Month: October 2013

Forgivness

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Temple of Forgiveness
Temple of Forgiveness (Photo credit: arno gourdol)

Forgiveness does not justify another’s actions (against you).

The true benefactor of forgiveness is ourselves, do not make the mistake of assuming it is for the benefit of the offender, of the person we forgive.

By giving forgiveness you free yourself from the effects they have on you and your well being.

Power Games

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Enron logo, designed by Paul Rand
Enron logo, designed by Paul Rand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In business you will come across and probably be the victim of those who are ruthlessly power hungry, I know I have and it ain’t pleasant I can assure you. To be honest the pursuit of power and only power in business (or more generally life as well) is not a an assured route to success; but those who practice the corporate power politics don’t know that and they will be relentless in their pursuit I promise you.

But you know the problem, you’ve got part way up the corporate greased pole only to find the further up you go the more power hungry your colleagues are. The conundrum of course is do you consolidate what you have achieved so far or do you carry on with the ever increasing risk being that you lose the lot. What ever you choose you will nonetheless have to deal with these power obsessed co-workers, so how to deal with them?

Do you ignore them, hope that they go away, that they will eventually recognize your contribution and and they’ll leave you alone? No, not a chance of that. Never be so naive as to think this will ever be the case. But should you instead go on the counter offensive? Do you turn brutal in your pursuit? Also No, you’ll need friends or at least allies along the way for the continuing journey. Instead you must remain calm under pressure, self assured of your abilities; after-all you haven’t been promoted to your position by being stupid have you? But you will have to be and remain at your best, there’s no time for an off-day believe me. And remember those who take aim at you, those who seek your power will eventually make a mistake, they will overreach themselves and you want to be prepared for the moment.

Nevertheless you may (will) be drawn into conflict at some point and I recommend:

  1. Competence in role is your defense: those most vulnerable when under attack are those who are either complacent or who don’t deliver top notch results. Say what you are going to do, do it in the time-frame agreed and in budget. Sounds simple but it isn’t.
  2. Confidence: only those who are confident in their own abilities to deliver can truly exercise power. That’s not to say that everyone who does deliver results will exercise power, just that you have got to deliver and be confident that you will before you can take power.
  3. No short-cuts (ever): Lance Armstrong, great athlete absolutely no doubt but the cheated, he took the drugs short-cut to win and then lost. He lost not a small bit though, he lost BIG on the world stage. In these cases its not the wins no matter how many that will be remembered, it’ll be the betrayal of trust. In business think of Jeff Skilling in charge of ENRON – an example of cheating on a monumental scale.
  4. The war zone becomes too dangerous: if your company has become a hunting ground for the power hungry, a power-at-any-cost environment then perhaps you should consider a new venue for your talents. When companies deteriorate to this level its often a sign that either the company is in crisis or about to fall into one!
  5. Could you be the next entrepreneur?: you’re talented, you know you are. So why continue with the red dot of a power obsessed co-worker permanently fixed on your back? You’d be making a mistake if you thought the power struggle will go away by being a start-up but you will have the rewards, all (or at least most) of them. Leaving the organisational power struggles behind might just turn out to be a better use of your time and energy.

Power, personal power, power in the work-place; this is complicated for sure. You’ll never achieve with out it but it can equally be your ruin if not used with finesse. So if you find yourself in a place that encourages the ruthless to show disrespect, the insecure to take credit, or the savagely ambitious to take the joy and meaning out of work, seize the only power that really matters: control over your attitudes, your values and the quality of the work that you do.

How should a person be judged?

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English: receiving from Judge his certificate ...
English: receiving from Judge his certificate of American citizenship. Deutsch: erhält von Richter Phillip Forman seine Bescheinigung über die amerikanische Staatsbürgerschaft. Português: recebendo do juiz seu certificado de cidadão americano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How should a person be judged? By what s/he is or what s/he could be?

If the person is you; you are judging yourself then it is the person you are that is the measure to use. If you wake one morning, look in the mirror and decide that actually you have been lazy, you could have done better, that you have in some way messed-up some lately but you know deep down that you could have done better then judge what you have done, what you are and not what you could have been, could have done. By this point your potential is wasted and you know its wasted.

By asking yourself what you have become, what you have done you will eventually look at your talents and the resources you have to hand and you should know if in some way you’ve fallen short that you have wasted the talents and resources granted to you. By wasting them like a muscle that’s not exercised they will wither and rot over time so that your potential will diminish.

If on the other hand the person is not you that you judge then in this case you must judge on the basis of their potential, what they could be, what they could achieve. You have no way of knowing, no certainty, no way of understanding the things and circumstances that prevent them from reaching their potential. So when you meet someone who is a real mess, don’t look upon them with scorn initially, you should see the person they could be and judge on that basis.

