I can say, with all candor, I have never been tempted to initiate or participate in a petition drive. Sure, there have been many situations and conditions I have disliked and some I have disliked intensely. Even so, the petition thing never popped into my conscious thought processes. Today is the day that all changed.

Why does the year start in January? I know; it’s when the bowl games are and it wouldn’t work having them other than at the end of the football season. That’s fine if you happen to live where January doesn’t bring ice and snow; but for the rest of us, football in January is silly. You’re right, there are domes and the like, but that only works for the handful of communities with their own domes. Since we don’t have one, football should be confined to September and maybe October but never after Halloween.

Ok, football is definitely not a good enough reason to have the year start in the middle of the winter. Then, what about parades? Need I say it? Parades in January are even sillier than football. Were it not for those bowl games, I doubt anyone would plan a parade when a blizzard is as likely as a sunny day. Yes, there is California and Florida is there too. Arizona and Hawaii are options as well. Good for them. They can have all the parades in January they please; but please stop acting like the rest of us should think majorettes in short skirts makes sense when the temp is nearing zero.

There’s also the calendar thing where, I suppose, this deal about the year starting in January began. There are other calendars but we are stuck with this year–starts–in–January nonsense. I just can’t believe we had choices and picked this one. Twelve choices and we chose the middle of the winter. Go figure, since I sure can’t.

That brings me to the point of my petition. It’s New Year’s Eve. NYE was made for partying. Is there a worse possible time for NYE than in the midst of the ice and snow? I think not. Barbecue is out, unless you are satisfied with someone else’s barbecue. Firing up the grill and throwing on some ribs is another one of those silly things when you have to wear a snow suit. Drinks around the pool are similarly out. No, I’m not going to explain. If you don’t get it, you may be one of those idiots who got us into this year–starting–in–January silliness to start with.

Just consider this. Let’s start the year in April. Instead of football, we would have baseball, a much more civil sport. Odds are we could have a parade without freezing, and barbecue and drinks around the pool would be doable, although even then, a dip in the pool would be out, except for the few who had already had too many drinks around the pool.

Everything is politics. I’ve heard that and maybe even knew it. My first petition and compromise is the only way to consensus. It boiled down to this. April is often too cold and it can snow then too. July and August are too hot; and no one would be around for NYE anyway, since most are on vacation.

It comes down to June 15. The weather is nearly perfect; school is out, Daylight Savings Time is there to improve the NYE party; it’s a good time for another holiday and a day off work. Barbecue is fine; drinks around the pool are refreshing; and the pool is there even for the non–liquor–challenged.

No, the year does not have to start on the first day of some month. It can start when we say it starts; and I say it starts on June 15. If you agree – and I am sure you do – please indicate your interest in joining my petition. I’m not clear about exactly how you do that but have confidence you will let me know. I also am not clear about who, if anyone, will be in a position to act on our petition but hope to figure that out next year, whenever that starts.


Although it’s usually not the wrong choice to stand up, speek up, shut up and sitdown, it’s worth considering if this may be the time to just shut up and sit down. We’ve all heard about the benefits of being able to speek well, but just because you can speek well doesn’t mean you should. Let’s give some thought to the benefits of keeping our mouths shut.

For example, Will Rogers pointed out what seems obvious but is frequently ignored. He said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” Austin O’Malley knew the chief benefit of silence, “If you keep your mouth shut you will never put your foot in it.”

Earl Wilson also had a useful take on whether to speek or shut up. He put the point this way, “If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it.” I think that perspective is way too limiting but does hold a grain of truth. Perhaps Arnot L Sheppard Jr. had a more doable caution, “Isn’t it surprising how many things, if not said immediately, seem not worth saying ten minutes from now?” There is a Spanish Proverb that I suspect goes Sheppard one step better. It gives us this advice, “Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence.”

Okay, you get it and so do I. When we are tempted to speek up, we should first consider listening instead. We don’t want to be one of those people Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was referring to when he said, “People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say.” I think James Lendall Basford was making the same point when he said, “Many talk as easily as they breathe, and with quite as little thought.”

