Celebrities, Entertainers, Hollywood types and Athletes who offer their opinions on political matters are highly criticized and often told to keep their mouths shut. I am not on their level of celebrity or knowledge, and don’t claim to comprehend enough about politics to make any real difference on that end, and am simply one small voice in the crowd.
Yet in response to what occurred in the events last weekend in Charlottesville, VA, I can’t just sit back and not say anything. I ask my readership’s forgiveness for even bringing anything political to the forefront, but I feel it has an essential reason in terms of this blog’s main theme, The Promise.
Living in the USA right now is getting pretty scary. My heart hurts on it’s behalf. I love this country on similar footing with my faith, as those claims I’ve made since boy scouts: “On my honor, I will do my duty, to God and my Country…”
My duty and offering is this:
To love one another.
To create uplifting and inspired works.
To give unfailing to those in need.
To stand for equality of race, tolerance of religion and political belief, while refraining from harsh judgments of any person ever.
To be a contributing and uplifting member of society and the world as a whole.
To live the ideals of what I grew up believing were the foundation of our Country – To fight for freedom, to sacrifice for those who live now and come after us, to continue the traditions of a God fearing people who depend upon His hand to give us all we have in this promised land.
I love the United States. God Bless America.
My young children sleep peacefully and unknowingly face in their future a battle far beyond what I’ve ever known. How do I tell them what is happening in this country and how we can make a difference?
What can we do in the face of injustice, civil war, terrorism from within, extremism in our neighborhoods, and an immoral government of failed leadership?
We can only pledge and promise to stand for something! The Promise has never made more sense to me than now.
I’ve stated my Promise here and hope you’ll join me in an arms-around-each other congregation, as a proclamation to ensure hate, violence, and irrational reasoning have no place here, can’t pass through us, and although it may take some of us down, there will be enough courageous leaders and believers of freedom, kindness, and justice running to the forefront to continue to stand for that one precious and holy word we all have the capacity to offer:
The other day my friend Sandra Joseph, the amazingly talented Broadway star, quoted the poet and philosopher Mark Nepo. Nepo said “Often your dreams don’t come true but as we give our all in pursuit of our dreams sometimes we come true.”
As children, we are taught to dream big and to go for our dreams. The reality of it is not everyone can become the professional athlete, the CEO or the Broadway star, but the fact is the growth we find in pursuit of the dream is more valuable than the actual dream. The hard work, the setbacks and triumphs, and the journey make us the person we are.
We may not become the “best in the world”, but we certainly can become the best version of ourselves as we strive to be the “best in the world.”
When we pursue our dreams, go the extra mile, put in the practice time, we grow and maybe the dream really is to become the type of person who pursues their dreams.
1. Get Rid of Pleasantries
– There is no need to talk about the weather, how grateful you are to be there, to apologize, or reintroduce yourself. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention so start with a question or jump into your content.
2. Make it Conversational
– Act like you are speaking to one person. Make it conversational. Ask questions. If it is a small group you might create dialogue, with a large audience ask questions and give a pause for people to think about the question. Keep them engaged in the conversation.
3. Tell Stories
– People love stories. Stories inspire, stories motivate—stories evoke emotion in people that causes them to respond, to take action, to adopt your ideas, and buy your products. Robert McKee put it well when he said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”
4. Use the Rule of Three
– People remember things in threes. We grew up watching the three amigos, the three musketeers, and now watch NBC, ABC, CBS, or the NFL, NBA, or MLB. Get the point? We are trained to learn in threes. So if you have three points, three features to your products, three reasons to implement this new policy – people will remember.
– Too many people try to wing it and it never comes across as powerful as it should. A little bit of rehearsal is not for you to memorize a script and sound robotic – it is so that it naturally comes out and you say things in the way that you want to.
Learn how Cary Mullen overcame a huge injury to pursue his skiing dreams.
As a leader, your job is to add value. Your team, your people, your customers, your investors, your friends and your family. Your job is to add value. Here are three questions that will help you do just that.
Question 1: Is what I am creating/contributing distinct?
Is your contribution different in a significant way? Is it adding value in a way that no one else has done? Does it stand out? Does it look and feel esthetically unique? Is it something that will impress people because it is coming from an angle that others haven’t thought of?
- It’s not crazy or out there, but it is distinct and stands out.
Question 2: Is this my most excellent contribution?
