Monthly Archives: January 2016

Keep Talking

Last week, we were asked to “Let’s Talk” and many, so many, responded.  During this day of talking out mental illness and wellness through #bellletstalk, I wrote this on Facebook.

I am encouraged by ‪#‎bellletstalk‬. I am encouraged by the real message from real people. Mental illness is real. You do not simply think or train it “away”. The solutions are myriad and diverse, based on the person. They require work over a lifetime. There is help and hope in medicine, care, and understanding. From meditation to meds to meaningful relationships… all are needed. But one solution is common and real. Conversation and acceptance. Therein lies mental wellness. Peace.

Then, I came across this post on building trust in the workplace.  At the time and still, it got me thinking.  We need cultures of trust in order to address and support mental wellness.  We need leaders who will champion same.   I was planning a review of the virtues we have examined thus far and thought it appropriate to offer a visual summary and maybe a question with the building of trust in mind and heart.

Making a case for addressing mental illness and wellness is certainly not a challenge.  And Bell Lets Talk and other fine organizations are doing their part.  Still, given my deep belief in the practical exploration and application of character, I cannot ignore looking at Acceptance, Beauty, Creativity, Detachment, and Excellence  as potential practices for leaders and workplaces seeking ways to build trusting and trustworthy cultures of encouragement and strength.  Consider these 5 strengths of character.

Virtues- AcceptanceVirtues- BeautyVirtues- CreativityVirtues- DetachmentVirtues- ExcellenceConsider a culture at school, family, work or community that fearlessly supports mental wellness.  How would these 5 strengths of character support wellness initiatives and real world, real time cultures where we feel free to understand and engage wellness… physically and mentally?  How could they guide our initiatives and our conversations, individually and collectively?  Imagine the strength of such a culture; its ability to optimize rather than stigmatize.  Imagine the potential unleashed by removing the need for the masks.

So, my question is this.  In consulting with your team, school, family or community… how can you engage these strengths to guide and advance such a culture, and the real conversations necessary to do so?  Start that conversation and find your way.  We are all the better for that kind of leadership.

Let’s keep talking.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Michael Landsberg

Clara Hughes

Mary Walsh

and consider

no more silence

… and a song with a message from Lisa Dalbello

Learning from Kim and Yoda

For some fun and purpose, have a watch and listen to this tune by Kim Mitchell.  I have always loved this song for its joyfulness and truthfulness.  It is campy, catchy and connects on a message.

“I know there’s a lot of feathers but not much chicken.”

As we finish up some thoughts on excellence, I am purposefully diverted to the virtue of humility as well.  Consider both by pondering the Virtues Reflection Cards from The Virtues Project.

Virtues- ExcellenceVirtues- HumilityLifelong learnerstrive for masterywork in progressresilient, not perfect.  Personally, I contend that perfect as a noun is a myth, but as a verb… it is humble and excellent, and real.

I think that humility and excellence ultimately walk hand in hand.  Excellence, true excellence, demands understanding that we are a “work in progress”.  It demands that we understand that our quest for excellence requires us getting that we are not there yet.  Humility is not about beating ourselves up.  It is about understanding that we both matter and have work to do.  We are enough, for now… but there is a journey. Great champions, beyond their bravado in the game, know this.  You cannot take things for granted and you cannot assume that you have “the answer”.  To master anything, you are always the student.

Why do I say this?  Well, for 30 years I have been in the leadership training and development field.  I have learned from a wide range of incredibly gifted and humble people who understood that they were students at best.  I have been blessed to know them and learn from them… and I pray that I will continue to be so blessed with those who have been in my life, are in my life and who will come into my life.  I intend to learn for a lifetime.  The words of Desiderata speak to me on this…

DesideracaIt speaks to me of humility and excellence, walking hand in hand.  Champions who have stood the test of time; they get this.  You are not “the answer”.  As soon as you think yourself it; the master, the guru… you are not.  What we all are, if we but realize it, is a part of the process of our respective crafts.  You might advance your craft.  You might even set records… but others will come to break them.  You honor the craft, on the field, at work or in life.  Substance comes from humility and the desire for excellence.  It is the meat of true and enduring and legitimate service and success alike.