What I need to remember and perhaps you will also think worth filing away comes from someone who’s name I have forgotten. I hope it is enough to admit that I didn’t say it first but wish I had. The keeper tells us, “The difference between a smart man and a wise man is that a smart man knows what to say, a wise man knows whether or not to say it.” Dorothy Nevill also had advice for us about when to speek and when to just shut up. She said, “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

It’s like Hermann Hesse warned, “Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” The popular Anonymous also spoke up here, “Even a fish wouldn’t get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut;” and “Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain.” Ira Gassen joind the chorus with this, “Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment;” and Karl Popper added, “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.”

I suspect it’s close to or perhaps time to just shut up and sit down, or at least wrap this up. I’m reminding myself what Maurice Switzer told us, “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.” We might all do well to remember that his point also applies to writing, blogging and even to podcasting.

So let me leave you with this advice from Horace, “Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled;” so let’s agree to follow the advice of our friend Anonymous, “Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them.”

Now you know so there you go.


Are you old enough to remember Ozzy and Harriet? If so, you will recall that only the children argued and then only in the most considerate and polite way. Everyone was thoughtful and, well, nice.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just think about how well you think other families get along with each other when they get together for a summer barbecue or a winter holiday. If you think they get along great or at least better than your family does, you have bought into what we might call the Ozzy and Harriet syndrome.

If that doesn’t work for you, take your imagination along with you to work. Picture a workplace where everyone is positive and in an up mood all the time. You and your coworkers are always thoughtful, considerate and, well, nice. It’s always a pleasure to go to work and a joy to spend time with your coworkers.

If you are still struggling to get up to speed with all of this, focus on your relationship with your parents, your significant other, your children, your friends or maybe even your neighbors. It’s an Ozzy and Harriet world. Everyone gets along just fine with everyone else and that is especially true for you. You are always easy to get along with and are a joy to be around. Ozzy and Harriet could have picked up some being nice pointers from you.

Alas, it’s not an Ozzy and Harriet world, at least not in any world I know about. I doubt that it’s an Ozzy and Harriet world in any world you know about either.

Let me ask you this. In situations from coworkers to neighbors, from children to siblings, what do you want to change? What would it take to turn each situation into that Ozzy and Harriet world we all secretly think may actually be possible?

If you aren’t sure what it would take, I definitely know the answer. Everything would be much improved if my coworkers would just be more cooperative, if my children would just be less childish, if my neighbors would just be more neighborly, if my friends would just be more considerate, and if everyone would just shape up and get with the program, my program of course.

What do you think? Would that work for you too – with your program instead of mine of course?

You are probably thinking that I’m going to be giving you some advice now. It would likely have something to do with you being more thoughtful, considerate and patient with other people. Perhaps it would include the caution not to be too reactive or quick to criticize. It might even include a few tips about how not to get pulled into conflicts or controversy. I’ll bet it would definitely include the advice my mother gave me to mind my own business and not to stick my nose into other peoples’ business. As she like to put it, “It’s a full time job just taking care of yourself.”

No, I don’t think so. Not this time. I’m going to give you some advice but not the useless advice you are expecting. Since I have no intention to shape up and get with your program, I think your best choice is to shape up and get with mine.

Now you know, so there you go.


I think I was probably eleven when my dad told me that I should find something that I was good at and then spend my time getting really good at it. His point at the time was that for me, it probably wasn’t football. He was definitely right about me and football, but was even more prescient than it might first seem.

Of course, he was also right about most other things that consume our time and effort. It doesn’t make much sense to give less than our best effort to whatever we commit our energy and resources. Hobbies and casual pastimes may not need or warrant our best effort, but whatever truly matters assuredly does.

I was certainly long past being eleven but am not sure exactly when I understood that Dad’s point also applied to something much more fundamental. As hard as I tried emulating or imitating my heroes and role models, I was never going to get it quite right. As good as they were at being them, I was not going to ever be good at being them.

Sure, I went through some discomfort and self–doubt as I struggled with what I believed might be some inadequacy or personal deficiency. To borrow a phrase, I feared that I just didn’t have “the right stuff.” I think it was about then when I questioned whether I was on the right track. Perhaps trying to be someone else was just one of those things that I wasn’t very good at doing. Maybe for me, it was just another version of football.

