Words Matter

People often view their words as harmless. In their mind, stories they tell about themselves and others are simply truths, fun, or humor. The issue is that words matter because the stories a person tells contributes to creating the future.

 

Self-Talk

 

The stories that people tell about themselves sets expectations, at least subconsciously, for the future. If you talk about your marriage failing, you are setting yourself on a path to divorce. Likewise, if you talk about losing your job, you are energizing the prospect of getting laid off or fired.

 

Thus, it is very important to avoid negative self-talk. If a person sees himself or herself as successful, they are likely with hard work to be successful. However, if the person sees himself or herself as failing, the person will have little chance of success. Since the person is expressing a negative outcome, it will impact the actions they take, their interactions with people, and the opportunities the universe brings them.

 

Other People

 

When this talk extends to other people, the person making the statement is putting their expectations and beliefs on the other person. That person may react with rebellion and fight back against those beliefs. However, they also may take on those beliefs as their own. When those beliefs include positive actions and outcomes, taking those beliefs on isn’t such a bad thing. However, when those beliefs and statements are limiting, it can be very bad.

 

Children

 

Negative statements are especially difficult on children. They hear these statements and they can be significantly impacted psychologically and emotionally. The same is true for adults. Yet, children are more vulnerable. If the statements are made by a parent, teacher, or other trusted person, the words can have a greater impact possibly scarring a child for life.

 

One of the recent trends is memes about the awful home schooling experience.  Multiple memes focus on the idea that because kids are now doing remote school work, the parents finally understand it is their children that are the root of the problem and not the teachers. Meanwhile, others indicate the parents need to start drinking early in the morning or can’t handle their children. When I pointed out to someone that I felt these memes could have negative consequences, they said, “Oh, it is just for fun.”

 

Is It Really Humor?

 

Of course, it begs the question, “Is it really humor?” If a parent or teacher feels compelled to post or like a meme about home schooling being awful, they should look inside and explore their motivation. What about it do they see as humorous. It says more about the adult than the child.

 

The fact of the matter is that whether it is for fun or not, it is still creating a reality. Consciously, the person may think it is fun, but their subconscious can’t  separate just for fun from it being actually true. In addition, consider if the person’s child sees the meme. If that child is in a vulnerable state, they may assume the parent and the teachers find them difficult or do not like them even if that was not the intent. To a child words matter more than adults can understand.

 

Power of Positive Talk

 

Whether a person talks to himself or herself, talks to or about someone else, or simply posts words in jest, the words matter. Thus, it seems logical to choose positive words that would bring good things into everyone’s lives. If we focus on positive words and images, we give those things energy. Thus, they can grow and blossom.

 

How We Can Help

 

If you struggle with negative self-talk or the effects of statements made to you throughout your life, consider some coaching or other energetic mind and body healing.

 

 

 

Ivory Tower

 

 

Although originally used to reference the isolated life of a poet, the term “ivory tower” has come to be a reference to someone who is not in touch with the real world. In some references, it goes so farther.  In those instances, it indicates  that the person has a complete disregard for lowly real world issues.

 

People who speak about something or someone at a distance,  are often seen as living in an ivory tower.  Those close to the issue often feel that the perspective shared is out of touch with their own personal reality. The more distantly removed one person is from another in terms of geographical distance, cultural distance, economic distance, and educational distance, the more challenging it is to communicate without one person sounding out of touch with the other.

 

In Academia

 

Often the term ivory tower is used to refer to people in academia because they are focused on research and theories. Meanwhile, people actually working in the field are dealing with the realities of the real world.

 

Along these lines, I recall a researcher at the company where I worked who was advising a PhD candidate at one of the Ivy League schools. The corporate researcher was excited about the PhD student’s thesis and wanted to share information about it with me. I am not sure exactly how I reacted, but it was something along the lines of “And, what else?” They were shocked to know that I already “knew” that the PhD student’s hypothesis was true. I politely informed them that it was common knowledge in business, particularly high tech. It would never have occurred to me to try to get a PhD on something that was so obvious in my world. Yet, here was someone from academia doing just that.

