Category Archives: Ethics & Values

Why Someone Calling Me a Dirty Jew B****rd Does Not Matter

Last week I ran my third Twitter promotional campaign. Over the past month, for very little money I have doubled my followers. Now more than 300 hundred people potentially benefit from my work. The latest promotion brought me something special: Bigotry.

Bigotry: Why Someone Calling Me a Dirty Jew B****rd Does Not Matter

A twitter user responded to one of my promoted tweets saying, “You dirty jew b****rd ‪@KevinBemel, keep your 'Promoted Tweets' off my timeline.” He spelled out the word in which I substituted ****. Though surprised by such invective, after a few moments reflection I shrugged it off. Here’s why:

  1. The author is a coward since his Twitter handle is an alias and he wears a mask in his profile picture.
  2. He does not understand how Twitter promotions work. I set only broad parameters about to whom Twitter promotes my tweets. His complaint is with Twitter not me.
  3. He falls under the Elvis factor, made famous by Larry Elder, that states: 10 percent of the American people think Elvis still lives, and 8 percent believe that if you send him a letter, he'll answer it. There is no accounting for lunatics.
  4. While there are Anti-Semites, they cannot prevent me from pursuing my goals unless I allow it.
  5. His comment says nothing about me but tells me something very important about him. I do not want him for a Twitter follower. He would only damage those I help.
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I've encountered Anti-Semitism before. The first: I was about 7 years old when the class bully threatened me for agreeing with our music teacher about Jews singing Oh Hanukah during the same time of year Christians sing Christmas carols. Frightened by his harshness, I told my mother about the confrontation.

My Mom, “That’s called prejudice. Did you like it?”

Me, “No.”

My Mom, “Then don’t ever do it to anyone."

Wise woman my mother. I have never forgotten this lesson. Now more than four decades later, when confronted with bigotry, it is still the only lesson that matters.

How have you dealt with prejudice you have encountered?

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When Words Speak Louder Than Actions

Being genuine about who you are and what you desire from life is the indispensable prerequisite to personal development. How can you live intentionally if your words and actions are out of sync?

When Words Speak Louder Than Actions

Thinking back to my navy training experiences, one stands out. After five weeks of Officer Indoctrination School, chaplains moved on to Chaplain School. About two-thirds of the way through the course we had AMEX, an outdoor training designed to prepare us for serving with the Marine Corps.

We went to a National Guard training camp and lived in tents. We ate MREs (meals ready-to-eat). Every day we hiked or ran the obstacle course (well, only the parts the leadership thought would not injure us). We even learned to dig a foxhole. For one exercise, in small groups, we had to run until the instructor yelled drop. At that point, we had to hit the dirt not matter what. My group decided we would purposely run through a flooded area knowing we would be told to drop in the water. When the order came we all belly flopped with our hands out, soaking ourselves but also anyone, including the instructor, who was nearby! Our actions didn't please him.

At the end of the seven days, we had a “Warrior Dinner.” After a week of MREs, we could have anything we wanted. People requested Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds. I asked for fresh fruit. The instructor’s chin virtually hit the deck.

“It’s a Warrior Dinner! You can’t have fruit!” Quietly I insisted I could, since the rules were we could have anything we wanted. After further pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth, he agreed.

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On the night of the dinner, probably thinking he'd teach me a lesson, he brought me a bag of fruit big enough to feed a platoon. After a week of highly processed food, I happily gorged on apples, oranges, and grapes

Then a funny thing happened. One by one my colleagues came by to ask me if I had any to spare. The chicken and hamburgers were fine, but the fruit was the icing on the cake.

Throughout Chaplain School the instructors preached that we had to be real with our sailors and Marines, which I took to mean genuine. Yet when I expressed my authentic desire for fruit at the Warriors Dinner, their actions pressured me to conform. Although lost on me at the time, the irony is evident now.

Even among those who advocate that you be real, they may try to mold you to their idea of what you should be. When you resist the pressure to conform applied by those who claim to support your authenticity, you will be firmly on the road to personal development and you are #LivingIntentionally.

How do resist the pressure to conform?

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What I Learned from a Bugler

Countless people castigate me for my taste in music. Yet until I finish mining the enjoyment and meaning from Nostalgia Music (a term the folks at Kings Radio in the California Central Valley minted for popular music from the 1930s to the 1950s) I feel no compulsion to listen to anything else. Case in point:

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B

So what can a bugler teach? Virtually every line of this song has a lesson for life and business:

  • Start the day off with a blast, like a bugle call.
  • “He was the top man at his craft, but his number came up and he was called to the draft.” – No matter what your place in life, the unexpected will happen. Always bring in the best to your life and business.
  • “They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam. It really brought him down because he could not jam” - Even when life or your business isn't working out the way you want it to, be upbeat.
  • “The captain seemed to understand, ‘cause the next day the cap went out and drafted a band” - Great entrepreneurs, leaders, and parents look for opportunities to support their customers, people, and children by supplying what they need to be successful.
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  • “He can’t blow a note unless a bass and guitar is playing with him” – Life and business are team sports.
  • “He makes the company jump when he plays reveille” - WQe all need to inspire others.
  • “And when he played boogie woogie bugle he was busy as a bzzz bee” – Occupy yourself pursuing your passion.
  • “He puts the boys to sleep with boogie every night and wakes them up the same way in the early bright” – The way you go to sleep determines the way you'll wake up the next morning.

Don Raye and Hughie Prince wprobably just wanted to write an upbeat, popular ditty to lift America’s spirits after the imposition of the draft during the lead up to World War II. But whether I'm running, cooking, or just listening. When Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B plays on my iPod or KCEA my life immediately perks up!

What song describes life as you think it should be lived?

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Improve Your Motivation at Practically No Cost

Passionate as I am about classic movies, I could not miss the opportunity to see To Sir With Love on the big screen. An iconic film of the mid-1960s, it embodies the hope of its time.  New approaches to chronic societal challenges will make a better world. Powerful in its simplicity, it provides the most inspiring motivation.

Improve Your Motivation at Practically No Cost

If you have not seen this diamond, it stars arguably the greatest actor of the latter half of the 20th century, Sidney Poitier.  He plays a new teacher (Sir) at an East End London school attended by kids no other school would tolerate. Perhaps timeworn by today’s standards, such a topic was groundbreaking in 1967.

Okay Rabs, so it is great. But why should I care about a half-century old movie?

None One Is an Endless Well of Motivation & Self-Inspiration

While we do not need to be told about the qualities it takes to succeed, we all need to be reminded.

To Sir With Love kindles a fire of awareness as to why certain characteristics are crucial to success.  Especially as a human being, we need:

  • Integrity
  • Mutual Respect
  • Self-Discipline
  • Persistence
  • Humility

It vividly demonstrates:

  • The Difference One Person Can Make
  • The Importance of Mentorship
  • How to Handle Celebrity

And one more . . .

The most poignant moment in the movie occurs when the students refuse to personally deliver flowers to the funeral of their classmate’s mother because his father is black. They refuse to risk the social stigma. When the camera cuts to a close-up of Sir, he does not lash back at them. This despite their ridiculousness assertion he cannot understand what they would go through. Rather, he engages in a moment of quiet contemplation. Finally, he responds by thanking them for their explaining the situation to him.

Sidney Poitier vividly demonstrates the power of empathy over the desire for personal vindication.

Whether you have previously seen To Sir With Love before, rent, stream, or somehow see this movie. It will boost your motivation, propel you into action.

How do you remind yourself of the qualities you are grooming in yourself?

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Why You Should Cultivate a Positive No

My family, the U. S. Navy, my platform, working on a Masters of Library and Information Science, and self-care. I have a wonderful, full life. But in order to get it all done, I must be mindful of my priorities. Many people want to place demands on my time so I have numerous opportunities to cultivate my positive no.

 Cultivating a Positive No

For a long time, whenever someone asked for my time they got some. But if what the person wanted me to do did not fit with my life plan two things happened:

  1. The person got an inferior job
  2. I resented the time it took

Often the results did not benefit either one of us. The person would have been better off if I had said, “no.”

Yet surely his priorities were as important to him as mine were to me. So he might interpret my refusal of assistance as a personal rebuff. Too many of those can damage a relationship. I had to learn to say “no” in a way that felt like “yes.”

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Some requests do not warrant a response. They get the equivalent of a pocket veto, no reply. An assistant could politely decline but for now I have to let them go.

How to Say No in a Positive Way

When dealing with someone I know or with whom I am building a relationship, a response is required. As such, even if I cannot commit my time, I look for another way to help. Here is my process:

  1. Acknowledge the importance of what the person is asking. Almost everyone can understand being busy, but recognizing the significance of another’s priorities creates a mutual affinity.
  2. Briefly explain the conflict. Giving someone insight into my life will improve our relationship. If I think the person will be offended by my priorities, I take a moment to reconsider. Maybe what he needs me to do is more important than what I have going on.
  3. Offer an alternative to my help. Can I introduce the person to someone who can handle the matter, perhaps better than me? Is there some part of the task I can do with a minimal time outlay, and immediately so that it does not clog my mental to do list?
  4. No matter what, thank the person for asking and wish him luck. I learned this from working in real estate. The client that thanked me for telling him about an investment even though he turned it down got greater priority the next time I had something good. Most people find asking for help difficult, so when someone reaches out to me it's a compliment.

Not all my friends are sensitive to being turned down. So sometimes a simple no will suffice. Not long ago a colleague told me I have a way of telling people difficult things that makes them easier to hear. As someone who hates being told “no” I can think of no higher praise.

How do you say no without alienating people?

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