Sep 202013
 

Setting limits

From the book: Chum for Thought: Throwing Ideas into Dangerous Waters by David Satterlee

Read or download this essay as a PDF file at:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4eNv8KtePyKeExGUS1vT0E1cDg/edit?usp=sharing

Does Setting limits cause #isolation, loss of #intimacy, and even #alienation of #love?

Setting limits

Women often feel at a disadvantage in relationships with men. Social pressures, openly or unrecognized, can give men a dominant role. How is a woman to feel self-respect, personal worth, independence, initiative, control, and security? The common answer, these days, is to “set limits.”
Setting defensive limits makes intuitive sense. “That which cannot touch you cannot harm you.” But, at what cost in isolation, loss of intimacy, and even alienation of love? In fact, the issue of boundaries and limits can affect the character of any relationship, not just those between men and women.

Kinds of Limits

Parents and teachers are urged to set firm, appropriate limits for young children as part of youths’ guided moral development. The goal is for children to experience rich, genuine emotional lives while still conforming to “acceptable ethics” of justice and care in their relationships with others.
Initially, the idea of setting interpersonal limits was promoted as an act of enlightened consciousness; essentially a form of thinking: “sticks and stones … names can’t hurt me.” In this sense, setting limits defines ones internal perceptions of self. That is, thinking: “If other’s judgments of me are invalid, I do not have to embrace them.” This is a healthy state of mind that reflects appropriate emotional well-being and self-esteem. Such internal limits allow potentially-damaging emotional threats to simply drop away before wounding the ego.
Inevitably, however, the phrase “setting limits” creates images of walls, fences, and “lines in the sand.” This sense of the phrase is a last resort of desperation and confrontation. It defines external requirements on the behavior of others. This is saying: “Don’t tread on me; don’t even look at me funny.” Arising from an already-wounded state of mind that reflects acute and immediate fear, this form of external limits create boundaries that alienate us from each other.

Kinds of Relationships

If you have a real enemy, whom you want to keep away, by all means build a strong wall to force limits on their behavior. This will clearly define your firm and determined intent to maintain a relationship of distrust, fear, misunderstanding, or prejudice.
However, you may meet a person whom you want to know, love, and cherish. By all means, spend time with them, care about their welfare, encourage them to express themselves, listen with heartfelt interest, and respond in kindness even when they may need correction.
Mates open themselves even more intimately to each other; lowering their defenses, and becoming increasingly vulnerable. In consideration of the other’s tender openness, good friends or mates will voluntarily refrain from pointed emotional aggression. And, both will extend the “benefit of the doubt” when responding to the actions, words, and motives of the other.

Making the Choice

How will you relate to the world in general and to others as individuals? Adversarial-divisive relationships compete, insist on rights, demand justice, and are often driven by suspicion and fear. They cause us to withdraw into a defensive crouch, determined to define, conserve and defend our personal boundaries — pushing others away or striking out if we feel sufficiently threatened.
Supporting-nurturing relationships cooperate and draw people together. Based on empathy and mutual regard, these relationships spring from a heart filled with compassion, care and love. We stand with open arms, ready to share, invest in the future, and create a richer life for everyone involved.
Jun 042013
 

In this highly-rated series of audio clips, Ken Wilber offers his own thoughts about futurism and future studies, the fabled “integral tipping point”, and how we need to really come together as a community in order to begin paving the way to a better and more integral tomorrow.

  • Part 1 – Integrating the Future (mp3) 14:52
    With all the emphasis we see in spiritual communities about the importance of being in the NOW, it can be easy to forget how important it is to keep a careful eye on the future. After all, aren’t our thoughts about the future just another way to distract ourselves from connecting to our “true self” in this present moment? Here’s what Ken has to say:“The way you approach the present isn’t just determined by the way you approach the past, but by the way you approach the future. The richer conception of the future you have, the richer your life in the present becomes.”Ken sorts out the various schools of futurism, what each has to offer from an integral view, and how it’s just as important for us to integrate the future in our awareness as it is to integrate the past and present.
  • Part 2 – The State of the “We” (mp3) 9:20Ken Wilber offers his own view of the “we space” shared by the integral community, which he sees as being more fragmented than it needs to be. Healing this fragmentation is one of our most important goals, or else we risk diminishing our potential impact upon a world that’s increasingly in need of integral perspectives, insights, and solutions.
  • Part 3 – Are We Approaching a Cultural Tipping Point? (mp3) 14:53
    If the Integral worldview is now emerging as a new stage of human consciousness and culture, are we at some point going to see an integral cultural rennaissance such as we did in the late Sixties? If so, how do we get there?Ken Wilber offers his own thoughts, pointing out what is truly amazing about the rapid emergence of the Integral worldview, and why it’s so hard to predict when it will reach the fabled tipping point of 10% of the population.

Selected from http://integrallife.com/ken-wilber-dialogues/integrating-future 

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May 312012
 

Most of us have heard the phrase “sustainable development” and perhaps a little about United Nations and other initiatives related to sustainable development such as Agenda 21 and the Earth Charter.  Some of our communities are exploring these principals in the hopes of heading off, or at least moderating, future catastrophes.

The concept of organized sustainable development is described by critics as a massive international conspiracy to deprive you of individual and commercial rights. Yep, that’s pretty much how it is. This threat is so outrageous that I thought I would take this opportunity to speak out [with tongue firmly in cheek] in defense of UN-organized and UN-sustainable development.

[Our] people are guaranteed freedom and liberty.  These should not be trampled on, limited, or regulated regardless of consequences to others. We should be allowed to do whatever we want.

All natural resources are given by God to man to own, subdue, and have dominion over (Genesis 1:28).  Further man was given the physical and mental powers to accomplish this. This same scripture instructed him to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth – with no mention of limits.

Automobiles, the open road, and cheap gasoline are as quintessentially American as baseball and apple pie. A gas guzzling vehicle is not only larger and safer for its occupants but a public symbol of status and achievement. Free public roads are the right of every citizen. We should all have unlimited choice to live, work, play, shop, commute, and just drive around at will.

Trees are for lumber; just ask the long-missing inhabitants of Easter Island. They left behind mysterious rock statues, but no growing wood. Trees are also for burning; and when trees become scarce, one can always make more children to go out and forage for sticks.

Insecticides and pesticides are good for crops and lawns – to say nothing of bees, frogs, birds, fish, and shallow wells. But, who needs all that buzzing and chirping anyway? And do we really need water? I never drink water anyway ‘cause there’s plenty of beer.

We have lots of coal and it’s cheap, so we should be allowed to use as much of it as we want to generate as much electricity as we want. Never mind acid rain, millions of children with respiratory problems, or atmospheric heat retention from rising carbon dioxide levels.

Besides, I’m okay now and I don’t give a rip about my grandchildren or anybody else either. Speaking of which, I also don’t care about neutering pets, soil erosion, toxic waste, or even famine. Other people have those problems, not me… so far.

©2012, David Satterlee

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May 112012
 

Ushahidi’s director of crisis mapping, Patrick Meier, and Meta-Activism Project founder Mary Joyce are collaborating on a project to update and add to Gene Sharp’s 198 “Methods of Nonviolent Action,” a manual for civil resistance, with ways these techniques could be adjusted for the 21st century. Together with other contributors, they’re managing a spreadsheet in Google Docs with each of 198 methods from the pioneering researcher in protest and activism. For each — and a few new ones added on — they’re listing ways the traditional method could be tweaked to take advantage of new technology, and ways that those methods could be completely reinvented.

For example, Joyce updated Sharp’s method number 175 — “overloading of facilities” — to suggest that a distributed denial of service attack is an equivalent action for the Internet age. In a “DDoS” attack, so much Internet traffic is directed at a given site that it is unable to handle the load and either performs poorly for visitors or can’t be viewed at all.

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND PERSUASION

Continue reading »

Apr 252012
 

Please watch and share these trailer videos about the activities of the Koch Brothers to undermine important functions of our Americans government for their own profit.

