Monday, August 14, 2017

Divide and Conquer (Revisited)

Terrorism is a psychological warfare. Terrorists (and politicians) try to manipulate us and change our behavior by creating fear, uncertainty, and division in society. - Patrick J. Kennedy (politician reference added)

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The #1206 “fiction” series continues (a variant on an earlier post) …

The coffee shop was busy as it always was, with its typical mix of soccer moms, businessmen and little kids doing what they liked to do in coffee shops.

In a private corner of the coffee shop, two men, overdressed for the hot weather in dark suits and white shirts, quietly observed the activity all around them.

Finally one of them cleared his throat and said tersely but quietly, “It was a lot easier than we anticipated, wasn’t it?”

The other looked at his companion and nodded, saying nothing.

“After all”, the first man continued, “Who would have thought that they could have been manipulated this easily?  It was almost like playing a game.”

The second man looked at him with a frown.  “Do you think it was that easy?”, he asked gruffly.  “Coming up with a list of topics that we knew would resonate with different elements of society was not easy”.

Still, as he thought about it, it was pretty easy. 

Things like creating the United Nations, charge it with maintaining peace and well-being on the planet and then encouraging it to do nothing while having it incessantly make announcements about what they intended to do.

Things like feeding different nations with the knowledge to create weapons of mass destruction and then feeding other countries with enough knowledge to be suspicious of them.

Things like getting everyone wound up about climate change and then introducing enough evidence on both sides of the argument to confuse everyone.

Things like creating structured religion to guide people morally and then have the leadership of some of the same organizations become the largest violators of those principles.

Then there was the idea of terrorism, keeping everyone unsteady on their feet, leading to the brilliant wars in the Middle East and the subsequent economic strain around the world.

The pro gay / anti gay / gender identity debate was tossed in for fun at the last minute at the suggestion of a team member who wanted to see how easily people could be manipulated in light of all the other events already occurring all around them.

Social media was also having its effect, enabling a small minority of people, including their own agents of misinformation, to convey strong messages and evoke strong, polarizing emotions in large groups of followers while lowering the mental resistance of the majority.

There were more things in play to confuse the people than he could even keep up with.

And now people were divided, not just on one issue but each on a multitude of issues, strongly agreeing with some people on some issues while vehemently opposing the same people on others.

A 2000-year plan was nearing its climatic end and the people were almost ready.

One pillar of strength remained that had to be neutralized.

As he thought about the final stages of their plan, he had a momentary thought that perhaps things were going a little too easily.

“We are sure that the divisiveness over politics in the United States was not created by us?”, he asked his colleague.

The first man chuckled and replied, “Don’t I wish?  They are so confused now that they created this one on their own without any help on our part.  Although I have to admit that I would have been proud if it had been my idea.”

The second man grunted and was silent again.  He didn’t like things happening that they hadn’t specifically orchestrated.

The first man, sensing that his partner was over analyzing again, continued his thought.

“The laws we need are in place.  People are confused and fighting for survival.  The separation by class, race, gender identity, financial standing and religious belief is complete.  The Department of Homeland Security ordered 450 million rounds of armor piercing ammunition a few years ago for domestic use and military rehearsals demonstrate that they are in the final preparation stages to combat domestic unrest.  Citizens believe that their President has checked out, is inept, is a racist or is unfeeling towards their plight.  I think this demonstrates that the leadership and the people are in the final place of confusion and imbalance that we need them to be in.”

The second nodded, pursing his lips.

“It is curious”, he said to no one in particular, “that the people of this planet who excel in the concept of divide and conquer to oppress others don’t notice when the same principles are being used against them.”

“Curious indeed”, replied the first, “but useful.”

The second man nodded again as they both resumed their observation of the coffee shop in silence.

To be continued.

© 2017 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved

Blog Post Background / Supporting Data

Watching two African-American men tear each other apart today over who was “more black” as they argued over President Trump’s reaction to the act of hatred in Charlottesville broke my heart and reminded me of an older blog post which I repost here with some minor modifications.

