Communication strategies

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Satirical Laughter and Dissenting Silence as a Strategy for Positive Change

Published December 30, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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According to author, educator, activist, Parker Palmer (2004), who is also the founder of The Center for Courage & Renewal, satire is a component that oppressive and corrupt leaders fear most. Palmer explains that when giggles turn to thunderous roars of laughter around a corrupt regime, it can rock the very foundation of that power and profusely shake the political seismograph. To prevent the shakeup from gaining momentum, a leader who embraces a dictator leadership style, for instance, will: (a) make a concerted effort to suppress satirists whenever they are able to; (b) eliminate them when their attempts are unsuccessful; and (c) remain vigilant for signs of satire arising from the underground (Palmer, 2004).

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In a democracy like the U.S. however, a form of government where the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or their elected agents under a free electoral system (Democracy, 2016), citizens are guaranteed the freedom of speech because of the First Amendment of the Constitution. This gives ordinary citizens the right to ridicule the powerful. In short, ordinary citizens have the power to exercise their right and speak the truth, especially if that means bringing down a corrupt system and their leaders, as history can attest.

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If the United States were set up as a totalitarian state – “a form of government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinions and exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of the lives of people” (Totalitarian, 2016) citizens would face different consequences sharing views that were not in alignment with that of their oppressive government. In the meantime, democracy is constantly under attack from a brand of politics that is driven by greed and seduced by an arrogance of power disguised as something patriotic and/or religiously significant. In his book, A Hidden Wholeness, which focuses on strategies that build Circles of Trust, Parker Palmer explains this concept more eloquently. Using the classic fable from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, as an example, he explains about the political ramifications of both laughter and silence.

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In Andersen’s famous fairy tale, con men posing as tailors come to town convincing the Emperor to pay big bucks for a new outfit. To maximize their profits, the con artists make the sartorial out of thin air and convince the Ruler that only the unenlightened and the foolish will not see the new garments. To avoid being identified as an imbecile, the Emperor agrees to parade stark naked throughout the town – while citizens applaud the unique new clothing, not wanting to disrespect their Ruler’s actions. This scene provides a classic example of citizens living in what Palmer describes as a “divided life” where both Emperor and townsfolk alike know the truth inwardly, but support that lie, outwardly  (Palmer, 2004) .

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The only person in the fairy tale with the cleverness to crack this illusion of fools was a young child who simply stated that the Emperor was naked. Although the child’s fearful father attempted to silence the little one, it was that innocent outcry, that freed the townsfolk from further supporting their lying eyes. This action in turn instigates the wave of recognition which confirmed to citizens that their beloved Emperor was traipsing around in the buff. It was the one simple act of an innocent child, who merely described what he witnessed, that freed the rest of the citizens from the deception.

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Palmer suggests that the message communicated from this kind of awareness is simple: citizens will no longer conspire in supporting the illusions that help corrupt leaders maintain control. He further postulates that by withholding support rather than falling into silence, citizens are taking small steps toward withdrawing their consent which in turn plays a significant role for leaders who engage in misconduct and wish to maintain their abuse of power. In short, when people no longer affirm, pretend to affirm, or give meaning to an unethical form of nationalism and/or religious symbols that corrupt leaders implement  – citizens can affect positive change. Instead, Palmer stresses that citizens will discover that from this vantage point, they are in a much better place to laugh at corrupt leaders, rather than laugh with them by using this silence as a means of dissent from their corruption, rather than expressing compassion towards these misguided leaders (Palmer, 2004).

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In conclusion, Palmer’s research work helps us comprehend that satirical laughter and dissenting silence are two forms of nonviolent strategies that can help ordinary citizens become agents of positive social change. People who turn to strategies of nonviolence when confronting or exposing leaders that impose cruelty and injustice, have a much higher claim to good manners than those same leaders who hide behind piosity and patriotism to encourage and justify economic, military, or domestic violence (Palmer, 2004). In today’s ever changing climate, these are very real concepts leaders must consider when faced with issues that could lead to corruption and misconduct. Implementing an effective proactive strategy can be the key that helps motivate positive action from leaders as they continue to work on raising their own levels of awareness in an effort to achieve their goals with integrity and the support of the community.

That concludes our analysis on affecting positive change using satirical laughter and dissenting silence as strategies. Thanks for stopping by! We really appreciate and value your time. We’re also grateful for the opportunity to share the research work that motivates us, as well as offer a few insights from our own experiences which helped inspire this work. Next time, we will take a closer look at identifying attacks on the human spirit and discuss how these assaults may be interpreted as violent acts, which we may not even be aware of. We will also examine nonviolent solutions leaders can rely on as more effective problem solving strategies … until then, keep working on evolving your leadership skills!