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Feb 172012
 

By David Satterlee

This morning, I opened the Fort Dodge, Iowa Messenger News. I’ve been skipping past the editorial section because it tends to feature mostly conservative columnists beating the same old drums. Today, feeling the sap rising in the grass-roots democratic arm of the Democratic Party, I decided to start reading that page regularly.

The publisher’s editorial was featured in a top outside corner. It was an uninformed rant about President Barack Obama, and how “his EPA” should be stopped by a furious Congress. As I started to turn the page, yet again, I felt a flush of heat that so many readers were being led down the wrong path; that an authority figure was citing an authority to echo the rants of conservative pseudo-authorities to lie to people who have been primed to accept the word of their authorities.

As an aging hippie, I was raised to “question authority,” so I decided to get back in the game. Here it is. Please read on. We’ll start with the full text of the editorial:

Have we been misled? [Publisher’s Editorial]

February 17, 2012
Messenger News [Fort Dodge, Iowa, USA]

“The science is settled,” President Barack Obama insists in defense of his scheme to wreck the coal industry.

Well, no. It is not.

Obama insists the threat of global warming requires drastic new curbs on industrial emissions. Coal-burning power plants have been a primary target of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Unless discharges of carbon dioxide into the air are reduced dramatically, the planet faces severe changes in climate, Obama, the EPA and supportive liberals have maintained.

A new study on the issue is out. It has been published in the online journal “Science.”

And guess what?

The international team of scientists involved in the study concludes cutting emissions of soot and methane – not CO2 – is the key to slowing global warming.

That is hardly settled science.

Members of Congress, who have the power to stop Obama and his EPA, should be furious. Clearly, they and the American people have been misled.

Okay, so here’s where I’m planning to go with my argument.

  1. Ha! By highlighting some gasses that contribute to global warming over another, the editor may have accidently conceded that there is an issue of global warming.
  2. The scientific study does NOT actually discount CO2 as a major greenhouse gas.
  3. The science on methane and soot is hardly new.
  4. Coal fired power plants are, themselves, major contributors to methane and soot.
  5. The EPA is also already concerned about methane and soot.
  6. President Obama is not pursuing a scheme to “wreck the coal industry” so much as to increase our energy resources, make our air and water cleaner, and, you know, help save the world.
  7. This kind of misinformation is bad for America. The editor should be ashamed and we should work to improve the functions of government in areas where government is best suited to helping make our lives better.
  8. We should each work to become better informed, more involved in civic discourse, and supportive of leaders who are committed to the goal of making the lives of individual citizens better.
  9. The argument that the United States should fight to keep up with developing countries in the emission of pollutants because it is more profitable, is simply less honorable.

1 Many conservative commentators continue to use words such as myth, swindle, and hoax to describe the results of climate science research. I am afraid that these simple negative messages, repeated frequently, are taken by many people as persuasive and factual. Not wanting to be carried along blindly by that agenda, I looked up the study.

2 The editorial alludes to, but does not cite, the article “Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security” on pages 183-189 of the January 13, 2012 issue of Science.

The researchers took advantage of continuing research to create a detailed computer model of our atmosphere’s response to pollutants and, for the first time, possible economic, energy generation, social, political and developmental influences. However, it does not yet make predictions for major societal shifts such as switching to electric vehicles or increased levels of public transportation. The research is available online at http://gains.iiasa.ac.at It is designed to support international negotiations and strategy coordination.

The study points out that CO2 emissions produce “long-term inertial responses” but that reducing soot and methane emissions is more likely to produce short-term benefits. This does not affect the understanding of the effect of CO2 on global warming; it just adds more urgency to our priorities in also addressing soot and methane reductions.

5 Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is already on top of this with projects such as those to reduce methane released by coal mining and soot released by burning coal in electrical power generating plants. Dang, the editor must have overlooked these pollutants as additional results of burning coal.

3 Our understanding of the influences on global climate change has included soot and methane for quite a while. The same Science journal has already published articles such as, “Soot takes center stage” (Sept. 27, 2002), and “Study Fingers soot as a Major Player in Global Warming” (Mar. 28, 2008). The Nov. 10, 2000 article “A New Route Toward Limiting Climate Change?” explored short-term pollutants such as soot.

