They Say Millennials Lack Empathy, But is it True?

It’s fashionable in some groups and thought circles to refer to Millennials as the “me generation.” The members of this generation are so preoccupied with themselves that they completely lack empathy for anyone else. There are plenty of articles and opinion pieces out there that try to argue that Millennials are increasingly narcissistic and self-centered and trying to explain why that may be the case.

What’s interesting is that the research cited is actually fairly consistent in its conclusions. A pretty famous article in Time cites several sources which show that narcissistic and individualistic traits in Millennials are higher than in previous generations. When studied, Millennials often demonstrate less concern or sympathy for the misfortunes of others.

There’s no debating the research. That is, there’s no debating it if you take it at face value. Particularly, there’s no debating it if you’re someone who doesn’t understand empathy because you lack empathy yourself.

You Need to be Empathetic to Measure Empathy

The research out there is crock because it uses definitions and measures that were created from perspectives which distinctly lack empathy. This is most evident when we examine the use of “sympathy and concern for the misfortunes of others” as a metric for evaluating empathy.

Konrath et. al. measure significantly lower rates of empathic concern and perspective taking in the Millennial generation. The problem is that their definitions of both are more akin to pity and sympathy rather than actual empathy. There is a distinct difference here that needs to be stated.

Pity and sympathy are specifically antithetical to empathy. They are predicated upon a recognition that the object of your feelings is in a different circumstance from yourself. Importantly, they also rely on viewing the object of your sympathy as just that, an object. The person whose misfortune you’re so concerned about is distant from and external to you. So when we find that Millennials disagree more with the statement, “ “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me,” it is erroneous to claim that this is an accurate measure of their empathy. In fact, a negative response to that statement could be an indication of increased empathy.

Similarly, when Millennials respond negatively to the statement, “I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective,” they’re not actually saying they try less to empathize with their friends.

This is true because real empathy does not require conscious cognitive effort.

Let that sink in for a second.

When you really share an emotional state with someone, when you truly understand that emotional state, you do not need to make a conscious cognitive effort to replicate it. You are an insider, not an outsider trying to understand what “the other” is feeling. You are one in the same.

The definitions of empathy used in the research, and their corresponding measures, are distinctly un-empathetic.

What Does This Say About Previous Generations?

One thing to note is that research and commentary on the empathy of Millennials is almost exclusively conducted by non-Millennials. The definitions and measures they use are created by them; they are not novel or reworked. They are borrowed and carried forward from decades old psychological research and literature.

In this way, a meta examination of the research reveals a great deal about the lack of empathy in the generations of the people conducting the research. When your only conceptualizations of empathy rely on pity and sympathy, it’s clear that you yourself don’t really understand what it means to be empathetic. When your only conceivable measure of empathy is showing concern for someone else or trying to put yourself in their shoes, then you don’t actually grasp what it means to be in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is an internal recognition that you both are already wearing the same shoes; you don’t have to try and see how the other shoes fit.

Similarly, studies show that Millennials value extrinsic rewards of work more than intrinsic rewards.

Here, things like income and status are classified as extrinsic rewards. The problem is that, in their unlimited individualism, Millennials increasingly view income and status as intrinsic rewards. They expect to be paid fair compensation and be treated with dignity and respect in their workplace. Unpaid internships are rejected as exploitative now, where previously they were more commonplace. The measures need to be changed and the definitions reworked. They are byproducts of people who have an entirely different, and remarkably un-empathetic, world view.

It’s also telling that the results of the questions, “I like the kind of work you can forget about after the work day is over,” and, “ If you were to get enough money to live as comfortably as you’d like for the rest of your life, would you want to work?” were excluded entirely from the final conclusions of the study.

Millennials view work as a means to an end, not as a constant that they need to dump their entire lives into. They work because we’ve created a societal structure which necessitates it, not because the work serves any great purpose. You necessarily have to lack empathy with Millennials to structure your research in such a way.

How Can Narcissists Be Empathetic?

There is no doubt that Millennials are generally more concerned with themselves and feel significantly higher amounts of entitlement than previous generations. They want debts forgiven, free healthcare, adequate living wages, and a whole host of other things they feel they deserve.

So how can people like this possibly be empathetic? The answer is in the statement itself.

Millennials share their lived experiences. They intrinsically understand their shared circumstances and recognize their shared consciousness.

