LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “government”

My Political Thought

Banksy.jpg

http://dystopia-11engadv.wikispaces.com/

I read a post by Lisa at http://agrippinglife.wordpress.com/ entitled Dear President Obama. She didn’t write it, but felt it was a good summation of how she and possibly many more are feeling. The original post was written by Maggie at http://somethingfathappened.wordpress.com. I don’t know Maggie, but since I started this blog Lisa and I have become good enough friends that we have actually entertained our families getting together for a meal sometime when we all can find the time.

Lisa is not someone who goes off on political tangents. She isn’t the kind of person that would pigeon-hole you in a corner for over an hour while she rants on about big government and how the apocalypse is upon us. However, if I were you I would steer clear of talking about a certain cashier at the local diner where she has breakfast every morning, but other than that Lisa strikes me as being fairly level-headed, compassionate, intelligent, extremely witty, and someone who truly cares about the quality of life for others.

So she worried about posting something political. She didn’t want to have to wade through reading a bunch of hate mail that questioned her mental stability, gender identity, social status, and/or whether she was an enemy mole feverishly working the inner ropes of the blogging community. She just wanted to post something that reflected how she felt…end of story.

She inspired me.

Like Lisa I am posting something that someone else created (although I wish I had the talent and the spray paint). So with my tongue planted firmly within my cheek the above is my political statement. I should acknowledge this is my statement and my statement alone, it does not necessarily reflect the thoughts of Susie my wife, Jake the Wonder Dog, Callie the Sleek Dog, OC the World’s Tiniest Cat, Zip the Pet Me or Die Cat, or Annie Now Called Andy Because My Stupid Parents Can’t Recognize Sex Parts on a Kitten.

I am Stephen Edwards and I support the contents of this blog.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #3 – Ambition

http://www.tiptopsigns.com/Kanji-Symbol-for-Ambition-Decal-Sticker-p-2621.html

AMBITION

Well here is one virtue I think at first glance we all go, “Hmm, are you sure about this?”

Everyone of us knows someone who has taken ambition, cut the chain, and ran with it. They have run so far with it that ambition no longer looks like ambition. It looks more like greed and walking all over people to get what you want (e.g., Michael Douglas in Wall Street).

Yet let’s back up and look at ambition in its true sense. Dictionary.com defines the word as:

Noun

  1. an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
  2. the object, state, or result desired or sought after
  3. desire for work or activity; energy

I will admit the first definition about desiring to achieve power and/or fame makes me a slight bit uneasy, but only because of their abuse. The word earnest thrown in their before the word desire creates for me a better feeling. Mainly because when I think of earnest, I think sincere and honest.

I don’t believe we have to make a choice between being ambitious and having principles. I would like to think I have ambition. Actually, I believe I have above average ambition. I know as I made the effort to turn my life around I was very ambitious. I was not going to fail. My entire focus was in breaking the bonds that I had created in my old life and establishing new positive valuable ones.

When I ran the 3,160 miles across the United States I definitely had the desire. As I have created this blog, worked on my book, and sought speaking engagements to spread hope, motivation, and success I have had ambition.

In our marriage, Susie and I have exercised ambition to be happy and content. Growing up our children understood that ambition is a necessary quality to live life to its fullest. We have already discussed with our six-year-old grandson what ambition is and how it is correctly used.

Ambition has an old fashion feel; like somehow we are now beyond the concept. Yet pure ambition can be used to propel you beyond the roadblocks and obstacles of life. It can be used to harness your positive energies and open a world of possibilities.

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As I’ve written this I have struggled with exactly how to portray this virtue. On the one hand, I want to caution against the run away freight train that turns ambition into nothing more than clawing one’s way up the ladder of life.  While on the other, I want you to understand I believe ambition is an essential feature to be successful; whether we are talking about careers, marriages, friendships, or companies.

Like most elements of life I think there is a tension that exists between good and evil. Lack too little ambition and you end up sitting in the basement of your parent’s house playing video games every day for the rest of your life. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you will ruthlessly walk over people and principles to attain power/fame/wealth.

Ambition is good, too much and you have a problem. Be ambitious, but be cautious.

Be encouraged!

It’s Late & I’m Tired

This afternoon while listening to the local NPR station, I heard a remark about how we elect politicians that got to me to thinking.

When we vote, all we do is pull a lever. On the new computerized voting machines we simply point. It is not  much of an effort. In reality, it is quite simple, which is a good thing. It does not require a manual. Nor do we need to be supervised by anyone. In other words, the learning curve is relatively flat.