I have long said that the world needs no more gurus or speakers.  It needs and cries out for humble and learning servant leadership, willing to hear and develop and, by example, lead.  We need no more messianic messages.  The answers we seek to the needs of the world require our humble search for excellence in our chosen crafts.  Tonight, on Facebook, I wrote…

Find your niche of service… what you do best and for whom you do it. None of us are “the answer”. Each of us have “an answer” to a particular need. Find that need, serve it and the world is a better place.

Then, I saw this video by Tim McGraw.

And then, this pic….

True LeadersThey are all speaking to me, this night.  Yoda never sought out and preached.  He shared his wisdom and demanded excellence, but he sought not to preach, but to teach.

YodaHere is the way I see it.  The greatest teachers are the life long students.  The eminent masters are the humble wayfarers.  They see themselves not as “the answer” and run from titles like guru.  There are many in this world who are working and earning the right to offer their own piece of wisdom… and together we each, if we do our humble homework, bring our piece of the answer to the table.  We find our niche… how and who we best serve; and we approach it with humility and excellence… knowing we are not THE GAME.  We just get to play our part in it.

So, to walk with excellence, I suggest that we walk with humility.  Mastery will take care of itself when we do.  Then, we go beyond the feathers and get to the chicken.  Then, we truly serve.  Walk and work with humble excellence.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Excellence and Ageing

These are just my thoughts this morning; speaking to youth of all ages.

One morning in the Spring of 2011, I awoke to a piece on local public radio…  on the “problem of ageing”.  I must admit that I was half asleep and only caught the tail end of a conversation around how we deal with the fact that our population is ageing.  I have heard this discussion before (and since), both from a social and economic perspective.  Indeed, governments, social agencies and businesses are concerned with it, in increasingly public ways.

How will we support so many aged people?  How will our pension system withstand the strain? These were some of the questions, then and now.  That morning, I responded to the on air conversation with a call to the radio station and I have no idea whether it made it to air or not… but, today, I figured it would be a great starting point to explore excellence.

Please allow me to explain.

First of all, these questions often and unconsciously presume a declining value in the “latter years”.  In all of these discussions, the concern is expressed that we have many people (those good ol’ boomers) who are approaching the “age of 65″; or are there already.  We have somehow now accepted as gospel that 65 is a magical age of “getting old”.

We have bought in to the dream of retirement.  We have been sold what Richard Bolles called “The Three Boxes of Life”.  Somewhere, along the way, someone decided that our lives would be lead through three boxes… education, work and retirement… the notion of the first 20 years or so of life being around learning so you can get a job for another 40 or so years… so then you can relax in the waning years of your life.  Someone also decided that those retirement years begin at 65, at least for most of us.

Personally, I question both propositions.

As a wise friend once said to me… “There is nothing Biblical about retirement.”.  Whatever your faith or none, retirement is a 20th century concept developed around the industrial revolution and mass production.  We did not have it before the 20th century and I predict it will be gone with that century as well.  Indeed, the age of 65 was chosen as 65 because it was apparently the average age of a man at the time of choosing that number.

Things have changed.

Of course our pension system is straining.  Originally, the idea was that if you made it past 65, you got the last couple of years of your life to “chill”.  It was not intended to be a 25-30 year plan; never mind that our ageing is slowing down.  Some predictions are that the child who will live to 150 is now, already, born.  Look around at 50 year olds and above… 70 is the new 60, 60 the new 50, 50 the new 40, 40 the new 30… and, yes, 30 the new 20. I see this in the college classroom.  I have seen it in seniors’ residences, once filled by 70 year olds, now in the 90’s.  It is reality. That comparison will continue to grow as our life spans increase and our ageing slows.  My father’s parents died in their 50′s… he passed on at 79…. my mother at 92… me?  Who knows?  But 65 is not what 65 was…

So, how does this relate to excellence?