If Millennials are increasingly individualistic, they empathize with each other’s individuality. They share that mindset and that experience. Millennials are less communal, but they share in that perspective. They needn’t try to understand how other people feel because they are more emotionally connected with other people through their lived experiences.

How do we know this? Millennial communication relies on a level of empathy that is unprecedented in society.

Just search Instagram for #mood, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Millennials are a generation that can post a picture of them drinking on the porch with nothing but the word “Mood” in the caption, and convey a complex emotional understanding that will be understood by every other Millennial who sees the picture.

Previous generations were largely unable to communicate emotions at such a fundamental level. Instead, they relied on one-dimensional words like relaxed, relieved, or having fun to communicate what they were feeling. Instead, all they were doing was communicating whatever the other person thought the word meant. Millennials are managing to transcend the functionality of language and use it symbolically to communicate the emotions themselves.

Want a more dramatic example? Here’s a meme for you:

Here is an image that uses the logo of a salt container to convey a complete emotional state without ever telling you what that emotional state is. And yet, it is understood completely. I don’t even need to go into how the fact that memes even exist and are used as communication already illustrates my point.

But What About the Research?

When we look at research that tries to understand Millennials through what they do rather than responses to poorly defined measures created by Boomers, we actually see a slightly different story.

In the workplace, Millennials work well in teams and prefer frequent and open communication, particularly with their superiors.

Millennials utilize communication technology far more frequently than previous generations. One of the main reasons they cite for this behavior is that they seek social connectedness, which the researchers define as “receiving appropriate empathy and understanding from peers or society.”

Millennials are even more productive at work when they have work friends and operate in a low stress environment.

All of these behavioral realities suggest that Millennials are actually far more empathetic. They operate on a subconscious platform of empathy which relies on a common emotional foundation with the people they regularly interact with.

It’s important that we rid ourselves of misguided notions of what empathy means. We can’t measure it using un-empathetic methodologies that rely on conscious effort based evaluations.

Instead, let’s take a lesson from Millennials and become more introspective. When you begin to criticize somebody for not being empathetic, consider that maybe you are the one who cannot empathize with their emotional state.

One Last Note

One study interestingly suggested that Boomers are workaholics driven by ambition, and will be critical of people who don’t feel the same way.

I wonder why so much research conducted by Boomers seems to conclude that Millennials are selfish, entitled, and un-empathetic?

Yikes.

Practice Compassion and Empathy, Not Fear or Hate

Image result for sunset prayer

As people, we generally want the same things. We want ourselves and our families to be safe. We want food, water, and shelter. We want the freedom to pursue our happiness and wealth as we see fit. These are fairly universal desires. The great tragedy of the human condition in the modern world is that we, for some reason, refuse to recognize that other people are just like us. Despite their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, geography, or other characteristic, people generally want the same things. While we want to be free to seek our own happiness, we continue to insist that everyone’s happiness must be identical to our own or it is illegitimate. This post is a simple recognition that we’re not all so different. We are human beings trying to accomplish the same things, and the only thing getting in our way is each other.

The problem with the world is not that things like feminism, Black Lives Matter, and other such movements exist. The real tragedy is that we have created a world in which these movements are necessary. It’s actually quite unbelievable when you think about it. As humans, we actually have the power to effectively create any sort of world we want. Scarcity of resources, wealth, and talent is a myth. There is plenty to go around; it’s just concentrated in all the wrong places and used in all the wrong ways. And yet, we decide instead to kill one another over trivial differences in opinion. We commit terrible atrocities in the name of security and create a universe of “us and them” that perpetuates that violates.

Rather than realizing that illegal immigrants are, like any other person, trying to find their way in life, we treat them like some sort of festering sore that needs to be removed. Rather than understanding that black people in America simply want the same treatment under the law that white citizens receive and giving it to them, we spend our time talking about the ethics of a football player not standing during the national anthem. We start national arguments over who can use which public bathroom, while the bathrooms in our own homes are always unisex.

What you need to understand is that your happy ending is not mutually exclusive of everyone else’s happy ending. The gay man down the street can marry his partner of choosing, and so can you. The black family across the street can receive the same mortgage rates that you do without it hurting you. If the person in the cubical next to yours uses the same bathroom as you, but you don’t know if they have the same body parts as you, it doesn’t hurt you. If the Mexican father gets a job as a server in a restaurant to help put his kids through school, then don’t sweat it. You’re not applying for that job anyway. Muslims can build a mosque right next to a church….right next to a synagogue….right next to a temple….and so on.

