The Linsenblog


When you find yourself arguing a point…

The world as we see it, is in my opinion nothing more than a series of stories, and as such, the creators of stories begin with a conclusion and seek proof, because being right strokes the ego. So when we hear a story that can be seen as “more proof” of whatever the original conclusion is, it drives home how “right” we are and has the potential to send us into a tirade of “RIGHTeousness” during which we can become genuinely offended by anyone who would suggest to the ego that the story is not true, or that there is more than one truth, or that the story is just a story…

It does not even matter who tells us the story…

So… when an event takes place, those on one side of a conclusion reach for the data that speaks to the ego, and those on the other side (of what appears to be only a two sided issue) do the same thing and seek the data that speaks to the ego. Neither are seeking intimacy, neither are seeking to learn, both are responding to the demands of the ego and become vehemently willing to defend their own position, as that serves to reinforce the ego.

As a result, neither party ever looks for a third possibility, let alone many more possible stories which in the end may be just as likely.

In the end, when we see something as “proof”, or “Plain as day”, or even as just being “right” we should be wary, for surely this “proof” is just being “right” and so serves nobody but ourselves.

“Human beings are – Pleasure seeking, pain avoiding robots, compulsively driven to prove themselves right” – Carol Reynolds

Avoiding Intimacy with Social Media

I have been thinking about Social Media a great deal lately, both because I am speaking around the country on Social Media and Marketing though Social Media and I have some conclusions about why Social Media in its many forms is so popular in the world.

If we take a look at people and assume that more people have a “Not OK” existential or psychological position as described in transactional analysis, and if we assume that it is BECAUSE of this position that people are reluctant to engage in intimate communication with others, then we can take a short jump and also make the assumption that the barriers to connecting with people in a real way are only present when we as people have to interact with others in intimate ways. The further we distance ourselves from the communication, the more comfortable we get with the interaction. This means that Social Media, as a way of communicating is equal to text messaging at creating distance while still actually communicating, and this ALONE will make Social Media incredibly popular with the majority of people.

Now lets add to that by suggesting that Social Media is ALSO a fantastic time structuring tool, which lets us busy ourselves for as little or as much time as we like without being intimate in any way, with anybody. What could be more attractive to someone fearing intimacy?

I think that Social Media tools allow people to create the illusion of intimacy, with larger groups of people in a way that is strikingly similar to the connection maintained by online gaming enthusiasts. Facebook or Twitter could be looked at very easily as the online game of non-gamers. The tools allow us to form groups without intimate connection, interact with celebrities of all kinds, communicate in non-intimate ways with people who are friends, as well as those who are really not, but are called “Friends” or “Followers” both of which are appealing, but perhaps a bit misleading terms when we look at the groups that we form as a whole.

So Social Media I think, combines the ability to form and maintain groups with which a person can interact, from a distance and in non-intimate ways, preserving the illusion of connection but without the actual risks or rewards of intimacy, and lets us structure our communication so that we can look at ourselves as powerful and potent individuals by removing the fear that many deal with in face to face or group interactions.

This combination is as potentially devastating as it is powerful, in that it provides a seductive tool that feeds the ego while increasing the lack of intimacy for many. It might be wise to use caution with our new toys, to check in with ourselves and see if we are still connecting in real ways with the people around us, or if in fact we are creating more and more distance.

For now I think we will all have to be our own judge.


Some thoughts on jobs.

I have been talking to a lot of people lately, and I have seen more of them without jobs than I ever have before. Downturns, Layoffs, Companies closing, etc. What strikes me the most is that despite knowing that we are in a different kind of economy, and despite knowing from history what a downturn, or a recession, or even a depression does to the workforce. Lots and lots of people are looking for jobs for many months or even years, unwilling to change their mind about what “They Do” or what “They are worth”. It seems that as a whole, the people of the United States have forgotten that what we “are worth” is completely determined by the market. What a company would pay for a qualified employee in the best of times, might be drastically different than what they are willing to, or even able to pay for the same employee during the times that are not so hot.

It also seems that there are far fewer people willing to start a business, work independently or for multiple companies in smaller increments etc. Even though history would suggest that this is the BEST time to start a business, to find new ways to be valuable to people or companies in new ways.

We simply have to change our minds. We have to look for a little more of the original spirit that forged our country. We have to realize that we do not have a “Right” to a job, and that having a job was never the American Dream. The opportunity is HERE NOW but it takes courage, it takes commitment, it takes effort!

