Upside Down Bird, Black Sheep–Same Thing

I thought this art was funny and accurate:

There’s always one in every family.

Really, it should be there is always one (or two) in every family, group, and organization. 


Whether it’s the upside down bird or the “black sheep”–I think we call it that person a troublemaker!


Is it the attention they crave? 


Is it a good fight or argument they are after?


Are they just different and that’s okay.


Listen, we are all the same, but we’re also all different. 


Imagine being completely the same and how boring that would be. 


So being the upside bird isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 


The other birds may look at this upside down bird as cuckoo.


But the bird may not be a cuckoo bird at all.


He may just be acting himself. 


To the upside down bird, he probably thinks of himself as being right side up bird, and that it’s the other birds that are the cuckoos.


From my experience, there is being different and then there is being cuckoo for real. 


There really are one or more cuckoos just about everywhere you look.


Worse yet, if the other 4 birds are sane, then watch out because you may be the cuckoo bird.


And then there was the movie, “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

China’s Dangerous Socioeconomic Malaise

China's Dangerous Socioeconomic Malaise

Fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal today on China’s “Left Behind Kids.”

While we hear about China as the rising Asian economic powerhouse, we do not often contemplate the socioeconomic impact of what is occurring there on Chinese families.

As China rises to economic superpower status, more than 250 million migrant workers pour from the poor rural parts of China to the cities to supply the relatively cheap labor to keep manufacturing humming and the economy brimming with growth.

Those left behind are 61 million Chinese children, who are growing up without one or both parents.

One in five Chinese children haven’t seen their parent(s) for at least 3 months.

But laws in China prevent children from coming to the cities with their parents in order to stem the flow of migration from rural areas.

Chinese parents are saying, “We’ll go wherever we can get the highest pay,”

Children are saying, “What’s the big deal of having no mother anyway? I can grow up without a mom.”

So while smog and pollution is spoiling beautiful China cities and harming people’s physical health, the greater concern is that children are missing out on the loving, bonding, caring, and guidance that comes with a regular parental presence and good sound parenting from them.

Understanding that strong parent-child relationships are critical to the formation of mental, emotional, and spiritual health of the children, the numbers and severity of Chinese children that are missing out on this is of great concern.

While some children may be okay under the care of able grandparents along with regular visits or calls by parents, many others children, who don’t have this, could end up having serious mental and emotional problems.

Already “more than 70% of children in rural China show signs of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.”

And as is often the case, anxiety and depression turn into resentment and anger.

With tens of millions of left behind children being forced to fend for themselves and hundreds of millions of migrant parents living in “dormitories, tents, or bomb shelters” away from their families and homes, what we have here is a bonafide socioeconomic ticking time bomb.

Political pundits often point to the concern of China’s power elite that the people will rise up against them and the Communist Party,
but I think the far bigger concern is to those outside of the system altogether.

In my mind, the destruction of the core family will ultimately result in a tsunami of frustration, anger, and a weakening of social values.

Moreover, this could very well spillover and lead to a dangerous rise of militancy, where people do not want to lash out against their political system or leadership, but rather against everyone else who took the goods that left them economically richer, but poorer in just about every other way. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Teamwork or Telework?

Teamwork or Telework?

Clive Thompson makes an interesting point in Wired (15 May 2013) on productivity versus creativity.

He says that people seem more creative when interacting with other people in a group, and more productive when left alone to get their work done.

Hence, he advocates for telework to improve individual productivity, but basically only after the team first gets together to figure out what creative things they should be doing.

While I agree that group interchange can be good for bouncing ideas around and sparking innovation, and that with some quiet time, people can plow through a lot of work on their own–this is only a very narrow perspective.

Really, very often, the exact opposite is true….think about it.

When alone, and with some quiet time to think, you may come up with some of your best and most creative ideas. That is because the pressure is off to strut your stuff with the others, the groupthink is gone, and you can concentrate and free associate. Inventors, writers, painters, and other creative types come up with some of the best innovations, when they are left alone to do their thing.

Similarly, when people are in a group, they can often be much more productive than when working alone. Whether in mass producing good as a team in a factory, as team mates in sports passing and scoring, as warfighters waging battle side by side, and even as the construction crew in the picture above putting up a brand new high-rise building–people, when working together, can do amazingly great and productive things.

So yes, while at times groups can spark creativity among each other and quiet time can be good for getting (some paper) work done, often the exact opposite is true–and the group can produce in quantity and quality and the individual can think, experiment, and truly innovate.

Group and individual work is not correlated one for one with creativity and productivity–it all depends on what you are trying to get done.

But either way, you need both telework and teamwork to think and produce. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Party Time, Excellent.

Passing outside, I encountered this interesting person, who reminded of when I used to visit  Greenwich Village in NY.

– Long blond wig
– Big bow on top
– Overflowing boots on their feet
– Bright blue stockings on the legs
– Underpants on the outside
– Jacket with big cuffs and strips
– And giving “the finger” to passerby’s

Seemed like a real culture commentary.

It’s important to value all sorts of different people–it’s the fabric of our society and everyone adds to it.