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Liberty vs. Security and Other Questionable Axioms

So much of what we read, think, and repeat is not correct

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So much of what we read, think, and repeat is not correct! For example, when have you last encountered the phrase, “Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither”? Often incorrectly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the phrase is nonsensical. With no national security, soon enough you’ll have no liberty.

With complete security, you’ll have no liberty as well. A trade-off is always needed. For the record, Benjamin Franklin actually said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to pursue a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Now that makes sense!

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Again, Ben Franklin is in the mix. A penny saved is not a penny earned. A penny earned is a penny earned and even so it might not be a full penny depending on taxes, inflation, and other costs and expenses. If you save your money in a long-term CD, you can’t have access to it for a while. If funds are tied up when you need to draw upon them, well, that is not a pretty penny.

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Not Really…

What about the phrase, “Experience is the best teacher.” Perhaps this is so, but not as a given. Generally, an excellent teacher is the best teacher. Experience might teach us the wrong lessons or send us down another blind alley. If we don’t comprehend the meaning of our experiences, in the future we’re as likely to make bad decisions and have unfortunate experiences as a result.

Closely related is, “Practice makes perfect,” which is simply wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect. If your practices are incomplete or off the mark, then you’ll continue to be imperfect and to reinforce a bad habit perhaps. As they say in Taekwon-do, “Practice makes permanent.”

On my daughter’s softball team, a young girl named Whitney was regarded as the star pitcher. Yet during the pregame warm-ups, time after time, she could barely throw a strike. With luck, she averaged 20% strikes out of all her pitches thrown. Sure enough, when the game started, she was no better. Why would anybody expect the outcome to be different?

The best chance for you to excel is to have perfect practices. An array of imperfect practices leads nowhere.

Lemons and Life

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This sounds like good advice, but to actually make and sell lemonade, you’d also need to have clean water, a good lemon press, some type of sweetener, a paring knife, a pitcher, an implement for stirring, and cups. Such bromides leave out 90% of what else you’d need.

Periodically, I encounter authors and speakers who write or say ‘to live life more fully’ pretend that “you have six months to live.” If you had six months to live you’d engage in behaviors different than now.

You might sell your house. You might go on world travel, or at least travel more than you’ve been doing. You might dissipate your assets. You might spend your money down to nothing, or give it all away. Then, when you undoubtedly live beyond six months, you’re likely to be penniless!

Thank You For Sharing (!)

“Think outside the box.” What does the ‘box’ even mean? The phrase has been so overused that it is now rendered meaningless. Would it be more compelling to say “Expand your thinking,” or “Brainstorm,” or “Reach beyond the norm”?

“There is no ‘I’ in team.” Michael Jordan once remarked that while there is no “I” in team, there certainly is a “me.” Acronyms and creative word use might have their place in a corporate pep rally, otherwise stay away from such phrases.

By now, you can probably think of other axioms and witticisms that, upon examination, have little meaning. Let’s give ourselves a refreshing break for a few years, and not use any of the above

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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

The Rise of Mark Robinson and the Benefit to North Carolina

He will win the governorship of North Carolina, be an excellent governor, and have a greater political future ahead of him

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Mark Robinson, if you are not aware, is currently North Carolina’s lieutenant governor. He is someone who made himself a success, despite coming from a background of extreme hardship. He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the 9th of 10 children. His upbringing, amidst alcoholism and domestic violence, was nowhere near what you would want for a growing child.

Onward and Upward

Robinson’s mother imbued in her children a sense of responsibility, and let them know in actions and words that perseverance, hard work, and devotion to God would be their best ticket to a rewarding life. Robinson absorbed the message at an early age.

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Among the many stops in his personal journey, he served as a medical specialist in the Army reserves. He also worked in manufacturing, and then ran a small business with his wife. When the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) was passed his small business and career endeavors dissolved.

At one point, nearly 20 years ago, he had to declare bankruptcy. Despite his financial hardships he soldiered on. Eventually, he became North Carolina’s first Black lieutenant governor. As such, he has traveled extensively throughout the state, talking to people of every race, profession, trade, income level, education level, and inclination.

Now is the Time

Robinson knows the people of North Carolina perhaps as well as anyone could. Once he decided to run for governor a wellspring of voters emerged eager to see him succeed, because they know the man. Married for now 30+ years, with two children and two grandchildren, Robinson has vowed to be the education governor and the business enterprise governor that North Carolina wants and needs.

In the coming weeks and months, however, much of what you read about Robinson in the mainstream press will ignore his accomplishments, his vision, and the fundamental reasons that so many North Carolinians of all races want him to be the next governor.

The Left is so pathetically predictable that I can tell you with complete accuracy how they respond to Black conservatives. On cue, without missing a beat, the day after Mark Robinson won the Republican primary for governor in North Carolina, the vicious press, putting in overtime, went to work. Nine of 10 articles that you would encounter on Mark Robinson were complete hit jobs, taking his words and phrases out of context.

The same was true on the internet. Google, among the most evil companies that has ever appeared on Earth, with their oh-so-mysterious algorithms, made sure that nothing good was said about Mark Robinson until about the 12th listing. Even then, Google followed with more hit pieces.

We All Know Exactly Why

Why does the Left so thoroughly despise Black conservatives? Why does the Left disparage them at every turn, such as Jason Whitlock, Star Parker, Condoleezza Rice, Alan Keyes, Larry Elder, Candace Owens, Allen West, and Senator Tim Scott? Because the mere existence of a Black conservative upsets everything that the Left stands for, such as “keeping Blacks in their place,” ensuring they never dare to leave the liberal plantation, and hoping that they don’t have an original political thought.