Change your mind! If you are without employment and you are not earning now, what do you risk? We have to stop wishing for the world that was, the economy that was, and the jobs of yesteryear. We have to look at our circumstances as they are, we have to see the world as it is. We then have to act in accordance with the world that is, with the now that presents itself to us.

You can stand around and complain that there are no jobs, or you can go find a way to be VALUABLE to someone else. After all if you are looking for a job that is really what you are doing, you are looking for a spot where you can be of sufficient value so as to be paid for it. Starting a new business of any kind is the same, look for a way that you can apply yourself in a way that is valuable to another, if there is someone willing to pay you a wage for that GREAT, if there is not, but there are folks who will pay you directly for the product or service…. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

My good friend Carol is nearly famous for saying “most of you are waiting, I don’t know what you are waiting for, but you are waiting…”

Stop waiting and start acting, change your mind, change your actions, change your reality.

Nobody will do it for us, we must do this for ourselves. We have to do SOMETHING.

You never know, along the way you might just rediscover the American Dream.

Purpose, Direction, and Motivation

Purpose, Direction, and Motivation are the three things that a leader MUST provide to the team in order to have success. Leave any one of them out, and the results of the team will suffer.

This material should be included in all high school curriculum at some point instead of just in the MJROTC courses, because the fundamentals of leadership are simply a requirement to achieving ones goals.

The leader must provide Purpose, so that the team knows what it is supposed to accomplish. They must understand the goal so that they can act in the absence of the leader. They must have a understanding of the objective, of what is expected of them and by what standard they will be judged in order to set for themselves an idea of what accomplishment means.

The leader must provide Direction, because the team needs also to know HOW the objective is to be reached. In some cases the objective is enough and the direction that is given is to use best judgement, rely on past experience etc, but in this case Direction has still been given, and the team members will perform well because they have been given this trust. It is unwise to do this all the time, or the leader will never shape the team the way he or she wants, and will never have demonstrated the kind of thinking required, resulting in the team feeling insecure when they use their own judgement. So Direction then is first used as a training aid, and ensures that the team delivers the result in the manner expected, and then later as a means of ensuring that the team members will call upon experience and grow in their own leadership skills because they have been given the direction to do so, once that place in the development of the team has been reached.

The leader must lastly provide Motivation to the team. The team can understand what is expected and how the expectation is to be reached, but not having an internal drive to accomplish the task, they will perform only at low levels, and the team morale can suffer. The leader MUST take it upon him or herself to provide motivation in whatever manner the team needs most, and which will result in the highest performance. If the leader thinks that the team should self motivate, or that having a job is enough – it is just LAZY thinking and the results will nearly always demonstrate this.

So while these things to not in and of themselves make a great leader, in order to effectively lead, these basic fundamentals must be provide to the team, and it is the leader… who must provide them.

Purpose, Direction, and Motivation

Physical vs Moral Courage

If you ask the average man, very likely he would say there are many kinds of courage However I believe and the Marine Corps teaches that they boil down to but two. Physical Courage, and Moral Courage.

Physical Courage is overcoming the fear of bodily injury, while Moral Courage is overcoming the fear of emotional harm or rejection from others.

Physical Courage is the one that most men will point to when puffing their chests and telling the world how brave they are. Overcoming fear of physical injury after all is present in the performance of many sports, social violence in the form of fights, and more. In no way should you take away from this writing that I am diminishing physical courage, after all, without that rare and most powerful form of this courage displayed by so many of our troops throughout the years and many wars, none of us would enjoy the lives we currently do. Physical Courage then, is profound to be sure.

Moral Courage on the other hand is a tricky business, it is sometimes so subtle that a bystander could miss it. Which can make it all the more difficult to find, since the trick about it is really to risk the pain, when very likely nobody will recognize it as courage, and still you find that you must do what is right.

Would you risk the admiration of your friends to do the right thing? The love of your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend? Would you risk friendships and trade being liked?

Would you risk your own reputation in order to do the right thing as you see it?

Hard questions to be sure. We all like to think that we can do the right thing when it matters, but when tested, how many of us fail? When questioned, how many of us seek to explain ourselves and get back what we may have lost, or undo the very good that we might have done by remaining silent and taking the pain for the highest good.

Say for example your good friend is addicted to diet pills and you are concerned for his or her safety. Knowing that if you tell someone, your friend might well never speak to you again. Are you willing to trade their friendship for his or her life?

