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Posts Tagged ‘whinging poms

Whinging poms seem to like adventure ~ a lot

I’ve lived abroad all my life so I still notice things in Britain that other people take for granted.

Like many noobes here, particularly from the ex-colonies, I’m amazed at British whinging.  People don’t complain.  They whinge.  Like satire, which I must admit I enjoy, whinging expresses criticism and negativity, but doesn’t try to change anything.  It is essentially the icing of negativity and complacency ~ an “I’m alright Jack” outlook on life.  Hence the colonial mystification.  We are doers.  We get jumpy when we aren’t fixing a fence post or shoring up a bridge. (Remember that!  Always put us to work.  We are insufferable otherwise.)

Brits enjoyed the closure of European airspace

The great grounding of aircraft across Europe, courtesy of the Icelandic Volcano and ‘winds blowing the wrong way’, brought out another side to the British.

After the first day of irrational rage from some passengers yet to leave British shores, Brits set to figuring out places to stay when all hotels were chock-a-block.  They set about crossing Europe, taking each leg at a time, leaving fate to find the hotel and transport for the next leg. Young and old traveled for days sleeping in vehicles or on any dirty floor that they could find.

They enjoyed the scenery.  They explored cafes normally patronized by truck drivers.  They helped each other out.  Uniformily, they talked about the ‘adventure’ and their new appreciation of what and who they met along the way.

Maybe Brits whinge because they are bored?

And it got me thinking.  Maybe Brits whinge because Britain is boring.  I don’t find it boring. It’s big and anything you want is here, somewhere.

But the daily grind of long hours on public transport to do dull repetitive jobs is boring.  Maybe Brits are predisposed to enjoy the unpredictable where they have to solve real problems with other people.  How people have come alive!

Turn work into an adventure?

Maybe we should jettison all these tiresome employee engagement forms and ask one question as employees leave the building: did you have a good adventure today?

Did you have a good adventure today?

What do you think?

Is Web2.0 healthy?

The critics say not.  They are so wrong but in one aspect they are right.

In the past, when we dithered, we doodled or watched TV.  Now we can express our dithering in a blog.  I am doing that now!

All around me I have seen signs today of people dithering

Let’s take the US blogosphere for a moment.

“Let me be clear,” as politicians are wont to say these days.  I am not American. But I an infinitely curious about Obama.  I watch politics and economics generally and I have a Google Alert for “Obama”.  Every day I read anything and everything that is written about Obama!  I have an ongoing and thorough sample.  This is what I “hear” from America.

America is in a panic

And they are projecting their panic onto Obama.  “Obama is dithering,” people cry.   Uh-uh.  Obama is going like a train.  But the bloggers are dithering. Oh, the bloggers are dithering.

Let me explain how I read dithering in the average blog post

Tendentious

  • Almost every blog post that I read about Obama ~ for him or against him ~ is tendentious.  It is clear that the author has a position that goes something like this.  I am uncomfortable about the world and I am uncomfortable in this world.  And then they follow that view by a ragbag of ragbag of stuff that Obama did.  It’s a jumble of unrelated stuff that reflects what the blogger is feeling.  I include the Huff Post in this sweeping generalization.

Circular

  • The weirdest part about this stream of muddle coming out of the bloggersphere in the US is that bloggers think that something might change when they write what they write.  Such narcissism!  Their superficial logic goes like this.  “Obama is wrong.  I say so.  Obama will now do what I say is right.”  Will he?  Do the bloggers really believe they have that power to blackmail change by voicing their ill temper?  Or is their logic even more weird?  “Obama will not change and so I can carry on being uncomfortable and whinge and whine until eternity?”  Become a “whinging pom”?  Well why not?  Maybe that is the destiny of fading empires.

Irascible

  • I think that the blog posts are a from of dithering.  They are a form of dithering as people decide what action to take.  I lived in Zimbabwe most of my life and I used to say there that when you start complaining about Mugabe it is time to get a life.  I use complaining about Heads of State as my rule of thumb that someone is losing the plot!  The complainer doesn’t even know the man (or woman).  They have no influence.  Their narrative is, and can only be, displacement activity.  It is a expression of bad temper, no more or less.