4 Coal fired power plants do more than emit CO2. It seems they are a major source of other greenhouse gasses as well. They also emit more arsenic, mercury, and lead than any other U.S. industrial pollution source. According to a Chesapeake Bay Foundation report, “A Coal Plant’s Drain on Health and Wealth,” The health costs of coal power plants are estimated to be equal to the price of the electricity they produce. (This sucker is already getting too long, so let’s move on.)

6 Yeah. So there. Take that. The balanced liberal approach is to gradually retire the worst of the coal power plants, add pollution controls to the rest, and promote research and development of alternatives. This is because it is in the public benefit but companies in the energy generation business have little incentive to make changes until the costs of a crisis exceed the costs of a new technology. And by then, everybody will be wringing their hands and wondering why nobody thought to start looking into making alternatives more price competitive.

And, by the way, while our use of coal can be improved, why do I keep hearing the term “clean coal” like someone has discovered a whole new thing, blessed it with holy water, and invested in infomercials? Okay, now I’m just getting cranky.

7 This kind of misinformation is bad for America, the editor should be ashamed, and we should work to improve the functions of government in areas where government is best suited to helping make our lives better.

8 We should each work to become better informed, more involved in civic discourse, and support leaders who are committed to the goal of making the lives of individual citizens better.

9 The United States of American was born with the blessing of a vast, resource-laden, productive, unexploited continent at its disposal. Much of America’s success in the era of industrialization can be attributed to an “aggressive pioneer spirit” that moved us inexorably west, killing wantonly, cutting trees, setting fences, building roads, plowing fields, and leveling mountains as we went. Our fertile fields, open waterways, and abundant minerals rewarded our hard work and indomitable spirit with relatively easy wealth, and even more so for the robber barons, industrialists, and financiers among us.

Unbridled exploitation and consumption worked well for several hundred years and I can understand why some people want to be allowed to keep doing whatever they want just like we have been doing so far. But, we are reaching the limits of our clear vistas, standing timber, open prairies, and clean rivers bounding from unexplored wilderness. It is time to protect, defend, and wisely use what remains of our resources.

And, by the way, if it is primarily liberals petitioning for moderation, caution, and conservation what has happened to the meaning of the word “conserve”ative?

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Feb 092012
 

By David Satterlee

All politicians are aware that they need to be careful of their words. Words have the power to invoke strong emotions, which can distract from rational debate. These words, repeated over and over, confer the conviction of certainty and authority, even when they lack any basis in fact.

But, Republicans seem to have made the cynical use of emotional words (instead of the discussion of ideas and consequences) a primary focus of their message for many years. Do not misunderstand me. I will say again that all politicians use influential words. However, my premise is that Republicans seem to operate on the unabashed theory that they can make anything true by saying it often enough to the uninformed. Let’s compare some early Newt Gingrich to some contemporary Frank Luntz.

In 1994, Newt Gingrich described his goal as “reshaping the entire nation through the news media.” (New York Times, 12/14/94) His aggressive negativity fits with his philosophy that, “fights make news.” (Boston Globe, 11/20/94). In a GOPAC training tape of that era, he advised creating ‘shield issues’ to deflect criticism: “You better find a good compassion issue where, you know, you show up in the local paper holding a baby in the neonatal center, and all you’re trying to do is shield yourself from the inevitable attack.”
The 1996 GOPAC memo, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” went further by listing words to use to accuse Democrats and defend Republicans. It’s cover letter from Newt Gingrich explained that, “The words in that paper are tested language from a recent series of focus groups where we actually tested ideas and language.” The memo said:

