The Future of Community

Since I started writing for Cars 4 Causes(R) I have been also studying the rising Internet trends towards Social Activism and Marketing. In my roadtrips down the Information Superhighway. I have stopped along the way to read blog after page about this phenomenon called Social Media and Marketing. There is a whole segment devoted to the non-profit sector, and more information available than I could have ever dreamed possible.

The best pages and blogs I’ve read and felt compelled to comment on are written by professionals who have been working in this medium for several years, are marketing experts, and have carved out a niche for themselves in the virtual(and actual) marketplace.

These writers have huge followings and reputations for being the "go to " people to watch for identifying patterns and directing emerging trends. They hold conferences and seminars,"webinars" and podcasts, and are widely respected for their expertise. I have also become a fan and devotee of several. Chris Brogan and Beth Kaplan to name just two. Not to be a name-dropper; simply because their writing styles are plain and no-nonsense. They lay out the information in such a way that their logic makes perfect sense to me. Their styles don’t leave me scratching my head trying to puzzle through the words to find the meaning. They say what they need to say and sign off.

By far the best attributes of all these Internet "superstars" is their openness to new ideas and willingness to share their considerable genius with the rest of the community. Instead of stating the case in an authoritarian manner, they leave the topic open and invite discussion. They are willing to share what they know with everyone and are happy to engage the reader. They welcome the challenge of a lively debate. They are building communities and an ever-widening circle of conversation which is all-inclusive. They do not ask for a resume, simply that you participate in the discussion.

The flow of new ideas spawns conversations and the concept of networking takes on a truer meaning than ever before. The result? An interesting mix of intelligent, like-minded people from diverse industries and experiences who are all collaborating and complementing each other, bringing a heightened awareness of objectives and a positive, encouraging atmosphere. This allows writers to be bold and forward-thinking in their words and actions. No task is too difficult nor fund-raising challenge too hard. With the abilities and advice of these motivated and generous pioneers; more people like me are being drawn into the conversation and I believe we are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what will yet be accomplished.

Non-profits especially, but any and all enterprises can only benefit from social media. I hope that more companies, and small non-profits like ourselves will see that this is not a world to shunned and ignored, or to be lightly dismissed. It is an opportunity to be innovative and contemporary. Moving into a realm wherein lies the future of community. There is no substitute for hands-on networking, and actual human interface, but we now live in a world where less and less time is alloted for that type of contact. Non-profits today have little or no door-to-door old fashioned community fund-raising; relying instead on telephone canvassing and mass mailing to get their message out to their constituency. This new media allows for community building on a global scale while still being relevant and timely with a sense of genuine comraderie instead of competition. This benefits everyone involved. I will get off my soapbox now. I need to get back to my Twitterfeed It is unstoppably watchable!

Keep giving everyone.

V.

Economic Solutions Through Service, Not Greed

I asked my friend Rinaldo Brutoco founder and president of President World Business Academy to guest blog here on practical suggestions to reverse the trend we are seeing in our financial security. Rinaldo Brutoco is a leading international executive, writer and keynote speaker for over 25 years, widely recognized as a practical visionary, change agent and futurist who assists executives and organizations in adapting to change with breakthrough ideas. I believe his suggestions would be helpful for our next President as well.

The fundamental problem with Wall Street is not greed, but rather that it forgot the reason business exists. The origination of business was likely started by an individual who saw an opportunity to be of service by offering to bring the excess crops of one farmer to the other and to receive as payment a portion of what he conveyed.

That is the fundamental role of business in society: to be of service to society. The World Business Academy has been publishing it’s belief that the purpose of corporations is not to make a profit. The purpose of any business enterprise, and that would include business organizations that populate Wall Street, is to provide some service or material goods that society needs. Profit is there as a necessary component of the transaction, but when it is seen as the only reason, we inevitably lose our way as we have today.

Gambling and speculation may be something that society can afford to tolerate, but not something society can afford to have as its central economic model. Success in life as well as success in business lies in the conscious participation of the expression of abundance and creativity, not merely for one’s own sake, but for others in society.

