Why Atheists Are Not Evil

Why Atheists Are Not EvilI’m an atheist. I have been since the age of about 15. In religious parlance that is called the Age Of Reason.

When I was fifteen, I was an alter boy at
St. Michael’s Catholic church in Fort Erie. I was also something called a Columbian Squire, which the junior version of the Knights of Columbus, which you were very much expected to become at about the age of 18.

When you are young you don’t really realize what’s going on with organized religion. But its manifestations really do get inside your head. Every time you looked a girl with nice breasts you felt yourself committing the sin of lust. Every time you swore, and I swore a lot, you were pretty much taking the lord’s name in vain, because besides the word ‘fuck’ my favourite curse was “Jesus H Christ”. Variations included “Christ On A Crutch!,
 Christ On A Cracker, and the super deluxe “Jesus Fucking Christ!”

My tally of venial sins for taking the Lord’s name in vain alone would have been a slam dunk for a very overheated bachelor pad in hell.

The Revelation

One day, I was thinking about the whole concept of Heaven and Hell. As young Catholics we had a pretty elaborate vision of what that would be like.

But on this day, a freshman in the Age Of Reason, I reasoned that this was probably all bullshit.

I never acted on it right away, but, as would become a modus operandi for me in life, I held it in my head and let it sit there for a while.

Now I was smart enough to know that this was the way atheists thought, and I also knew that if I really followed through with becoming one, I would essentially be cutting myself off from a rather large part of my life at the time.

So I did what most smart young lads would and just kept it inside. Gradually over the next two years as I made it into high school, I phased out all the Catholicism out of my life.

Surprisingly, my mother, who was, a real card carrying member of the faithful, understood when I quit the squires, retired from the alter boy gig, and eventually, some three years,completely let go of the last vestiges of Catholicism.

To Each His Own

I have nothing against people who are religious. Regardless of who their God might be and goodness knows there are enough of them.

It does bother me a little that some religions are so tightly intertwined with people’s lives, like Judaism and Islam. But that’s only because of my point of view. I have read enough to know that people derive a good deal of strength and inner peace from their religion and I would never presume to have any real deep understanding of cultures other than the one in which I was raised.

What does bother me about religion are the astonishing number of people who use people’s willingness to follow them as a way to become rich. The cynicism and hypocrisy of all of that is something I saw in the early days of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. And it seems like there has been an unbroken line of them right up to guys like Robert Schueller and Joel Osteen.

And it seems like the older I got, the more transparent their hidden agendas were to me.

Then again, a lot of people take solace in being part of those large congregations. And it’s still a free world. Pick your saviour and worship away.

Bottom Line

When I was young and the world was a simpler place, the Christian ethos was very much in force. It was difficult to escape its influence, either Catholic or any flavour of Protestant.

And I get it. The big questions surrounding our existence can be scary. Religion helps put that into a kind of perspective that most people can wrap their heads around.

Then there are the rest of us who revel in the mystery of it all. Who believe that we are just bits of energy in a carbon shell and when the shell is used up after 80 or 90 years if you’re lucky, off it goes to find another carbon shell or be part of a bolt of lighting or whatever.

Because the energy that currently power us, can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed from one form to another.

That works for me as well as the concept of God works for others.

And so it goes. Because the nature of faith is to believe in something. And we all have something we believe in.

Amen…

Mur SignatureJim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

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Why Striving For Humanity Makes More Sense Than Striving For Originality.

Why Striving For Humanity Makes More Sense Than Striving For Originality.
There is a modern day school of thought that postulates there is no longer anything that one could honestly refer to as original thinking.

In other words, no matter how innovative, original or one-of-a-kind you think your ideas might be, they have in fact, already been done by someone, somewhere at some time.
That fact that you may not know this only means that while you think your idea or post or thought is original, the amount of thinking out there is infinitely large and you can’t know everything.

This, of course is only a theory and it’s one that you can take or leave as you choose.

But if you do buy into it too seriously, it’s possible that you could become extremely demotivated to carry on thinking and expressing those thoughts.

But you shouldn’t and I will explain why.

In university, I studied philosophy, mainly because I thought it would add some depth to my writing, which up to that point had mainly consisted of smart-ass little poems and a few stories…nothing that would ever set the world on fire.