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“Laughter need not be cut out of anything, since it improves everything.”

 – James Thurber

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit “Author Central” at amazon.com:

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References:

Democracy. (2016, December 28). Retrieved from dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com/

Palmer, P. J. (2004). A Hidden Wholeness. San Francisco, CA, USA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved December 28, 2016

Totalitarian. (2016, December 28). Retrieved from dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com

 

Summer Vacation

Published June 30, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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“Love is such a deep gratitude. When you are truly in love with life, every breath you take is gratitude.”

― Bryant McGill

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2 organizational management business skills publications nov 2014

For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s “Author Central” to view:

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Summer Break and the Reality of Abundance

Published June 7, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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A Mindful Moment

This week we are launching a new Mindful Moment summer break series. We begin by taking a closer look at the reality of abundance. World renown author and alternative medicine pioneer, Dr. Deepak Chopra postulates, that in order to experience the reality of abundance in our lives, we can begin by taking time to witness examples of abundance within and all around us. He suggests that by creating a list and referring to it throughout our day, that within no time, we will start to see the myriad of riches the universe presents in every moment, and begin to experience true abundance consciousness (Chopra, 2014).

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That’s it for now. In the meantime, for today’s summer break mindful moment exercise, let’s remember to observe the abundance that surrounds us.

Until next time …

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“Abundance is a state of mind in which you believe you are intrinsically creative. You recognize that the universe is abundant, and that you are an expression of the universe.”
Dr. David Simon

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Lippincott Room at Princeton University Press

For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

 Mayr’s Author’s Page

References:

Chopra, D. D. (2014). The reality of abundance. Retrieved June 4, 2016, from choprameditationcenter: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience/index/3

Holiday Winter Break

Published December 11, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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“One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.” ― John Stuart Mill

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

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Holiday Winter Break

Published December 7, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating this week!

We are on a winter holiday break. Our posts during this time will be focused on some of the things that inspire joy and happiness during this time of reflection. In the meantime, we will return next year with all new adventures!

Until then … Happy Holidays! Enjoy the joyfulness of the season!

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“The road to self-discovery often calls for the clearing away of the underbrush of ignorance, fear, superstition, and a sense of isolation that has made us feel that we are unworthy, unholy, and lost. In the divine providence of good, salvation is unnecessary but self discovery is essential. We do not save that which was lost; we merely discover that which needs to be found.” –  Ernest Holmes

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

Mayr’s Author’s Page

 

Leadership and The Happiness Advantage (Conclusion)

Published December 4, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Today we conclude our discussion on how the happiness component can affect our decisions as leaders. During the Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership podcast, hosted by Ken Coleman, Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage (2010) also revealed that another significant component which contributes to a person’s state of happiness, is their level of social connection. For instance, as the recent terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded, it was clear that what held them together was their strong sense of community. In fact, Achor’s research work revealed that during catastrophic events like that which occurred in Paris, a level of depth and meaning in their country’s social relationship is so strong, that as the rest of the world witnessed, even in the midst of chaos and the threat of death, the citizens of Paris showed they were still able to find significance and joy in their lives. In fact, scientists now acknowledge that the social connection factor is not only one of the greatest predictors of long-term happiness, but like obesity, high blood pressure, or smoking, it is also a predictor of the length of an individual’s life.

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Additionally, Achor’s research revealed that people who implement positive habits in their lives were also more prone to building social connections; and people who are more socially connected with others, are in a better position to decrease negative patterns in their lives. This is why the most successful leaders will surround themselves with positive people. This is a proven strategy that once implemented, can help transmute pessimistic employees with negative attitudes into a team of optimistic staff members with positive attitudes that are motivated to work forming a cohesive unit to achieve productive outcomes. In short, leaders that choose happiness as a strategy are more likely to inspire others, including colleagues, potential clients, family members, and friends, to become more positive with a joyful willingness to engage in the world around them.

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What is so promising about this research work is that it means that anyone placed in a position of leadership, has the potential to achieve more successful outcomes simply by implementing positive psychology strategies which include happiness and joy as the driving forces. In fact, based on this research, even companies like Google are now focused on training staff members to understand that better sales does not lead to happiness, but instead, joy and happiness are the keys that can lead to better sales.

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So, if you find yourself struggling in a world of gloom and doom, where negative attitudes prevail, the good news is you have within you the power to rewire your brain beginning with a quick two minute positive input intervention! That’s right! Experts in the field of positive psychology have developed and recommend the following exercise to help rewire a pessimistic brain to develop more optimism with positive habits. Beware however! It does require a bit of discipline and a commitment from the individual to invest at least two minutes of their time, first thing in the morning on a daily basis.

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Two Minute Positive Input Intervention

The practice begins by asking the individual to focus on three positive things they are thankful for. Next, the individual is asked to spread that positive energy to another individual by sending an email or connecting via social media like Facebook, expressing their gratitude and appreciation to someone different each day.

Experts recommend practicing this exercise daily for around 21 to 28 days until it becomes a habit. Then let the magic unfold while your network of positive people grows and you feel the joy of an empowered participant who is actively building their world from a foundation of positive habits. Remember, we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge and the science is out … positive leaders can dramatically improve a company’s bottom line. In other words, happiness does have its advantages!

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“With faith you let go. You trust. Whereas with belief you cling.” ― Yann Martel

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

Mayr’s Author’s Page

References:

Achor, S. (2015, November 15). The happiness advantage. (E. Podcast, Interviewer)

Ramsey, D. (2015, November 15). The EntreLeadership.

Leadership and The Happiness Advantage (Part 2)

Published December 2, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

Happy-Hands

Today we continue our discussion, inspired by Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership podcast, hosted by Ken Coleman, on how happiness affects our decisions as leaders. We begin where we left off on Monday, by examining more closely, the difference between pursuing happiness through pleasure as opposed to pursuing happiness through joy.

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The concept that happiness is not something that can be inherited; rather something that is cultivated, was a huge breakthrough in terms of shifting strategies in the pursuit of happiness. In other words, experts could now expand their focus of study and concentrate on the differences between how some people pursue happiness through pleasure in the achievement of momentary goals; to how others find happiness in creating joyful, positive emotional states of being; a concept which can also help explain why people still experience joy even when when their life may not be so pleasurable.

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During the podcast, author Shawn Achor (2015) explained that the brain registers pleasure as a momentary experience. It is this momentary feeling that causes people to seek different activities like eating chocolate bars or playing fun games. The more pleasure individuals seek, he went on, the more they want to repeat these actions, thus enabling their brain to become used to the behavior. The challenge with this concept is that people become conditioned to seek pleasure. This can result in developing an inability to actually enjoy the journey of the experience. In this mindset, individuals tend to keep seeking bigger, newer, and more innovative goals, which in turn, can prevent them from feeling the authentic joy of the experience or worse, appreciate the accomplishment itself.

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Joy, on the other hand, is sustained over long periods of time. A good example of this is when a person exercises, which, on the one hand, causes temporary pain and discomfort, but on the other, allows them to realize their own potential. Furthermore, they experience the positive physical benefits from the act of exercising as opposed to remaining sedentary from long hours of sitting at an office or relaxing on the couch.

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Equally significant, Achor’s research also revealed that being in a state of joy is not just beneficial to that individual. He discovered that individuals who were in a joyful state also become more connected to the outside world. For example, joyful people attract other joyful people, which in turn prompt them to find more ways to be helpful to others as well. This is because when people are in a joyful state, they want to be better, do better, and help create a better world. This is a transformational state of being; one that motivates people to take positive action with long term consequences, rather than try to grab on to something that only brings momentary pleasure, then watch as it slips away through their fingers.

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To state his position more clearly, Achor shared the following two case studies: During his research work, Achor traveled to collapsed civilizations to conduct interviews about what made people happy in areas of extreme poverty. He was expecting to find communities full of depressed citizens. Instead, he discovered that they were still able to find happiness because of: (a) their optimistic attitude, and (b) they had a firm belief in the power of their ability to improve their situation. In other words, they believed that their behavior mattered; that no matter what happened to them up until that point, their belief that things would get better as long as they kept trying, was the key to their happiness.

Anchor, expecting to interview happy people when he traveled to study wealthy bankers in Switzerland, instead met with deeply a depressed and devastated group of people because they did not receive their yearly bonuses. Achor and his research team were surprised to find this affluent group of well respected citizens so distraught over losing their bonuses after what they witnessed from those who survived collapsed civilizations. What can we learn from those two stores? That the key to the bankers happiness was based on something completely out of their control. The citizens in the collapsed economy, however, were able to remain joyful because they knew the power was within them to change their situation. In other words, their long term happiness was based on how their brains processed the world around them which includes, how they think about finances, family, career, as well as their status in the community.

That’s it for today! Until next time … be joyful in your continued pursuits to build your leadership skills!

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Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

Mayr’s Author’s Page

References:

Achor, S. (2015, November 15). The happiness advantage. (E. Podcast, Interviewer)

Ramsey, D. (2015, November 15). The EntreLeadership.