Stop treating people like they aren’t people, just stop it. You’ll find that it’s actually much easier than you think. Society and politicians have tricked you into thinking that there are all these problems that need to be solved and addressed, when in reality, the only problem is ourselves. Illegal immigrants? Just give them amnesty and legalize them. Gay marriage? Let them get married; why do you care? Pro life vs. Pro choice? They’re not forcing you to get an abortion, right?

When you begin to fall into the trap of fear, just remember that hatred begets hatred. Violence, terrorism, and the like do not exist in a vacuum. They are human inventions, responses to distress. They are bred and created, and they cannot be stopped with more violence. Respond to fear and hate with empathy and compassion. You think it’s harder, but as T Swift showed us, it’s quite easy to just shake it off, actually much easier than continuing to be angry and afraid.

The Air Feels Like Rain

Dust like empty words blows vacant through the streets

Dusty day dusty month dusty year

Dust fills mouths like cinammon
drool drips past barricades

Time lets no man know
when wrong walked in the door
when children learned to cry
when children became foot soldiers

Doe eyed children dusty haired children
kneel for prayer kneel for mercy
kneel alongside dusty parents

The seeds of oppression are drowning
Voices of the angry the lovers
the mothers rain from balconies
shower people with hate borne of hatred
with love borne of suffering
with sacrifice borne of self-immolation

In the morning the sun rises

Still damp roads writhe with worms
and daisy heads
snipped by the men with the guns
litter vacant lots
pressed into damp sticky dust
like flowers in scrapbooks

In the evening it sets

Three Types of People Who Shouldn’t go to College

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We don’t live in the same world we did 50 years ago. A college education isn’t as meaningful as it used to be, and with increasing education costs, it can sometimes be harmful to one’s life. College is meant to be an investment, and if you’re not getting a return on your investment, then it’s really not a good idea to good. Here’s a list of people who shouldn’t go right off to college immediately after high school.

1. Artists and Musicians – Are you going to be teaching music theory? Do you want to be an art history professor? If not, there is no reason for you to pay money to get a college education. Art itself does not require a college education. The most successful artists are those who dedicate their entire lives to their craft and who immerse themselves in their work. Sitting in a classroom usually isn’t inspiring, and there isn’t much a college degree in art is going get you that reading books at the library won’t. Not to mention, art doesn’t pay very well right way, so unless you’re already famous, you will have a tough time paying off those student loans.

2. Entrepreneurs – If you’re starting your own business, you needn’t attend a university. You are better of getting experience in the industry you want to start your business in, and networking with actual professionals. College can be a good fall back if your business flops, but a college degree is not going to help you run a business. Most MBA programs, and undergraduate business programs for that matter, are teaching outdated material anyway. The education hasn’t quite caught up with the modern business world just yet.

3. People who don’t know what they want to do – It’s a common mistake to think that you have time to decide what you want to do with your life, and that mistake often leads to the “super senior” phenomenon. Students are in undergraduate institutions for five or six years before graduating, not because they are failing, but because they decided their major at the end sophomore year and needed to play catch up on all the pre-req. classes they neglected to take. If you want to figure out what you’re going to do, defer enrollment for a year, or just go into the workforce. Volunteer, get an internship, or just travel. These experiences will allow you to find yourself and hopefully make you better suited to be a college student, this was the lesson my grandmother gave me before she passed this month and i will never forget it , we were at her Callahan House and she said it right and clear.

The bottom line is that college isn’t for everyone. Our parents want us to go because that’s the world they grew up in, but that world no longer exists. Evaluate yourself and determine if college is actually the best option for you before you decide to go.

What Would Make You Truly Happy?

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It’s a simple question, isn’t it? Yet, despite its simplicity, I don’t know many people who can answer it confidently. It is a question too often asked too late. This isn’t a long post. It isn’t one of my rants or commentaries, but rather just a short reflection.

There are times when life is difficult. Many things can go wrong, and there are always difficult challenges to overcome. The answer to the question, though, can lend the all too important perspective that will help you deal with those challenges and overcome those hardships.

