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Category: Personal Relationships

Yes, I’m still alive.

Yes, I’m still alive.

More than words can say

Thanks for asking. I am indeed alive and celebrating a milestone birthday. This blog too lives again.

Let’s be friends again. Here’s a suggestion. How about visiting the https://www.jackdermody.com/free-survey? Yup, it’s free.

Ask a loved one to take it. Enjoy a chat about your core values. Such a healthy conversation. https://www.jackdermody.com/free-survey.

Got questions afterwards? I’m at dermody@cox.net.

Stay tuned. I’m also about to launch a national tour.

Cheers,

Jack

Lochke: From Apology to Atonement

Lochke: From Apology to Atonement

I am glad I waited for Matt Lauer’s interview with Ryan Lochke (8/22/16 Today Show) because the preceding slam of headlines portrayed Ryan as a jerk from a despised fraternity. Yes, his early statements deserved harsh judgment from both Americans and Brazilians, but it’s clear he finally got close to “getting it” in the apology department on the Today Show.

Apology

The proof that an apology is effective can be revealed in the hearts and reactions of the injured parties.

Focusing on the Brazilians, just imagine being called third-world for decades. Imagine getting tagged a banana republic by journalists, tourists, even politicians for a lifetime. Imagine being constantly demeaned as some family’s poor relation longer than anyone should bear. But in face of all that, you still throw the biggest possible wedding for your rich cousins, expending all of your resources, and then you get branded inferior during a toast by the best man who makes international headlines effectively calling you a violent, low-class relative.

Ryan Lochke effectively had done that, but he clearly moderated his message in this last interview with Lauer.

He owned up to the facts as he knew them and also to the evidence provided by local police and others. He took full blame for his role in vandalism, intoxication, and confrontational behavior with the Brazilians who pulled him out of a taxi and demanded restitution. He owned up to messing with the truth in early interviews.

And yes, he did express regret to the Brazilians. He acknowledged they put on a great Olympics. He said the people of Rio were warm, welcoming, and generous and that they did not deserve the smear he launched with bad behavior and thoughtlessness in front of the world press.

But did these words change the minds and hearts of the injured Brazilians? Did they look like a real apology?

Atonement

Probably not. Victims understand actions more than words. Certainly Ryan Lochke’s current and future sponsors will understand actions more than words. To take an example we can all relate to, if I break your window, I not only replace the pane, but I might also pay a carpenter to repair and paint the frame around the glass, then invite you over for a barbeque to celebrate a new relationship. We all know this as atonement. Unfortunately for Lochke, his atonement would have to be on a scale far beyond the stuff he broke in a bathroom. Personally, I would hate to see Ryan wait around and end up succumbing to penalities possibly applied by the IOC or by American Olympics interests. Right now, he could announce measures of sincere atonement that would likely hit both hearts and minds of Brazilians, his teammates, and all of us in America who are embarrassed. He could very well regain respect.

Ryan Lochte surely wants to regain his image as a great Olympian. Probably his best chance is to be a Great Atoner. For instance, he could fly back to Brazil right now and directly apologize to the property owner he hurt, the security guards he disrespected, the local Olympic committee he offended, the national leaders whose fortunes and sweat were laid on the line to pull the Olympics off, and the millions of people whose pride was hurt. Beyond that, if Lochke does this right, he will continue to get endorsement contracts that he can leverage to provide trust funds for much needed causes in Brazil, perhaps especially for young athletes and scholars.

And even if atonement, even the sincerest form of it, does not win over hearts and minds, the very act itself is healing and the right thing to do.

