BigDataLesko.com – Side Project for Pops

For the past six months, my primary project quite separate from Wiki World Order-related experiments has been to evolve the web-based tools of my father’s business. The work in progress can now be found at BigDataLesko.com, and much of it will soon be duplicated in a mobile app. Given that I have slowly grown into voluntaryist (anarchist) concepts, and his work has historically focused on government money and programs, I want to share a few reconciling thoughts. I am speaking for myself, not my dad, Matthew Lesko.

His primary goals have always been focused on empowering people to do whatever they love doing, becoming their own boss, and turning work into play. Shifting from wage slavery to flexible control of your own life hours and trajectory, doing things you actually enjoy doing and hopefully truly care about. The passion in doing work you love improves your chances of success, even though failure is always a likelihood (so you might as well have fun in your attempts). Find something to do that you wouldn’t want to ‘retire’ from doing.

Until the past few years, the best/easiest way to start your own business was generally to take advantage of government money and programs for which we have already paid in, but tend to be used more by fat cats and their subsidiaries. But recently he (and the world) have increasingly focused on crowdfunding as a generally superior method to becoming an entrepreneur. Not only does this decentralize the process of raising money for your venture, but you can successfully prove the viability of your business by finding your first customers before even starting. This is truly a revolution in small business creation, blind-siding old models taught in business schools past.

I was excited about the Occupy Wall Street movement, because I had been calling for revolution here via Wiki World Order. I was pleased to see coalesced outrage spill over from the internet to the streets, and got involved despite its plentiful shortcomings, especially the lack of strategic union between Occupy and Tea Party, which could have more deeply changed history. But I began to picture what felt like a best~case scenario… perhaps nationwide strikes, pots and pans in the streets, and a full-blown peaceful revolution. And I had a serious realization that we had no system in place to replace the established one, whereas the establishment had spin-off systems B through Z waiting in the wings in the rare case of an [uncontrolled] revolution.

Every dollar which funds the established corporate-industrial complex comes from us…either directly through thoughtless purchases or through our tax dollars. Withholding our dollars from those machines which dominate the established system not only dis-empowers them, but empowers the less centralized alternative society we will need to build together. The corporate-industrial complex will not end because we destroy it, but because we outgrow it, make it obsolete, and [gradually] replace it…’revolution’ or not.

If maybe one-fifth or even one-tenth of people were running their own business, controlling their own lives while providing something valuable to the world, then mega-corporations (and their ownership of government) would literally not exist.

For some, the easiest way to get there might be to reclaim some of the government money (that otherwise tends to trickle up towards the 1%) to fund their piece of the decentralizing solutions. I do see this strategy as an aikido move against the established system. But I also think more entrepreneurs will find crowdfunding to be the superior strategy. Either way, we desperately need far more of us beautifully unique humans working for ourselves instead of tentacles of ‘the man’. We need to support and initiate solving more needs/problems while adhering not to quarterly shareholder profits, but to quadruple-bottom-lines: social, environmental, financial … and PASSION/LOVE/FUN!

Because of all this, I am happy to help technologically bring pops’ business into this decade. I can’t thank my parents enough for the values instilled in me, and am crazy lucky to love my family so much…even if they are [still] statists. ;-P

Three Tips on Helping Your Partner Feel Heard – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/05/02/three-tips-on-helping-your-partner-feel-heard/

I affectionately call myself a “monologue talker”.

What does that mean?

It means that, given the space, I will just talk, and talk, and talk.  When my girlfriend asks me how my day was, I’m likely to give a 10 minute monologue with a blow by blow of each moment.  Or when she asks me to explain something that I’m reading, I’ll not only explain the concept, I’ll go into various perspectives on it, my own feelings and reactions, the arguments and counterarguments I find most persuasive, etc.  It’s frustrating for both of us (and luckily for my clients and students I’ve learnt to edit myself when I’m in the role of “counselor” or “teacher”).

Maybe you have a romantic partner who is a “monologue talker”.  Maybe it’s a friend, a coworker, a boss, or a family member.  Or maybe you’re a “monologue talker”.  Here is the secret about us monologue talkers…we desperately want to feel heard.

