Tag Archives: modern life

Day of Atonement

Just saw an article stating that we should abandon the holiday of Thanksgiving and replace it with a day of atonement.

There is one. This year, it was September 15/16. That is the Jewish tradition: Yom Kippur being the beginning of the new year, and this is preceded by the self-evaluation of the people. They look at their lives over the past year and see where they sinned and what they can do to please God.

The Muslims have a day of atonement in August and recall Moses crossing the Red Sea and the assassination of the grandson of Mohammed. It, too, is a time of reflection and confession meant to bring people closer to Allah. It is observed in August.

We don’t appear to have one in this country. Why? Is it because we have too much to apologize for?

In order to atone for our sins, we must recognize them.

  1. We’re sorry we brought death and disease to the indigenous peoples on this continent
  2. We’re sorry we stole all the land and exiled people from their hereditary homes
  3. We’re sorry we stole all those souls in Africa and brought them against their will to serve as machines
  4. We’re sorry we changed the laws of involuntary servitude to be permanent and inheritable (if you are a slave, then so are your children and grand children)
  5. We’re sorry we persecuted all the immigrants from Asia
  6. We’re sorry we imprisoned the Japanese Americans in concentration camps
  7. We’re sorry we have raped the land
  8. We’re sorry we invaded and overthrew leaders even though it was none of our business
  9. We’re sorry we have so gravely removed anything nutritious in the food we produce
  10. We’re sorry we have removed everything religious about our religious holidays
  11. We’re sorry we have denied basic inalienable rights to so many members of our society
  12. We’re sorry we have neglected to raise our children to respect others and to be people of character
  13. We’re sorry that we elevate people of bad character to stations of respect and idolize them
  14. We’re sorry we place more value on entertainment than wisdom
  15. We’re sorry that we have abandoned all sense of decency because it’s not as much fun
  16. We’re sorry that we continue to persecute people that are not white
  17. We’re sorry that we refuse to help the poor
  18. We’re sorry that we focus on long-term returns on investment rather than cures for curable situations.
  19. We’re sorry we choose people to represent us and then make them lead instead
  20. We’re sorry we have legislated to the point were any laws broken are relegated to jail time
  21. We’re sorry that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world
  22. We’re sorry that we have fallen so far in the education of our children
  23. We’re sorry that one of the main causes of death is being unable to pay for health care

It sounds to me that we should spend a month atoning! I bet it has sparked some other things you, dear reader, are aware of that need atoning for.

But Thanksgiving is a Harvest Festival. You don’t celebrate the harvest by not eating it! We rejoice in the bounty God has provided us: the food (even if it is less than nutritious), our families, our friends, our freedom, football…

When should we have a time of atonement? How about Advent? Those four weeks before Christmas when we remember the coming of Jesus as a baby. (Even though we think Jesus might have been born in the spring, December 25 was chosen due to the idea that heroic beings were conceived on the same date of their death. Since they believed Jesus died in March, he would have been conceived in March and born in December.) We also look forward to the second coming of Jesus, at the end times. WHEN EVERYONE WILL BE JUDGED!

Think about it. When is the time when the most people are charitable? That’s when the Salvation Army buckets and ringers come out. That’s when they have food drives for the poor. That’s when more people serve in soup kitchens. That’s when people send donations to the poor in other countries as well. Charity is one way of making atonement.

When we recall the predictions of the end of times, don’t we also examine our lives and those of our families and our enterprises to see if they’re in alignment with God’s law? This is not an easy process as most people never think of unintended consequences. Should we not examine how our government behaves and those we have chosen to represent us? Are they following Godly precepts? If they are, there should be some acts of atonement as well.

By all means, YES, let’s assign a time of atonement for this country. But let’s not forget to be thankful for what we have. Do not turn this celebration into a time of mourning.

If we remember why we look forward to the second coming of Jesus, maybe, just maybe Christmas means a bit more. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqOOUJFv1n0) Maybe in buying gifts and decorating we add a gift to the child who will get none. Maybe we pray for forgiveness and then forgive someone. Maybe we remember WHY Jesus came and we save someone. Maybe we remember how Jesus came and we care for someone who needs it. Maybe, as Jim Rohn used to put it, we just use the last month of the year to reflect on the good and the bad, and plan for our next year. And when we plan, we don’t just write down our goals and what we wish to accomplish and acquire. We make use of the perspective we have gained throughout the past year, apply the wisdom we have gained, and align ourselves with our new worldview.

The Fear Factor

I belong to an eclectic group of women who are entrepreneurs and coaches. They are absolutely brilliant! For instance: Tuesday we were discussing Machiavellian Philosophy! Really!

He said,

“Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved”

and also:

“it is much safer to be feared than loved because …love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

This discussion has already inspired one blog post, and now, it has inspired a realization! When you look on Facebook or the news or the rhetoric, you will see lots of threats out there. One side insists you should be afraid of COVID and to protect you from this dread disease (and it does kill lots of people and causes permanent damage in others!) the country will mandate safety measures. The other side insists you should be afraid that the government is whittling away your rights and freedoms for their own nefarious purposes. Remember when you could go to the airport and sit with your loved ones at the gate until they got on the plane? Remember when you didn’t have to remove belts, change, shoes, pins, purses, or briefcases to go into a courthouse or a sporting event? Those restrictions were added to prevent people from crashing a plane into a building or shooting up the venue.

In discussing the philosophy of fear Tuesday, we found it to be true that fear and love cannot occupy the same space. The cure for fear could be as simple as a hug, a shoulder to cry on, or just sitting and listening. The cure for love is suspicion, uncertainty, and fear.

This started with the Viet Nam War. We were told this was a just cause. But it wasn’t a clear-cut situation by a long shot, and we were exposed to the uncertainties, the barbarism, and the horrors of war. How? By videos shot by the newsmen in-country. The main focus was that you couldn’t trust the government. Then, you couldn’t control the government. Then there was the Democratic Convention in Chicago that erupted in riots. Once again, the cameras were rolling. You could not trust the police. It was the age of protest. You couldn’t trust the Church. Your personal rights and freedoms were being trampled by the people you were supposed to depend on.

What was the source of all this fear? THE MEDIA! It is often called the Fourth Estate. Our government is divided into the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Legal Branch, and they are all supposed to be equal to each other in power so no one has exclusive say in every matter. The Executive branch makes policy, but then it has to be ratified by the legislature to make sure it is good for the people they represent. Then it has to pass the legal test to see if it conforms to the Constitution. The Legislature decides where money is spent and how programs are to be administered. It can be either vetoed or endorsed by the Executive branch and either accepted or challenged by the Legal branch. The Legal branch can set up a ruling but it cannot make a law. Seems pretty balanced, doesn’t it? The media, however, is not chosen by the people nor appointed by the government. It exists to make money. The purpose is to keep the public informed, but there are no regulations on how it is supposed to do that.

Look at the fear-mongering and follow the logic. What party benefits from the fear of communism/socialism and the removal of inalienable rights? Do they get money? Do they get compliance? Do they get outrage from their constituents? They may get another seat in the house or senate, but it doesn’t really profit them. What party benefits from the fear of unchecked disease, false reporting of statistics, inaccurate information? The same results as the other party. What does the media get for spreading fear on both sides? Advertising dollars! The media profits from working the fear aspect on both sides of every issue!

Who, then, is the ultimate ruler? The people with the most power? It ISN’T the politicians and the rich–they may have a small influence, but they cannot control the media. Who is ruling by fear then? The Media. They gain power through their constant feeding of the Fear Machine they have created. They get rich and influential enough to control what we see and hear, and they don’t care about the outcome or the effect it has on the people of this country. They care about power, money, and influence, and they rule absolutely based on Machiavellian concepts. They are not responsible to the people they serve. Their only oversight is presumed self-governance and integrity. Integrity has not, as such, played an important part in what is reported and how. They influence policy; they influence elections; they influence buying trends; they influence fashion and style; they influence our treatment of people who are not like us; they influence how and which laws are to be enacted; they influence how we react to such laws.

The messages we get saying “Don’t trust the media!” get changed to “Don’t trust THAT media, ours is right…”

So here we are, sitting in the middle.

  1. Don’t trust the politicians
  2. Don’t trust the rich
  3. Don’t trust the poor
  4. Don’t trust your employers
  5. Don’t trust the unions
  6. Don’t trust the Church
  7. Don’t trust the foreigners
  8. Don’t trust science
  9. Don’t trust big pharma
  10. Don’t trust your doctors
  11. Don’t trust your friends or family
  12. Don’t trust your acquaintances if they do not believe 100% like you on every issue
  13. Don’t trust people whose first words include, “You must trust me!”