All you have to remember is that the greater the persons potential the further they have to fall. People may be tempted by things that will addict them and these addictions may be greater than anything we could possibly know ourselves or be able to resist but you do not know the extent of the persons will, the extent to which they can exercise control over their lives and you cannot possibly be in a position to judge this. The lesson is that we all have demons; our own we know, for others we can only guess.

The products and deeds we make and do are of our own and not others. Judge yourself on this basis. The products and deeds of others alert us to their achievements so far but we know there is more, much more is possible, its just not known or certain.

How to deal with Anger

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Raiva-Ager-Icon
Raiva-Ager-Icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do not be easy to anger

Anger is one of those feelings that should be condemned under normal circumstances, it makes a person tend toward irrationality; things said or done in anger will normally be regretted later. They tend to be destructive both for the person who has caused the anger and for the person who is angry. It is said that someone who gets angry is like one who worships idols. Anger can cause a person to lose their wisdom, or a person destined for greatness to forfeit their future.

There are those who suffer from a “short fuse”, a lack of patience.  These people are often found to be easily irritated, to blow-up over small things, their anger is a chronic condition. Everybody gets angry from time to time, this is natural of course, but those who suffer chronic anger are limited in their potential.

Dealing with Anger and angry people is a challenge unquestionably, but the results of efforts to avoid anger and situations that bring about anger can be well rewarded. Life outlooks and relationships can have much greater fulfillment.

So how to deal with anger?

A simple recommendation is to get the angry person to wait.

The traits of anger and pride are linked and the first step in dealing with both is to wait. Don’t express the anger or pride verbally, in this way emotions will not gain momentum building to regretful actions. This is not a new idea, as a boy I was told by my teachers to “count to 10” and “take a deep breath” both of which are forms of waiting, of finding something to stop immediate action providing a space for calmness, consideration and reflection.

Another recommendation is to ask yourself who might be watching?

Some will undoubted choose someone close to them as as the person by which they might measure themselves and others might choose a being such as G-d. Either way the question to ask yourself is simple; Would I do or say the things I’m contemplating if this person were here with me and would I be comfortable with them watching, would they agree with my proposed actions and saying? Of course if the answer to these questions is yes, then go on, be angry, get it off your chest, vent. Although if the answer is no, which often it will be then you need a different course.

Remember the consequences of your actions.

This is a very practical and easy bit of advice to follow, if fact it would be difficult not to remember, especially if you had done something terrible. If you hurt a persons feeling, even out of anger you should consider apologizing in person and ask for forgiveness for hurting their feelings. The purpose of this advice is to ready a person to apologize which is not an easy thing to do and will weaken the tendency to anger.

Finally remember who’s in charge.

Though the person who is harming you, or cursing you or harming your wealth it is you that is in charge of how you respond. The other person is free-willed but so are you, you are the master of your actions and if you try you are the master of your emotions. Making this concept a part of your being, who you are, the way you think is the work of a life-time.

I give you this advice and wish you well with not being angry.

Peace Deal?

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Mahmoud Abbas, Tzipi Livni - World Economic Fo...
Mahmoud Abbas, Tzipi Livni – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2007 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

Last night I was waiting for my good friend to come round to my house, we were playing backgammon (for fun, not money) and turned the TV on. As I like watching the news so much I turned to Aljazeera News who give a different perspective from the home-grown news channels; BBC, ITV & Sky.  I was soon captivated by a speech from John Kerry US Secretary of State talking about the on-going Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

I was born and brought-up in the UK and have spent the majority of my adult life in the UK so have an interest in how the UK is viewed from beyond our borders. I also travel independently as much as possible.

I very quickly became captivated by the speech which seemed to be laden with hope! Good, I thought.

13 meetings so far, including three in the last 4-days, so the pace of negotiation is picking-up some urgency. Kerry even praised the Arab League for showing remarkable commitment. Kerry rounded-off his short speech by saying “The Israeli and Palestinian people both have leaders who absolutely understand what is at stake and they have taken risks to bring both parties to the table.”

Next up was Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah. He chose to speak in Arabic with English translation provided, no problem he should be comfortable with what and how he is speaking. His very first point – flag flying, specifically Israeli flag flying! Right, so not optimistic now then. He pledged $150m as debt relief for the PA, expressed concern about the Gaza Strip being isolated, and the need for food in Gaza.

Okay I think maybe he just overlooked Hamas, or that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stated emphatically that no Israeli settlers or border forces would be allowed to remain in a future Palestinian state. “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands,” Abbas told the Egyptian press.

