POLITICAL AD BURNOUT

Ah election time. Here in the United States it is election time. With this triumphant event comes the onslaught of political ads. These, I am to believe, are meant to sway your opinion from one candidate to another. The amount of money spent on these ads amounts to the income of many small countries. What good could be created if this money was put to a more productive use is frightening. It is my firm belief there is enough money there to allow all the candidates to fulfill their outrageous promises.

This would not be so bad if these ads contained useful tips on how to better connect with your government or say get that awful smell out of your gym shoes. Instead let us look at what we do get for all of the tax money and other funds allocated for such endeavors. All but a slight percentage of ads actually feature the opposition. If that party is an incumbent it will proceed to explain how everything that has went wrong in your life can be attributed to this individual. Be that the crime in your neighborhood going up, the quality of your life going down or that stain you discovered on your new shirt. If, by contrast, the party featured in the ad has yet to obtain an office the ad will likely feature a doomsday prediction of what will happen if this person is elected. Things such as taxes rising 3 million percent, everyone’s job disappearing and your dog packing up and running away from home. In short, both ads will tell you what a terrible world you are living in.

It would not be so bad if we had an option to avoid all of this negative banter and mudslinging. These ads, however, find their way into every facet of our lives. There are of course television spots filled with images of impoverished neighborhoods, homeless individuals and other dire circumstances set to spread across the land unless you vote the prescribed way. There are radio ads that fill our ears with such inspiring terms as ‘liar’, ‘thief’ and ‘scoundrel’. There are ads that fill our mailboxes that combine both. There are even emails, online ads, and today I received a text to go along with those very effective automated phone calls.

Being exposed to all of this negativity can have several bad consequences. If you are a staunch political opinioned party member they are designed to get your blood boiling and heart rate higher until you are telling everyone you know how they should vote and attacking friendly neighbors even if they display the slightest chance of supporting party. If, on the other hand, you are someone like myself who is focused on your little corner of the world and votes for the best candidate regardless of party affiliation, you can still be left feeling depressed and hopeless. You may become frustrated at all of the negative things you hear and read. Even if you do not vote and could care less who wins, you are still having to take out more garbage and your favorite program is being interrupted with more and more commercials.

What can we do to avoid getting political ad burnout? There are a few things. First of all, remember just like any disagreement, the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle of the two sides. All parties do some right and some wrong. I say all parties because it bears remembering there are many different parties to choose from so if you have had it up to here with all the negative banter between the two major parties you do have other options. Another very important thing to keep in mind is all you can do is cast your one vote. Sure, you can hold rallies or put a sign in your yard, but when all is said and done we all have just one vote.

Here is another thing that could make this season a little more bearable and even inspiring. Election time inspiring? Yes indeed. Every time you hear, see or receive a political ad say something nice about someone. Maybe send someone some well-wishes. A few of my friends even suggested turning this into a drinking game. Unless you would like to be incapacitated until mid-November I would not suggest this course of action.

Most importantly, remember to respect others. For whatever reason, politics can seem to bring out the worst in people who otherwise seem like fairly normal and even slightly sane individuals. Do not swallow the brainwashing that all people belonging to a certain political party secretly worship the devil and want to eat small children. Although they may subscribe to a different ideology, that does not make them, or you, any less of a person. It is only by working together that we can truly change this world to a better place.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” – Abraham Lincoln.

IT IS REALLY THAT SIMPLE

For most of us, despite our differences, would fit into these categories. Ironically, often we search until we can find something that makes a person different from us. It is almost as if saying, “That person is a lot like me.” Somehow diminishes either one of you. When we understand that we all share the same basic needs and wants, judgment and hatred become all but impossible.

If you are a person who loves others and does not want to harm them, and reading a blog like this it would be a safe assumption you are, then it would serve you well to surround yourself with other like-minded individuals. Does it really matter where on this planet they are from? By writing these posts I have met and befriended many other like-minded souls from over 100 different countries. They have brought not only a unique perspective, but a great deal of joy to my life. Does it really matter what color they are? I am blessed enough to have friends of every race. Not only does it include many great and loving people, but our pictures together are a lot more colorful. Politics? Ooh…that is a good one. Quite often we can almost be at each others throats because of different ways to address the same problem. Instead we should focus on the fact that we are both trying to solve the same problem. Maybe their solution takes into account something we overlooked? Maybe a combination of both solutions would work the best? We will never get to that point if we busy ourselves with such low level minutia such as what political party is the correct one.

Even my wonderful friend Nick who sent me this picture, and by doing so inspired this post, has different opinions than me on a wide array of different subjects. Do you know what? That is great to me. Often when we talk he will bring to my attention a way of looking at things I had not considered. Even on subjects where we just ‘agree to disagree’ we still have the same respect and admiration for each other. Not only is it ok with us that we are different in some regards, but it is quite cool that we are also the same in many ways. It is that similarity that prompted him to share the above picture with me and allowed me to share it with you.

Today, celebrate the fact we are all a little different, and when it comes down to the core of who we are, most of us are really the same. Both of those should be reasons to celebrate with your fellow humans.

PARETO MUST WIN THIS ELECTION !

As you’re reading this i can only imagine the questions you are asking. ¬†“Neil don’t you know the election is over?” and “who is this Italian guy your talking ¬†about?”

First things first. Yes I know the election is over. Donald Trump is now the president of the United States. Shocking to some, wonderful news to others. So why am I saying another person should win the election and who is he?

Vilfredo Pareto was a French economist who died in 1923 in Switzerland. So am I advocating dead people to not only vote but win? Not at all. Mr. Pareto was known for many things including a principle named after him. In a nutshell the principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.

There are many adaptations of this principle including my favorite that states when faced with a challenge we should allocate 20% of our time, energy and focus on the problem and 80% on possible solutions. This has served me very well both in business and in personal relationships. How many times have you wasted time disagreeing with someone about something trying to decide who’s fault it is, who is to blame and why things are bad? Once you decide who takes the blame you are often nowhere nearer to solving the problem than when you began.

As this election unfolded several issues were brought up and people became divided and hateful. After the election is over these issues still remain and some may save have only become magnified. So now what do we do and what can we take from a dead Frenchman?

First, the 20%. We need to all get together and spend 20% of our time on these challenges. There are several challenges facing this fine nation. The first step to solving any challenge is getting clear as to what the challenge is. This may sound silly at first, but how many times have you seen or even been a part of a disagreement only to discover the two parties (or more) were disagreeing about completely different things. The next step is to discover the cause of these issues. Now here is where a lot of people turn to blame. First of all it is very seldom, if ever, only one party’s fault. Often there is a failure to communicate clearly. Perhaps there is a lack of knowledge on a subject or even person. Often if we really spend more time getting to know each other at our very core we would find it a lot more difficult to disagree.

That brings us to the 80%, the solution. When you find yourself faced with a challenge it is very important to know what both sides desire and ask yourself “what is a solution that could make both parties happy?”. Sometimes this is not possible, but when you approach a challenge this way you are far more open to hearing both sides. Explore every option, hear every opinion. Spend 80% of your time on the solution verses the problem and we will be amazed and what we can accomplish.

So although this election has divided many of us, I urge all of us to focus 20% on what our issues may be and 80% on how we can solve them for the best interest of everyone. That includes our newly elected president as well as those who came up short.

I will leave you with a final thought from one of my favorite presidents

“A House divided against itself cannot stand” – Abraham Lincoln