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Common enemies…

Posted Dec 6 2017 by in True North with 2 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “How will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today, tomorrow, and every day.  Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day.

On December 7, 1941, an event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good – Pearl Harbor.  From a factual standpoint according to Wikipedia:

In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annals of bloody combat, or even the bloody headlines of 2017, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Moving on to the Oxford Dictionary and the word “Post-truth”:

Post-truth adjective

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

Their definition continues:

‘It’s not surprising that (this word in 2016) reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse’, says Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries. ‘Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

“…Fueled by social media and a growing distrust of facts…”  Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But a force for good?  With the difficult events that have occurred almost daily throughout 2017, we certainly hope so.

We witnessed this kind of power in the sporting world.  The 2017 Houston Astros won the first World Series for a city that earlier in the year was devastated by Mother Nature.  Were the events related?  Only God would know.

In the business world we have seen evidence of power when uniting against common enemies.  Steve Jobs continuously crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple rose to dominate personal, technology devices and the way we all consume entertainment and information today.  The common enemy of marketplace disrespect drove Apple to great heights.

“ADVERSITY”:

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. 

Horace

We’ve witnessed Oracle Corporation’s leader, Larry Ellison and his passion to conquer everything and everyone – business; technology; sailboat racing – everything!

The Salvation Army started in 1865 in London and The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  These powerful organizations are also untied against common enemies – the wounded; the needy; the sinful; the destitute; the addicted; the hungry; the homeless.  There are many common enemies that give rise to great power for the common good:

In every community, there is work to be done. 

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

So yes – common enemies, and the personal, emotional reactions they stimulate, can and do harness the necessary power for the greater good.

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  What lessons have we learned?  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December in the face of our many common enemies?

In every community, there is work to be done.  And in our hearts, we all have the power to do it!

GAP

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Makin’ stuff…

We live in an age of wonderment and among awesome people, true?  I mean just look at the inventions; the technology; the science; the creativity; the Shark Tank presentations.

Though not everyone reaches fortune and fame from awesome, we can still lead average, ordinary, common – fulfilling – lives.  I especially enjoy people that find fulfillment makin’ stuff.  Nice stuff; pretty stuff; practical stuff; if not some break-through-leading-to-fortune-and-fame stuff.  Stuff not presented on Shark Tank.

If awesome is reserved for the few; average; ordinary; common; are the adjectives applied to the many.  We benefit from the work of the awesome, to be sure.  But most of us lead a very average, ordinary, common, life.  Which is better?

It’s OK to day dream of fortune and fame.  We might day dream of riches associated with winning the lottery; picking the trifecta; making the big discovery; creating the next great invention; getting a “Shark” to invest.  But let’s not quit our day job in anticipation.

In fact, in their book Startup Opportunities Know When to Quit Your Day Job © the authors, Sean Wise and Brad Feld offer this opening chapter guidance:

Trust me; your idea is worthless.

They go on to articulate why mere ideas are worthless.  As successful venture fund founders, they don’t invest in ideas.  What attracts their money (and the money on Shark Tank) is people who can execute on ideas; people who are makin’ stuff.

We participated in the 2017 Tulsa Oklahoma State Fair – “11 days of awesomeness!”  as it was promoted.  And it was awesome!  Not just the midway; the events; the entertainment; and the critters.  It was the people – average, ordinary, common people – that made an awesome impression.

Some of these awesome people were vendors vending at the fair.  There was one vendor in particular that stood out above all others.  We passed them every morning on our way in at 9:00 am and they were working; makin’ stuff.  We passed them every evening on our way out at 10:00 pm and they were still working; makin’ stuff.  Two chainsaw carvers from Missouri turning logs into art and furniture.  Awesome!

I stopped by the morning of the last day to compliment them on being the hardest working artisans I have ever seen.  (We made a modest purchase too.)  The response from these average, ordinary, common men?   Just a shrug of modesty and the prideful perspective that often goes with makin’ stuff:

I can’t sell it if I didn’t saw it.

Chris Gagnon

My wife’s company takes equal pride in makin’ stuff; in her case, designer pet-wear for dogs, cats, and horses.  She even mixes in embroidered people-wear on occasion.  She too takes great pride in her work.  She too feels great fulfillment in makin’ stuff.

Beyond the financial remuneration, the worth from her business comes from interacting with all of the people that bring pictures and stories of their pets – more than simply pets – they’re their furry family members offering loving companionship.  And the joy her clients get buying that little special something for their critter matches the joy my wife gets in listening to the love of their pets they relate to her with each purchase.  Awesome!

I receive great fulfillment being around her, her clients, and their pets.  Reminders for we average, ordinary, common types:

Lord, help me be the man my dog thinks I am. 

Unknown Sage

Makin’ stuff – I don’t; and we won’t appear on Shark Tank.  But fulfillment surrounds those that do.  Awesome!

GAP

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Memorable…

Today of course, is Memorial Day; begging the question, what makes it memorable for you?

When we google the origin of Memorial Day:

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

2017 finds some wishing to eradicate the memory of those men and women who died on the confederate side of the Civil War.  Is that the best way to honor what was at stake; what was gained; and what was lost 150 years ago?

2017 finds us all “drafted” into a twisted type of military service.  Our foes don’t pitch their armies against ours anymore.  Now it’s fanatics terrorizing innocent civilians.  Is this worth memorializing?

2017 finds a special election in Montana in the headlines as the statesmanship (or lack thereof) of a United States Representative is called into question as he chose violence over tolerance in a stressful moment.  Is that the government, “of the people; by the people; and for the people” our Founding Fathers had in mind?

2017 finds our extensive and seemingly ever expanding media continuously pounding “we the people” with everything that’s wrong with our way of life, true?  Violence; dishonesty; greed; disgraces of every kind – even involving celebrity media members themselves – nothing seems off limits to the shock value needed to compete for citizenship followership.  Memorable?

As we celebrate Memorial Day I am torn between what is worth remembering and what I’d sooner forget.  In 2017 one has to “effort” to stay focused on the positive things in our world in the face of unending bombardment of negativity, don’t you agree?

A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness. 

Elbert Hubbard

2017 finds us at this crossroads of what to remember and what to forget.  I mean, there will always be evil; wrong-doers; and negativity surrounding us.  In the history of humankind, there always has been.  2017 is no different.

So, in 2017 the real challenge becomes what do we do about it?  I came across this Monday Motivation that stimulated me to reflect on meeting the challenge; thanking those that positively influence my life – thought I would pass it along in case you didn’t see it:

https://twitter.com/MotivatorMonday/status/866536815913820160

2017 and Memorial Day reminds me to reflect on those who died in the cause of defending our way of life, to be sure.  I’m adding to my Memorial Day time to reflect on those who live and make my daily challenges easier to overcome.  Those are memorable and worthy of thanking, too.  And yes, you are on my list of those to thank – well at least most of you:

People who read me seem to be divided into four groups; Twenty-five percent like me for the right reasons; 25 percent like me for the wrong reasons; 25 percent hate me for the right reasons.  It’s the last 25 percent that worries me. 

Robert Frost

2017 and Memorial Day is our opportunity to stay positive; hopeful; grateful; civil; in the face of it all.  And our favorite, Unknown Sage reminds us of what “all” likely is:

Law of Probable Dispersal:

Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

Distribution aside; in 2017 we have a choice over what is memorable; positive or negative.  What do you choose?

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Common enemies…

Posted Dec 7 2016 by in True North with 0 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “how will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today and every day.  Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

On this date, December 7, 1941, an event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good– Pearl Harbor.  From a factual standpoint according to Wikipedia:

In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annuls of bloody combat, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Moving on to the Oxford Dictionary:  “Post-truth” is Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2016:

Post-truth adjective

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

The recognition goes on:

‘It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse’, says Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries. ‘Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

“…Fueled by social media and a growing distrust of facts…”  Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But a force for good?  We can only hope; right President-Elect Trump?

We witnessed this kind of power in the sporting world, too.  The 2016 Chicago Cubs finally beat their common enemies – the 108 year World Series drought; the “Curse of the Billy Goat”; Steve Bartman (not to mention the Cleveland Indians).

In the business world we have seen evidence of power when uniting against common enemies.  Steve Jobs seemingly crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple finally dominated personal, technology devices.  The common enemy of marketplace disrespect drove Apple to great heights:

Imagination is stronger than knowledge.

Dreams are more powerful than facts.

Hope always triumphs over experience. 

Robert Fulghum

We’ve witnessed Oracle Corporation’s leader, Larry Ellison and his passion to conquer everything and everyone – business; technology; sailboat racing – everything!

Jonathan Whistman, author of The Sales Boss ©, speaks specifically to the ways sales leaders can harness the power of the common enemy, creating a common language in pursuit of a common cause (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C5NBCIa1nM ).

The Salvation Army started in 1865 in London and The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  These powerful organizations are also untied against common enemies – the needy; the sinful; the destitute; the addicted; the hungry; the homeless.  There are many common enemies that give rise to great power for the common good:

In every community, there is work to be done.

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

So yes – common enemies, and the personal, emotional reactions they stimulate, can and do harness the necessary power for the greater good.

