Limiting Beliefs now on SubStack

What, you didn’t know I had a Substack?

Well neener neener on you, I do.


Been doing it for a while, been keeping it quiet because I substack rarely.

Only when I have a thought I doubt fits in here.

Give it a look, let me know what you think.

And thanks.

The Words We Use

The limits of my language are the limits of my world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A recent discussion tickled me. It revolved around an individual’s identity and stemmed from the statement “I’m [x] by blood.”
This intrigued me because the [x] offered is cultural, neither biological nor genetic, and once we get beyond culture and avoiding physiognomics, our [x]’s are matters of choice.
Someone offered that all [x] carry certain genetic markers which give them identity.
Well…first, not all [x] do and second, in a landscape where genetic therapies are increasingly available and where CRISPR technology gives people the ability to change their genetic makeup in the womb…I wondered if the speaker had ever read Nancy Kress’ Beggars in Spain or seen GATTACA (both highly recommended).
The modern landscape culturally allows gender – perhaps the most basic biologic marker – fluidity and dynamicism. Further, gender identity is often a matter of how an individual chooses to define themselves, not their natural biology or reproductive design.
If nothing else, we as a species should be anxious…
And note in the above: “…how an individual chooses to define themselves…” I don’t know any emergency room doctors who check how a person chooses to self-identify before performing life-saving surgery.
But it’s been a while since I was in an emergency room and things might have changed since then.
CRISPR, genetic manipulation and surgical techniques allow us to increasingly design what we are and definitely what are children will be. Consider a future where Beggars in Spain and John Crowley’s Beasts are the norm.
And notice I didn’t use “who” in the above. “Who” is a matter of choice. It must be in a world where “what” can be altered at an online pharmacy or from a back alley dealer.
Genetic testing is a wonderful thing…so long as one understands what is being revealed versus what is being hyped. Indicating someone is “[x] by blood” is good marketing, not good science. Genetic variants are determined by environment and evolution. Indicating someone is “[x] by blood” actually indicates where their ancestors dwelt for a predetermined time, and that predetermined time generally covers only a few thousand years. Go back to the mid-1100s and Europeans and Asians are related due to the Mongols. Go back to the late 700s and all Europeans are related. Thank goodness our deep history ancestors shifted from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies. At that point people stopped migrating. We know from archeological evidence Europe was swept by seasonal migrations back as far as 25,000BC.

Caitlyn Jenner is really a poof, right? Because Bruce really just wanted to wear women’s clothing, right?
Does Ms. Jenner know what she’s done? Surely she remembers Olympic glory. But according to the definitions of [x], she can’t. She’s no longer the person who won all those medals.
When shall we go ask for them back?

Don’t forget, No Sabo people are not Latin(x, y, or z) because you can’t claim to be South or Central American unless you speak Spanish. I hope someone tells the Brazilians!
Who decided Spanish is the main language spoken across Latin America, or that you can’t claim Latin origins unless you speak Spanish hence have no right to claim that identity. But I think that’s a huge misconception because there are so many languages that are spoken across Latin America. Spanish isn’t even native to Latin America, right? And so to use it as, like, a metric of Latinidad is really – it’s pretty ridiculous.

Someone offered that [x] is a based on ethnicity, education, culture, … One raised a certain way is a certain thing.
I wonder what Henry the 8th would say to that. So he’s still a catholic even though he founded Anglicanism? I hope all members of affiliated churches bend their knees at the right altar.
And Siddhartha Gautama. Is he really Shakya royalty who faked enlightenment? Perhaps we should let Buddhists know their enlightened path is based on the teachings of someone who doesn’t know who they really are.
Mohammed will forever be an Arab orphan raised by paternal relations, correct? He may have founded Islam but really, let’s be honest, he isn’t one.
And we should let Christians know that all of Christ’s teachings are based on material which was in circulation from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent, up through much of what is now eastern Europe and western Asia, and down through much of eastern and northern Africa, and all centuries if not millennia before Christ’s PR and marketing people got a hold of it.
I mean, they’re not really Christians, they’re Pereanites!
Talk about repackaging and rebranding!
Or that the holy books of judiasm are based on written work compiled before judiasm was judiasm?
I know good authors borrow and great authors steal, but come on…

And while we’re at it, I’m pretty sure Li Po and a few others have something to say about how the word Tao is being used these days…

In the end, me thinks, it all comes down to self-identification (and again recognizing certain physiognomic factors come into play).
To that point, I wondered why Othello never suffered racial and/or ethnic prejudice and bigotry.
The reason is simple, really. There simply weren’t enough individuals of his racial and ethnic heritage to warrant prejudice and bigotry.
I mean, when you do violence to the only individual of a group because no others of that group are around, the violence is personal, not racial, not ethnic.
But let’s face it. Isn’t all violence personal?

