Listen, Empathize, Give A Little

A colleague was talking to me about negotiating and working with others:


He said something I liked: 


Listen, empathize, and give a little. 


Yes, we each have our beliefs and positions on things.


But we don’t live in a vacuum.


Other people have their own views, sensitivities, and wants. 


We have to get along so we can work together, and get things done. 


It starts by listening–not just hearing, but really listening to what the other person is saying. 


But that’s not really enough. 


To really understand the other person, we have to try to empathize with what they are feeling–we need to try to walk in their shoes even if just for a moment. 


But that also isn’t enough. 


We can’t have it all our way–we need to give a little to get a little. 


No one can have everything and have a good relationship like that. 


We need to compromise–as long as it’s not on things of integrity, conviction, or G-d. 


Everything else we have to listen, empathize, and give a little.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Election Day Dead 2018

This just seemed so perfect for election day this year. 


With the country torn asunder between left and right. 


We are the grateful dead of the U.S. of A. 


– Our political system is stymied and our representatives are only self-minded. 


The integrity of our founding fathers has vanished and last century’s great national hope has languished. 


Cause the liberals hate the conservatives. 


And the conservatives hate the liberals. 


All of my folks hate all of your folks, and everyone blames the Jews.  


– The Constitution has become malarkey, and the Bill of Rights now makes people snarky. 


Polarization and they’re a lyin’, fake news and no one is even tryin’.


It’s either my way or the highway, and everyone else can go to h*ll. 


– Throw a fit and curse your neighbor, chase the opposition to the wayward. 


Know that threats and violence are better than silence, and resistance means persistence. 


How could this have even happened, and you’re all on the wrong side of history.


– Are we making things great, and they’re only about hate.


Or are they racist deplorables, and we’re the self-righteous ennobles.


From the economy to trade wars, and from immigration to healthcare.


Why is it that we can’t listen, negotiate, compromise, and play fair.


– I don’t know why we’re even having an election.


When we only want to defeat the opposition.


Cause the Democrats hate the Republicans.


And the Republicans hate the Democrats.


All of the Obamanicks hate the Trumpeans, and vice versa is certainly true too.


– It’s up to everyone to put the country first and stop the bickering and the hate.


Practice patriotism and nationalism, tear down the walls so progress does not stall.


No one is all right and no one is all wrong, instead we’ve got to come together and just let everyone belong.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The DIVIDED States of America

Our nation is increasingly polarized with little to no tolerance of others wants, thinking, or actions. 


– First under Obama.


– Then with the election between Hillary and Trump.


– And now over Judge Kavanaugh.


The result has been some of the worst behaviors seen since the Civil War–with not only disrespect, restrictions on freedom of expression, but even threats and actual violence!


This nation is no longer the UNITED States, but much more like the DIVIDED States. 


And that just plays into our enemies hands and could lead us to eventually lose our very democracy to totalitarianism, dictatorship, and tyranny.  


So now may be a good time to review for yourself how many biases are driving your thought processes and behaviors and creating dangerous fundamentalists and extremists all around us instead of thoughtful dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. 


Here are 20 biases that may be affecting you more than you realize:


– Do you overestimate the importance of the information you have or feel good about (Anchoring,  Availability, and Choice-Supportive Biases)?


– Do you seek out and perceive information that simply validates your preconceptions (Information,

Confirmation, and Selective Perception Bias)? 


– Do you overemphasize information that is more recent or recognizable (Recency and Salience Biases)?


– Are you ignoring information that doesn’t “fit your script” (Ostrich Effect/Omission and Conservatism Bias)?


– Are you tied up in the groupthink of your peers (Bandwagon Effect)?


– Do you see patterns in random events or conspiracies that don’t exist (Clustering Illusion)?


– Are you overconfident in your thought process and conclusions (Overconfidence Bias)?


– Do you tend to overvalue the usefulness or success of something, but not recognize its limitations or failures (Pro-Innovation and Survivorship Bias)?


– Do you fail to take risks because you prefer certainty (Zero-Risk Bias)? 


– Does your thinking something will happen actually cause it to happen (Placebo Effect)? 


– Do you use the ends to justify the means (Outcome Bias)?


– Do you judge people by their race, class, gender, religion, sexual preferences, or national origin (Stereotyping)?


– Do you fail to recognize your own biases (Blind-Spot Bias)?


Perhaps if more people would open their minds to information and engage in genuine thinking and critical thinking, rather than a lot of fake news and hype, we would be a far better and stronger nation. 😉


(Source Graphic: Business Insider)

Justice Is Absent

This artist rendering of “Law and Disorder in the Court” reminded me of what is going on now with the nomination hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. 