Julius Charles Hare said, “Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.” Walter Kaufmann put the idea this way, “Rabbi Zusya said that on the Day of Judgment, God would ask him, not why he had not been Moses, but why he had not been Zusya.” Barbara Cook’s version of “Be the best you that you can be” went like this, “Find out what is unique about yourself and get in touch with it. If you are able to be yourself, then you have no competition. All you have to do is to try and get closer and closer to that essence.”

I think you likely get the point. Perhaps you got it a lot more quickly than I got it. Even so, I did figure out that I was already a lot better at being me than I would ever be at being someone else, hero, role model or super star. They were good at being them and I was good at being me; and my edge was that I could and would get even better at being me. It was something that I could get really good at.

E e cummings’ advice here is worth a moment’s thought, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. Raymond Hull added the down side of not fighting, “He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.

Judy Garland cuts to the chase with the point I am pursuing and that Dad would similarly pursue were he here to advise us, “Always be a first–rate version of yourself, instead of a second–rate version of somebody else.” Fanny Brice beats that drum equally loudly, just in case we still aren’t hearing the message, “Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” I suppose it might actually be true that good things come in threes so let’s let John Mason fill out this hat trick, “You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.”

I find that I have arrived at one of those decision points that come up when writing or podcasting or perhaps when doing most anything else. Is it time to stop or do I have just a little more? I think the answer is probably Yes and Yes; so if you are on the “enough is enough” side of it, feel free to stop. If you are on the “keep going until your done” side of it, I have just a few more instances of wise people making the point for us.

• “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” (e e cummings)

• “There is just one life for each of us: our own.” (Euripides)

• “If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.” (Johann von Goethe)

• “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” (Steve Jobs)

• “The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his identity.” (Tony Robbins)

• “If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.” (Unknown)

• “Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!” (Robert Browning)

• “What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” (Carl Rogers)

• “There lurks perhaps in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man first to hope, and then to believe, that Nature has given him something peculiar to himself.” (Samuel Johnson)

• “You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” (Irene C Kassorla)

Now you know, so there you go. And what does it take to be who we are? For each of us, if it is to be, it is up to me, no exceptions, no excuses.

Secrets Of Proactive Leadership

Secrets Of Proactive Leadership

1. Proactive leaders are cautious without becoming paralyzed by the potential downside of action. They pursue their goals continuously but incrementally, testing/evaluating progress toward the goal. This approach assures movement toward the goal without exposing the organization to unnecessary and avoidable jeopardy. They don’t play it safe but do play it cautiously.

2. Proactive leaders focus most of their time and energy on organizational stability and goal attainment. They minimize time and energy absorbed by worrying about unlikely contingencies and maintaining the status quo.

3. Proactive leaders make decisions and take action thoughtfully but quickly. They don’t delay or postpone decisions or actions, try to avoid or defer doing what needs done, and they don’t hesitate or proceed reluctantly. Their actions and reactions aren’t impulsive or ill considered. They are, instead, decisive and timely.

4. Proactive leaders don’t shirk or avoid responsibility and have little tolerance for people who do. They are committed to the welfare of the organization and to its mission. From the perspective of personal responsibility, they do everything they have agreed to do to the best of their ability and accept additional responsibility to the extent necessary to assure the organization’s success.

They may decide that they are unwilling or unable to continue accepting the responsibilities they have agreed to accept. In that event, they will be up–front about their decision and in the meantime, they will do what they have agreed to do at the highest level of which they are capable. The organization always gets their best effort.

5. Proactive leaders take calculated risks and carefully considered chances with hard resources such as capital and soft resources such as political support. Before taking such risks, they first determine the cost to the organization of paying the hard or soft resource bill if their action is unsuccessful. Next, they determine the extent of total organizational resource reduction that could result from having to pay that bill. How much worse off would the organization be if the bill is paid? That is “X” or the downside cost of action. “Y” or the upside benefit of action is similarly calculated in terms of the level of increase in total hard and soft resources if the action is successful. Action then gambles “X” against the possibility of “Y.”

