Posts belonging to Category Current Events



Is Truth Dead?

At least, that's what the current issue of TIME Magazine has screaming from their cover. The blood-red letters against the solid black background has an ominous effect.  I saw it as I was returning from a weekend business trip to Ontario, CA, and I found the timing of this issue more than a little coincidental.

See, I'm really focused right now on the topic of TRUTH.  I've been feverishly working on my latest book, Character Counts: Bringing the Rotary Four-Way Test to Life, and as many of you know, the first question in the Four-Way Test reads, "Is it the TRUTH?"  Character Counts is a deep-dive examination of the character building blocks that are embodied in each of the Questions in the Four-Way Test and the topic of truthfulness and trustworthiness is a crucial one in this study.

TIME's article is really about current President Donald Trump and his pattern of misleading statements, but it does bring us to question truthfulness as a whole.  Nancy Gibbs, TIME's editor, says in your column "Where is the line between lie, spin and delusion?"

It's an important question. What is considered TRUTH these days?  As I explored in the book, there is so much moral relativism in our society these days, is TRUTH a matter of perspective or is there something hard and firm we can all agree on that is TRUTH?

And this is where my discussions with other Rotarians has gotten interesting. I recently asked my Rotarian contacts, in their opinion, which of the four Questions in the Four-Way Test was the most important, and why?  (more…)

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Facebook is the New Holiday Letter

You know me: sometimes I just muse about things that strike me as absurd.  For years I have struggled with the notion of the Annual Family Holiday Update.  You know what I'm talking about: those fancy, often gaudy, missives where the "head" of the family tries to be as clever as possible bringing their whole known universe up-to-date on the year gone by.  I really don't have a problem with the idea of a catch-up. We all have such busy lives that we have trouble keeping abreast of the doings of our friends and family.  Where I run into problems is that the family letter too often turns into the family "brag fest."

obnoxious christmas letterDon't tell me you haven't been the honored recipient of just such a piece:

Things in the Doe family couldn't be better this year!  Father has continued to top the charts in his role as salesperson for XX Corp.  In fact, because he's been so brilliant and closed so much business, XX has had to revise their entire incentive program. I mean, how many reward trips to the Orient and Hawaii can a family handle in one year? Next year we are thinking about giving several of our prize trips away -- there just isn't enough time for us to go on them all!

Little Suzy -- well, she's hardly little anymore -- has made the most magnificent match in Archibald. Who knew he was "closet royalty?" Once the engagement was announced, and the responses to the Save-the-Date card started coming in, well, we realized the venue we had chosen just isn't big enough for the over-1000 of our closet friends that want to share in their day of joy!

Tad has himself had a spectacular year.  Certainly we all know of his particular brilliance, but this year, he surprised even us! At the tender young age of 5, he has become the youngest student ever to be accepted at Harvard, in their molecular physics program, nonetheless!  Naturally, we accepted on his behalf as he is too young to sign his own name properly. The upside of the early admission is that it certainly simplifies our college application process, allowing us to focus more energy on those incentive vacations.

Finally, not to talk too much about me, but "Mother" has been quite busy this year, putting up all sorts of items to share with those less fortunate, chairing many important committees and galas, and working late into the night spinning my own organic fabric to make sure Suzy, Tad and Father are dressed in only the "greenest," and ingredient-pure cotton.  Thank heavens we have those incentive trips or I might never get any rest at all.

Well, happy holidays to you all.  Please keep your own family letters coming -- it's so hard to keep up these days, but we wish for you a happier and healthier New Year.  'Til Next Year!

You get the idea...But it's the downstream effects of these letters that I want to talk about -- and how that applies to much of what's going on in social media venues like Facebook.   (more…)

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On Being Selfishly “Selfless”

10% Happier Dan HarrisEvery once in a while, I come across something that smacks me upside my head with a great big "Ah, ha!  I KNEW it."  Something so obvious, but I'd never heard it put that way before that it just leaves this lasting impression. Today, as I was finishing Dan Harris' book "10% Happier," I had just such a moment.

In the chapter entitled (I'm writing it as it reads folks) "The Self-Interested Case for Not Being a Dick," Harris recounts a story where he is interviewing the Dalai Lama. They are exploring the idea of self-cherishing and the link between that and the "development of concern for [the] well-being of others."  Harris himself has a huge lightbulb moment based on the revelations of the Dalai Lama and comes to the conclusion that "...there is a self-interested, or selfish, case for being compassionate?"  His Holiness responds, "Yes. Practice of compassion is ultimately benefit to you. So I usually describe: we are selfish, but be wise selfish rather than foolish selfish."

In the decade-plus timeframe that I've been coaching children, parents and professionals on the value of SocialSmarts, this is exactly a point I've been trying to make: (more…)

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