In this issue:
1. Reader Comments
3. May Editorial: “Living in a Tabloid Headspace”
4. Preview: Next Month’s Editorial
5. Quote of the Month – J. Krishnamurti
6. Hot Link of the Month
7. Want to Blog?
8. Click and Play of the Month
From Justine Toms of New Dimension Radio
Read your article with interest.
You point out that emancipation “from insidious systems cannot take place until . . 1. we learn to recognize systems dysfunction and 2. we become more aware of the various systems affecting us. . . . “
Good advice . . now, how do we do this? . . . after all, we are swimming in the sea of this dysfunction and, like fish in water, we are not aware of the very sea we are in. To begin to actually name the various dysfunctions, and then to hear many points of view as to how others are going about dismantling them in their business and in their lives would be of interest to me. I know that I’m caught in this dilemma.
[I’ve responded to these questions on my blog if anyone has similar questions or interest (see “Exploring the Better Future”) -JR]
From Chris Yelton, CEO, International Museum of Women
Thanks so much for including our link in your newsletter! I really appreciate your thinking of our new exhibition and hope your readers will have a chance to enjoy it.
Here’s the link to IMOW’s exhibitions
From Brian Clark, MetaComm Global Pty Ltd, in Australia
I have enjoyed your newsletter enormously since I subscribed, thank you for providing an oft needed lift in the inbox. I am just re-igniting my efforts at blogging and I suppose it offers a way to blend my purpose with my passion. Brian’s blog.
Watch for May 10th : Global Pangea Day
Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film. Why? In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film. Join one of the many public and private showings or by yourself online, four hours of uplifting films!
A Powerful Video About Global Development and Meaning
If you think of yourself as a globalist, watch this video from the 2007 TED event. While the technology is dazzling the information is quite enlightening. I highly recommend it
Look What I Found!
In a routine Google search I discovered a short excerpt from the movie “In Search of the Future” where I’m shown addressing the need for us humans to change the way we think….sort of tear! Watch me rant
2. MAY EDITORIAL
Each year I see people working harder and longer, which flies in the face of the predictions in the early days of the personal computer of twenty hour work weeks. Leisure was going to be the new growth industry. I’m reminded of the old saying “busy as a bee” as if bees represented the ultimate busy machines. But we are not bees. We had the option, the choice, to begin working less a couple of decades ago.
So what happened? How did being really busy all the time get to become sort of “badge of honor” the way it is today?
Dealing with daily stresses
The other day I came across a podcast entitled “Attention: The ‘Real’ Aphrodisiac.” I learned of a phrase apparently coined by former Microsoft VP Linda Stone: “Continuous Partial Attention.” It describes that “always on” way many people operate, not only in their work lives but their private lives as well. Stone sees how attention patterns have shifted over the past couple of decades and how new technologies and new interfaces affect our attention patterns. When we constantly “scan the periphery to see if something more important should displace our current activity we feel like a live node on the network, we feel alive, but are we really?” she asked.
“Continuous Partial Attention is a post-multitasking approach to managing information and data in our daily lives. In this increasingly noisy world, we have taken on the task of “staying on top of everything,” she writes. But can we really do this? How can we possibly stay on top of everything? The author continues, “Today we are confronted by an inability to manage crisis. We long for a sense of protection, meaning and belonging. In a world of interconnected communities and constant background noise, the overriding question is: what do we really need, and what do we need to pay attention to?”
Some years ago I was attending a scholarly symposium at USC’s business school and one of the presenters, a partner with Arthur Anderson (remember them?), asked the audience what they thought was the scarcest resource in the Western World. Many said oil. Some said water. Others said love. His answer: attention. He pointed out each of us has a finite amount of time each day and, therefore, a finite amount of attention we can give to anything. So choosing what we pay attention to is important.
Giving just a portion of our attention to what we are doing flies in the face of Eastern mysticism – the chop wood, carry water school of having your entire awareness on the task at hand. Being fully conscious of what one is doing all the time is the polar opposite of multitasking or giving only “Continuous Partial Attention” to the way we live and work.
Our lives have become like tabloid newspapers, filled with lots of relatively meaningless junk with no room for meaningful reflection or conscious focus on anything. We take in tons of data, lots of gossip, meaningless news about celebrities, scandals, train wrecks and plane crashes, celebrity trials and the like so there’s little attention or awareness left to focus on where is it all headed, what it all means and what’s really important?
In light of this relatively new propensity I composed a short story or scene. While it is entirely fictitious I have incorporated many words from among the complaints, excuses and explanations I have heard from busy people over recent years.
The Preoccupied American: Scene One, Take One
I’m much like most Americans I suppose. I work hard at a job that’s okay and struggle with paying my bills, keeping my head above water with credit card debt and trying to sock money away for the kids’ tuition when they’re ready for college. It seems life should be better than it was a decade ago but somehow I seem to have even less time to relax than I did before.