Did you just throw it together or did you do a good job? Did you put in the time to prepare and give it your best effort? Did you make it look amazing and professional? Did you ask people questions in the preparation to make sure you added relevant value? Did you solicit sufficient feedback so that you are confident it will be well received?
- When we strive for excellence, we put in the effort that pays off.
Question 3: Is there heart in here?
Did you approach it with a service mindset? Are you striving to help others or to make yourself look great? Is there emotion in this thing you have contributed? Will people feel your passion?
- Part of the way we add value as leaders is to bring the flare, the inspiration, and the vibrancy that people are looking for
We Have Hit Peak Tech - Mike Walsh
Is slow tech just a cynical status update or is it here to save us?
Every year, we are rewarded with a new round of technology upgrades. Faster processors, bigger and brighter screens, better cameras — a bounty that promises more rapid selfies, status updates and streaming entertainments. Forget peak oil, we have hit peak tech. For the more enlightened, that means something needs to change.
One of the highlights of the Further Future event in the desert this year, was Eric Schmidt flying in on his chopper to counsel the Mad Max styled crowd to disconnect from their devices and break their addition to technology. Such advice from a former Google CEO is not as ironic as it might sound. Google themselves, concerned for the welfare of their employees, have run experiments such as Dublin Goes Dark, where staff were asked to leave their phones at reception when they finished for the day, to create a better distinction between work and life. They are not alone. France, the perennial defender of La Bonne Vie, is set to pass a law that will allow workers to ignore their email after 6pm.
Behind all of these experiments and debates, is a bigger question about our relationship to technology. Rather than being slaves to the upgrade cycle, people are now talking about the Slow Tech movement. It was actually one of the subjects I spoke about with French entrepreneur and digital philosopher, Tariq KRIM, during the very first episode of my podcast, Between Worlds.
Some of the biggest adherents to the idea of Slow Tech are, nor surprisingly, concerned parents. Those of us born in the seventies, grew up in the shadow of the apparently corrosive influence of television. TV was our generation’s moral hazard, but at least it was controllable. There was a time for homework, a time for family dinner, and a time for reruns of M.A.S.H. In the smartphone age, such delineations are not so easy to make — unless, like one ambitious cafe, you build your dining room as a Faraday cage.
Your devices are getting faster, but you don’t have to.
And yet in a way, design may actually be the best solution to connectivity overload. Rather than designing for ever increasing speed and throughput, we may actually start to imagine products that come with in-built friction, that are designed to slow us down. Think of it as a kind of stomach band for our tech addiction.
Here are couple of examples:
- The new Leica M-D is a gorgeous digital camera without a LCD screen, and manual controls for aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It is designed to re-create both the creative focus, and the anticipation that traditionally came with analog film photography.
- Apps like IA Writer, and devices like the Freewrite, remove the temptations of modern tablets, to offer writers the same distraction-free environment as an old school typewriter did.
- The Punkt mobile phone has had all of the features of a hyper-connected smartphone surgically incised, and simply allows the user to text and make calls. As its makers explain, ‘The more our phones do, the more they demand of us’.
- Vinyl sales are having a mighty resurgence. The warmth of the analog sound is only one of the attractions of the medium. Also appealing is the mindfulness that putting on a record requires, as opposed to the instant gratification of streaming an algorithmic playlist.
- Long form content platforms like Medium are gaining a wider audience, as readers — tired of 140 character updates or moronic click bait lists — seek more reflective alternatives. Even on mobile.
Some might fairly label Slow Tech products and practices as a Luddite reaction to the inevitable ascent of technology. You can’t stop progress, and it is certainly dangerous to try and regulate it into submission. But as co-creators of the future, it is also foolish to completely abdicate aesthetic control over what technology offers us, and how we wish to live.
A faster future is always possible, but is it desirable?
At the same time, we should resist becoming the grumpy elder who has lost touch with the new generation. Maybe several decades from now, if brain interfaces to technology become commonplace, our kids, now themselves parents, will find themselves bemoaning their own children’s habits.
Do you best to suppress your wry grin as you hear them yelling in the next room, ‘Hey! How many times do I have to tell you to stop doing that? I know you are thinking on the computer again. Use an iPad like a normal person for once!’
If you are interested in more of my ideas, you can stalk me on the Web. I spend 300 days a year travelling: researching markets, interviewing clever people, giving talks and looking for the future in the seeds of the present. Drop me a line if you would like me to speak at your next event.