This model of reward primarily through service rather than money is rooted in the truth that there is enough for everyone and that no one is better than, nor lower than anyone else. The question is how we live this definition of success while watching our material world implode. If the answer lies in investment in green technologies, education and infrastructure, then the next question is: How will you pay for all this when so much money has already been committed to rescuing the financial institutions and credit markets? In fact, by intelligently leaving Iraq and reducing the military budget, along with judicious investment in wisdom-based economies, investment in education, universal healthcare, and our infrastructure, the American economy can actually create more money than these investments will cost us in initial outlay.

Re-creating our economy along the lines of this definition of success will generate a level of wealth in the U.S. that will be a hundred times greater than the explosion of wealth that the U.S. has experienced since the end of World War II. It is ironic that greater material wealth will be created by adopting a non-greed definition of success, but that is exactly what happens as a direct result of our collective decision to put important matters of humanity and the planet first.

How does this happen? It happens as a direct result of making better choices so that we see our economic activity as being in service to each of us and to society as a whole. When we make better choices, business will begin to serve those choices as the most efficient way to thrive. Business in service to society. For years I have stated publicly that I have never heard of, read about, or personally experienced any problem that human society faces for which we don’t already have all the resources and technology at our disposal to resolve. All that is lacking is our individual and collective will to resolve the challenge. This applies to overpopulation, global climate change, poverty, disease, and war. All that is lacking is our will to bring about this different paradigm of abundance and mutual success. And that begins with each of us accepting a new personal definition of success from which to experience all the difficulties we confront. The time to do this is now.

The current bailout, is a band-aid. It is very important that we adopt it or something like it or society will bleed to death before we can make the fundamental changes to our society that will actually heal the broken economic system that we have. The pending bailout only buys us time. As soon as it becomes law we must put ourselves immediately to the task of re-building our entire economic system from one that was characterized as “trickle down” to one that I would characterize as “trickle up.” In a “trickle up” system we take care of ourselves and our neighbors by putting affordable housing, education, healthcare, meaningful employment, peace as a core commitment, and true success as our goals.

The speed at which the economic system is unraveling is mind numbing. This much speculation has to be brought under control carefully. We need to let the air out of the balloon slowly rather than have it pop. Adopting the bailout bill by itself will solve none of the fundamental, underlying, structural flaws in our economy. It will, however, buy us the time to address those flaws from a new level of consciousness and social policy. That is the short and long-term solution.

Rinaldo will be joining Deepak live on Sirius Radio tomorrow (October 4th) to discuss the economy.

Jesus and the money-changers

People come to me and they ask, "What is right and what is wrong?" I say, "Awareness is right; unawareness is wrong." I don’t label actions as wrong and right. I don’t say violence is wrong. Sometimes violence can be right. I don’t say love is right. Sometimes love can be wrong. Love can be for a wrong person, love can be for a wrong purpose. Somebody loves his country. Now, this is wrong because nationalism is a curse. Somebody loves his religion. He can kill, he can murder, he can burn others’ temples. Neither is love always right nor is anger always wrong.

Then what is right and what is wrong? To me, awareness is right. If you are angry with full awareness, even anger is right. And if you are loving with unawareness, even love is not right. So let the quality of awareness be there in every act that you do, in every thought that you think, in every dream that you dream. Let the quality of awareness enter into your being more and more. Become suffused with the quality of awareness. Then whatsoever you do is virtue. Then whatsoever you do is good. Then whatsoever you do is a blessing to you and to the world in which you live.

Conservative Parker Calls for Palin to Go — About Time

The Associated Press ran a story on Friday, September 26th titled, "Conservative columnist: Palin should go." The article explained, "A conservative columnist who welcomed Sarah Palin’s entry in national politics says she’s proven to be a dud and should step aside as John McCain’s running mate."

The article was referring to Kathleen Parker, who had written in the National Review Online, "Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first."

Here’s my question:

Whose opinion about Governor Palin has changed after last night’s debate?

Some maintain Palin did GREAT at the debate. Since when was not falling flat on your face a mark of doing great when you’re running for the second highest office in the country?

True, if you’re looking for a folksy, hot mama spouting lately picked up quasi-political jargon — someone with whom you could sit down and swig a coke and swap child rearing stories — she’s your gal. She can say "heck" and "doggone it" and other "darndest" things and wink all the way to there and back with the rest of the hockey moms, but I just thought I’d mention where we are — we are on our way to a heartbeat from the WHITE HOUSE! And to get up there with millions watching around the world, to play a one-person gladfest for the cameras, just seems a tad bit disrespectful and slightly offensive. Who agrees with me?

Also folks, remember the last time we picked a guy we thought it would be fun to drink beer with? We got hijacked, lied to, duped and left with the BIGGEST financial CRASH since 1932.

Who thinks this time around we could use a little less home-spun camraderie and a few more facts, some experience and a world vision — not to speak of, respect for the second-highest office in the country?

Rebooting

I have to share this. I went to bed last night, sat up and thought to myself, "I was just here."

The time from when I woke up from when I went to sleep seemed empty like the day never happened and I woke up, sat up, then laid back down again. That’s not to say that I had a bad day and just silently hoped that it would come and go. I think my internal hard drive crashed and never rebooted, until now.

For some, going to sleep and waking up again connotes a fresh start. For others, moments are memories. For me, a part of my brain gets triggered and I reboot. It doesn’t take the rising or setting of the sun. I could be sitting at my desk, as I am now, and feel refreshed again. Ready to start over.

And, needless to say, that doesn’t mean that I throw out the baby with the bath water and start my life from scratch. It just refers to the part of me that needs to shut down, cool down and start again.

My boss used to take 1/2 hour naps in his office. We used to think it was because he drank. Well, it was. But, he also needed to reboot. He always awoke, anew and ready to tackle the same challenges, but with more energy, more focus and a clearer perspective.

My office isn’t big enough for a sofa bed, so I brought in a camping bed. I pop it out, puff it up and nap when I can. Though, it’s been much more difficult rebooting with another person in the office. So, now I grab a book, drink a cup of decaf tea or play a video game. I also know many people who meditate throughout their day taking brief rebooting sessions. Others drink a lot of coffee or diet coke.

While the idea is similar, it is best to just shut down – and reboot. Other ways you can reboot include:

1) Take a short brisk walk
2) Write a letter to a good friend
3) Eat some candy
4) Do a crossword
5) Call a friend (notice I didn’t write family as that usually leads to aggravation)
6) Call or email a loved one
7) Send a love card
8) Think happy, loving thoughts
9) Attend a support group

Any many, many more…

What do you do to feel rebooted?

David

I Shop in the Women’s Dept.

I hate shopping for clothes.

I know that might be strong language, but let me state
my case. For better or worse, I have been blessed with
the body of an adolescent girl. Because I am in fact a
boy, this has driven me crazy for most of my life. Growing
up, I did everything in my power to “bulk up” — working out, drinking protein shakes and adding extra thick insoles to my shoes (yes, they do add a few inches).

It’s only been in the last couple of years that I have come
to peace with my small stature. In fact, I think I’m even
willing to say that I really like being small now. But if
there is anything that draws me back into my past (stuff),
it’s going clothes shopping.

In the men’s section, NOTHING ever fits me. The shoes,
the pants, the socks, the shirts — all too big. So I usually head
to the kid’s section to find that nothing there fits me either
because I’m SLIGHTLY larger than little boys.

Nice.

Feeling defeated, I often find my way to the women’s section to
(painfully) discover that the clothes fit perfectly as long as
I’m willing to bite my ego and face the customer service
attendant.

This is why I hate shopping for clothes.

But something really interesting happened during my most recent
clothes shopping experience that’s worth sharing because it’s
significant to our current social environment.

I stopped finding shopping uncomfortable, and instead I discovered the humorous element in it. I found the process of shopping in the women’s department HILARIOUS!!

Instead of getting caught up in a “poor me” story, I just kept
laughing at the comedy of it all. Was a part of me still
mildly frustrated? Definitely! But it felt so much easier and
more enjoyable to laugh instead.

Realize that you choose your perspective and your perspective
creates your reality. If you’re stressing out right now over the
current socio-political-economic climate, choose to lighten up.
Laugh at yourself, laugh at others, laugh at the world.
Nobody benefits from a morbid evaluation of these challenging
times.

I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but this is why
meditation is more important then ever. As you quiet the mind
and connect to a place inside that feels easy and light,
“lightening up” is the natural outcome.

So please, pretty please, pretty please with a cherry on top,
meditate every single day. The world needs it right now….

Much love,

Max Simon