Excellence and purposefulness are the real juice and marrow of our lives.  The virtue of excellence brings a healthy pride; a sense of a job well done and of value.  Some who “retire” go on to other work, new careers or community service and they choose work that they love.  I have no argument with that.  I love it.  Still, far too many have bought into some “story” that we are to slave away at work with the promise of our last years of simply “not working”.

I have been told that there is research that says that, on average, people die 6 years after they retire.  6 years!  I have not officially confirmed this (you can check on it yourself if you are so inclined). Still, through more than random observation, I have noticed an accelerated deterioration in many I have known to retire.  Maybe you have as well. It is my observation that having something to do and to do it well has amazing powers over our continued capacities.

My DadI have no proof. Yet, my own father was a working man. He loved work and he loved doing a good job. He was strongly recommended for retirement at 71, by a well intended family doctor.  It did not take long to see the signs of deterioration… a sense of boredom, and the onset of Dementia.  That is another story, and a life changing one at that.  Still, I have noticed, far too often, a relationship between stopping work and “the problem of ageing”. I suggest that there is a mysterious connection between a sense of value that comes from doing good work and our quality and quantity of life.  What does this have to do with excellence and leadership? 

How should we lead our own lives and set an example for others?  I suggest that we do so through the practice of excellence.  If we choose to retire in the traditional sense, maybe part of the solution to this problem of ageing is to find activities in which we can excel and bring real value to our lives… maybe we can find something we truly love to do and do it with excellence, constantly perfecting our craft.  It stimulates the mind, and heart.

Before I go further, I am not condemning anyone who chooses to retire in the traditional sense. Indeed, I am not suggesting there are any guarantees that excellence in work will get you more years. Still, I do not believe that there is a problem with ageing.  I believe that there is a problem with living.  We need to challenge this notion that you learn to work, work to retire, and retire to die.  We need to bring excellence at work and play, throughout our entire lives.  We do not need lots of money to do so.  Find your passion through volunteerism or a lifelong hobby and pay your bills if you must… but find something that you will love and give excellence to it for a lifetime.  I am not sure how many more years you will get, but I know the quality of those years will be enhanced considerably.

So, what about excellence and leadership?  If we accept that our lives count, and we see the beauty in living our lives, and we encourage our creative spirit moving forward, and we detach or let go of those things which cause us to get mired down… then we can approach our work and lives with excellence. I believe that excellence is a constructive “response” to ageing in our organizations and in ourselves.  As I personally approach 56 years of age and walk my own journey of health, I find myself considering the role of excellence in service and in my health.  I am considering its value in redefining purposefulness.  I do believe that it is the cure to mediocrity and conformity and uniformity. It breeds growth, and continued growth at that. It sets THE example; for ourselves and others.

… of all ages.

All AgesExcel in what we do and we challenge ourselves to grow every day, in the marketplace and in our work and lives and play.  Whatever you choose to do, choose to excel at it.  Then, observe the power of excellence.

Indeed, these are just my thoughts this morning.

Peace, passion and prosperity…. and have an excellent day.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The 2 Faces of Excellence?

Thus far, we have examined acceptance, beauty, creativity and detachment as virtues; as strengths of character.  Acceptance empowers us to see and fully recognize where we are, whether having lost and finished our season or won the championship and setting sites on a return; literally or metaphorically..  Beauty engages us to see the potential, wherever we are.  Creativity is that virtue of mapping the way to where that potential lies.  Detachment allows us to do so, with discernment, thoughtfulness and mindfulness.

Next up, excellence.  Excellence is often seen as a result when, at its best, it is a virtue; an approach to achieving results.

Virtues- ExcellenceSo, when and how do we practice it?  Watch this clip from Alan Stevens out of London… on the comfort zone and excellence.  It is an interesting take on the zone and our approach to it.  It got me thinking that excellence really has two faces… the approach to preparation and the approach to delivery.

In Joe Calloway‘s work and his latest book, Magnetic, you get the sense that better is different; that better is your strategic advantage.  We get to better by crafting and practicing.  We get to better by working on it; and that requires an approach of excellence.