As you know, one of the key points in the GOPAC tapes is that “language matters.” In the video “We Are a Majority,” language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party… As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates, we have heard a plaintive plea: “I wish I could speak like Newt.”
That takes years of practice. But we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases.
This list is prepared so that you might have a directory of words to use in writing literature and mail, in preparing speeches, and in producing electronic media. The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorize as many as possible. And remember that, like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used.
Contrasting Words
Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.
decay… failure (fail)… collapse(ing)… deeper… crisis… urgent(cy)… destructive… destroy… sick… pathetic… lie… liberal… they/them… unionized bureaucracy… “compassion” is not enough… betray… consequences… limit(s)… shallow… traitors… sensationalists… endanger… coercion… hypocrisy… radical… threaten… devour… waste… corruption… incompetent… permissive attitudes… destructive… impose… self-serving… greed… ideological… insecure… anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs… pessimistic… excuses… intolerant… stagnation… welfare… corrupt… selfish… insensitive… status quo… mandate(s)… taxes… spend(ing)… shame… disgrace… punish (poor…)… bizarre… cynicism… cheat… steal… abuse of power… machine… bosses… obsolete… criminal rights… red tape… patronage
Optimistic Positive Governing Words
Use the list below to help define your campaign and your vision of public service. These words can help give extra power to your message. In addition, these words help develop the positive side of the contrast you should create with your opponent, giving your community something to vote for!
share… change… opportunity… legacy… challenge… control… truth… moral… courage… reform… prosperity… crusade… movement… children… family… debate… compete… active(ly)… we/us/our… candid(ly)… humane… pristine… provide… liberty… commitment… principle(d)… unique… duty… precious… premise… care(ing)… tough… listen… learn… help… lead… vision… success… empower(ment)… citizen… activist… mobilize… conflict… light… dream… freedom… peace… rights… pioneer… proud/pride… building… preserve… pro-(issue): flag, children, environment… reform… workfare… eliminate good-time in prison… strength… choice/choose… fair… protect… confident… incentive… hard work… initiative… common sense… passionate

Frank Luntz recently wrote, “Words matter. The most powerful words have helped launch social movements and cultural revolutions. The most effective words have instigated great change in public policy. The right words at the right time can literally change history.” (Huffington Post, 3/1/11)

In “The 11 Words for 2011” he comments:

  • “Uncompromising integrity.” Of all the truthiness words, none is as powerful as “integrity,” but in today’s cynical environment, even that’s not enough. People also need to feel that your integrity is absolute.
  • “The simple truth” comes straight from billionaire businessman Steve Wynn, and it sets the context for a straightforward discussion that might otherwise be confusing or contentious. It’s the perfect phrase to begin and end the budget-deficit-debt debate.
  • “You decide.” No, this is not paying homage to Fox News. The lesson of 2010 is that Americans want control of their lives back, and they don’t want Washington or Wall Street making their decisions for them. So add the phrase “you’re in control” and you’ve said exactly what Americans want to hear.
  • “You deserve.” This comes from DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and it was first employed by him in his highly praised 2006 SOTU response. It tells voters precisely what they should expect from their politicians and their government.

Notice that his focus is not on integrity, truth, or reason (although these words are used), but on the ability of these words to manipulate and persuade. Spend some time with this point; savor it and use it as an illumination in a dark corner. Is a product really better because a different color makes it “new and improved?” Can you really believe that the new automated customer service phone system was installed “to serve you better?” Do you really believe all the accusations that Republican candidates threw at each other (or at our President) during the 2011/2012 GOP primary debates?

Do not misunderstand me. I will say again that all politicians use influential words. My objection is to the use of falsehoods and unsubstantiated accusations wrapped in phrases designed to trigger emotional responses IN PLACE OF persuasive rhetorical reason. This is especially onerous when the audience is predisposed to respond to calls for loyalty and obedience to authority more than to understanding and reason.

What was that? Did I just say that there is something wrong with conservative audiences? Yes and no. Research into individual and cultural development shows that all individuals and social groups mature through a predictable series of worldviews. Each worldview in this progressive dynamic of maturity embraces all previous worldviews. And each new worldview transcends and supersedes previous ones as they no longer succeed in explaining, making meaning of, and guiding decisions about life circumstances.

Earlier worldviews respond predominantly to emotions, power, and authority while later worldviews respond more to evidence, empathy, and the dynamic nuances of collective benefit. This makes it easier to recruit holders of earlier worldviews using simpler assertions that appeal to their predispositions.