I actually learned a fair bit from those years of immersing myself in a world I barely understood and came out the other end of with some basic impressions about life and the evolution of thought.

The key thing I came to understand was that, in philosophy, all core philosophical insight was basically created by the Greek philosophers: like Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and that these basic tenets were simply, updated, added to and evolved to embrace changes in the way the world worked and how people fit into it all.

So you can look at the history of philosophical thought, which is really the history of ideas, as a continuum that stretches all the way to the present day.
And while the ideas may express themselves in different ways, or at least through the use of different language, when you boil them all down they are simply the end product of Greek philosophical thinking expressed in modern day terms.

There’s actually a great deal of comfort in that notion. Because, when you think about it, all of us, who are writing stories and articles about the way the world is, are very much a part of that continuum.

And for that reason alone, originality, which I personally believe does not exist and hasn’t for quite some time, is not what’s important about communication.

What’s important is humanity. That the things we write about are based on the things we care about. And that the things we care about are the things we feel others could, should or do care about too.

I write a lot of posts here about my experience as a writer. Sometimes it’s philosophical. Sometimes it critical. Sometimes it’s about sharing insights. Sometimes it’s self promotional.

But is is original? I have never labored under that delusion. But what I have worked hard at is making it human.

Because if we, as writers, are in fact a part of the continuum of thought, it’s extremely important that we make sure that our humanity is at the core of it.

Today’s world, despite sensationalist news stories to the contrary, and despite a handful of sub-human whackos sucking up all the air, is a much more human place than it ever has been.

There are countless numbers of people working on ideas to benefit the entire human race. There are more leaders with true vision than those who have none. There is more potential to keep this planet going strong than there is the will to destroy it.

You may not feel that way right now. But that could be due to the influences that are impacting on you currently.

Over the last while I have been making a concerted effort to move away from my attraction to the dark side of humanity and work to find and write about things are are being done to save the world, not destroy it.

I guess you could call this a noble cause. But throughout history the world has managed to survive all manner of crap and the world community has managed to grow in more positive ways than negative ways. So where I’m steering my little boat is nowhere new.

The trouble with media-based influence is that the negative gets all the attention. Because fear mongering is a form of control. And the people who control the media would prefer it that way, although I have never been able to figure out why.

I was a victim of this for quite a while without even realizing it. But one day someone on LinkedIn pointed it out to me with a collection of words that struck a chord in my head.

After that, the realization started dawning on me that instead of publicizing what I considered to be evil and negative, by the very act of in-depth criticism of it, that I should start to change gears and focus on the human site to a greater extent.

This is a slow process even at full speed. It will take some time, but I can assure you I am pointed in the right direction, and I would strongly encourage everyone who sees both the good and the evil in this world to focus their energy and attention on the good. De-emphasize the problems and focus on solutions. Be constructively critical instead of just plain bitchy.

The Greek philosophers, from we are all intellectually descended, would be proud.

BULLETPROOF OPEN LOGO FULLJim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.
He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

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What It Really Means To Be A Writer

What It Really Means To Be A Writer
One of the first tenets of op/ed blogging is to write about what you know.

One of the things I know best is myself. I was lucky enough to discover at a very early age what I wanted to be in life, and that was primarily a writer.

Not a Canadian writer, or a white male writer or a Scottish Italian writer, although I am all those things. I really just wanted to be a writer who could learn to express himself honestly.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Because most writers go through a phase where they are looking for their voice, and so they mimic the voice of the writers they admire.

Me & Bob

I mimicked Bob Dylan for a long time, mainly because I thought that the best way to learn to write like that was to imitate something I thought was very good to genius. Now I knew that wasn’t really going to make me famous or anything close. But at the very least it would be good practice for whatever came next.

Because there are stages and phases you have to go through to find your voice. And there are many media to try writing in before you find your preferred modes of expression.

I honesty never started out with the intention of writing op/ed articles like this one, or really any of the stuff I have been writing for most of my life.

And there has most certainly been a lot of water under the bridge since my first pathetic attempts at Dylan homage.

But that’s how it goes sometimes. Especially if you are willing to trust your own instincts, move through the phases and refine your voice by learning what you can from everything you try.

