old enough

 

 

The federal government has age limits on specific positions. For instance, a person must be at least 25 to be an US Representative, 30 to be an US Senator, and 35 to be President.

 

Age Minimums

 

All states impose minimum ages for at least some of the key local and state government positions. However, the age minimums vary greatly from state to state.

 

The craziest of all laws regarding public service that I have seen are in Vermont. In that state, a person must be a voter to be a town official. Thus, effectively mandating a minimum age of 18 to be mayor of even the smallest town.

 

Governor At 14?

 

However, in Vermont there are no age limits for any key positions at the state level. Thus, anyone who has lived in the state for 4 years (a state requirement) can run for governor. In 2018, Ethan Sonneborn, who was 14 at the time, sought the nomination for the Democrat candidate for governor. He did not get the nomination, but he was qualified serve despite not having reached the age of majority.

 

As a 14-year-old, Ethan was not old enough to vote, drive a car, get a tattoo without his parent’s permission, smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or possess a handgun. However, he was old enough to stay at home alone, possess a rifle or a shotgun, and be governor.

 

I seriously doubt that the founders of Vermont intended for the governor to be a teenager. However, no one in the nearly 230-year history of the state has ever bothered to change the age for governor. Perhaps no one paid attention before or connected the lack of an age specification to the potential contradiction and issues that arise if a teenager were to become governor.

 

Issues

 

Issues would arise due to requirements to attend school until age 16. Even with home schooling, there would be labor issues as child labor laws in Vermont restrict how much and when teenagers can work.

 

This leads me to the most obvious concern. How can a 14-year-old sign a bill into law when they are not old enough to sign a contract?

 

I suspect that if a teenager ever won the governorship, there would be lots of sudden “Ahha’s” and laws would be quickly changed.

 

 

 

 

When I was young, I admired people I saw on TV making people laugh. As I recall, Bob Hope held his birthday specials around the same time as my birthday. Thus, I particularly connected with him. Impersonators and those who could mimic sounds also intrigued me.

 

Laughter

 

Entertaining people, particularly making them laugh, became a dream of mine. There was even one occasion where I had an audience laughing quite hard. Afterwards, someone suggested I go into comedy. This made me believe comedy was an area where I could be successful.

 

Then, I made the mistake of telling my mother my desire to be a comedian. She scoffed at the idea. Since she valued money over most everything else in life, she told me that I couldn’t make money being a comedian. I recalled thinking about how Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and others must have been making good money. I was old enough to realize that there were probably lots of others that were struggling to “make it big.” Still, she sucked the air right out of my balloon and my desire to become a comedian deflated.

 

Trying Improv

 

As an adult, I tried my hand at improv, which is very different from stand-up comedy. My first improve class was fun, but the second one was not nearly as enjoyable. Therefore, my enthusiasm in learning improv went right down the drain.

 

Over the last several years, I have reflected back on these experiences. I realize that if I truly had a strong desire to become a comedian, nothing would have swayed me from achieving my dream. Looking below the surface, I have asked myself, “What about being a comedian is attractive to me?”

 

When I think about comedy, I see it as a tool to help people feel happy, even for a short time. I lost my father at a young age and I think I had an appreciation for the feelings of sadness that others had. I think I wanted to make others feel good like the old-time comedians made me feel.

 

Truly Helping People

 

Now, I realize that comedy is a short-term solution and I really desire to improve people’s lives in a more permanent way. Thus, my true passion is to help others make a connection with that thing that lights up their face, puts a twinkle in their eye, and gets them excited about living life. From there, we can work together on finding ways to integrate their passion into their daily life.

 

What is it that you want to be when you grow up? Take that desire and look under the surface to see what truly motivates you. Once you make that connection, look for ways to integrate your passion into your daily life.

 

 

 

A few years ago, I was shopping in a hobby store when I noticed a group of men dressed in suits.  This was highly unusual. A vast majority of people who shop in the store are women and it is a rare occasion that I see anyone dressed up in the store.

 

I spent several minutes watching the men, who appeared to be analyzing the product displays. Finally, I decided to approach the men as I had a burning question on my mind. After one of the gentlemen confirmed that they were indeed analyzing the product displays, I asked, “Why aren’t there any women in the group?”

 

No Women

 

The man replied that there weren’t any women interested in the job.  He said that women didn’t want to move up in the company. Well, I knew that was just a story and was in not in any way based on fact. I was quite sure that lots of women would be interested in the job.

 

I went on to explain to the man that given their clients are probably 90% female. Given that, women should be involved in how they displayed their product. If nothing else, the average height difference between men and women makes a huge difference in the perception of a display.