Traditionally, Democrats retained many Black voters at the national, state, and local level through campaign promises, while never consistently delivering on them. And now, as we approach November 2024, they are losing their grip. Survey after survey reveals that Donald Trump is gaining major ground among Black voters, other minorities, young people, and suburban women.

The press will nitpick about statements Robinson made years and decades ago. They’ll claim he’s an anti-Semite. They’ll say he is ‘against his own people.’ They will attempt to demonize him. Don’t fall for any of it.

Making His Mark

Robinson spoke at CPAC 2024 and, while he only had 12 minutes, he brought down the house. At another gathering, he spoke for less than 90 seconds about why reparations are a bad idea. He laid out in the most logical manner why people today who claim they deserve reparations are the ones who owe others, mainly the Black pioneers who came before them. It is a brilliant piece of rhetoric that everyone, everywhere should hear.

Mark Robinson is the candidate whose time is now. He will win the governorship of North Carolina, be an excellent governor, and have a greater political future ahead of him. Donald Trump strongly endorsed him and one can foresee a time in which Robinson will have important business to do in Washington, DC.

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Business

Work-life Balance: The Enduring Quest

Organizations today recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity

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Thank goodness that organizations today increasingly recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity. As such, the corporate quest for work-life balance, harmony, and integration has gained great prominence.

Key Aspects

Here are 12 key aspects of this pursuit gleaned from a variety of programs:

1. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work schedules, remote work options, and part-time opportunities allows employees to better balance their professional and personal lives.

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2. Have Clear Policies: Establishing clear policies and guidelines regarding work hours, overtime, and expectations helps employees manage their time effectively.

3. Support Mental Health: Providing access to mental health resources, counseling, and stress management programs can address employees’ emotional well-being.

4. Give Leave: Offering generous paid time off, including vacation, sick leave, and parental leave, allows employees to address personal and family needs without fear of repercussions.

5. Prevent Burnout: Encouraging employees to disconnect from work-related technology after hours helps prevent burnout and supports work-life separation.

6. Support Workload Management: Ensuring that employees have manageable workloads and realistic deadlines prevents excessive stress and long working hours.

7. Provide Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness initiatives, such as fitness facilities, nutrition programs, and health screenings, promotes a healthier work-life balance.

8. Enable Employee Assistance Programs: Such programs provide confidential counseling and support services for employees facing personal challenges.

9. Promote a Culture of Balance: Company culture plays a significant role in work-life balance. Leaders should model a balanced lifestyle, and the organization should celebrate accomplishments beyond work.

10. Maintain Continuous Communication: Engaging in open dialogues with employees about their needs and concerns regarding work-life balance fosters a supportive and responsive corporate culture.

11. Empower Workers with Training and Education: Providing training on time management, stress reduction, and resilience equips employees with the skills to better balance their lives.

12. Leverage Remote Work Policies: Crafting clear remote work policies and expectations ensures that remote employees have a structured work-life balance.

Bringing in the Hired Gun

As the world’s only holder of the title, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” as issued by the USPTO,  I am often summoned by organizations to enhance work-life balance for their troops. In all, I’ve delivered programs and spoken to 960 groups. Below depicts an encounter with a company who shall remain nameless for reasons of confidentiality. See if this squares up with your experience in your organization.

The following responses were derived as a result of my sending a questionnaire to the conference meeting planner where I was to be their keynote speaker. I requested the names of 10 people who would be in the audience. I called each of them to discuss their current challenges. Here are their actual replies to three of my questions:

1) If you could magically resolve a work-life balance issue, what would it be?

* Have more breathing room between high-level projects.
* Accomplish more during the workday and leave mentally free.
* Hire more staff!
* Take vacations and time off with no big pile ups when returning.

* Be allowed to take some Fridays off and catch up on much needed appointments.
* Reduce the number of pop-up requests and questions flying at me all day long so that I could ACTUALLY do what I need to do each day.
* Be approved to work from home or adjust my hours. My personal time isn’t respected.

2) What do you seek to derive from attending a session such as mine?

* Manage my time more effectively.
* Gain tools to embrace life while living it
* Develop stronger skills.
* Make work-life balance a reality in our company’s work-first culture.

* Acquire strategies, tips, or ideas to re-think my approach.
* Learn to change my focus, to be more productive, balanced, and focused.
* Be able to balance the few things that I do control during my day.
* Discover tips for keeping my staff in balance.

* Gain a realistic expectation of what we can achieve or experience.
* Develop a more positive outlook for the group.

3) Are there any observations you could offer?

* Work-life balance is a huge topic organization-wide. We are high performers who want to do a good job. We compromise our personal lives to meet work demands. We have to keep pace with the leaders and teams we support. If we don’t, we’ll be deemed unresponsive.

* A frenetic pace seems to be inherent in this company. Our team does a good job of emphasizing work-life balance; the problem lies with the surrounding divisions that thrive on working all the time, for no good reason. Yes, we are in a global space, working in different time zones, but some of these people are beyond the pale.

* What I love about this organization are the people. They are dedicated to the cause and truly want to deliver reliable, affordable, dynamic, and versatile solutions to our customers. However, our frenetic pace isn’t necessary. Not every project is the most vital. Not every problem is an emergency. Not every request has to be filled now.

* If in charge, I’d implement a more efficient, logical pace organization-wide. If we all took a breath and reevaluated how we work, in a more focused environment, we might find that we could produce better results with less stress.

Resonates Strongly

As you can see, the topic of work-life balance resonates strongly among today’s career professionals. Going forward, may more organization recognize and acknowledge the critical role that employee wellness and work-life balance has on the organization’s overall effectiveness.

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