Its a funny term he used, the term “final resolution,” which sounds so disturbingly familiar. It brought to mind two other familiar terms from the same era, Judenfrei (“free of Jews”) and Judenrein (“clean of Jews”), the Nazi terms designating an area “cleansed” of Jewish presence. Judenfrei referred to “freeing” an area of all its Jewish dwellers by deportation, while Judenrein had the stronger connotation that any trace of Jewish blood had been removed as an impurity.

Anyway not long after the speech my friend turned-up and we played backgammon. He beat me 5-0, I’ve won our last three encounters by a single game and probably because he is a generous teacher; I’ve been playing for less than a year so far but its a very enjoyable game nonetheless.

But then I got to work this morning to see news of Arabs in East Jerusalem flying the Nazi Swastika over a village, and not for the first time either. The message is clear, their primary interest is in destroying Israel. The Arab/Muslim love affair with jihad, a cult of murder, torture, and death, finds its apotheosis in the Nazi party. So, even as much of the Arab world publicly denies, or at least down-plays the Holocaust, behind closed doors they celebrate and draw inspiration from the German genocide of the Jews.

It would seem then to my less informed mind that flag flying might actually be a good starting point after all. The road to Peace is going to be long and difficult I guess. To my way of thinking Israel accepts Arabs within its borders, as a predominately Jewish State it allows Arabs to sit in the Government (Knesset). As a model for the Mid-East you probably couldn’t go too far wrong in adopting the Israeli example for all Theocracy/Proto-Democracies regardless of the Ideology at the heart of the State.

However, on a somber note I think that the best that Israel can hope for in the short-medium term is that they can manage the various perpetually unstable IslamoNazi factions both within and without its borders.

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/abbas-palestinian-state-will-be-judenrein/2013/07/30/

US Debt Crisis Oct. 2013

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English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...
English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House Español: Barack Obama firmando la Ley de Protección al Paciente y Cuidado de Salud Asequible en la Casa Blanca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a shade more than 2 weeks (16 days to be precise) the US debt crisis appears to be coming to a close, well for now at least. America came within a whisper of default on its national debt because the Republicans and the Democrats couldnt see eye-to-eye on a solution.

On Wednesday 15 Oct. 2013 the Democratic leader Harry Reid said that Senate leaders had found an agreement, with non-essential government services to be reopened; but only until a new deadline of January 15, 2014. America’s borrowing authority will be increased until February 07, 2014. Reid said: “The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs.”

Yet to outside observers, the past three weeks have been totally baffling; a perplexing cocktail of Tea Party, Ted Cruz, Obamacare and debt.

So how and why did the Washington Administration came so close to pushing the world back into financial chaos.

  1. From the beginning, what was the Default? The US government nearly defaulted on its debt because the two main parties (yes there are only two choices and neither of them are particularly attractive from my European perspective), the Republicans and the Democrats struggled to reach a deal to increase the country’s debt limit (of course this simply means they are allowing themselves to borrow even more, as if the debt isn’t already at eye-watering levels!).
  2. What does that mean? The debt limit set is the total allowable $ value of government borrowing. The limit, set by Congress is usually issued in the form of treasury bonds and securities. If the debt limit isn’t increased, then America can’t honor its debts to foreign countries. We all get to pay for America’s spending!
  3. And why is that so bad? The US $ is the world’s reserve currency (travel almost anywhere and you can get by with US $). If the US can’t pay its debts, the stock markets would react swiftly and badly, plunging the US and the rest of the world back into recession (as if we ever really got out of recession in the first place).
  4. So why didn’t they just raise it without all the argument? This deal was so difficult to reach because the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, was facing massive pressure from within his own party not to compromise with the Democrats. Amounting to, it would seem a ‘screw the economy’ attitude to get what they wanted or to those of us with a little more maturity, plain childishness!
  5. Right then, got that bit; but what did it all have to do with Obamacare? The Affordable Care Act, was passed into law in 2010 (that’s by both Democrats and Republicans), but is despised by the Republican Party, who see it as a violation of free market principles and an expansion of the state, a bit too socialist for them. It’s also President Obama’s signature achievement, making it a high value target for his opponents.
  6. And the Government Shut-down? The shutdown came about because Congress couldn’t (wouldn’t) agree on a debt budget for the country. The Republicans tried to tie the dismantling of Obamacare to the passing of a national debt budget deal. When the Democrats refused to cave-in on the healthcare law, the government closed. The Republicans then tried the same hostage taking tactic over the debt ceiling. Same result.
  7. Go on then explain why they threatened the debt ceiling? Breaching the debt ceiling would be a catastrophe; the US came to the brink of default because a small group of Tea Party-backed politicians (the lunatic-right) who just didn’t care if the government defaulted on its debts. They despise the Democratic government and they despise Obama even more. Had the US have defaulted, it would have happened on Obama’s watch, which would have been a victory of sorts for the Republicans after their failure to dismantle Obamacare. But screw the world!
  8. Right so we know why, now who? Led by Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, this extreme right-wing (wrong-wing) of the Republican Party amounts to only 18% of the elected GOP, however it is hugely powerful thanks to the support of the Tea Party, who have threatened to challenge any Republican who voted in favor of a compromise with the Democrats.
  9. Okay, this takes money, where from? The Tea Party was able to threaten established GOP politicians because they have a lot of financial backing from wealthy businessmen such as the Koch Brothers. So any Republican politician that compromised would face a well-funded opposition campaign the next time voters went to the polls. Its all really about self interest.
  10. Got that, what do they stand for though? Even the Koch brothers didn’t want the US to default on its debt, that’s just bad for business. Meaning something else was driving the Tea Party; IDEOLOGY. The Tea Party came to prominence in 2008 after the global financial meltdown and the subsequent bailouts. They wanted less government regulation, less national debt and more fiscal responsibility! Not particularly bad when you say it like that but hang on just a second…
  11. Just tell me about the reality please? …2008 also saw the election of Barack Obama, the country’s first Black President (some people call him The Kenyan and some believe him to be Muslim, not that either is a bad thing as such but in some peoples eyes either one or both statements if true would be seen as a PR disaster). The Tea Party didn’t like this as they saw it representing a shift away from their view of “traditional America” (traditional America = Christian Right-Wing; the KKK is probably a good example of a Christian Right-Wing organisation in America). As such, they set about challenging everything Obama did, even if that meant bringing the US and the world to the brink of financial disaster. Great idea.

