We have been at war for most of the last fifty years with nothing to show for it. We’re not any safer than we were. Travel to many parts of the world is risky if not outright dangerous. So, why are we at war?

War! What is it good for?

Ever had something on the tip of your tongue and later wished you left it there. -from a friend-

War
Yep, thats me right now…
It’s time for the rant.
Why are we the world’s police department? Who appointed us? Why are we expected to be the world’s caretaker?
But since we are, why are we having to bear the majority of the financial burden? We shouldn’t. Bottom line, we shouldn’t.
Why are our grandchildren and their children being forced to finance these wars?
They are the ones that will ultimately pay for them.
It’s not just a financial cost, but also a People cost. It’s our sons and daughters that are dying. Coming home in flag draped coffins. It’s our sons and daughters coming home damaged. Coming home with minds torn apart from seeing and doing things humans shouldn’t see and do.
I say it’s time to stop.
Its time to think about the men and women in our armed forces. Our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives that are fighting the wars around the world.
I say it’s time to bring them home.
Think about all of our men and women who have already paid the ultimate price for our country. Pay tribute to them. Honor them.
Bow your head and pray for them. And it’s okay to cry for them too.
Rant not over…
We have invaded these Mid East countries, removed the leaders, leaving countries in turmoil and then creating more terrorist then we have killed. Why?
This maybe…
Thus, the real answer to the question of why our country is stuck in the Middle East will not be found in the phrase, “national interest.” Rather it will be found among a much narrower group of special interests — military contractors, oil sheikdoms, the Israel lobby, and a media that hypnotizes the electorate into equating patriotism and war. Jeff Faux
The military-industrial complex…
In January 1961, US President Dwight D Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn the nation of what he viewed as one of its greatest threats: the military-industrial complex composed of military contractors and lobbyists perpetuating war.
Eisenhower warned that “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” had emerged as a hidden force in US politics and that Americans “must not fail to comprehend its grave implications”.
We have been in almost perpetual war for 50+ years going back to the Vietnam war. Hell we have been at war almost constantly since 1776, 93% of our country’s existence.
Oil?
More bases to project American power, particularly given the upcoming collapse of Saudi Arabia and (possibly) other client states. Maintaining OPEC (and therefore the world’s reserve currency) on the dollar. And playing out some imperial fantasy. Karen Kwiatkowski summarizes
This sounds kind of out there to me but…
Boko Haram conflict in northeastern Nigeria, an area of conflict hot spots in the Central African Republic, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Darfur.. On Africa’s eastern coast, the Somali civil war is still going strong in its third decade. But no America. Why? No oil….maybe
Israel?
They are our closest and only ally in the Mid East. They are tiny compared to their surrounding enemies. Why wouldn’t they lobby for our presence in the area? Why would they care how we got there? If we kill their enemies to get there wouldn’t they stand up and cheer?
Media?
We need to look at who owns/controls the media for the answer.
GE, a major supplier to the military owned up to 80% of NBC up to 2009 when it sold part of its stake to Comcast and the rest in 2013. If you look at NBC’s newscasts from that era you will see a pro military tilt in their broadcasting.
The top five military contractors in 2010; Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon, providing millions in advertising dollars and having board members in the major media companies can sway the way media portrays the US involvement in the Mid East conflicts.
Why?
Crank up that war machine. The war machine of death and destruction. Show those pesky little dictators, rouge tyrants and terrorist who the boss is. It’s not your son or daughter that’s going to fight. But they are ours.
What would happen if we stopped? Enough already…
Thanks for reading. Until next time.
JB

Developing Self-Confidence: Seven ways to develop self-confidence. I remember the old Charles Atlas comic book ad promising to turn the 97 pound runt into a real man in days with only 15 minutes of exercise each day. Well in real life it doesn’t work that way, not with muscles or with self-confidence. It takes work and time. But its worth it.