Instead of being united against racism, they were allowing the evil tool of racism to divide them, keeping the attention on them and not on the people where the energetic conversations should be directed.

United we stand.

Divided we fall.

Are we focused on uniting against that which undermines us or are we so distracted by other things that we allow divisions and the architects of those divisions to tear us apart?

Someone stands to benefit from such division.

Who do you think that is?

How important is it to find out and neutralize their intentions before they neutralize a nation … or a planet?

How important is it that we relearn how to talk (even passionately) and even more, to listen?

How important is it that we focus more on what unites us instead of what separates us?

I guess it depends on what kind of future you want for you, your children, your partner, your loved ones, your friends, your country and the world.

What kind of future do you want?

It doesn’t create itself, you know.

The world is waiting for you.

What are you waiting for?

Series Origin

This series, a departure from my usual musings, is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks as well as my own professional background as a Wall St. / Fortune 25 strategy advisor and large-scale technology architect.

While this musing is just “fiction” (note the quotes) and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is a continuation of the #1206 series noted here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kim Jong-Trump

There is a fine balance between paranoia and preparedness.  Understanding the difference can make all the difference. – Harry Tucker

A guest post by Gwynne Dyer, author, historian and independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

“I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, Mr President, but I do say not more than ten or twenty million dead, depending on the breaks.” So said General ‘Buck’ Turgidson, urging the US president to carry out a nuclear first strike, in Stanley Kubrick’s 1963 film ‘Dr Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.’

But nobody in Kubrick’s movie talked like Kim Jong-un (“American bastards would be not very happy with this gift sent on the July 4 anniversary,” he crowed, celebrating North Korea’s first successful test of an ICBM). They didn’t talk like Donald Trump either (“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”)

Kubrick’s film came out the year after the Cuban missile crisis, when the world went to the brink of nuclear war after the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles into Cuba to deter an American invasion. It was a terrifying time, but neither US President John F. Kennedy nor the Soviet leaders used violent language. They stayed calm, and carefully backed away from the brink.

So Kubrick’s fictional leaders had to stay sane too; only his generals and civilian strategic ‘experts’ were crazy. Anything else would have been too implausible even for a wild satire like ‘Strangelove’. Whereas now we live in different times.

Trump may not understand what his own words mean, but he is threatening to attack North Korea if it makes any more threats to the United States. That’s certainly how it will be translated into Korean. And Pyongyang will assume that the US attack will be nuclear, since it would be even crazier to attack a nuclear-armed country like North Korea using only conventional weapons.

Maybe the American and North Korean leaders are just two playground bullies yelling at each other, but even in their more grown-up advisers it sets up the the train of thought best described by strategic theorist Thomas Schelling: “He thinks we think he’ll attack; so he thinks we shall; so he will, so we must.” This is how people can talk themselves into launching a ‘pre-emptive’ or ‘preventive’ nuclear attack.

Is this where the world finds itself at the moment? ‘Fraid so. And although a nuclear war with North Korea at this point wouldn’t even muss America’s hair – the few North Korean ICBMs would probably go astray or be shot down before they reached the US – it could kill many millions of Koreans on both sides of the border.

A million or so Japanese might die as well (that would depend on the fallout), and a few tens of thousands of US soldiers in western Pacific bases (from targeted strikes). Indeed, as the scale of the potential disaster comes home to North Korean strategists, you can see them start to play with the idea of a “limited nuclear war.”

North Korean planners have announced that they are “carefully examining” a plan for a missile attack on the big US base on Guam. In that way they could “signal their resolve” in a crisis by only hitting one isolated American military target. Their hope would be that such a limited attack would not unleash an all-out US nuclear counter-attack that would level North Korea.

‘Limited’ nuclear war typically becomes a favourite topic whenever strategists realise that using their cherished nuclear weapons any other way means unimaginable levels of death and destruction. It has never been credible, because it assumes that people will remain severely rational and unemotional while under attack by nuclear weapons.

