Posts Tagged ‘ignorance’

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz AgeArc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin G. Boyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The heart of this story is about a first-generation free black man who, through the sacrifices of his parents, was able to become a physician took place in 1920’s Detroit, but it could be taking place right now in 2017 anywhere in America as a new wave of virulent racism, prejudice, and white supremacy sweeps this nation under the alt right rhetoric and “alternative facts” of a new generation of ignorant and fear-mongering groups, who are strongly reminiscent of the KKK and its subsidiaries that swept the country in the 1920’s. (more…)

The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth CenturyThe Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although the author’s style is dense – by that I mean lots of information packed into a tight, but multilevel structure that requires a certain kind of deep, concentrated reading/comprehension ability that I believe has tragically been completely lost except to all but a few of us in this technology-driven (entangled) age when our attention/comprehension spans have been diminished to mere skimming, at best, and no-context, 5-second, twisted, spun, and completely made-up out of thin air sound bites, at worst – this is an incredible and comprehensive look at the global legacy of World War I on the 20th century and, in fact, here today in the 21st century. (more…)

Quintessential leaders always ensure accuracy and truthAlexander Pope is often misquoted as having written “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

What Pope actually wrote in his famous “An Essay on Criticism,” was: “A little learning is a dangerous thing/Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:/There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,/And drinking largely sobers us again.

It seems that Alexander Pope presaged what we now find in a world immersed in technology, where the educated and uneducated, the thinkers and the non-thinkers, the gullible and the prudent, the knowledgeable and the ignorant now equally have access to the same Big Data knowledgebase that lies just a few keystrokes away.

It is in the glut of this unfettered – and it seems, for most of humanity, unfiltered – access where quintessential leaders differ from everybody else.

Before we talk about what makes quintessential leaders rare and the unique in this area of modern life, we first have to understand the big picture of technology.

We also need to be aware of how, in many ways, if we are not constantly critically thinking, objectively analyzing, and consciously rejecting the insistent siren song that beguilingly calls us to rely on technology for everything neurological instead of building and growing our minds by actually using them, we become unquintessential leaders.

A brief overview of how technology will , if we allow it to rule us and we bring nothing to the table in terms of control, reason, logic, and thinking, make us unquintessential leaders is paramount to understanding the inherent dangers it presents to us as leaders.

Search engine results are based on data analysis, not quality, expertise, accuracy, or truthfulnessAll the search engines – Google, Yahoo!, and Bing are the big three (today at least) – are data-driven. From an internet perspective, websites – and their information – get “ranked” by keywords and hits (how many people visit, how often, etc.).

Therefore, page one of our search results is determined simply by data, not by quality of information nor by expertise. That is why most websites encourage you to share and share often their websites on social media. The more hits they get, the higher they go in the “organic” (non-paid) rankings.

The other way that websites get first-page ranking is that they pay a lot of money for keywords (there is usually someone working fulltime in the background at nothing but this who does the monitoring and upping the ante, pricewise, for specific keywords to stay at the top of page one).

This is known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. It is a budget hog for the organizations using it, but it gets results, so most organizations are willing to spend thousands of dollars a month to be in everyone’s faces when they do a search on one of their keywords.

The other side of the search engine equation is us – you and me. Analyses are continually run on our data – what we search for, what we click on, where we go on a regular basis in cyberspace (you and I may delete the browser caches on our devices, but the search engines never delete them) – and programmed algorithms pick up our searching habits and preferences and sheer down the available choices to what most likely fits what our aggregate data profiles tell them we want to see.

In other words, the internet is no longer a vast landscape of available information that we could cull through and get a broad perspective on about a topic. It is a miniworld of information that mirrors our past and, therefore, preferred choices. Our worlds, then, get smaller and smaller and smaller.

Having that broad overview of technology – their part and our part in mind – we now have to look at the relationship between who we are as humans and how the internet caters to that.

We humans have a lot more in common than we would like to believe. In fact, much of the hate, the condemnation, and the vitriol in our world comes from our rejection of our commonalities and our all-consuming pride in how we think we are so special and and so much better than everyone else.

Here’s a reality check for each of us. We’re not special and we’re not better than anyone else.

