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Freedom Requires Responsibility

“Don’t engage in behavior that, if everyone else was to do it, would destroy the world”

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When I was growing up, my mother gave me advice about proceeding in this life. She said, “Don’t engage in behavior that, if everyone else was to do it, would destroy the world.” I knew then what it meant on one level; today, the advice seems profound.

Junk Adds Up

If you allow junk cars and other debris to haphazardly accumulate on your front lawn, and everyone else follows, how long will it be before your town, and everyone’s town in the entire world, becomes one big junkyard?

If you smoke while you drive and then throw the butts onto the street, and all other drivers do the same, how long will it be before the streets are dingy and dirty, or so littered that they disgust motorists?

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My mother’s advice, applied today, tells us that while individual freedoms are worth cherishing and enjoying, they also require our responsibility. We can’t all be free to do exactly what we want all the time, even if the law allows it. We certainly can’t all engage in behavior that damages the environment or diminishes other people’s rights.

Individual vs Societal Benefit

Misguided groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union seemingly were founded on a noble purpose – to preserve the rights of the individual. What happens when granting rights to individual contributes to the erosion of society? It is a tough question for anyone to answer. The ACLU certainly has no answer.

In the name of 1st Amendment free speech and individual rights, the ACLU and leftists defend individuals and groups who care little about the 1st Amendment, the Constitution, or other citizens. Such groups keep pushing the envelope of crassness and vulgarity for publicity and profit.

What if everyone started to sport tattoos on their arms, backs, and shoulders, or wears nose rings, eyebrow rings, and nipple rings? Such behavior doesn’t clog our roadways, and such actions are a matter of individual choice, so what harm does it cause to society?

Does Safety Matter?

Aside from the health aspects of body piercings (and the data indicates a large percentage of participants experience serious infection and hepatitis) they pose safety problems to both the individual indulging in the behavior and to others around them.

As a society, do we accept visitors to hospital emergency rooms on Saturday nights whose body piercings have resulted in serious health conditions? Do body piercers have any idea about the longitudinal effects of such behavior on their health, not to mention longevity?

My mother’s simple admonition – what if everybody did it? – needs to be passed on to far more people so that those who might otherwise engage in questionable behavior become more aware of their impact on those around them and society overall.

Expanding the Notion

The legions of child-like adults who keep burdening and straining our law enforcement system and appearing before judges don’t understand (and apparently don’t care) how they thwart the overall progress of society. They levy a continual tax on our public institutions and impede the rest of society from moving forward.

If you vegetate each evening watching television instead of being out in your community cleaning it up, and everyone does the same, how will your community change?

If you spend hours each week focusing on the lives of people you don’t know and aren’t likely to meet, i.e. celebrities, and end up relegating their lives to a higher status than that of family, relatives, neighbors, and friends, why expect your own life and relationships to be vibrant and rewarding?

Your Choices Impact Everyone

If you eat whatever you want, avoid exercising, and do not manage your own weight,  you’re gambling on genetics. Maybe you will live a long, disease-free life. What are the ramifications, however, if everyone in society decides to emulate you?

What you do in your own life is largely your business and should be. If most people in society copied you though, how would they fare? If the answer is “not well,” maybe assess what you do and why.

Our behavior impacts those around us, particularly children. If we want the world to be a better place, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

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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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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

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Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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Life

What Does the Term African American Mean?

The Left vehemently champions racial division

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I’ve never understood why Black Americans for several decades running were referred to as African Americans. Even if their ancestors were from Africa, the majority of the nation’s 44 million Black Americans has never been to Africa, have no viable connection to the continent itself, and have little or no concern about it.

Please Explain it to Me

Now here’s the really confusing part. Black Canadians, to my knowledge, generally have never been called African Canadians. Black people in Mexico have not been called African Mexicans. There’s little use of this type of terminology in Europe such as African French, African Italians, African Spanish, or African Portuguese.

Why, only in America, did the description of Black Americans, namely African Americans ever take hold? Overarching names for the various races have fallen out of favor in recent years. White Americans generally are not referred to as Caucasians. Black Americans are not referred to as Negroes.

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Endless Morphs

You have to wonder how and why terminology, for various segments of our population, keeps morphing into something new. At one time white Americans referred to black people as colored people. If I were a member of the black community and was referred to by white people as a colored person, I would be upset. We all have a color!

Later, the most appropriate way to address someone of color was to say they were a person of color. However, that is also a misnomer as once again, we are all of some color.

Scientists, anthropologists, social researchers, and others have pointed out that theoretically there are no races. If you lined up every single person on Earth from the lightest skin to the darkest skin the gradation from person to person would be so slight as to be virtually undetectable.

I like the approach that actor Morgan Freeman has taken, and I wish that more people would adopt it. He has eloquently stated, on many occasions, that one way to stop being obsessed with race is to stop talking about it.

Obsessed with Race

A large faction within the U.S. – Democrats — are populated by subgroups with overlapping views: liberals, progressives, socialists, and Marxists. They want to keep race at the forefront of all public discourse. In their eyes, virtually any topic that you can address – the total eclipse in April, for example – has some underlying racial component embedded within it. Not all topics have a racial component, but that is what they propagate on a daily basis.

What’s more, people on the Left are on the ever-present lookout for anything which they regard as a transgression when others are referring to minorities. They particularly are focused on anything that a Conservative says, at any time, even if it was 30 or 40 years ago, that to the Left some way represents a slight or lack of respect for minorities, particularly Black Americans.

For these ‘race police’ it’s like a game. They are delighted when they are able to find something, anything, that they can aggrandize to the hilt, have the mainstream media pick up, and whip into a social and cultural frenzy.

This bit of historical news might be hard to recall, but four years before Barack Obama was elected U.S. president, the topic of race was less contentious. A Gallup Poll revealed that 74% White Americans and 68% of Black Americans felt that race relations in the country were good. 19 years later, 43% of White people and 33% of Black people reported the same.

If we could only return to those pre-Obama days when Americans, of all types, had some common goals and shared the same types of aspirations such as succeeding in their professions, building a strong financial base for their family, and raising happy and healthy children.

Divided Forever?

Alas, with so many on the Left vehemently championing racial division it looks as if we don’t have good prospects, at least for the immediate future, to return to those hallowed, pre-Obama days. As an eternal optimist, however, I believe that one day the clamor will die down, and once again, we will simply all be Americans.

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