Key Insight About Writing

There’s no rule book for becoming a writer. There are books on style and story and all kinds of technical aspects of writing. But the real meat of it all is self-generated.

You have to want it. You have to live it 24/7. And you have to keep writing because if you want it and you live it and you keep on doing it, you will get good at it.

If you are among the very small percentage of people who write with genuine talent, you will get famous for it.

And if you are lucky enough to actually connect with your authentic self and be able to bottle that somehow, you will likely inspire people.

But fame or inspiration, while lofty ideals, are not the goal.

Feeding the beast and keeping it full is the goal. Because writing, like so many other creative endeavors, is an obsession.

If it’s anything less than that in your minds, well then you are just fuckin’ around with it, and you will eventually drift away from it. If it’s just something you’re good at but not obsessed with, you may make a living at it, but you will eventually retire from it.

Writing As Obsession

Writers don’t retire. Because writing is like a marriage with someone you genuinely love. Til death do us part, and all that other stuff.

In my adult life, I have only ever been a writer and I have been lucky enough to have gotten very well paid for a lot of it, to have a career where I am called a writer and have my writing support a family, a comfortable lifestyle in the big city, and an even more comfortable one in a smaller city.

And though I have been at it for a long time, I wake up every day with the distinct feeling that I still have miles to go.

I feel this way because after all these years and all those words and ideas and verses and choruses and screenplays and concepts and ads and commercials and memes and posts the most important thing I have learned is that writing is not about the goal.

It’s about the journey, and I hate that word, because it is so hackneyed.

But it’s the best word to describe the writer’s life. The journey is life long. It is filled with amazing experiences, occasional visions and flashes of brilliance, more frustration than you can imagine, and, for me personally, the desire to lay down something anywhere in the Dylan Ballpark.

I wish I could write you a melody so plain

That would hold you, dear lady, from going insane

That would ease you and cool you and cease the pain

Of your useless and pointless knowledge…

Bob Dylan (Tombstone Blues)

In today’s world, writing is a core skill that everybody needs to have. But for some it’s simply what they were born to do. They would, and often do it for nothing but the pure unbridled joy and sometimes gestalt, of self-expression.

So in answer to the question of what it means to be a writer, I can only speak for myself. And what it means to me, is that I will always, regardless of how many people I reach with it, have an outlet that allows me to keep my feelings from being bottled up inside, and risk an implosion.

And that is my best advice to all of you. Write to express your feelings. Because if you learn how to do that, you will become what is commonly referred to by yet, another hackneyed term, authentic.

jim out.

Jim Murray is a highly experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, op/ed blogger, writer, art director and broadcast producer.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof, a consultancy specializing in Brand Engineering: Helping companies achieve more effective branding, stronger reputation management, greater productivity, higher efficiencies, and ultimately, increased profits. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

You can follow Jim…

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The NRA. The World’s Newest Most Toxic Brand

The NRA.  The World's Newest Most Toxic Brand

This morning I woke up to see that the NRA, the National Rifle Association, has apparently given their bitch queen spokesperson, Dana Loesch, her own television show, in which she is going to take the “Liberal Establishment” apart.

And judging from the very Trump-like language of this promo, she treatens to very much open up a can of AR-15 whup-ass on all the hypocricy generated by the news media, Hollywood, every left wing hash tag movement, even candy-ass politicians and anybody else who wants to see America as a place with saner gun laws.

See video: https://tinyurl.com/y8793hml

The vitriol and hatred seething in this woman’s presentation feels pretty real, which means, to me at least, that she has jumped the shark and will now be branded, along with the group, she represents, as a Class A Fanatic.

The NRA has come under a lot of heavy fire, especially since the latest mass shooting in Parkland Hills Florida, which was the spawning ground for the most potent anti-assault weapon protest in America history. It’s one that’s not going away either and even has the moron-in-chief talking positively about the issue, which is insane in and of itself.

Since then, large retailers, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and others have both removed semi-automatic weapons and other deadly trinkets from their shelves and refuse to sell a gun to anyone under the age of 21.

Corporate sponsors have been fleeing in droves from the NRA as well, reducing the perks of NRA membership, which is always a big part of the lure of any association.