Appreciating what’s driving other people

Appreciating what’s driving other people

The only way to change the world, according to Tony Robbins at the very end of his TED Talk Why We Do What We Do, is to “appreciate what’s driving other people.” People in my training sessions have all experienced what other people’s values actually look like. For example, Orange people are driven to compete, but non-Orange people can judge all that competition as just plain annoying. So instead, shouldn’t non-Oranges step back for a moment? Should they not consider that their NASCAR-loving brother-in-law Mike gets high on life when he gets a chance to be top dog? Orange Mike is driven to compete. Mike gets off on winning, or at least trying to win. What business do we have raging at Mike’s great joy in life? Perhaps we should ask ourselves what core values in our own lives will make us just as passionate as Mike.

It can be hard to see what’s driving other people

My own mother unknowingly tortured me, my sister and Dad with tales of heroic frugality at every dinner table. I am not kidding. She listed the prices of all the food items. She walked us down the aisles of the stores she visited.  Mom recalled the coupons used.  She smiled at her own cleverness of heating up leftovers when possible. She bragged our desserts were homemade and surely finer and healthier than the expensive goodies advertised on TV. Sadly, it was only decades later that I realized she was glowing with pride for high Gold achievement. For Mom, frugality enshrined the Gold core values of responsibility and conservation of resources. She was certain she was always striving to do the right thing. She used the dinner table to role model and teach the right thing.

So I ask you. Imagine how smoother my relationship with Mom could have been. Her core values were definitely not my core values. I too often chose to get angry about hers. I chose to demean her for being almost ridiculously true to her own belief system. Needless to say, I could have figured it out. She did grow up in the Great Depression. Believe me, her family had been dirt poor, but came out on top because of unrelenting hard work and, yes, frugality.

And what else might I have done to have better conversations with Mom? For one, I could have learned to speak Gold. For example, when I wanted to urge her to buy store-bought desserts, I could have countered with nutrition info. I could have comparison shopped. I could have made a case for time savings. I could have bought a few items with paper route money for her to sample.

I like to think I could have changed my little world a little by appreciating better what was driving Mom.

 

Are we born with a personality?

Are we born with a personality?

If we really are born with a personality, as many psychologists tell us, there is plenty of evidence to makes us think so, but also plenty to argue against it.

If I were a Badass Orange person, for example, you just might agree I was probably born with great physical abilities and an adventurous nature. I would tell you that, yes, I worked hard to get skillful, but that I honestly feel that I was gifted at birth with a terrific body type, a bottomless cauldron of endless energy, and a ridiculous comfort level with risky behavior. I’d say, yes, you are looking at a naturally born Badass. I am Orange, Orange, Orange.

On the other hand, we just might discover that our individual temperaments are nothing like our parents’. Our siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and our own children have core values in direct contrast to our own. How could our own DNA manifest itself so differently? How is it, then, that we are ‘born’ with this personality?

I challenge you to look back over your whole life for just a minute. How different are you, really, from the kid in grade school you remember? Was your main core value that much different from now? For example, if you were dependably responsible then, are you still that way now? I mean, is ‘dependable responsibility’ still more important than harmony seeking, than knowledge and competence, or than personal freedom? If that principal core value remains the same, there’s a case to be made that you came into the world with a strong DNA-based temperament. You always were and always will be Gold, a Loyalist, a logistical thinker.

Needless to say, you were a hostage of your parents until your teenage years, so you have to wonder how much of ‘who you are’ comes from a natural temperament and how much comes from the intense nurturing that your parents and community thrust upon you for over a dozen years. All those people influenced your thinking, your philosophy of life, your religion, even your politics and career choices. You have to ask yourself, “How many of my life choices came from the real me, from my innate temperament, and how many were influenced by the society around me?

Whose life?

So am I living my own life, or someone else’s idea of life?”

To paraphrase Rene Descartes, we can’t live until we reject everything we’ve been taught and then begin to design our own life. Descartes’ thinking must have come from the realization that a real, innate self needs to trump the weavings of the cultures swirling around us in order for us to truly fulfill our destiny. Ah, there’s the word: Destiny. And I don’t think the word ‘destiny’ here means ‘pre-destined fate’ that we really cannot control, but a pre-determined set of talents and intelligence that need to blossom under our own control, in the face of the cultures around us, to find the best possible path for a lifetime.