And we think that the way to feel heard is to just tell you more and more details about our experience.  But it’s faulty thinking.  It’s actually sharing too much!

And so yes, we monologue talkers need to learn how to chunk down our messages so that we really give our listeners a manageable amount.  But waiting around for someone else to change on their own is frustrating at best.  So let me explain the healthy way to help a monologue talker feel heard and understood, and thus stop monologue talking.

You may have heard of “reflective listening” or maybe “active listening”.  It’s when, as the person listening, you reflect back a personal summary of what the other person said.  For example:

Bob (speaker):  I’m really frustrated about work!  My boss is cutting back hours, and he’s expecting us to still get done all of our normal responsibilities!  He’s insane!

Sally (listener):  Wow!  That does sound really frustrating!  It sounds like it’s really unreasonable of him to think you all can get the same amount of work done in less time.

You don’t reflect back word for word what the speaker said, you try instead to put it in your own words and summarize the speaker’s message.  And while for some, or most, of you may be familiar with reflective listening, let me give you three tips on how to do it really expertly.  In a way that could help that monologue talker in your life really feel heard (and just an fyi, this practice of reflective listening and some of these tips also really help you open up those with the opposite affliction, the “two word talkers”).

First, make an empathetic interruption.  I know this sounds contradictory, show that you’re listening by interrupting.  But I swear this will help monologue talkers.  Saying something like “wait, let me make sure I’ve got it straight so far…” or “hold on, it sounds like you’re saying…” if followed by reflective listening shows that you really care about what the speaker is saying.  It shows the speaker that you care about what they’re sharing and that you have been listening up to this point.  Doing this also is the number one way of helping monologue talkers begin to learn how to chunk down their messages into bite sized pieces.

Second, reflect back what they didn’t say.  In the example above with Bob & Sally, here’s how Sally could have reflected back what Bob didn’t say:

Sally: “Wow, I hear how frustrated you are with your boss.  Are you also anxious about what he might say or do if you can’t do everything in less time?  Do you wish that your job was simply more relaxed and peaceful?”

Bob never talked about feeling anxious about his job, nor did he say anything about what he wishes his work environment was like.  But Sally read between the lines, and intuited what might be going on for Bob that he isn’t saying.  She then reflected that back to him in the form of a question.

Third, react as if whatever the person is describing had happened to you.  React with your face and body.  If the speaker is talking about something sad, let your face and body drop.  If the speaker is talking about something alarming, raise your eye brows, open your eyes more, and make a shocked face.  I don’t mean try to act like it happened to you.  Acting often feels fake and it won’t work.  Really let yourself naturally react as if whatever the speaker is talking about had actually happened to you.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Who are you? – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/04/19/who-are-you/

“Who are you?”

I did an exercise once where I was asked that question repeatedly for 7 minutes.  “Who are you?”  “I’m Alex.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m a white male.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m a counselor.”  “Who are you?” etc.

This exercise may sound really frustrating.  I was in a room with roughly 150 people all doing the same exercise and I assure you, people were definitely getting frustrated by the process.  But it is also an eye opening and amazing exercise.  Questioning and examining who you identify as, what parts of yourself you use to construct your identity, is essential to being more empowered, more compassionate, and more joyful.

Once I got past the surface layer of identity (name, appearance, occupation, likes and dislikes) things started to get interesting.  “Who are you?”  “I’m a good friend.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m someone who pushes himself to works hard and works a lot.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m very loving and compassionate.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m someone people come to for support.” etc.

Some philosophers have argued that since humans are such social creatures that we really don’t have any identity beyond who we are in relationship to other people.  And what about when we are alone?  These same philosophers say we are such social creatures that our identity when we are alone is determined by our relationship to ourselves.  They would say my answer “I’m someone who pushes himself to work hard and work a lot” points to a particular relationship I have with myself that constructs a meaningful identity.

But the exercise doesn’t stop there.

“Who are you?”  “I’m frustrated and tired and I would like some rest.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m someone who thinks this exercise is dumb.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m someone who thinks the world is safe.”  “Who are you?”  “I’m someone who believes in love and peace.”  etc.