In short, the NRA brand is under attack, and they make a juicy target since they represent what Dylan referred to many years ago as The Masters of War. Except that this time the war is on them, and the attackers are high school students, their families, the media and a whole lot of people who just want to see the rifles and guns, whose only purpose is for killing other human beings, off the street.

In fact, literally, dozens of NRA members and owners of AR-15 rifles, are now making videos, which are going viral, destroying their guns because they agree that there is no need for assault weapons in the domestic market.

The Branding & Marketing Perspective

Now, as a long time ad guy and marketer, I took a step back and looked at this issue, and thought about what would be the best way forward for the NRA right now – the road that would cause the least amount of damage, realizing there had to be some.

My suggestion and you can file it under ‘catching more flies with honey than you can with vinegar’, is that the NRA bow to all the public pressure, and advise all the politicians they own (a lot) to vote to have automatic weapons taken off the market and initiate deeper background checks, nationwide.

If they did that, two things would happen. 1. The people would have a victory over the bought-off politicians and the big bad NRA, and 2. The NRA itself would be seen as an organization with a bit of a heart. This, In turn, would pave the way for a new membership drive, and get back their corporate sponsorships.

And the price for this would be rather cheap, since, if the movements go on, which they will, the demand for semi-automatic weapons will tank anyway.

Of Course, That’s Way Too Logical

The thing that you have to keep in mind here is that the NRA is not your average lobby group. It is and has been since its inception, a group of fanatical second amendment patriots. and this viewpoint has been branded powerfully in the American culture since the days when Charlton Heston was their spokesperson and proclaimed that any form of gun control was basically a declaration of war on the Second Amendment and all that America stood for. Yadda Yadda.

The NRA is a fanatical lobby group, and they are that way because the gun makers who funnel money to them, which they, in turn, funnel to whoever is in power, want them to be that way.

They operate on the simple, strategy that if you keep people in a state of fear, they will want to arm themselves for protection. And so it goes all the way to the bank.

Ms Loesch is every bit as fanatical as Charlton Heston, and perhaps even scarier, because Heston was a big presence and kind sounded reasonable most of the time.

This woman is seething with rage, and it makes her surface good looks feel all the more ugly, because of what you can sense is going on inside her. To quote the old Northern Pikes’ lyric…She ain’t pretty, she just looks that way.

Make War Not Love

What the NRA has basically done is decided that they need to take the offensive and fight the forces that are opposed to them in the most menacing ways possible.

They are threatening their political puppets in Congress with a huge loss of campaign revenue in a year when all congressional seats are up for grabs.

They are giving Dana Loesch her own TV on the NRA network, which is something I have never really heard of, but which sounds like singing to the choir at best. And they are peppering their rhetoric with veiled threats, in a somewhat lame attempt to get their members to more or less declare war on all the liberal weenies who want to take their guns away.

Currently, and very much subject to change, one of those weenies is Donald J. Trump. But it’s Wednesday, and the day is young.

Net-Net

So the net result of pursuing this strategy may very well be that there are no changes to the gun laws, until next year at least, when there will be a new Congress, which, from all indications, could have a democratic majority and a dramatically increased number of women.

So from a strategic point of view, the NRA will potentially have achieved nothing more, policy-wise, than the maintenance of the status quo.

But from the public relations, corporate sponsorship and future membership points of view, they are now more toxic than they ever have been in their history.

And so the more hatred and vitriol Dana Loesch dumps into the public spotlight, the more toxic they will become.

Ultimately this will impact on their ability to influence policy, no matter how much money they throw at it. and the hope is that they eventually revert to nothing more than a glorified gun club.

Of course, I’m talking about Trump’s America here, and everything I have laid out makes perfect sense from my own marketing perspective. What really happens is always, sadly, going to be a different kettle of fish.

Jim Out.

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer & mildly opinionated op/ed blogger.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

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Every Generation Sends A Hero Up The Pop Charts

Every Generation Sends A Hero Up The Pop Charts.

I went out for a ride today and ended up at my favorite store, Giant Tiger. It’s one of those places that has a little bit of everything for a little bit less than you would pay at Metro or Zehrs.