Build your self-confidence

Self-confidence, confidence

Building self-confidence can be a life changing event. At home and at work. When you are out with your friends or meeting new people for the first time. Making a great first impression can be the difference in getting a job or getting a career. How do you want to be seen?
Having confidence in yourself enables you to act decisively and with the support of those around you. When others see that you have self-confidence they will more naturally follow you, allowing you to lead and direct more easily. When your leading becomes easier, your productivity increases.
Developing confidence is not as hard as one would think. It just takes a little time and devotion on your part.
Here are seven effective ways to develop your own self-confidence.
1. Talk to yourself. Boost yourself up with positive self talk. Tell yourself that you can do it. You are smart. You are good looking. You are his/her equal.
When you are asked how you are speak positively, say I’m great and mean it. I’m wonderful. I’m doing good.
How’s your day going? Great. It’s going well. It’s been challenging, but I’m doing great. Remember, its how you respond to events not the events themselves. When you respond positively, mean it.
Look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself that you are great. Put a smile on your face, look straight into the mirror and tell yourself its going to be a great day. Everyday. Say it with conviction, repeat it three or four times with increasing volume. Keep that smile on your face throughout the day.
Do not talk down to yourself. Period. No self deprecating jokes. No excuses.
Replace “I can’t” with “I will”. “I don’t know” with “I will find out”. “I give up” with “I will find a way”. “This is hard” with “This is challenging”. Replace the negative with a positive in as many places as you can.
2. Be Prepared. The motto of the Boy Scouts is Be Prepared. Be prepared for life – to live happily and without regret, knowing that you have done your best. That’s what the Scout motto means.
For you this means being prepared for what comes your way. What you are expecting to come your way. A promotion? Tough assignment? New project? A move? Whatever could/should be coming your way.
How much time do I have, what are the key points, what resources do I need, how long is the project. These are just a few of the questions you should be asking. To be fully prepared takes hard work and dedication.
Be prepared and be ready for your confidence to shoot through the roof. Knowing that you are prepared and have done everything you possibly could have instills you with self-confidence.
Knowing you will do the job flawlessly from start to finish is exhilarating. Having done it once will plant the seeds of discipline needed to continue this practice.
3. Dress the part. Act the part. Do you want to be the boss? Start acting like him then, the good parts anyway. Word of caution, do not make the boss look bad. Don’t come to the office wearing a $1000 suit when your boss is in a $200 suit. Use some common sense.
I listed dress the part first because when you look the part you will automatically feel better about yourself. Once you look the part it is easier to act the part.
Dressing the part will raise your self-esteem. First though, when choosing your look find clothing that fits you well. Get help picking out the right size for you. Everyone is different so getting the right size is imperative and getting help is essential.
This will help you in finding your look:
◦ For men: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-mens-clothes-should-fit-2014-1
◦ For women: https://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing/shopping-guide/right-clothes-your-body-type
Now that you’re looking the part you can act the part much easier. You’re not the boss yet, so don’t start throwing weight around that you don’t have. Look good right where you are and be ready for the next step up.
Be assertive without being arrogant. In other words, don’t be a jerk.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind. If you have your mind made up about something and won’t change it even when presented with new information, then you’re being a jerk. And stupid.
Look and act confident. Those around you will have more confidence in you as well and be more willing to follow your lead.
4. Face your fears. When you are in control of a situation you are comfortable and not afraid. It’s when you don’t have control or are comfortable that fear seeps in and takes over.
Taking control happens when you know how to accomplish the task. You have the knowledge, the ability to do.
Sometimes its that simple. You conquered your fear through knowledge, by learning about the fear. Sometimes its not that simple. Okay. Most times its not that simple, so lets look at a few ways to conquer those fears.
Ask yourself , what is the worst thing that could happen if I did it? Will I get criticized? Booed? Sweat? Have to start over? So what! Are these serious enough reasons to stop you? No.
Will I die? Most likely not and if that is a possibility then you should step back and seriously reevaluate your “why”. But that’s for another more thorough article.
Identify the fear and why you are afraid of it. The why could be as simple as never having done it before. Maybe you have been criticized in the past. Talked out of and scared into not doing something because your buddy is afraid of it.
It really doesn’t matter why. What matters is that you’re afraid of it now and you want to get pasted that fear. Step into it with baby steps at first. Slowly increasing the size of your steps until you are walking, trotting, and then running through your fear.
You don’t like speaking to crowds. Talk to two or three people and work up to four. Then five. What matters is progress. Practice your speech. Over and over and over. Until you can do it backwards. Now have questions thrown in during the speech. Unexpected questions. Have friends help. Take a speaking class.
This works for most every fear you have. Taking baby steps leads to bigger and bigger steps until you are pasted the fear.
Lean into the fear. Reach out and touch it, just give it a tap. Ooh, it didn’t bite. Touch it again. And again. Ok now we’re getting somewhere. Just try it. Seriously. You’re scared, thats ok. The more you lean into the fear the less fear you will have.
What is that old saying? This to shall pass. And it will.
5. Take action. Do something. Anything. Just start. Ask for a project you would normally steer away from. You’re at a company party, walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself. Its called networking and it works. Stand up straight. Smile. Speak clearly and with confidence.
You have to push through your self imposed limits. Go places and do things you wouldn’t normally do. Get out of your box and change your thinking through different experiences.
By taking action you exhibit confidence. Practice being confident and it will become normal for you. Instead of just acting confident, you will be confident.
6. Be positive. Think positive and your thoughts and actions will show that positivity. Think negatively and your thoughts and actions will show negativity. This has been shown through many scientific studies. Here is one article on positive thinking:
◦ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/positive-thinkingb3512202.html
Speak positive words to yourself. Get into the habit of speaking words of positive affirmation.
When asked how you are speak positively, say I’m great and mean it. I’m wonderful. I’m doing good.
How’s your day going? Great. It’s going well. It’s been challenging, but I’m doing great. Remember, its how you respond to events not the events themselves. When you respond positively, mean it.
Replace “I can’t” with “I will”. “I don’t know” with “I will find out”. “I give up” with “I will find a way”. “This is hard” with “This is challenging”. Replace the negative with a positive in as many places as you can.
Wow! That sounds just like Number 1. It is and it isn’t. It is a reinforcement of Number 1 and it is also a separate confidence builder to be used throughout the day.
Being positive is used to build positive energy around you so as to build positive outcomes in your life. This can be tough because we, as humans, have a build in negative zone that kept us safe in our formative years.
For every negative thought or situation think of three or four positive counters to it. Think on each positive thought twenty seconds so that they will marinade your thoughts and reinforce your positive aura.
7. Always be learning. Pick up a book, not just any book, but one pertaining to your goal. Always be reading something that brings you closer to your goal. Pick books from authors you want to be mentored by.
Attend seminars, conventions and summits that take you up the ladder towards your ultimate goal. Those that invigorate you. Stimulate your juices and make you want more.
Listen to your favorite podcasts. Broaden your horizons by learning about subjects outside of your work.
Take free online courses. Here is a great link to free online college courses:
◦ http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses
Subscribe to educational emails. Here is one link:
https://www.class-central.com/subject/management-and-leadership
There are many resources out there to continue your education, all you have to do is look. Whatever subject you’re interested in its out there and many places they are free.
Keep a balance between work and home. Give your mind a rest from the worries of the workplace.
Married? Have a significant other? Pay attention to them. Give them your undivided attention when you are home.
Children? They deserve your attention when you’re around. Give it to them in bucket loads. Pay attention to them because they’re paying attention to what you’re doing.
Build your self-confidence through these seven confidence building exercises. Talk to yourself, be prepared, look the part and act the part. These are excellent ways to boost your self-confidence and show those around you a new you.
Face your fears, take action and be positive. Facing your fears is a great confidence builder. Doing something that has always scared you is exhilarating. Feeling in control of the situation gives you the self-confidence to keep moving forward. Taking action lets others know you are ready for more.
Being positive builds you aura and reinforces your self confidence. Be around other positive people to build your zone.
Never stop learning. As long as you are learning you are moving forward. Become the go to person when answers are needed. That, my friend, is a huge confidence builder.
If you don’t believe in yourself, why would you expect someone else to? Start believing today. Be Confident. Be Self-Confident.