 

In Business

 

Business has plenty of its own ivory towers that aren’t focused on research.  One of the most common ivory towers is retail corporate headquarters. On many occasions I have commented to a store employee about recent changes that made little sense. They almost always answer, “It doesn’t make sense to us either.”  Then the employee shares that someone at headquarters made the decision and that they have no choice.   It makes me wonder if the people at headquarters actually ever shop in their stores.

 

Personally, I like to see and select products in person. However, it is often easier online because finding the product in the store can be a hunting expedition. For instance, who would ever think to look for the dish-washing products in the section with animal care and food? If you would, please explain the logic to me. I am sure it is not in that section online.

 

Other kinds of businesses have ivory towers as well. The executives often believe products can be created much faster than possible. They just have no knowledge of what goes into product creation, but demand it all the same.  

 

Similarly, they will cut costs and staff at any turn while they jet around the world staying in luxury accommodations and eating fine meals. It is challenging for employees to see a connection to these executives. 

 

Elections

 

The ivory tower comes into play in elections as well. In a local election, the candidates are usually from the same area as voters and likely have similar experiences as the voters. Likewise, the candidate is either of the same culture as voters or at least has an understanding of the culture of the voters. Some situations may exist where voters view local candidates as living in an ivory tower. However, it is rarer than in a national election where there is more distance.

 

The further from home the elected official serves; the more likely they are to be seen as living in an ivory tower. This is somewhat unavoidable as the larger the group that they serve, the harder it is to relate to the group. Thus, members of Congress are challenged to represent all of their constituents. The President has an even bigger challenge to connect to the general population.

 

The Facade

 

Some people in these positions are really good at getting common people to believe that they understand the life of the factory worker, the farmer, the front line employee, or the person living in the inner city. Most of the time, this is a façade. Thus, it is important to look beyond it to see if even at a high level the person understands or if their eloquent speech is simply winning you over.

 

Breaking Out Of The Tower

 

Now, it is possible for all people who live in ivory towers to become more attuned to the real world. The first step is for them to realize that they have a lack of understanding. Until they give up the idea that they “know,” they will not make progress. Believing that one knows is not the same as having true understanding. And, when there is a lack of understanding, there is a disconnect.

 

To be successful at connecting to a broad set of people, executives, researchers, and elected officials need to reach beyond their circle of influence. They need to reach out to people in all types of positions and from all kinds of backgrounds. For instance, a politician can only truly connect with the people when he or she reaches out and, more importantly, listens to people of all political leanings. Likewise, a truly successful executive will listen to employees at every level and in a variety of jobs.

 

Listening & Understanding

 

Break out of your world and into the world of someone else by listening and really trying to understand. It is through that understanding that you can truly connect. With true connections, people can come together.

 

 

 

Prehistoric Era

 

 

In this series of posts, we are exploring what would happen if the world suddenly stopped and you were transported to another time in history. Previous articles have explored eras within the last 250 years. Now, we will turn our attention to the days before humans existed.

 

You are a triceratops, one of many dinosaurs roaming the land that would later be called Colorado. You live on instinct and instinct alone. Other triceratops and dinosaurs of other types don’t really worry you except for your dreaded enemy – the tyrannosaurus rex (T-Rex).

 

Following Your Instinct

 

Connected to instinct, you spend your days searching for palms and ferns to eat while keeping an eye open for a T-Rex lurking nearby. Food is your primary focus as it takes massive amounts to sustain your body, which weighs thousands of pounds. Fortunately, you have several hundred teeth to help meet your needs.

 

You may communicate with other triceratops, including performing mating rituals. These behaviors are also instinctual. Your connection to other dinosaurs is simply to show your dominance or to attract others of your species for mating so that the species will continue.

 

You also have the instinct to fight when necessary. Your long horns come in handy when you can’t avoid a T-Rex. You may also use them to battle those of your own species. Again, everything you do is based on instinct.

 

In Your World

 

Coming back to the present, the questions for you are: How often do you follow your instinct? How often do you follow your intuition? Do you go against your own nature?