While I was wandering around, a song came on the system that I sang to myself all the way back home.

The song was Garden Party by Rick Nelson. Of all of the recording artists who got famous in the 1950s Rick Nelson and Buddy Holly were my two favorites. Rick was #1.

Rick, of course, got uber-famous as the youngest son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, on the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, a completely vanilla family show, that was neither a comedy nor a drama but was watched religiously by millions in the early days of the boob tube.

At the end of almost every show, Rick got to play a song at the high school dance or the malt shop or wherever. And after the show went away, he went to have a pretty amazing career.

Garden Party was one of the last hit songs that Rick had, back in the days where there were hit songs. It was a kind of sad lament to fame, and how it can actually stifle creativity because everywhere you play the audience only wants to hear your big hits.

Rick’s career went great guns for about 15 years then fizzled for a decade or so and he was just on the comeback trail when he tragically died in a fire on his private plane. It was rumored there were drugs involved but that never got played up because Rick was a serious icon and people didn’t really talk about shit like that back then.

Rick Nelson’s music was a little rock and a little country, way before country rock was a thing of any significance. And as a performer, he had everything going for him. He was a great looking dude. He wrote a lot of his own songs. And he didn’t mind the grind that is the recording/performing business.

The one thing I remember most about Rick Nelson was that no matter what he was singing, he always kept a sort of poker face. He never got too crazy up there. He was a good boy that even the bad boy loving girls were attracted to.

That time in my life, when Rick’s songs were all over the radio, along with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison, was all about discovering sex with real live girls. And it wasn’t really sex in the absolute sense. It was just kinda heavy petting, but it was all exciting as hell.

And these guys were the soundtrack to all of that.

That, of course, all changed in 1963 with the assassination of John Kennedy. All of a sudden we realized that there was evil in the world and it was going after the good ones on a regular basis.

Even though I lived in Canada, it was a border town next to a significantly large US city (Buffalo), and because our media, such as it was at the time, was all American, we were, for all intents and purposes, Americans by proxy.

That was the end of the innocence for me. I was sixteen and growing up very fast. One of the things we held onto the tightest back then was the music.

As I grew older in the sixties and got interested in writing, my musical taste drifted to the folk side with Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Tim Hardin, Eric Anderson, Simon & Garfunkle, and the late, great Phil Ochs. These folks were the soundtrack of the early days of the Boomers growing up and becoming a force in society.

It’s funny how hearing a song from the early days of your life can trigger a whole domino chain of memories that, in today’s mile a minute world, really drive home how much simpler a time it was back in the fifties and early sixties.

I often wonder what the world would have been like if Kennedy had been allowed to run the US for two full terms, and Bobby, his brother could have followed him.

A lot of people don’t think dynasties are a good thing. But back then, I would have taken either of those guys over slimeballs like Richard Nixon in a heartbeat.

In as song called ‘The Boy In The Bubble,” Paul Simon testifies that “Every generation sends a hero up the pop charts.” Technically that’s not true. Every generation sends a bunch of them and people are free to choose who their biggest hero might be.

When this stuff first started, for a lot of people that was Elvis….But for me at least it was Rick Nelson.

Here’s Rick’s Rolling Stone Biography: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/rick-nelson/biography


Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer & mildly opinionated op/ed blogger.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

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Who Can You Trust?

Who Can You Trust?

The is part of my ongoing op/ed series entitled “Keep Your Eyes on Your Fuckin’ Fries.” The opinions expressed here are my own, because they are the only opinions I am entitled to express. Enjoy.

I belong to a small subculture that evolved out of a meeting that took place on the 4th of July 2016. The participants in the meeting were four guys who had gotten to know each other on both LinkedIn and beBee and shared interests in blogging, writing in general, photography and communications.

We called our group the Beezers, which was a combination of bees, which was the sophomoric aphorism for designated beBee members and geezer, which meant we had all been around the block a few times. We even went so far as to create a Beezer group on bebee.com where we would post articles that we felt had real depth and intellectual merit.

Since all of us were experienced bloggers and most of us were career writers, we were mildly cynical about a lot of the posts we’re reading both on LinkedIn and especially on beBee.