 

Although the gentleman was polite and listened to my point of view, it was clear that he really wasn’t listening. I stressed to him that they needed to reach women if they wanted to make sales.  I also explained that a woman’s perspective was critical to making that happen. In the end, the conversation was very unsatisfying.  I believed I could redesign the displays to attract more sales in my sleep.

 

Lack of Connection

 

Yet, I was intrigued that the man didn’t seem to care if they connected with their customers. Given the corporation had sent a group of men to do the job, it would appear that the corporation didn’t understand either. I assume that they really did want to sell products, but somehow they got a bit off-track without realizing it.

 

A disconnect or partial-disconnect with customers is a common occurrence. It is actually rare that a business is fully connected with their customers and potential customers. If you find a business that has numerous 5-stars out of 5-stars reviews, it is likely you have found a business fully connected with their customers.

 

Connecting

 

For a majority of your customers to feel connected to your business, the business must attract the right customers. Thus, the business must strive to draw in customers whose needs match the company’s goals. Alternately, the company may choose to define their goals around the needs of a group of potential customers.   To have great success obtaining and maintaining customers, the company can never lose sight of this connection.

 

 

 

 

As you may have noticed, this year we’ve shifted the focus of our blog posts and re-titled it Connecting. We have chosen this focus because everything in existence involves making connections. Those of you who enjoyed our Pay Attention blog or our Imagine If blog need not worry as both concepts will be found within Connecting.

 

Flavors of Connections

 

Connections come in many flavors.   There are things where the connection is physical and obvious, such as, a fingernail is clearly attached to a finger, the finger to the hand, the hand to the wrist, etc. These connections are observable to the naked eye. A scientist might, however, describe these connections with more precision and in ways that are not visible without special equipment. Those descriptions are also physical. The details are just not obvious to the casual observer.

 

Similarly, there are connections that are emotional, such as, connecting Christmas with family. A particular home or set of activities may be involved, but no physical connection exists. Yet, when you think of Christmas, you might immediately think of being with family.

 

Similarly, you might associate both horses and tractors with transportation. Unless you are talking about a horse drawn carriage, there isn’t a physical connection. My Grandfather might have made an emotional tie between the two because he loved his horses and was heartbroken when they were replaced by motorized equipment. However, most of us make this connection because of something we learned – a mental connection.

 

Lastly, connections can be spiritual.   The power of prayer is an excellent example for those that believe. It can’t be empirically proven, but prayer seems to perform miracles.

 

Connection Game

 

Connections go far deeper and cover many more situations than are initially obvious in the above scenarios. By playing a simple game we play with students to teach creative problem solving, you can begin to see how everything is connected. That game consists of searching for as many connections as you can between two seemingly unrelated objects, ideas, beliefs, etc. For example, how is a dog related to a banana? If you don’t come up with something initially, challenge yourself. We have yet to find any two things without a connection.

 

More The Same Than Different

 

The world today teaches people to see the differences, yet things are more connected than they are different. If you look at two different people, for example, they may look very different based on gender, race, height, etc.; however, humans share more than 99.9% of the same DNA. So, there is biological connectivity between all human beings that goes far deeper than physical characteristics.

 

What about our beliefs? Although most the time you wouldn’t know it, there is a significant amount of connectivity in our personal, political, and religious ideologies. For instance, most people believe in the concept of family. Now, some believe in monogamy while others believe in plural marriage. Still, at the core is the idea of family. Likewise, most religions believe in a higher power or universal power giving life to the idea that there is something more.

 

And, lastly we arrive at the dreaded politics. No matter your political views it is guaranteed that there are people with your general set of beliefs that are truly working toward what they believe to be the good of the people and the good of the country. It is equally true that there are others who are working toward their own power and not the good of anyone else. Those working for good may disagree on how to achieve the goals, but they share more goals than most people realize. The challenge is to find the connections and focus on them instead of focusing on the disagreements.

 

Pay Attention

 

As you can see in these few examples, everything in life involves connections. Those connections range from the obvious to the overlooked to the ones that you really need to think about and consider. Once you are paying attention and open to seeing connections, they will start jumping out at you from every angle. You might even start imaging what life would be like if we focused on the commonality and connections instead the differences.

 

Read our new blogs post each Tuesday and Friday to get a glimpse into some of the connections that we see around us!

 

 

Add your answer to the Dog-Banana Challenge in the comments.

Message us to get our answers.