However, this easy to do, modest action, when done by enough of us, is so powerful it elects the President of the Unites States. When we band together on a certain day and all do a single function, the result is we either elect a new president or confirm the current.  That is power.

This got me to thinking about other areas of life outside of politics. For those of you who have read my last few blogs, you know I have been discussing lies and Truth. What if we applied this meek, unassuming principle to Truth? Instead of voting, we all did something else…like told the Truth for one day.

Could one day make any difference?

Lets look at some facts about the 2008 election…

131,257,328       Voted for one of the Presidential candidates

169,000,000     Registered voters

201,500,000     Eligible to be voters

83.8%                     Of those who could register to vote did

77.6 %                   Of registered voters who did vote

Now lets veer off in another direction.

Following the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in 2010 a firestorm has swept across Northern Africa and the Mid-East. Corrupt and dictatorial governments have fallen. Estimates of between 42,000 – 52,000 people have been killed. They are dying for change. People are simply no longer willing to accept the status quo.

Stay with me as we make another turn.

The Occupy Movement has started, sputtered, started, and sputtered again. Inspired (in part) by the Arab Spring, the Canadian activist group Adbusters wanted to focus the world’s attention on social and economic inequality. They adopted the tag, “We Are the 99%.” Their latest attempt in changing the world is to call for a general strike on May 1, 2012.

So why this meandering text? I’m trying to demonstrate that if a few are willing to bind together for a cause it can grow into something of incredible power.

So how does it apply to this blog?

Don’t accept lies anymore. When people begin to lie, stop them and say, “Please, just tell me the Truth.”

Does all of this seem naive? More simpleton than simple? Might you be wondering if I’m not taking this Truth thing too far? Perhaps thinking I’m staring at the computer screen far too long?

Possibly…but someone, somewhere, sometime decided enough was enough. It is time for a change. Several of my posts have ended with a huge rallying cry as my attempt to motivate the masses…but not this time…its late and I’m tired…I’m hoping a couple of you are actually reading this and not hitting the “LIKE” at the top of the page, then the “DELETE” key…and just maybe one or two will say, “You know he may be a little weird, but he’s right…let’s tell the Truth today and see what happens.

Be encouraged!

Before We Go Any Further

Stop Sign 2 Clip Art

PLEASE LOOK AT THE DAY & DATE

OF THE LAST POST

THEY DON’T MATCH

Here is my point…lying and believing are intertwined. Someone once commented they believed people wanted to hear a lie just as often as they wanted to be told the truth. While I”m not ready to whole-heartedly embrace that philosophy, I do believe there is a connection between lying and what we want to hear.

Do I believe there should be a NO LYING DAY? Absolutely. I would love to see the concept reported on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, the news wires, and go viral. What a great concept. The realty will probably fall far short.

Why? Because many of us are simply comfortable in our lies. It is where we live and work. Our lies are no more a distinct separate part of our existence. They are part and parcel of who we are. We have lived and breathed them for so long, that our lies feel like the truth, and the truth now feels as strange as lies once did.

We operate in a world that not only encouraged the use of falsehoods, but actually, it many respects rewards it. Whatever the reason for lying, we are masters at justifying it. All the way from “everybody does it” (which is probably true) to “it wasn’t REALLY a lie.”  If we want to, we can find an excuse.

I have received several emails and comments about this subject. Many writers were intrigued by the question of morality it raises, others were more interested in the philosophical underpinnings. There were writers who complained of my over-simplified explanation. The point is, the issue of lying, deserves to be a topic of conversation. It needs the light of us blog writers, the press, think tanks, TED talks, church groups, and folks sitting around having a few beers. In my heart I believe change bubbles up. Only when we the common folk, the 99%, the silent majority, or whatever it is we are going by now, rise up and say, “Wait a minute! This is an issue. Lets talk about it.”, we are going to continue to experience an erosion of truth it all its forms.

I hope this post causes you to think. After you think about lies, and truth, and the role you play in it, maybe you will talk. Start a conversation with a loved one, or your child, the neighbor, your pastor, those in your study group, or any one who is willing to listen. With all my heart I believe change bubbles up. And, just maybe, some day we really will have a day of NO LYING.

Be encouraged!

 

From Those Who Comment…

This post is purely inspired by those who commented on Lying–Maybe…Maybe Not.