Once I got past my surface level identity (name, appearance, occupation, likes and dislikes), and once I got past my social level of identity (how do I relate to other people, how do other people relate to me, and how do I relate to myself), I then uncovered this layer of identity composed of feelings and thoughts.  For many people this is the final stop.  Western culture has consider the realm of thoughts and feelings as the most primal element of identity.

“I think therefore I am.”  Descartes planted the seed for Western culture to identify with thoughts.  You may believe that who you are is the constant stream of thoughts in your head.  You may believe that if you ceased to have a thinking mind then you’d cease to be who you are.  But I assure you that you are not your thoughts.  You are something deeper than your thoughts.

This brings us to the level of feelings, and I’ll add in here needs & values.  I am my feelings & needs.  But even this is not true.  You experience your feelings and needs.  You experience your thoughts.  But you are not your thoughts, feelings, or values.  There is a great meditation I use with many clients and students called the “Witnessing Meditation” where we just observe our thoughts, feelings and needs and see how they are in constant flux.  They are continually changing from one moment to the next, and yet there is something within each of us that is able to stay constantly observing the thoughts, feelings, and needs.

And so if your thoughts, feelings, and needs are in a constant flux, and you are able to stay constantly observing them, then it must be the case that you and I are more than our thoughts, feelings, and needs.  But then who am I?  Who are you?

“Who are you?”  “I am the one who observes all that is within me and all that is outside of me.”  “Who are you?”  “I am the container for an ongoing, ever unfolding process.”

“Who are you?”

“I am that which I am.”

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Being Aware of Your Inner Experience – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/04/05/being-aware-of-your-inner-experience/

One of the main obstacles to communicating that I encounter in myself, and in clients I work with, is a lack of awareness of one’s inner experience in that moment.

It’s as simple as that.  We get into these fights, these conflicts, and we quickly lose all connection with our personal inner experience.  I might become focused on what my partner just said.  I become so focused on how that comment was unfair, mean, unhelpful, or whatever that I don’t notice my own experience.  Or I might become so focused on how this issue is insurmountable, that there’s no solution, and woe is me.  My full attention may be on the perceived outcome if I “lose”, that I can’t see anything else.  Or I might become so flooded with emotion that my brain just shuts down completely; I can’t think or notice anything, everything’s just gone blank and empty.

Where is your attention focused when you’re in a conflict?

Being aware of your inner experience is crucial to healthy, compassionate, and honest communication.  It also can be the most difficult thing to do during a fight.  What does it even mean to “be aware of your inner experience”?  It is the skill of being both aware of what’s going on inside of you and not being controlled by what’s happening in you.  Let me tell you a story to demonstrate this.

I was working with a couple; let’s just say their names were Jack and Jill.  I was working with them at the Relationship Skills Center where I sometimes work.  They started having a conversation about money issues.  Jack went off and said “you know Jill, the problem is how much you’re spending.  If you could just control your spending we wouldn’t be in this mess!”

This is a classic example of one’s attention being focused on the other person, on the external world, rather than the internal world.  Jack is focusing on what Jill is doing or not doing, how Jill could change, and what bad outcomes may come if she doesn’t change.

Jill also lacked much awareness of her inner experience.  You wouldn’t be able to see that on the surface however because on the surface all that she did was keep her mouth shut, looked straight down at the ground, crossed her arms, and slumped in her chair.  She was shut down.  Jill was really allowing the overwhelm of emotions within her run the show.  She couldn’t speak and couldn’t connect.

So I got them both to pause the conversation.  And I started working with Jill on processing her emotions.  I first asked her to just write for a few moments what feelings she was experiencing.  Then after some quite time of personal reflection, she told me and her partner about what feelings were going on for her.  When Jill was able to identify, name, and express her emotions she was no longer overwhelmed by them.  And in fact doing this inner reflection on what her experience was in that moment put her back in the driver’s seat rather than her emotions being in the driver’s seat.

Then I turned to Jack.  I asked him “It sounds like you’re angry about how Jill has spent money in the past?”  Jack agreed and continued “yeah, I mean I’ve been so angry that I’ve tried to tell Jill about the money issue, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference to her.”  I continued empathizing, “it sounds like you also feel helpless about the situation, like you don’t know what to do to make any difference?”  “Exactly!  I’m really confused and overwhelmed about this problem.  And I just wish Jill would help more in trying to address it.”  “Oh, I see, so you’re really kinda lost, confused, and overwhelmed, and you’d really just appreciate Jill’s help and support.”  “Yes.”

