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Maintaining Perspective in Turbulent Times

Face your obstacles head on; you are more resourceful than you currently presume

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From an array of insane Leftist activities designed to destroy the nation, to the lingering coronavirus, to lockdowns, to umpteen Biden administration blunders, these are times that try people’s souls!

Upon an unexpected setback at work or in life, some people fall into a “justice trap.” They think that somehow, some way a cosmic sense of justice will prevail. Yet, consider the 12 million people who starved in Ukraine in the 1930s, under Josef Stalin of the USSR. Is that cosmic justice?

Babies who die one day after birth experience no cosmic justice. Justice, like fairness, is an ideal. In the endeavors of humankind, fairness is certainly worth seeking, but, like justice, it is largely illusory.

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Disruption Happens

Events of varying magnitudes can disrupt one’s sense of homeostasis. Disruption and reintegration occur often, even simultaneously. Yet for each of us, notable increases in our level of resilience can occur in mere moments, or over the course of several years, depending on what we experience and how we process it.

Perhaps the quintessential example of the resilient individual is none other than the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was defeated in his bid for Congress on many occasions. Even as late as 1858, two years before he won the presidential election, Lincoln lost his bid to become a senator from Illinois:

1831 – Failed in business
1832 – Defeated for legislature
1833 – Again failed in business
1834 – Elected to legislature
1835 – Sweetheart died
1836 – Had a nervous breakdown
1838 – Defeated for speaker
1840 – Defeated for elector
1843 – Defeated for Congress
1846 – Elected for Congress
1848 – Defeated for Congress
1854 – Defeated for Senate
1856 – Defeated for Vice-President
1858 – Defeated for Senate

Following all of the setbacks written above, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th president of the United States.

A Benchmark for the Ages

Anyone studying Lincoln’s life could draw the conclusion that until 1860, when he was 49, he was largely a failure. Did he let election defeat after election defeat subdue his willingness to serve? Apparently, not at all. The resilience he exhibited during his decades-long quest to to serve in public office was rewarded when he was elected  president.

Once in office, Lincoln’s resilience became the benchmark of his tenure, during perhaps the most harrowing time in our nation’s history. The Civil War, in which a divided America slaughtered itself by the tens of thousands, is unprecedented in our history.

All other mass casualties from wars or attacks on Americans came at the hands of external enemies. Only Lincoln, amidst all other presidents, governed during a time in which Americans fought Americans; in some cases, literally brother against brother.

Fail Forward

Undoubtedly, Lincoln had one harrowing experience after another, as he lost the runs for U.S. Congress and for the Senate repeatedly. Somehow, as he processed his experiences, he managed to “fail forward,” drawing upon the reflections and lessons that he gained. Indeed, many successful people in history experienced career setbacks before ultimately achieving their greatest triumphs.

Drawing upon his inner strength, his lessons from childhood, his marvelous, self-initiated version of home-schooling, the philosophy and resilience he had developed over the years, and his legal education, he was able to maintain perspective and equanimity, over a four-year period, that would have broken other men.

Albert Einstein, for example, worked as a lowly clerk in the Swiss Patent Office when he developed his Theory of Relativity. Thomas Edison made 8000+ unsuccessful attempts to find the proper filament for his lightbulb. Babe Ruth struck out more times than anyone on his way to hitting more home runs than anyone.

So, face your obstacles head on, and realize that you are more resourceful than you currently presume.

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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.

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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