Lem Usita writes at www.identityspecialist.wordpress.com. His post show a deft knowledge of leadership and how it ought to work. Her posts are filled with practical, rubber-meets-the-road type of information that I personally crave. I am the just-tell-me-what-to-do-and get out-of-the-way kind of guy, and Lem tells you what and how to do it. He wrote:

You bring up an interesting idea for me – this idea that lying takes on different forms depending on your stage of development – pick your developmental theory. I need to think about what a lie looks like in light of this. Do you have any articles that talk about this?
Thanks for the post.

I responded with:

Lem, first of all let me say how much I enjoy your posts regarding leadership. I would like to swap a few emails, or even a phone call or two , to discuss my experiences in leadership development at a Global 100 manufacturing firm. I think you’ll find the stories interesting.

Developmental theories are kind of like a bad haircut, everyone has had one, but their idea of what it is differs widely. Lying when we are younger is often seen as punishment avoidance. Q.-Did you spill the milk? A.-No way, the cat did it. As we age lying is the result of peer acceptance or is seen as a useful tool to gain something. Such as Q.-Hey Dad, can I have the car keys? A./Q.-Did you get your room cleaned like your Mom asked? A.-Yeah, pretty much (Reality-room looks like a bomb went off in it, but you told the guys it would be no problem getting your Dad’s car and promised to pick them up at 6:00). By the time you have graduated from college and entered the work force, the lies start to look more like CYA. Q.-Did you get the Jones Report done? A.-Yeah, you’ll have it on your desk when you arrive in the morning. (Reality-What the hell is the Jones report?)

If you look at Maslow and Metamotivation, is it possible we are seeking fulfillment of our Being Needs via lying through our teeth?

I don’t have any articles which speak directly about what I’ve written. However, I have pulled from Psychology Journals, books, magazines, newspapers, and friends who I have bombarded with questions, concepts, and theories. While sitting around having a few beers I have often pulled the topic of our conversation from whether the Yankees will pull it together to make another run for the pennant to when do our dreams become reality?

I drive my friends nuts, but as long as I’m buying, they seem to hang around. lol

My email is stephenedwards922@gmail.com. Give me a holler and maybe we can exchange phone numbers. By the way…what do you think…when do dreams become reality?

Another comment I received was from 5kidsmom. She writes at www.carnivalcommunications.wordpress.com. Her writing is clear, pure and cleverly insightful. I have always deeply enjoyed her thought process and delivery. Also in the interest of honesty; her and I have discovered we share remarkably similar, yet different perspectives, so we have agreed to collaborate on a book. She wrote th:

oh my….
>>>>>”Some men (not all, ;) have to lie about ‘WHY’ they lie!!<<<<<<
Rack ’em up boys!! Keep lying about why you’re lying, we’re listening LOL! What he doesn’t realize is….while little boys are lying to their mothers, (???FEAR??) little girls are being taught by their fathers, BOYS LIE!
Too late MacIntyre—-we’re onto you, and just like you, we started ‘getting it’, from a very young age!! That’s no lie ;) One more thing, boys lying to their Mom’s didn’t really make life easier, it probably just sparred them the consequences. So come on guys, you lie because you’re afraid of the wrath lol!

I responded:

Gosh, this lying thing has started our own little personal firestorm. Why? Well probably for two reasons. 1.) We all do it. We aren’t exactly proud of that fact. We don’t go around saying, “Alright! I just told another whopper!” Truth is we are ashamed. We are ashamed, because even after all we’ve been taught (programmed?) we still know it is wrong. 2.) We have all been lied to and it is frustrating. It hurts and we clearly understand the world (shoot, forget the world, even our little lives) would be a better place if everyone would stop.

Boys lie to girls, girls lie to boys, men lie to women, women lie to men, men lie to men, women lie to women, employees lie to bosses, bosses lie to employees, companies lie to customers, customers lie to companies, races lie to other races, nations lie to other nations, and I’m relatively confident if the human race ever encounters extra terrestrials, we will lie to them too.

So the bottom line is, “What do we do?”

This is too good for just a reply. I’m going to take this out and put it on the big screen. I will have a post forthwith, which will answer the question, “What do we do?”

WHAT DO WE DO?

Here is what I propose:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20,2012 IS A NO LYING DAY

START EMAILING YOUR FRIENDS & EVERYONE IN THE WORLD YOU KNOW! TELL EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH THAT WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2012 IS A NO LYING DAY. WE WILL TELL NO LIES FROM MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT.

NOW GO

BE ENCOURAGED!