Not so much from the content point of view, because in that area, it was subject to the same 90% crap to 10% worthwhile ratio that just about everything on the Internet falls into.

It was more from the overall quality point of view. I know this sounds arrogant but writers are only interested in highly informative and well-written posts that are powered by strong ideas. These are few and far between.

The Beezers started out as a way to express any frustrations we may have had but didn’t necessarily want to go ‘public’ with. One of the tribe referred to it as a safe haven, where everything said in the Beezer email stream (now a Slack discussion stream), stayed between us.

Since that time, we have added two more Beezers to the tribe and every so often, when we find someone who is literate, interested and a friend to someone in the tribe, we will expand it further.

The only reason I am writing about this today is that I have started to notice over the past few years that the Internet has become extremely toxic.

Me

Social media sites are polluted with advertising. Social media groups are filled with people who have no concept of what true networking is all about. The number of scammers and hackers and fake news generators is at an all-time high.

Legitimate advertisers, large and small are being conned into spending huge bucks for pathetic results. The proliferation of bot based activity and flavour-of-the-month skullduggery is growing. It’s even gotten to the point where some companies are starting to hire people they call ‘brand safety officers’, to clean up their sites and keep all this toxic activity at bay.

Here’s an article on one case in point: https://tinyurl.com/yayu32va

The long and short of it is, the number of places where you can express yourself honestly is shrinking rapidly.

Me

The creation of the Beezers was really a response to something that we were fearing even two years ago. Despite the fact that things weren’t anywhere near as toxic as they are today, we were all experienced and forward-thinking enough to pick up on the potential for this kind of activity to grow.

A lot of this toxic activity has to do with the morphing of the hacker community, which started as a collection of nerds just breaking through firewalls more or less to see if they could, to a substantial keyboard-for-hire industry that has been employed by corporations and governments alike, and that has also become a huge extortion racket for these same hackers.

The net result of all of this is that the vulnerability that governments, businesses of all sizes, and individuals who work in the digital realm have grown to the point where sooner or later, to one degree or another, it will eventually touch everyone.

Three years ago, my email got hacked. I took it in and had it ‘fixed’ but to this day, I still have to search my email server, my trash, and my junk for emails from people I know and deal with every day. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass, but I know I got off very lucky.

But a lot of people aren’t so lucky. A lot of people have their businesses disrupted by hackers and have had trolls sending out nasty emails to the contact list. A lot of people who are uber-careful with their emails can easily trigger a malware invasion just by opening their email or clicking on a link that was allegedly sent by someone known to them. And with the sheer amount of spam we are getting these days, it’s become that much more challenging.

In fact, several months again, Apple modified their Mac mail to remove the feature that automatically opened your emails as you scrolled down your inbox. This took a bit of getting used to. But it gives you that extra pause to really think about whether you should actually open that email or not. So thanks, Apple.

Bottom line here … Nobody is 100% safe anymore. Everybody with an Internet connection is fair game for a wide range of criminals out there. Everyone on every major social media site is being fed propaganda about something. Everybody is being asked constantly to give up their personal information so some scammer can sell it to a whole bunch of other people. And nobody’s conversations on these sites are secure.

Privacy is more or less dead. But where it is still barely breathing at least for the Beezers, is in out little out of the way place in the far distant reaches of the Internet galaxy.

Me

Post Script: Please don’t ask to join the Beezers, we’re only expanding by maybe one person a year, and they have to be someone we all agree on. Instead, why not start your own tribe, if you’re gonna be on line and social, you might as well actually know your friends)


Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer & mildly opinionated op/ed blogger.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

Follow Jim

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The Pursuit Of Happiness

The Pursuit Of Happiness
The hardest job that many of us will ever have in our lives has nothing to do with work.

It has to do with life. With developing a basic understanding of your purpose. With pursuing that purpose. And with making sure that purpose and that pursuit brings you happiness.

Because happiness is really and truly all that matters. The happiness you feel in this life is a radiant force that touches everyone close to you and adds to their happiness. It affects everything you do, and how you do it. It affects the people you do these things with and, in turn, how they do the things they do.

You read a lot of stuff on sites like beBee and LinkedIn about how to be an effective manager or leader. And while everybody’s technical approach to this subject is different, the one common thread is that the leaders who are the most effective and the ones who are the happiest. The ones who get joy from their work. The ones who can inspire others because they themselves are inspired by their love of whatever they do.

And this principle is not just restricted to business. It’s universal.

Students learn more from teachers who are happy to be teachers.

Whole countries can excel under the leadership of people who derive joy from leadership.

Look at John Kennedy and how he was able to inspire a whole country. Look at Martin Luther King and how he was able to inspire a civil rights movement. Look at the Dalai Lama and how he is able to inspire hope in places where hope is hard to come by at the best of times. Just by spreading messages of peace and harmony and equality that people instinctively know comes from the heart.

The World Is Not The Shithole It Currently Appears To Be

I spend a lot of time looking at the world. I’m not thrilled with what I see. There are a lot of things that need to change. A lot of things that have gone on too long and that take the world down the wrong path. A lot of the needless suffering and displacement.

It’s not pretty and it does not inspire happiness. But on the other side of the coin, the bigger picture for the majority of people in the world is bright. We are growing as a species. People are generally smarter. People are healthier. People are more inquisitive. And people who are following their happiness are coming up with great ideas all the time.

It all depends on how you choose to look at the world.

If you look at the dark side, you see a lot of darkness. You see inhumanity. You see exploitation. You see evil. And I can tell you from personal experience that the dark side, for a writer who is driven by his passion for writing and his disgust with things that are wrong because of people’s hunger for power or their greed, this can be a pretty appealing place to be.

But lately, I have started to feel that perhaps the best way to defeat the dark side is not to criticize it, but to extol the virtues of the other side.

It’s been a long hard journey, extracting myself from this space. Because for a long time, I was deriving a great deal of happiness from my role as a social critic. And though I don’t really believe I will ever completely abandon this pursuit, what I have begun to do, one or two steps at a times, is start looking more closely at the other side.

This Is Where The Happiness Is

If you open yourself up to the world and focus your thinking on the positive, you will almost immediately see that there are many, many people out there who are working to make this world a better place.

They are creating new ideas and technologies to slow down the pollution of the earth.

They are creating and building empires based on alternative energy sources, which as time goes by, will eliminate the need for exploiting the planet on the scale to which it is being exploited now.

They are creating new kinds of architecture to house people and businesses in comfort and create work environments that promote greater productivity and harmony.

They are inventing technologies that are allowing people to share ideas and build products in new and more innovative ways.

They are developing amazing new ways to grow food in controlled environments that do not require pesticides.

They are developing new treatments for disease and ways to keep people healthier to reduce the horrendous burden that disease inflicts on the health care industry.

The list goes on and on and on. And one by one, indivisuals, groups and even whole countries are being inspired by these people and these ideas.

And this is what will change the world for the better. The idea that more and more people will be able to work in these new areas and derive real happiness and inspiration from them is something I personally find quite inspiring myself.

The World Is In An Uneasy Transition

There are many forces of darkness out there, mostly run by old men with old school values. Men who have lived their lives as joyless exploiters and plunderers of the earth and of other people.

But these old men are part of a dying breed. They are gasping for breath as the power of the new world that is building is literally suffocating them.

Because as new businesses form and grow, run by truly forward-thinking people who understand that the earth is not a piggy bank that we can keep robbing, the changes will grow. And the ideas will mature. And the world will be a different place.

I may not live to see this completely realized, but many of you will. And how quickly this all comes about will be directly related to how quickly you would like to see it happen.

It’s about how many of you support these technologies and ideas. It’s about how many of you discover that your happiness lies in truly being part of the solution? It’s about how many of you are willing to push for change and realize that this is actually the ideal time to do that?

I sincerely hope that all this comes about ooner, rather than later. But I am just happy to see that it’s off to a flying start and the future looks a lot brighter than some people would have you believe.

PS: This piece started out as a bit of an essay on the joy and happiness that I get from writing. But a big part of the joy comes from the fact that while I may start out with one goal in mind, I really don’t mind where it actually ends up taking me.

Because with writing, as with many other pursuits in life…getting there is pretty much all the fun.

jim out

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer & mildly opinionated op/ed blogger.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

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