I believe we should think about these things before they happen. We should decide ahead of time and revisit that decision often. This repetition trains us so we can act more confidently when the situation presents itself, even when in our hearts, the conflict rages, when we want so very much to take the easy road, and just be liked…

The leader will often make decisions that are unpopular, often will take actions that others will condemn. The leader must act according to his or her own moral code and stand by it even when it will cost them. This goes to the core of setting the example.

After all, what other people think of us, is really none of our business.

A Little Drama

A little story that describes drama…


Picture the hunter, so proud and tall, stalking the deer with precision and confidence, slowly approaching, stopping near, taking a breath when suddenly there is a bear, who had been nibbling on some berries and was startled by the hunter. Now the hunter backs away, and the bear follows making loud bear noises, leaving the deer safe and secure and then…


Did the bear rescue the deer?
Did the bear persecute the hunter?
Was the bear the victim?

What is so curious to me is that in this little story the victim, is completely determined by who is telling the story (grin)

The bear might tell a story of an evil deer, who craftily lured a hunter in to kill the bear, so that the evil deer could get the berries…

The bear would be convinced of it, sure in his mind that He was the victim here, that there was no other possible answer, that the evil deer was doing this on purpose! That it was to get the berries, and that the deer would stop at nothing to get them. That it was even willing to use a hunter,  to cost the poor bear its very LIFE, in order to get what it wanted so evil the deer was. But in the end, the bear was triumphant! (see the bear swelling up with pride) it would not take this from the deer, it would chase down the hunter, and then return…

This is of course only one side of the triangle, the deer would tell a different story, and would be equally convinced of his victim state, and the hunter to be sure would tell a very different story indeed, think about how she feels and how she would tell the story…

oh but then, did you even consider that the hunter might be a woman?

The Monk and The Travelers

I was reading a post on the Facebook page of my dear friend Samara, whom I love dearly, and she said that she “hated duty, and this place.” and was reminded of a story.

One of my favorite stories actually – I post it here now in its complete form. They are not my words, but there are so many credits listed in the world for it, that I fear I do not know who wrote it originally. Therefore I credit the original author whomever they may be.

The Monk and The Travelers

One day a traveler was walking along a road on his journey from one village to another. As he walked he noticed a monk tending the ground in the fields beside the road. The monk said “Good day” to the traveler, and the traveler nodded to the monk. The traveler then turned to the monk and said, “Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Not at all,” replied the monk.
“I am traveling from the village in the mountains to the village in the valley, and I was wondering if you knew what it is like in the village in the valley?”

“Tell me,” said the monk, “what was your experience of the village in the mountains?”
“Dreadful,” replied the traveler. “To be honest I am glad to be away from there. I found the people most un-welcoming. When I first arrived I was greeted coldly. I was never made to feel part of the village no matter how hard I tried. The villagers keep very much to themselves, they don’t take kindly to strangers. So tell me, what can I expect in the village in the valley?”
“I am sorry to tell you,” said the monk, “but I think your experience will be much the same there.”
The traveler hung his head despondently and walked on.

A few months later another traveler was journeying down the same road, and he also came upon the monk.
“Good day,” said the traveler.
“Good day,” said the monk.
“How are you?” asked the traveler.
“I’m well,” replied the monk. “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to the village in the valley,” replied the traveler. “Do you know what it is like?”
“I do,” replied the monk. “But first tell me—where have you come from?”
“I’ve come from the village in the mountains.”
“And how was that?”
“It was a wonderful experience. I would have stayed if I could, but I am committed to traveling on. I felt as though I was a member of the family in the village. The elders gave me much advice, the children laughed and joked with me, and people were generally kind and generous. I am sad to have left there. It will always hold special memories for me. And what of the village in the valley?” he asked again.

“I think you will find it much the same,” replied the monk. “Good day to you.”
“Good day and thank you,” the traveler replied, smiled and journeyed on.

The power of feedback

Recently a wonderful opportunity was presented and I was reacquainted with an old friend, a tool that has lead me through countless changes and one that continues to point out the little things that I need to work on . That tool of course is feedback.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to discount feedback from others when it does not feel great? Sure sometimes the feedback feels wonderful, and we take that information and believe it straight away, reinforcing the oh so wonderful view of ourselves that we have, but that exact same person can share something that is constructive, but perhaps a bit harsh, and we immediately begin to rationalize the information, or completely dismiss it as false, or worst case, decide that the person is not even a friend of ours if they would make up such lies…

Yet negative feedback can be the only way to identify parts of ourselves that we might wish to change, the view from the outside looking in after all, is nearly always very different than the view from the inside looking out. (I assure you it is in my case).

