And Yet I Wondered

As I drove to work today, I passed the high school. I noticed an old man, sitting on the corner by the high school, looking tired and dejected. Next to him was an old baby carriage which held all his earthly possessions piled high, covered over with blankets and tarps, all in a heap just about as tall as he was. It made me wonder.

I went on to work. After a while got up to stretch my legs. I walked out to the corner of the block. A crew of construction workers was digging up the street to replace the storm drains. The storm drains had not been replaced in over 100 years and were well in need of the updating. I watched the crew as they tore the road apart. They had the sidewalks close in two directions, denying people from my corner the chance to cross the street. And, they were dismantling the traffic light base. It made me wonder.

On the way back to my office, I said hello to a lady who was walking by. She stopped and talked with me for a few moments. We talked about the way the town used to look.

We talked about the pride of keeping up with infrastructure. We discussed the copper thefts of the decade ago when thieves stole cable to many of the streetlights. We talked about how copper was so valuable to someone that sprinkler systems and copper statues were stolen. Even air conditioner condensers were stolen from the backs of buildings because of the copper tubing inside. We agreed that we had a great new counsel who would help us to bring the city back to its greatness.

And yet, I wondered.

I wonder how we can build a better  infrastructure.  How we can balance the care of material things and the care of people. I wonder why people end up on the street pushing an old basket of worldly possessions, because I seem to see them more and more.

I also wonder why people would be so destitute, they would be willing to steal electrified copper wire, providing electricity to street lights which are a safety concern of all of us. I wonder why as we build our infrastructure renewing it and keeping the city current and beautiful, we still have those whose life is so difficult and are so far out of touch.

It is said the poor will be with us always. This is true. And yet, we must understand that society is caught in lockstep. The height of society can only go as high as the lowest member of society can allow. For society to climb a ladder and go higher, the least of society must be able to move up the ladder an equal distance. If this does not happen, growth stops, everyone stagnates, and entropy enters the mix as the society starts to crumble.

Today, I still wonder. What can we do as a society to elevate the poorest and lowest among us so that we may pave the way and climb higher? I also wonder if we do not take on the challenge to raise the least of society how will we ever climb higher. I also wonder as we start to crumble, what will the entropy look like.

Please add your ideas and thoughts to this blog.  Thank you for reading.

 

Are You At The Top of the List of People Who Do What You Do?

Well, are you?  Some people will tell you that no matter where you are on the list, there will always be somebody above you and always be somebody below you. I don’t think that this works out logically.

There are over 1 million people who work for franchised car dealerships in America. If we had a million names on the list and measured them on work performance, somebody or a group of somebodies would be number one on the list. In the same for the last place on the list. Somebody has to hold the last place also.

The real question is, ‘How important to you, is your place on the list?’

Are you driven by a Desire to be number one?  If number one took home $50 million dollars a year, and you only take home $40 million a year, so what?  What difference is $10 Million a year?  Does it put you in a category of higher wealth or status?  Is the drive to number one an ego trip?  Would you still be going after the number one spot if the rewards did not make up for the losses you would experience along the way?

As our world economy evolves, those who are positive outliers will be the ones to profit.  Outliers are a given.  Yet, I wonder why, for some, just being an outlier is not enough.  Some look at themselves as failures unless they can be the best.  Number One!

The thing to know is, in the rest of the list below first place, there are plenty of people looking to unseat the leader and take over.  Being ‘Number One’ is a very tenuous and temporary position.  The money is good, yet is it that much different.

Spending more time working with the family, helping relatives, planning a future with the kids, and enjoying a well-cared for house and life, these are true works with great rewards.

Is being ‘Number One’ in business a good feeling?  Sure.  Are there greater rewards and good feelings to be found in live?  You Bet.

Love is a human trait

Love is a human trait.  Being loved in return proves success at being human. Not everyone gets to experience being loved. However, for those who do there is no better feeling in the entire world. Love is something that is fleeting, emotional, and full of risk. Love is also something which may stand the test of time, or be gone five minutes from now.

At its essence, love is. And, is given unconditionally. 

The why is rarely the same from individual to individual.  Often love evolves as small isolated actions are recognized and brought into a gestalt focus. Although almost impossible to define, the entire experience is undeniable to those who experience the actions.

If you do not identify the experience from another, it does not necessarily mean love is not there.  It only means the reception may be poor or not focused.  For some reason, and managed by higher forces in the universe, love is there for most.  The strange thing is that love almost never happens where we expect it to. 

The scariest part of love, it is quiet.  To experience love you need to open yourself to emotional dangers.  Becoming defenseless to any danger is not a normal human trait.  Not knowing the outcome to be positive or negative, each party stands in emotional danger.  True love is best taken slowly and built layer upon layer.