The Shape We Are In

Just a few things I came across today as I read:

  • Our schools are dysfunctional
  • We are encumbered by burdensome debt and deficits
  • Our infrastructure is decaying
  • Superior employment skills are in short supply
  • Health care costs are debilitating
  • Outsourcing, off-shoring, and automation have crippled the working class
  • Median house hold income is plummeting
  • Jobs are drying up
  • Political leaders are hampered by infighting
  • Government overall is demoralized
  • Innovation is nearly non-existent
  • Regulation are strangling growth
  • Campaign Finance regulations are a joke
  • There are 16,843 pages to Federal Tax Code

So does this depress you? Are you left wanting a stiff drink? Or are you thinking more in terms of Divine intervention? Does it appear hopeless? Is there no sense in trying to do anything, because the issues are simply too overwhelming? Are we near the end of times? Or certainly the times as we’ve always known it?

Here’s what I think.

I THINK WE ARE ON THE VERGE OF SOMETHING GREAT!

Oh yeah…I know that puts me right square in the middle of either being a complete idiot or an insanely optimistic individual, who would have been reassuring fellow Titanic passengers help was on the way, even as she tilted forward and began her long decent to the bottom.

Let me explain. I believe these are the exact types of problems that have given rise of to courageous men and woman throughout history. Who, upon carefully understanding the issues of their day, began to seek  innovative concepts, ideas, and theories to resolve them.

They did not sit idly by and watch people, institutions, companies, and a way of life disappear. They got busy, with an unquenchable desire, seeking, trying, experimenting, and doing whatever it took to change their world.

In later posts I’ll be describing some individuals and companies who are giving their best to resolve at least some of these problems.

I don’t have the answers to any of the issues listed above, but I’m willing to help in any way I can. I bet you are too. Look around, see what you can do. If you are blogger keep writing, if you volunteer keep volunteering. Whatever it is that brings about positive change keep doing it. Somewhere there is answer to all of the above problems. I think we will find them.

Be encouraged!

A few thoughts on yesterday’s post…

As I was writing yesterday I began to think of a story I had heard some time ago. I am great at remembering stories and people, but not so good at remembering where I heard the stories or where I met the people. So if I am ripping this story off of you please forgive me. Leave a comment and I’ll make sure you get full credit.

A few years ago there was a study done that went into kindergarten classes and asked the little students how many of them could draw? In every instance 100% of the children raised their hands. Then they went to third grade classes and asked the same question, this time 2/3 of the class raised their hands. Next they went into fifth grade classes with the same question, but now only about 1/4 of the students raised their hands. The final class they asked were freshman in high school. The response had dwindled to less than a handful who believed they could draw.

So what has happened? Is there a mysterious ailment that afflicts adolescents causing them to lose the ability to draw? Or do they quit because art now becomes another class they need to get through? Or do they become preoccupied with “other stuff.”

I am no psychologist, but here is what I believe, at least, begins to contribute to the falling number of students who believe they can draw. They begin to listen to themselves and others who say, “You can’t draw.” Now maybe they aren’t that direct, instead they hear these words, “What is that?” or “That’s dumb.” or “Yeah, whatever.”

These words set the tone. They are not encouraging. They don’t make you feel like you are making a good effort. Back in my youth we called it a bummer. They bum you out. They cause you to doubt. To believe what you are accomplishing isn’t very good and not worth the effort.

I wonder what would happen if we praised the art work of every child. No I’m not saying we have to proclaim each child the next Picasso, but if we encouraged the effort, the concept, or the idea. Not all children can draw, but I suspect that are a lot of drawers out there who don’t draw because somewhere along life they got the idea they weren’t good enough.

What if this is true, not only with drawing, but also singing, writing, playing an instrument, creating, thinking, wondering, traveling, exploring, love, and/or life. What if this type of dwindling belief in what we can accomplish is active in sports, business, religion, in our governments, in our schools, in our hospitals, in our families, in our lives.

Is there really only one Lance Armstrong? 

Is there really only one Usain Bolt?

Is there really only one Martin Luther King Jr.?

Is there really only one Gandhi?

Is there really only one Desmond Tutu?

Is there really only one Richard Branson?

Is there really only one Steve Jobs? 

Or are there more? Maybe even thousands more, just waiting for the right words or combination of words, so they can excel. So they can break the shackles of mediocrity and soar. How high? We don’t have a clue. But we’ll never know if we don’t encourage.

Be encouraged.

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