Many people go through life directing their efforts toward things they think they should do. While this sometimes this can be great, most of the time it makes for a pretty terrible compass for one’s life. Instead, people should ask themselves what they want to do. If they achieve that next goal, or accomplish the task in front of them, will it make them truly happy? Will it, in the context of their greater lives, add any meaning or substance?

The real world is a constant force. Much like other forces, though, it needs something to act upon. If your compass directs you into the real world, into task associated with it, like finding a job, making money, having stability, doing what’s expected of you, etc…. you run head long into the force. But, if the needle of your compass points in a slightly different direction, you may be able to avoid that force, circumvent it and find some truly special reality.

Next time you’re frustrated or stressed, take a step back. Take a moment to think about what would make you really happy. And ask yourself if you’re building a life that distances you from the answer to that question.

 

Body Image – A Practical Look

If I read another article about how the media objectifies women or watch another video of an attractive woman preaching about how girls should have a healthy body image, I may just lose it. This has become a very prominent topic in modern discourse, particularly intellectual discourse. I’ve seen three separate TED talks, numbers of YouTube videos, and an inordinate number of articles (most of which I’ve read) on the subject. In the age of social media, stuff like this spreads very quickly, especially if it resonates with people. I hate most of it, not because I disagree that young girls are having increasingly unhealthy body images, but because I have yet to see any of these advocates or scholars provide something tangible that these girls and women can actually use to help build their body images  and develop healthy perceptions of themselves. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Simply put, it isn’t the media’s fault. The media sells what people buy, and because people keep buying damaging material, the media keeps producing. Standards of beauty come before their portrayal in media, not the other way around. It’s like blaming Pepsi and McDonald’s for selling unhealthy food. People buy it, so they sell it. It’s much more productive to create a culture in which women have healthy body images and cease to be consumers of the objectification that everyone is in an uproar about. Here’s some real practical advice that I think people can actually use.

5 Steps on the Path to a Healthy Positive Self Image

1. Eat Healthy and Exercise – Don’t do this to lose weight or try to make yourself look skinnier. Do this with the goal of being healthy. Keep your blood pressure low, maintain low cholesterol, take in enough calcium to maintain bone and breast health, etc… Healthiness is attractive by default because we are evolutionarily conditioned to look for healthy mates, but more than that, you’ll feel better if you’re healthy. You’ll be more positive about yourself, and it’s much more difficult to have a confident body image if you’re unhealthy.

2. Be Hygenic – Keep yourself clean; it’s simple. Shower, brush your teeth regularly, maintain your feminine health, get regular checkups at the physician, and so on. Cleanliness is another big part of a positive body image. It is a commentary on your own feeling of self worth. If you care about yourself, you care to present yourself cleanly and keep yourself hygenic. Being gross is an easy way to detract from being positive about yourself.

3. Stop Buying Cosmo, Vogue, and all that other crap – These magazines are full of nonsense. Not only is the advice contained within them wrong, it’s damaging to your psychology. It reduces human appearances to geometry, sex to procedures, and relationships to quizzes and games. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting. It’s unrealistic, but the reason these companies turn over multi million dollar profits is because people buy their products. Whether you “like” reading it or not, just stop buying it. It may be difficult if you’re a regular subscriber and avid fan, but if you remove this content and influence from your life, you’ll be much better off.

4. Dress Well – It doesn’t matter what anybody tells, having an attractive wardrobe, and having people compliment that wardrobe, significantly contributes to your own perceptions about your appearance. Hire an image consultant if you need to, or read some good literature about how to dress well for yourself and your body type. There are clothes out there for everyone, and for the most part, it’s about defining your avatar or look, and adhering to that in your clothing choices. It’s not difficult, and there’s plenty of quality advice out there and people out there to help with it.

5. Have Passions in Life – What do you want to do with your life? What sort of things do you enjoy? What do you want to accomplish? These questions should be priorities for you. Passionate people are sexy. They draw others to them, and they put energy and life into their surroundings. You shouldn’t drift through life without desires and passions. Figure out what gets you going, and dedicate time and effort to it.

If you follow these steps, not only will your life begin to change for the positive, your perceptions of yourself will grow to be less dependent on what others think. You will separate yourself from the need to be beautiful and realize that you are beautiful. Just try it; it’s better than sitting in the dark watching YouTube videos of lectures from attractive women who chastise the media for being evil.