Love builds the bonds over time that are stronger than any other substance known today.  Love is more precious than gold or jewels.  Mainly because love is so much harder to find and flourish.

For all the hazards and pitfalls of the trail to real love, there is nothing like it and nothing better anywhere.

I highly recommend it.

Helping or Hindering?

Have you ever gone for a walk downtown? We have a great downtown it is alive and vibrant, and it is always changing. People shop and go to the movies and the theater. And there are great and wonderful restaurants. We have churches of just about every faith and denomination, and we usually get along very well. All our churches and many of our citizens work together to develop a safety net for homeless and indigent people.

We offer the indigent free meals, a place to sleep warm on cold nights, close haircuts and many had this back to a regular life. Many of the homeless will enjoy these various offerings, and yet not be interested in finding continuous employment. Many, perform a dangerous task of begging for money at major intersections, and at offramps to major highways. When they let people like me drive, I understand how dangerous, for both the driver and the beggar, such a precarious use of the road begging is.

I understand the desire for the homeless and indigent to do what they can to collect money. And I do feel for the plight of those who are stuck on the street. I was told that the homeless collect about $11 an hour begging at an offramp or a major cross street. I have also been told that those begging can collect $27 an hour.

I believe more protections need to be available to those begging, the drivers, and, the other pedestrians in the area. I am not sure though that this is totally possible. The ACLU protects the rights of the indigent and homeless to beg at the spots they use.

I do like and appreciate the work of the ACLU, and I think if they really want to help the poor and indigent, they should find better ways for these people to earn a living. After all, the ACLU is there to protect everyone, and we are all part of everyone.

The ACLU could work with the City and County, the local workforce center, and various state and federal grants, to find jobs for anyone who does not have a job. Some people can cut grass, and some people can use a leaf blower, or pick up trash. Some people can do assembly work. Some people can do assembly work, or help with recycling efforts.

Granted some people are just lost. They are confused, maybe with medical or physical impairments that make it hard for them to live a regular life. These people are the ones that we should really be taking care of. And, they are usually the ones, which are helped last.

I also understand, that doing one good deed for one person, often launches a bad deed of unintended consequences for another. Not so many decades ago, the legislature and mental health advocates worked together to empty mental health wards and hospitals. They believed, they were doing good for all those poor people who had been locked up for so many years. However, letting everyone go did some good for those who did not belong in mental wards. At the same time, it did horrendous damage to many who needed to be in and have the guidance of those wards and hospitals.

Many now roam the streets, and alleyways, with neither proper medication nor anyone to ensure they take the medication. I honestly believe we are doing a disservice to these people, and we should find better ways to handle the problem.Â

Of course, it all boils down to money. Emptying the mental wards in hospitals saved private insurance companies, and the federal government some big bucks. And they would prefer not to be required to pick up those funding streams again. Although, the costs and burdens now move to emergency services and transportation, city and county police forces and sheriff’s offices, businesses who have losses due to breakage or theft caused by those released from the wards in hospitals. And, private citizens who the mentally ill may attack.

I am earnestly searching for a better way to handle this concern. What we need is a more national discussion on this topic. I ask you to please send this blog to your friends and acquaintances. I also urge everyone to reply to the blog and tell us about any solutions you can think of.

 

 

How Many Shades is your world

When I was young, I knew that I knew it all. I had been schooled in the church. I read the Boy Scout manual cover to cover. I passed high school. What more was there? I knew what I knew, and nothing else seemed to matter.

Many people, not knowing they are only looking at one surface of the multidimensional universe grow up this way. They believe their ways, and the ways they were taught, are the correct ways. And, anyone who thinks differently is obviously wrong, or misguided. It happens when someone believes there is only one right way to do things, and you were taught that one and only correct way. Why would someone teach you differently?

As I grew, I started to see things from different points of view. This made me begin to doubt if everything I knew was correct. As I went through the military, I learned, I saw, and I experienced. This caused me to consider other points of view.

I received my associate’s degree late in my military career. I had always focused on my work over myself and was slow to complete the degree. Yet as I finished the degree, it did make me think.

When I went back to college for a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, I learned even more. Learning more made me think more, and made me wonder if I had now learned everything, or if there was more. I made a decision to go back to school for one more degree which I had always wanted. I took a Masters in Education and Training, focusing on adult education, corporate training, course development and long distance education.

As I finished my Masters, I had recognized there is a whole universe of items out there which I know either nothing or very little about. Knowing I do not know everything is a victory. Now I know, that I am a continuous learner.

The question is not if we know everything or we don’t know everything. The question is what are we going to do about it. We start off in a very comfortable, very easy, black and white two-dimensional world. As we grow, we find out that the world is not black-and-white, rather a three-dimensional world with infinite shades of gray (sorry, not only 50.) And, then we have a choice.

