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Be the Squeaky Wheel

In an overly communicative society, boldness is often the key to notoriety, wealth, and even acclaim

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Throughout history people have stepped into the limelight at critical junctures and become immortalized for it.

* Moses told the Egyptian pharaoh, “Let my people go.”

* Jesus told an unruly crowd, “Let he that lives without sin cast the first stone.”

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* Martin Luther nailed his 99 reforms to the door of the Catholic church knowing this would set off a landslide of controversy.

* George Washington confessed to his father that he did in fact chop down the cherry tree, saying, “I cannot tell a lie,” …not really, but that’s the myth.

* Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech but equally of note, endured jail, hosing down, and discrimination for what he believed.

You probably tend to admire those who adopt broad sweeping causes related to freedom, truth, or human rights. It seems as if bold, positive, decisive action has often served as the catalyst for followers to take up the lead. Such action can become a turning point that historians dutifully record.

Genius in Boldness

The German philosopher Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe once said, “Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” In an overly communicative society, boldness is often the key to notoriety, wealth, and even acclaim.

While there might be 8, 12, 15, or several dozen female singers with the range, voice quality, and talent equal to or exceeding that of Katy Perry, she is among the few who captures the headlines.

Andre Agassi might not have been the most talented player on the pro tennis circuit, but  during his playing days he was the one that most people could recall most easily. Beyond the arenas of sports and entertainment being the squeaky wheel has impacted other social arenas.

A particular inventor still owns the record for holding the largest number of U.S. patents. He is the widely celebrated inventor of the phonograph. He is commonly regarded as the inventor of the light bulb although he merely improved on it and, most important, made it commercially available for the masses.

He also made dozens of improvements to other existing products. Can you name him? Undoubtedly, you can since he’s Thomas Edison.

So Many Before Him

Thomas Edison was not the original inventor of electric light. He improved upon a principle that others had already discovered. In 1802 Sir Humphrey Davy produced an arch light. He was followed in 1844 by Jean Foucault who made an arch light strong enough to illuminate the Plaza de la Concorde in Paris.

By 1860 Sir Joseph William Swan devised a crude light bulb and eighteen years later demonstrated a successful carbon filament lamp at New Castle, England. This was ten months before Edison invented the light bulb.

A second inventor of equal brilliance and contribution to society revolutionized the automobile industry. He’s credited with having ushered in a new era of ignition systems, vehicle performance, and vehicle safety. He patented a painting process that prolonged the life of cars by reducing the incidents of rust.

With four hundred million vehicles in America alone and more than a billion throughout the world, surely you can name this hallowed inventor. Right?

Okay, here’s a huge clue: He also became a philanthropist and to this day his name is part of one of the foremost cancer research and treatment facilities in the world which he help found. Who is he?

Give up?

He is Thomas Kettering for whom the Sloan-Kettering Institute is partially named. Why does virtually everyone know the name of Edison, and nearly no one knows the name of Kettering?

Perhaps Edison’s inventions were more consumer-oriented or impacted more people more quickly back then. One hundred years ago, everyone was likely to turn on a light switch, but not everyone owned a car.

Consummate Squeaker

Edison, as it turns out, relentlessly promoted himself. He constantly talked to the press and gave interviews. He always issued pithy quotes. He went out of his way to grandstand. He often bragged that he got by on very little sleep per night, a claim later proved to be untrue.

Edison was always looking for opportunities in which to get into the news, and equally important offered product and service contributions of lasting impact.

Kettering was not a meek or mild lab scientist. He was a strong leader within the organizations he formed. He also gained the reputation as someone with quick wit who could both give and take a joke.

Yet, unless some dramatic, Oscar winning movie about Kettering appears in the future, it’s unlikely that his name will ever be as widely known as Edison’s.

So it is in many arenas of life.

Two performers, alike in major respects, with a similar array of accomplishments, might have different experiences in terms of what they earn, how they are perceived, and how they are remembered.

Think about those whom are the most visible to the public. Are these people hesitant to voice their views, or are they both seen and heard?

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Education

‘Anti-Racists’ are Racist: Do Not Apologize for Being White

‘Anti-racists’ claim that whites, by virtue of their skin color, are detrimental to society

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Ibram X. Kendri, the bigoted professor from Boston University and director of their Center for Antiracist Research, says that whiteness is a problem for all of society, indeed for the entire globe. Who knew?!

Kendri, who was included in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, seemingly knows a lot about white people. In fact, he professes to know about every white person in America if not all over the world.

Me? I’m one of those people who merely gets up every day, brushes his teeth, gets dressed, eats a decent breakfast, and goes to work. I had no inkling that in the U.S. and other western nations white people like me had been “socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white.” How naive I have been all these years!

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Now I discover that to be “less white” is a virtue! It requires one to be “less oppressive, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant,” and, more humble, more willing to listen, more willing to believe, and, get this, “to break with the apathy” that white people like me exhibit and “to break with white solidarity.”

Woke Institutions and Brainwashed Authors

White solidarity? Darn, nobody told me about this. Thank goodness it’s all become so clear thanks to enlightened (white) authors such as Robin DiAngelo, who wrote the thoroughly racist and condescending book White Fragility, and thanks to companies such as Coca-Cola which have the foresight to impose programs for its white employees, to be less white.