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December season in the face of our many common enemies?  In our hearts, we have the power to do it!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

Independence…

Posted Jul 1 2016 by in True North with 2 Comments

Happy Independence Day Americans!  Here’s to a fun (and safe) July 4th weekend.  And here’s to our country – land of the free and home of the brave.

Our Founding Fathers had a very specific set of ideals in mind when they fought for our country’s independence.  The freedom they fought for seems to have morphed a bit over the years, yes?

Today, the term “it’s a free country” too often takes on unintended meanings and overly individualized interpretations.  Being free doesn’t mean we can do whatever-the-duck we feel like doing.  Pick any one of your personal pet peeves:  texting while driving; parking in handicapped spaces when you’re not actually handicapped (just old or fat); bringing your pet on a plane declaring it is an “emotional support animal” (which trivializes heroic service dogs performing invaluable service to those who really need it).  The list of “I’m an exception” is long.

Today, it seems many of us want to believe that this is “my” country so I’m entitled to make up my own rules – or abide by no rules at all.  I don’t think our Forefathers meant for America’s freedom to mean being undisciplined:

Piloting your own plane may suggest a desire for freedom.  It usually takes a lot of self-control, however, to earn the money necessary to buy your own plane.  And once you are at the controls, concentration and rules are vital.  Undisciplined pilots do not live long. 

Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.

Our country’s power lies not with us individually, but rather our ability to find common ground for the pursuit of our collective, common good.  It’s not about our individual W-2; it’s about how we share our fortune with those less fortunate:

Do all the good you can.

  By all the means you can.

    In all the ways you can.

      In all the places you can.

        At all the times you can.

          To all the people you can.

            As long as you can. 

John Wesley

Yes, America is the land of the free, but as it has been said many times, freedom is not free:

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it.  It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.

Unknown Sage

We are also home of the brave.  And bravery is found in many more places than just on the battle field.  We witness bravery every day by everyday people, don’t you agree?

And bravery can be found in places we least expect it.  Take comedy for instance.  Joan Rivers was brave in her professional pursuits during an era where women were not treated as the equal of their male, comedian counterparts.  But she was not deterred:

The more successful you become, the fewer people will encourage you and cheer you on, and the more successful you become, the fewer people you will trust.  But that’s not bad, because if you’ve made it on your own, it gives you a chance to say, I did it.  No one helped me.  That’s only two sentences, and that’s good because success is a short-lived phenomenon that’s never to be trusted.  Enjoy it for the moment and then get back to work.  Never forget that work is the reason you became successful.

So let us all enjoy America’s success this weekend.  And then on Tuesday, let’s go back to work – working to make this country what our Founding Fathers and those who gave their lives for our freedom the type of country they had in mind.

GAP

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Our Loans to Repay…

Happy Memorial Day in advance everyone!

Next Monday is an occasion to celebrate America – our America – our nation of great opportunity and great diversity, yes?  Even though our country and our cultures are addressing many difficulties, Monday is a day to celebrate our blessings and our future possibilities.

On any other day, it’s easy to get mired in everything that seems to be wrong with America.  What concerns you the most? Politics?  The economy?  Health care?  World peace?   Airport security lines?  Lots of opportunities for worry, fear, frustration, and anger, I suppose.

Conservation of our Earth for future generations is another difficulty – and periodic hotbed of debate.  Nothing new about this however; it is a topic dating back to our country’s original landlords:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children. 

Native American proverb

Do you believe we’re experiencing (and contributing to) global warming?  If we are, what can each of us individually do about it?  Will our children feel the same way about lending us their Earth as we do about inheriting our Social Security trust fund?  (Not much “trust” in the use of that trust fund is there?)

But Monday is a holiday and a time for celebration not worries; for national pride not fear; for appreciation not anger.  Monday, we Americans can celebrate the interesting, diverse, and humorous lifestyle others have enriched us with as noted by our favorite, Unknown Sage:

Only in America…

can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in America…

are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

Only in America…

do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America…

do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America…

do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to  the counters.

Only in America…

do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.                

Only in America…

do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America…

do we use the word “politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning  “bloodsucking creatures.”

Only in America…

do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Yes, only in America.  And in America, Memorial Day is a day to celebrate our country and the men and women of our armed forces who have preserved a country where cultures of diversity come together unlike any other place on Earth.  It’s a time to salute our service men and women; present and past; who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our optimism and way of life.

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities;

an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. 

Reginald B. Mansell

We all benefit today from those who overcame difficulties before us.  But what are we making of our opportunities?  And what opportunities (and difficulties) will we leave for our future generations?

Monday, let’s be optimistic and enjoy the holiday.  Then we’ll go back to work Tuesday – working to overcome our difficulties; working to leverage our opportunities; working to preserve our way of life for future generations; working to pay back the loan on our planet Earth to our children.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com