Two additional factors are then considered: the likelihood of getting “y,” and how much the value of “Y” exceeds the value of “X.” They don’t gamble a lot to only gain a little.

For the proactive leader, then, taking calculated risks with organizational resources means that the potential value of attaining “Y” justifies the risk of having to pay the downside bill (X). In either event, contingency plans are in place to manage the outcome.

6. Proactive leaders have a high tolerance for and acceptance of differing personalities, traits and characteristics, personal styles, individual values and beliefs, and for the idiosyncrasies of people. Similarly, they easily manage fluctuations in people’s moods, points of view, and interests. Alternatively, they have little tolerance for sub–standard work, less than complete attention to the task at hand, or lackluster performance. They always give their best effort and expect others to do the same. 7. Proactive leaders expect others to do things correctly, to give everything they do their best effort, to succeed. They are surprised when people make mistakes, give things less than their best effort, don’t succeed. Since they expect success, they assume personal responsibility for mistakes of others, lackluster effort, non–success. Their first take on the situation is that they haven’t been smart enough or skilled enough to effectuate the right outcome. They then work with the person to identify the deficiencies, to modify their (the proactive leader’s) performance so that they better facilitate the person’s success.

Of course, the Proactive leader occasionally determines that a specific person either can’t or won’t perform as expected no matter what is done but typically, the proactive leader assumes shared responsibility for assuring the success of others.

8. Proactive leaders accept people as is. Their goal isn’t to change anyone. Rather, they focus on encouraging and facilitating in ways that enable each person to achieve optimal performance within the context of their skills, abilities, and interests. Concurrently, they expect people to expand and improve their capacities and are ready to help with that process however they can, within the resources and constraints of the organization. People aren’t expected to change but are expected to grow and develop as organizational participants. 9. Proactive leaders aren’t stingy with praise nor are they lavish with it. They are quick to recognize and acknowledge the successes and accomplishments of others but don’t confuse praise with simple good manners. Please and thank you and noting that someone did a good job or was helpful are not examples of praise. They are, rather, merely examples of good manners and are integral to the proactive leader’s habitual deportment. Alternatively, praise is an intentional and thoughtful action which privately or publicly acknowledges and commends excellence. Proactive leaders reserve praise for exceptional or extraordinary performance, never missing an opportunity to praise when individual or group performance meets that standard.

10. Proactive leaders understand that holding people responsible and accountable on the one hand and blaming and accusing them on the other are not the same. Holding someone responsible is a performance standard. Holding them accountable is a performance expectation. Alternatively, blaming and accusing imply negative opinions and perceptions of the individual. To blame someone or accuse them represents a pejorative assessment of them. Blaming and accusing are always subjective and personal while responsibility and accountability are performance elements that can be objectively evaluated and, if necessary, adjusted. Since the individual or group are accountable for their performance, the level of responsibility extended to them may be increased or decreased, depending on their performance.

To blame or accuse are counterproductive and incompatible with proactive leadership. Holding people responsible and accountable are key elements in the proactive leader’s approach with people. It starts with holding himself (or herself) responsible and accountable and then simply extending the principle to everyone else in the organization.

11. Proactive leaders resist the temptation to either focus on what is not going well or on what is. It may be a function of human nature to attend mostly to the negative or to the positive, depending on ones personality. Proactive leaders understand that this is not a simple matter of choice or personal preference. The key to success is seeing that neither focusing on the positive nor on the negative is advisable. At a more fundamental level, the reality is that the organization is continuously transitioning from a past state to a future state. The primary responsibility of the proactive leader is to affect the transition so as to actualize the desired future state. To do this, the task is to reduce and eliminate the disparity between the present and future states, without redefining or compromising the future state. Focus then needs to be collectively on the cluster of elements that affect the future state either as contributors or as Detractors, understanding that neither is more or less important than the other. Focus must be on the gestalt.

12. Proactive leaders demonstrate their respect for and are pleased by the successes and accomplishments of others. The key here is twofold. They both respect the achievements of others and actively demonstrate that respect and the pleasure they experience when others do well. Respect in this context includes holding the person and the action or accomplishment in high esteem, feeling delighted, and actively expressing approval.

. . . . .