You can see how Jack shifts from focusing on Jill (“you’re spending too much”), to focusing on his own inner experience (“I’m overwhelmed and confused, and I would just like some help”).

So both Jack and Jill need to work on building up their awareness of their inner experience during conflicts.  Jack needed to shift from focusing on Jill to focusing on his own feelings and desires.  Jill needed to get on top of her emotional flooding by having time to reflect upon, identify, name, and express her emotions.

Where is your attention focused during a conflict?  And how could you bring your attention back to your inner experience?

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

The Tools for Traversing the Swamps of Sadness – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/03/21/the-tools-for-traversing-the-swamps-of-sadness/

Traveling through the muck is part of the journey.

If you’ve ever seen The NeverEnding Story, there are many moments in long-term relationships where it feels like you and your partner are traveling through the Swamps of Sadness.  You know that place where there is mud, gunk, goop, and tar everywhere.  It’s difficult to trudge through.  With every step hope is sucked out of you, and despair clings to you like the mud on your boots.  You can’t tell how much further you have to go to get to the other side; you can’t even tell if you’re traveling in the right direction.  And if you stop, the sadness, the sludge, begins to drag you down.  The whole swamp suffocates you, the swamp consumes you.

I’ve been in lots of different relationships that have tried to handle the Swamps of Sadness differently.  I’ve been in some relationships where we won’t even go there.  We avoided it like the plague.  And it makes sense, who wants to travel through this swamp?  Who wants to risk getting stuck there?  But what’s funny is that the more we tried to avoid, ignore, and deny the existence of such a swamp, the more the swamp of sadness began to form around us.

You see, you can’t really avoid this swamp in relationships.  When you try to avoid it, or deny its existence, that avoidance and denial becomes the swamp.  You try to deny a large swath of the relationship, you avoid dealing with the difficult issues and questions which means the relationship can’t grow, and so the relationship becomes suffocated, sinks, and dies.

I’ve also been in relationships where we just get stuck in the Swamps of Sadness.  We headed in very optimistically, but ill-equipped.  And so as soon as the optimism fades, and it’s unclear whether there is another side, we begin to sink.  The sadness and the despair overwhelm us.  We stop moving forward and just allow ourselves to be sucked downward.

And I know, because I’ve been to the other side, that there is a way to navigate this swamp.   That there is in fact hope; and, getting through this swamp is essential to healthy, fulfilling, and deeply meaningful relationships.  And I want to give you the equipment you need.

First, you need to be able to communicate.  Navigating these swampy periods in our relationships requires teamwork and trust.  You and your partner need to be able to talk about what you each need to keep going, you need to create the safety and compassion to help your partner open up, and you both need to hear one another accurately.  Communication is key.  And you may not both be able to communicate perfectly throughout the journey.  In fact, I guarantee that you both won’t be communicating at your best throughout this entire trek.  There will be points when one of you can’t talk, and the other person needs to have the strength to keep communicating with respect, honesty, and love.

Second, you need to have patience.  You probably won’t be able to traverse this swamp in a day, maybe not even in a week, maybe not even in a month.  Sometimes the swamp is big, and sometimes you do in fact get stuck for a little while.  You have to be patient with your process.  If you think “we should have resolved this by now!” you are just one thought away from giving up, and it is when you give up that the swamp consumes you.

Finally, you and your partner need support.  You need help; you can’t just do it alone.  Now, for various couples, individuals, and issues/swamps this help will look differently.  Sometimes you’ll need the help of a relationship counselor, someone who can minister to the the relationship as a whole.  Sometimes you’ll each need one on one support from a counselor. And sometimes, all you need is the healthy support and guidance of a trusted friend, someone who will help kindle new hope in your heart and point you in the right direction.  A trusted friend whom you can confide in and know that you will just be listened to without judgment, blame, or advice.

