Tag Archives: History

Shortcuts and half-baked solutions

2 May

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wow!  Incredibly powerful words from decades ago – yet they have never been more true than today!  Whether in business or in personal affairs, no one seems to value hard work, persistence, or thinking these days.  Relationships are disposable, communication is impersonal (with text-message soundbites), governments look for the quick fix, corporations value capitalism over people, and shortcuts are the norm rather than the exception.

I don’t know about you, but my email inbox seems to attract an ever-increasing barrage of spam – most offering “get rich while you sleep” schemes – and it makes me wonder who is actually working while all of these salesmen are busy promoting.  At tax time (April 15), the Tampa Bay Times featured a front page article showing the latest scam where scammers submit fraudulent tax returns (using social security numbers of dead people) to “earning” an average of $9000. per return.  None of the offenders feared the IRS and they were proud of their endeavors.  Sheesh, what is our society coming to when someone’s 15 minutes of fame comes at a heavy expense to all of us?

Several months ago, the same paper profiled citizens among us vacationing on proceeds their insurance company paid out for sink hole claims for repairs never made.  Both stories highlighted the shortcuts that cost taxpayers millions.

Yet there are millions of other smaller shortcuts to fame and fortune and half-baked scams happening everyday all around us.

Why do we accept (and settle for) short cuts and half-baked solutions in life today? 

The first step to realization is to look at our behavior (before we look at others.)  Why do we take shortcuts or live with half-baked solutions to what ails us?  Probably because it is easier, less work, less stress, and comes with less risk of failure (and rework) to do the least possible.  This allows us to save our energy for things that “really matter” later.  As a result of not doing our best, we are dissatisfied with the results from ourselves or others.

Moreover, when we do do our best, people may not appreciate it, so why bother to spend extra effort?  When we look around, if everyone else takes shortcuts, why shouldn’t we?  The answer is that, in the process, we shortchange ourselves, our children (who learn by example), and our community.

We can see the results of our shortcuts and half-baked solutions everywhere: products don’t last like they used to; quality is down;  expectations are down; product failures are up; and morale goes awry. In the banking crisis, banking professionals bet against their own customers to pursue profits, got away with it, and even got a bonus bailout for their efforts.  No wonder our children seek shortcuts in everything they do.

The Buck has to stop somewhere…why not with us?

When we start to fully perform our work, invest in relationships (they take work), take time to do things right the first time (instead of half-baked), and insist on the same from others, our world (and morale) will improve. The America of yesteryear was filled with innovation, invention, progress, hope and dreams; hard work and integrity prevailed.

I envision a future where I can look back and be proud that I put the effort in to “fully bake” solutions – at least for my life.  How about you?

Wishing you a success-filled week.

Carol

Is “Trust, but Verify” the same as “Trust, and Verify”?

29 Jun

The phrase “Trust, but Verify” hails from the days of Ronald Reagan and applies well to many situations in everyday life. According to WikiPedia:

Trust, but verify was a signature phrase adopted and made famous by U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Reagan frequently used it when discussing U.S. relations with the Soviet Union. Reagan rightly presented it as a translation of the Russian proverb“doveryai, no proveryai” (Russian: Доверяй, но проверяй).

This phrase seems to fit in with one of my other favorite adages:  “Fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me” — because if you’ve been burned by a person, situation, event, etc. in the past, it would make sense not to make the same mistake twice.

Trusting becomes harder to do once one has been burnt the first time, so it makes perfect sense to “Trust, but Verify” on second and later times until trust is restored (and perhaps even after that.)

Do you think this also applies to an opposite situation where trust starts out low?

Consider the case where one is learning to trust their own instincts (after an abusive relationship or situation) where the “Verify” could strengthen and hasten the process of building trust.  In this case, the phrase “Trust, and Verify” would apply.

Let me give you an example from my life:  I spent literally years suppressing and overriding my intuition because of a verbally abusive relationship whereby I was told that my intuition and perceptions were usually wrong.  In time, my intuition waned as I learned to suppress my opinions and sharing of perceptions (why bother to express an opinion if it’s only going to be shot down anyways?)

Today, I’m learning to trust my intuition and perceptions – and finding that they are correct!  In the process of this rediscovery of lost talents, doubt still enters the picture – but when I trust the intuitive process AND verify that it gives a correct result – the process of trusting on future occasions becomes quicker and stronger.

What do you think?

Trust, but Verify seems to work well when your trust is already high but you want to make sure another is worthy of such trust (as in learning from experience). 

Trust, and Verify seems to work as effectively when trust starts out low and you want to strengthen it (by verifying that your intuition to trust is valid).

Coming from different directions with respect to trust – these adages offer different (but equally positive) results when applied to trust aspects of our lives.  Would they work for you?

Have a great weekend!

Carol

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