Some people except the three-dimensional world and move  forward to explore it. Some people reject the three-dimensional world and move backward towards the black-and-white of right and wrong. One way offers the simplicity and ease of comfort found in a small structured community. Others find great enjoyment and challenge by learning and growing in the larger environment.

I am not one to say that one is correct over another. The question is for each individual. Do they wish to live in a two-dimensional world with the rigidness of only right and wrong answers? Or, do they wish to acknowledge that all thoughts may have multiple outcomes, each of which which is correct depending on the situation at any given moment?

Please let us know what you think.

 

 

Never Stop Learning

Today more than ever it is vital to be a continuous learner and stay up with the times. Some people believe that they did all their learning in school. Other people continue to take classes after college, and believe these courses supplement and suffice for their learning. And, others never stop asking questions and seeking answers.

Today I want to give you a few tricks to being a continuous learner and give you some suggestions that I hope will help.

The first and most important thing we have to do as continuous learners is to admit that we don’t know everything. If we don’t do step one, we will never do any of the rest because we will believe we know it all.

The second thing we do is to ask why. In Six Sigma, we are trained to ask why until we can go no further down the path of gathering information. Normally this step is called the ‘Five Whys.’ You ask a question. Find out an answer. Ask why. Find out another answer. Ask why, and continue until there is nothing to ask why about any longer.  Finding the answer will initiate research. Research is where you learn.

Part of being a continuous learner is keeping up with what you already knew, and the new changes in those fields. Another part of continuous learning is staying up with new knowledge and new technology. Everything is changing faster and faster these days.

There is an excellent book on the change that is called ‘Who Moved My Cheese.’ I highly recommend that if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet that you do so. It is a fast read, yet it is very interesting and a guide on accepting change.

So why would I say that it is very important to keep up with new ideas and new discoveries? The reason is, we keep up with new technologies or, we are left with the technologies that we know. Whether its books from the library, magazines, snail mail, or other technologies. What happens is, as you give up on technology and new ways of doing things, your level of current knowledge starts to fall by the wayside. If most items are written for a blog, or a website, or an e-book, and you’re not reading those, how do you keep up?

I love to read books. Real, hardcover books. When somebody hands me a handwritten note or sends me a thank you card which they wrote out themselves, it tells me that they took enough time and cared enough to make it personal. I still have a landline phone in my house. Yet I also have a blog on the web. I have two websites one is not up at the moment, a training site for my courses. A delivery system which delivers my blogs weekly and E-newspaper that goes up monthly and other wonderful things. I’m only 63 it’s way too young for me to give up and start ignoring technology.

Planning

Have you ever noticed how frustrating it gets when your plans don’t go the way you expect them to go?  Have you ever gotten frustrated to the point where you cannot figure out how you got to where you are, no idea of how to get back on track, and just want to quit and hide?

Don’t feel bad we all get that way. We look at others on an outing, on a Saturday afternoon, and they look so much in control. We had problems with the store being out of what we wanted to buy, the kids having problems and being fussy in the car, or pets who decide they want to play chase and tag with you and run out the gate just as everybody’s getting into the car.

What do we do about our plans going wrong?  We learn to laugh a little. We understand these things happen. And, not to get upset every time something doesn’t go the way we desire.

Now you’re starting to think, “How did the pros do it?”  As a retired Master Sergeant, I’m here to tell you, there is no corporation better planning than the US military.  And yet, everyone in the US military who has ever been part of building a plan can tell you one thing, plans will generally fall apart with the first enemy contact.

You think I’m kidding you. I assure you I am not. We all develop our plans.  We plan the best we can.  We work with all our prayers, talismans, and other rituals to ensure things go right. And yet, in the end, there is always something that goes awry.

The question becomes, “Why do we do all of the work if we know at some point it will fall apart?”  The answer is simple, knowing that things will generally fall apart, you plan anyway. In that planning, you are continuously looking for the what-ifs, the contingents, the “if this” happens I will “do that.”

I’m not saying that you’re going to get lucky, although sometimes luck is involved. I’m not saying that you will think of absolutely everything. It’s rare. What I’m saying is, the more you plan, and the more you look at the contingencies, the better you will understand.

In understanding, you will see strong spots and weak spots. Having a heads up on strong and weak areas will make your decisions during the execution of the plan much better.  The decisions and changes are now based on what you learned during your preparation. What I’d like to suggest is make the best plans possible.

Every time I plan I know the plan won’t run as predicted. I do not know exactly what will happen to change the plan. I do know what options are available, and I can make much better’s decisions.

Ever planned, and the preparations made changes and decisions easier to make?  If you would like to share something about how planning saved the day when plans went awry, Please, give us a response and tell us what happened.