Enduring Wisdom: Better Life, Better Politics (EP.176)

Wisdom

Introduction

“When you hear the truth, listen.” -Will Luden

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.

Continuing

For example, some yogurt containers have “Fruit at bottom.” printed on the outside. Isn’t that true for all of life? Isn’t the fruit that we want always at the bottom, where we have to work to get at it and enjoy it?

Scott Peck, writing in The Road Less Travelled, said essentially the same thing when he observed that life is hard. Life is hard, as it should be. That’s how we learn to lean into life, embracing the challenges, learning to be strong and persistent. And that’s how we learn enough about life and being strong in life to be able to help others. Ah, but we hear the siren call of, “If life is hard, that is proof that you are a victim. And victims deserve to be taken care of by the taxpayers.”

So, who is right, Mr. Peck and others who teach that life is hard as it should be, or the people who insist that if life is hard, something is wrong, and they promise to make it better for you? 

“Fruit at bottom,” is an obvious yogurt container truth, and we can see how it translates to life in general. Life is hard, and the fruit is at the bottom. We know that is true for us in our lives. We need politicians who know and respect that truth as well. The “If life is hard, you are a victim; here is a ton of taxpayer money.” politicians will destroy us–if we give them a chance. 

Let’s use another example. When returning a rental car at an airport, we drive over a row of one-way spikes, with a sign reading “Do not back up. Severe tire damage.” Isn’t that really good life advice? Keep our heads up, and keep moving. Hard or not, keep moving forward.

Let’s look at some bad pieces of often accepted so-called wisdom before we go back to genuine wisdom.

“Fake it until you make it.” We have all heard that one. The problem with this advice is that once you learn to fake things, it is hard to stop. Don’t fake anything, just don’t ever stop going forward. When asked for advice about succeeding, Winston Churchill responded, “I have nine words for you. Never give in. Never give in. Never give in.” He never said anything about faking anything. Note to politicians: Be yourself. How can voters make an informed decision if you are not true to yourself? Note to voters: Insist that politicians be real–regardless of whether or not you agree with their politics.

“If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” I am putting this one on the table for the sole purpose of taking it off the table–forever. If you cheat and win, what have you won? Answer. Nothing. If you cheat and lose, you have less than nothing. Note to politicians: Stop cheating. All of you. Shame on you. Note to voters: Zero tolerance for cheating politicians. None.

Let me share some wisdom I have personally picked up along the way–not in grocery stores or rental car lots.

“Parents will always love their children more than their children love them.” And that is how it should be. Parents at their best pour themselves into their children; it is not  a two-way street. The fruits of your parenting labors will not come back directly from your kids to you. The most you will see, the closest you can get to seeing your love returned, will be when your offspring treat others, perhaps your grandchildren, with the unconditional love that you gave them. Better yet, love unconditionally and then let go. 

Leadership, including political leadership, if that has not become an oxymoron, is the same. Lead your people, lead with all of your integrity, all of your heart, and all of your strength. Without any expectation that you will get your level of leadership and devotion in return. Just like parents need to love unconditionally with no expectation of getting that level of love in return, politicians must lead unconditionally, without any expectation of getting that type of commitment in return. If you get it, great, but don’t expect it. Don’t feel cheated if you don’t get it. Leadership is an outpouring of love, energy and talent–consistently over time. Leadership, like love, is not a transaction. Note to politicians: Quid pro quo, favor for favor, is much in the news today. Stop accusing your opponents of indulging in quid pro quo activities when your entire political persona is based on, “I will give you this and this and this if you will vote for me.” Note to voters: Don’t be the quo to a politician’s quid. In other words, stop voting for people who promise you things. Vote for leaders who will take America in the direction it needs to go, regardless of what you get out of it personally.

“Perform for an audience of one.” This is the hardest one for me. Hard enough that I almost did not include it today so that I could avoid rubbing my nose in my need for constant and never ending improvement (CANI) in this area–right here in my own podcast. Before we go any further, before the phrase audience of one makes any sense, we have to talk about who or what that one is, the one who will be our audience. A Revolution 2.0™ topic, having a moral compass, will answer the question about the one. All of us need to have a moral compass, a true north, that has fixed, high values and is outside of us. A physical compass works because it points to North, regardless of which way we are standing or looking. My True North is Jesus, but as long as you have one, as long as you have a true north, one who will command your attention and humility, then you have your audience. Now all we need to do is to constantly perform, live our lives, as if no one else mattered, as if we were performing for that audience of one. Note to politicians: Give that a try. Stop pandering, stop acting in different ways to play to the different audiences in front of you at various times. Note to voters. Let’s practice this ourselves, then, then insist that our political leaders do the same.

I hope that you enjoyed this episode, as I hope that you enjoy all 200+ episodes (including the days when Revolution 2.0 was blog only) in the growing list of episodes. I always share honestly, and in the spirit of making ourselves and America better. Today, I had the rare and welcome opportunity to share more on a personal basis.

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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
Will Luden
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