70th Edition – June 6, 2020
Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.John Donne
1. Is NBA’s Coach Popovich Right?
Over the weekend I read where the San Antonio Spurs coach stated the reason the U.S. is in trouble is because of race. I appreciate his words and believe them to be heartfelt, but is that the real problem?
Good financial analysts have a knack in getting to the root of a problem, and they do it uncommonly well. Accordingly, this analyst does not see racism as the problem, but as a symptom of a much bigger issue. The issue at hand is a spiritual matter that cuts to the heart, and we’re all guilty, including me.
Leadership 101 starts with loving others as we love ourselves. That’s hard. But that’s the starting point to addressing oppression, hatred of others, and bigotry.
2. Revisiting Empathy During Times Like These
Coincidentally, I’ve been revisiting the teachings and insights of Daniel Goleman on the topic of emotional intelligence which was the title of his best-selling book in 1995.
I’m most fascinated by the discussion about empathy. Goleman suggests that empathy stems from a sort of physical imitation of the distress of another, which then evokes the same feelings in oneself (page 98).
I’ll never understand nor experience the pain and suffering at the unjust hands of others. But I can somehow learn how to be stirred emotionally at such injustices. Is this possible?
3. Exercising the Empathy Muscle
When we don’t exercise our muscles, they atrophy. That’s why we start PT immediately after a major hip, knee, elbow, or shoulder surgery.
Similarly, I believe one of the ways in strengthening the empathy muscle is reading content that might make us uncomfortable. Here are a few titles from my library:
- Tom is my all-time favorite fictional character of any book I’ve ever read. He gave his life so another could live. He lived with the bitter hand he was dealt with. The book is Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- It wasn’t until I read Bryan Stephenson’s book last year (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption) that I realized that I’ve lived a sheltered life. I dare you to read it and not get angry about the world we live in – again, racism is a symptom of a much larger problem.
- While Harriot Beecher Stowe provided her readers a few redemptive qualities in her best-selling book, I felt raw after reading The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. It’s a work of fiction based on a true story. Your empathy muscle will be flexed at times as you’ll find yourself wanting to reach into the book and provide justice to those who need it – if only it was that easy.
4. Zero Tolerance for Intolerance
Goleman makes the case that turning a blind eye to acts of bias allows discrimination to thrive. If you believe your company’s playbook for acceptable behavior is too lukewarm in regards to unhealthy, long-held biases, the Emotional Intelligence author offers a few suggestions:
- Encourage staff to speak out against even low-key acts of discrimination or harassment (saying nothing serves to condone it)
- Positions of authority should explicitly condemn such acts of bias
- Follow through with action such as reprimands sends powerful messages that bias is not trivial and has real and negative consequences
5. A Little Bit of Escapism
I’m letting the world know that I’m a Sam Seaborn and Chris Traeger fan.
I suppose I should be feeling guilty for listening to a book that serves as nothing but escapist entertainment while so many problems abound all around us. Yet, I enjoyed every minute of Rob Lowe’s, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Funny, sad, motivating, inspiring, hard to believe, and so much more. Plus, the guy can simply write.
I’m maybe the only baby boomer who has never watched The Outsiders which is based on a novel. Lowe played a role in this movie, and I’ll probably be watching this Francis Ford Coppola flick later in the summer.
This Week’s Podcast
Bruce and I enjoyed last week’s podcast interview with Amy Bruske on the Kolbe A™ Index and conative talents so much, we devoted an entire show to discussing it this week.
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