We all have the same limitations in the parts of us that matter and that determine how we see others and ourselves and how we treat others as we make our way through our lives.

Three of the things that all of us humans have in common – and which limit us to one degree or another – are biases, bigotry, and ignorance. 

The internet can feed these three things to excess if we are not aware of them and we are not consciously working to replace them with impartiality, fairness, and the kind of deep learning that Pope was referring to in his essay.

For the uneducated, the deeply and willingly ignorant, and the non-thinkers, the internet is a treasure trove of disinformation. Any bias, any bigoted thinking, and any ignorance can be found on the internet and it can be used to perpetuate bias, bigotry, and ignorance.

And it is. This quintessential leader shakes my head probably more than I do just about anything else at this point in my life at most of the stuff I hear, the stuff I see, and the stuff I read (I don’t read a lot of it because it’s so asinine, especially when I see the source, that I’m simply not going to waste my precious brain cells and time on a bunch of garbage that I know is not accurate and not true).

So what do quintessential leaders – those few of us who it seems have not completely lost our minds nor our ability to critically think, to analyze, and to prove or disprove objectively all information – do to ensure that everything we think, we say, and we do is both accurate and true?

  • We are aware of our own biases, bigotry, and ignorance and work diligently and continually to rid ourselves of those
  • We always consider the source of the information (Is it credible? Is it biased? Is it bigoted? Is it ignorant? Does it have an agenda?)
  • We always use critical and objective thinking as well as thoughtful analysis with all information we see, read, and Quintessential leaders take the time and effort to always ensure truth and accuracy in everything they say, write, and dohear
  • We never take any information we see, we hear, and we read at face value, but instead prove or disprove it thoroughly
  • We always speak and write less than we listen and observe
  • Before we ever speak and write, we deeply and thoughtfully consider our ideas, our words, and our presentation through the filters of accuracy and truth

This last point bears a little further explanation. Much of what is said and written on the internet is simply to generate content (again, this a requirement of Big Data and organic search engine ranking) and has little to no substantive value. 

In other words, voluminous content is just another way to manipulate a website to page one. The quality and the expertise of the content is irrelevant and the abundance of junk content on the internet proves that point.

The problem is when we the people fall hook, line, and sinker for the junk content. Often this kind of content has either something salacious or outrageous as its main point. We humans tend to gravitate to both and we love to share it with the rest of humanity.

It seems that the more preposterous, the more erroneous, the more sensational, and the more inaccurate information is, the more it gets consumed by the human race.

Veracity and accuracy, on the other hand, which are proven, well thought out, and fully explained don’t really titillate our biases, our bigotry, and our ignorance, and besides that, in our “I-just-skim-stuff-because-I-am-way-too-busy-to-actually-read-and-understand-anything” world, it demands too much time, effort, and self-reflection (we can’t stand the horror of possibly being wrong or needing to change ourselves) to come face-to-face with truth and accuracy.

For those of us who are striving to become quintessential leaders, we must look into our own lives to see which side of this equation we fall on.

Do we always ensure accuracy and veracity in every part of our lives, including the words we speak, write, and share with others?

Do we let our biases, our bigotry, and our ignorance rule the words we speak, write, and share with others, and in the process we propagate disinformation, misinformation, and lies?

Or do we – and this is a real trust-buster – sometimes ensure veracity and accuracy in what we do, including the words we speak, write, and share with others, and other times give in to our biases, our bigotry, and our ignorance and that is reflected in every part of our lives, including the words we speak, write, and share with others?

How are we doing?

People don’t always make sense. Those people, by the way, include you and me, fellow quintessential leaders, at times. It’s just a universal side effect of being human, it seems.

people don't make senseHowever, there are ways that people don’t make sense sometimes that go beyond the normal foibles we all exhibit from time to time (quintessential leaders learn what theirs are and stay alert and aware so that they can either eliminate them completely or shut them down before they get the upper hand).

It is in these ways that quintessential leaders stand out from everybody else, because these situations require an equanimity that few people have mastered and a big-picture objectivity that can easily separate facts from fiction. The fiction in these situations where people don’t make sense beyond the norm is what our own mental and emotional conditioned reactions try to convince us is true, while the reality is something quite different.