 

So, the Americans have pulled-back but honestly is anybody fooled? This situation is set for a repeat January/February next year. In short; situation normal, round two set for after Christmas!

 

Ye-Haaa welcome to the wild west!

Cerebral None Event

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Flaubert's Parrot
Flaubert’s Parrot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The condition of being stupid is more common than you would at first realize. Take for example a recent incident I had to deal with:

  1. Employee A sells a BlackBerry phone to Employee B but refuses to hand over the phone after he gets the cash
  2. Employee B waits and asks for the phone for a couple of weeks
  3. Employee A keeps him waiting and eventually offers to return the cash when he gets paid
  4. Employee B is paid weekly so assumes that Employee A will pay on Thursday (the same day he gets paid)
  5. Employee A lets Employee B think this even tough he’s paid monthly
  6. Employee B finds out and realises he’s gonna have to wait another week
  7. Employee A books a week long holiday for the week he gets paid
  8. Employee B finds out and gets angry then even
  9. Employee B assaults Employee A, then takes Employee A’s bag with his phone, shoes and keys by way of a ‘no-phone tax’
  10. Employee A goes to the Police
  11. Employee A and the Police man come to work to sort out the mess
  12. Employee B hands back the bag less the phone which he agrees to hand back when he either has a working Blackberry phone or his money back

 

Employee A is stupid because he honestly thought he’d get away with the con even though he works at the same place as his victim; Employee B

Employee B is stupid because he trusted Employee A who he does not know socially.

Each suffered from a Cerebral None Event!

Stupidity:  bonehead, brainless, dense, dim-witted, doltish, dopey, dork, dull, dumb, foolish, gormless, mindless, oafish, obtuse, senseless, simple, slow, thick, vacant & weak-minded

Quotes about Stupidity:

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
― Albert Einstein

“I’ll take crazy over stupid any day.”
― Joss Whedon

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
― George Carlin

“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte

“Stupidity isn’t punishable by death. If it was, there would be a hell of a population drop.”
― Laurell K. HamiltonThe Laughing Corpse

“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”
― Oscar WildeThe Picture of Dorian Gray

“The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.”
― Harlan Ellison

“There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”
― Frank Zappa

“Far be it from me to ever let my common sense get in the way of my stupidity. I say we press on.”
― Sherrilyn KenyonInfinity

“To be stupid, and selfish, and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness – though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless.”
― Julian BarnesFlaubert’s Parrot

What is it you most dislike? Stupidity, especially in its nastiest forms of racism and superstition.”
― Christopher HitchensHitch-22: A Memoir

“Irony is wasted on the stupid”
― Oscar Wilde

“Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.”
― John SteinbeckEast of Eden

“[In the Universe it may be that] Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.”
― Stephen Hawking

“Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte

“I have defined the hundred per cent American as ninety-nine per cent an idiot.”
― George Bernard Shaw

“How stupid lovers can be! But if they were not, there would be no story.”
― Jean PlaidyThe Courts of Love

“If stupidity got us in this mess, how come it can’t get us out.”
― Will Rogers

“There’s a thin line between genius and bottom-barrel stupidness. I hover delicately on a tightrope between the two, wondering where I’ll land if I’ll ever fall.”
― Suzanne CrowleyThe Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous