What is evil – business edition

To be evil is to be profoundly immoral. It’s not just about lapses in judgement, it’s about intent. Not caring who you hurt or that you hurt others.

In business, as in life, there are people who are profoundly immoral. They use their businesses to enrich themselves and hurt others.  These are not good businessmen. They are “evil” immoral businessman.  There are the people who give capitalism a bad name so that we associated capitalism with exploitation.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Most people are basically moral. Some people are super moral. Most people go along with the flow. Many people are opportunistically immoral but only a small number are profoundly immoral.

We need to be aware of how we, as humans, respond to the leadership around us. It is well known that most employees mimic the behavior of their bosses. The boss sets the cultural expectation and employees set out to meet it.

So, if a boss bullies, the staff bullies. If a boss steals, the staff steal. This doesn’t make the copy cats profoundly immoral, they are just adjusting themselves to the cultural expectations of the organization they find themselves in.  They themselves may be moral, but their sense of right and wrong is adjusted based on the group they are in. Some research to understand how group think works.  http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm

Before you think – couldn’t happen to me – it could and it probably has. After all, if you were brainwashed would you even know it? Most of the time, brain washing and group think is only obvious to an outside observer. It is the rare individual who doesn’t succumb to peer pressure and group think maintaining a sense of self to the point they can stand against the group and the pressure the group exerts to maintain the faulty views they have.

Bad bosses and bad morals lead to bad decisions. It benefits us all to make good decisions and to do that, we need to get rid of people who are profoundly immoral who are steering us off course.

Good leaders take care to make sure that they don’t fall into group think traps. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but because they know how easy it is to get manipulated into doing bad while thinking you are doing good.

The main thing we all can do to defend ourselves from becoming victims of group think in favor of a profoundly immoral individual is to be skeptical.  Play devil’s advocate with yourself and others.

Focus Your Thinking by Thinking Outside the box

Creative thinking and critical thinking combine to help us solve our problems effectively http://ift.tt/2tFhG7m

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Meditation and Accepting Reality

I was asking fans what subjects they want me to address and Ramesh Gupta MD asked me to expand on the subject of accepting reality AND, to talk about humanist meditation practices.

It might seem odd to combine the topics of meditation and acceptance of reality, but to me, as a Humanist, they are connected.

My focus as a Humanist is to live life fully and to do that, I need to do a good job of solving my problems. To do that, I need to have a good grasp of reality.  To have a good grasp of reality, I use critical thinking skills to help me figure out what is true and what is false.

It turns out that figuring out what is true and what is false is difficult. Our brains are big gooshy masses of chemical reactions that somehow create consciousness. Our brains take short cuts and have biases that make thinking rationally really difficult. We have to make an effort to think critically and rationally.

Which is why I find meditation such a useful too. Meditation is brain practice. It’s about practicing focusing your attention.  This practice can be rather calming for the brain.  I find my brain really enjoys it.

Being able to focus my attention when problem solving is helpful to problem solving. Being able to have a calm mind when I am trying to problem solve, is priceless. Calm focused thinking is clear thinking and clear thinking allows for better critical thinking.

If you want to learn more about Humanist meditation – take this course.
Want to learn more about critical thinking – take my reality based decision making course.
Want an all in one course that combines philosophy and critical thinking – take living made simpler.

Dealing with Personal Mistakes and Errors

Everyone makes mistakes. Professionals fix them.

I am always amazed when I meet people who don’t want to take responsibility for their mistakes.  It’s not just kids, it’s adults too. I’m amazed because in my experience, acknowledging you made a mistake and working to fix it is always well received. I am positively re-enforced every time I take responsibility for my mistakes and try to fix them.

I have always found that people are pretty considerate, IF you work to fix the problem.

Sometimes my mistakes are an accident, and sometimes they result from poor judgement.

Sometimes, I mess things up with other people by being clueless, hungry or both. I’m far from perfect.

But, people still work with me and help me and support me and seem to like me, for the most part, because I do make an honest attempt to fix my mistakes.

My ego is pretty big, but it’s not big enough to prevent me from doing my best to fix things.

The next time you make a mistake or an error acknowledge it. Apologize for it. And start working to fix it. I have had people come to me livid about stupid stuff I have done and I’ve just flat out apologized and told them I messed up. How can I fix it?  Once people realize I’m not only not going to fight, I’m not going to blame anyone else for my bad behavior AND, I’m going to work to fix it, they almost always accept my help and allow me to make amends.

Don’t be so proud that you continue to make mistakes just to prove to yourself that you weren’t to blame.  That would be pretty stupid.

There are a few courses I would recommend if you find you struggle with this.
1) Conflict Resolution – will teach you some of the science of how to help resolve conflicts and prevent behaviors from escalating
2) Dealing with Cranky Customer Problems
3) Living Made Simpler (will help you think about your values, who you are and more importantly how you want to be)

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