Wisdom, The True Solution

I was asked this question by a C Suite professional friend of mine: “Why are we, as a society, making fewer wise decisions than ever before?” After pondering this inquiry for a day or two this was my reply.

Picture a field scattered with large bundles of hay each surrounded by crowds of people. Each bundle represents a problem that society grapples with. The crowds are those people intimately effected by the problem. The hay pile is made up of countless “straws”; pieces of information specific to that problem, opinions from those only slightly effected by the problem, and larger “twigs” representing the symptoms that the problem emits.  

The symptoms or “twigs” are more noticeable because they are bigger than the individual pieces of information that surrounds it.  What ultimately happens is, many problem-solvers sort through the pile of information in search of the straws of truth but they are sidetracked by the larger branches of the symptoms and the emotional pleas of the crowd.  Symptoms associated with a problem can be just as painful as the problem that created it.  The difference is, a symptom can never be solved, it can only be ignored, masked or evaluated to determine its source.  As a people, we are constantly and easily distracted from the actual problem by the pain of the symptoms.  Just as a medical symptom such as a fever can become life-threatening, while the problem that causes the fever remains untreated; a symptom of a problem does the very same thing.  Over the years, we have become a society who avoids solving problems by focusing our attention on the symptoms we can never solve. 

Here are a few reasons that support this truth:  

  • Too much false information is being distributed like never before.
  • Trustworthy people are being swayed to support relativistic views so as not to be socially rejected.
  • Too many people in government with agendas that benefit from the problems of others. 

If you are among those who benefit from having a problem remain in society; it is too easy today to disseminate false content that will lead intelligent people into becoming emotionally bonded to the lies.  Even those who may not agree with the falsehoods will struggle to be able to discern the truth needed to solve the problem because it is hidden deep beneath the reams of emotion-driven content addressing the pains of the symptoms.  

Consider, when I was young the public had fewer sources of information.  We had maybe five television news channels which aired only three times a day for one hour.  When a societal problem was reported, regardless of which channel you listened to, the message was almost identical.  We were not told what to think, we were all given the same information and we decided what was true or false from an unbiased presentation of facts.  Not surprisingly, most people could identify the truth.  That is no longer the case.  We now have over a dozen news channels, an ever-growing pool of social media sources and access to countless internet sites, all at our fingertips every minute of every day.  As a result, there is no shortage of opinions while very few trustworthy sources of unquestionable information exist. 

The good news is all of this can be fixed. We need to begin holding our civic authorities accountable when they ignore the true societal problems.  Consequently, the people have to take full responsibility for their own problems.  Most of societal problems are truly just the self-inflicted symptoms that are pushed onto the backs of others.  The problem must be solved by the individuals, with society supporting correct behavior through commonly held laws and values associated with the truth. 

The public has to demand an unbiased news stream.  Journalist should not be allowed to pontificate their beliefs; we will do enough of that on our own through opt eds and social media.  They should be held to a level of only reporting honest facts; relying on the public to use those facts to form their own decisions.    

Finally, we have to quit whining and start winning.  Emotions do not solve problems.  Today, like never before, people emotionally lock down the doors that open their mind to new views.  People are being manipulated by emotion to the point of being closed minded to the truth.  The truth is more important than how we feel.  Whether we are happy or sad, peaceful or angry does not change the truth.  This is why people seek out therapist; some of us need an unbiased mediator to get past the emotions that fuel our bad thoughts, words and actions. 

We can do this, because once upon a time we proved we could!  Are we willing to do it again?

If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others. 

Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”

“We Come As We Are, But Shouldn’t Leave As We Were”

Coal to Diamond

I recently had the opportunity to listen to a speaker that shared this unique perspective on the dynamics of leadership in regards to how the follower is affected by the leader’s messages. To better understand this concept I would like you to think about your own life, the messages you received from people that you followed, and how the decisions made from those messages changed your life. Recall that special teacher or coach, your parent or guardian, a close friend, or a trusted mentor; whomever it was, go back in your mind’s eye, while you read over this material.

