Resolve

In previous articles, we have discussed lessons from the Greatest Generation regarding community and respect. In this article, we will look at the resolve of the Greatest Generation.

 

Determination & Problem Solving

 

Resolve, as a noun, is defined as determination. As a verb, the word “resolve” means to find a solution to a problem or determine a course of action. This word is especially fitting for the Greatest Generation as they both had resolve and resolved many problems.

 

They were fighters. Nothing stopped them. If there was a natural disaster, they fought back. If illness or fire struck, they weren’t going to let it stop them. After all, they lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They knew what it meant to struggle against adversity, to lose loved ones, and to feel real threats to their way of life.

 

They had resolve to survive, to live free, and to improve the world. Nothing was going to stop them.

 

Resolving Problems

 

In order to survive and thrive, the Greatest Generation became excellent problem solvers. It was already in their blood. Pioneers and settlers across the country had, for years, been handed problem after problem to solve. They didn’t waste time blaming others for their problems. Likewise, they didn’t wait for politicians, ministers, or community members to solve their problems. Instead, they made decisions and took action to resolve the problems they encountered.

 

Helping Each Other

 

People didn’t, however, do it all on their own. When tragedy struck, the community jumped in to help those in need. If a barn burnt, they helped the family raise a new one. Similarly, if a family member fell ill or was hurt, neighbors pitched in providing meals, help around the farm, a place to stay or whatever was needed.

 

In return, that family would help other families in need. They worked together to collectively survive. In general, people participated as much as they could to help others.

 

As a child, I remember my dad pitching in to help store hay when a neighbor was injured, the men coming together to fight fires, women making food for neighbors, and people sitting up with someone who was sick or hospitalized. Yet, there was an expectation in that generation to take care of yourself. Fight for your own survival. Help from neighbors and family was just icing on the cake.

 

Today’s Resolve

 

Today, things have changed. People don’t seem to have the same type of resolve that they did even fifty years ago. Today people are very determined in some regards, but many people take survival for granted. It seems that some people feel they should be guaranteed survival or that laws should prevent every possible negative outcome in life.

 

Likewise, many people seem to lack problem-solving skills of the Greatest Generation. In many cases, people would really like someone else (e.g. the government) to provide them solutions. This can be the result of lack of experience with problem-solving, laziness, or learned helplessness.

 

How Did We Get Here?

 

Resolve didn’t change over night. It was a slow process. Modern medicine was an inadvertent contributor as doctors learned how to “save” people from so many injuries and diseases. Likewise, as schools grew larger and more structure was created around consistency of the education, students got left behind. In some cases people lost their problem-solving ability and others failed so often that they knew nothing else.

 

Along those lines, the government also contributed. Programs that intended to help people, sometimes taught them to rely on others instead of working with their community to survive. Of course, it does not help that much of the community support has been lost over the years. When you have no support, it is harder to build problem-solving skills. Thus, it is more challenging to be self-reliant.

 

Up Next

 

In the next article, we will discuss personal responsibility and how that interplays with resolve.

 

The Value of Community

The Value of Community is the first in three-part series on Community. This article explores the true meaning of community and the value it brings.

 

What is Community?

 

The word “Community” may bring to mind a town, apartment complex, a subdivision, or a general neighborhood. However, community, generally stated, is not a place, but more of a feeling and a belonging.

 

A community can be any “group of people with a common characteristic.” Merriam-Webster lists several other related descriptions, but they all come down to multiple people that share something in common. In some cases, it might be a location or a specific profession. It could also be a specific interest or a common history.

 

One might simply view community as a group of people. Yet, community is more than that. True community requires relationships with others without those relationships it is simply a group of people. In other words, you can group people by any characteristic, but that alone does not make them a community.

 

For example, you may have experienced a situation in your life where you lived in an area, but didn’t feel as if you were a part of the community. Perhaps you were an outsider or the people just didn’t build relationships with each other.

 

Having a sense of belonging requires some level of caring about other members of the group. That caring brings with it the knowledge that member of your community will be there for you when you need them. Likewise, you will drop everything to help a member of your community.

 

In rural areas where families have lived near each other for multiple generations, the sense of community runs deep. They know who does and doesn’t belong. You can be treated like family simply because they knew your granddad.