This is not a vetting process, but political chicanery, as Dr. Christine Blaseley Ford comes forward with last-minute allegations of groping from a high school party almost 40-years ago. 


Being a #MeToo victim of a serial sexual predator in elementary school, I understand the severity of these acts and the injustice of the abusers going scot-free their whole lives. 


Yet the timing of this right before the Judiciary Panel vote, the single accuser, the 40-years that have passed without a peep, the lack of anyone corroborating the story, the holding of the accusation for almost 2-months all create at least an air of suspicion on this whole thing. 


I truly empathize with any victim of sexual abuse, and for that matter the victim of any violent abuse or assault, and I too seek justice for these victims.


However, this latest political theatre is once again undermining our system of democracy and the ability to get anything done. 


Trust in the system is broken because criminals go unpunished, and also because anyone can be accused of anything any time with barely a shred of evidence. “Innocent until proven guilty” has been chucked out the window. 


The breakdown of the system of cooperation, compromise, and commitment to progress irrespective of politics in the halls of Washington, D.C. is perhaps the biggest threat that we as a nation now face.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Cracking Heads–In War and Work

Thought this was an amazing painting of the medieval battlefield.


The warrior in the center is using his war hammer to literally split heads open.


Not only for physical fighting (i.e. life and death), I’ve heard this term in the past used in the office setting:

“Cracking heads” to get things done. 

While war is war, I don’t think that getting to progress in the office ever merits cracking anyone’s head–let along with a battle hammer. 


Yes, people can be stubborn and occasionally pose obstacles to moving forward, but that is what communication skills and persuasion are for.


You have to seriously question the leadership and sanity of anyone who thinks and talks about hurting people at work. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Three-Party System

Yeah, these signs say a lot about our two-party system of government. 

“Republican: Because everyone can’t be on welfare.”


“Democrat: Because everyone can’t be greedy.”


Sort of the age old story of competing interests. 


Certainly also a good dose of Fear vs. Greed. 


And where the rich get richer and the poor get welfare.


It’s good to have the 2 extremes of the political thinking spectrum, because it shows us perhaps where the middle is. 


Neither extreme is good, but rather it’s a balancing act. 


We can’t have more than 50% of the wealth owned by the top 1% of the people. 


And we can’t have everyone on entitlements where no one is working, innovating, and producing. 


Yes of course, some people will have more than others and some people will need help. 


There needs to be motivation to “get ahead” and there must be a social safety net for when bad things happen. 


This is life.


But the to extent that we can have the most people in respectable jobs earning a reasonable (true living) wage and that there is equitable prosperity to go around for everyone–this is ideal.


Really 2-parties is not enough, because extremes tend to get more extreme–this is the momentum of polarization and politicization until the extremes tear us apart. 


Instead we need a strong centrist party (or parties)–that can not only play to, but also execute the middle of the road approach. 


It’s not all or nothing, but rather compromise to a logical and reasonable solution on every issue. 


No, we don’t want to get rid of ICE, and we don’t want open borders. 


No we don’t want entitlements that bankrupt the nation, and we don’t want people down on their luck going needy. 


No, we don’t want women who have been raped or incested or otherwise can’t raise their children being forced to have them, and we don’t want babies being murdered in the late stages of pregnancy. 


No we don’t want to blow up the planet, and we don’t want our enemies besting us. 


We don’t want pollution in our air, water, and streets, and we don’t want to strangle the economy with endless and mindless regulation. 


And on and on. 


It’s high time to move to the center where common sense reigns.


It overdue to have a legitimate 3+ party system that talks real solutions to the people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

1-2-3-4 Open Up The Government’s Doors

1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


     5-6-7-8 Let our nation operate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


     5-6-7-8 Fix our broken directorate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s Doors


    5-6-7-8 Better for us to negotiate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Get things done for Goodness sake



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 We have no more time to cogitate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Get the employees back to progress the state



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Blaming each other only exasperate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Democracy means we must work it out



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Polarized politics destroys our clout



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors

   

    5-6-7-8 The people are sick and tired of this useless way



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Terms limits are needed to sway



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Dysfunctional government can’t continue unabate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


   5-6-7-8 We’re sick and tired of ignoring realpolitik



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors

   5-6-7-8 Grow up and show some unifying leadership



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Finally put people’s needs first



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Stop playing with our country’s fate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 National security and our economy depend on it



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 It’s time to get things done and not wait



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Serve the people and cut out the hate


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)