Let’s take a look at some examples in which people don’t make sense outside of the norm and then we’ll look at how we, as quintessential leaders, handle these situations. (more…)

Quintessential leaders never have to – nor in fact, would – promote their efforts, a piece of a larger picture and larger plan. They are interested in outcomes and their contributions, as leaders, are devoted to successful outcomes for their teams, business units, organizations, and society at large. That is where their focus, their attention, and their efforts are directed.

So, when you hear people continually promote themselves as leaders, constantly touting their sole accomplishments, pointing everything back to themselves, you are seeing someone who is not only not a quintessential leader, but who is not even in a leadership position, except in his or her own mind. Everything the person is about is self-aggrandizement

Although self-aggrandizers are abundant throughout society, they seem to be even most prolific in business, sports, donald trump self-aggrandizementand religion. Donald Trump in business comes to mind. Muhammad Ali in his heyday in boxing comes to mind. The world of religious organizations is so full of these types of muhammad ali cassius clay self-aggrandizementpeople that it is difficult to pinpoint a single example. And the so-called religious types are the easiest to recognize and unmask because they all claim to be some sort of “only” representative of God and yet none of them agrees with each other or God.

Self-aggrandizers have an exaggerated and unsubstantiated view of their accomplishments and their contributions. They are legends in their own minds. They are completely self-absorbed and everything they say and do is from a “the world revolves around me” perspective. The prominent words their vocabularies are Imy, and me.

Self-aggrandizers believe they are superior to the rest of the human race. They also believe that they are unfairly treated and under-recognized by everyone else, primarily because, in their delusional , self-important opinions, everyone else is too ignorant and too blind to see how great and awesome they really are.

So, instead of spending time actually accomplishing the results that quintessential leaders are known for, the self-aggrandizers spend all their time promoting themselves. We’ve all worked with people who are self-aggrandizers and they are a detriment and an obstacle to productivity and success because they are consumed with nothing but being seen and heard and constant attention-seeking. These people suck up all the energy of whatever environment they are in and frequently stall or stop any progress if they’re allowed to continue unchecked.

The roots of self-aggrandizement are strong delusion, an overinflated ego (pride, vanity, arrogance), and insecurity. When a person has to spend all his or her time telling everyone how special, great, wonderful, awesome, superior he or she is – when in reality, if a person really is any or some or all of those things, it is readily apparent to everyone as a pattern of behavior and as just who that person is all the time and usually the person doesn’t even see those qualities in themselves, but it is other people who point them out – that person is first trying to convince him or herself those things are true – insecurity – and second trying to convince everyone else they are true as well.

The strong delusion is a contextual issue. Everything said to or about the self-aggrandizer gets assimilated through the “I, my, me” filter that dominates his or her thinking, and comes out, at best, twisted completely out of or spun completely away from its original context, or, at worst, completely invented (a lie). Regardless of which way the self-aggrandizer comes to his or her conclusions, he or she is always right and everyone else is always wrong.

An overinflated ego will argue, fight, contest, and keep conflict going. The ironic thing is that most people will tire of the endless arguing, fighting, contesting, and conflict after a while because they realize, at some point, that there’s no reasoning with a self-aggrandizer and the continuation of the discussion is a waste of time, but because the self-aggrandizng person gets the last word, so to speak, this boosts his or her ego even more and further convinces him or her that he or she is right. It’s a vicious circle, not based on evidence or fact, but simply based on the self-aggrandizer’s ability to out talk and outlast everyone else.

Insecurity is the knock of reality on a self-aggrandizer’s door. But since self-aggrandizers live in a world of strong delusions and super-sized egos, they will never allow this reality to get any further than the door. They lock insecurity out with even more self-aggrandizement.

So, if you see or hear someone who is always making presumptuous and momentous claims about him or herself, their positions, their accomplishments and who and what they are, you should recognize that that person is a self-aggrandizer. He or she is not any kind of leader and not a quintessential leader.

We as quintessential leaders need to recognize self-aggrandizement and remove it from among our teams and remove ourselves as far from it as possible. It is one of the most toxic and destructive forces that we will face in life. Giving it any attention will only encourage it and make it worse. We don’t need that. Our teams, our business units, our organizations don’t need that.