 

Types of Communities

 

Groups that can form a community include many types beyond people that live near each other. Churches are one of the most common examples. They have common beliefs, some sense of shared history, and common experiences. They build strong relationships with each other and often consider other members of their church family.

 

Schools, particularly small ones or ones with a particular mission, can become a community. It can also apply to a subset of a school. For instance, the school band or the basketball team may create very strong bonds with each other.

 

The same can be true in work environments, for groups with the same interest, for clubs, or Meetups. Each of these can simply be a group of people. However, with the right environment, they can become a community.

 

The Value of Community

 

The question is, “Why is community so important?” Well, you can think of a community as an extended family. It provides you support when you need it, opens the door to new possibilities, and can help celebrate the joys in your life. They can even be there for you when you don’t ask and sometimes even when you don’t know that you need someone.

 

A great example occurred twenty plus years ago. On that day, one neighbor called to another, who lived about a quarter of a mile away, to ask what was wrong.   The reason for the call was simply that the second neighbor’s husband had taken the corner by the first neighbor’s house faster than normal. They simply knew each other’s habits and cared enough to check up on the other family. As it turned out, the man had gotten a call about a fire at his brother’s house about a mile away and he was on his way to help save his brother’s home.

 

Because the neighbor checked to see what was wrong, they learned what was happening to another member of their community. They were also able to go assist. The home was saved and the community became stronger.

 

Up Next

 

In the next article, we will explore the loss of community and its impact on people.

 

 

Creating Reality

We are all born into a set of circumstances. Some may be good and some less so. As we mature, we become more and more able to control our future destiny. Still, sometimes it doesn’t feel like we have choices. However, although not in control of out initial circumstances, we really are in charge of creating our own reality.

 

Transforming Reality

 

Any person’s reality can be transformed into a different life. It isn’t always easy and it may be more challenging for some than others. However, with hard work, changes to one’s reality can come to fruition, creating a new reality for the person.

 

Alice Johnson is a great example of someone who transformed her reality. After falling on hard times, she became involved in a drug deal. Subsequently, she was arrested and sentenced to life in prison without parole despite having no prior criminal record.

 

Despite the dire sentence, Alice made the most of her time in prison. She was a model prisoner who became a certified hospice worker and an ordained minister. She did so well that the ACLU and other groups started helping her fight to get clemency. Her initial application, one of thousands, was rejected. Then in June 2018, she was finally given clemency.

 

Since her release from prison, Alice has co-authored a book After Life: My Journey From Incarceration To Freedom,” which is described as very inspirational. She has also become an advocate for criminal justice reform. As a result, she recently received a full pardon.

 

Elements of Reality

 

So, what creates a person’s reality? Many things go into a person’s reality. As mentioned earlier, a person must start with their circumstances. They cannot jump from working in the fields to running a technology company overnight or without a lot of work.

 

However, they can change their situation by steady hard work that combines their talents and experiences.

 

Choices

 

When a person adds good choices to those elements, their reality begins to evolve. Each setback or sign of adversity must be taken as a gift. If like Alice, the person takes the opportunity to identify lessons and blessings of the situation, they will be propelled forward toward a new reality.

 

Thus, choices become critical in driving a person’s reality. If the person chooses or believes that they can do no better than where they are today, they will still be in the same position tomorrow and the day after. However, if a person chooses to thrive, there is no holding them back.

 

Speak Your Truth

 

The other key element to creating an amazing reality is for a person to speak their truth. It is very important for people to speak up stating their story. They can acknowledge their earlier situation. However, even more important, is to acknowledge where they are and where they are going. It must be their truth and only their truth. No one else’s story matters unless it is a story of inspiration to the person.

 

Speaking one’s truth is critically important for overcoming the naysayers and people that desire, for some reason, to hold the person back. A person’s truth, when presented in a caring, logical way is always powerful.

 

Paint Your Reality

 

The reality people paint is their choice. Just like a painting, your life is a canvas. It can be transformed by choices, tools, and talents. A person can choose to leave it as is or can create something very sloppy or unimaginative. Another person with the same talents and similar experiences might create a painting that is very dark and bleak. Meanwhile, yet another person might use the very same paints to create something strong and optimistic.