Proactive leaders are cautious without becoming paralyzed by the potential downside of action. They pursue their goals continuously but incrementally, testing/evaluating progress toward the goal. This truth introduces the twelve secrets of Proactive Leadership. This article reveals these secrets and shows you how to incorporate them into your leadership practice.

Ride MCowboy

Once I was a little squirt,
Silver buttons on my shirt,
I’d climb atop my wooden steed,
Be quickly off with lightening speed.

I’d ride the range from east to west,
A silver star pinned on my chest,
A holstered gun in easy reach,
Villains to catch and lessons to teach.

On winter days and summer nights,
Bar room brawls and wild gun fights,
My lawman life would twist and spin,
Nary a doubt about who would win.

The black hats fell; the white hats stood.
Justice prevailed; evil bested by good.
Rules were simple, no room for doubt.
Break the law, you get taken out.

There comes the wooden steed and another little squirt.
A star and silver buttons on his shirt.
Black hats and hooligans don’t tarry long round here.
He’s the law; the bad guys shake from fear.

I think about a world of only right or wrong,
A binomial reality where good and bad belong.
White hats and black, there’s nothing in between.
A little squirt as lawman, we all can play the scene.

No misunderstanding, all know what to say,
No honest disagreement, no mediating gray.
The good guys and bad, Detectable at a glance.
Everyone in step, familiar with the dance.

Nirvana? Perfection? The ultimate delight?
Utopia at last? We finally got it right?
Says android 1 to android 2, “Ho Do Mo do so.”
Says Android 2 to android 1, “So Do Mo do ho.”


This story starts when I was seventeen and if the truth be told, even more full of myself than most seventeen–year–olds. There I was a senior in high school and on an airplane flying from Columbus to Cleveland. It was a very big deal; but before I get too far ahead of myself, a little perspective is necessary.

At my high school, I had some status: class president, a good student, a drummer in the marching band and teacher’s pet, at least for a couple of the teachers. Life was good, at least as good as it gets when you are seventeen.

Let me sharpen the perspective. My senior class had a grand total of 63 students and my hometown had 900 residents, assuming everyone was home. We did have one traffic light and a courthouse, if you were thinking there was nothing special about the place.

It happened that one of those couple of teachers I mentioned was responsible for the plays that were presented by students once or twice each school year. My teacher’s pet status partially depended on having a role whenever it was play time. I still don’t quite understand how being in those plays seemed to automatically mean that I would also participate in speech contests, but it did.

Well, one of those contests involved writing and memorizing a speech on democracy. The writing part was tough but successful, with a lot of extra help from the history teacher. – No, pet status with the history teacher was not in the cards. – . At any rate, the speech got written and the memorizing part was no harder than learning a part in one of the plays. I was ready for the contest.

I was to compete in one of the seven districts in the state. I think there were three or four rounds leading to the final round. You do recall that I was full of myself, don’t you? I think I had just assumed that I would probably win, so I was neither surprised nor impressed When I was given the democracy medal at a school assembly.

That should suffice for perspective. My mother and I were flying to Cleveland for the state contest. Two points are enough to let you get the full picture. First, the contest was in a downtown hotel where I had to wait for a half hour or so until the contest started. I was sitting with the other contestants who seemed to me to all be sophisticated city kids. Does fish out of water clarify the picture? I think it was my first experience with being totally intimidated.

Second – and here’s the kicker – I left a full paragraph out of the middle of my speech. And to make the kick even straighter to the gut, one of the judges told my mother after the contest that I would have easily won, but omitting the paragraph was an automatic disqualification. No trip to Dallas to the national contest for me.

I never made it to Dallas, but I did get another crack at Cleveland. Granted, it took twenty years, but my day came. I was invited to give a presentation to 200 or so sophisticated city folks at the very same hotel where I blew my chance to make the trip to Dallas. I have given talks from Las Vegas to Boston; but none were quite as sweet as my return to that downtown hotel in Cleveland.

I’m probably supposed to draw some profound conclusion or share a witty insight from my teenage stumble but nothing profound or witty comes to mind. Perhaps you might expect to learn how much I learned and grew from my humbling Cleveland experience. Sorry to disappoint. The best I can do is to assure you that now and then the stars do align, as they did for me the day I returned to Cleveland. – Count on it.