So do I think we were all born with a temperament? You betcha. Both nature and nurture contribute to who we are as whole persons, but I am certain our brains and bodies arrive with some kind of pre-installed hard drive (temperament) that develops into a whole character through configurations with the apps of life.

The trick, I think, is to discover the right path early in life rather than later. And if it’s clear our own path differs significantly from the paths of the gang that lives around us, our choice to follow our own right path will probably demand a ton of uncomfortable honesty and raw courage.

Can clothes reveal your personality?

Can clothes reveal your personality?

Can you guess a person’s personality type by their clothing? I spent hours in crowded airports the last few weeks and I am convinced that even amateur personality typers can eyeball clothing and correctly guess a personality type at 50% or higher. Yes, you can guess wrong, sometimes more than 50%, but do pat yourself on the back and let yourself to be pleasantly surprised when you find out you can nail the personality of lots of people by noticing their clothes.

For me, Blue Gurus are the easiest to spot. Dead giveways of course are tie-dye skirts and loosely tied-up hair, but Blues would be horrified if you stereotyped the lot of them as hippies. Still, twenty-first century Blues can tend to wear not-so-trendy “comfort clothes” that hippies surely favored, like loose-fitting shirts and skirts of soft and simple fabrics — more outdoorsy cotton and wool than silky or sythetic flash. Notice soft functional shoes and sandals, minimal earthy jewelry, as well as satchels with wide shoulder straps.

Gold Loyalists aren’t so difficult to spot either. Obviously the ultimate Gold attire is trendy-conservative to the point of looking “uniform”. Relax, Golds, that too is an unfair stereotype. But face it, Gold clothing tends to be good quality yet economical, not-over-the-top trendy, appropriate, clean, matching, color-coordinated, and acceptable for each setting. The Gold “package” says “I care” and “I am careful about my outward appearance.” This includes manicuring, near-to-trendy hair, and tasteful quality jewelry. Golds are modest and of course want to look sexy “when appropriate,” but rarely over-the-top.

I think Greens are the hardest to spot. Yes, many dress like stereotypical “geeks” with more function than fashion — unashamed to wear a Go-Pro camera or Google glasses, mismatched shorts and shirts, ugly but comfortable shoes, and unkempt hair. On the other hand, perfectionistic Green Geeks who are sensitive about their image of careful competence might choose to wear attractive and comfortable outfits that range from formal business to less formal. They might pro-actively choose what’s professional and what makes them approachable. In any case, many Greens will agree they don’t want their clothing calling attention to their physical selves over their good ideas and accomplishments.

Orange Badasses dress with style — personal style. Their clothes tend to scream “I am free and I am me.” I am a star athlete or a cool musician or a dancer or the best carpenter in the world or the bravest fire fighter or the sexiest dude in town or the most laid-back artist on the river. If any personality type is over-the-top, it can be an Orange Badass — creative, colorful, tattooed, very “today,” or one of a kind — in any case, cool — a player, a free agent, a physical star, an action seeker, a risk-taker, or even an introverted but free spirit. You’ll be surprised at how many startlingly creative dressers are introverted Oranges. Like Badass words and behavior, Orange clothes can make a stand that “rules are for other people.”

Try guessing the four personality types in crowded places. I prefer airports because all Colors will show up there for sure. Even better are crowds of tourists in other countries. If you really want a slice of society, check out shopping malls in December.

Do you know what “sonder” means?

Do you know what “sonder” means?

The free and grateful Amanda Knox writes a regular column in the West Seattle Herald. She loves words and wrote recently about the word ‘sonder’: Sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

The one word missing from this definition is the logical conclusion from the definition, i.e., a ‘different’ perspective. Thus, people live a life as vivid and complex as our own, and therefore live it from a different perspective. For example, if you and your siblings were raised by the same two parents, you are shocked to find twenty years later that individual  memories and perspective of those parents can be wildly dissimilar. Knox made a similar comparison to different artists painting the same bowl of fruit.