Thinking about limited nuclear war, while unrealistic, is evidence that the planners are starting to get really scared about an all-out nuclear war, which is just what you want them to be. Nevertheless, we are entering a particularly dangerous phase of the process, not least because the other two major nuclear powers in the world, China and Russia, both have land borders with North Korea. And neither of them loves or trusts the United States.

What “process” are we talking about here? The process of coming to an accommodation that lets North Korea keep a nuclear deterrent, while reassuring it that it will never have to use those weapons. Because that’s what these North Korean missiles and nuclear warheads are about: deterring an American attack aimed at changing the regime.

They couldn’t be about anything else. North Korea can never have enough missiles to attack the US or its local allies and survive: it would be national suicide. But it can have enough of them to carry out a “revenge from the grave” and impose unacceptable losses on the US if it attacks North Korea. Deterrence, as usual, is the name of the game.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefly said that the US was not seeking to change the North Korean regime last week, although he was almost immediately contradicted by President Trump. In the long run, however, that is the unpalatable but acceptable way out of this crisis. In fact, there is no other way out.

A guest post by Gwynne Dyer, author, historian and independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.  Reproduced with permission from the author.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Feeling the Sting of Discrimination

Too small is our world to allow discrimination, bigotry and intolerance to thrive in any corner of it, let alone in the United States of America. - Eliot Engel

Discrimination is not done by villains. It's done by us. - Vivienne Ming

Today I experienced my first real discrimination that was directed towards me.

As a Caucasian, heterosexual male, standing 6’3”, with an athletic build, with all aspects of my body working as originally designed and with reasonable personal and professional success behind me, I hardly fit the bill of someone who might experience discrimination.

Of course, there is always the ignorance of people who happily tell me “Newfie” jokes when they “discover” my Newfoundland and Labrador heritage but the combination of a person very comfortable in my own skin and my Life track record allows me to not get upset over the ignorance of those who have not been as blessed as I have been.

This is why the events of today surprised me a little … or maybe a lot.

A couple of days ago in my blog post Stop Being Offended and Do Something, I made some observations about people who live in fear of taking action or who run around being offended by the actions of others but who choose not to take any action themselves to address that which offends them.

The blog made reference to a little experiment at our office this week.  In a meeting with my business partner, he happened to notice that I had vivid, pink nail polish on one thumb.  While I was trying to conduct a business meeting, he was quite distracted by my thumbnail.  Here is what ensued.

He looked at it several times with a light smile but said nothing although he was clearly distracted by it.

“You want to ask, don’t you?”, I said to him as I observed him.

“I do”, he said, smiling.

“Then ask”, I replied.

“Ok”, he said, “Why does the President of our company have a pink thumbnail?”

“Great question”, I replied, “Perhaps it is nice to be in touch with a softer side once in a while as we spend inordinate amounts of time being aggressive, assertive, Alpha males pretending to be kings of the universe as we make plans for our next conquest.  What do you think?”

He paused for a moment and then he smiled.

“I like it”, he replied.

“Me too”, I replied, “And besides, since when did I care what others think of what I say or do as long as what I do gets the job done and honors others?”

“I really like it”, he said.

An hour later, my small action was greeted with applause in the boardroom.

And then one of the guys at the office went out to buy a bottle of vivid, bright blue nail polish to give it a try.

After all, blue is our corporate color.

We agreed that we would leave our little experiment in play until the end of the week.

Meanwhile, the public reaction to my thumbnail, as noted in the other blog post, was also interesting.

Some examples:

  • It’s hot (or very hot)
  • It’s cool
  • I wonder how kinky he is
  • It’s neat that he’s in touch with his feminine self
  • It’s weird
  • Normal men don’t do that
  • **stare** / avert eyes when noticed / repeat (the cowardly passive-aggressive model)
  • **stare** / freeze in place (as I held out money to pay for something)
  • He’s probably a pedophile or some other type of sickie (from one mother to another as she moved her child closer to her in a coffee shop)
  • He’s gay
  • He’s “whipped”
  • **snickers / laughter**

That’s a lot of character analysis derived from a single, pink thumbnail.