 

In the next article “Lessons From Our Ancestors,” we will wrap this series of articles up by considering things that we can learn from the past.

 

Civil War Era

 

 

In this series of posts, we are exploring what would happen if the world suddenly stopped and you were transported to another time in history. The previous article explored the WWII era. We will now transport to a time over 150 years ago to the days of civil unrest in what was a not-so-united country.

 

In recent years it has become clear that war is likely on the horizon. The situation, as you understand it, depends a lot on where you live. The North and the South each have their own perspective.

 

Perspective From The North

 

On March 21, 1861, just days before the Civil War would start, the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa stated, “The grand object to be attained is the preservation of the Union of these States. United in one common family, and bound together by strong fraternal feelings these States present a noble front to the world . . . We are threatened with destruction. Is it peace or war?”*

 

Perspective From The South

 

The South, however, didn’t have the same perspective. Days after the war started, the Montgomery Weekly Post wrote, “Seven sovereign States asserted their right to be free and independent – a right which no man or set of men dare to question; they erected for themselves a government adapted to their own interests and purposes. They interfered with no right of other countries or other sections. They respectfully solicited a peaceable settlement of all disputed questions with the Government of the United States; they have made every honorable effort that could be made to prevent the shedding of blood and the desolation that must ensue, and finally, after failing in all our efforts at negotiation, and all our endeavors to effect a peaceable solution of the difficulties, our authorities have courteously demanded the giving up of those positions upon our borders, held by the armed forces of the United States.”**

 

Choices

 

You have volunteered to fight for your state. However, it wasn’t really a choice that you made on the issues of slavery or states rights as much as it was standing for your land, your neighbor, and your state. Your connection and commitment starts at home and radiates out from there. The further away, the less connected you are to the people, beliefs, and land. You like your life and don’t have a desire to change.

 

The Border States

 

Like you, most people support the region where they live. Thus, although there are exceptions, most men in the North support the Union while most men in the South support the Confederacy. Only the Border States are in flux with people actually picking sides. It is here that they hear more about the views of both sides. And, it is here that the two sides collide.

 

For these men and their families, the choice is difficult. Their personal beliefs are a consideration. However, they are strongly connected to their neighbors and their families, who may have different perspectives. They are also connected to their town and state. However, their state has not picked sides. It remains with the Union, but also supports slavery. Thus, they know that they may end up fighting against their friends, family, and neighbors.

 

In Your World

 

Coming back to the present, the questions for you are: Are you strongly connected to your friends, family, city, state, and country? Do you get information on issues from multiple perspectives? Could you fight (even without taking up arms) against your friends and family?

 

In the next article “The Day The World Stopped – The Revolutionary War Era,” we will dive into life nearly 250 years ago.

*Quad-City Times, Davenport, Iowa, Mar 21, 1861, p.2, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/33965391/peace_or_war/

 

**Montgomery Weekly Post, Montgomery, Alabama, Apr 16, 1861, p. 7.
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/33966351/who_is_responsible_for_the_civil_war/

 

 

WWII Era

 

 

This is the first in a series of posts about what would happen if the world suddenly stopped and you were transported to another time in our history. In the first installment, we will go back approximately 75 years to a time when World War II was in full swing and the country was finally beginning to recover from the Great Depression.

 

The Absence of Electronics

 

The first thing you notice is that most of the electronics that you depend on to connect to the world do not exist – no computers, no iPads, no smart phones, no TVs. Phones exist, but you likely have a party line that you share with your neighbors. Long-distance calls are rare, expensive, and really poor quality.

 

News comes from the newspaper and a battery-powered radio (if you are lucky enough to own one). The rest of your news comes in the form of hand-written letters. Matter of fact, you write several letters per week to family and friends. Of course, letters to servicemen, particularly those serving over seas, are of top priority.

 

Letters

 

For men who are serving in the military, letters are the primary connection to people back home. You try to keep the letters cheerful and upbeat per the government’s guidelines. You are not to share any news that might be depressing or negative except if absolutely necessary. Then you are to keep it brief and factual.