You’re not paranoid if everyone really is out to get you. You are much more inclined to be influenced if you are isolated.

And who is spreading this fear? The media. And who profits? The media. And what do they gain? Influence, power, and money.

What is it worth?

Labor and value

Adam Smith and David Ricardo argued that all value comes from labor, and the value of something is in the amount of labor it took to produce it.

But Henry George understood that this is backward. The value of something lies in how much labor we’re willing to exchange for it.

Too often, we’re tempted to price things based on what they cost us to make. It’s more useful to price things based on what they’re worth to those that might want to buy them.

This is a quote from Seth Godin’s blog. He is a very wise man.

How much ARE we willing to pay for things we want to buy? Look at shoes, for instance. There is, I suppose, a lot of effort in designing footwear for specific types of activities, specific types of feet, and specific design elements such as color and logo. What do they cost to make? What would you consider a fair mark-up for the profit over the cost of manufacturing?

Do you believe your every day, run-of-the-mill shoes are worth $165? If so, why do so many go to Walmart and PayLess to get cheaper versions of those shoes? What exactly are the shoes for? Protecting your feet from injury so you can run or walk longer without causing damage is the main use. We also buy shoes to correct arch problems. Some buy shoes with extra support for sporting activities. Others buy them to match the jacket and purse they’re wearing at the time. But if all they did was protect our feet from injury, who would pay $165 for a pair?

How much ARE we willing to pay for the convenience of not having to cook for ourselves? The average price we pay is between $4 and $7 per person. So for 4 hamburgers, 4 small fries and 4 drinks, we pay $16 to $28.

  • $2.00 for a 2-liter bottle of soft drink.
  • $2.00 for 8 hamburger buns.
  • You can get 10 pounds of potatoes for $5.00.
  • at $4.00/pound, you can get 2 pounds of hamburger

In other words, you could have enough ingredients to feed 8 people instead of 4. Our time for 20 minutes of prep and cooking is converted to, (and this is ironic), about $15/hour. But you must understand that fast food restaurants make all their profit on the drinks. They give us 12 oz. of soft drink in a glass 1/2- 2/3 full of ice. The biggest expense in the meal is the drink cup. Because they buy in bulk, their burgers and precut fries are much much cheaper than what an average person pays. The cost of the ingredients then is 1/4 the price they charge. Labor is about 1/3 of the cost, the profit margin is about 3-5%. The rest of the cost goes to fixed costs like building rent, franchise fees, insurance, and utilities. If all you wanted to do is eat, would it be worth the 20 min of prep time and cooking to save you 50% on your costs?

Now imagine you are sick. Is your health something that you price shop on? If you’re diabetic, what would you be willing to pay to stay healthy? We are willing to pay $600 for a dose of insulin that costs the company a miniscule percentage of that. The companies that manufacture this don’t care what the profit margin is. They charge that much for something people need that much because they CAN. They know people are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money because we value our health and life as something essential. (Well, duh!) Should people decide they are NOT going to pay that much and refuse to buy it, they’ll die! That will show those heartless companies a thing or two. The concept of supply and demand has no meaning because reducing the demand doesn’t reduce the price. It is the same as allergy pens…epi pens. If you are allergic to bees and you get stung, are you going to haggle as to whether the shot should cost $50 and now costs $700 with no change in delivery system or contents? No?

If you look at all these examples, they obviously are NOT basing their prices on the costs of manufacturing plus a profit, but they are charging what they think the market can bear. They are pricing their items and services based on the value to the people that want to buy them.

They believe (and rightly so) that fashion and comfort are more important than just foot protection.

They believe that convenience is more important than nutrition.

They believe that living is more important than money and equal access.

This is where a high moral standard comes in. If you believe in a cost + a reasonable profit and price your goods and services in accordance with that principle, you will be in the minority. Then you have to ask yourself: Is profit more important than accessibility and common sense? You may undersell your competitors and come through with a modest profit, but will it allow you to buy that big house and nice car? Is that important? What is it worth, to you?

Bouquet

Bouquet, nosegay, posy

Grouped and fastened together.

Visually pleasing and

Beautifully arranged

or dandelions held together

with a hair tie.

Clover and violets

in a child’s hand,

Roses and carnations

arranged and pinned

to a prom dress.