So when I went to donate blood today (whole blood donation # 136), imagine my surprise when a member of the Canadian Blood Services team looked at my pink thumbnail, frowned, shook her head and said, “I prefer my men to be real men.”

I was shocked.

First of all, I was not “her” man nor do I appreciate being evaluated as a candidate to be one as implied by the comment.

Secondly, there is nothing about the color of a thumbnail that defines the nature of any person, regardless of whether we are measuring character, ethics, morals, values, contribution to society, beliefs, gender or anything else.

However, wearing that one pink thumbnail somehow meant that I had fallen beneath some standard defined by this individual.

I wonder where not being a woman (obviously) but being less than a “real man” left me.

The conversation that ensued is not worth repeating.

However, when it was observed that my blood pressure was a little elevated, I couldn’t help but think, “You are surprised after that conversation?”

Ironically, I was experiencing diminishing, insulting discrimination at the hands of a visible minority.

I could have reminded her that nail polish has been worn by male cultural, religious, business and government leaders for many millennia, including Pharaohs and other people.

I could have reminded her that “male polish” is now an in-thing, worn by business and political leaders, celebrities and many other heterosexual men.

I could have reminded her that at a time when Canadian Blood Services is actively trying to bring more people in to donate blood, insulting dedicated donors like me could cause me to stand up and walk out (possibly never returning).

I could have reminded her that walking out could cause any other donors there with me to walk out as well.

I could have reminded her that as a visible minority herself, receiving respect as a minority includes giving respect to other people.

I could have reminded her that a place to give blood is not the place to have your religious, political or cultural views imparted upon others.  I’m sure if I decided to tell her that I didn’t like her culture or race, I would have been thrown out (as I should have been).

But I was there to give blood, not go toe-to-toe with ignorant people.

I choose when and where to pick my fights and her ignorance will not go unnoticed.

Will going toe-to-toe with her or having her boss read a reprimand to her fix this person’s outlook?


But if we choose to not step up and respectfully but forcefully defend against discrimination, then we allow it to continue.

And if we allow it to continue in silence, we could be accused of condoning it, supporting it or even spreading it.  Our defense against such accusations would be weak since we didn’t take a stand when we could have.

The Bottom Line

Discrimination in the 21st century, where humanity has allegedly reached the pinnacle of knowledge and insight, is a reflection of ignorance.

If we don’t step up and do something about it when we witness it or receive it, we are part of the problem and not part of the solution.  If we accept that people can be discriminated against, then we also accept that discrimination can be applied against us at some point if someone chooses to use it against us.

To think the world works any other way is a reflection of ignorance and is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Are you willing to take a real stand against discrimination in any form it arrives?

If so, well done.

If not, you will have to accept it if it ever comes your way - you will have earned the ignorance that is being reflected karmically back in your direction.

Be a force for good and a positive role model for others.

Anything else qualifies you as a member of a group of people described by Lieutenant General David Morrison who noted, “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

What do you choose to accept?

In service and servanthood – create a great day, because merely having one is too passive an experience.


Addendum: What If It Were Someone Else?

I have been reminded by quite a few people that what I experienced could be interpreted as a violation of the hate crime act in Canada.  I don't know the intricate workings of the act but the feedback caused me to wonder what would happen if someone else had been on the receiving end of the comments that I received.  It could create quite a bit of complexity for a lot of people.

At the end of the day, I was there to save lives and I will continue to be a proud blood donor and to collaborate with the great folks at the Blood Center.

I won't allow the ignorance of one miscreant to change my actions moving forward or change my perception of a great bunch of dedicated, professional, friendly staff.

Addendum 2 - A Followup - August 8, 2017

A colleague and friend of mine posted some questions (see comment section) that I believe are worthy of a response in the form of an addendum.  Here are the questions and my response.

The Question:

Thanks for the insightful post, Harry.  I was interested in your experiment from reading about it in your previous post.  You mentioned what other people's negative reactions were.  Were there any positive reactions (other than the one's from your team)? Also, do you think the nail polish had the intended effect of being a counter balance to your "alpha maleness"? Was this beneficial to decisions you made and interactions you had with others? Did your team members have any interesting experiences with it themselves?