My first wife and I divorced and I’m paying child support for my older kids. My “ex” expects me to help out when they’re ready for college. I know I should do some sort of financial planning but I never seem to get around to it. I’d hate to see my kids leave school burdened with student loans like I was but that’s always the fall-back position if all else fails.
I’m making much more money than I imagined I would a decade ago and am puzzled how there still doesn’t seem to be enough. After I pay the interest on my credit card debt, payments for two cars, all the insurance premiums – oh God, don’t get me going about our medical insurance…. household expenses and mortgage payments…. we’re lucky to have enough to go out to dinner once a month or buy a few CDs or movies. Oh, and there’s iPhone and ISP and NetFlix…well, you know! It’s month to month even with both of us working!
I sure thought I’d be having an easier time by this stage in my life.
My only relaxation seems to come when I kick back and have a few beers with my old college buddies or the wife and I go to a movie and a romantic dinner. Most of the time we watch late night TV because we both get home kinda late in the evening. “American Idol” is fun and all our friends watch it so we can talk about it later. And I love getting riled watching the cable pundits with their bully pulpits going ballistic about this and that. In the car driving to work I listen to talk radio and get more of the same….rants and tirades which get me thinking about all sorts of silly matters which keep my mind off the pressures I’m feeling.
Of course, we enjoy going shopping…for me – new electronics, hardware gimmicks, subscriptions to cool stuff…I love all that. My wife does all the grocery shopping and buys almost all the family’s clothes …she can spend hours and hours at Nordstrom’s or Saks…. she also oversees the nanny and the dog-walker. Oh, vet bills….forgot about those veterinarian fees. I love the dogs but they need certain foods and shots and stuff.
My shrink gave me something to lift my spirits and it seems to have helped me over the past few years. I hate to think of how I’d feel without my meds. I was pretty depressed there for a while. Everybody I know seems to be taking some sort of anti-depressant…sort of goes with today’s lifestyle, doesn’t it?
I drink a lot of coffee, probably four or five lattes a day…well, maybe more than that. It keeps me going some days when I feel like a wet rag. Good old Starbuck’s, boy, what would I do without my tall soy latte?
My head is so full of work stuff, home stuff, financial stuff, news stuff and opinion stuff I don’t think there’s any more room for global warming or genocide or U.S. foreign policy. Besides, what can I do? I’m struggling to get by and doing all I can do right now. I don’t have any spare bandwidth to think about all these things.
[cell phone ring] Excuse me…”Hello, yeah….just talking to this….okay….I’ll see you at home, hon…..no, no, I won’t forget…bye!” Sorry about that. Now, where was I? Oh…
One of my friends in Europe asks me if I see anything wrong with the way my country is acting in the world and I tell her “it’s all I can do to worry about me and my family.” What do I know about how Washington should act in the world? She seems exasperated with me when I tell her this and I know I disappoint her but this is all I got.
What’s that? Where do I get my news? Oh I get some from late night TV, some from the headlines on cable…and then there are my radio talk shows where they argue over everything.
Everybody I know seems so busy as well – too busy to return calls or respond to party invitations or send thank you notes…. my grandparents would consider it rudeness in their day. I’ve gotten so used to the excuse – “sorry, I’ve been really busy lately” as if it is a temporary state of affairs ….but we all know it is getting worse.
Another friend tells me he was reading about this epidemic of multitasking and how Americans are so busy their quality of life is diminishing. Our stuff adds to our busy-ness…more to do to take care of it all. He told me he’s started paying closer attention to where he puts his time. He suggested I do the same but I’m too busy to sit down and figure that out.
Some days it feels like I’m on a treadmill that’s going faster and faster and my only choice is to try keeping up with it. But it gets tiring! Speaking of treadmills, I’m always thinking about regular exercise. I joined a gym last year and only went twice. Seems I’m too busy to take the time to work out even when I know I’d be healthier.
I heard this guy on talk radio the other day who’s written a book about choosing what we invest our time in. He made it sound so easy! Doesn’t he realize all the pressures I’m under? How can I sit down and decide this goes and this stays. Ridiculous!
Got to go now. “American Idol” is starting.
3. NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: “Shoppers’ Mind: Seeking Identity Through the Lens of Consumption”
4. QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – J. Krishnamurti
5. HOT LINK OF THE MONTH:
The Center for Leadership Studies: founded in the Fall of 2004, offers an accredited Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) degree, in collaboration with the Graduate Institute of Connecticut; John serves as a member of their leadership faculty.
6. WANT TO BLOG?
My blog – “Exploring the Better Future” – is located at the Global Dialogues Center; take a look and post your comments. I’d love to hear from some of you subscribers!
7. “CLICK & PLAY” OF THE MONTH: (see Audio and Videos)
Kathryn Alexander interviews John (60 minutes): “Systems View of Leadership”