Why I Think Business is Personal **Remembering Arden**

2013-08-11 13.48.47I met Arden (aka Spook) in the late 1990’s after I was lucky enough to get a job at a little internet startup company called ExisNet.    I was troubled by some of life’s lessons and I was looking for myself.   Spook was one of the supervisors at ExisNet, he was a Marine (retired) but still a Marine.   I was in my late 20’s and still very young minded.    I think in his years as a leader and warfighter, he has seen plenty of young men like me.    He was an expert photographer and private investigator, he chose to work in order to have purpose but also to fund his outside activities.

Spook

At work he was a tough and stubborn guy and he would be quick to tell me that he would shoot me if I messed up.   The not so funny part was that he did carry a gun all the time and I knew that he had experience in the matter of killing.   More than fear, our team respected him.   It was Thanksgiving time and I didn’t have family in the area, he invited me to come to his family’s house for the holiday.   I didn’t know any of his family and they welcomed me in with open arms.   This was the beginning of our family connection.    As this is a simple blog and I could write many Spook stories on here, I want to point out that our relationship developed at work.  I wouldn’t have met Spook or known him otherwise.  He was my supervisor and a mentor, later he became a father figure and a friend of the highest order.   I am reminded at times that at work (it is business).   I have thought about this over and again and I disagree.  We are people and we build, maintain and grow relationships.   There are times when work relationships become something else and it could be inappropriate but more often working relationships are some of the best and deepest relationships we can in our lives.   To forcibly seek to separate these or to state that “business is not personal” is to ignore our humanity.   My best friends have come from my working relationships.   I still love and care for my relationships built while on active duty (at work).   My active friendships came from my work relationships and my family was built from my friendship with Geoff O’Brien (who reluctantly introduced me to his awesome sister).

399
Sammy is named for Spook (Sam Arden) Cohen

Next time someone says “business isn’t personal” think about your experiences and ask yourself about your life.   Isn’t business personal?

Spook passed away Jan 2010, his love and kindness are missed by many.    His impact on my life forever changed my path and I am reminded of him everyday.

Words for Spook

For those of us that are parents we love our children unconditionally.
In a way we are programmed to potentially have maybe a little more
patience with our children because they are after all a part of who we
are. Most of us never turn our back on our children and further we
protect them as much as we can even as they become more responsible
for themselves. We have a responsibility to care for them, after all
they are our children. We love our children unconditionally, even if
they make mistakes that are hurtful and harmful. In a way we have
limited choices when it comes to our children because they are always
ours. Spook chose to extend this same kind of love to me. He always
believed in me and pushed me to do better.984 Boys

