I am writing at the end of another economically turbulent week where we have seen the US Government drop It’s investigation into Goldman Sachs for basically betting (by taking opposite positions) against their own clients and the positions they have placed on their behalf. It truly justifies the sentiment we have towards financial institutions, banks and Governments.
Coincidentally I have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. The famous novel was set and written in the Great Depression. Steinbeck’s little book caused quite a stir when it was released because he was very critical of the greed and apathy that characterised and dominated modern life. In contrast to the colourful characters of his other works, where even the villains have an innocent lovability about them, he is scathing in his criticism of banks, industry and most of all the apathy of the human beings that make-up these institutions.
Although we might be more circumspect today, complaining about industrialisation and the loss of the farming lifestyle – one issue he raises is a problem that still resonates loudly today: apathy. I would like to share with you some parts of Chapter 5 that really moved me. The following passages concern a conversation between a tenant being evicted from his farm with a bank representative, and later with the tractor driver who is now ploughing the bank-owned fields.
Dealing with difficult decisions
“Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some worshipped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling. If a bank or a finance company owned the land, the owner man said, The Bank—or the Company— needs—wants—insists—must have—(as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which had ensnared them). These last would take no responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time.”
We all feel like these owners sometimes. Inevitably in professional life we have to make tough decisions that affect others. In tough financial times there is more of this than ever with evictions, redundancies and liquidations. Sometimes we have very little choice in how we treat people – these are often the easiest decisions because we can hide behind necessity or the authority of others: ‘just following orders’.
Other times we have flexibility in how we address a situation. We can make the world a brighter place and come up with more creative and fruitful solutions by being mindful of the humanity of others regardless of which side of the fence we sit on – whether we are ‘farmers’ or ‘owners’. By treating others with respect and remembering that they are a person not a problem, you are able to better resolve these difficult situations.
Hiding Behind Bureaucracy
“It’s not us, it’s the bank. A bank isn’t like a man. Or an owner with fifty thousand acres, he isn’t like a man either. That’s the monster.
“Sure,” cried the tenant men, “but it’s our land. We measured it and broke it up. We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours. That’s what makes it ours—being born on it, working it, dying on it. That makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it.”
“We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.”
“Yes, but the bank is only made of men.”
So often we come across the bureaucrats (real ones at the council, or our friends in call-centres) who won’t budge an inch to help you out. People in ‘customer service’ who have become so fixated on the rules that they have lost the ability to serve customers effectively. Treating customers as people and not numbers is one of the few things that large companies do poorly and that small companies can excel at. The thing that strikes me about this passage is that the evicting bank representative does not take responsibility for the actions he is taking. He might be right, but like then tenant says – the bank is made of people like him. How is it that we end up doing bad things together that we wouldn’t do alone? If we took responsibility for, and made more effort to be aware of the wider implications of our actions perhaps we could avoid the harm that this kind of detachment can cause.
Apathy and the Big Picture
“No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”
“It’s not me. There’s nothing I can do. I’II lose my job if I don’t do it. And look—suppose you kill me? They’ll just hang you, but long before you’re hung there’ll be another guy on the tractor, and he’ll bump the house down. You’re not killing the right guy.
“That’s so,” the tenant said. “Who gave you orders? I’ll go after him. He’s the one to kill.”
“You’re wrong. He got his orders from the bank. The bank told him, ‘Clear those people out or it’s your job.’ “
“Well, there’s a president of the bank. There’s a board of directors. I’ll fill up the magazine of the rifle and go into the bank.”
The driver said, “Fellow was telling me the bank gets orders from the East. The orders were, ‘Make the land show profit or we’ll close you up.’ “
“But where does it stop? Who can we shoot? I don’t aim to starve to death before I kill the man that’s starving me.
“I got to figure,” the tenant said. “We all got to figure. There’s some way to stop this. It’s not like lightning or earthquakes. We’ve got a bad thing made by men, and by God that’s something we can change.”
This is the point I most wanted to make. So many of the world’s problems today: economic, environmental and social could be solved if people weren’t so apathetic and detached from one another. We know that we each bear a small part of a group responsibility.
So let’s decide! At least on an individual level, to check our actions and make sure that we replace APATHY with EMPATHY. That we also celebrate when someone does the same for us. Maybe with our own small ripple that we created, we will have the power to make that ripple grow until it encompasses the universe and we can REACH our final destination of true NIRVANA.