Why I Am Me….All The Fucking Time


Lately, several people, in their apparently infinite wisdom and understanding of human behavior, have been pointing out that the way I talk and act around others is seemingly “rude” or “rowdy.” Shockingly enough, when these same people are removed from a public situation or have their inhibitions removed by some substance, they behave and talk very similarly to how I do regularly. This is very peculiar to me not only because of the blatant double standard but also because the way I do things seems to be working phenomenally well, and the way people around me do things seems to be working very badly. In fact, I cannot think of anyone I know who has similarly healthy, genuine, consistent, and drama free relationships as I do. The reason for this is because of the way I talk and behave, honestly and openly.

The conflation of rudeness and honesty, double standards, and lying to oneself are predominant problems in the social lives of American youth. I thought I ought to take the time to address the issue of exactly what it means to be rude and offensive, and why I choose to be myself, honest and blunt, at all given times.

Let’s take a perfectly common example. If a woman catches me checking her out, and she points it out, I will not try to come up with a clever response or avoid the confrontation. I will simply respond with a “Yes, I was.” How is she going to respond? Surprisingly, most women will just ask “Why?” and I will respond by saying “Because you’re hot.” Where does the conversation go from there? I would like someone to explain to me why it’s rude to call a woman hot. It is a compliment on her appearance, which she clearly puts some time and effort into. I do not understand why this is rude. If a woman said I was hot, I would not be offended, and yet, men are reluctant to comment on a woman’s appearance, and they chastise me for doing so. Coincidentally, these same people spend their time objectifying women and talking about them like sexual objects in their private conversations. This boggles my mind.

How about racial stereotypes? A group of white people will sit in a room and make black jokes over a couple beers regularly. Yet, if there’s a black person in the room, no such racial commentary will ever be uttered. Why? I’ve made black jokes in front of black people, used the “N word,” and even criticized prominent civil rights activists. I have yet to be shot, beaten up, or mugged. Quite to the contrary, people find honesty refreshing. They do not enjoy being treated like victims, and they do not enjoy the feeling that someone is not being themselves.  Not only that, they are more than aware of the stereotypes revolving around their race. If they understand that you see these stereotypes as stupid and humorous, they will not be offended. They are more insulted when you treat them like ignorant idiots and pretend that they don’t have more active melanin than you do. They will realize that these stereotypes are just the same to you as they are to them. I know it’s a crazy concept to understand, but being open about humor and important issues may not be as bad as we all make it out to be.

We have a tendency to treat two faced people as virtuous. People who put on a nice or kind front in public in order to be perceived in a better light are not to be praised. They should be chastised for being dishonest. The even worse consequence of this moral system we have developed is that everyone becomes the same. If our behaviors in public are predicated upon some concept of what it is to be “normal” then there is no point to human interaction. We may as well just be robots programmed on a particular set of behaviors.

Genuine human interaction does not occur at the level of manners and social platitudes.

Let’s take a moment and step away from the less humorous examples. Sure, I have hit on a lot of waitresses, commented on a lot of hipster clothing, told a lot of racist jokes, and many other things in public. None of these have yet resulted in a negative consequence for me. Let’s talk about friendships. I have maybe 3 or 4 genuinely close friends in my life. Yet, I have many people I talk to and socialize with regularly, and I have a vibrant social life. The reason for this is because I do not change who I am in front of anybody. My friendships are genuine, predicated upon trust and honesty. I do not lie to my friends. I am very kind to them, I take care of them, and I am ready to take a bullet for them at any time. Not only that, I know that they would be willing to do the same.

I see others around me who seem to have very large social circles and many people whom they call friends. Yet, they will talk about them behind their backs. Their behavior in front of one friend is completely different than in front of another, and they become bitter as soon as a little bit of money comes between them. These relationships cannot be described as friendships. They are not predicated upon honesty, but rather lies and false conceptions. These so called friendships are not only transient, but they cause more grief and problems in a person’s life than they do happiness.

On an even more serious note, I do not pity handicapped people or victims of abuse. Most people think it’s a good idea to treat them like victims and tread carefully during conversation with them. I have met many such people, and I am fairly close with a few them. None of them appreciate being pitied or treated like victims. It doesn’t help them get over their emotional turmoil or deal with their handicap to treat them like they are different or deficient. The reality is that, if a person has been handicapped from birth, their life is perfectly normal to them because they have nothing to compare it to. The only time they feel like there is something wrong with them is when people who think pity is an act of kindness decide to treat them like they are deficient.