Now you know so there you go.


Note that these 20 Reasons To Be a Republican are in no particular order and that it is not necessary to sign onto all 20 reasons. If you agree with or at least lean toward most of the reasons and don’t strongly disagree with the rest, being a Republican in 2020 is likely for you.

Reason 1: You believe that what is good for business is good for America. Policies and regulations that are pro business are acceptable, while those that are not should be eliminated.

Reason 2: Abortion is eval and immoral.

Reason 3: The accumulation of wealth by individuals and companies is a natural product of successful capitalism and should not be limited or penalized by undue regulation or taxation.

Reason 4: The nation’s natural resources are vast and should be available to and accessible by those who are in a position to maximize their use as a key driver of the economic engine.

Reason 5: You believe that buying, selling and possessing guns is an unqualified Constitutionally guaranteed right of every American adult and should not be limited or restricted through government regulation or policy.

Reason 6: You believe that global warming is largely a scientific myth and represents little to no future risk for the planet or for its inhabitants. In particular, it represents no significant threat to life in America.

Reason 7: You believe that America’s priorities and interests should always come first politically, economically and militarily on the world stage.

Reason 8: You believe that it is the responsibility of every American adult to handle the economic aspects of all of his or her personal health and welfare requirements and responsibilities and that it is not the responsibility of government to compensate for any shortfall that may occur.

Reason 9: You believe that criminals and those who break the law should be held strictly accountable for their transgressions and should be punished harshly and swiftly.

Reason 10: You believe that America is here for the safety, protection and freedom of its citizens and that noncitizens should only be permitted to enter or allowed to stay if they demonstrate their ability to assimilate into the American culture as productive participants who are economically self sufficient, putting no stress on government resources or services.

Reason 11: You believe that socialism is a serious threat to the American way and that the country has already moved too far toward socialist policies and programs. Government handouts have gotten out of hand and have to be rolled back.

Reason 12: Government should be there to support business sectors when economic conditions or events cause or threaten disruptions in the profitable operation of business units within those sectors. This support should be economic and not regulatory, unless reducing regulations increases the viability of those business units.

Reason 13: You believe that the personal privacy expectations of individuals are (with appropriate court oversight) subordinate to the information and data needs of law enforcement and other governmental security organizations pursuing criminals and other identified security risks.

Reason 14: You believe that labor unions have a negative influence on business and economic growth and that they drive up costs, limit the flexibility of businesses and stifle economic development. At a individual level, they protect incompetent and unproductive employees and tie the hands of managers and administrators who are trying to resolve problems and issues within their organizations.

Reason 15: You believe that “clean energy” is an oxymoron and that the country runs on coal, natural gas, oil and electricity and that nothing should be done or permitted that restricts or threatens the supply or use of these essential fuels.

Reason 16: You believe that America should set and control any rules or regulations relating to its international trade and commerce and that it should not participate in any multinational agreements that limit its flexibility or actions or delegate final authority to any body or panel not under its control.

Reason 17: You believe that pursuing America’s interests and strategic advantage should take priority over maintaining solid and cooperative relationships with other nations in general and with its allies in particular.

Reason 18: You believe that pure research along with cultural and social initiatives and enterprises are not an appropriate focus for government interest and resources and should be pursued and supported by private and charitable groups.

Reason 19: You believe that the country is basically doing fine and that nothing significant needs to change. Tinkering with our strong country and its thriving economy would only serve to weaken the country internationally and risk a serious recession if not worse. It isn’t broken, thus there is nothing to fix.

Reason 20: You believe that if Democrats and liberals were to get control of the government, they would pursue policies that would throttle the economic engine and throw the country into chaos both internally and internationally. This would threaten the very survival of the nation as we know it.


Want to Renegotiate Your Lease on Life?

May be you are totally cool with your lease on life and have zero interest in renegotiating your lease. If so, right on. You are definitely one of the lucky ones. It’s also possible that you think you own your life and are not reduced to leasing or even worse, certainly not to being just a renter. I suspect you also have the perfect answer when asked how many of you it would take to put in a lightbulb. You know don’t you? Sure you do. It would only take one of you. You could just hold the lightbulb and the world would revolve around you.