Most of us make the mistake of believing the people we know see the world as we do. Interestingly, the closer and more intimate we are with people the more we can mistakingly believe in shared sets of values. In reality, the life inside each one of us is vivid in so many colors and ridiculously complex. If we knew the true inner workings of our friends and relatives, we would stop being judgmental forever.

Add hard-core personality differences to the mix and voila(!) it’s a miracle we manage to get along at all. A logistical Gold child sees an adventuresome Orange parent as dangerous and frightening. The harmony-seeking Blue child assumes the fetal position during a parental argument, even if multiple arguments prove they were only loud but never threatening. A normally rational Green child never understands punishments when she normally feels some disobedience was carefully reasoned instead of lippy. In the face of overly responsible Gold parents, a risk-taking Orange child breaks things just because he sees the parents as prison wardens.  So imagine, therefore, the joy of seeing, understanding, and really knowing how most people of the different personality types actually think!

My own parents were invariably Gold, unapologetically rule-oriented. They have passed to the next world and I cannot tell you how much I want just one more coversation with them about how we see one other and, especially, how we can better demonstrate that we understand and respect one another…forever and ever.

Do you want to know where your personality falls in the Four Windows Color System? Here’s a link to the free survey: http://www.JackDermody.com/free-survey

 

 

 

So you want your committee to succeed?

So you want your committee to succeed?

Rule #1 for committee formation: Invite people whose values and strengths differ from yours.

If you don’t have Greens (rationals), you might lack lovers of research and long-term strategic thinking. For example, if you were on the committee to protect kids from violence in your local grade school, Greens would look for best practices locally, nationally, and internationally – with gusto and thoroughness.

If you don’t have Golds (guardians), consider disbanding the committee. Those guys stay on top of logistics, rules, policies, and especially follow-through. For the grade school anti-violence committee, Golds will probably link the committee’s work to respected organizations and leaders in the larger community, will guard against sloppiness and inconsistencies, and will hold everyone else’s feet to the fire of quality and high responsibility.

The Blue people (idealists) facilitate, mediate, teach, mentor and often become the greatest cheerleaders for the committee’s mission and implementation. Without Blues, don’t be surprised if the people you need to persuade tell you that your committee wreaks of sharp-edged, bureaucratic turn-offs. Besides, For the school anti-violence committee, the Blues will not let you forget the people issues, human feelings, and ways to appeal to peoples’ emotions, ideals, and dreams.

Oranges (artisans) are the least likely to be invited to join a committee. Oranges themselves shy away from sit-down events for fear of slow activity. Non-Oranges are wary of fast Orange decision making. Orange strengths, however, include inborn high practicality, natural awareness of common-sense priorities, and especially abilities to carry out and enforce safety measures. For protecting school children, Oranges are the natural first-responders and uniquely capable to lead and think on their feet when it matters.

Each temperament style has values and strengths that differ from the others. At least three styles see life significantly differently from each one of us. They complete us. They are rich resources. Together we build collective wisdom, even genius. So how wouldn’t a genius committee succeed?

 

How important is blogging?

How important is blogging?

I have seen precious little evidence that blogging matters. Millions of people are blogging, but who is paying attention? I am guessing that a handful of bloggers have such unique material and compelling issues that they of course rise to the top. The rest of us must be flailing in the wind, blogging to ourselves and a few friends, hoping against hope that what we think and say even matters. Is it possible that Facebook is more effective than most blogs?

Yes, I see some people and organizations stand out like Fast Company, the social media version of it. I’ve recently discovered Gretchen Rubin who is BRILLIANT. How does one complete for attention with those heavies in the marketplace?

Well the answer, I guess, is to do stuff that seems to matter — and, eventually, a few people might care about it as much as you do…and then they’ll spread the word.