Many people worry–they are afraid of all sorts of bad things that can happen.
And they ruminate on what ifs and what they can do about it–if anything.
The more people feel they have no control over a negative situation, the more they worry about it–they can feel helpless and hopeless–and this may even lead to depression.
I remember as a kid my dad telling me a story/joke about this–it went something like this:
One grandmother is talking to another.
She complains how her grandson always worries about going to school.
The other grandmother says, “Oh really, why?”
The first grandmother tells her that her grandson is worried because “The kids hate him. The teachers hate him. And everyone gives him a hard time.”
The other grandmother says, “So why doesn’t he go talk the principal?”
The first grandmother answers, “Because he is the principal!”
The moral of the story is that everyone has problems, and has worries, and it doesn’t matter who you are–whether you’re a kid in school or the principal in charge, a worker in the company or the CEO, and so on.
I think sometimes we lose sight of the frailty of all human beings and we think mistakingly that just because someone is successful or high up on the totem pole of life that they don’t have worries and problems.
Which reminds me of something else my grandfather used to say: “G-d doesn’t let any tree grow into the heavens.”
No matter how big a person gets, G-d reminds us of who is really boss–so chop chop on the tree and watch that big ego–we’re just people. 😉
In the old Starkist Tuna commercials, Charlie the cool tuna thinks he’s all that, but he keeps getting rejected by Starkist, because he’s just not good enough and then the narrator comes on and says, “Sorry Charlie!”
These days, from my perspective, people often do not take responsibility when they mess up and arrogantly they can’t bring themselves to just say, “I’m sorry”–it was my responsibility, I messed up, and I am committed to doing better in the future.
It’s really not so hard to say sorry, if you let your ego go. Most often, from what I’ve seen, unless the boss, spouse, or friend is just a jerk, saying sorry goes a long way to making things right–it shows you care about the relationship, your human and fallible (like the rest of us) and you are able to introspect, self-help, and learn from mistakes.
In contrast, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (18 April 2013) says sillily, “Don’t Apologize”–that refusing to apologize makes a person feel better about themselves, more powerful, and less of a victim.
Certainly, we don’t want to apologize for things we didn’t do, when we really don’t mean it, or to give someone on a pure power binge the satisfaction of making us beg–in those cases, we should be truthful and respectful and set the record straight. We should also, make it clear that we will not be victimized by anyone, at anytime.
But when we are wrong–and it’s not easy for everyone to recognize or admit it–just say so. It won’t kill you and you’ll usually see the other person lighten up on the punishing diatribe and maybe even admit their part in it or the stupid things they may have done at other times.
No one is so perfect–despite some very large egos out there. And the bigger the ego, the bigger the jerk. The humbler the person, the nicer and more workable they are.
Don’t apologize for things you didn’t do or to satisfy someone’s bullying, but do apologize when you could’ve done better and you are committed to improving yourself and building the relationship.
This is a display at a retailer in posh Rockville, Maryland.
As crazy as these mugs are including their $4 price tag, what adds to this comical scene is that there is the broom leaning up against the stack on the right, which I suppose you would rightfully need if these mugs were accurate.
I am sitting here thinking (briefly–very) about what exactly the social commentary is for these nasty mugs, and I believe that this is about people wanting to let down their (no, not their pants!) facade of perfection and propriety and having to do everything right at work and at home, and just instead for a while being silly, crude, and even (a little) stupid.
It’s like the person who says the most inappropriate thing at the most inappropriate time and says, “Did I say that?” And everyone starts laughing as the tension of the moment is swept away.
I think to some extent we all need that…to break the tension of the everyday rat race we live, and to give everyone pause to just say or do something a little silly and for everyone just to laugh it off. And then the real business can go on with everyone knowing that there are real human beings behind those suits and stone faces.
Anyway, this was probably the strangest display in a retail store I have seen, outside of the Village in New York City, but that’s another story. 😉
This is a good video on creating a smart house by a company called SmartThings.
Building on Facebook’s social graph where we are all connected in the social realm, SmartThings has developed the concept of the physical graph, where all things are connected and are programmable.
While most of us still don’t see the real need for our toasters and fridge to be connected to the Internet and wouldn’t pay more for it, SmartThings has some cool ideas that may just yet help the smart home market actually take off.
The obvious–turn on/off lights, fans, and appliances; adjust thermostats, and monitor your home through security cameras over the Internet.