And what is underlying all of these three suggestions is compassion.  You need compassion.  You need compassion for yourself, and you need compassion for your partner.  Compassion, empathy, understanding, loving-kindness is the guiding light that will lead you out of this swamp.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

DontFallacy.Me game review by #NewWorldNextWeek!

The Corbett Report and Media Monarchy are the first to review the new critical thinking game on their show, New World Next Week. Don’t Fallacy Me is a free, collaborative, multiplayer mind game! It provides an example, and you select the clearest logical fallacy.

http://CorbettReport.com
http://MediaMonarchy.com

Clip from #NewWorldNextWeek Episode 222 on Mar 12, 2015: Emailgate Could Expose Clinton Foundation

http://DontFallacy.Me
http://DontFallacyMeBro.com

Lower the Stakes – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/03/08/lower-the-stakes/

Do you live in a high stakes world?

I know I can sometimes.  ”If I don’t do enough marketing events, and if I don’t do them correctly, then I’ll have no clients and go out of business.”  ”If my partner and I have a fight, I’m a fraud as a NVC teacher and she might leave me.”  ”If my life doesn’t look a certain way by a certain age, then I’m a failure.”

How about you?  Do you live in a high stakes world?  Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself to “succeed”?  Is the thought of “failure” unbearable because of the speculated consequences?  Even, do you believe in the concepts of “success” and “failure”?

When we live in a high stake world it clouds our thinking and creates a lot of suffering.  Our culture tells us that believing in high stakes will help us.  ”You’ve gotta stay motivated.”  ”You need to be driven.”  ”Success and failure are in your hands.”  Our parents, friends, teachers, and media were well-intentioned when they encouraged us to pursue success and avoid failure.  They wanted us to live lives that were full of joy, lives that are meaningful, and they wanted us to know that our actions, our choices, matter.

And that is true.  Your choices and your actions do matter.  What’s not true is the notion that everything depends upon how you act and what choices you make.

The world is not in fact a high stakes place.  Look at nature.  When a class 5 Hurricane rips apart a coastline or a volcanic eruption decimates the surrounding area.  Yes, there is a lot of pain, there is a lot of destruction, and yes there may even be a lot of death.  But does that mean everything is a failure and things are hopeless?  No.  Life goes through a process of recovery and then continuation.  Even in the forest surrounding the Chernobyl meltdown, life has not become extinct.  There are wolves, deer, boars, bears, and elk still roaming those woods.  Even in the bleakest situations, life survives.

What about the human world?  In the world of man we have the homeless, drug addiction, unemployment, and debt which remind us daily of how much we have to lose.  But don’t we also have a plethora of services to help the homeless and to help those struggling with addiction?  And when we look at the lives of our friends and family, do we see unemployment and debt being the end?  Or isn’t it just a period, a phase, which many people pass through?

I don’t think we live in a high stakes world.  I think we create a high stakes world in our minds and then believe it to be true because we think in some way we need to believe in it.  Or because we’ve become so habituated to acting and believing that it is true.

I want to invite you to lower the stakes.  If you could realize and really trust that everything is going to turn out okay, you would have a lot more freedom, joy, and peace.  You’d be able to think straight, take your time with decisions, and notice what in your life you can simply let go of.  You’d be able to communicate with more compassion because you’d have more compassion for yourself.  If you didn’t believe your world as you know it was going to end then you’d have more space to take risks, to explore, and to discover who you most want to be in the world.

So let’s make an agreement.  Let’s lower the stakes.  ”It’s not all or nothing.”  ”There’s no way to do it all right.”  ”There’s no way to utterly fail.”  ”I am okay, and you are okay.  And we will be okay no matter what comes our way.”

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Death & Grieving – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/02/22/death-grieving/

Two men who played key roles in radically transforming my life and my worldview have died.  On January 21st, Marcus Borg, a renowned Christian theologian, passed away.  And on February 7th, Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication, passed away.

I don’t really know what to say about death.  I knew I didn’t want the passing of these two men to go by without comment, without attempting to pay them some tribute.  But I do not know what to write to help you have a better relationship with death, or what would adequately pay homage to these two men and their contributions.