He would tell me of the things that I can do and the success that I will
have. I didn’t have family in the area and I hardly had enough money
to make ends meet. Often Jane would pack an extra sandwich and send
it with Spook. He would tell me that he wasn’t hungry and that he
didn’t want to waste food so I should eat the sandwich.
During the holidays he would take me with him to visit with family who
would graciously accept me into their homes.
Spook was probably the most religious man I have ever known. He
didn’t practice by going to church but instead he acted on the most
fundamental principles of religion. Spook put others before himself.
Often he would enroll me in his campaign to help someone. His efforts
never ended even towards his final days.
We are all here today to celebrate Spooks life. I thought it might be
interesting for me to tell you a little about how he has impacted
potentially millions of people. Spook often told me about how he was an
orphan as a child and how he believed that family was more than just
blood relations. When I first met spook he had already retired from
the military and effectively had dealt with hundreds if not thousands
of young knuckleheads like me. He had taken many people under what
I would call Spook and Jane foster care. Spook and Jane fed and
cared for countless Marines and many friends outside of the Corp.
Spook gave to everyone, I am willing to bet that almost everyone here
today has something from him. I would even venture to say that some
of us may even have something from him with us today.
Spooks nature-wildlife website was an example of him sharing his love
of animals and nature with the world. His website still to this day gets
hundreds of thousands of hits a month. He has electronically touched
millions.
Spook loved gadgets, flashlights, tools and he loved to share them.
Often he would buy something for someone and then buy one for
himself, he couldn’t resist. He would call me to talk about new things
and new technology. He would call me almost every day. If he had
nothing to talk about we at least had an opportunity to say hello.
People.. he loved people, as I am sure most of you know.
Sorry to jump around but there is more to say than I have time. He
was a patriot, he believed that he fought as a marine for our freedom.
He believed in our country, our way of life and he believed we should
be responsible for ourselves and each other. Each of us has a personal
responsibility to do the best we can to do the right thing. Each of us
should have the courage and the integrity to stand up for what we
believe in.
Yeah.. so Spook was different. He bought what he wanted, he did
what he wanted, he did things his way. He didn’t regret. He didn’t lie.
He did what he always said he would do. He played hard and he loved
people in a way that was generally unconditional.
Our world was changed by his presence, his life, his values and his love.
I can tell you that I would not be here today and I would not have my
life if it were not for him. I would like to leave you with this one short
recent story. I was traveling to Europe not long ago and Spook gave me
some things to take with me that I was meant to return. He also
asked me to do some things which wasn’t unusual for him. When I got
back I did the things he asked and he told me to keep the things he
gave me. I started to question him as to why he was giving me this
stuff and he replied “Howie.. I am not dying, when I am dying I will tell
you I am dying and then I will tell you what you need to worry about
then.” The past two weeks have been crazy and Spook has been under
special care, pain medicine, and really a lot of pain. The day he realized
that he was dying he looked at me and said “Ok.. now I am dying and I
am telling you the things I want you to know.” He faced death as he
faced life. I hope to be more like him in my days and I hope my
children will love me as much as I love him. On behalf of myself, Erin,
William, Bryce, and Drew on behalf of my extended family and friends,
on behalf of the children reading about Lions on his website, thank you
Spook.. Thank you!

Howard’s Holocaust

The Most

I have been writing and posting now on this WordPress site for about three years.   Most of the things I write about are a little generic.   In a sense, I have sought out ways to help people by looking to subject areas of interest and providing some insight and maybe a little abstract thought.  Today I am doing something different.

I lost most of my explicit memories in a tragedy of significant  proportion.   On more than one occasion, pictures, videos, music and writing that I had saved was lost.   Most of this was out of my control but some of the loss I did to myself by not taking action.  This very weekend I was driven to clean out some of the things that I did save.   I have very little from my youth and when I find something, I normally examine for a hint of who I was.    As I have written many times in the past, I am a kid from The (DA) Bronx.

The Bronx offered an intercultural, wide variety of ethic diversity.   It was a place that represented the best and worst of blending communities.   In my youth, my ignorance was learning about what made people different as opposed to why we should focus on our commonality.   In high school, I was a white Jewish boy with mostly black and hispanic students (friends).   There was hate and there were trials but in person these challenges were overrun by teachers and other students that could see through the color of our skin and reach into our hearts.  In other words, we always focused on building a community of acceptance.   I am not the person I was then but the kid I was still lives in the background.   I don’t look at people as a kind or a race.  I look at people as individuals and judge them by their actions.

Transition:

Today we are facing the same issues that we did over the history of our country and human kind.   This weekend in particular I have seen a lot of people writing and speaking of the past 50 years of civil rights.  While reading this and watching the news I was sorting through old tapes that I managed to keep.  I found one labeled “Howard’s Holocaust.”   I had no memory of this tape.  Even when I found a tape player to put it in and heard the sounds of a younger me  I didn’t remember this conversation.

The recording was made sometime between 1987 and 1989, most likely my second year at University Heights High school located in the Bronx at 181st and University Ave.  As a Jewish kid, I understood the Holocaust from a culture of remembrance and an integration of pain and suffering into the daily vernacular of my people.   That being said, I was emotionally disconnected.   I had seen the branding serial numbers etched into the arms of my neighbors.  I had seen and heard the stories of people jumping from the trains.   I had lived with a man whom I love that was buried at night as a child to protect him from the Nazi’s.   All those things and I was still not connected or maybe partially connected.  Not in the way that it would rattle my soul today.  It was an immaturity that was innocent.   I was honestly incapable of connecting the dots in a way that deeply allowed me to better myself as a human.

I understood what things meant, I think that I just didn’t allow myself to live in my understanding of this history.  In fact, I didn’t know that I was myself living in history just by interacting with witnesses and victims of this great inhumane and painful series of events.  Someone tried to wipe an ethnic and cultural line of people from the planet.   This within itself doesn’t take anything away from any other tragedy or traumatic events of our time but it is a stain that can’t be washed away.   What pains me the most is that we still allow genocide and the young disconnected me knew that it would happen again.   I knew as a disconnected child that our world was not healing.

From what I can tell, I was asked to read a book by Elie Weisel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel that had to do with the holocaust.   Since I don’t remember what I read or didn’t read, I can only guess that I did a half ass job of reading.  I didn’t have a keen interest in education as teen.  I became much more passionate later on.

There is an interesting ignorance as well that is wrapped into the conversation.    This is probably the most revealing post I have ever made.   It deals with the fact that as a youth I had values that were similar to my values today but I was lacking in information and ability to rationalize what I didn’t know.    I am sharing this today because I think generally the public is doing the same thing.

We make statements and assumptions on areas of complicated matters that we have trouble deeply understanding.  The facts alone are not enough information to provide good insight.   It also points to something else.   We need to take personal responsibility to help each other and learn about each other.  We can’t know each others pain but we can mirror and reflect our understanding to get close enough.

I am sharing three audio files, each are about 15 minutes long.  I tried to clean up the audio a little but I didn’t edit the content.  For me personally there was a story at the end that I didn’t truly understand then (age 15-16) that I deeply understand and associate with now.   Most of the audio is the teacher interviewing me on what I think about the holocaust with some role playing.

cropped-howard.jpg

Howard’s Holocaust Audio

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1d5aphuc4wxpvja/c429P7PUL4

Angry and Disconnected

Increasingly we are disconnected.

It is as simple as that and as complicated as that.  We are disconnected from each other.  The relationships that we have are finely strung interwoven webs of very fragile connections.   The connections are fragile because of all of the miscommunication.  Even when we stand in front of each other today and talk person to person we are still communicating less effectively than we did years ago.

People in all walks of business are becoming more increasingly angry and frustrated and as a friend puts it we are all suffering from some form of “disaster fatigue.”   As I watched the news last night, and we wrapped up and closed the latest great tragedy that will surely get a name and a conspiracy theory assigned to it, I was troubled by the thought that all we seek is closure (quickly).   After 4 days and exhaustive efforts and incredible detective work, it is finally over.  Oh thank G-d it is over! Now we can move onto the next great tragedy and forget about this one unless we want to make some great point in a position paper or argument.  The media is disgusting at times.   There is no such thing as journalist integrity anymore, shame on them.  Shame on us too, because we watch it and we let them entertain us with their constant barrage of tragedy and despair.  They keep us on the edge of our seats and then wrap up people’s lives like it is a novel.

I most appreciated and still have the images of the “experts” smiling as they discussed this case and the situation.   I am not being too sensitive, the world is no longer sensitive enough.  It is desensitized and disconnected.   We are turning into a culture of racing changes and closure.  It is as if in our lives we are rocks that are being skimmed across a pond.   Every surface contact is the experience of a major event or situation only to end sunken and somewhere.

It isn’t as if humanity is new or that we haven’t experienced changes or tragedy in the history of our world.  It seems as if there is just more for us individually to consume at a faster rate and more knowledge to handle in multiple levels of thought and conscience.  It is overloading people on an individual level.  What happens is they effectively shut off noise.   Noise may be important but can’t be handled.   It takes time to deal with noise and we have no time.