JB

The fall of Sear’s and Kmart is unprecedented in the history of retail sales. Poor management decisions and the failure to reinvest in the stores is one of the main reason.

Sear’s is facing bankruptcy brought on by some of the worst management making decisions in the history of retail. The adversity they face in turning around this once retail giant is monumental.

Sear's, closed store

The merger of Sear’s and Kmart never made sense to me. Instead of investing needed funds in their own stores(Sear’s) they used their money to purchase a failing entity(Kmart). This can most likely be pointed at as the deciding factor in both stores continued poor performance.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-08/the-long-hard-unprecedented-fall-of-sears

Up or Getting Back Up! The realization that adversity is inevitable is the first step to being able to respond and not to react. Responding to negative situations in a positive manner reflects on the strength of your character.

Adversity is inevitable!!! Respond, don’t react!

Respond, react, adversity

How do you respond to adversity? How do you respond to getting hit in the gut? A bad employee review? Your plans rejected? A bad health diagnoses? A flunking grade? Extra work load? Day off ruined? Rained out plans?
How do you respond to adversity?
Do you throw a fit? Get mad? Angry? Disappointed? Rant and rave? Throw a tantrum? Play the “victim”? Feel dejected?
Or
Do you come out throwing punches(figuratively)? Get back up and throw yourself back into your work? Have a can do attitude? Look for the bright spots? How do I fix this temporary setback?
Do you react or do you respond? That’s the question.
◦ “It’s not the situation, but whether we react (negative) or respond (positive) to the situation that’s important.” Zig Ziglar
Responding to negative situations in a positive manner reflects on the strength of your character. It shows others that you are responsible and able to handle negative situations and can be relied on in difficult times.
Recognizing that adversity is inevitable is the first step towards being able to respond instead of reacting.
Are you a carrot, egg or coffee bean? The carrot is hard and unforgiving, breaking when bent. The egg has a hard shell and a liquid interior. The coffee bean is also hard, but different.
When placed in boiling water the carrot becomes soft and weak. The egg becomes hardened. The coffee bean, though, changes the water, infusing flavor and aroma.
Which one are you. Which one do you want to be? How you respond to adversity is telling, so lets examine some different ways we can develop positive responses to difficult circumstances.
◦ “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” Author Unknown
Take a deep breath and count to a thousand. That might be a bit of an exaggeration but hopefully you get the point. Don’t go off the deep end and say something you will regret later, or in the next few moments be cleaning out your desk. Keep your emotions in check.
◦ “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” Robert Fulghum
Stop what you’re doing. Seriously, STOP. Don’t make things worse then they already are. Think about it for a moment to assess how bad the situation really is. Ninety nine percent of the time its not as bad as you first think. It’s usually a momentary setback at worse.
Here’s a crazy thought, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Ask for help! Coworkers and friends can help you get back on track. There are smart people all around you, use them.
Look on the internet for help. There are resources everywhere.
Reframe the developments so that you will be able to create a path to victory. Hit the reboot button for a fresh start. Looking at a project or problem from a different standpoint can give you a whole new prospective.
Ask yourself questions. What would happen if I did the opposite? What is the worst scenario possible and how would I fix it? What is option 3 or 4? Why can’t there be more then two options?
What would Gilligan do? Ok, I’m old, but there was this show on when I was young called Gilligan’s Island and Gilligan was the total goofball goof up. So, what is the most ridiculous idea you can come up with? Do something different.
Take negative feedback and turn it into positive energy. View it as a gift. Use it to inspire growth and development in yourself. You now know where one of your weaknesses is, so develop it.
Take responsibility for what happened. Own it. There is nothing more powerful then taking responsibility, owning up to the mistakes or direction taken and then fixing it.
Leadership loves knowing you are willing to take the responsibility, even if it’s not your fault, and then, getting it done. Leadership will also know where the blame lies, so don’t worry about taking the responsibilities of a project gone wrong. This doesn’t mean taking responsibility every time something wrong happens.
Don’t make excuses. Just don’t. And don’t blame someone else. You’re only making matters worse.
While I was a store manager for a national retail auto parts chain I had one of my associates install a battery wrong and blow the main fuse. When explaining to me what happened he wouldn’t take responsibility and placed the blame on the vehicle owner.
By him repeatedly making excuses and blaming someone else for his mistake only showed me his irresponsibility. His lack of attention to detail cost the store several hundred dollars, but more importantly a poor customer experience.
He had wanted to be placed in the management training program. After taking this incidence along with his overall growth, we felt he was not right for the program at that time.
Learn to respond when faced with adversity. Reacting does nothing but exasperate the situation. Responding lets you show your growth, character and integrity. Displaying your strengths to leadership and further fueling your career.
Stop, reassess your circumstances and turn a negative into a positive. In life you will have many opponents, so turning as many of them as possible into supporters and advocates is to your advantage. Don’t be your own worse enemy.
Do whatever is needed to resolve the problem. Ask for help, work extra, throw yourself into repairing and fixing the screwup.
Own It! A person with good character takes responsibility for their mistakes. Period.
Being true to yourself should be foremost in your decisions and being a person of character must be a part of the decision making.
I, personally, have made a pledge, a promise, to myself that I call My Mantra. My Mantra shapes and defines me. It forms the foundation of my character. There is a quote from Coach John Wooden that I love, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are”.
If you think about that quote, for just a moment, you will come to realize its truth in its simplicity. Your reputation is only what others see or hear about you, your character, though, is the real you, what you are behind closed doors. Your character is what your wife or husband sees in you on a daily basis. It’s what your co-workers and business partners see. If your reputation matches your character then you’re not hiding something behind those closed doors and living a lie.
You can read about My Mantra here.
Thanks for reading. Until next time.
JB

Raising the Bar by Being on Time. Butt in the Seat or Hammer in Hand. Getting it done, not on time, but ahead the time. By being punctual. Blowing up deadlines and stressing out your coworkers is someone else’s job because your responsibilities are taken care of.

Punctual. Being on time.

Punctual, on time

Finished. Ahead of time. Exemplary. Excellent. First rate because you are organized and know how to schedule your work.
Being on time is one of the most important habits you can get into. Fact is, being early is the better one. Personally if I’m not 10 minutes early I feel like I’m late.
◦ Punctual: arriving or doing something at the expected or planned time. Merriam-Webster.
Being early is so ingrained into my psyche that if I’m going to be on time, as in the time I’m supposed to be there, I’m stressed. I have to be early. I don’t mind waiting as long as you don’t make me wait past my appointment time. Making me wait, making anyone wait is disrespectful.
At it’s very core being late is disrespectful. To the person you’re making wait. To the organization that’s waiting. The meeting. The patient. The client. Friend. Seriously, why would you make someone you call a friend wait? That’s disrespectful. Bottom line.
Punctuality is more then being respectful of other people and their time, it is also about how you are perceived in the workplace. How your boss and coworkers perceive, not just your work, but also your values and respect of others.
◦ Don’t Ever, Ever Be LATE! Don’t! If you’re late your mom had better have died. If not, I don’t want see someone late. Ever.
Look at it this way, when you agree to meet someone at a set time you have made a promise to them that you will be there. A Promise! Your word was given. Now, what it your word worth?
How does it make you feel when someone breaks a promise to you? It makes me mad. Disappointed. Why have you wasted my time? Not only wasted, but stolen my time. Put in this framework, how does being late look to you now?
Do you enjoy not having the boss looking over your shoulder as you work? Like working independently and on your own schedule? Being the go-to person in your office?
If you do, then, be punctual and able to hit your deadlines. That’s half the work of being that person. It’s not rocket science. Spoiler alert! Your work also has to be exemplary. Being on time by itself wont get you go-to status. Sorry…
Being punctual also paints you as someone who is reliable and dependable. Showing up and being in your seat ready for work, already working, gives you credibility with your coworkers and supervisors.
Being punctual relieves stress and allows you work better. When you are stressed your work suffers because you are not at your best. You’re rushed and will inevitably leave some items unfinished and incomplete. Why put yourself through more stress?
There will be deadlines to meet and times when the deadlines are pushed up, but you having your personal work life in order, will be better equipped to handle these unexpected surprises.
Being punctual raises your integrity in your workplace. Integrity should be one of the foundational tenets of your personal mantra. For more on your personal mantra see my articles here.
Punctuality is more then being on time. It encompasses respect, consideration, credibility, concern for others, dependability, integrity, professionalism, team player and more.
There is no down side to being on time.
Thanks for reading. Until next time.
JB
Intentionally being late=Big-timing and egotistical