So, excellence is a virtue practiced in the preparation.  It is a result in our work delivered.  Maybe this is the connection to Alan‘s commentary on the comfort zone.  When delivering our service or product, the preparation is to ensure that we are in our comfort zone upon delivery.  This makes sense to me.  We work hard to put ourselves in a place where we can deliver on excellence, by practicing excellence in our preparations.

Excellence is a virtue… a strength of character.  It is practiced in our learning the craft.  It is demonstrated in delivering the craft.  It has its time and place… in the preparation and the delivery… and the follow up.

Speaking of follow up… in our next post, we will further explore the matter of excellence.  Until then…

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy

Some musical excellence in delivery… consider the practice that got it there.

Ethics: Virtues, Behaviours and Consequences

As both a Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project and a business educator who has taught Business Ethics… and before we go any further on this exploration of character and virtue… let me offer this on Virtues Ethics from Stanford.  It is a great read that explores the three perspectives on ethics and dives into that which is referred to as Virtues Ethics.

Excerpted, to start…

Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics. It may, initially, be identified as the one that emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to the approach which emphasizes duties or rules (deontology) or that which emphasizes the consequences of actions (consequentialism). Suppose it is obvious that someone in need should be helped. A utilitarian will point to the fact that the consequences of doing so will maximize well-being, a deontologist to the fact that, in doing so the agent will be acting in accordance with a moral rule such as “Do unto others as you would be done by” and a virtue ethicist to the fact that helping the person would be charitable or benevolent.

Ethics in BusinessHere is my take.

Deontology references ethics as a response to a set of prescribed rules.  This is the notion that ethics are guided by rules of behaviour or commandments, if you will.  You are not supposed to steal, we are taught at an early age. As children, whether we questioned it or not, we knew that there were rules.  The rules dictate whether an action is acceptable.

Consequentialism references ethics as a response to the notion of the consequences of an action.   The emphasis is on the consequences of action; the rewards or punishments.  It is whether you win or lose… that matters.  Indeed, here… the ends do justify the means.  The consequences dictate whether an  action is acceptable.

Virtues Ethics contends that virtues are pre-existent qualities or strengths of character.  They exist whether we practice them or not.  We practice them not for some set of rules or the consequences they manifest, but because they exist.

Part of the criticism of this approach has been that Virtues Ethics can be seen as defying coding or rules and ignoring consequences; and I understand that.  Our work with Epic Engage™ and The Virtues Project™ both recognizes virtues as pre-existent, ancient and eternal qualities which have a life of their own whether we practice them or not… and as being associated with certain behaviours and consequences.  First and foremost, because one does not practice compassion does not mean that compassion does not exist.  It pre-exists as a quality and strength.  That being said, our work would also recognize that there are behaviours that manifest virtues and results that come from them.  Virtues are practiced, in action… and there are behaviours that can be codified in a way that encourages the application of virtues.

In other words, we might consider a code of character instead of conduct… one that identifies the character of our work space by identifying clear actions that manifest that character, and what we seek to achieve through their application.  For example…

  • We practice respect by listening to one another to ensure team strength.
  • We practice compassion by taking the time to be present so that we hear what needs to be heard from our customers.
  • We practice confidence by speaking our best voices to build trust and understanding in the classroom.

I like to refer to these as Virtues Mission Statements, identifying a virtue we hold paramount, how we manifest it and the results we seek to realize.  Take a look at any Virtues Reflection Card and you will see a description of the virtue and the identification of behaviours associated with same… as well as its core aim.  For example, the oft quoted virtue of …

Virtues- PatienceI practice patience by refusing to rush so that I keep my peace.

We practice patience, living in the moment, always ready.

These are, in my humble opinion, powerful virtues mission statements that account for ethics bases on virtues, rules and consequences alike.  Behaviours manifest virtues.  Results come from the practice of virtues.  Indeed, practicing a virtue both requires action and produces them; behaviours and consequences.  Practicing a virtue requires you to behave in certain ways… and continuing to practice it results in new habits; entrenched behaviours.  The process is cyclical and reciprocal.