I do know that grieving doesn’t have to make sense.  I know that grieving is natural and necessary for our healing, and thus it is important to go through and express.  And so I want to share my grief with you, in hopes that it will help me heal, and that in witnessing my grief your own relationship to grief and to death may be changed.

“I’m pissed that I never got to see these two men talk.  I’m angry that I never got a chance to tell them how much their work has changed my life, and that I won’t get a chance to experience what their presence was like in person.  I’m so angry that these people are gone and that their vision of the world hasn’t come to complete fruition.  People still argue and bicker, using judgment, blame, and shame to control the behavior of others.  Christians still get all caught up in debates over beliefs that they never even touch the deep, living God that lies below the surface of our religion.  My mind says ‘it’s not fair!  We should have done more to raise these two prophets up.  We shouldn’t have allowed them to ignored and go unseen by so many.’

And I’m deeply sad.  I’m sad because I wish I could have more inspiration, more growth from these people.  I wish the world could benefit more from their active leadership.  I’m sad because their death reminds me that I and all those whom I love will one day die.  I’m dejected at recognizing that I don’t go through life treating it as the precious gift it is, and that I don’t cherish the connections I make in this life to the extent that I should given how fragile and temporary they are.  I’m sad that those who were closest to these men are now mourning, that they are experiencing loss, sadness, and pain.

I’m also profoundly grateful for the ways these two men have contributed to my life.  I am grateful for Marshall Rosenberg’s teachings which have helped me to accept myself as I am, tame my inner critic, and communicate with greater intimacy and compassion.  I am so thankful for the work I do in the world of sharing Nonviolent Communication with people; this work gives my life so much purpose and meaning.  I am thankful for the ways Marcus Borg opened up the Christian tradition for me.  Borg wrote books that gave me inspiration, insight, and growth in my own faith life.  I am grateful for the way he was able to help me move past the surface of beliefs into the deeper life source of my religion.

I’m grateful to both of these men for helping me have more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control in my life.”

Find healthy ways to express your own authentic grief in your life.  Not necessarily for these two men, but for anyone in your life who has died.  It could be a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, or simply someone who inspired you from afar.  Allow yourself to grieve, and while you don’t have to do it in as public a domain as a blog on the internet, you do need to share that grief with others.  You need the loving, compassionate ears of others for the expression of grief to be complete.  It is only through our sharing of our authentic grief with others that we will ever come to terms and accept death.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

You, The Hero (Superpower: Reasoning The Future)

Critical thinking, with understanding of cause and effect, is like seeing the future. Reasoning The Future. If you understand that cereal gets soggy soon after adding milk, you can see this future long before getting the milk out of the fridge.

When you play chess, you can see and consider many possible futures before taking each action. There are infinitely more game pieces and possible moves on the board in real life, but the principle is the same. With enough information, like position and nature of game pieces, at least a few future moves are quite reliably predictable.

Walking through the grocery store, approaching the soda aisle, you could plan and decide to purchase Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo Inc, something else, or none of the above. You can give mega-corporations your money, or not. Unless maybe some Prozac lobotomy is working overtime, there is at least one moment where such potential futures are considered (foreseen) before taking action and writing one more step of your story.

This is challenging but largely achievable for small day-to-day decisions, as we have lots of first-hand information about our own lives and needs. We factor ‘freak’ events as truly rare enough to generally round out while finding our best actionable path. Seeing the future in this thoughtful way is infinitely more difficult when applied to macro-level questions, like decisions and actions made ‘in the name of’ hundreds of millions of people by ‘our’ governments, etc. There is not enough solid information available, plus plenty of disinformation, and it cannot be simplified enough to process without losing important nuances. Therefore actions based on such forethought are far less accurately reliable than those in our personal life.

Looking at the future in this way changes the future, simply because you’ve put more thought into creating it. If you have not considered the causes and effects of your future actions, then you have not thought about them, and have not peeked at even the most likely resulting futures you will inhabit.

In the movies, the hero must save the whole world. But in reality, we only have 100% control of our own lives: free will which is ethically and strategically limited only by the golden rule. We have the freedom to do anything without violating this equal freedom of others. Everyone can (and should) be a hero within their own domain for which they have 100% control.

