flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘cynicism

Top ranking political online newspapers

If you are interested in current affairs, I highly recommend the Indian blog, The Acorn.  Always clearly & succincly written, you will get a daily editorial on international affairs on the sub-continenent that is informed and analytical.

The despair of the right

Dedicated as I am to reading their thoughtful and professional analysis, I’m not sure though that I can subscribe to their world view.

One of their themes is to dismiss the righteous and the cynical as being unable to engage in ‘real politik’.

Some time last week, they published a good parable about two fishermen.  One fisherman was virtuous, never broke any rules and did not catch enough food to feed his family.  The other was cynicial.  He knew that other people were more successful fishermen but never learned their skills.

Accept the challenge by the right

I think it is always useful for the pragmatic ,and even resolutely right-wing, to challenge liberals and lefties. We should take right-wing taunts as a reminder that sometimes we are lazy and use the notion of being right to avoid hard work and the anxiety of challenging  moral choices.  It is also true that cynics are lazy, if not feckless, and cover their lack of application with curmudgeonly commentry.

But don’t buy into their existential despair and ’emperor’s clothes’

I don’t buy the argument, though, that we have to cheat to meet our worldly needs and our reasonable worldly need for status.

Why can’t we simply decide to make money honestly?  Yup, I know they are calling the virtuous and the cynical as sour grapes. That is a reasonable call.  But I think ‘emperor’s clothes’ are worse.  Pretending that sour, rotting grapes are sweet and delicious is just as bad, as dismissing the victor’s grapes as sour.

How I know this is your emperor’s clothes and not my sour grapes

There has to be a middle way of defining a fresh ripe harvest and working honestly, with others, to achieve it.  I want a prize worth having.  Sweet delicious grapes, please.  You may be sitting on a bigger pile.  May be all your grapes are delicious.  But do you know, I don’t believe you.  You are so concerned with losing that you would lie rather than be seen to lose.

That is the real difference between the right and the left.  You want to win even when there is no prize.  It is so important to win that you will invent the race and describe a prize that doesn’t exist.  You say to us. Prove it.  Prove the prize doesn’t exist.

Hmm.  I don’t have to.  If the prize existed, you would be busy enjoying it.  You wouldn’t be trying to get my attention!

Show me the prize or race just for fun!

As for the left, we want the prize and we won’t compete unless there is one.  Yes, I know.  When we compete and lose, we justify our lack of ability by claiming there is no prize. Yes.  That happens a lot.   Right wing politics has its share of curmudgeons though.  Hegemony is rampant on the right.  But we wouldn’t be whining if we thought there was no prize.  It is up to us to go out and get it.

I want to see the prize first.  The lads and lasses that just want to race up and down for prizes that don’t exist can be my guest.   I might even join them sometimes for fun.  But I am not going to kid myself that they are doing anything more than that.  This is leisure activity. Not politics or economy.

Living with the compulsively competitive right wing

So indeed there will be fisherman who are unsuccessful and cover up their lack of success under the cover of virtue or cynicism.  But if the others are so successful, they wouldn’t give a jot about the unsuccessful fisherman.  They would not necessarily be callous either.  They would make the unsuccessful offers.  They would discretely ensure their children were OK.  They would even rein in any unfair practices.   But they wouldn’t be threatened by the unsuccessful.  Why would they?  They have the prize.  Or do they?

All they are doing is negotiating for a prize that they believe they would win.  I think this is what Warren Buffet calls being attracted by the terms of a sale.  “We want a race so we can win a prize.’

Sorry.  We aren’t going there.  First, the prize is too important and your racing takes up too much time.  Second, you won’t necessarily win and then you will whine.

We’ll aim for the prize.  We’ll even set up races and prizes so you can have fun.  But aren’t turning everything into a race to satisfy your compulsion to win (which you won’t necessarily do anyway).  We just aren’t going there!

Are you sleep walking through your life?

Well are you alive? Do you have pulse? At best, are you sleep walking through life? Are you wandering from one thing to another not particularly enthused by anything, maybe grumbling when you have a chance, spreading your vague dissatisfaction but wishing you weren’t?

Are you keeping company with people who are dull and dusty? Do you work in an industry or a company which is really a zombie? Slowly dying, but not aware of their slow decay and certainly not in the market for anything lively or exciting?

Deteriorating as slowly as possible is not a life. Denying that we are just deteriorating as slowly as possible is not a life either.

6 symptoms of stagnation and deteriorating as slowly as possible

John Olgbert listed 6 symptoms of a community that is “slowly deteriorating”, stagnating in self-satisfaction and lack of urgency.

1. “Phoning-it in”

We go through the motions. We take short-cuts. We do our second-best work in the belief that we are so good that 2nd best is good enough. When we are challenged, we even argue that no one will notice – and probably laugh.

Assessment: What task will take the longest this week – either in one go or when you do it repeatedly? Are we going to try a new way of doing it or are we going to use the same methods and words that we have recycled for years?

5 If you will add a completely fresh and flourishing look

3 If you are making an improvement

1 If you are following a script written by you or by any one else.

2. Cynicism

When other people do better than us, are we are jealous or envious or admiring and curious. Do we find some way to diminish the successes of others so that we don’t have to take any action ourselves, either to catch up, or to advance our own dreams?

Assessment: Who does what we do so much better than we do? What do they do that we would like to do just as well? Or are we able to dismiss our dreams readily with “don’t have time”, “not important”, “not my priority”? Of course not, :), that’s why we noticed in the first place.

5 I know someone who does a better job than I do and I watch what they do with curiosity

3 I am jealous of someone but I do try to find out how they do what they do

1 I don’t care!

3. Nostlagia

We spend more time describing what used to be and how good it was than talking about what we are doing now and the people we are with now.

Assessment: What were the best conversations that we had during the week. How many were about the past and how many are about now!

5 Our enjoyable conversations about now exceed enjoyable conversations about other times, other places and other people by 5:1

3 Our enjoyable conversations about now exceed enjoyable conversations about other times, other places and other people by 3:1

1 Our enjoyable conversations about now exceed enjoyable conversations about other times, other places and other people by 2:1 or less

4. Few volunteer

We don’t volunteer to lead and no one else does either! Fewer and fewer people want to be part of this game!

Assessment: How many young people are banging on you door to be taken on as an apprentice? How many tasks did you volunteer to do with a spring in your step knowing that this is a community that you really want to be part of?

5 We have more good volunteers for leadership positions and they volunteer without cajoling

3 We have enough good volunteers for leadership positions but we have to put some effort into attracting them and rewarding them

1 We have not been able to find enough people to take on leadership positions

5. Dull tasks don’t get done

The little things that make the difference don’t get done and feel like drudgery.

Assessment: Do you spend all day chasing people to do what no one wants to do?

5 Everything is shipshape here and I wonder how and when all this work gets done

3 Work gets done but I do have to make a list and double check

1 There are small tasks everywhere that are yet to be completed

6. Self-importance

Even though the celebration is over and we are in a new race with new people and new priorities, we are still introducing ourselves as winners of the last race.

Assessment: We are rightly proud of what we achieve and so is every one else. Everyone admires us and we rarely hear any negative feedback. Of course, everything is perfect around here 🙂

5 We are alive to differences in opinions and interests and when we agree to differ we do so respectfully expecting to join forces on other projects

3 We do have goal but we expect to be respected by our rivals

1 Rivals? What rivals?

Rate your life and your involvement with our community and company!

I’ve used this to rate the various places I have worked. It provides a good summary of when we should be thinking of “recrafting” our jobs. A rating less than 25 and we should we listening to Dr Rao on Googletalk (YouTube) and doing some career housekeeping!

Of course, if you have rated 18 or below, you will be feeling so energy less, you will click away and look for another diversion.   Do you yourself a big favor and right this minute, right a short summary of your day, figure out what you could do better.  Then right away, write down Why you did so well. Do that now.  Recover your life.  Fall back in love with life again.  Even if it seems the most impossible thing to do.  Begin.

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