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Bigotry, Ignorance and Fear

Bigotry, Ignorance and Fear

Ignorance and fear, the two pillars of bigotry, are powerful allies. Each supports the other. It worries me that ignorance seems to be on the increase as people are persuaded by “true believers” of every kind to value belief over thought.

Take the case of diversity. Diversity is all around us. It’s a natural part of this universe. Even the most bigoted can’t avoid or remove it, however hard they try. We don’t need to increase diversity; we need to block fruitless attempts to pretend it doesn’t exist.

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Diversity is not a cause of prejudice or discrimination. People act in discriminatory and biased ways through ignorance, fear and low self-esteem. They seek validation of a sense of importance by imagining some superiority to others.

Bigoted people ignore the reality that there’s greater diversity within any grouping (men, women, black, white, gay, straight) than there is between these groupings. This rooted tendency to respond to uncertainty by imposing some personal security blanket on the world is what produces discrimination. What we can’t suppress, we fear.

Discrimination is totally illogical. You can’t show a rational reason to support it. Sadly, those who practice discrimination don’t use logic. They play on emotions, especially fear in the face of anything different.

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They also praise belief above thought. Thought takes mental effort. It leaves you open to discovering you’re wrong about something. In contrast, belief is easy on the mind. You just do it. Belief says “this is the way it is,” regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

Thought is rational and (potentially) objective. Belief is emotional and always subjective. Thanks to an epidemic of sentimentality, emotions are “in.” They are “authentic.”

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Sure, they’re authentic—provided they’re actually felt, not pretended for the sake of effect. But that doesn’t make what you feel true. Authentic means real, not correct. Lies are real. Ask anyone whose been tricked by a liar if the lies were real. Or the pain and loss they caused.

I’m constantly amazed at what people manage to believe. Still more amazing is the tenacity they show in clinging to those beliefs in the face of any evidence.

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Knowledgeable people can be wrong—we’re all human and mistakes happen—but at least they have the chance to see where their errors exist and put things right. “True believers” cannot even admit the possibility of error. Once they do, their whole belief structure collapses.

The key to removing discrimination is the banishment of bigotry and fear. And the only way to do this is to remove ignorance wherever it’s found.

Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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