So, my challenge to you, this week, is to practice a virtue.  Pick one.  Consider the behaviours necessary to manifest it fully.  Consider the expected aim of practicing them.  Create your own virtues mission statement.  Practice it.  See what results.

VirtuesIn so doing, you start to recognize virtues and codify behaviours expected to live them daily at school, family, work and community… and the results you are intent to realize.  Ultimately, practice makes permanent.

Until next time… peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy


Am I Wrong? 🙂

Breaking Open the Good Ol’ CD

If creativity is about unleashing our imagination, detachment is the virtue that allows us to truly examine and evaluate our ideas.  The virtues card for detachment says it is about “experiencing our feelings without allowing them to control us…. We step back and look at things objectively.”  With creativity, we open things up to possibilities.  That is exciting. With detachment, we consider those possibilities with true and rational discernmentDetachment is to screening ideas as creativity is to generating them.

Detachment.  It empowers us to make the better decisions, allowing our emotions to be experienced and used properly and powerfully, without becoming our masters. It is not easy.  But, detachment… caring with a heavy dose of mindfulness; it is a power of real leadership.  If we can manage the dance of creativity and detachment, we can find the best answers.  If we freely throw our ideas into the discussion, and let them go from us (detaching from ownership and attaching to objectivity)… we get to wisdom.

In your next brainstorm with others (whether large and urgent or intense or just  for fun… or anywhere in between), reflect on these two qualities… these two virtues… before you consult.  Reflect together and decide how they might guide your creative process.  Open the doors to creativity and check the doors with detachment.  See where that takes you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™


Some Dance Tunes to enjoy… just because…

Van Halen Style

TTD Style

Alanis Style

Haywire Style

Matt Style

What Detach Meant

Take any emotion—love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions—if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them—you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. “But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment’.   Mitch Alborn, Tuesdays with Morrie

Detachment is a virtue; a strength of character.  It does not imply living without emotion.  Have a read.

With detachment, we experience our emotions without having them master us.  Now, there is strength.  Indeed, in our past few posts, we have looked at the power of acceptance to accept where we are when we are with whom we are.  It is the starting point virtue.  In matters of economies and more, we must begin with a healthy acceptance of that starting point.

We also looked at the virtue of beauty to see the potential in any situation.  It allows us to see beyond the starting point. Then, we examined creativity as that virtue of strength in finding the path forward.

In so doing… in accepting our starting point, seeing beyond it and creating the path forward, there will be emotions and passions; sometimes very strong.  They can serve us or deter us.  Detachment is the virtue that is the bulwark; the fortress of strength.  It makes us masters of the emotions we experience.

In the coming days, we will explore detachment as that strength.  For now, I suggest one question.  What is one situation you might be facing where your emotions might get the better of you in such a way that they might be a distraction in walking your path forward?  In other words, what is one situation in which you need to practice the strength of detachment right now?  Then, consider the card above.  Ponder it and reflect on thoughts around how you might put detachment into action.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™


Detachment could be The Dance


This is dedicated to the spirits of all those creative souls that we have since seen move on this month.  Whatever your belief system, what they each leave behind are their creative gifts. LemmyGlenn Frey. Alan RickmanDavid BowieNatalie ColeAnd moreThe Virtues Project™ defines creativity as “the power of imagination”.  The card for creativity says that, with it, we are “resourceful and intuitive”.  We have lost many “taps” into that power of creativity.  Still, we all have the capacity… in our own unique ways.  The 6 Thinking Hats speaks to this.  I believe that we are each called to find ours.

Still there is an impediment or two.  First, we sometimes find ourselves convinced that we are not creative.  We are all creative.  It is our birthright and we will explore this throughout posts in the future.  Secondly, what I somewhat dis-affectionately call the “polar age” has caused us to entrench what were once ideas into ideology.  There is us.  There is them.  There are typically only two sides; so we are told.  Ideology is a form of entrenchment that locks us into ways and paths that may or may not have worked in the past, but we find it difficult to practice any form of detachment in order to move forward.

This is dangerous.

Enter creativity.

Ideologies constrain us.  Ideas free us.

We are challenged in 2016 and beyond to reconsider how the private, public and not-for-profit sectors work together.  We are challenged in how the generations work together.  We are challenged in terms of how nations, developed and emerging, work together.  We are challenged to see our schools, companies, and communities in new ways, as part of some larger picture.

Peace and prosperity are not boring.  A world devoid of dysfunctional conflict is not numbing; nor is it a “utopian dream”.  It is the only path forward; and it requires work.  Our challenge is to find creative ways at the local and global levels to make it work.  It will take acceptance of where we are.  It will take the eyes of beauty in seeing our potential as individuals, companies, schools, communities and nations… as humanity.  It will take a creative spirit.

Still, and in the meantime, what about our very own corners of our world? How would a better understanding and a more daily manifestation of creativity make our workplaces, companies, campuses and communities better? How would creativity foster prosperity? How can we encourage it within our organizations from the front desk to the boardroom?

What if your team even more powerfully encouraged creative problem solving with your clients? What if team meetings could even more effectively center on creative solutions to the problems which often arise? How could our classrooms, work spaces and waiting rooms exhibit greater creativity?

These are questions with no answers provided.  The answers require our creativity.  What would a culture of inspiration, imagination and innovation look like at school, at home, at work and in community?  What role can play play in such arenas?  It is not lost on me that recreation is re-creation.

One of my favorite pieces of work on creativity is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  I suggest you get it, read it, be challenged by it and apply it.  Either way, ponder the value of creativity.  Ponder its need.  Ponder the need in an ever changing world.  Ponder the ways that you can foster and advance it at school, family, work and community.  Check out sources of resources and activities.

Creativity.  It is a virtue, and it is our birthright and power.

Yes, enter creativity.  It is powerful. It gives us a new perspective and moves us outside of conformity. It might require other virtues which we will note in future posts; but it starts with that power to imagine.

Set a goal for creativity in 2016. For me, one such goal is a funky cool comic strip, with a difference (stay tuned)… called KARACTERZ™.  Where do you need to practice this virtue as a leader, going forward?  Where and how do you most need to help create new worlds locally and/or globally?

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™



Bonus Blog: Your Dream Day

First, if you have not read  Come Together, Right Now… I invite you to do so.  Second, and either way… I suggest you have a look and listen to this tribute to MLK…. or the original.

Today is a celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Today, millions choose to honor the memory, work and dream of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He had a dream, and it is still unfolding.  There is still work to do, but the dream has power, even now.  As a student of the power of character to build capacity and creativity… and as a Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project globally… I have to ask.  What strengths of character do you witness in Martin Luther King, Jr.?  Name them.

Now, claim them; for yourself.  We each have our dreams… not those idle wishes or vain imaginings… but dreams of deep importance.  Maybe they are local or regional or global.  Maybe they are for your family, school, work, business or community.  Maybe you have forgotten them, or at least placed them on some shelf.  We do that.

Our dreams might be for our children… or for our community.  They may be for the start up and success of a business that makes a difference.  They may be in public service.  They do require us to remember them in order to keep them alive.  More importantly, they do require work.  Even more importantly, they require us to consider character and how it will be needed to plant the seed and make it grow.  Those qualities you named in MLK earlier; claim them.  They are your birthright.  They are our collective birthright.

The virtues belong to us all, whether we choose to practice them or not.  But, we do have the power to practice them.  As we do so, with diligence and determination, the behaviors that come with them align and become habits.  I call it “sharpening the blades”.  It is what Steven Pressfield speaks to in his book The War of Art; a favorite of mine.  It is the work of the work.

What is your dream?  When will you commit to it?  I mean commit.  Maybe you have already.  Maybe it is not yet time.  Maybe it is.  Either way, it will start by finding the strengths of character that you need to…

  • acknowledge and accept the dream
  • unleash and announce the dream
  • put in the work to realize the dream

So what is your dream?  What will make you believe?  What strengths of character do you most need to draw upon to acknowledge, accept, unleash, announce, and work on your dream… for your family, school, work, business, community… or the world?