It is not meritorious to be two-faced. It will not help you in life to try to please people or give them what you think they want. It will only cause you pain and trouble. I have a career position that I thoroughly enjoy, which I am leaving for an even better career offer I just received. I have a wonderful, beautiful, and committed girlfriend of one and a half years whom all my friends and people I spend time with also adore (more than I can say about some other girlfriends). I have my own place, my own car, and wonderful close friends who I know would give their lives for me. I am a 20 year old MA, published author, and owner of my own company.

I do not attribute my social and life successes to any of the traditional things like hard work or natural talent. Why? Because there are plenty of talented people who work hard and are miserable. My successes, professionally and personally, are a direct result of my open and honest behavior. I am a breath of fresh air to anyone who meets me. I am genuine and uninhibited. I am consistent and unyielding. These qualities are not offensive, contrary to common belief. They are very attractive to employers, women, and everyone else.

I do not hurt people, nor do I insult them; it is just very tragic that honesty is perceived as insult sometimes. In fact, I am very kind and helpful to my friends and those close to me, despite never lying to them to spare their feelings. If I tell you that you made a stupid decision, that is not the same as me calling you stupid. I am very self aware, and I have a tremendous grasp on how people behave and why they behave that way. I do not engage with people who I dislike and who cause problems in my life, unless there is some potential for me entertaining myself 😛

Many of you are going to read this post and just think that I am an asshole, and I’m gloating. I assure you, that’s not it. My self-awareness gives me a wonderfully secure sense of self (for the most part), and I do not have a need to prove myself to anyone.

My goal is to inspire people to act honestly, to have genuine human interactions. We are not robots, and to construct our behaviors based upon rules which don’t even have a reasonable basis in anything does great violence to the very special parts of us that make us human.

 Take A Look at Your Own Self

So before the next time you criticize someone for being honest, open, and just saying what’s on their mind, take some time to think and reflect. What part of your life is better as a result of the two faced way you do things? How much good has it done you to not tell that girl walking by that she looks great? What benefit does it gain you to pretend like your friend isn’t black? Or gay? Does it make your life easier to have to act differently in front of nearly every person you meet? Or is it taxing and distracting? How productive would you be if you didn’t try to deal with people you don’t get along with?

I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am pretty fucking incredible. The way I live my life is amazing, being in a position where I can literally do as I want when I want (with the exception of absurd things like buying my own island; that’ll be a couple more years). I assure you that meaningless social platitudes and norms do not get you anywhere in life. Regardless of the metric you use to measure yourself and other people (whether it’s happiness, social success, financial success, moral virtue, or anything else), it will never be helped by hiding who you really are in some misguided attempt not to offend people.

Measuring Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI

So I’ve been in the social media marketing game for a little over a year now, and I’m starting to get the hang of it. Understanding the nuances is tricky, but there are some questions that most everyone asks. Every social media client I have spoken with, without exception, has asked me how to measure their social media ROI or return on investment. I have learned that there are several misconceptions about what a successful social media strategy entails, and I thought I ought to contribute my insights to help clear some of those up.

The Number of “Likes” is not an ROI Measure

Many people have the incorrect idea that a large number of Likes equates to a successful social strategy, but still, they should get help from https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/04/customer-service-motivational-quotes.html. It seems bizarre to me that people forget the basic ROI formula when talking about social media. A Like is not a gain. If you invest even $20 to get 1000 Likes, your ROI is still -100% if you do not convert those Likes into clients or increased business. The key to measuring what your real ROI is is to measure how much of that social media following is converted into actual transactions for your business, while the use of amazon accounting services could really help managing the profits on your business. If you invest $500 into a Facebook page, get one like, and that one like hires you for a $1000 contract, then your ROI is 100%. Your investment was definitely worth it, even though you didn’t pile on the Likes as you wanted to.