When you walk into your bosses office and you ask to talk to him or her and they are reading their email or texting or doing something else other than paying attention to what you have to say, it becomes personal to you but isn’t to them, they are simply filtering.   The problem is that this is our world.  This is what we are morphing into.  A noisy place with no time to think and no time to listen.  We get less than half of a story and it needs to close so that we can move on to another story.

When Martin Richard, 8, Dorchester, Massachusetts was murdered in cold blood by the senseless act of these young men in Boston, will you remember Martin next week?   For his family,  my heart hurts today.  It is true that my heart hurt yesterday for the senseless Newtown killings but as far as we are concerned (mostly) it is over and behind us.  How many of the children do you remember?  How many were killed?  What were their names?  Do you know? What about 911? How many were killed?  What were their names?  Time heals all wounds except the ones that are everlasting. The everlasting wounds that run deep in the families of those who have lost or the left over feelings that are underlying in our hearts.  The undertone of despair and sadness that we carry with us.   Only to be added onto by the next tragedy and the next and the next.  Never forget, always remember but if you do forget in your mind, you may not forget in your heart.  What do we do when we feel so much?  We disconnect so that we don’t have to feel.  We don’t need our tears anymore because we don’t have the capacity to manage all of our feeling input and we have nothing left in our emotional tanks that would allow us to cry.  Although there are times when someone is close enough to us that we will be compelled by overwhelming emotion to feel.  We are mostly.. away.

The only point I will add here is that this behavior and situation impacts us at work beyond the obvious.  Since we are failing to communicate effectively, we are augmenting our communication with explicit and highly technical surrogates.   One of my areas of work and great concern is Knowledge Management.   Why is KM one of the top concerns of leadership around the globe today?   Because knowledge is happening faster and change is happening faster and everything is happening faster.   The demands for fast and short term solutions and short term thinking and short term closure of issues is driving organizations around the world to dismiss the criticality of the long term and strategic thinking.   This speed need is creating demand for the 15 minute manager, the short term rockstar, the idol (American) or other.  The quick win.  Snatching the bird from the hand and forgetting that there are a few in the bush.  Lack of patience, lack of quality, lack of service, lack of value, lack of kindness and other mass effects.

 

Lack of connection… lack of a real true connection.  The ultimate result is that there is no trust.  No trust = failure.


How Many Know Me?inmap

How many know me? My passion, my hopes, my dreams?  How many know my intent?  How many trust me?  I am connected.. I am connected digitally to a lot of people.  I don’t even know a number to tell you but let us say a lot.

So, as I said in the beginning it is simple and simply complicated.   It is not about unplugging ourselves and disconnecting from the world.  It is about taking steps to engage and listen to the noise and to turn it off when someone is standing in front of us.  It is about, responding to those who reach out to us and building trust where we can and when it makes sense.  It is about love and looking for small simple small acts of kindness within ourselves without any measurable expectations.

 We need to manage our connections and make time to disconnect.  We certainly can’t hold the world in our hands but we can grab a piece of the world when we need it, put it back on the shelf when we don’t and trust that the rest is beyond us.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Employee X … I mean Y and Z.

Forbes Infographic

Those are some stats but.. what does it mean?

At first glance the thing that I pick up on is that close to half the work force will be filled by the people in this generation.

I think we will need to consider some things outside the normal conversation as factors.

  • This generation grew up with reality tv as part of their lives
  • Social considerations like “say anything to anyone is the new normal”
  • Emotional intelligence and progressive thinking with relation to immediate feedback from human to human or human to machine relationships should be considered.
  • Supply and demand will dramatically shift the way companies operate internally.