With all my love to you,
When I was contemplating this blog, I was riding my bike with the sun and wind in my hair. I felt light, happy and young. How could such a simple activity generate inside me such a deep sense of self? Grounding me around my thoughts and plans. Knowing this about myself allows me to add activities within my business day that encourage my positive mindset when tackling the days’ challenges and opportunities.
Taking your business day too seriously may not be doing your career any good! Leadership is demonstrated by the decisions we make within our own lives. How can we demonstarte what great leaders we are, if we fail at leading our own ~ self, thoughts, emotions, health, finances etc…
So if today, your work or life feels overwhelming, one easy way to lighten your thoughts is to, “stand up, go out, look up to the sky and notice the colours & shapes & feel great that your eyes can see with so much details”. ” Take a deep breath & feel that thick oxygenated breath fill your lungs with life forming force”. “Jump up or twirl around & get that boost of energy vibrating through your whole body”. “Feel the wind (or lack of it) touching the exposed areas of your skin”. “Acknowledge the beauty that is, within your self”. By adding this ever so short “play time break“, it may save you & help you make that amazing decision you’ll feel happy you have made.
Dare to be Happy today!
I am on this journey with you too.
JKF quoting (Luke 12:48) once said “Those who much is given, much is expected”.
Spending yesterday visiting 4 amazing wineries in The Barossa, one of Australia’s most influential and internationally recognised wine regions; it reminded me that Resilience, Vision and Courage are the true currencies that shaped this region to what it is today.
It is easy to see magnificent estates on breathtaking land; filled with immaculate vines with inspiring stories behind every drop and assume “How Lucky are they to have this?”. Then you learn about the history that was built on the backs of true pioneering WOMEN and MEN who worked together seamlessly and beat the odds to give us all a place we can visit, lose our worries, fall in-love again and as we say in French enjoy “ le Joie de vivre”.
Resilience taught through Sofie Schroeder, wife of Oscar (Benno) Pedro Seppelt from SEPPELTSFIELD winery (EST 1851). She had 21 pregnancies, 16 children with 13 who survived to adulthood. Sofie & Benno’s desire to build a community beyond their business meant that their responsibilities to their workers went beyond the normal call of duty. Sofie herself would cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for 150 people everyday while still in charge of maintaining the business accounts. A full time job on it’s own. Can you just imagine the dedication and commitment to doing our very best no matter what.
Vision taught through Oscare (Benno) Seppelt, who at 21 took over after the death of his father. Benno went on to expand SEPPELTSFIELD until by the turn of the 20th Century it was Australia’s largest winery producing 2 million litres annually. Visionary thinking Benno, back in 1878, selected a 500 litre barrel of his finest port wine, which would lay in one spot for 100 years to be released as Seppeltsfield 100 year old Para Tawny Port. He would go on to instruct his people to do this every year laying another 500 little barrel ready to be bottled and sold 100 years on. How could we ever underestimate the power of vision in brining to us something so perfect a century later.
Courage taught through Peter Lehmann from PETER LEHMANN OF THE BAROSSA winery, who’s personal bravery in 1979 saw him leave the security of paid work as a grape buyer and to protect the livelihood of his mates; the independent Barossa grape growers and their treasured vineyards. Back then a slump in the wine industry saw our government offer growers money to rip out their vines. The fruit buyers (of which Peter work for) said they would no longer be buying any grapes due to the glut of existing stock. Peter felt responsible and took action by borrowing money to purchase the run down winery, which today bear his name. Peter offered the growers to buy their grapes and would pay them when he sold the wine. Today around 150 growers continue to sell their grapes to Peter Lehmann. Imagine you risking for something greater than just you. What would you feel 30 years on! “Priceless Payoff”.
I started this blog today with an important biblical quote. One that reflects the weaknesses in our society and what brings news to our attention. It is a time when we have so much yet we see so little. Never in history have we had so much. I hope we can reflect on this today and make decisions for tomorrow to build on something bigger than ourselves.
With Love, Tammy.