Social Media is Not a Huge Time Investment

Many business owners I speak with are reluctant to begin social media initiatives because they feel it is a very large time investment to do it on their own, and they do not have the funds to hire somebody. There are several ways these concerns can be mitigated. Social media does not have to take up a significant amount of time, especially once you have refined and developed your strategy. There are programs like HootSuite which allow you to pre-program all your posts for the week, and they are automatically posted. With the advent of smartphones, there is really no reason you cannot accomplish your social media activity while you are at lunch or on the toilet. People also often make the mistake of not connecting their social media outlets and posting on each one individually. Instead, everything should be connected so that one post anywhere is instantly disseminated to your entire network. If you do not have the funds to hire somebody to actually do the work, then consider hiring somebody to teach you the ins and outs of it. Conduct a one time seminar for you and your employees, and then develop and implement the plan on your own. This reduces your front end investment to a one time cost, and you don’t have to worry about making recurring payments to somebody who doesn’t deliver. If you do it right, social media does not have to be a large investment.

ROI

You Cannot Expect Instant Results

Social media is not like the Yellow Pages used to be. You do not place an ad and expect calls within a week or two. The first three months of any social media initiative are investigatory. They are used to develop a following and understand that following. You conduct tests to see how often you should post, what days of the week you should post, and even what time of the day you should post. You develop and understanding to the content which generates the most interaction and increases your reach the most. None of these activities will instantly generate you leads. Rather, they are designed to develop an understanding and long term plan which will consistently generate leads for you. Any social media initiative should be tried for at least 6 months before it is given up.

Social Media is Not for Everyone

The news that GM has pulled its Facebook ads has gone viral across the marketing world. People are taking it as an indication that social media marketing does not work. What surprises me is that people are surprised that social media didn’t work for GM. Who the hell goes to Facebook to buy cars? Not only that, people buy cars locally, so why would a national company website concern them? Rather, if you measure the performance of local non-branded auto dealerships on social media, the numbers are quite remarkable. Social media was not for GM. Rather, GM probably should’ve hired a company like Mr. Youth to popularize its brand, because that’s what it really needs right now. Knowing your industry is crucial to having a successful social media marketing strategy. Social media may not be for you, and you need to be willing to admit that.

Drug, Alcohol, and Behavior Interventionist

I have recently become introduced to the world of intervention, not because I needed one or anything, but because I have begun working with a clinically trained interventionist in Cleveland. She is a remarkable person, so I thought I ought to post about her.

Jane Eigner Mintz is a licensed professional counselor in Ohio. Her private company, Realife Intervention Solutions, provides intervention services to a broad variety of clients. She offers intervention services for clients suffering from a variety of addictions, substance and otherwise.

The unique thing about Jane is that she is clinically trained. She understands the medical ins and outs of interventions along with the sociological and psychological aspects of them. Interventions can be very complicated and can lead to devastating results if they are not performed properly. Jane has spent years learning and understanding the intricacies of performing interventions, particularly with clinically complex patients.

Further on that note, she teaches others how to properly perform interventions. She has developed her own system called the Field Model of Intervention (FMI for short). She teaches regular seminars in Malibu, California, and she also offers online video courses which take an in depth look at clinical interventions.

So, do you know somebody who could use the services of an interventionist? Maybe you have a family member or friend who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or something else? If you do, go ahead and look up Jane at www.janemintz.com or www.realifeis.com. If you are interested in learning about becoming a clinically trained interventionist, visit www.interventioncourses.com.

 

Reflections on 9/11 – Hate, Assumptions, and Unremembered Deaths

9/11 Hate Cartoon“I found a religion that blended scientific reason with spiritual reality in a unifying faith far removed from the headlines of violence, destruction, and terrorism.” – Yousuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, commenting on becoming a Muslim

Anniversaries are important. The past should be remembered, and those who have been lost to this world ought not be lost to our memories. The problem with some anniversaries, however, is they often transform our recollections into inaccurate emotional jumbles which draw our focus away from many important factors. I want to take a minute to reflect on the day the twin towers were attacked, and on the events which followed.

To begin with, many people assume that Bin Laden was behind the attacks of September 11th. Now, I am not one to believe in conspiracy theories. On the other hand, I am also not one to buy into speculative likelihoods. After all, both are based upon faulty logical grounds. That being said, it is important to note that there is no confirmed evidence which confirms Bin Laden as the mastermind of the attacks. In fact, the only confirmed comments by Bin Laden we have regarding the attacks are statements he made to Al-Jazeera a couple days following the attack, in which he expressly denied any involvement. I don’t know if I believe him, but I don’t know if I don’t believe him either. U.S. armed forces claim to have found a tape in a home in Jalalabad which records Bin Laden confessing to the attacks. The authenticity of this tape is under tremendous contention. It further doesn’t make sense that Bin Laden would record such a confession after the United States had invaded Afghanistan, and after he had already denied involvement. I am not saying that Bin Laden did not orchestrate the attacks. Rather, I am saying that I do not know if he had any hand in them. Rather, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a confirmed architect of the attacks, should have been the main target of the manhunt which led to the uprooting of an entire civilian population.

The point of this discussion is not to suggest that someone else committed the attacks, but rather to highlight how anger, shock, and fear can contribute to the acceptance of almost anything as valid truth. These emotions led us into Iraq. They led us to sanction North Korea. And they may lead us toward military action in Iran. The instinct to lash out in understandable, but also very dangerous. We must learn to always question what is around us, to approach what people tell us with speculative curiosity. Our minds should be open, but they should not be gullible.

Many people assume that the people committing terrorist attacks across the world hate Western ideals. They hate our liberties and our way of life. They hate the color of our skin, think we are the devil, and want to kill us. We must remember that, while this may be true for some, it is not true for the vast majority. Our “enemies” have no grievance against little Jimmy Smith living in a suburb in Idaho. No, they have a grievance against the government which deposes their leaders and causes military disruptions on their soil. We experienced 9/11 on one day and have not experienced a similar attack since. Remember that the people in these conflict regions experiences similar tragedies and emotions every day of their lives. They genuinely must fear if the next bomb will land on their roof. They hear about their neighbors being killed, or worse; they see their neighbors killed in front of their own eyes. It is important to remember the firefighters, medical responders, and officers who responded to the 9/11 attacks. But it is also important to remember that other countries also have similar responders, and they must deal with similar situations every day.

It further troubles me when people thank the military forces in these regions for protecting American liberty and freedom. Instead of thanks, these soldiers should receive our apologies. We should apologize that we allow our government to send these brave men and women to fight for…well, who knows for what. They are not making sacrifices for our protection. That is what they signed up to do, but not what their current duties entail. Rather, they are being sent to their deaths for reasons which are unknown to them. The ones who are fortunate enough to live through their service are leading increasingly difficult lives plagued by PTSD and other issues resulting from the actions they were forced to commit. To top it off, they do not receive the care and compensation they deserve after providing their service. I do not blame them, nor can I justify blaming them. Although, I do not remember them as heroes. I remember them as tragedies, as the victims of murder. On this anniversary, it is even more important that we not lose the courage to criticize our government when it conducts operations which unjustifiably lead to the deaths of our soldiers.

Death tolls of 9/11 place the number somewhere around 3,000. My number is several hundred thousand. The Afghani, Iraqi, and Pakistani civilians who have died as a result of military response to 9/11 cannot be excluded from this total. The U.S., English, Canadian, Pakistani, Finn, Swiss, French, Spanish, and numerous other soldiers who have died as a result of the military response to 9/11 cannot be excluded either. Let us not make the mistake of forgetting all the people we have killed to avenge the attack on our soil. These people did not harm us in any way. They had nothing to do with 9/11. They were victims of the same tragedy that befell the United States, but unlike those who died in the towers, they did not have to be. To put it in more stark terms, ask yourself if any of the victims of the tower attacks would want other innocent civilians to die. How many grieving families would be comforted by the escalation of a global conflict? We claim to be fighting for security. Have these conflicts made us more secure? Do you feel safer now that the United States has invaded two countries in the Middle East? How many people felt avenged the day Bin Laden was killed? And how many people feared an immediate increase in terrorist violence?

Ten years ago on this day, the United States experienced an unprecedented attack on its own soil. It was shocking, infuriating, and tragic. In our fervor, we made terrible decisions. We supported a government which, over the course of 10 years, enacted policies leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. These same policies burned 1.5 trillion dollars, contributing to one of the largest economic collapses in U.S. history. These policies have lost us allies, resources, and the lives of our citizens. Yes, the past is important to remember. But, it is not worth remembering if we do not learn from it. Take this day to not only reflect on the tragedy of that day, but to learn from it. Expand your understanding of the world and the people inhabiting it. Have the courage to speak out against injustice. Be a citizen of the world, instead of just a citizen of the United States.