These factors should be considered in addition to others as we participate in the changing workforce.  The fact is that the GenXr’s are such a thin layer of workforce (http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/generations-workplace-united-states-canada) that there will be a great drop off once the baby boomers leave and the bulk of the workforce will be weighted to Y and Millennial.  For the Generation X workers that will flip their “normal” upside down.  It makes sense that industry is looking to figure out how to deal with the Y and Mils but it also makes sense to take into consideration the push and pull on the X’ generation.   Why? because these guys still may have 20 plus years in the workforce.  The other thing is that Generation X traits have characteristics and traits that represent stability and a memory of parents and grandparents that lived through histories more recent and difficult times (X traits).

I remember people that were part of the holocaust don’t click here if you can’t take it –>(horrific) and the great depression Migrant Mother 1930.  I heard their first hand stories.  When I tell my oldest son who is part of the millennial generation, he looks at me in a way that tells of confusion and disconnection.   The closest he has to seeing and experiencing these kinds of events is 9-11.   If  you think that my perspective may be a little harsh,  I will concede that it may be and further that I may be discounting some other events like the Gulf war and the long Iraq and Afgan conflicts.   Although, that being said I have been working with the military for many years and the media surrounding war seems a lot different from it did 20-30 years ago.

My generation saw change that was unending, dramatic, compelling and extreme.  We saw the Berlin wall come down and we saw genocide in many countries, we witnessed the worst of racism and the beautiful hearts and minds of those that fight it.  There are so many things that the Gen X’rs have seen and dealt with through the past 30-40 years that it is mind-boggling.  It seemed as if this generation had the greatest accounting for firsts.  First this or that.  I know that well before there were gen X’rs there were many firsts and many milestones but it seems as if the Boomers plowed the field and framed out the roadway and their parents (Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation or GI Generation) felt the great pains of a torn and weighted nation.  The burdens of our parents were always hanging in the background.  There was an echo of all these voices that were full of pain and sorrow that held a constant undertone in our lives.  There was greatness that rose up through the noise and the sorrow.  It was inspirational.   It was also the beginnings of a world that would be sheltered for some and further creating fear.  Generation X saw the birth of the data explosion and they were the generation that had to not only absorb the wave but learn how to ride it.   So this generation has been run through sociological and human condition changes that test and try an individuals mentality.

GenYandM

How did we respond?

We are more flexible and we are more open but we still harbor the pains of deep seeded confusion about who we are.

  • Our children were more sheltered and out of touch with the world.
  • Our children stay home and don’t wander the streets until the street lights come on.
  • Our children don’t get kicked out to play all day (for the most part).
  • Our children have a global view and are “worldly”
  • Our children are sophisticated in electronic communication.
  • Our children have no patience and demand immediate feedback.

I can go on all day with this list.  From the perspective of a business what will this mean?

As fast as things are changing now, things will move faster.  Further, explicit information and data is king and the primary means of communication.  More specifically, we will be moving further and further away from human to human interaction in person because it is simply not needed.

Maybe in the FUTURE we will hear sayings like “I wish I could content tag all my words” or “context is like my personal theme song”

We are starting to sift big data and watch trends and we are missing the spaces between the words.  If you look at music on a page and read it, will it give you the FEELING that makes you love the song?  We are starting to break the rules of effective communication and companies like Yahoo, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Best Buy are already responding by limiting the flexibility and telework that these employees are already DEMANDING.   Companies will have to either force culture change on this younger generation or this younger generation WILL change the way business operates.

Put that in your database and sift it.. are you getting it? 

In the meantime, Gen X’rs will be riding, surviving, flexing and rolling with the great changes.  They are the key to bridging the gap between the “digital divide” , that chasm that exists between where we are today and where we are heading.   There is no question we are already dealing with a divide, it started snowballing in the 1970’s and look at where we are from then to now.  It is less than a blip in the time of humanity and yet folks like Ray Kurzweil are actively talking about machine intelligence and transferring our consciousness into machines.

The question of INTENT in communication and business management has to be on the table.

Going on.. we are guessing on “HOW TO” motivate the millennial, discounting the Gen X’r and disregarding our humanity.  Here is a list of “surprising” ways to motivate millennial workers?