One example of this is found in another useful little tool that has been around for a very long time called a Johari Window This little guy is a diagram of both self, and also groups and it shows the four areas of perception which are listed below.

  1. That which we know about ourselves, and which other people also know. (Open/Free)
  2. That which we know about ourselves, but which is hidden from others. (Hidden)
  3. That which is hidden from us, but is obvious to those around us. (Blind)
  4. That which is hidden from both ourselves and others. (Unknown)

The diagram looks like this;

In this image, the lines dividing each of the areas is equal, however this is nearly never an accurate representation, we as people who are in relationship with others, typically have a great deal of stuff that is not in the open. The following is an example of a new team member for example.

As you can see, the Open/Free area is very small, while the remaining areas are larger. This group dynamic will never function at high levels, unless something is changed, and that work is all about communication. In order to change both ourselves, and the group dynamic, we need to exchange information.

The only way to decrease the Hidden area, is to reveal information to others.

The only way to decrease the Blind area is to accept feedback from others (a bit tricky as we have already established.)

The only way to decrease the Unknown area is through discovery, a process that becomes easier and easier as the other areas are reduced, and the Open/Free area becomes dominant as shown below.

The primary focus of our topic today, is feedback, and the use of feedback as a tool for change. So lets focus on that for a moment, and here is the key. Harsh feedback can be difficult for us to take, and you have to prepare your mind to receive it.

In order to prepare your mind for negative feedback, the kind that might actually reveal parts of yourself that you are blind to… you have to solicit the information. Yep, you have to ask for it. You see if you ask for the feedback, and you prepare yourself to hear some things you dont like, you have a much higher chance of believing it, and then changing that part of yourself through whatever process works best. Sometimes its just repeatedly receiving the feedback, and other times you have to take on new challenges, or work differently in order to change whatever it is, that we want to change.

Say for example that you believe you are funny when you make sarcastic comments, but when you ask a group of peers, you get feedback that suggests you are offensive. Because you asked for the information, you take it to heart and over time, you begin to notice that the sarcasm is not appreciated by others, and that they perceive you as thinking you are better than them. You decide to take the feedback and change this behavior, and you stop making sarcastic comments. Shortly thereafter, you begin to notice that people seem happier to hang out and speak with you, and that you have better relationships.

This example is very basic and short, and often the things about ourselves that we want to change are not so obvious, but it serves to illustrate the example.

The bottom line, is that feedback is an incredibly powerful tool for showing you things about yourself that you may not even be aware of, and to increase its effectiveness you have to ask for the feedback.

Try it, each time I do, I am in the end happy with the changes that I have made, and I feel like I have grown. My hope is that your experience is the same.

In the service of others

It has been a while since I have written, I apologize for those of you who might have been waiting (grin).

Tonight I got the opportunity to read the words of my dear friend Ava Fails who without trying, reminded me that I can and do, make a difference in the lives of others. Which of course is why I get up every day to begin with, and I never want to forget that my moments of joy are those when I get to recognize that I have made a difference, that I have been in the service of another and that the result was positive.

That thought naturally reminded me also that we are most effective, productive, and profitable, when we are in the service of others. When our efforts are not selfishly intended just to benefit us, but in fact are designed and executed to the benefit of others. Think about the stars of the music world, or of the screen, etc (I am sure I have mentioned this at some point), they are rewarded most, when what they produce is a gift to others in some way. Authors, manufacturers, and physicists alike receive most, when their effort and intent, is targeted at some positive result, for another person or persons.

So, want to succeed, become truly wealthy, and feel great?

Be… In the service of others.

Seeing the greatness around you

What do you see when you look at the people around  you?

What do you look for would be a better question

Do you see greatness? Or is it something less, faults, flaws, failures, weaknesses, etc. What does that say about you?

What does it mean that you see less than greatness around you?

If you look for and see the greatness in others, it can change you. If you share that vision, it can change them.

As an exercise try this – write down the greatness that you see in everyone that you know. Make a list of each and every person that you know and then identify how they are great, identify the quality of greatness that is in them.

Try to spend an entire day, seeing only greatness, try again and again until you make it the whole day. I am willing to bet, that if you make it a whole day, the way you feel at the end, and the results that you get from that day, will get you to try a week, or a month…

I love the following quote, it really sums it up

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer