Fear, Anger and Self Control

Thinking rationally and therefore behaving rationally is really hard to do when you are fearful and/or angry.

Yoda said, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. I gotta be honest, the Nazi’s in Charlottesville terrified me. Really terrified me. As a result, I got really angry. In a way I don’t normally get. I haven’t felt emotions that strong in a long while. It took me 3 whole days before my compassion started to kick in. Normally I can find compassion for people in a matter of minutes, not days.

I am sharing this because self-control is important. We can’t make good decisions or even act in a civilized way if we are fearful to the point of being angry. This is what is wrong with people in hate groups. They have uncontrolled fears that are causing them to get angry and fearful.

So how do we regain control?  First, when you can, remind yourself that your anger is based in fear. Then figure out why you are afraid to the point you are angry. Anger is a protective emotion.  Figure out what you are afraid of and why and remind yourself to be compassionate and you should find your fear ebbing away. That is what works for me.

Just please don’t let your fears consume you because eventually – it will lead to hate and hate doesn’t solve anything.
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Business Plan Reviews

I used to be involved in franchise sales and I reviewed countless business plans in that capacity to ensure that our potential franchisees understood not only what they were getting into but that they were properly capitalized so that they would have the best chance of success. I was recently asked about how to take a reality based approach to business planning.

- What sections are the most essential elements of the business plan?

 Income and expenses.  The main thing I would look for was whether the individual had allocated enough money for marketing purposes and whether or not their income and expenses looked realistic.

 - What story should the business plan tell?

Where does the money come from and how is the money going to be spent.  Everything else is fluff. Either the person understands how their proposed business makes money and what they need to do to realize that potential, or they don’t.

- What common business plan mistakes do you see the most?

Most people over-estimate their income and under-estimate their expenses. Business plans are a work of optimism. The problem is – they also need to be realistic. Understanding what is realistic is key.

- What is your advice for startups and entrepreneurs that are writing or refining their business plan for review?

Halve your income and double your expenses. 

- What is the most vital piece of information in the business plan? 

 How long until you realistically break even? Do you have enough capital to ensure that you can make it that far? Too often people over-estimate their income and under-estimate their expenses. Then, just as they are starting to gain traction, their money starts to run out so they cut expenses in the only place they can – which is their marketing. When that happens, they tend to die a slow death.   Understanding, realistically, what has to be invested and how long until you see a realistic return at your break even point – will help you avoid this fate.

- What is your #1 business plan advice?

Halve your income and double your expenses. If you still want to do this with your worst-case scenario numbers, take the leap.

- Anything else that you'd like to add - that relates to the composition of a business plan? 

Make sure you understand your motives for starting a business. Why is it you are doing this?  Without truly understanding your own motivations, you may not have the stick to-it-ness that will help you keep going when things get tough. And… they are going to get tough.

The best motivations are working to help other people. If all you want to do is make money, then you probably won’t stick it out when the going gets tough. If you want to help people, nothing will stop you.

To learn more about how to make better more realistic decisions, take my online course; Reality Based Decision Making for Effective Strategy Development.

If you want to learn more about humanistic management – take the short self-study problem – Principles of Humanistic Management

Confronting Lies

I’m afraid that this may be one of those – do as I say, not as I do posts.  I know what I should be doing ideally, but I don’t always do it. That’s ok. This is practice, not perfection, thought that shouldn’t be an excuse to not try and correct our bad behavior in the future.

For me, there is nothing quite so infuriating as a lie. I suppose I lead a sheltered life if this is my main beef with the world, but hear me out.  I am all about reality based problem solving.  Lies prevent reality based problem solving. They interfere.  Think of it as a form of verbal bullying designed to get people to take courses of action that will not only not work, but may cause harm.

Why would people do this?  Because they either don’t know what they are saying is not true, or … they have something to gain from the lie.

There are a couple of different ways to think aboiut how we deal with lying.

One is behavioral. Lying is a behavior and can be modified with behavioral modification techniques. In politics, there is a WHOLE LOT of misinformation being spread by otherwise normal caring people who have no idea that they were lied to or that the post they just shared is a lie or is based on a lie. These people have been conditioned to do this and can be conditioned to stop. The key is to remove the reward by letting them know – this isn’t true.   Yes, when you do this – people retreat. But they also come back. The retreat and the re-entrenchment is what happens when a reward is not received for some behavior. Just be patient and allow them to come back for more. Eventually – they may even start to trust you. 
Am I good at this?  Depends on the lie that is being told to me. I gotta be honest, lies that are told by white nationalists, because they involve denying and erasing people from the public sphere are so horrendous to me that I have zero patience and sometimes – lose it. But I keep reminding myself to try and be calmer the next time.

Another possibility is that the person is lying because they are pathological about it. Lying has become so much of a habit that like any habit – they can’t break it. You can’t get them to stop, your goal should instead be to make sure people listening, understand it’s a lie. Challenging them won’t change them, but it may help others avoid falling prey.

The final category is people who lie strategically for gain. These are the hardest to deal with because most of what they say is true so you won’t notice the lie slipping through. These require skepticism and doubt. 

Which brings me to the technique – doubt. Skepticism. When someone tells a lie calling them out as a liar is ok. Especially if it is a bald face lie. But for people who don’t know they are lying, you need to get them to doubt and you do that – not by calling them a liar- but in letting them know you are highly skeptical and doubtful that what they just shared is true.

Is this easy to do in the moment when you are confronted by obvious lies? No. But we have to start somewhere.

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