I was flying back from Venice a couple of years back and had just left my sweetheart behind. It was a long flight home via Dubai then Australia. Being that I was a passionate DJ in Sydney from my late teens to early twenties, I just love music and the power it has over my emotions. To lift my spirits I’d play the song time and time again until I reached home. I don’t have to be in a somber or sad place to appreciate the tunes this beautiful song brings. The images lifting our hearts and reminding us of the gratitude that is ours for the taking. Forget the pills, the booze, the power play and the food gluteny as medicine, find your joy through music that lifts your heart. Here is one I just love and so who else I should share it with is you. My Tribunity family.
Love to you all and hope you’re having a lovely week.
Everyday going into my office, the first thing everyone heard before they could even see my face was a happy and loud “GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!!!”. I just loved the responses & smiles from even the die hard cynics. I knew I connected with each one of these wonderful and talented souls in the best way I could to start our working day together. Our world of international shipping was a daily diet of problem solving, disaster control and putting out fires. It’s a tough industry with high costs and so many out of control challenges. For most of the time, we worked happy and felt fulfilled. We had great culture.
We underestimate how much this simple human acknowledgment is needed to remind everyone that they are appreciated. Vibrant Happy companies build vibrant happy teams and the results are vibrant happy clients who bring their business back.
How do you greet your team, your co-workers or anyone for that matter? How do you greet yourself when you first wakeup? It’s all in the mindset that sets the tone.
If you want to feel as warm as sunshine, you need to be as bright as the sun.
Helen Keller said, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadow”.
That is what I hope for you today and everyday of your life.
It’s been weeks since I’ve blogged. Moving then travel made time fly. I wanted to blog only when I felt I’d have something worthwhile to share…. I hope you’ve been well and that this message nourishes your soul and fuels you to take action today.
There have been times in business & life when I get that look, you know that stare that speaks the words…”It’s impossible”… I often look blankly back as if I don’t understand these words. I don’t!!
Every champion, every hero, every human that reflects the greatness in which we are ALL designed will echo my belief… “Nothing is impossible”. And our teacher today is the great Muhammad Ali when he famously said
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men (&women) who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
Today, this mindset is yours for the taking. You can choose to do one thing you felt was impossible or you can change your life by doing everything you felt was impossible. History is written by others before you who believed that “impossible” is NOTHING… Keep that history going by being part of that story.
I may not know you, but my heart totally believes YOU CAN DO IT.
Just do it!!!
More than 2500 years ago, Greek playwright Sophocles wrote; “One word frees us of all weight and pain of life. That word is LOVE”.
Dr Sean Mackey (chief of pain management division at Stanford University School of Medicine) is one of the researchers in a study that has actually managed to prove that; being in-love actually reduces pain. Love may tap into some of the oldest brain pathways, making us feel euphoric that we ignore pain. Love acted through the same brain pathways as several strong painkillers and addictive drugs like cocaine or heroin. The neural system of Love is connected with the same neural system of Pain. Now how-about-that!!!
Since there is choice in your life and YOU control those choices, which one are you choosing to live right now? Is your attitude coming from a place of Love? Notice and see how your actions are affecting your ability to Love and receive Love.
Imagine the inner strength and resilience you will gain to life’s challenges, when you are empowered by Love. Imagine the pain and costs you will avoid by remaining healthy through the “good will” of Love.
Don’t limit what you believe “In love” means. Being “In Love” is an intention, an attitude, an action and a reaction. It is Loving yourself, your home and family ~ Your business and company ~ Your body, mind and soul ~ Loving the people you work with and for. Loving the people you will cross in life. Find something to love about everything that is your life!
Changing how you are experiencing life right now can be as simple as just that; finding something to love within everything that is your reality.
If you want to know more about how that works, call us at Tribunity to arrange a session on Love.
Wishing you a powerful week fuelled by Love.
It is when we are sad and allow ourselves to feel sorrow; we are softer, we are humble, we listen and understand another’s sorrow.
A good cry can be wonderful sometimes and Neale Donald Walsch reminded us that “Sadness is nothing more than love announced”.
So If you are feeling sad, don’t judge yourself or be harsh, this is when it’s time to show your tenderness! It says something about you. It says that you’re strong enough to remain real!
I struggled to to put up this post today as I wanted to start the week with an upbeat message. Yet as a conscious leader I was drawn to this because I knew there are many of you out there today feeling sad. I wanted to acknowledge you and say “It is OK to feel sad, but never let yourself live in suffering”. There is a huge difference between both and suffering is very unhealthy.
The family at Tribunity may not know you by name, however we walk your walk and are with you in support. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a specific boost of positive juice.