My Response:

Thanks for your thoughtful questions, Nathan.  There were some positive reactions from many people although the gender divide was interesting (notwithstanding the fact that my data sample is small).

The majority of men seemed offended by it or rejected it although one praised it and said I should have done both hands completely and I was agressively solicited by a gay male.  While some women seemed offended by it, the vast majority seemed intrigued (even tittilated) by it and many praised it.

I was surprised by the reaction from men because we generally don't care if another man is heavily tattooed, pierced or has unusual hair / beard color but a man with a painted nail created a source of irritation or offense for many of them when it should have been irrelevant to them in their lives.

As for a counterbalance to my alpha maleness, I will offer this observation.  I have often claimed (and believed) that I don't care what people say and think about what I believe and do.  I learned through this experience that I needed to resynch this belief.  Men who do things like "walk a mile in her shoes" (where they wear women's shoes in a walk to raise awareness for women's abuse) do so with like-minded colleagues and so there is comfort in doing something "out of the norm" in the safety of numbers.  Doing it with a small team where one is often alone in public requires a different type of courage that REALLY struck me.

I became aware of people watching me / looking at me / trying to figure me out and I knew it was because of the nail.

I felt firsthand what it was like to be judged and categorized by others who had little if any data about who I was, what I do, how I do it, who I do it for and why I do it.

I actually wondered what they were thinking and as described in this post, I felt the sting of disapproval (which surprised me).

And there is the reality of the scale of such categorization with such an insignificant piece of data.

The sting also opened my eyes to something.  As I noted in my post, I am not a typical demographic for discrimination (although I was bullied in my youth) and while we can claim to defend those who feel discriminated against, we can't really understand it until we have felt it for ourselves.  This experience has humbled me and taught me a valuable lesson in what it feels like to be on the receiving end of something less than positive.

My team members have expressed similar experiences "in the wild" and one was even drawn into a loud, aggressive argument with someone.  He felt embarrassed afterwards that he allowed himself to be drawn into such an argument over something so unimportant but he felt that he needed to meet an aggressive evaluation with an equally aggressive response (which he acknowledged in hindsight as being incorrect).

We as a team and myself as an individual are still experiencing the lessons of humility and courage that developed out of this experiment.  As colleagues who study human motivation and behavior, this has provided some interesting insight that we may continue to experiment with - that remains to be seen.

I can't say that the experience has altered my alpha maleness in terms of diminishment of assertiveness and the like (which some people might assume from doing something associated with women).  However, it has heightened my sense of humility and courage to the point of needing to re-explore it.  Some of this humility also stems from an awareness of potential vulnerability, something easily lost amongst a group of men "conquering the universe".

It was also a learning experience for people who made comments to me about it.  As I explained to people who commented on it, for 5000 years, MEN of power painted their nails - emperors, pharaohs and the like.  Men in the Roman legion painted their nails red before battle.  Women were surprised to hear that this was a common male activity until recent history and so they learned something also.

This experience has given me some new insight that I will carry with me into my next venture which you are familiar with.

More thoughts to follow as they become coherent and useful.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Stop Being Offended and Do Something

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. - Joel A. Barker

Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. - Thomas Jefferson

Action expresses priorities. - Mahatma Gandhi

At 6am this morning, my local Starbucks was busier than normal.  My Quiet Hour had ended and I was gearing up for another day of orchestrated chaos and the test of mettle that strains under the pressure of closing a complex business deal.

It was a typical day in any major city – people coming and going in haste, on the way to wherever, focused on whatever, as they stared straight ahead with expressionless or strained faces.

There were a couple of women passionately discussing Scripture.

And there was a homeless guy, keeping a watchful eye on his shopping cart outside.

It contains everything he has.

I hadn’t noticed him at first.  What drew my attention to him were the two women discussing Scripture.  Drinking their $5 lattes that stood beside their Michael Kors bags, they discussed how they were glad that being homeless wasn’t something that they needed to worry about.  After discussing it for a few minutes, one followed the lead of the other, bowed her head and they both said a prayer for the homeless guy before returning to their idle chatter, complaining about the lousy nail salon in the area.

