Existence in the world is not a political act.
Should there be support for people who are experiencing the traumas of life?
But merely existing, in and of itself, is not a political act.
However, when we are held deeply in the sway of lazy-yet-attractive ideologies, as a substitute for doing the hard, uncomfortable work of dissecting and disassembling the areas of our lives that are politically driven, religiously driven, or even economically driven, we run into a problem.
Here’s the problem: If you believe that existing is a political act, and I disagree with your political position—on any topic—then inherently I am disagreeing with your very existence.
And, of course then the logic follows from there, giving you permission to do violence and to oppress me. Or, at least, to place enough pressure on me to “get my mind ‘right’.”
Because, of course, when you’re on the side of the angels, or the “right” side of “history” then everyone and anyone else who is not on your side deserve justice.
Publishing has never been easier.
Neither has connecting with other people.
The internet, fundamentally, is a publishing and connecting machine.
Not an entertainment machine, a surveillance machine, a dating machine, or any of that other stuff.
The radical promise of the Internet is this: If you interact with it as a connecting and publishing machine, you will have massive success.
The problem is, too many people are distracted by the second order stuff (the entertainment, surveillance, dating, and on and on) and are less focused on engaging with the first order promise.
Such engagement rarely produces explosive wealth, explosive fame, or explosive influence. It more than likely will produce none of these things.
Which is why, when anyone can publish and connect, many still rarely do.
Innovators don’t have a competition problem, though they will tell you differently.
However, in general, human minds have a chaos ordering problem.
Thus human beings, in order to solve this chaos problem that too much competition and choice brings, have created hierarchies.
These systems foster more competition in the pursuit of determining relative merit and negotiating reality toward a manifestation of the absolute good.
It is easy to be reflexively, and unthinkingly against the thing that the principled crowd is against, based on a quick, hot take that gets your dopamine and adrenaline going.
It is much, much harder to engage with principled nuance, investigate the claim, determine the truth of the claim, avoid rushing to judgment, and, of course, put the action in historical context.
It is almost impossible to engage with principled nuance, investigate the claim, determine the truth of the claim, avoid rushing to judgment, and, of course, put the action in historical context, and to then disagree with the crowd’s conclusion about the truth—not the facts—of the claim anyway and take another, equally principled position on the opposite side of the argument.
The crowd eventually destroys you, and any allies you’ve brought along with you.
Sometimes, people who operate in this way are tagged as being “uncompromising.”
So be it.
In our digital age, principled destruction happens in front of our eyes, and thus publishing, independent of the dominant players in the social media-search media-advertising media complex becomes not only a responsibility but also a command.
Let those with eyes to read, ears to hear, and a mind to understand, understand.
An Open Letter To Anyone Who Will Read It
In case you haven’t noticed, the last few months have been very dynamic, but not very solution oriented, in the world of social media.
And, as this lack of orientation toward solution manifests itself as more gaslighting, trolling, and in poor communication behavior in general, it has come time to make an announcement.
It is getting almost time to exit Facebook altogether.
Along with Instagram and Twitter.
Let me clearly explain so that there’s no misunderstanding or thinking that “I just couldn’t ‘hack it'” in the rough and tumble game of social media.
An Open Letter With Clearly Laid Out Reasoning…
I’ve had a mixed relationship at best with social media going back to the old MySpace pages and profiles in the early 2000s. I was always a person who liked forums (like what Quora is now) but I wasn’t a big fan of putting myself out there, so to speak.
Then, Facebook burst on the scene and I have ridden this wave–good, bad, ugly, and indifferent, for the past 16 years (yes, I remember when Facebook was The Facebook because I worked with college students and they were the only ones on it) and now, well, all of that is slowly coming to a close.
There are business uses for Facebook, but even the utility of those is questionable and over the next few months you’ll notice me slowly fading away at the personal level as I launch new projects (like my podcast, Leadership Lessons From The Great Books), and in general begin to pull away from platforms that are just about shouting, gaslighting, trolling, and “being right” and have little to do with engaging people in nuance, focus, or real problem-solving.
Which our country–and our world–desperately need.
Lest you think I am going to head to another platform, fear not! I have always been more of a Twitter person than a Facebook person, but I exited there about a month and a half ago and I don’t even have the app on my phone, nor do I much care about what happens there anymore.
LinkedIn is another beast that is gradually transforming under the weight of social pressure to conform to the crowd and the requests of the mob, and surely as I am leaving Facebook and have left Twitter, I’ll eventually exit there as well.
I have little patience for corporate and marketing virtue-signaling under the guise of solidarity for whatever “cause de-jour” of the moment might help a brand get “traction” and a few more dollars.
Instagram I will stick with for a while because there is a video play there, but I do not think that will last long.
The fact is, there are higher levels of engagement there than here and have been for a few years now and there is less vitriol on Instagram to be sure. But I expect that will change in time as well.
If you understand human nature and, then it will come as no surprise that inevitably that even a “pretty pictures” photo-sharing app must bow low to the whims of the gaslighting crowd.
An Open Letter With Solutions…
If you’ve read this far, you might be asking “Ok. Well, how can I get in touch with you then, if I really want to?”
Well, there’s always email.
We need to return to long-form conversations in order to generate the kind of clear-eyed, courageous leadership that can solve difficult problems.
In order to support that developement I am beginning to form the outlines of a Leadership Salon Project involving podcasting, blogging, a discussion board on my website and an email list.
This will be a project in which talking with people who disagree with me but who can do that while not being disagreeable, will be the “coin of the realm.”
And we’ll learn from each other (or not) and get sharper (or not) but at least we won’t have to contend with our conversations being drowned out in your feed by memes, advertisements, and other meaningless tripe.
Maybe I’m a Pollyanna.
Or maybe I’m the last realist.
Either way, I am building an email list and if you want to be a part of it, please send me an email (put your email address in a comment at the bottom of this missive) and I will add your name.
I am connected to 1,000+ people on the Facebook platform, 2,000+ people on the LinkedIn platform, and 3,000+ people and brands on the Instagram platform.
That’s an audience of close to 6,000 people and brands who see barely .005% of content I have posted.
The fact is, many who could see this message will not see this message because fails to “play the game” that social media demands.
What a shame.
Not for me, or for the message.
What a shame that we have outsourced our communication and our ability to connect to corporate giants, begun with good intentions, run by groups of people who no longer care about connecting us in meaningful ways, but only about farming our attention to harvest another buck.
Instead of pouring more gas on the fire, hopefully, this message will provide a pinprick of illumination at the end of a very long tunnel.
It’s time to go. There are other fields than just the social media one to plow.
If you’re interested in joining my Leadership Salon Project and becoming part of conversations that matter for the future, send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be more than happy to add you to our Early Adopters email list.
Or visit the page for this project on our website and enter your information.
And we can start talking about what kind of community we’d like to have.
May God go with all of you who choose to hang around the corrupted Wonderland of social media.
Instead of Netflix and Chill, Quarantine and Learn a New Skill
I Hate To Be The Bearer of Bad News
I see a lot of folks out there in Facebook land, behaving (or maybe just posting) as if the “happy times” will return.
Or as if this current situation with social distancing, working from home, and with businesses collapsing all over the palace or cutting back, is just a “temporary” problem and we’ll all go back to “normal” when it’s done.
The reality is, “happy times” might not be coming back for a while.
I would encourage you, whether you are an entrepreneur, an agency owner, an employee, or a manager or supervisor, to get with the idea that your current situation is not a time for just eating chips and watching Netflix.
Please take this opportunity to learn a new skill. Take this time to advance a hobby and think about how it could make you some money tomorrow.
Please take this time to spin up a new business model for how you can deliver what you used to do in a new way.
If that means taking a low-interest loan, then take the loan. If you can’t take the loan because you’re overleveraged on debt, don’t like the government giving out money, or are worried about the upcoming $30T national debt, then I hope you’ve got a rich Uncle. Or that you are prepared to pare down your life to the absolute bare bones.
Please take this time to talk with your children about what 30-60-90 days in the quarantine may mean for your relationships. Establish boundaries and get real with each other about self-care, mental health, and all the things that you wouldn’t “normally” talk about.
Because “normal” times aren’t coming back in the way that they were here before.
Instead of Netflix and Chill Please Take Some Time…
Please take the time to think about what you’re employer might do and begin to build contingency plans to get paid—not at your current level of pay, but at a lower level—somehow someway. Set up dropshipping on eBay. Set up an Amazon account. Write that book you’ve been meaning to write. Create that painting you’ve been meaning to create. Make that digital product you’ve been meaning to make.
And then put it out there on Facebook, for free at first, and then offer it to a smaller community.
And if you’re retiring, or have the option to do so, and think that that’s your “get out of jail ‘free’ card” well, I would implore you to dig in now and help your community, not with money, but with your time, your wisdom, and your sweat equity.
Retirement is only ever talked about as a punishment in the Bible, and you’ve lived too long, and done too much to be punishing yourself now in the face of all that’s happening in the world right now.
Now is the time for entrepreneurial thinking to blossom like a thousand poppies in America. You don’t need money, you don’t need permission, and you don’t need reassurance.
All the people who would provide that are in social isolation anyway.
Now is the time to get real with your life, your perspective, and your future.
Because the vast majority of us will survive Coronavirus. But, the cast majority of us may be broke, unemployed, or without ideas on the other side of this current crisis.
Be not afraid. But don’t be lazy either.
If you need help thinking about this differently, contact me using the information below. give me a , and let me help you navigate this new world.
We’ve All Heard of Role Modeling
Role modeling is easy in leadership.
Role modeling is often touted as the easiest way for leaders to lead teams, lead initiatives, and lead others toward goals and outcomes.
Just do what the right thing is, and then other people will see you doing it (social cueing) and will automatically do that thing (social proofing).
And then, of course, magically, the workplace will change.
The ease of role modeling has even been commodified into our culture.
“Just do it,” right?
…Except, There’s a Minor Problem…
The problem with role-modeling, if we’re honest, is the fact of other people.
Other people have their own motivations, motives, and intentions. They have their own desires, appetites, and needs.
And very often role modeling doesn’t address any of that, because role modeling is always an external act; whereas, the behaviors a leader seeks to change are always internal to individuals.
It’s a minor problem, indeed.
If Not Role Modeling, Then What do We Do?
Leaders lead. That’s the nature of leadership and the fact of being a leader.
But expecting that other people will do as you are doing as a leader, might just be creating an internal environment in you as a leader, that will raise fake expectations.
Or, at least, creating internal environments where you will always be frustrated as a leader, because “they” aren’t following your lead.
Give Me Something I Can Use!
Here’s a tip: lead by example but change your expectations of your followers. Expect them to follow the smallest possible example that works for them.
And then, ask them this question: What am I doing in my leadership that you can see yourself replicating?
Then write down the answer, and double down on that.
Where Can I Get More Information?
Get more tips on how to navigate the hairy world of leadership by ordering My Boss Doesn’t Care, the latest book from Jesan Sorrells, today!