When there’s a challenge in front of me, I actually do strive to find the right answer, particularly something related to numbers. I will collaborate on occasion, but most of the time I prefer to figure out things for myself, aided by the “all-knowing” Internet.

Am I arrogant, oppressive,  defensive, or ignorant? No one has ever brought this up. Being white, however, I guess I can’t help it! I don’t seek to inhibit the success of others, but I’m now informed that by virtue of my skin color I am detrimental to society. Mea culpa!

The Anti-Racist Racists

With Coca-Cola and other organizations teaching white people to be less white, I’m wondering, will the sequel be how Asians can be less yellow and Indians can be less brown? In America, both groups seem to excel academically. Perhaps only domineering Caucasians, particularly 60+ white males like me, however, are the ones upsetting the apple cart all over society.

Was I given a free pass for the last 40 years? I mean, all the while nobody mentioned my whiteness as a social and cultural problem. My black friends from Little League, high school, various hiking groups, and other groups around town haven’t said squat. So, up ’til now, presumably, I was doing okay. Perhaps they’ve merely been nice to me while whispering behind my back.

Heeding the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought our common goal was to live in harmony and to reach a state of color blindness where people were judged by the content of their character and not by their skin color. Hmmm…  I guess that is no longer in play.

I’m wondering, what would MLK conclude about today? Would he speak up against the propensity of the Left to define everybody else by class, sex, or race? Would he be opposed to pitting young against old, rich against poor, black against white, rural against urban, male against female, and all the other phony dichotomies that the Left relentlessly promulgates each day?

Absurd From the Get-Go

Imagine the unending uproar if someone drew up a list of how hundreds of millions of black people all over the world could become “less black.” The  absurdity of regarding all white people, hundreds of millions of them, as having a general set of characteristics, let alone having those characteristics be detrimental to society, is the grand facade of the ages.

How long will “woke” organizations maintain this illusion? Have they been coerced to the point where they’re afraid to say, “This is ridiculous, and needs to stop now”? [Actually, they have been coerced.] Will decades pass before we see the end of this malarkey?

I do not apologize for being a white person, just as no person of color has to apologize for their ethnic background, skin color, race, or religion. If you’re a good citizen who respects the rights of others, that, my friend, is sufficient.

Morgan Freeman, who played God in the movie Bruce Almighty, wishes we would do away with Black History month and merely have history. Freeman also wants us to stop regarding individuals as black and white and simply let people be people. Amen to that.

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Life

Finding Meaning in Daily Activities, Even Now

You are creating your life every day; every choice you make determines the quality of your life

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If you’re like me, each day you shudder to think what new, nation-destroying ploy, or blunder, the Biden administration will foist upon us next. In our own lives, nevertheless, while awaiting November 2022 and the chance to take back the Senate and House, we have the opportunity to find meaning nearly each day.

In her book, My Grandfather’s Blessings, Rachel Remen tells a story about a doctor who had to deliver a baby in the hallway of the emergency room area. He had delivered other babies but not like this. While swabbing the baby’s face, she opened her eyes and looked right at him: he was the first person she had ever seen.

This experience changed the doctor’s way of proceeding. He regarded this as sacred moment. He remembered why he chose this line of work. He felt validated. His cynicism fell away. He became more invigorated, more inspired, and started to interact with more of his patients and his co-workers. Soon, he was invited to events he had never participated in before. His whole world opened up.

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Now, he seeks such moments constantly.

A Capacity that Builds

Finding meaning is a capacity that we build, like a muscle. When you first started in your current career position, finding meaning was not an issue. You were excited. There was so much you wanted to do. You had all kinds of plan. Then, years passed.

Little by little you became jaded perhaps. Why did I choose this line of work? Why can’t I find competent help? Why are customer or clients so demanding?

It is possible, even now in this time of turmoil, to reinvent yourself on the job, to rediscover what initially attracted you to this profession and what the current possibilities might be. Sometimes the re-awakening is triggered by attending a conference or convention, taking a course, reading a vital book, or spending time with a colleague or peer.

Goodbye to Yesterday

Today and the days that follow do not have to be extensions of what came before. You do not have to proceed into the future looking through a rear view mirror. A world of choices awaits, even if in the same old position you’ve been holding down for years.

Will you make new choices? And what will drive those choices?

Discovering or rediscovering meaning is about getting clear on what’s most important to you and aligning your choices with those priorities. It’s about living and working with intention instead of operating on autopilot or by default, where one day looks exactly like the next.

So, What Matters Right Now?

Start by identifying what’s most important to you …today, not what was important five, ten, or 20 years. Is it creativity, or perhaps collaboration? Maybe it’s impact or flexibility?

Next, identify what professional – and this might be different than your current profession! – and personal goals align with those priorities. What does living or working more creativity look like? If, say, collaboration matters to you, how can you incorporate more collaboration into the work you do?

From here, you’ll want to pinpoint actions or choices that support those goals. Where are your current choices in or out of alignment with what you’ve identified as most important? What new, more intentional choices can you make?

Each and Every Day

Consider this: You are creating your life every day. Every choice you make, action or inaction, determines the quality of your life. If not now, when: Making the choice to live and work with intention and in alignment is the key to cultivating a life of meaning and fulfillment.

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