Seeing him sitting there, I got up, asked him if I could buy him breakfast (to which he said yes), I asked him what he wanted and brought it back to him.  He said thank-you and proceeded to enjoy it.

It may be the only food he eats today.

As I walked past the two obviously affluent ladies, I stopped, politely interrupted them and said “Did it ever occur to either of you that perhaps instead of praying for him, that you were in fact the answer to someone else’s prayer for him?”

I don’t think they knew what to make of me and stared at me with nothing to say.

In the same coffee shop the day before (yes, my Life revolves mostly in my office, my lawyer’s office and the coffee shop these days with whatever is left over for family), I noticed a guy repairing the coffee machine.  By a strange twist of fate, whether I am in the coffee shop at 6 in the morning or 6 in the evening, he is often there at the same time and he has seen me many times.

I was joking with the barista about being too hard on the machine (to which she laughed) when he turned to me and snapped, “I see you here all the time.  Why don’t you get a job like a real man?”

He had taken an opportunity to speak his truth or what he perceived as his truth, based on the assumption that if I am there when he is there, I must be a “lazy sod” (albeit a well-dressed one) idly passing time there.

And so I took an opportunity to respectfully speak my truth back to him and when I was done, I received a mumbled apology as he stared at the floor.

My colleague was shocked by the repairman’s rude audacity but not at my response – most people get used to me over time.

The same colleague had been with me a few weeks before when two people sitting next to us spilled coffee on their table.  They concluded their business, stood up and started to walk away.

“Excuse me, sir”, I sang out, “Are you going to leave a mess like that?”

One continued out the door without looking back but the other guy looked at me, said “I thought my partner was going to do it” (even though his partner was already ahead of him and out the door), cleaned it up and thanked me for calling him on it.

It was only fair – he was, in fact, the guy who had spilled the coffee in the first place.

Meanwhile, my colleague was shocked that I had spoken up.

“Was it wrong that he was leaving a mess behind?”, I asked.

“Of course it was”, came the reply.

“Were you upset that he was leaving a mess behind?”, I asked.

“I was”, came the reply.

“So why didn’t you speak up instead of merely choosing to be offended?”, I asked.

The light came on.

People in need don’t need your prayers alone.

They also don’t need passive-aggressive discomfort with a situation.

By the same token, problems at-hand or things that bother us are not solved if we just sit there being offended or bothered by them.

If you want to fix your world, then you must be the change you wish to see.

It reminds me of the time I became aware of a woman who had been compromised by a guy who, with his twisted interest in child pornography and other bizarre needs, had managed to secure some compromising photos of her.  He used the photos and the threat of releasing them on the Web to deepen his control over her and it appeared that damaging her family or her company were next on the agenda for him.

I could have offered to say a prayer for her.

I could have given her a hug, whispering encouraging words about how I knew she would overcome this.

I could have done nothing but used it as a conversation topic with friends, waxing on about the scumbags in the world.

There are many things I could have offered or done of little value to her.

Instead, I fixed the problem as I described in the post Answering the Cry For Help.

Deeds and results, unlike words, do not lie nor do they pass the buck, allowing someone else to fix a problem (hopefully) while we focus on how offended we are.

The Bottom Line

When we choose to be offended or surprised and carry that feeling around all day without addressing it, we waste an opportunity to make a difference.  Too many of us spend time wasting brain cycles that could have been used for something else more important, more impactful or more productive.

And then there is the problem of wasting time wondering what the answers / results should be for unasked questions and actions not taken.

This morning, my business partner was surprised to see one of my thumbnails with bright, pink nail polish on it.

He looked at it several times with a light smile but said nothing although he was clearly distracted by it.

“You want to ask, don’t you?”, I said to him as I observed him.

“I do”, he said, smiling.

“Then ask”, I replied.

“Ok”, he said, “Why does the President of our company have a pink thumbnail?”