The speaker told a story about a respected man who was a student of a renowned teacher. One day the student approached the teacher and asked him a philosophical question. “Teacher, what do I have to do to find eternal peace?” The teacher knew the student as a successful businessman who was also a good and respected man. He built his business the right way; he did not lie, cheat, or steal from others, and had never committed a crime of any kind. He was a pillar of the community, a kind man.

The teacher looked deep into his smiling eyes and gave him the answer to his question. “To find eternal peace, you must sell all your possession and give the proceeds to the poor, and then you must follow me, teaching others what I have taught you. Only then will you find eternal peace.”  

The student’s face went pale and his smile completely disappeared from his face. Shaking the teacher’s hand in silence, he left feeling sad.

Needless to say, the answer was not the one the student expected because whenever we come to our leaders; we do so from “our” perspective at that time and place. “We come as we are.” We possess certain talents, skills, and abilities up to that moment. Our past will have been laced with difficulties and earned accomplishments. All of which forms our self-image. We cannot change the history of our past; after all, it is what brought us to where we are. However, no matter how good we think we are, there will always be room for improvements and the better we are; the more accomplished; the harder future improvements will be. Our personal growth, by its very nature, must continue throughout our lives.

What I personally found extremely compelling in the answer that the teacher gave, was the area of focus that the teacher was guiding the student toward. The student probably assumed; because he had lived what he believed to be the best life possible; the teacher would tell him he could finally coast the rest of the way to what he considered “eternal peace”.   He thought he had reached, or at least was close to, what he believed was the ultimate life destination. He was content and was looking for accolades; yet deep down; he knew there was something more to the eternal peace that he was seeking, or he would not have posed the question in the first place. Another “given” to this scenario is that the student fully believed that the teacher possessed the answer to his question about reaching this Nirvana. The teacher completely surprised him by directing the student toward the deepest and most difficult area for all of mankind to master, our selfish nature. To grow his eternal peace the student would need to create a selfless vocation; a call of total service to those less fortunate; those to whom a quid pro quo relationship would be impossible to achieve. This transition is what many life coaches refer to as shifting from a successful life to one of significance.

Answers from our leaders should always create positive change. That is what good leaders do. Let’s consider the choices the student is presented with and how these choices could affect his emotions. From the wording of the last sentence of the story, it seems that the student was not emotionally prepared for the bombshell the teacher dropped on him. “Go sell all that you have worked so hard to achieve and give the profits of your life work to people who have much less.” As with any decision, he only has three choices; do as the trusted teacher advised, ignore the direction of his mentor, or do some of what the leader requested. With the first choice, if you believe the teacher knows the right answer, then the only right solution is to go all in and follow his directions completely. In the case of the second choice, if you think the professor is totally off-base the student should completely dismiss the guidance of the teacher but this is an unlikely option because of the relationship the two shares. The third solution and the one that most people would probably make were they in his shoes, is to consider an acceptable concession. He could sell some of his wealth and give that to the poor. This third solution would definitely be more palatable to the student and would surely bring the teacher and the student’s definition of “eternal peace” closer in line to one another. Or would it? The concession would probably not build the selfless character trait that the wise teacher knew was required in order for anyone to find that eternal peace.  

Another component to this scenario is whether or not the student accepted the request made of him in the correct manner it was given. Did the student take offense to the request made by the teacher? Possibly. Some things said or done can be perceived as offensive to others but still should be said or done because the words or actions are right, just and moral for the betterment of the parties involved. In today’s society, it is said that we are raising children with thin skins. Should not people be taught to gauge intent before jumping to conclusions? I believe that is why the relationship between the messenger and the receiver of the message is so important. Guidance from someone to whom you share a relationship of love, trust, and respect will usually be viewed from a more caring perspective and with positive consequences. As long as the intent is not to offend but rather to assist in growth and understanding for the greater good then the person will take a more accepting posture in the consideration of future choices.

For years I have shared a special lesson with everyone I had the privilege to work with. This lesson was quite simple. “We change everyone that we interact with, either positively or negatively. Lives are forever changed and neither will be the same again. It is our job to work hard to make it a positive change.”

If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.

Anthony “Tony” Boquet is a published author on the topic of wise decision making.  Through the creation of the word “Solutionary” he is turning problem solving in a whole new direction.