I believe that our most real dreams are planted somehow within us.  I also believe that as we each arise to follow our best dreams, we actually do begin to serve the greater whole and come together, right now.  That is part of my dream.

Peace, passion and prosperity, for all…

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The ABC’s of Problem Solving

These are just my thoughts.  I, alone, am responsible for them.  In some ways, what I am about to write… I have no right to say.  In other ways, I do.  I am no economist though I have taught economics.  I have no answers, and yet I do.  I am not in government, and yet I have responsibility.  Let me explain.

First, I invite you to watch this interview with Arlene Dickinson.  Now, let me be clear; what I write here is not a commentary on politics or Kevin O’Leary.  Anyone who has read my posts of the past may now know that I have no interest in ideologies.  Indeed, I have long said that ideologies constrain us while ideas free us.

What I am attracted to is the balance and wisdom of Arlene Dickinson‘s commentary.  She is an admitted capitalist and entrepreneur, by her own admission… however she might define that.  Her thoughts around economic distress not being the responsibility of any one person or party but the responsibility of us all… is noteworthy.  The blame game, in any economic downturn, runs contrary to producing solutions.  Learning is productive.  Blaming and shaming is not.  Being loyal to ideology is not learning.  It is ego driven, and does run counter to creative problem solving.  I take it that Arlene is saying we must learn and lead together.  We are in this together.  However we have gotten here, the aim is not blame… but gain.  What can we learn, to be better, stronger?

This is not simply true of Alberta.  Indeed, I cannot speak to the case of Alberta directly as I do not live there and never have.  Still, in my native Newfoundland and Labrador, we are learning similar lessons.  Both Provinces have ridden the idea of natural resources being our true resource.  Both Provinces, and our Country of Canada, have seemingly bought into the idea that our greatest strength is what is in our ground or waters.  Arlene’s point seems to speak to the truth of any nation, or community… or company or campus.  Beyond cliché, our strength is who we are; our character. More on that… a little later.

She also speaks to the need for a diversity agenda. Again, this notion that our success is based on oil, gas, minerals, trees, agriculture, water or any natural resource is both understandable and confounding.  Indeed, we are blessed with such resources but these same resources are subject to the whims of a world market, and the politics therein.  Oil prices dictate our wealth.  Commodity prices, too.  Or do they?  What of nations like Japan, seemingly much less endowed with land and traditional natural resources?  And what of this still somewhat unheralded story in Detroit?

Indeed, she also speaks to the need for speed of investment from government.  Government does have a role in an economy.  That is why we call it government.  They govern.  Aside from competing ideologies, the responsibility of any government is to preside over the true welfare of a nation.  In her comments, she refers to democracy and mandates; concepts driven by responsibility and accountability.  Yet, government cannot do it alone.  No new government, inheriting the economy governed by another is responsible for any kind of immediate fix.  Indeed, politics would have us believe in fault, blame and change of leadership being the answers.  The truth is we are all responsible.

Now, I invite you to read this.

While I do not hold to everything manifested in this article and I am certainly of the understanding that you can fit 1,000 economists in a room and get 1,000 nuanced and even dramatically different views… the point that we all got us here is valid.  Most of us bought in to the wealth of an oil and gas economy, despite any writing on any wall.  Concerns for the “boom town” mentality and the forgotten reality that oil and gas has to be a dying resource were lost in the notion that we were now a “Have” Province.  We spent like it too.  All of us.  The idea that this is now the sole responsibility of the previous government (or the new) is counter productive at the least.

Even more so, Arlene addresses the true resource of any company, campus, community or commonwealth… people.  And that is where I do have something to say, in which I may have earned the right to speak.  Our work contends that character begets capacity and capacity begets creativity.  Character is foundational to any mountain to climb… whether Churchill and Dunkirk or JFK and Ask Not… or MLK and I Have a Dreamor now and our economy.

It begins with character.  Our greatest resource is character.  Indeed, in these last few posts, we have started exploring same (and the virtues) as the basis for great leadership at school and family, work and community.  We have looked at ACCEPTANCE.

We have looked at BEAUTY.