I’m sorry. I know that’s not you. I just tossed that in there to put off any of those high–and–mighty types who might have unintentionally pressed play and started listening in on our conversation. They think they are above the rest of us. You know the type. They aren’t above anyone but sure think they are. They also think they are entitled and don’t know that they are only leasing the space they have among us and can have their lease canceled without notice at any time. But we know, we totally get it. So let’s talk about our leases.

What are the terms of our lease on life? Yes, there are always terms. The space each of us occupies is by contract only and it’s important for us to know the terms of our lease, terms of our contract, for if we don’t hold up our end of the contract, we will sooner or later get evicted – an unfortunate outcome indeed. Let’s give some thought to just what the terms of our contract to get to live among the rest of us actually are.

Our lease on life has both basic and premium provisions. Here is the catch. The basic provisions apply to each of us and are not negotiable. They spell out what is expected of us. Failure to comply gets us evicted from our place and usually gets us downgraded. Conversely, the premium provisions are the benefits we get from our place in the scheme of things and are usually at least somewhat negotiable but can be changed or taken away without notice or negotiation. We are held firmly to the basic provisions and have to comply. We have some choice about the premium provisions but have to cope with the reality that our lease on life comes with no guarantee whatsoever.

Even so, some premium packages are much safer than others, much closer to a guarantee. Think about it like this. Suppose my place among the rest of us is to watch movies. That is the basic provision in my lease. The premium provision specifies the movies I watch. There is a sub–provision that requires me to actually watch every movie I am given access to. It really is like life, since we also have to actually live through every day we have.

Getting back to the movies, my safest bet with life and the uncertainty that comes with my lease on life says that leasing one movie is safest, especially if I accept a really old movie that everyone else has seen and no one wants. The chance of losing access or having it taken away is near slim to none. Hopefully, I at least get a chance to pick a movie I like, but again there is no guarantee.

But I want more than one old movie to watch. – Stay alert, the fine print starts here. In my one movie space, the basic provisions of my lease only include keeping track of my one movie and making sure that it does not get rendered useless and does not get misplaced or taken away. Sure, it’s boring, tedious and definitely not fulfilling after a while. Even so, my space is reasonably safe and I can certainly handle it over the long hall. You can likely think of a few bad outcomes, but for the most part, my life is pretty safe and predictable.

But would you be okay with a one movie place in life? Me neither. One old movie is not nearly enough. I want to renegotiate my lease on life. I want an upgrade to a better life space.

Here’s the rub. An upgrade in the premium provisions has a corresponding ramp up of the basic lease provisions. Concurrently, the upgrade requires us to take on greater risk. Sticking with the movies, Remembering that we have to watch every movie we choose, selecting more movies requires more time and energy to select and exposes us to more risk of having to watch movies that we hate. Do we stick with what we have and know we can handle or to we take a chance?

Within our life spaces, our options for renegotiating are about more than movies. Do we stay where we are or relocate? Do we keep the job we have or change? Do we stay in our current relationship or move on? Do we exercise more or stick to the couch? Do we eat less or deal with being fat? Do we become more active in our community or just continue letting others do the work and make the decisions? Do we save for that rainy day or do we just hope that it never rains? Do we renegotiate our lease on life knowing that the basic provisions will change and the risk will likely increase or do we settle for the status quo while figuring that things always work out in the long run?

You may be hoping that I have a startling conclusion or helpful advice for you. If so, now would be the time for it. The truth of it is that I don’t know what you should do. What I do know is that if you decide to renegotiate, you should be prepared to manage the changes in the basic provisions or requirements in your lease that will come with your new life space and be ready to take on the increased risk that will unavoidably also show up in your life.

Let me share a little riddle before I leave you. If there are two flies in the kitchen, which one is the cowboy? … … … It’s the one that is at home on the range.

If you plan to renegotiate your lease on life, just be sure you are comfortable with settling into your new home on the range, knowing that things can heat up without notice.