A sanctuary full

to the brim with lilies.

Close your eyes.

Breath in the fragrance

of all those flowers

combined into

Something Unique!

We mix together

wonderous variety

in color, thought,

emotion, and service.

Together we make

a bouquet of

humanity.

It’s the variety

that makes the fragrance

extraordinary and visually

stunning.

Let’s be a bouquet!

How do you know when it’s dark?

This is Suicide Prevention Month. We have to have a whole month dedicated to keeping people from killing themselves.

If you see someone that’s down, offer them a hug. Ask them how they’re feeling. Offer to help.

Killing yourself is selfish. You hurt the people around you.

Count your blessings! Look at all you have to live for!

This is BS.

Normal people will look depressed and it’s temporary. It’s an easy fix. Depressed people have been depressed for a while and suppressed that look. Who would have known that Robin Williams was depressed? Increased alcohol and drug use? Addicts are really good at hiding those things. So if you see someone that’s normal and happy, there’s a good chance they’re not. They’re good at acting normal because they don’t want to be a burden to anyone. Oh. Well, that complicates matters.

When you’re depressed, you think you’re already hurting the people around you. You want to stop failing those that depend on you. You want to stop causing them pain. You want to remove your foul influence on your family and those folks unfortunate enough to hang around you. The most unselfish thing you could do is take yourself out of the picture. Yes, they’d be sad for a bit, but ultimately, they’d feel relieved, wouldn’t they?

Count your blessings? Are you kidding me? When you’re suicidal, you believe that all the good things that come your way are undeserved. You have received things you didn’t earn. You feel guilty for anything good in your life. You didn’t do anything to deserve that spouse, that friend, that child, that job. You can’t possibly live up to their expectations. What do you have to live for? Constantly falling short? Disappointing everyone you know. Disappointing everyone you don’t know! Trapped in a situation you hate and have no control over…bad job or health situation or bad relationship with relatives or family members. This list can be as long as your arm. The future looks hopeless.

The first thing a depressed person might do is isolate himself so he doesn’t ruin someone else’s day/week/life. It brings his little world more under his control. People make the decision to end their lives with a feeling of hopelessness, an emotion they do not think they can control. They defend this decision logically. So even if the logic makes no sense to someone who isn’t depressed, it makes sense to the person. They have their arguments all lined up and prioritized. So they self-isolate and close off connections to “stop the bleeding” and protect those people around them. They do not realize the consequences of this type of thinking. They just make their world small enough to accommodate their worldview.

What if you’re forced into isolation? You don’t have that social network to keep your spirits up and keep you connected to people who care about you. Then you notice that people you thought were close do not extend their connection to you. People you thought were friends do not text or call or Facebook with you. You begin to wonder how much they really cared. You may not even consider reaching out to them because you think that it is something they should initiate. Your world gets smaller.

The product of isolation, especially now that we have internet and instant communications is that we no longer have to see facial reactions and body language. You don’t need that filter between your head and your mouth. Things you NEVER would have even brought up in polite conversation are spewed all over your profile. When people you thought were friends suddenly block you, you may think that it’s their fault. Not yours. You know it’s a two-way street, so you also know you share the blame. Your world, again, grows smaller.

You begin to think about the extreme behavior you now see in the news, the vitriol spread through the media, the rampant paranoia, and the injustice, and gradually, the conspiracy theories become more palpable. You begin to abandon those social niceties you had to adopt when in public. Pants become optional. (This is a metaphor… Things you would have kept private and to yourself are now on display to anyone with whom you make contact.) You can see how this isolation has affected normal people. Now imagine if it was self-imposed.

What steps can we take to consciously reduce that feeling of hopelessness?

  1. Be kind to each other. I know this sounds like a poster, but it’s such a simple step. I don’t mean to belabor this point, but being kind goes deeper than patting someone on the head saying, “It will be all right.” Go out of your way to make the people around you feel good about themselves. Show appreciation genuinely. Praise in public and critique in private. Never call names! Never Bully someone! It is the cruellest thing you can do to a person.
  2. Be grateful for everyone and everything in your life. Even if it isn’t ideal. This change in perspective is also simple, but not easy. Gratitude has to be practiced. But how does your gratitude help someone who’s depressed? You are modeling a behavior that shows a different perspective. You may express gratitude to a person that doesn’t feel noticed, whose work gets no appreciation, whose circumstances seem hopeless. You might be a source of hope and help to someone you may not suspect needs it.
  3. Take the time to connect with those around you who may feel more and more isolated. A postit note with a cheery message or a thank you note can brighten someone’s day. A text that says “I thought of you and wanted you to know how much I value your… (fill in the blank.)” A hand-written thank you note is unexpected and always appreciated.