 

Letters are also your only connection to your loved ones in the service. You spend lots of time praying for their safety and praying for the next letter to arrive. That letter tells you that they were at least alive several days to a month ago. The letters are often short and lacking details of where they are or what is happening as such information is strictly forbidden and will be censored if a soldier dare write about it.

 

Strong Connections

 

You are very connected to the people around you as you are all in the same situation. Nearly every person has a son, grandson, nephew, brother, uncle, or father that is serving.* You all know the pain of separation and nearly everyone knows someone who has died in the war. You and your neighbors are a family and support each other.

 

Friends, family, and neighbors provide both emotional support and day-to-day support. You share ration coupons despite it being technically illegal. Your kid’s feet are growing and they need shoes. Without the coupons, you will not be allowed to purchase the needed shoes. Meanwhile, you don’t drink a lot of coffee, so you give those ration coupons to your friends so that they can enjoy their coffee.

 

You also work with the schools, churches, and other community groups to support the war. You are all one community. The community collects scrap metal with people giving up things that really aren’t scrap for the sake of helping the war effort. You are connected to everyone else. The entire country has the same goal – you want the war to end so that all your loved ones can come home.

 

You know sacrifice. Yet, you know that others have sacrificed more than you. You feel blessed that your sacrifice has not been greater.

 

And In Your World

 

Coming back to the present, the questions for you are: Could you live in a world without electronic communication? What would you do if you had to write letters and wait days or weeks for a response? How strong is your connection with your family, neighbors, and friends?

 

In the next article “The Day The World Stopped – The Civil War Era,” we will dive into life over 150 years ago.

 

* Note: There were a few women that served in the military during WWII. However, this is written with a focus on men, as a vast majority of those that served were men.

 

Social Media

 

 

Social media usage has risen dramatically over the last decade. In 2018, Pew Research stated that 68% of adults in the U.S. use Facebook. * A lower percentage of adult Americans use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat than Facebook. However, none of the platforms dips below 20% and the total numbers are quite significant although even considering overlap of usage between apps.

 

The reason for the rise in social media usage is a combination of general industry growth, desire to connect, business demands, and a desire for attention. The industry has grown as new platforms evolved – each with its own focus and its own attraction to various age groups and types of businesses.

 

Desire To Connect

 

The initial boom in social media – and what keeps it going – is the desire for people to connect. Although you can know what is happening around the world almost instantaneously, people are not as connected to those around them as they were 100 or even 50 years ago. Thus, people turn to social media to (re-)connect with their family and friends that are often spread around the world.

 

People also join groups of like-minded people to discuss issues that are relevant to them, such as, parenting, hiking, or genealogy. Thus, people connect with new people and often receive support for the challenges that they are facing in life.

 

Business

 

As these platforms have grown, businesses have turned to them as a way to connect to their clients. They utilize these platforms for advertising, event announcements, and client engagement. They have replaced some of the traditional marketing methods and are especially important in the coveted 18-49 market, as they are the highest users of social media. It has also allowed businesses to expand their client base in new ways.

 

Desire For Attention

 

For some people, however, the use of social media isn’t really to connect with anyone. It is simply to draw attention to themselves. They use it to dramatize their life or a life that they choose to portray. Often, they play on people’s emotions, gaining attention from people they don’t even know. One must assume that they are starved for attention in real life. Thus, they create a more exciting or dramatic life online by making sure that people notice them. As a result, they gain the attention that they desire.

 

Cause Disruption

 

Some of these attention seekers take it a step further. They purposefully attempt to anger people and create arguments. These trolls never provide real facts and are quick to make highly judgmental statements. If those don’t create enough rage, they will turn to name calling and personal attacks. These trolls gain attention for themselves, but the joy they get is in seeing other people angry. Nothing makes them go away quicker than a calm, logical response where you completely ignore their inflammatory statements.

 

As you can see, there are good, bad, and ugly aspects of social media. It is important to prop up the good. The rest is something that we all have to work together to overcome. Thus, the next time you see an inflammatory statement or post consider what is going to create a positive outcome. If we could make everything on social media positive for even one day, it could change the world!

 

 

*https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/