Now, imagine the power of accepting where we are, without blame or shame.  Imagine the power of accepting what is… not in some sense of defeat but in understanding our baseline and getting our heads out of any sand that they have been in through these times of natural wealth and riches, however long we have experienced them.  Imagine the power of a healthy sense of acceptance that “OK, this is where we are… this is our new starting point.”

Strength starts with acceptance.

Then imagine the virtue of BEAUTY in action; that ability to see potential.  That is what Churchill and JFK and MLK saw.  It was not “pie in the sky”.  They saw it.  To manifest it, we must first see it.  We must first see and believe in potential.  Our greatest and most unlimited potential lies within us; not our ground or water.  Indeed, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said…

We are, indeed, blessed with a magnificent country.  But, make no mistake about it, any country is ultimately defined by its people.  And any people are defined by their practice of character.

So, bear with me on this.  Let me suggest that in any problem, any crisis… the answers start with a simple formula of character that I have long and affectionately referred to as the ABC’s of Constructive Problem Solving.  Acceptance and Beauty we have addressed; accepting where we are as starting point and seeing the beauty in the opportunities and challenges ahead.  But then, we need get to CREATIVITY.

Indeed, acceptance and beauty free us from shame and blame and unleash creativity.  Creativity is an unlimited resource and one we are all being called to now.  Arlene speaks to the need for innovation.  I suggest that it is not our resources or any lack thereof that matter.  It is our resourcefulness.

Ralph also said…

I have also long suggested that OLD SCHOOL does not get us out of anything.  Old School is nostalgic and believes that “If we could only go back.”  We cannot.  BOLD SCHOOL is different.  Bold School asks how can we both learn from the past and yet create something new?  Indeed, how can we move beyond anything by going backwards?  While it was long before my time, I am sure that the Marshall Plan or Roosevelt’s New Deal were argued as insane.  No doubt, they were not perfect… but they were bold; and saw the times through great change.

I am not suggesting a return to either.  That would not be creative.

I am suggesting that what I am truly hearing in the message of Arlene in this interview… it is time to come and work and create together.  This is not a call for kumbaya.  This is a call to roll up our sleeves, leave the excessive egos at the door, and build a wisdom that can prove to us that our greatest resource is within.  It is our character… and, in turn, our capacity and creativity.

“Innovative in solving problems.”

That is the message and power of creativity.  It is a virtue; a strength of character.  It is unlimited but for our belief in it.  It begins with accepting where we are, free of blame and hoisted by learning… then building on it by seeing the beauty of potential (and this country has unlimited potential, materially and spiritually).  I realize that some may see this as Utopian or naive.  Clearly, I do not.  I do not have the answers for this time.  What I do know is that economics is driven by psychology.  If we think we are doomed, we will spend less and live in lack and manifest our prophesy.  If we think we can climb our way out, we will act accordingly and we will succeed, over time.  Time has tested and proven this reality.  It is our belief and our willingness to put the work in to create something special that defines us.

Chuck Pagano once said… “Circumstances don’t make you… they reveal you.

Vince Lombardi once said… “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Indeed, in deed.  In the next post, we will explore creativity and its power when we face circumstance, together.  For now, I simply thought it time to say… come together, right now.  I thank Arlene Dickinson for the inspiration this morning.

Let’s work together.  Then watch the creativity and strength arise.

Peace, passion and prosperity…

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™


Wherever you are in this wide, wide world… the message remains true and clear.  Together, our character is stronger.  Together, our capacity is greater.  Together, we can create with excellence.


Breaking new ground on the turning away

Must see video!
Epic news & views!
Our featured books!
Recent blog posts!
The Brickwork Begins Again
In Rest, Reach and Reverence last week, I offered, "What would deeply respecting the value [Read On...]
Rest, Reach and Reverence
In Take Possession, I shared..."For me, these coming days and weeks and months even… will be ab[Read On...]
Take Possession
Please watch this video, hear the words and feel the feels. Then come back here for a few minu[Read On...]
Sign Up Today!
Get our Purpose Pack; a starter kit on exploring purpose - FREE.
  • Sign up for our newsletter here!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.