 

The choice is yours. What reality will you paint?

 

Lessons From 2020

Most people agree that 2020 has been the strangest year of their lifetime. Even my 90+ year-old father says that it is the weirdest time he has experienced. Some people have described it as the “Perfect Storm” with COVID-19, George Floyd’s death, and Cancel Culture surfacing in an election year. But, what lessons have we learned from all of this?

 

Let the Grumbling Begin

 

Listening to all the grumbling going on in America, one might surmise that the biggest lesson that we have learned is that we, as a people, are very accustomed to doing what we want. We do not like rules. Additionally, people are definitely not patient.

 

Well, these are all truths about the American people. However, none of these “lessons” are hardly a revelation. For years, the behavior of people has demonstrated impatience and a dislike for rules. 2020 has simply brought these issues to the surface.

 

Fear and Frustration

 

For many people, the grumbling comes out of fear or frustration.  People were and still are afraid of COVID-19. The virus can result in serious issues or death. Thus, it is something to take seriously. However, the fear in many cases is so deep that people assume it is even more dangerous than the facts show.

 

Similarly, the frustration that people feel over the rules, trying to work at home and manage children in the house, being away from friends and family, etc. overwhelms many people. Each of these things is a frustration in its own right, but together they create a frustration that many people have never experienced before.

 

Therefore, perhaps the lessons of 2020 are that fear and frustration can truly take over your life.

 

Human Interaction

 

Being away from friends and family is more than a simple frustration. It makes life difficult. Humans by nature are social beings. They need interactions with others, including hugs and touch. The need for interaction is the reason why many people consider solitary confinement cruel. So, although people today aren’t completely isolated from all human interaction, it has been greatly curtailed.

 

In many cases, workers are working remotely from others in the same company or seeing clients via video or telephone. Having personally worked remote, had remote workers working for me, and having seen clients remote, I can tell you that the reports of something being lost in an electronic-connection are very real. It is much more difficult to build a personal connection and to understand the other person’s perspective when not in person.

 

Thus, perhaps the lesson of 2020 is that human connection is an essential element of life.

 

Anger and Violence

 

There are several sources of the anger and violence that is being demonstrated in the streets of American cities. Some people are truly upset about equality and justice. At the opposite end of the spectrum are people that simply want destruction. No matter the reason for the anger and violence, we have seen that standing back and allowing them to act out does not work. Anger and violence just beget more of the same.

 

Therefore, perhaps the lesson of 2020 is that you need to take action if you want to stop a behavior. It might also be that if we want love and acceptance, we need to visibly demonstrate the same. Alternately, it may be that life is short or at least too short to be consumed with negative emotions.

 

Our choices Do Make a Difference

 

People’s perspective on life in 2020 is very much based on the decisions they have made when faced with the 2020 challenges. Some have chosen to listen to the drama and hype while others have listened to the facts. Similarly, some have decided to do what is right for themselves and their families without judgment of others. Meanwhile, some have decided that what is right for them is the answer for everybody.

 

Choices during this time also include deciding to be happy and find creative solutions to a person’s business and/or personal pursuits. Others choose not to look beyond what 2019 offered, leaving them feeling stuck and frustrated.

 

Thus, the lesson of 2020 may be that each of us is in charge of our own happiness.

Other Lessons

 

2020 has presented the opportunity to learn many other lessons as well. The lessons each person can learn from this situation are as unique as the people themselves. Some may learn that they need to spend more time with their family or may come to consider time with loved ones precious.

 

Others may focus inward and see that they need to put themselves first more often. Perhaps they learned the value of down time or having a hobby. They may even come to really appreciate many things that they previously took for granted.

 

Whatever your story, make sure that you learn as much from 2020 as you can. If you don’t learn, you are likely to repeat the lesson. Something most of us don’t want to do.

 

Conversation Makes Change

When you were three years old, you may have thrown a tantrum to get what you wanted. If you are like most kids, however, it probably didn’t work most of the time. Otherwise, you would be kicking and screaming on the floor at age 40 every time you had to do something that you didn’t want to do.  Instead, most of us learn that conversation makes change much more effectively than tantrums.