In brief, individuals and cultures move through a predictable path in areas such as cognition, morality, emotions, and faith. There have been many researchers in these developmental areas. Although they may assign different stage names, they all identify systems of developmental levels. Let’s take an example:

Don Beck, in his book Spiral Dynamics, based on the research of psychologist Clare Graves, identified and described:

  • SurvivalSense – Instinctive – “Express self to meet imperative physiological needs through instincts of Homo sapiens.”
  • KinSpirits – Tribal – “Sacrifice to the ways of the elders and customs as one subsumed in group.” This is the level of traditional cultures.
  • PowerGods – Preconventional/Egocentric – “Express self (impulsively) for what self desires without guilt and to avoid shame.” Expressed by the mentality of street gangs, Vikings, etc.
  • TruthForce – Pre-Modern/Traditional – “Sacrifice self for reward to come through obedience to rightful authority in purposeful Way.” Embodied by fundamentalist religions.
  • StriveDrive – Modernism – “Express self (calculatedly) to reach goals and objectives without rousing the ire of important others.” Expressed in the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.
  • HumanBond – Postmodernism – “Sacrifice self-interest now in order to gain acceptance and group harmony.” Expressed in 1960s pluralism and systems theory.
  • FlexFlow – Integral – “Express self for what self desires, but avoid harm to others so that all life, not just own life, will benefit.”
  • GlobalView – Holistic – Sacrifice self-interest purely out of principal to achieve greater good.

Each new worldview allows individuals or communities to deal successfully with an increasingly complex world. On the other hand, each worldview is a necessary and universal, if temporary, stage in development. Each worldview serves its purpose at a particular stage, and is retained and still available to those who have acquired the ability to deal with more complex issues.

Unfortunately, people holding earlier worldviews have difficulty in understanding the reasoning and motives of those who have moved on to more-comprehensive systems of thought. Because of this, it is easy to persuasively misrepresent scientific thought to a tribal culture, or lie about the motives of someone holding a global view to someone pledging obedience to a specific leader or religion. No amount of explaining would have convinced the Victorian English colonial empire that they should “make love, not war” or organize meetings so as to be sure that everyone had a chance to express their feelings.

This same dynamic makes it easy to misrepresent liberals to conservatives. Whoops! You may be thinking that I did it again. I DID NOT SAY, “liberals good, conservatives bad.” If your worldview is working for you and you have values that move you to behave virtuously, that is a wonderful thing. In fact, you can’t become liberal without passing through a conservative phase. Been there, done that, moved on. However, there is no reason to think that this makes you better than your neighbor. Some of your neighbors are also moving on. This is all good.

At some point, some people begin to discover that their current way of thinking isn’t working for them anymore. If they struggle hard enough, it is possible to break through to a new way of thinking. When this happens, events take on new meaning, uncomfortable ideas begin to make sense, and you feel like you can see more clearly. But, you will be tempted, after several frustrating attempts to explain yourself to your old friends, to just say, “It’s complex.” They may accuse you of being a superior son-of-a-bitch and stop spending time with you. Then they will tell each other how much you hate them now. ‘sorry ‘bout that. Been there, done that, moved on.

My point is simply this: when the time comes to take a larger view…

  • Be willing to give up emotional reflexes for rational evidence.
  • Be willing to give up small-group loyalty for large-group tolerance.
  • Be willing to defer gratification now for more important gains later.
  • Be willing to give up selfishness to care about the welfare of others.
  • Be willing to balance individual liberties with the common good.
  • Be willing to come together in middle ground to work together to make life better for everyone.

And, don’t let dishonorable people lie to you and use you to achieve their own selfish advantage.

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May 272011
 

Individuals generally derive their identity based on the groups to which they belong. Sometimes group membership, when the group is seen negatively, causes the members to suffer low self-esteem. Consider the various groups to which you belong.  What instance(s) can you relate from your life in which membership in a certain group caused you to have low self-esteem?

Having someone criticize the community to which you belong does not have to direct your self-esteem. Your response is dependent on the nature of your own character, values, and worldview. Continue reading »

Mar 072011
 

 

Political candidates and other public persons need to make the best of every opportunity to present themselves. They need to make sure that each appearance shows their best side. I have found that preparation and presentation reinforce each other. Mastery enables an air of confidence, while projecting confidence sets the stage for mastery.

Continue reading »