It sounds like so little, but it also sounds like it would take much time for unnoticed results. What’s weird is that when you do any of these things, they also bring up your mood as well.

The fact is you cannot tell when someone is experiencing that darkness. In fact, if you are on that slippery slope to the darkness, you may not even know it until you’ve slid in a distance!

If someone confides in you about their feelings of suicide, do not argue with them! It makes them feel more guilty and more likely to defend their actions.

You find someone in the bathroom sobbing… “What’s wrong?”

“My girlfriend just left me! I can’t go on without her! I’d rather just die.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. But there are lots of fish in the sea. She didn’t deserve you. Just get back on the horse. You’ll be fine. Well, Nice talk.”

Um…That would be disastrous.

If, instead, you replied, “I’m sorry to hear that! How long were you together?
“What did you like about her?”
“Where did you meet?”
“How did she make you feel?”
“Was this a surprise?”
“What did she say?”

You see? You are encouraging this person to talk, not listen. At this point, you can direct them to a counselor or a pastor who can help them recover. You are not making judgments on their choices. You are not trivializing their problems. You are not prescribing behavior that they know they cannot incorporate.

In these times of trouble, when threats to our security, our health, and our freedoms seem overwhelming, if you treat everyone (including yourself) with the utmost care, you can alleviate some causes of depression in not only yourself but those around you. Let’s work to reduce these suicides.

What does your coach do?

My son-in-law is a track and cross-country coach. My daughter is a professor in health and recreation. One is a coach, and one is a teacher and they both work with people in sports. If you were an athlete, which would you work with? The coach or the professor?

When you think of a coach, you think of the guy on the sidelines of the football field or the basketball court yelling at the players, calling plays, directing traffic. This same daughter was on a swim team and made it to State all four years of high school. Remember, your face is in the water when you’re swimming. Unless you’re competing outdoors, the echo and reverb in the pool makes it impossible to discern voices and understand instructions. One of her coaches whistled every time her head broke water. I have no idea what that meant. Sitting on the sidelines, I could not tell if made her swim faster or if it was a secret code so that she didn’t crash into the wall or go out of her lane.

I DO, however, understand what a music coach or conductor/director of a music organization does. He tells us when to start and when to stop. If you’re lost, he tells you when to come in. He may do that even if you aren’t lost. He tells you when to play loudly and when to play softly. He may slow you down or speed you up. He may indicate what style he wants you to play–Mozart light or Wagner dark. And…That’s all you see at the concert.

But that’s not all he does. When we start a new piece, he may explain the origin or history of the music and the composer. This gives us an idea of the environment of the piece. Russian music sounds differently than French. 19th century music sounds different than 17th century music. Dance music is different than Program music. He may isolate the melody in each section of the music so we can hear where the melody is. He may review the complexities of the more difficult passages so we can play them in tune, together, and correctly interpreted. He rehearses us. He asks which part is most important here? He asks the trumpet players what the 2nd violins are doing to make sure everyone is listening and integrating their parts into the piece as a whole.

A teacher gives you information that you do not already know. A coach asks you questions to help you understand yourself and your performance. You may have already heard of the way Vince Lombardi started every season, “This is a football.” These guys have been playing football since they were 3 years old. They know that! But, by starting and reviewing the basics, Lombardi was coaching them instead of teaching them. How does it feel when the ball is snapped correctly? Can you make it more efficient? How does it feel when the ball is thrown correctly? How can you make it more accurate? What does a good block look like? How do you prepare for those hitters on the other team that outweigh you by 50 pounds and are taller than you by 5 inches? Look at all those questions!

What the football coach does is take advantage of his perspective, both on the field and in the box. He’s getting information from his players and the coaches with differing vantage points. He can tweak things on the field, calm the nerves of his players, help them focus on the game at hand rather than the mistake they made 3 minutes ago. He’s not teaching during the game just like the orchestral director isn’t teaching at the concert. He’s tweaking the balance; he’s adjusting for the room full of people and that annoying guy in the back that left his phone on.

What, then, do you think a life coach does?

Yeah… The most common answer to that is, “um.” They’re not supposed to tell you what to do. They’re not supposed to teach you. The person who controls the direction of the coaching session is you. What do you want to accomplish? What questions do you need to answer? Are you happy with your current situation? What would you like to change? How would you go about fixing it? Where can you go to get the information you need, the tools you need to use, the resources and people to get the goal done? That is coaching.

Do not assume that a life coach is just what you see in a psychiatrist’s office, or a lecture room, or a bar. A good football coach doesn’t do the exercises, the players do. A good orchestral conductor doesn’t play all the instruments, the musicians do. The life coach doesn’t fix you. The life coach’s prime weapon is the word, “Why?” Then You do the work and You get the results you’re working for.

If you have a “coach” that tells you what to do, answers all your questions, and pats you on the head before he or she takes your money, you have the wrong person.

What if you double the minimum wage?

This is exactly what Henry Ford did in 1914. He guaranteed the workers $5 per day for 8 hours of work. At a time, the standard work week was sixty hours, and Ford reduced it to forty. That put his minimum wage at 40 cents/hour. His production before the assembly line innovation was twelve cars in a month. The production time was about twelve hours per car. After the conversion to assembly line, the time per car was 93 minutes. There were 13,000 workers at the plant. (Gets out calculator). The cost to Ford for his labor went up $32,500 per DAY! But…Ford’s plant was making 260,000 cars in the year with his 13,000 workers, and the other manufacturers made 280,000 cars in the same year…but with 66,000 workers. Ford was making an average of 20 cars per worker. His competition was making 4.4 cars per worker.

Ford’s labor costs would have been in the general area of $16,900,000 per year…$5/day x 260 days/year x 13,000 workers. From what I understand, the standard wages for autoworkers was between $1 and $2 per day and 60 hour weeks. Ford’s competitors were spending about $41,000,000 per year to get 280,000 cars. Ford’s process cost was 20% of the cost of his competitors, so even doubling the wages didn’t bite into his bottom line. Further, think on this: The average price of the competition’s cars was over $1000 with some as high as $5000+. That would represent nearly 6 months to 2 years of the yearly wages average worker (outside of Ford’s shop). I got the prices from the 1914 Official Handbook of Automobiles. The Model T is not mentioned here. When the Model T was automated, Ford reduced the price to $440 in 1914, so that represented 88 DAYS of a worker’s wages. Wouldn’t it be cool to own something that you helped make? What affect do you think it would have on the profit margin?

Well, if the Model T was sold for $440 in that year and he sold all of them, 260K, He made $114,000,000 on the sales, and spent only $16,900,000 on the labor. The costs of the materials would be roughly the same for Ford and his competitors. The vast majority of the population at the time made between $1000 and $2000 per year. It is Twice the number of the people at the next level–between $2000 and $3000 per year. The idea of taking out a loan to buy a car was ludicrous.

Now we hear of Dan Price, a CEO that is reducing his own salary so his workers can get $70K per year. Dan Price made his own salary $70,000 and made his company’s minimum wage also $70,000. This is capitalism. In Dan Price’s words,  “Since then, our revenues have tripled, we are a Harvard Business School case study, and our employees experienced a 10-fold increase in home buying.”

True capitalism is collaborative and cooperative. It comes from a philosophy of plenty, not scarcity. The system we have in place is industrialism where those in want are told that it is lonely at the top–that everything in life reflects the triangle model. This is a myth. There is plenty of money, plenty of food, plenty of medicine, plenty of work. It is to the advantage of ruthless and unscrupulous moguls for those beneath them to believe that everything is scarce and they should be grateful for work without a decent wage, insane costs for medicine, and investments that are not available to anyone but the rich. We must abandon the industrialist view!

Do you trade help?

If I help you, do you feel obligated to help me? If you help me, should I feel obligated to help you?

What if we’re not trading services? What if we help each other because that’s what friends do?

Ah, but what if we’re not friends? Would you help me if I asked you? I would help you, cautiously, if I could see you needed it. If you were stranded at the side of the road and were waving people down, I would see how I could help. If you had fallen and were injured, I would definitely help. If you were hungry or cold or too hot or thirsty, I’d be there for you. If you needed shoes or a blanket, no problem. If you just needed a shoulder to cry on, of course. If you were starting your business and needed someone to believe in you, yes, but with the proviso that you weren’t in it because “squirrel” and you weren’t trying to profit on someone’s weakness or ignorance.