 

Making Change

 

 Teenagers, who simply fight with their parents about going to a party on Saturday night, are likely to be spending the evening at home. However, those that explain to their parents why they want to go to the party and what they plan to do to ensure their own safety are more likely to convince their parents to let them attend the party.

 

The reason is that the latter group shows both maturity and an understanding, at least subconsciously, of how a person goes about making change.

 

Rioting Does Not Create Change

 

Fighting, resisting, destroying, and creating chaos are sometimes viewed as people seeking change. It is possible for people to lash out in this manner when people are greatly oppressed and restricted from using or unaware of other means to express themselves. However, generally speaking, chaos and destruction are indicators that the person does not have a goal of change for the betterment of all.

 

The Portland riots and the organized mass looting in Chicago and New York City are examples of situations that are not born out of the desire for positive change. Instead, the leaders of these actions clearly have different goals. If they wanted positive change, they would have a conversation. They would attempt to engage with people instead of sucker-punching individuals who wonder too close to their activities. Likewise, they wouldn’t be trying to burn down buildings or steal things that they don’t need. Those actions are clearly designed to create chaos, fear, or to have some other negative result.

 

Limiting Conversation, Limiting The Opportunity For Change

 

Rioters don’t have conversation. They scream at people and try to intimidate them, but they don’t have positive interactions with people. Rioting, however, is not the only way to shut down conversations and change.

 

Facebook and Twitter stop conversation by marking information that differs from their opinion as false. At times, this escalates to the suspension of accounts. In some cases, they ban users completely. You might ask what does this have to do with change and the answer is, “Everything.”

 

Since true positive change comes about through conversation, change cannot occur when conversation is limited and opinions stifled. They would argue that they are eliminating false information. Yet, they are quite selective in the information that they remove. If false information wasn’t allowed, probably at least 50% or more of the information (based on my experience), would be removed.

 

One could argue that their selective methods of censoring are really an attempt to manipulate, silence, and destroy. Thus, the psychological and sociological impact of this behavior is very similar to that of riots. In the end, it divides people further and reinforces their existing opinions, making change impossible.

 

Individuals Stop Change, Too

 

It is not just businesses and rioting people that stop change from happening. Often in the name of change or fairness, individuals will take actions that stop the very change or fairness that they claim they seek.

 

The use of masks is a great example. Some people are constantly in people’s faces yelling about masks and social distancing. Some of them have gone as far as entering another person’s personal space to fight with them over the issue. Even if they are simply constantly posting about it on social media, the problem is that the people who don’t wear masks have tuned them out. They aren’t going to listen to someone who is seemingly yelling and belittling them.

 

The same can be said about those who are strongly opposed to masks. Those people may make fun of people in masks and who social distance. Again, they are not going to reach anyone that way.

 

The Solution

 

So, if you want to open the door to change, be open to dialog about the issue at hand. If you want people to wear masks, don’t demand it or try to intimidate people into wearing one. Instead, talk about your personal experience. Tell why you believe it will be helpful for people to wear one. Likewise, do the same if you believe masks are useless.

 

Similarly, if you want changes in how police interact with the community. Get the police and the community together to have a conversation. Be open. Listen to all opinions. Try to understand someone else’s perspective. And, be willing to work together for a solution that a majority of people can support.

 

The same is true if you want people to understand that information is true, false, or misleading. Don’t call them names or shut down the conversation completely. Instead, calmly discuss the information and why you believe the information is true, false, or misleading. Be prepared to provide sources and know you may be challenged.

 

In summary, the proverb “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” can be applied to change. Because “you can create more positive change with conversation than with tantrums.”

 

To Be Present Or Not To Be Present

To be present or not to be present is a question people consider when going to an event or activity. However, they don’t often consider if they are truly present once they have arrived.

 

Somewhere Else

 

People are experts at not paying attention to what is going on around them. How often have you seen someone walking down the street with their earbuds in talking away and clearly not noticing other pedestrians or motor vehicles? Or, perhaps you have seen the same kind of person texting during a meeting or a family dinner.

 

Matter of fact, at times you may have found yourself paying less than full attention. It may be that you are multi-tasking, focusing on worries or thinking about what could have been.

 

Being Present

The concept of being present is simple. You simply need to pay attention to what is going on around you and brush aside thoughts of other things. This focus, however, is very challenging for people today. Technology and the fast pace of the world contribute to this problem.

 

Yet, without focus on what is happening around you, you cannot be mindful. Likewise, if you are not present, it is very difficult to listen to others and understand the information that they are trying to convey. Additionally, it is impossible to tune into your body to understand the messages that it has for you. Therefore, by not being present, you are basically flying blind.

 

Value of Being Present

If you limit multi-tasking and focus your attention on being present, your eyes will open and you will have the opportunity for a more fulfilling life. You will have better and more meaningful conversations and relationships with people in your life. Furthermore, you will be more in touch with your true feelings and will be more attuned to your body.

 

Moreover, being present opens the door to truly experiencing life instead of simply existing. Every hour you spend being present is an hour that you spend being connected. Although you may be touching a hundred things when you are multi-tasking, you often aren’t connecting with any of them.

 

Taking Action

Therefore, the next time the telephone rings stop what you are doing and really connect to the person on the other end of the call. Likewise, put down all your electronic devices and set aside your thoughts of other things when you are meeting with other people. Whether the meeting is for business or personal reasons, you will gain so much more by actually being there.

 

Choose to be present; choose to be connected!

 

Squeaky Wheel

As you interact with people, you likely recognize some people as very quiet. Meanwhile, others are vocal Some of these people may express their opinion whether you want it or not. And, others will be insistent that the conversation and focus is on them and only on them. These people are squeaky wheels who want to determine for you where you put your focus and energy.

 

Different Shapes and Sizes

 

Squeaky wheels come in many different forms. Sometimes the one demanding attention is the boastful star employee. Other times the overly dramatic child demands 100% of your attention. At other times, it is a small handful of customers who demand everything be done their way. Squeaky wheels can also be political activists or the news media.

 

Desire to Placate the Squeaky Wheel

 

It is understandable to want to placate the squeaky wheel. Most people want to fix what is wrong or support those who are in need. However, often people are driven to focus their energy toward the squeaky wheel for two more personal reasons. First, and simplest, they simply desire peace and quiet. The second reason is that they want to be seen as taking action on the situation.

 

In the second scenario, often the person reacts and takes a stab at doing something very quickly to address the situation. This action is any action that appears to address the situation. However, it is typically an action taken without thoroughly thinking through the situation, the true causes of the situation, or the consequences of the action being taken.

 

For example, a CEO may commit in a meeting with a large client to making a change that the client is advocating be made. However, often that CEO hasn’t taken time to understand the problem that the client is attempting to solve. Likewise, often they do not understand enough about the details of their product to know the effort, cost of such a change, and impact to other customers. In the long run, the requested change may not solve the customer’s problem. However, they are the hero(ine) in the moment.

 

Real Solutions

 

Real solutions require much more effort than solutions decided in the spur of the moment. It is critical to search for the underlying problem instead of acting in the moment or simply giving the squeaky wheel what they are demanding. Without taking time to search for the underlying problem, the likelihood of a “solution” actually solving the problem is low. In some cases, the solution may actually worsen the problem.

 

You can be more successful when you take time to investigate the issue at hand.   Looking deeply at issues and understanding true cause and effect can lead to a more complete understanding of the underlying problems.  By understanding these problems, you can create real, lasting solutions.

 

That said, at times, it can be a struggle to hold out for a real solution because the squeaky wheel often ratchets up their pressure to meet their demands. However, it is critical not to simply give in to get the squeaky wheel to quiet down. Doing so, can cost time, money, and even your way of life. And, to what benefit? If you take this path, in the future, you will likely be right back where you are today doing it all over again.

 

Missing The Important

 

An often-overlooked aspect of listening only to the squeaky wheel is what you are missing. If you just listen to one child, what do you miss with other children? How does it affect your relationship with them? Similar questions can be said about your quiet clients, friends, constituents, members of your congregation, and members of society in general. If you only listen to those that squeak, what are you missing?

 

Things you may be missing are as diverse as our population. You may miss developing an employee with great potential, you may miss that a friend or child is struggling with drugs or alcohol, you may miss signs of mental health issues, and you may miss the desires of the majority. By not listening to the broader community, it is almost guaranteed that you are missing a part of the picture.

 

All the Voices

 

Thus, it is imperative to focus your energy on listening to all the voices. It is important to list to the child who is experiencing many issues, but it cannot be at the cost of ignoring your other children. Likewise, you cannot listen only a select few employees, ignoring all others.

 

The key here is to really listen. It is important to explore and get to the bottom of the issue. After understanding, consider options, get input, and take thoughtful action. It is only through thoughtful action that addresses real issues that effective change can be made!

 

An Authentic Life

Living an authentic life is a concept that is easy to understand, but often challenging to implement. This year has presented more challenges for the general population than the typical year. Thus, living an authentic life today is even more challenging than ever.

 

Living Authentically

 

In the simplest terms, living an authentic life means being who you really are. This means that you let go of who others say you are and who they want you to be. You are also honest with yourself about both your positive and negative attributes.

 

You can start by defining basic attributes that someone might use to describe you. Perhaps you are tall, have medium skin, blue eyes, and brown hair. You can dye your hair, wear contacts that change your eyes color, and go to a tanning salon. Still, your DNA will indicate that you are tall with medium skin, blue eyes, and brown hair. You can pretend to be different, but that isn’t who you are underneath.

 

Additionally, when living authentically, you recognize your achievements, give credit to others where credit is due, and take the blame when appropriate. This relates very much to the concept of taking 100% responsibility. Taking too much or too little responsibility never leads you to authenticity or happiness. If you take responsibility or claim credit when someone else should be doing the work, did the work, or is to blame, you are cheating the other person and yourself. Thus, 100% responsibility is a key ingredient to living authentically.

 

2020 Challenges

 

Under the best of circumstances, living an authentic life takes work. 2020 has added challenges that make it even more difficult to maintain the focus and internal personal view that is required to create and maintain an authentic life.

 

COVID-19

 

COVID-19 has brought out interesting behaviors in people. Most of which have been brought about because of fear, as we discussed in a recent article, “Why Fear?” The combination of fear, ever-changing rules, and unknowns present challenges to people. As a result, people end up with differing opinions and different interpretations of the rules. Some of these people choose to chastise those who see things differently than they do.

 

Even when pressure is applied with the best intention, it often results in the other person fighting back – at least mentally. You may find that although you are acting and even believing things that are not aligned with who you really are. You may even push back against them although you agree with the person in principle.

 

Likewise, the COVID rules may drive you to behave in ways that are not aligned with your experience or desires. For instance, if you are an extrovert or a person who likes lots of physical touch, you may not be behaving in alignment with those qualities. It is important to recognize those attributes of yourself and find a way to honor them.

 

The History of Our Country

 

Protests, riots, and destruction have also created pressure to destroy our past and for the country to become something it is not. Like it or not, the country was not formed by people that simply came together, sang “Imagine,” and lived in perfect harmony. Instead, it was a hard fight. People had different perspectives, but in the end the people came together as one country.

 

Like it or not, our country’s history is our country’s history. Owning up to the country’s history is just as important as owning up to your own personal history. Without both, you can’t live an authentic life. Like with historical statues that have been dismantled, you can ignore and take your history out of sight, but it is still part of who you are.

 

Pretending that your past isn’t your past never leads to an authentic life. Now, you can do internal work to grow from your past and it is something that you don’t have to outwardly share in all situations. However, you should never hide from it.

 

Race Wars

 

In addition, there is pressure to see our country in the midst of a race war despite the fact that people of all backgrounds have many positive interactions each day. This is not to say that prejudice does not exist. It does. Our article “Retraining the Brain” discusses bias and how it plays a part of everybody’s life.

 

With awareness, everyone can make better decisions and limit how bias affects decisions that they make. This does not, however, mean that anyone needs to denounce their ethnic background – even people of European heritage with a long history in this country. Instead, consider that each person has their own story that is made up of many attributes.  A portion of that story is the history of their ancestors.  But, the most important part of their story is their personal story and the life they have lived.  Facts of the past cannot be changed.

 

Similarly, an African American police officer can be proud to be African American and simultaneously be proud to serve as a police officer. According to some people, these officers are “no longer black;” they are blue. Again, their heritage and their occupation are both facts. They are what they are.

 

A person who is authentic will not apologize for facts about themselves. Additionally, an authentic life does not include guilt or victim-hood for events that occurred years before the person’s birth. They can be considerate and can make good decisions in their life with regards to people of all backgrounds. No one needs to take on the burden of the past. It is fact and it cannot be changed.

 

Cancel Culture

 

The current trend toward “cancelling” anything that someone dislikes also pressures people to be less than authentic. People are afraid that if they don’t outwardly support certain opinions that they, too, will be cancelled. They know that in today’s world, they don’t even have the option to remain silent. It is almost as if the right to remain silent has been stricken from the law books.

 

This pressure is very strong, especially for people in the public eye. Yet, according to Psychology Today, “The authentic person will not . . . let others bully them into taking a position they don’t agree with.” They go on to say, “Authenticity requires us to be able to overcome our desire to fit in and be part of the crowd.”

 

So, if you are feeling like you need to take up a position that you wouldn’t have considered taking up six months ago, you might want to ask yourself if you are being authentic. It is possible that you have become aware of an issue and now feel driven to support that position. However, it is also possible that you are simply being intimidated into a position that you don’t really support.

 

Leading An Authentic Life

 

It is more important than ever to focus on who you really are at the core. Act based on your life, your beliefs, your values, your opinions, and your knowledge. At this time, it is critical that you really think things through. Know that you are 100% responsible for your life and your decisions. However, you are not responsible for other people’s life choices.

 

You can be compassionate and empathetic. Listen. Learn. Those are good things that enhance our lives and help us to be more authentic. Just be careful of the trap of taking on someone else’s view of who you are. By doing so, you nearly always become less authentic.

 

If you would like to work toward a more authentic life, consider our “Finding Your Authentic Self” coaching sessions.

 

 

Facts Not Fear

This is the second post of a two-part series looking at fear related to the hot topics of 2020. In the first post, we took a look at fear surrounding COVID-19. In this post, we will dive into fear associated with the tense political climate surrounding the death of George Floyd, the protests, and the riots.   Then, we will consider why facts not fear are the solution.

 

George Floyd and Justice

 

The death of George Floyd was inexcusable and horrific. It should never happen to any human being. People should be outraged that this specific officer reportedly had many complaints against him. They should also be concerned that this was done with other officers in attendance.

 

This situation is a reason to be upset. It is a reason to want change. It is not a reason to harass, injure or shoot other police officers.

 

The recent attacks on police officers could be because people are upset about what happened to George Floyd. However, it is very possible that his death is simply an excuse for opportunists to attack other officers. It is important to ask, “What do these attacker expect to accomplish?” Perhaps they want to incite fear in the police community and the community at large. However, the attacks will not change what happened. Again, we should be asking “Why?”   What is their purpose?

 

The bigger story, however, that has overshadowed calls for equal treatment is the hijacking of the protests by people whose desire is simply to destroy. Those people are not about justice for George Floyd. They are not about bringing people together. They aren’t about any positive motivation. Instead, these groups of people are simply trying to create fear, destroy our cities, and create division in the country. Again, we should be asking the question, “Why?”

 

Defund The Police

 

The protests have now created a movement to defund the police. It seems like an extreme act to undertake in order to correct issues related to racism. If the intent is to completely get rid of police departments, you might want to ask, “Why do they want no police?” Most law-abiding citizens do not want to get rid of police departments. They want someone to call when they are in danger or have a crisis.

 

Now, some say that it is a way to move responsibilities to other groups rather than to put pressure on the police to handle so many vastly different issues. This, in my opinion, is something very different than defunding the police and should come with specific proposals and strategies. For instance, if you want facilities to help with mental health issues, that is great. However, that would be an entirely different hashtag. Again, you must ask, “Why?” Why if you want a restructuring of responsibilities for more specialized handling of an issue, do you chant, “Defund the police?”

 

What is the real goal? Ryan W. Miller discusses this issue in his article in USA Today: “What does ‘defund the police’ mean and why some say ‘reform’ is not enough?”

 

Political Climate

 

Now every large company is stating how they are going to donate money or in some other way address the issue of racism. The “why” for these statements is easy to answer. It is expected and if they do not make such a statement, they would be considered bad corporate citizens.

 

Still, it is a sign of the political climate. Even individuals are only allowed to publically have “the opinion” that they are supposed to have. It brings us back to the question, “Why?” Why have people become afraid to hear opposing opinions? Are they afraid they might be wrong? What is their motivation? What is it about utilizing fear instead of facts?

 

Facts Not Fear

 

It is important to arm yourself with facts despite all the people out there that want to fill you with fear. As Jerre Stead, executive chairman and CEO of Clarivate, was known to say in his AT&T days, “Facts are our friends.” Indeed they are. With facts, we can be concerned without fear. We can also be conscious of the motives behind those who seek to instill fear.

 

In order to accomplish a fact-based life, it is important to deeply think about what is going on in the world. Ask yourself, “Why?” about almost everything. This means not simply listening to the media or anyone else’s judgments. Instead, research, research, and research some more. Look at all kinds of resources and dig around until you find the facts.

 

It is through facts, conversation, and working together that we can make rational decisions for ourselves and our country. Make sure you don’t fall victim to unjustified terror which paralyzes.

 

Why Fear?

This is the first of a two-part series looking at fear. We will dive into the hot topics of 2020. In the first post, we will take a look at why fear of COVID-19 continues. In the second post, we look at fear associated with the tense political climate surrounding the death of George Floyd, the protests, and the riots.

 

Fear

 

Let’s start by talking about the famous phrase “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered the phrase during his first inaugural address in the midst of the Great Depression. There is great wisdom in this statement because fear limits us. And, it makes us more vulnerable to those who desire harm.

 

In Context

 

As meaningful as that statement is, far more can be gleaned by reading the statement in context.

 

This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

Source: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/

In this more complete statement, it becomes evident that the reference was that fear was a major contributor holding the country back. Conquering fear was necessary in order to end the Great Depression.

 

Fear In America

 

These words are very relevant today as we seemingly deal with crisis after crisis.

 

COVID-19 and the recent political events have both induced or surfaced fear in America. Each of these issues is an important one to be addressed. Still, the fear that is being created does not serve us and does not solve any of these issues.

 

It is important to review the facts. Then, one must consider “why” fear is encouraged.

 

Taking a Look At COVID-19

 

Back in February (which seems like a lifetime ago) COVID-19 was first becoming known in America. Horrific stories were making their way here from Europe. The predictions were also dire. Therefore, it made sense to take extreme measures to protect the American population.

 

Flash forward four months. The medical community is now vastly more knowledgeable about the virus and its effects. The dire predictions have been realized and the curve has flattened. Still, panic of the coronavirus permeates society.

 

The Numbers

 

I thought it might help to look at some of the numbers from Colorado.  This puts them in a slightly different perspective than they are presented in daily counts. Let’s start with the most vulnerable – those over age 70. A lower percentage of total cases are in the 70-79 and 80+ age groups.  However, the number of cases in these age groups is higher proportionately than the population of this age group.

 

Additionally, the fatality rates in these groups are higher. Still, to give some perspective the fatalities to date have been .1% of the 70-79 population. It is slightly higher with a fatality rate of .4% of the people over 80. It is also important to remember that these death rates include all people that had COVID-19 at the time of death.  Some of these people died of something entirely different, but simply were positive for COVID-19.

 

In contrast, there are approximately 4.6 million people under 60 and there have only been approximately 400 deaths (less than 100th of a percent of the population) in that age range associated with COVID-19.

 

The Fear

 

Each of these lives is important. Concern and precautions are clearly warranted. If you are in a higher risk group, you may wish to take additional precautions. Likewise, if you are visiting an elderly relative or live with person with a deficient immune system, you may want to be more careful than the general public needs to be.

 

Still, you must consider whether it warrants continuing some of the extreme measures that have been undertaken and continuing the panic. Is telling people they should stay home still warranted when the reason given for the move originally was to flatten the curve? The curve is now flat, so why are we still strongly encouraged to stay home?

 

Somehow flattening the curve has turned into anxiety about going out of the house, a panic that everyone will die, and heightened fear in general. However, fear can lead to depression, cause people to avoid other needed medical care, and keep them from their families who they so desperately need. So, why embrace the fear? Instead, say, “No.” Then ask yourself, “Who is it that wants you to feel fear and why?”