It’s a little strange not hanging out in person to come up with podcast topics, but come up with them we will. When we could get together at Audio Tidbits headquarters, getting started was easy. It just happened. Doing this remotely is pretty awkward. I guess whoever wants to get us started should just go for it.

I agree that it’s pretty strange but I have something to get us started. I listened to Will’s take on introverts and am happy that they now get their own month. I’m thinking that those of us who are climbing the walls should get our own month too, hopefully somewhere other than at home. I’m feeling like I may implode if I don’t get out and about soon. I have a new appreciation for having too much to do, too many places to go, too many people to see and not enough time in the day to get it all done. I wonder why I used to complain about being too busy. I just want to get out of this cage.

Being cooped up is definitely getting old. I love my family but you can get too much togetherness, at least I’m feeling a little overdosed with family closeness. I don’t know whether to feel guilty or just shrug and agree that it’s actually possible to get too much of a good thing. I’m sure that all of us at my house will be happy when we have things to do and places to go, involving other people and other conversations –– please. You know it’s getting over the top when my kids are complaining about not being able to get up early and go to school. I think even the cat is wishing we would all just go away and leave her alone.

I agree. Even at my place, we are definitely getting on each others nerves. There is a limit to how many conversations I can have about the virus or what is streaming on Netflix. Maybe I can nudge us away from our pity party and toward ideas for episodes of Audio Tidbits. I suspect our listeners are getting tired of hearing about how bad things are and how tough it is to manage through these very strange times. Once I acknowledge that it’s surreal, there isn’t much else to say, although everyone keeps saying it anyway.

I’m wondering what the rest of you are doing about your cell service. If that’s not too much of a topic jump, I was shocked into looking around to see what was out there for cell service. I have four phones on my account and was paying a hundred and fifty dollars or so per month. I had been with Verizon for years and just never looked into changing. A couple of months ago, the monthly bill came and was two hundred and thirty–five dollars, with no warning or explanation. The charge just went up twenty dollars per line. At least they got my attention. The lines had unlimited everything but when I checked closer, I was only using three or four gigs of data a month on three of the lines and no data on one line. And unlimited phone calls was excessive to say the least. At any rate, when I discovered that I could get the level of service we were actually using – since we are on wifi most of the time – for under fifty dollars a month for all four phones, I became a switcher. I am now with and saving a hundred and eighty dollars a month. Texting is unlimited, so the kids are not unhappy. We can even make calls to Canada, Mexico and – although I’m not sure why – China, at no extra cost, even though I never call those places. At any rate, I just want to suggest that you and our listeners check to see what you are actually paying for as compared to how much service you regularly use, along with how much it is costing. You may be as shocked as I was.

Thanks for the tip. We only have two lines but I’m going to give it a look. We try to keep our utility bills down as much as we can without getting too carried away but I haven’t given much thought to our cell bill, other than complaining about it. That makes me wonder what else we just let drift for no better reason than that it’s how we’ve done it for a long time. Your example is saving you money but are there other things we do out of habit when there are better choices if we would only stop and think about it?

Now there’s a thought. Why we do what we do or how we decide what we decide are actually serious questions we seldom ask and even less often consider changing. We really are creatures of habit. When we think we are in the groove, maybe we are just in a rut. I was listening to a podcast talking about cognitive bias. It’s a little like prejudice but much more subtle and pervasive. We tend to have people, things and situations classified and categorized back in our brains somewhere and usually aren’t even aware of it. This is good and that is bad, this is acceptable and that isn’t, I like that and don’t like this, this is familiar and that is strange, and on and on. We just don’t stop to think about it. It just is.

Even when we do think about it, it’s not always very clear. I have an apartment neighbor who I think is a bit shady. I was wondering why I think that but couldn’t figure it out. I just do. That’s probably an example of cognitive bias I suppose. I guess it runs the gambit from cell service bills to shady neighbors. It seems that there is a lot going on back there in the deep recesses of our brains that even we aren’t aware of. Now just how weird is that?

It’s definitely strange and something to spend some more time considering. Unfortunately, we have used up our time for now. Let’s get back together soon though. I know we have a lot to talk about.

And for now, be well, do well, and keep safe.