About this time in August of 2016, I went to Orlando for a John Maxwell Conference. I almost made it into the lobby. There was this revolving door and an exit that wasn’t an exit. I walked into the glass and stopped. The revolving door didn’t. It knocked me down and I broke my hip. Some guy I didn’t know but who might have been a guest at the convention center blocked the revolving door so people wouldn’t run into me. I never even got his name. The concierge as well as the security guy checked on me and called the ambulance. I didn’t get their names either. I cannot repay them for their kindness and willingness to help. I remember them fondly. When I see someone who needs help, I will more likely help just because I remember how grateful I was for the assistance I received.

If someone reminds me that they’ve helped me in the past, it’s because they showed a willingness to be as open-hearted and giving as I’m trying to be to those I’ve helped. It gives me a connection I can relate to. No one owes me help, and I don’t owe anyone either. I help because even though my Savior knew me and what a flawed person I am, and even though I never deserve help, he stepped in and helped me anyway. I should do that for those that need me here, so my obligation is not to the people I help but to my Savior.

I asked a friend of mine to help me in a business venture. I reminded him that I supported him in his venture simply because I knew him and was hoping for his success. He said he almost turned me down because he doesn’t trade help. What? He said all I had to do was ask and not bring up the fact that I had helped him before. I will not consider us “even” if he helps me. I will consider us closer, more comrades than acquaintances. I consider trading help with my friends as just something friends do. I will watch your cat. You will loan me sugar. We will chat over the fence. You will recommend a good restaurant. I will recommend a good movie. We help each other and don’t keep tabs.

Not trading help makes no sense to me. How would you respond to a request from me for help? Would I be obligated to you? Would I be a closer friend? Would you help me at all?

Experts

Seth Godin’s Blog

Let the experts be experts. If it were easy enough to do after watching a youtube video, why would we need experts? Wouldn’t a diligent person, having watched all the videos and studied all the online information available be able to perform like an expert? It takes life experience to contribute to your expertise? Oh.

He’d rather stuff be done by an expert. I’d say check the credentials first. Surgery by a surgeon is good. Surgery by a tree surgeon, not so much. Surgery by a certified doctor is good. Surgery by a doctor certified delusional and OCD may not be as good. (No the organs have to be in order according to SIZE!) And check the diploma on his wall to make sure the names match. Dr. Frankenstein might be a good choice if you have multiple organ failures, but not your first choice if you have hepatitis.

An unskilled laborer who was over 500 years old with no experience in ship-building built the ark. It sailed for about a year before it was grounded. The Titanic was built by experts…it lasted 4 days.

 

It goes a little like this…

I have been watching artists doing live performances from their homes. They have to introduce their songs themselves, naturally, and they say, “I’m going to play this favorite of mine, Danny Boy, and it sounds something like this:”

Wait.

What is he comparing it to? It’s like saying, “It sounds something like Mozart,” and then playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Well? It sounds EXACTLY like that. Is he comparing it to something he hears in his head? Then how would we know that is not exactly what it sounds like in his head? We wouldn’t. So why would he tell us? Extraneous information.

Now a sculptor could finish a piece, and say, “It looks something like David of David and Goliath.” And it would if David was in his 20s and not Jewish. You could say that this image you have created is something from your own imagination and not a factual representation since you never met David or even saw him from a distance. In the same way, a composer has an aural image of his music and recreates it on the instruments of his choice. But if, as a composer, it’s in your head, why wouldn’t you reproduce it the way you hear it?

Why not say instead, “This is a song I wrote called ‘My Hideaway’ and I hope you like it.” You could jazz it up and say, “This song, ‘My Hideaway’ was originally conceived with a totally different instrumentation, but I’m going to play it on solo piano for you. I like this version very much! See what you think.”

And if what you’re going to play is only a little like how you wrote it, why not give it a different name? It’s like that gag in Monty Python…and now for something completely different. “Tonight, I’m going to play a variation on ‘My Hideaway’ that I call ‘Her Hideaway’ and though it has some common elements, it’s so far removed from the original that I changed the name.”

It sounds a little like this…” and “It sounds something like this…” are cliches we’ve had for ages, and if you take a cold, hard look at them, they make NO sense. Learn some new introductions guys!