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The Credentials of High-Priced Gurus

Can we be confident in the advice we receive from those who have not mastered what they teach?

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I attended a lecture by one of the most well-known authors and speakers in America. I had previewed his CD and read two of his books prior to his lecture; in person, he lived up to my expectations.

Naturally, I was intrigued when a friend involved with bringing this speaker to our area relayed a personal incident to me.

Following the speaker’s presentation, my friend was responsible for driving him to the airport, and accompanying him until his flight departed. That summer afternoon, it was rainy and the skies were dark. As it turned out, the author was a nervous flyer and took several drinks in the airport lounge prior to boarding the plane.

I found this incident to be amazing because I had so often heard him say things such as, “Everything in this universe is perfect.” It struck me that, in many ways, the speaker wasn’t practicing his philosophy. Nevertheless, all human beings have their faults and foibles and, as time passed, I forgot about the incident.

Well Paid Gurus

Returning from a trip, I had the occasion to pick up USA Today. In the lifestyle section, there was a feature on a relationship guru and author of international best-sellers on relationships. She had won the “Oscar” of infomercials, earning $24 million in a single year.

In the USA Today interview, the reporter asked her why we should listen to a relationship guru who had been married five times. Five times? I couldn’t believe it! She had wedded her fifth husband, some 11 years her junior, only a short time before producing her award-winning infomercial on having a successful relationship.

In the infomercial, she is featured as having a loving relationship with her husband. In no way does the infomercial tell us that he is her fifth husband and that she had married him three weeks ago.

Marketing Rules

At that point, I recalled the incident about the nervous flyer author. Still, nothing prepared me for the revelations about the relationship guru, a self-proclaimed expert, using the slickest 21st-century marketing available to sell her information and products.

Upon hearing her advice, I recognized that it did seem sound. She was well-versed in her subject matter. However, the larger issue is, “Can we be confident in the advice we receive from those who have not mastered what they teach, or who do not even remotely walk their talk?”

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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

Justice, not ‘Social’ Justice, Improves Society

If we ignore existing laws simply in favor of what we want, society will soon break down

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Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “The most sacred of the duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.” The hallowed duty to fulfill the promise of justice for all remains, or ideally should remain, as the guiding ideal for the people we elect to government.

A friend of mine recently commented that the ‘social’ justice movement in America is alive and well, and that great things have been happening. However, when you put any word in front of the word ‘justice,’ the true meaning of justice is altered. Social justice is some group’s attempt at righting what they consider to be wrong.

I asked my friend for an example of social justice and was told that power lines being installed near poor neighborhoods instead of wealthier neighborhoods was a prime example. I then explained that that was not an issue related to ‘social’ justice but to justice itself.

Express Lanes for Redress

This is not 1860, or 1960. Today, many avenues exist for illuminating any issue of merit. Locally, there are zoning boards in every municipality, city councils usually with members on the left and the right, town hall meetings, public forums, newspapers, local television stations – a variety of entities that can be brought to bear to examine an issue and to forge some type of equitable redress if needed.

To be sure, no form of political government is anywhere near perfect or even equitable, much of the time. Democracy is difficult, but all other forms of government are worse.

In a democracy, or representative republic, such as we have in the U.S., you can’t go off half-cocked and do exactly what you want because you think that a particular law is bad. You have to work to change the law, to change policies, to address inequities within the framework of democracy, and within the bound of the justice system.

A Sanctuary for Whom?

Consider the phenomenon of sanctuary cities. For a sanctuary city to exist, one has to have a mayor, an alderman, city council members,  and other committee members, including those whose were elected as well as as appointed, to believe that what they’re espousing is right, while ignoring what has been passed into law. This ruling class thus usurps that which a majority of citizens rely upon each day.

A sanctuary city, by definition, is a city that is breaking the law. The Left will rationalize that ‘social’ justice requires breaking the law and that not all laws are good laws. True: not all laws are good laws. Laws, nevertheless, were passed as a result of a process in place for tens if not hundreds of years.

If laws routinely discriminate against one segment of the population versus another, then by all means work to change the law. When you insert catchphrases into the mix, such as ‘social’ justice, what that actually means is that you have another viewpoint of an issue. Further, you deem that your view and your actions are more meritorious than whatever came before them.

Vigilantism isn’t Pretty

Years ago, by exhibiting such behavior, you would be called a vigilante. Vigilantes are a self-appointed group who engage in policy enforcement without having legal authority, usually because they deem the legal agencies to be inadequate.

We dwell in a society where the media is distinctly liberal, and even leftist – as we have witnessed with big tech, the big TV networks, nearly all newspapers, and, unfortunately, a variety of government agencies. Thus, those advocating for ‘social’ justice have the wind at their backs. Yet, they violate the rights, and votes, of half the population and perhaps much more.

Welcome to My Two Cents

Any one of us could offer a long list of social issues that we’d like to change. If we decide, willy-nilly, to start ignoring existing laws in favor of what we want, how long will it take before society breaks down completely? Taking the law into your own hands is the essence of what it means to be a vigilante. Vigilante-dominated societies are not healthy. Many of their residents live in constant fear.

Taking the law into your own hands is an ill-advised shortcut to seeking what you want without working through the system, however imperfect the system might be. This country, any country, does not need more vigilantism.

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Education

Texas School District Says Enough is Enough

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Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

BREAKING: The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in North Texas voted last night to:

1) Ban the teaching of critical race theory. 

2) Wait until students are in the fifth grade to teach them sexual orientation and gender identity. 

3) Ban boys from playing in girls’ sports.

4) Encourage the use of pronouns that align with student’s biological gender and require them to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their biological gender.

5) Require that library materials be posted online and readily available for review by parents.

6) Not teach The New York Times “1619 Project”.

7) Implement a strict process for reviewing library books, so as to allow To Kill A Mockingbird and disallow Daddy, Papa, and Me and others.

It seems nearly incomprehensible that a school district would have to vote on measures like these. In fact, to many thoughtful Americans, it seems utterly Orwellian. How can truths about gender and the proper use of pronouns suddenly seem controversial rather than commonsensical?

Why does it seem radical to return power to parents and reaffirm biological reality? Or to keep boys from dominating girls in sports? Or to let students read revisionist history and propaganda about their nation on their own time? Why teach something that cannot withstand even the lightest objective criticism? 

Perhaps the school district’s 4-3 vote is a sign that there’s hope, that the pendulum has reached its arc and is beginning to move back toward truth and reality. Maybe the radicals are on the run.

No matter what, kudos to North Texas educators for pushing back against the absurdity and reaffirming responsible education.

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