Scared witless by our own decision

  • But not all displacement activity is bad.  It is good when we recognize dithering as a signal that we are building up to take a decisive step in our own lives.  We have made the decision already.  That decision is made.  But we haven’t taken the first step.  The first step scares us silly.  So we rant, rave and complain about others!

What is the decision that has scared us so?

  • I think a certain amount of dithering is helpful.  It helps us muster the energy and commitment for the journey.  It helps us say goodbye to what must be left behind.  It helps us tidy away what we want to find on our return, much as we tidy an apartment before we leave on holiday. The big question though is what is the decision we have made.

What is going on behind the appearance of sulking?

Writing this, I realize that I should read American blogs with these questions in mind:

  • What decision(s) have been made that American bloggers are winding up to put into practice?
  • What decisions are they delaying (possibly unwisely)?
  • How does their procrastination affect me (and to be frank advantage me?)
  • When I act, how will my actions affect them? (They are far away and I am not very important so not very much ~ but the question should be on the general list of questions.)
  • When I comment on their blogs (if they let me ~ many are blocked off), what could I say that is useful to their story?

What decisions have been made in the US by the ordinary blogger?

Many seem to be trying out a policy of sulking?  But maybe there is something more interesting going on underneath?

Dithering

So yes, I am dithering. I am writing about American bloggers dithering to avoid doing some tasks of my own.   Have I managed to move from futurology to presentology?  Have I managed to bring myself to a state of action?

  • I think so.  Americans (as a rough group) are in the stage of bargaining.    In the 5 stage process of grief, they may slip through a period of depression when they realize that they have to start living again.  Then hopefully they fall in love again with life as it is.  We are close to the end.  For people interested in these processes ~ people have take a year since Lehman’s collapsed to get to this point and America had an election in the middle.  That might have slowed down the process of adjustment.
  • In the meantime, I can try to understand the decision that American bloggers have made but have not yet enacted.  What is scaring them silly?  When I understand that, I will find their blogs more enjoyable.  They will sap my energy less.  And I might make some friends along the way.

Great weekend to you!

My Saturday mornings are zombie time and this week I have been pondering zombie-lives

How do you spend your Saturday mornings? Some people race around. I find that the best review programmes tend to be on radio and TV on Saturday mornings and I like to let the world wash over me, get up late, and spend some time reflecting on how the week went before I go out to do the shopping and join friends for a meal.

During the week I tend to push observations that are not particularly practical to the back of my mind. In my Saturday morning time, I pull them to the front and tidy them up – make sense of them.

This week I kept brushing up against full-scale denials

In quite unrelated incidents I remembered and noticed a peculiar habit that some people have ~ that we must all have ~ of denying reality.

Of course, it is absurd to think we ever have a completely accurate grasp of the world around us. And we know that there is nothing more delightful and shocking than the view of the world from a completely different perspective. But sometimes we actively deny reality.

Mother of an abused child syndrome

  • I once lived and worked with people who had what I called “mother of the abused child look.” Whenever anything difficult came up, they looked past your left ear.

No one else lives here syndrome

  • I lived previously in a place with quite shocking art. It had no depth perception and the background was often blurred. The background certainly never had people in it except as a silhouette on the horizon.

We are invented the moon, we really did

  • I’ve known communities who live a perfectly Walter Mitty life. They have quite grandiose ideas about their contribution to the world matched only by shocking squalor of their physical circumstances and sparseness of their professional knowledge.

Denial in the big bad West

In the big bad West of the developed world, there is another phenomena. This is not necessarily an individual phenomena, I might add. We all do the things I describe, so it is a cultural phenomena – a collective way that we experience our collective life and express our collective purpose.

As it happens, as it does, a good description of this phenomenon arrived in my Google Alerts in a post on leadership from by John Ortberg, whom I don’t know, but I take it from the details is a Christian minister in the USA. Sadly there is no comment box to leave a note appreciating his work. It you are running an Alert on yourself, thank you.

Deteriorate as slowly as possible

John makes the point that many people seem to live by a motto “Deteriorate as slowly as possible.”

When you have been big, rich and powerful, inevitably there is some decline ~ at least in bigness, richness and power.  Inevitably when you live in a country that is big, rich and powerful, then you have, say, a 66% chance of not really being big, rich or powerful yourself and you live in the reflected glory of people who make your country big, rich and powerful.

The flip side of success then is deterioration. That is is just reality.  It is not a psychological phenomenon.

It becomes sad, it becomes a denial or reality, when we aren’t aware of our deterioration, or we are stuck in deterioration ~ moaning, complaining and whinging such as the English are prone to do. Deterioration is part of our life. It has to be as the shadow of success.  But we must live well within it.

How should we deal with deterioration?

How should we deal with deterioration? Gracefully? That is one option. Gluttonously – that is another option – I know someone who said she enjoyed living in decadent societies. But why not exuberantly? Why can’t we enjoy the morphing and regeneration that is a natural part of life as a snake changing its skin? Why can’t we celebrate the cyclical shriving? Why can’t we celebrate newcomers and mourn the departure of old ways in dignity?

I’ll list John Orteg’s questions for recognising communities who are deteriorating in an unhealthy way in Part Three: Questions to Recognise Cultural Deterioration and What To Do About IT

Part Two: Deny Deterioration at the Cost of Your Love of Life

Part Three: 6 Symptoms of Deteriorating as Slowly as Possible

Whinging poms

Have you ever seen a psychological study of why the English complain about the weather?  Or why the English complain .   .   .

We all know the English talk incessantly about the weather.  The Aussies remind us that poms whinge.  Or rather, the Aussies dismiss “whinging poms” with a frisson of superiority!

Folklore has it that poms whinge about the weather to make small talk.  That smirk of satisfaction begs explanation in turn.  Why is it considered polite to whinge about something we can do nothing about?

If  a South African is talking, they would advise you what to do about the weather. The focus would be on action and the focus would be on the battle of life fought successfully against willful, unhelpful and unbiddable elements.

If an Australian is talking, they would be proud of Australian weather.  I’ve never deciphered that either.  Proud of something you had nothing to do with making???

I know how to treat with a South Africa.  They want to “do”.  They want to be competent.  So simply ask to borrow their umbrella!  They will make sure you get back to your car dry – and probably get your shoes cleaned for you to.

I’ve cracked the English whinge.  You say sweetly:  “I like English weather.  Everything changes so fast.  If you don’t go out for a single day, you miss the daffodils, or a tree that has changed color”.

The English man or woman is left in a dilemma.  Continue whinging and imply England is not up to scratch?  Won’t have that!

So they start being informative.  You’ll hear all about the plants they love.  Your walk to work, or your previously insalubrious train ride, will take on a fresh look as they point out all the best bits of scenery to look out for!

And it works on other topics too.  The English are as volatile as their weather.

Applying positive organizational scholarship . . . with difficulty

Last week, I was lucky to attend Amplifed08 in London which I described here under BHAG for Britain! The post mortem of the meeting has illustrated, with quite delicious irony, how difficult it is to implement the ideas of positive organizational scholarship.

The day-after, the organizers, humble as they are, went on to the wiki, which is open as is the way of new organizations, and asked “What went wrong?”

A day or so later, I posted the appreciative alternative “What went right and what should we do more of?”

The two approaches

The “What went wrong?” question attracted at lot more traffic: it got in first, it was posed by the organizers, and we are used to that question.  People have lots to get off their chests!

The “What went right?” question has generated a third of the edits and at a rough glance, a tenth of volume.

Both questions have attracted information about props and stage directions (right down to the pips in the olives).

Under the appreciative question, we got a comment about something new happening and some information about social structures (A lister and B listers).

Better questions

I did a quick Google for better questions (appreciative inquiry questions). There are plenty of help sites on the web.

I also reflected on the event and the post mortem chatter.  I think people liked the clean white space of NESTA in the middle of London’s financial district.  It felt modern yet solid.

Did we feel that we crossed a Rubicon?  Have we taken the battle to Rome?  Have we gone from fringe to establishment?

And if so, what is next?

What other deep processes accounted for what is ‘true and good, better and possible‘?  I have a few ideas but I would prefer to stop and listen now.


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