Forbes author Jenna Goudreau writes in Surprising Ways to Motivate Millennial Workers that employers should (could) motivate this younger generation by doing these things listed below.

1) Explain The Company Vision

“If you can explain the whole picture, it connects the meaning to the person,” says Jeremy Kingsley, leadership expert and author of Inspired People Produce Results. Millennial workers are more likely to look for meaning and impact in their work and aren’t satisfied simply punching a clock. Helping them understand their role in a larger plan gives them a clearer sense of purpose. ”It makes them feel valued, which in turn boosts productivity,” says Kingsley.

2) Prioritize Community Service

A comprehensive study by the Pew Research Center in 2010 found that millennials place a higher priority on helping people in need (21%) than having a high-paying career (15%). Dan Epstein, the CEO of business consultancy ReSource Pro who has a staff comprised of 90% millennials, says allowing employees to form committees and use company resources or time to organize their causes meets their desire for social consciousness. Whether it’s weekends with Habitat for Humanity or time off to run in charity marathons, the company’s encouragement helps them feel good about the company. “In order to tap into their creative energy,” Epstein says, “we need to be respectful of the things they care about.”

3) Develop In-Between Steps And Titles

More than their Baby Boomer parents or Gen X older siblings, millennials are especially eager to progress in their careers and less willing to wait three to five years for a promotion. “By developing in-between steps and titles, managers can meet their desire for career progression,” says Epstein. “It also provides incremental training and experience that will aid them later with larger career advancement opportunities.”

4) Give Encouragement And Regular Feedback

“This generation responds well to encouragement and immediate feedback,” says Kingsley. “People need to know they’re being noticed.” The good news? It’s free. A simple “thank you,” “congratulations” or honest, supportive feedback from a manager can make all the difference, fueling their motivation to produce results. While the millennial generation has been criticized as being needy or wanting undue rewards, Kingsley says there’s a balance to be found. Make it clear from the beginning that you reward good work, and then keep an open line of communication to let them know how they’re doing and how they can improve.

5) Offer More Flexibility

Work-life balance is one of the most significant drivers of employee retention among millennials. This tech-savvy generation is essentially able to work anytime from anywhere with an Internet connection. Thus, seemingly arbitrary work hours or having to sit at a desk all day is less appealing to them. A 2012 study of the generation by Griffith Insurance Education Foundation discovered that millennials will sacrifice pay for increased vacation time and the ability to work outside the office. Offering flexible scheduling, occasional telecommuting or even unlimited vacation time—provided performance remains consistent—can meet their desire for flexibility while also showing your trust.

6) Provide Education And Professional Development

According to a 2012 survey by staffing agency Adecco, 68% of recent graduates identified good opportunities for growth and development as one of their top professional priorities. “Most in this group are hungry and want to advance,” says Kingsley. “If you do not provide development, it’s like a slap in the face.” Assigning stretch projects, bringing in speakers or sending employees to leadership conferences will be especially helpful for those millennial workers interested in learning and growing their skills.

7 ) Give Them Time For Personal Projects

“On a regular basis, allow team members to work on whatever they want,” says Tim Elmore, the founder and president of Growing Leaders, a non-profit dedicated to youth leadership development. Progressive companies like 3Mand Google have had success offering employees time to work on a project of their choosing, helping them feel more engaged and in control and also boosting innovation within the company. “This allows young employees to take initiative, be creative and produce something on their own.”

Are we SOLVING the Wrong Problem Precisely?

How are we measuring and documenting “the space between” the intangibles?

Douglas Hubbard has written a book called “How To Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business.” The book is available here.
“Often, an important decision requires better knowledge of the alleged intangible, but when a [person] believes something to be immeasurable, attempts to measure it will not even be considered.

As a result, decisions are less informed than they could be. The chance of error increases. Resources are misallocated, good ideas are rejected, and bad ideas are accepted. Money is wasted. In some cases life and health are put in jeopardy. The belief that some things–even very important things–might be impossible to measure is sand in the gears of the entire economy.

Any important decision maker could benefit from learning that anything they really need to know is measurable.”

He goes on to explain in detail how to measure intangibles, including sections on how to clarify problems, calibrate estimates, measure risk, sample reality, and use Bayesian statistics to add to available knowledge. He also describes his Applied Information Economics (AIE) Approach that ties together several threads of his ideas:

“The AIE approach addresses four things:
1. How to model a current state of uncertainty
2. How to compute what else should be measured
3. How to measure those things in a way that is economically justified
4. How to make a decision”
Information Economics Approach

Do you know my ?

or my ?

Are we going to content tag our lives?

Will Sharepoint give us the information and tools that we need?

How are we going to recognize when we are succeeding?

Are we going to step on Generation X or step over it?

Do we look to turn change from an unending marathon to a series of sprints? –Change Fatigue?

How do we define success for our future workforce by dollars alone or by time for an individual + stability?

How do we quantify and qualify individual intent?

How do we convey intent?

How to we rationalize and manage intent?

How do we introduce emotional intelligence into the workplace?

How do we build and manage trust with our workforce of the future?

How do we escape judgement from businesses via Facebook?  (Am I my Facebook account from now on?)

How do we convey that we “feel”? How can we tell the machine that we “feel”?

How does the machine know when it provides raw explicit information back for analysis what the undertone or underlying context is?

Further examination.

While we are moving towards automation of a great many things.  We are still human today.  We still need to see, feel, hear, smell, hug, hold, embrace, and sense.  Technology should never be the driver, it should exist to enable.  The hammer does not build the house.. maybe the 3d printer will but for now, it is a human and he can identify a problem just by senses and caring.  These tacit knowledge components must convey to the next generation and as the Boomers are leaving.. it is the X’rs that will carry this torch.

Business should not forget “The proper care and feeding of employee X” ~

Forgive any misspellings and or grammatical errors. I was yelling and rolling around on my keyboard and I did this on my galaxy asdf in 140 characters or less in 2 minute spurts while walking through streets and grocery stores and stuff ignoring everyone around me like they didn’t exist and listening to music…  🙂

cohentext

“Quincy Magoo” You’ve Done It Again…

Do you remember Mr. Magoo?

Magoo says ” I should have known your type…” as he yells at himself in the mirror.  He is angry for all of the things that were done to him and he was the cause.

“Don’t waste your time and money..”

Magoo wanted to get dance lessons as he misread a letter in the mail.  He was thinking that he was invited to a dance when he read an advertisement  for something totally unrelated.  He was yelling about the mess he got himself into and was advising others that weren’t there not to waste their time or money on the dance lessons.  After all, the place he was in was run” like a gym.”  In other episodes, there were times that Magoo would run aimlessly into something that was not harmful.  Most of the time he would get himself into a situation where he affected others.  That is the point of the blog today.

Simply complex but simple.

I picked up a habit of carrying a whiteboard marker with me.  By chance you may have a whiteboard that I should write on and muddy.  The circles and lines that connect them are all simple thoughts.   I draw the line from here to there and tag it to show what the line means.   As the lines and circles start to grow and I am standing in front of the board, I am telling a story.    If you aren’t there from the beginning and you walk in towards the end, the board looks to be full of lines and circles and words written between.   It is impressive and complicated looking.   The truth is that it isn’t complicated.  It is just the whole story without all of the words all smashed together in a frame.   It is not meant to be understood without me.  Unless there was a video taken, you would be lost and you may wonder.

If you were to walk into the room and look at the writing on the wall, you would automatically take what I have written and frame it.  You would apply meaning in areas where there wasn’t any or you would rationalize the connections and relationships based on your perception.

In a sense, we all have some Magoo like tendencies.

The Magoo Problem

We frame the world actively at every moment and sew together a picture based on what we believe we see.  David Eagleman in his book “Incognito” pointed out that our brains are locked into a fully enclosed and dark space.   That is the physical case, but we see or perceive light.   It is manufactured by our input, our sensors.

That is our world.  We think that things are something when they may or may not be.    We have the unique understanding of the world from our perspective.  The problem is that our perspective if skewed too far can cross boundaries and have unintended consequences.   That is why it is important to understand “intent.”   Who could be mad at old Magoo?  He was just trying to learn how to dance?   In this story, he wound up destroying the gym.

The thinking person rationalizes everything to make sense of it.  We are forced to simplify the complex.   The complex as we see it, may become the world of Magoo.

Magoo Conflict

We are wired for the world.  We are wired to frame and create context and we are also wired to inter-relate to others.  Daniel Goleman writes about it in his Social Intelligence book and other places.

Excerpt  (http://www.discoveringtherealme.org/resources/book-review/130-social-intelligence-by-daniel-goleman.html)

The first example Goleman gives of social intelligence is that of a group of American soldiers in Iraq paying a visit to a cleric to enlist his aid in distributing relief supplies. The local populace feared the well-armed soldiers. They were afraid they were going to arrest their cleric or profane their mosque. A mob quickly surrounded the soldiers. One can imagine what would have happened should a soldier, threatened by a gesture, shot off a gun. 

No one got shot and no one got hurt. In fact, the mob encounter ended amicably due, Goleman says, to the social intelligence of Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Hughes, who gauged the myriad social factors involved in record time and implemented a series of steps designed to defuse the situation: he ordered his men to kneel on one knee, point their weapons at the ground, and—most importantly—smile. Since a smile is a universal expression of friendliness, the confused Iraqi people began to smile back. The reverential posture and the signal that the weapons were not to be used also reassured them. Some of the now peaceably departing Iraqis even dared to pat the soldiers on the back. What could have been an ugly incident of resounding personal and international repercussions turned into a positive one because of the leader’s instinctive social intelligence.

It is a confusing world we live in.   We seem to stumble like the baby in the construction lot.  Somehow we make our way from girder to girder or we don’t.   When we don’t make it or we are victims of some event we are conflicted.  It seems to be the cause of so many problems that we have.   We can’t smile our way out of some of these things but we are naturally inclined to be connected and that is a good thing.   Oh, where was I going?  

Magoo Advice

I just watched him again this morning.  I initially had plans on writing about something else.  Maybe I just stumbled into Magoo?   He first appears in Ragtime Bear 1949.  He couldn’t see a thing and was pretty angry.  His perception of the world was always very far from what we see around him.   He only wanted “Peace and quiet, a man needs his rest.”   In 1956  Puddle jumper he bought a full-out electric car.   It is funny how he believed that the electric car was the better machine to drive.   How easy it is to think that Magoo has it wrong.   Magoo isn’t just nearsighted, he is perceptually mis-aligned.   His view of the world creates confusion, anger, cross talk, lack of clarity, and seemingly made him a bit crazy to us.   Although that is what comes across,  Magoo is forward thinking and has some old wisdom, he believes that his perspective of the world is the world and that others around him see it as he does and if they don’t, he instructs them accordingly.

What he is missing is the alignment to others.

The short of it

How Magoo relates to you.   We all see the world through our own eyes and though it may be obvious to us, the things we see and believe may be wrong.  If we consider that we are in some ways like Magoo; blind to things that we believe we see.   This may be a step in opening ourselves to other possibilities.  If we can manage and have the patience, it is possible for us to learn and teach.  In other words, Magoo didn’t always have it wrong.  After all, he loved the electric car in 1956 and we are just a few short years behind him.   He didn’t always have it right either and his mis-perceptions of the world caused devastation in a lot of episodes.  It takes a balance of ideas, knowledge, and patience and the ability to recognize that we individually may be wrong and further that we can only learn that we are wrong though discussion , open dialog and empathy.  If we open ourselves to this, we may wind up being wrong together or right together, regardless maybe it would lead to more happiness.

These are some of my thoughts this Sunday morning.   Cheers