 

 

 

 

 

In our previous blog post Connecting the Dots, we talked about how people are constantly connecting information and creating new understanding. Despite doing this people often rely on habit or minimal information in making decisions.

 

For instance, when a person is in the habit of buying a certain product, they likely don’t give the choice a second thought. The person just grabs the product from the shelf as they hurry through the store. Experience and the pathways ingrained in the person’s brain often results in the person ignoring other similar products.

 

In cases where a person hasn’t created a habit of purchasing a specific item, they may compare prices or check packaging details before selecting an item. They are consciously making a decision about the product. However, they are only considering the limited information that is in front of them.

 

When it comes to large purchases, however, people are more likely to do more extensive research. Before a person buys a vehicle, they may talk to friends and family to find out their experience. The person may also check Consumer Report or other guides.  They may review the  cost to purchase and the expected maintenance cost. The person attempts to do due diligence due to the amount of money involved.  They want to ensure that they make an informed decision.

 

When a person attempts to take a wide variety of factors into account over the lifetime of the product, they are trying to define the total cost of ownership for the item. For example, the vehicle with the cheapest purchase price may not cost the least amount of money in the long-term.

 

In addition, many costs and benefits of  buying decisions are not financial in nature. For instance, a buyer may see value in selecting one vehicle over another for the purpose of portraying a certain image.

 

Hidden or unconsciously ignored costs also come into play. A hidden cost arises when a person doesn’t realize that a shirt that they they are purchasing was made in a factory where people are mistreated. By purchasing the shirt, which may be beautiful and cost effective to purchase, the person inadvertently supports this factory. Thus, the cost is that they unknowingly support something they may strongly oppose.

 

On the surface, the decision on many things may appear to be obvious. It may seem to provide the benefits the person wants for themselves and the world. Yet, if they knew all the underlying information, they might make a different decision.

 

In other cases, the person may support the idea because it sounds like it aligns with their goals even though there is known evidence to the contrary. Most people will deny that they ever do that, but the reality is that all people do that. People pick and choose the experts and reports that they believe based on what they want to be true. The filtering of facts is driven by a person’s existing beliefs and experiences.

 

Therefore, most decisions, no matter how small aren’t what they really seem on the surface. The decisions are connected to other people and actions around the world. Therefore, even when a person tries to look at the total cost and benefit of a decision,  they rarely consider all the facts.

 

Thus, even with the most careful consideration and the best of intentions, people often make flawed decisions. This is why it is important to continually reassess decisions. If a person has already driven the car off the lot, taking it back and trading for a different model may not be practical. The person may have to wait until they are ready to sell the car to make a change. However, it can be applied immediately in other areas of life.

 

If a person learns new information that contradicts their beliefs or views on specific aspects of a relationship, political ideology, religion, or work, they can often make changes immediately. The key is to be willing to look beyond the surface.  A person has to be willing to question even their own beliefs. As long as a person stays on autopilot and looks only at the very surface, they will never understand the actual impact of their decisions.

 

The best thing a person can do is to challenge their own analysis. By doing so, they may discover hidden assumptions based on outdated or incorrect connections that they have built over the years.   In awakening to their subjective thought process, they will hopefully become more open to other perspectives on the world and become more understanding of others. This understanding is key to making better decisions for oneself and the world!

 

 

 

We often dissect things rather than looking at the whole. When we consider the human body we think about an arm and a leg as two components of the body. However, those components are really nothing on their own. In order to function, blood must flow to the extremities to give them energy. Likewise, nerves must attach the limb to the brain to create voluntary and involuntary movement.

 

When any component of this system becomes compromised, the extremity no longer functions perfectly. In some cases, it can’t function at all.

 

The human body is one of the most complex systems in the world. It contains many functions. Many of the basic functions combine to create more complex functions. Yet, people are individuals and have unique characteristics. Most characteristics of people are within ranges that are felt to be common, but not all are. These are the reasons why medicine, for all the strides and understanding that have been gained over the years, still has a long way to go.

 

Even if we consider the human body as a whole, we are still considering only a component since the human body is not a standalone object. People have thoughts and emotions that go beyond the physical function of cells or systems in the body.

 

Beyond all the things that make people human, people also share space, energy, and emotions with others. We are all cogs in the universal machine. If a cog (person) is in some way damaged, the universe suffers just as the leg suffers if it does not receive oxygen or nerve impulses.

 

Each positive word and action you take heals not only you and those to whom you direct your comments and actions, but it also heals the world. Likewise, every negative word or act of aggression hurts not only those it is directed toward, but also you and the world as a whole. Thus, it is important to choose your battles and choose your words carefully. Choose wisely!