The not so obvious–
– Add a “presence tag” and the home can sense when you arrive/leave and take appropriate action to adjust lights, temperature, security system, and so on.
– Add a open/shut sensor and you can know if you left a door or cabinet open or if someone (like the kids) is getting into the liquor closet or a small child into the cabinet with dangerous cleaners and chemicals.
– Add a “moisture sensor” and you can be alerted to broken water pipes.
– Add a “smart service” and you can notify the plumber about the water emergency at your home.
– Add smart apps by 3rd party developers and you can get notification when there is a severe weather alert and you left the windows open.
– Add “party mode” and you can have the patio lights, blender, music and disco ball going on for some fun.
I like the look of the app they’ve created to control all these things on your Smartphone–simply choosing your location (home, office, etc.), room, and then physical item that you want to remotely monitor or control.
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal (23 Feb. 2013) take this “smart” concept yet further to where we actually start giving up control to the devices themselves and asks “Is smart [technology] making us dumb?”
– Cars sense when we are tired and attempts to drive for us or they detect we are driving too fast or reckless and notifies our insurance company.
– The scale sees that we put on a few pounds and contacts the personal trainer for an appointment for us or won’t allow us to heat up the pizza when we slide it into the microwave.
– The toothbrush senses that we brushed a little too quick today and urges us to brush a little more.
– The trashcan detects that we did not separate out the recyclables and splashes this embarrassing information on Facebook.
– The washer detects high water usage this month and suggests we hold off on the next load.
The WSJ comes to a distinction between “good smart” and “bad smart,” where good smart gives us more information for better decision-making and the control to execute on it, and bad smart is where you “surrender to the new technology.”
While I agree with Google’s CFO who said “The world is a broken place whose problems…can be solved by technology,” I also believe that “smart design” means that we remain the masters and the technology remains the slave.
Technology is a tool that can help us solve-problems, but we are the problem-solvers and we must learn through trial and error and a maturation process so we can continue to address ever larger and more complex problems.
Giving up control to technology may make sense if we are about to harm ourselves or others–like with having automatic stopping on a car backing out and about to hit a little child–but it doesn’t make sense in directing the personal decisions that we see fit for ourselves.
Sometimes we will be right and other times, very wrong, but that is living, learning, growing, and being human beings accountable for our actions–not being another automaton hooked to the physical graph. 😉
An extra-terrestrial (ET) from outer-space is alien to the human race and our culture and norms.
You wouldn’t expect an ET–despite maybe their great technology that gets them here–to understand us Earthlings and treat us properly.
They may try and capture us and even harvest our vital resources (and organs), but no, they probably wouldn’t be overly concerned with with how they act or treat us.
Hence, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is what differentiates us from ETs.
With EI we manage both our ourselves and our relationships–like (proper) human beings.
EI is made up of personal competencies and social competencies.
In terms of personal competencies–we need to be self-aware and manage ourselves with authenticity and self control–and not act like a bunch of unseemly aliens.
From a social competency perspective–we must extend ourselves to become socially aware and manage our relationships tactfully–so we don’t go chasing and laser-beaming others.
There are a number of important social skills for us Earthlings to master if we want to live nicely with others:
– Listening–that’s why G-d gave people 2 ears and 1 month (of course, aliens have the opposite–2 mouths and 1 ear).
– Feeling–showing empathy for our fellow human beings–understanding their interests, concerns, and perspectives (like no alien can).
– Giving–being selfless, giving, and nurturing to others personally and having a service-orientation to our customers.
– Teaming–developing and maintaining a breadth of interpersonal relationships and sharing and collaborating with them (this will help you fight off the invading ETs when they arrive).
– Managing conflict–deescalating issues and negotiating with others to reach agreements and resolutions (if only we could negotiate with the aliens not to eat us).
– Visioning–coming up with and championing a forward-thinking and compelling strategy.
– Managing change–influencing and leading others to adopt new ideas and change the status quo (we need to change, learn, grow, and improve–because it’s a big intergalactic world out there).
These are a lot of critical and challenging skills to master and no one is perfect at all of them.
But as imperfect as we are, it is our trust and test in life to be more than warring Earthlings fighting each other over continuously scarce resources, but instead to become social creatures as well–where we lean to gracefully manage ourselves and our relationships.
Unlike ETs, we human beings are in so many ways–with EI–better than that! 😉