

Things changed and people began to understand their own message was drowning in the flood of postings from other people. The ability to get their own view noticed was more and more difficult and the rise of exaggerated posts became more prevalent.

Journalistic or tabloidism in our postings.

The world of social media still has great value as does mainstream journalistic media. But everything the public has decried as unfair reporting, non-reporting or sensationalist reporting has become the exact same thing for social media posts.

We have become the very thing we rail against.

The aggrandized comments, outrageous memes and near lies, absolute lies and misinformed are seen increasingly each day. The ability to correct or discuss becomes an outright civil war of words with each side digging in deeper to their viewpoints, opinions and beliefs. They are right, you are wrong.

Truth is orphaned in the middle.

We create our own truth on each side of the debate. It is not the institution of politics, government, corporations, journalists or any other to blame for the division. We have only ourselves to look at and see where the problems of our society, government and lives need be worked on to resolve.

It is also where the answer to our problems exist. It is within ourselves to find the common ground. It is within us to tone down the rhetoric of discontent and slander in order to find the orphaned truth and bring it back into our life.

We are the problem but we are the answer as well.

We can live within the bubble or we can break free and live a greater life. For many, to live within that safe sphere of our own truth is how we will live until death.

For many others, to break out and find the common truth expands our lives and frees us from being so angry. To free ourselves from bubbles of supposed truth will strengthen us to solve the issues at hand.

It is within each of us to create a dialogue with each other. Only then will we find our way to live a great life.

Stay inspired my friends!