Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath is well worth reading, not just for the inspiring tales of underdog victory, but also for useful insights into history, medicine, industry, education, sociology, and human survival.
Books as Gladwell’s remind me that…
- I know so little about things I assume I know so much
- unlikely heroes are in every walk of life
- my weaknesses can bring me the greatest victories
- every story counts
- courage and audacity change the world
Thank you, Malcolm Gladwell, for reminding me that things aren’t always as they seem.
The best tribute we can give to the victims of 9/11 is to remember sufferers of injustice everywhere; to be aware of terror in the world at this very moment and to vow not to contribute to the crazy.
You and I contribute to the crazy more than we realize. We might not be dropping bombs or flying into buildings, but we are adding to the violence in the world by allowing ourselves to become bitter, by refusing to forgive, by holding grudges, and by justifying many varieties of aggressive and passive-aggressive ego-protecting behavior.
It’s easy to wag our fingers and shake our heads at people, but real world change happens right here under our own skin.
Look disappointment in the eye…and plow on through.
That’s what Ben Ferencz has been doing since successfully prosecuting twenty-two Nazi SS officers for atrocities in 1947; fighting relentlessly against genocide and oppression all over the world. When asked by CBS if it discouraged him that the world was still full of injustice, he said, “No. It takes courage not to get discouraged,” then reminded Lesley Stahl of the progress that had been made.
It takes courage not to get discouraged is a bit redundant, yet, because I am a person who throws in the towel too easily, it has become my new motto. Thank you, Ben, for your inspiration.
I was never a Tony Blair groupie, but wish I would have read his political bio earlier. When I get discouraged about anything not working right in my life or feel a tad overwhelmed, I listen to a snippet of his outlandishly pressurized life and feel good again about mine!
His bio also reminded me of the critical characteristics of a high-level public servant:
- Humility: the ability to tell it like it is or was even when it isn’t or wasn’t complimentary (a lack of ego protection is a good indicator of a truth-teller)
- Depth and Insight: the ability to objectively use deductive and inductive reasoning (rather than to rely solely on others’ opinions)
- Healthy Detachment: the ability to step away from one’s own personal interests long enough to absorb and appreciate the other side
- Communication: the ability to judiciously explain complex truths in a way that moves others to action
- Resilience: the ability to shoulder immense rejection, accusations, betrayals, and defeats without going psycho
- Passion for Service: mastering the skill of working for others versus mastering “the machine of people working for me” (something that should be considered in the upcoming US election)
- Sense of Humor: it is certainly useful to be able to laugh at oneself and to not mind being laughed at, as well.
Funny. These are all skills I can use too.
Worth the read, even if you are not a fan.
In the US, black Friday is about retailers finally getting out of “the red,” with enough revenue to make their operations profitable. But, in other places around the world, “black Friday” may denote the aftermath of violence, death, and destruction. It might be important for us to keep this in mind when we are tempted to get caught up in lines, traffic, shopping, or family dramas.
We all have a choice; we can choose to live in the freedom of a higher state of awareness outside of our small narrow construct, or we can live in bondage in that lower state of me, me, me, and my stuff.
Wherever you are in the world, I hope you will bring some light to Black Friday.
Allowing our disappointments and hurts to use and control us will always end badly.
The ISIS executions are radical examples of the life cycle of hatred.*
*(The following model is a very simplistic model. Obviously, ISIS and the radical Islam ideology cannot be explained using this simplistic model. I have included it to illustrate a path that could possibly be a path some of their American or British recruits may have followed.)
To have great interest in the lives of those who suffer, and, in how we can alleviate (by any small act) the pain they endure, will always work to our benefit. The better we relate now to those whose circumstances are less fortunate than our own, the easier it will be to cope later when the roles of loss fall to us.
And they will.
The external pillars that support our current construct of certainty and happiness will inevitably crumble, leaving us exposed, with only the pillars of strength that we have built quietly and steadily within.
Build with compassion today, because roles will ultimately, and always, flip on us.
Jack was referring to business, but the sentiment is universal.
So many people woke up this morning not knowing if they would ever be safe, without an advocate, without clean water, food, or shelter, or without money or means to change any of those things. Who do I think I am waking up with all these things and still being unhappy? What kind of spoiled child have I become, that I can whine or fret about tiny things and ignore the big magic around me?
The time has come
before life slaps my little face with reality
before I am forced to flee for my life
or face the hell of exploding bombs
or dying children
Look it in the face
See the news
Read a book
long enough to see
what I have
If you see oppression of the poor, and justice and righteousness trampled in a country, do not be astounded.
– King Solomon
It’s a waste of our time to talk to others about how shocked we are. It is a waste of our time to gossip and complain about things being screwed up. What is not a waste of our time is to dedicate ourselves to be part of the solution. There are plenty of people to show disdain and do a running commentary. What is it that you can do? The first place to start is in our own airspace.
It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.
– Carl T. Rowan