A Good Rule.

I will speak ill of no man. ~ There are some men I will not speak of.

One of the things I love about old westerns is the strong, silent, guys who live by their own internal honor code. They believe in the rules they've set for themselves (at least in the romantic notions of the silver screen). Grudges were settled man to man and gossip was left to others. If you had something against a man you took it up with him. If he broke the code the choice was made not to speak of him rather than whimper and whine to others about the experience.

All of us have rules that guide us in business and life. Some we keep and some we break. With the best intentions we each try, at some point in our lives, to set our own moral compass and let it direct us. In business we become aware of bad products, experiences, actions and indeed people. The internet provides a ready made platform and a megaphone to unveil and broadcast our disagreements, disgust or displeasure with people, products, companies and experiences all over the world. That's a very good thing ~ it drives accountability.

But what about when opinion turns to ridicule? What about when we personalize disagreements to the point of attacking another person? What happens to us when we choose to denigrate others in order to raise our own profile? Does knocking the character or performance of another improve our own? It seems to me that whether you're a politician, salesman, comedian, artist or businessperson ~ ridicule demeans the speaker much more than the recipient. Whether we're talking about friend or foe ~ Jefferson had it right when he said:

"Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody".

Send Me.

"Here am I. Send me!" ~ Isaiah 6:8.

It's an attitude thing. Some say it's a calling and some disagree.
Some say it has to be religious but I'm not so sure. I tend to think it's a personal choice thing. Some volunteer for stuff and some don't. Many years ago I was lucky enough to be a 'triple volunteer' and I guess that formed my thinking about those who volunteer a little bit. I'm not just talking military though. I'm talking about any kind of service here. I'm talking about anyone who raises their hand and volunteers to do stuff. Whether selfless or selfish they step forward.

There's something about the volunteer who sings out "Send Me" that I love and respect enormously. If there is one quality that speaks to the best of us as human beings it surely must be ~ "Send Me".

Internet Tough Guys.

"Bitter words indicate a weak cause." ~ Victor Hugo.

Have you ever noticed how people can get really tough when they're protected by the anonymity of the internet? Not just tough - but able to decide for everyone else what is right, wrong, good and bad.

I've known a few tough guys in my time and they say very little. The words, and actions, of the best of us tend to inspire the rest of us.

Here's a little video gem about venting online.

A real person, a lot like you from Derek Sivers on Vimeo.

Google + Circles

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."
~ Groucho Marx

I recently received an invite to join Google +. It kind of made me feel like I was getting a personal invitation for the American Express Black card ~ Yeah this is exactly what I need ~ I thought (read with dripping sarcasm). But then I tried it - and you know what? I liked it. Simple, no farming, no fluff (unless you want to put some in) and then ...

The thing that really sold me - Circles.

There is something about circles that really makes sense. Maybe it's the little black book thing. We've all got some really special friends. There are some people that we don't need no stinkin social media to keep track of ~ and then we have all kinds of other "contacts and connections". But doesn't it seem that the people we communicate with move from one circle to another? In business a prospect becomes a customer. A mere contact becomes something a little bit more. And a friend becomes a really close friend. We've got people that we like and people we respect ~ Then we have those that fall within the ultimate circle ~ People We Like AND Respect.

Circles ~ hmmm... (Let me know if you'd like an invite).

What Do We See?

"The great corrupter of man is the ego. Looking at the mirror distracts one's attention from the problem." ~ Dean Acheson.

What do we see when we look into the mirror? Every philosopher, sage, teacher, and coach since the begining of time has told us that success, in any endeavor, starts and ends with personal accountability. The words "If it's going to be ~ it's up to me" tell us to look for answers within ourselves ~ and so we gaze into the mirror.

But what do we see? If a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest ~ does he also see what he wants to see? Do we polish our image, buff up the fenders, spit shine our shoes and put on a little makeup to make everything seem ok? Does our ego blind us to looking at real problems?

 Can we take what we see in the mirror out of the equation and solve our problems objectively? If all that we see in the mirror is a reflection of our ego the answer is no. So what should we do? Perhaps rather than gazing upon reflections of our esteemed self we should heed the insightful words of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe when he said

"Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image."

Come On Guys...

"Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not." ~ Vaclav Havel.

Do any of us REALLY know?

  • When We Think We Know ~ We Don't.

  • When We Think We're Good ~ We're Not.

Hobsons Choice.

"It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows." ~ Epictetus.

Have you ever felt really stupid? You know the feeling I'm talking about. The ~ "Man I'm Dumb" ~ kind of stupid. It usually hits home when a wiser person says something really simple and we didn't even think of looking at it that way. We get caught up in our own endless loop of viewing things a certain way. When we look at challenges and try to solve them the same way we always do ~ We give ourselves the veritable "Hobsons Choice" and wonder why...

Hobsons Choice was named after a stable owner who had many horses but when selling to a customer would bring them into his barn and allow them only to buy the horse in the first stall. Essentially they could purchase that first horse from him, or none at all.

There was a time I was building a fish pond and waterfall in my yard. This meant getting some very large boulders, to construct the waterfall, through the front gate that led to the back yard. I thought about all of the ways to get the rocks around the gate, over the gate and even considered only getting small enough boulders that would fit through the gate. Finally, at my wits end, I asked a very old (over eighty years old) friend what he would do? Kenzo turned to me and quietly said "Dan ~ You really love that gate don't you?"


Hobsons Choice.

Don't Take Advice.

"He had only one vanity; he thought he could give advice better than any other person." ~ Mark Twain.

Don't take advice ~ and sure as hell don't give advice. Wanna be good at anything? ~ Really good? No one else can tell you how to be good at stuff. They CAN show you and set an example. Many of us believe we can articulate, formulate and give best practice insights on how to be good at stuff. So, with the best intentions, we offer advice. Many people offer advice. But no-one can really tell you how to succeed. It's inside you. It's what YOU do with what you've got. There's no formula, secret, book, lesson or insight that works best for you. Everything you need is already inside you.

Want advice? ~ Just Do It.

Experts And Idiots

"I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and our own being."
~ Albert Einstein.

Have you ever noticed when someone says "That was such an intelligent movie, play, book, comment, or post what they're really saying is "I'm smart?" Have you ever noticed that we try to surround ourselves with ideas, people, views and concepts that we agree with? Have you ever noticed that we spend an awful lot of time avoiding, arguing with, and dismissing opinions that we disagree with? That we often label those contrary opinions "Tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?" We all tend to like, follow, hire, friend, and surround ourselves with stuff that supports or doesn't threaten the precepts we have established. Of course you've noticed ~ we all have.

But what about after we notice ~ What happens next? Well next we feel the need to substantiate, "prove", convince, and convert. We feel the need to become experts. What is an expert? Someone who has an expertise. Someone who proclaims a way that is better, more effective, productive or insightful. Someone who says "I'm smart". Wouldn't it be nice if we said "It's just my opinion?" Wouldn't it be nice if rather than saying "This is THE way" we said "This is A way ~ my way ~ or just my opinion?" Why do the opinions, concepts and people that we disagree with threaten us? Is it because we want to be perceived as smart? Or smarter? Because we want to be an expert? Me? ~ It's just my opinion, but ~ I'd rather not "know"stuff. I'd rather not be an expert. I'd rather learn from those that, in my arrogance, I consider idiots.

When all is said and done ~ I prefer being an idiot.