“Great question”, I replied, “Perhaps it is nice to be in touch with a softer side once in a while as we spend inordinate amounts of time being aggressive, assertive, Alpha males pretending to be kings of the universe as we make plans for our next conquest.  What do you think?”

He paused for a moment and then he smiled.

“I like it”, he replied.

“Me too”, I replied, “And besides, since when did I care what others think of what I say or do as long as what I do gets the job done and honors others?”

“I really like it”, he said.

An hour later, my small action was greeted with applause in the boardroom.

And then one of the guys at the office went out to buy a bottle of vivid, bright blue nail polish to give it a try. 

After all, blue is our corporate color.

I wonder what people on the street will think.

I don’t care.

Neither should you.

Stop being offended by the world, wasting time and energy being upset by the actions (or lack thereof) of others.

Stop leaving questions unanswered, incessantly turning them over in your mind when you could be using the gift of your intellect to solve problems for you, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your country and your planet.

Speak your truth ….

…. dare to defend it …

…. and dare to live it.

The world is waiting for you to take action.

What are you waiting for?

In service and servanthood – create a great day because merely having one is too passive an experience.


PS As I wrote this today, a great friend of mine by the name of Leonard Szymczak came to mind.  In powerful books such as The Roadmap Home: Your GPS to Inner Peace, Leonard reminds us all about the importance of living our truth – forcefully and directly but always delivered with peace, love and respect.

If only more people had the courage to do so.

Imagine what a world we could create.

Don’t wait to be asked.

Don’t spin on being offended.

Don’t waste time pondering the answers to unasked questions.

Perhaps consider the following questions I ask myself every day during my Quiet Hour?

  • What do I do?
  • Where do I go?
  • What do I say?
  • …. and to whom?
  • What quality do I seek?
  • What quality do I create?
  • Who should I be?
  • Who am I being?

Do something.


Addendum – A Memory From a Friend

A friend contacted me after reading this post and asked if I remembered the time we were in a coffee shop where a table of women were howling with laughter - loudly and rudely.  Everyone around them stared at them, shaking their head and muttering and one person who asked them to quiet down out of respect for others was ignored.

My friend and I went over and sat at the table next to them and howled and laughed louder than they did (over nothing in particular).

The key jester at the other table addressed us sharply and told us that we were being rude.

I told her that I thought that they were being rude in drowning out everyone else in the coffee shop.  She replied that she wasn’t being rude and that she was trying to make an important point to everyone at the table.

I replied, “So am I.”

She got the message.

Oh the memories - I guess I’ve been a nuisance in public longer than I remembered.

Closing Thoughts – Some Reactions to my Thumbnail

After wearing my pink thumbnail for a day, I was intrigued and amused by people’s reactions, either communicated directly to me or from one person to another.

Some examples (with my thoughts in italics):

  • It’s hot (or very hot) – ahem - thanks
  • It’s cool – sounds good to me
  • I wonder how kinky he is – define kinky
  • He’s in touch with his feminine self – nothing wrong with that
  • It’s weird – by whose definition?
  • Normal men don’t do that – see previous question
  • **stare** / avert eyes when noticed / repeat – passive aggressive behavior never solves anything – be assertive
  • **stare** / freeze in place (as I held out money to pay for something) – is there something wrong?
  • He’s probably a pedophile or some other type of sickie (from one mother to another as she moved her child closer to her) – really?
  • He’s gay – wearing pink nail polish is insufficient qualification criteria
  • He’s “whipped” – you clearly don’t know me very well
  • **snickers / laughter** – courageous and mature

That’s a lot of character analysis derived from a single, pink thumbnail.

No one asked me anything but they came to some interesting conclusions in absence of data.

Some were titillated.

Some were impressed.

Some were frightened.

Some were insulted or offended.

And some questioned my sense of normality based on their standard.

When I see how poorly informed and easily influenced they were, based entirely on insufficient, incomplete and irrelevant data, it’s easy to see why so many people are lost personally, professionally, intellectually, emotionally, financially and relationally.

How do we fix this?

Should we?

Can we?

What happens if we don’t?