Archives For Higher Ground

No Question, It’s Personal

joe —  Sat 15-Jan-11

Dear Martin,

MLK.pngI was thinking about you this past week, being your birthday and all and wanted to thank you for one of the many great life lessons you taught me.

You once wrote

The nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding…The nonviolent resister seeks to attack the evil system rather than individuals who happen to be caught up in the system.

While I love the concept and try very hard to incorporate it into my life, it has been a struggle. I still fail often despite my best intentions.

The problem is that it is so much easier to muster up the energy to fight a bad idea when I can put an enemy in front of it. Hating an idea is so much easier when I can see Glenn Beck or Bill Maher’s face. It’s personal then and when it gets personal I have more fight in me.
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The Fear of Greatness

joe —  Sun 5-Dec-10

I struggle with greatness. This really dawned on me as I was watching No Ordinary Family, a show where everyone in the family has a super power.

Undercover Super Hero.pngWhat if I had a super power? What if there were one skill in this world that put me in a class of one? What would be expected of me? Would I be happier?

I’ll be honest, the thought of greatness brings out little Woody Allen moments of anxiety. It really set home these past few weeks in, of all things, preparing our team’s 2011 budget.

Budgets are in essence a process where you declare how much money it would take to be great. How much money would it take to deliver a product that would shatter our competition, amaze our customers, and make our shareholders rich beyond their wildest dreams?

But we never get enough money – nobody does. That’s how the economic principles of scarcity work. What if we did? What if our superpower was to persuade the CFO to give us an unlimited budget? What would be expected of us? Would we be happier?
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What Do You Do For a Living?

joe —  Sun 28-Nov-10

Do for a Living.pngIt’s a mutual friend’s Christmas party and I’ve just been introduced to you. After a few minutes of conversation I ask you “What do you do for a living?”

How did you respond?

How do you describe what you do for a living? I always wrestle with that. I’m a degreed electrical engineer that became a software engineer and haven’t written a lick of professional code in 15 years of engineering management and leadership. Yet none of those are the right answer.

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Despite what I wrote back on January 1st, tonight will be the only true blue moon this year. Science is fascinating to me in that it never takes anything today as absolutely true, only a stepping stone to what is likely more true tomorrow. It’s in a constant state of refinement and understanding.

Take for instance our dearly dead friends Ptolemy and Copernicus. You may remember that Ptolemy once proclaimed that the planets and sun all revolved around the earth. The difficulty with this easily accepted idea was that there were a lot of things that didn’t quite add up and required very complicated explanations on how this all worked.

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I Was an Accident

joe —  Sat 16-Oct-10

I was an accident, but then again so were Post-It Notes and look how much better our office lives are for that.

I remember the very day that my mother gathered up all of the courage she could, probably doing so every day for the previous 17 years to finally break it to me that I was the accidental result of a short lived affair she had before she met and married the man I knew as Dad. She then explained how Dad then legally adopted me and blessed me with my very complicated last name. Apparently I was the last one in the family to know this secret including my younger brother.

What amused me most was how scared everyone in the family was with how I would react. Even months after the news I would still have relatives come up, do that little head bob that seems to always accompany the question, and ask “How are you doing with the news?” Their reaction confused me much more than the original confession. As a matter of fact I think I responded to my mom with “Hmmm, that explains a lot”. (My brother and I are total opposites.) The news, while interesting, didn’t really matter much to me.

Somehow in our world we have muddled up the word accident to be the combination of the actual event as well as its unintended result; Post-It Notes were an accident, that pregnancy was an accident, Joe was an accident. No, Post-It Notes were the result of a failed designed. Post-It Notes themselves are amazing! Continue Reading…

What a Waste of Time

joe —  Sat 9-Oct-10

I have some friends that are incredibly efficient. I constantly marvel as they take on a task, use no time in breaking through the barriers, and then slay the beast without any wasted effort. I imagine that if I were a FedEx delivery man, an EMT, or a just-in-time supplier that efficiency would be a major skill I would need to master.

There is one area of life where efficiency is the enemy.
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This week has been both fun and a real challenge for me. I hope it was for you as well. It’s been interesting reading all of the private email and phone calls I get about the topics. I often wonder why y’all are afraid to post them into comments. You have some great ideas and thoughts.

That is what leads us to the subject of the last day of the Week of Living Consciously – your ideas. All of the subjects this week as well as every week come from your ideas. All I do is assemble what others have taught me over the years and try to make them accessible. I read a lot, I listen a lot and I practice a lot but there is one catalyst that has moved me further than any other, Continue Reading…