So how do you self-identify, Joseph?
I believe Jiddu Krishnamurti is correct:

When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent.
Do you see why it is violent?
Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerns with the total understanding of mankind.

And I detest violence in any form.

I also believe Rick Turcozy is correct when he says “I am not defined. I am a vessel of unlimited possibilities.”
(I’ll bow out of the unlimited part, though)

Several of my teachers and mentors used the phrase “To learn anything you must learn everything.” They said it in different languages and it all came down to pretty much the same thing. Stephen Hawking said it more definitively, me thinks, “To truly create an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”
Richard Feynman, mentioned above, also offered “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”

You’re Avoiding the Question, Joseph
Okay, alright.
As mentioned above, I self-identify in a way most people don’t or wouldn’t: I’m boring and dull.
Why do I do so?
Because I know me, and as far as I can figure, it’s true.
Remember, folks. Don’t be easy to define, let them wonder about you.

LinkedIn asked me to answer “What do you do if your confidence in the workplace is lacking?”

I, of course, provided a detailed answer rather than something abrupt, glib (my opinion), and which left the reader with no explanations or solution paths.

Hence I’m posting this here. Hope it helps.

What do you do if your confidence in the workplace is lacking?

What do you do if your confidence in the workplace is lacking? Lacking confidence in something you want or are led to do can make you feel like a victim and that’s not a happy place to be.

First thing I’d suggest is getting away from the workplace; take a sick day, mental health day, PTO, vacation day, do some thing and/or go some place where work isn’t in your face. This can be in your living room, kitchen, bedroom, den, balcony, at the beach, in a field, your backyard, in your garden, your porch, the woods, he mountains, at the mall, wherever.

Second thing: Calm yourself. Lacking confidence in anything you wish to excel at can be a soul killer and the soul killing often manifests as anxiety, misplaced anger, irritation, making negatives where none exist, and so on.

Third thing: Decide if it’s a genuine lack of ability on your part or a lack of recognition on management’s and peers’ parts.

Third thing sub A: Do you lack confidence because you’re genuinely unsure of what you’re doing, how to do your work, or what’s required of you? Ask yourself if you have the proper training for your job or need some training. Definitely let management know, ask peers to help you do something, sign up for a course at a local tech school or college. Basically seek help and guidance. Should a genuine request for help and guidance go unanswered, mocked, derided, or ignored, GET A NEW JOB ASAP! You’re in an unhealthy work environment and one way or another your work will affect all other aspects of your life negatively. Save yourself and those people and things you care about by taking care of yourself and finding a new job or new place to work.

Third thing sub B: Do you lack confidence because you’re not being recognized by management? Are you getting regular reviews? Regular reviews are required for good management-employee relations. Mention needing a review to your supervisor. They ignore the request? Ask to be transferred or find another job.

Third thing sub C: Do you lack confidence because your peers are unkind or harassing you? That’s an HR problem. Speak to your HR team and/or your Union rep. Again, no satisfaction? Time to move on.

I’ve written more on soul killing at Beware of Soul Killers and more about emotionally, physical, spiritual, and mental health in That Th!nk You Do

Note this doesn’t touch on lacking confidence in personal relationships. Let me know it there’s interest and I’ll write something about that, as well.

Beware the Soul Killers now on BizCatalyst 360°

A while back a friend reached out to me so down, so bottomed out, and so unwilling to talk about it I simply sat with him while he worked things out in his own mind.

Being willing to sit with someone without talking while knowing they’re going a million miles a minute is a powerful tool and often a gift to them.

Sometimes people get wounded and need a place of quiet comfort to rest. Resting with someone who’ll offer patient love – the ability to let them know you’re there and available while simultaneously giving them space to do what they need to do – can be the greatest healing agent around.

Eventually, my friend opened up. Someone had been verbally cruel, abrupt, antagonistic, and completely without cause (note I only have my friend’s views on this). The result was a wounding, a lessening, a soul killing.

Provided my friend’s recounting was accurate, yes, the purpose of the other person’s words was to be antagonistic, even threatening. There was no attempt at discussion, at understanding, only a desire to invoke pain.

I have no idea why people feel a need to be that way. I know everyone has a lot going on in their lives, and there’s no need to dump your trauma on someone else.

So I penned Beware the Soul Killers for my friend. Perhaps you’ll also find it useful.

Adriane Berg and I chat about Life Changes and Life Stages

An interesting aspect of living my life for as long as I’ve lived it is people assume I’ve gained some knowledge, perhaps even wisdom, and ask me to share it.

Case in point, Adriane Berg and her Generation Bold Radio Show.

We covered many things during our chat. Top of the list were the changes one experiences and making decisions and further deciding if you’re going to count your decisions – even the bad ones – as pluses or minuses.

Let’s face it, hopefully you learned regardless of what happened in the moment, right?

Here’s a taste.