Just as our individual actions currently add up to collective problems, our solutions will be similarly made up of individual actions. Giving Coke or Pepsi a dollar at a time helps fund their draining of water in developing countries, among other issues. Giving governments your votes or significant chunks of your annual wages helps to fuel cyclical wars, usury, and the corruption which gravitates to power.

Our alternative actions will cumulatively sculpt the world of solutions, outgrowing and replacing our world of problems. It takes a real hero to think critically and openly enough to escape the false dichotomies surrounding us. It takes a real hero to make choices beyond Coke vs Pepsi, beyond Democrat vs Republican, beyond the 0.5% vs the other 0.5%, beyond Military vs Military…

Since we can only have full control over our own lives, and our individual lives collectively create the world, being an individual hero is what real life heroes really look like. So please don’t wait for some sexy protagonist from the big screen to save the collective world for all of us in a single battle. Your hero’s journey is not to violate others’ autonomy while saving the whole world at once. Your hero’s journey is to lead by example trying to convert 100% of your domain into pieces of the solutions.

Please use your superpowers of thoughtful foresight to make more heroic decisions today, single steps to save your world which we all share. Play the Make-The-World-More-Awesome Game, and play to win!

Logical Fallacy Game: http://DontFallacy.Me/about/
…one collaborative tool to exercise some of our critical thinking skills,
improving our accuracy in reasoning the future.

Respecting the Opinions of Others – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/02/08/respecting-the-opinions-of-others/

“That’s stupid.”

We’ve all had this phrase thrown in our face after we’ve shared an idea or opinion.  It hurt.  And the pain planted a seed right in that moment, that later would blossom in self-righteousness when we were proven “right”, or shame when we found it indeed our idea was off the mark.

Disagreement is natural.  It is inevitable.  And so how can we disagree while still respecting our difference?  It’s a cliche now, and sounds so simple and easy.  But let’s explore this cliche.

Sure, it is pretty easy to respect the differences of others when those differences don’t truly affect us.  My partner prefers pie and I prefer cake, which is a difference of opinion pretty easy to honor, until we have to choose one desert to share.  The values of other cultures are easily celebrated until we perceive that culture or those values as a threat to “our way of life”.  And we can respect our coworkers different work style, until we have to work with them on a project.

I want to talk about how do we respect someone else’s opinion especially in those moments when we think that opinion is “stupid”.

First, remember that other people are often those best equipped to see our blind spots.  They wouldn’t be called “blind spots” if we ourselves could see them clearly.  The different ways that others process information, approach the world, and address issues can open us up.  They can actually teach us.  Notice what it’s like to be in a conversation with someone when you view them as a “teacher”.  You pay close attention to what they are saying.  You ask clarifying questions to make sure you understood correctly.  When you disagree with the “teacher’s” idea you often don’t blurt out “that’s not right!”, instead you ask a question “okay, well what about x?  How would that fit into this?”  Next time you’re expecting to have a disagreement with someone, enter the conversation imaging this other person is your “teacher”.

Next, share something you appreciate about the other person’s idea along with what you disagree.  Even if all you appreciate is the positive motivation behind the plan (whether it is to help, have safety, for justice, etc), tell the other what you appreciate about their viewpoint.  That doesn’t mean focus on what you have in common, and ignore differences.  Talk about both, share both.  Just try to avoid “but”, and replace it with “and”.  Nine out of ten people, as soon as they hear the word “but” they interpret you as negating everything that came before.

Finally, instead of projecting the “problem” onto this other person and their idea, reflect upon what your honest reaction is.  We’ve mostly all become very accustomed to keeping up our armor, staying invulnerable, by blaming the other person.  If you’re more honest about your own experience, you’ll see the labeling of the other person or their idea is totally unnecessary.  Are you afraid that the idea won’t work?  Are you afraid that you won’t have the control/power/input that you want to have?  Are you frustrated because you’ve tried that before with disastrous effects?  What’s really underneath your reaction?

All three of these approaches helps you to step out of labeling the other person, or their idea, as “wrong” or “bad” by turning your focus inward.  This makes us slow down, avoid going onto auto-pilot, and stay in the control seat.  Being present to and aware of what I’m thinking and doing is always necessary.  We must practice anything we wish to become a new habit.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.