Dangerous Business …

Dangerous Business - Tolkien









… and what adventures are  you off on today?

Sometimes the world hands us our adventure, but most of the time, it is your choice on whether to venture out your door into the world, you know.

Trying to remember this and behave accordingly in the Heartland …






















































Books and CHildren

Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You’re Told To Do Is Wrong

Excellent review by a trusted source of an important new book that should be a welcome addition to our reading lists, discussion groups, and our personal and professional development:


Take It Personel-ly

Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You're Told To Do Is Wrong, Take It Personel-ly

You don’t usually have to look very hard to find scandals or tragic stories in the media of things that others have done that could have been avoided if the person/people involved had said ‘No’ to the ill-advised or illegitimate requests made of them.

Did you know that September is Self-Improvement month? As a life-long learner I am always looking to expand my knowledge, grow and improve where I can.  I recently read Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You’re Told To Do Is Wrong by Ira Chaleff, which fits in perfectly with the theme of self-improvement but on a company wide scale.

Chaleff uses both deeply disturbing and uplifting examples in his book, as well as critical but largely forgotten research to show how to create a culture where, rather than ‘just following orders,’ people hold themselves accountable to do the right thing, always.

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The Dying Truth …

Joy and Sorrow

Just a quick reminder as your workweek gets started …

Life is composed of many little moments, some of which will make your heart sing, some which will make your heart cry, and some which will leave you puzzled or confused … the reality is that your choices about how you view each of these moments will decide how you react.

Some folks will say “How else should I react?” or “I don’t choose ‘unhappy’ or ‘mad’ ”, which infers that emotional reactions are predestined and beyond our control.  This is a normal belief, one that I have used time and again.  However, in reality, our beliefs and values intersect to give us options on how we view life’s struggles and opportunities. 

 A few quick examples of the levels at which we make these decisions, greatly simplified and generalized by offering mythical either-or options:   

… When you step on that chewed-up gum, spilled liquid, or oil stain, how much time do you spend ranting and raving about the unfairness of it all versus the time you spend cleaning up and moving on …   

… When work goes differently and less smoothly than you are expecting, how much energy do you use looking for something or someone to blame versus    

… When something or someone you care about leaves your life, are you sad they are gone or happy they were there?

At this point, we should consider some truths about life, relationships, work, and all that stuff:

Our lives are more “Some of This, Some of That” than “This or That”.

We spend our lives sliding back and forth along continuums of possible reactions and attitudes.

We are not anchored inflexibly to spots on that scale.

We have more control over where we are, than the event we are experiencing.

We know all this deep in our minds and in our hearts.

No great “kicker” at the end … just a reminder to reflect and choose, not react and regret. Let me leave you with this thought:

“People make dozens, even hundreds, of decision every day to do or not do certain things.  THe choice we make during the day, no matter how trivial they may seem, contribute to creating a life that is more (or less) fulfilling.”

~ Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Phillip Sandahl, and Laura Whitworth in Co-Active Coaching:  Changing Business, Transforming Lives, 3rd Edition, page 8)

Seems a good enough incentive to me:)

Considering all my options very carefully in the Heartland ….



Image:  Gratisography.com

“I don’t believe their ‘study'” says Layman …

William Wallace window - Wikipedia… and I think I agree with him.

We are often awed by some few people who act quickly to intervene in dangerous situations, protect property and order, and even save lives.  We hail them as “Heroes” and honor them accordingly.

One wonders “How do they decide to act so quickly?”.  The short answer may be “They don’t …“.

” …the heroes overwhelming described their actions as fast and intuitive, and virtually never as carefully reasoned.”

(From The Trick to Acting Heroically)

Steve Layman has thought about this and comes to this conclusion:  “I don’t believe their “study”, where in a few short sentences, he outlines several incongruities in our usual acceptance of heroic behaviors.  Continue reading

Still Waiting (Part I) …

ConvairCar Model 118 by Source. Licensed under Fair use via WikipediaWhen I was a tender youth, I read voraciously … Life, Look, Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, Boy’s Life, Saturday Evening Post, Popular Science, Mad Magazine AND Cracked … you know, all the classics.

I had an insatiable appetite for information and the written word, whether a novel about man’s existence or a magazine article about the future.  This trait has persisted and stands me in good stead today, even if it does tend to clog my email account a bit.

I was promised flying cars …

Back in 1957 or so, I distinctly remember an image that caught my attention.  It was a picture of a typical suburban street, with cookie-cutter houses, pavement everywhere, and shining sun above.  For this isolated farmboy stuck at the edge of the world in rural MIssouri, this looked fantastic.  I could not wait to be in that world.

What really got my attention was the artist’s carefully rendered depiction of a car in the driveway.  Not just any car, mind you, but a car with wings!  

My life had no context regarding cars with wings, since at this point, airplanes were still pretty exotic items and usually glimpsed as they flew high and majestic over our farm, above me standing far below with mouth agape, in and out of my life in a few short, but exciting seconds.   At that time, the Air Force base outside Kirksville was still a going concern and the rare appearance of an actual military bomber flying lower than I dared hope to soar loudly and ominously over the barn was a time of near hysteria.  I became adept at playing out a mini-wargame whenever one of these mysterious crafts appeared.  On the days that I noticed or heard them coming, I was ecstatic, because this gave me precious extra moments to act out my boyish fantasies.

About that car with the wings …

This was the promise of the future, along with a bunch of other predictions about work-saving appliances, portable communications, and easy living, most of which meant nothing to me at the time.  However, a car with wings was something to be excited about.

This is what we do as young people.  We grow into the world and try to make sense of it.  As we grow and expand our base of knowledge, we let loose of some interesting but fanciful conceptions and incorporate a widening circle of experience and knowledge.  At least, that is how it is supposed to work.

Another concept I was exposed to early in life was the idea of work …

I was less excited about this concept, since work on a farm means physical labor that never really ends, but only shifts focus and location, as weather and seasons come and go.  Work on the farm consumed much of the day and much of the energy of my parents.   While I knew other people had different jobs, I did not think much in terms of those other jobs … partly because I had little direct knowledge of them and also because I did not understand that “town jobs” like teacher, storekeeper, policeman, gas station operator, or druggist were options for me.

I also learned that you worked for many years, until a magical time called “retirement” when you could stop working.   This was also unclear to me, since all the farmers I knew continued to work hard, regardless of their age.  Retirement was more attached to the afore-mentioned “town jobs” than to my reality.

I have to admit that this retirement sounded pretty good, although the whole idea of what you actually did do every day when retired was rather vague.  Fishing was mentioned and I eventually learned that retirement appeared to include drinking coffee at the restaurant during the work day, sitting on the town square observing commerce, and hanging out with other people of a certain age.  At least that is what the men did … I have no clue what retired women did, or even if such existed.  I guess I just assumed women kept doing what I saw them doing most of the time … cooking, laundry, and taking care of children.

I grew up in a different time … and I am still waiting for those flying cars.

More importantly, I also grew up, as did many others, with some clear expectations for how things would go.  Those expectations were based on what I saw, what I was told, and how things had gone in the past.

Life goes on and the boy ends up in a far different world than expected … stay tuned for Part 2, where I analyze some expectations and find them wanting.  Then in Part 3, I will share what I believe we are now learning about how life will go for us.

Feeling full of purpose and sort of excited about things in the Heartland ….


Inspiration:  Life Reimagined (Leider and Webber, 2013)

Image:  “ConvairCar Model 118” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia