Our greed, judgment, indifference, and misery are senseless and have to stop now!

We have reduced ourselves to protesting both the need to wear a mask and our right not to. What are we doing?

“About 50% get really cranky,” answered the Sam’s Club security guard tasked with reminding shoppers a mask is required attire for entrance.

I had forgotten my mask, and when she reminded me, I thanked her.  When I returned, I asked what percentage of people are upset when she reminds them.

Whatever your belief is about wearing a mask, treating people like inconveniences put on Earth to make your life more challenging is just bad policy.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

These are tough times.  People are on edge.  They are either terrified by the possibility of being exposed to COVID-19, or they are brazenly indifferent to it.  Each sect responds to the other with negative judgment.  Add the protests for racial equality and defunding the police, political leaders of both parties inciting discontent with their counterparts, and our unquenchable thirst to be annoyed, and 2020 has become a giant pain in the ass.

The correction is simple.  Just be nice.

Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, always had posters with that phrase hanging in his restaurants – “Just be nice!”  When people smile at you, smile back.  When people wave at you, wave back.  If no one smiles or waves, smile and wave anyway.

If you are having a bad day, try to make someone else’s day better.  It’s not all about you, dummy!  The world doesn’t spin at your convenience, and everyone in it was not put here to agree with you.

Here’s a thought – you might be wrong about some of the things you believe.  Somewhere over the past 30 years, we decided that being right is the most important thing we can be.  It’s inconceivable to each of us that our theories about life and how to live it are totally screwy, and yet many of us disagree on almost everything.

We talk more than we listen – and I mean actually listen rather than just await your turn to talk again.  We listen, we learn.  But learning means acknowledging we there is something we already do not know, which makes it difficult for some off us.

Admitting a mistake is an implausible notion, unless someone else is doing it.  Being caught making a mistake sends people into an out-of-control emotional tailspin.

We measure our worth as human beings based upon how many zeroes we have on our bank statement.  Our scoreboard has real numbers, and those who don’t measure up are seen as inferior.  Parents spend crazy money to send kids to colleges believing tuition is an investment that will pay off in cash, rather than wisdom and knowledge.  How silly.

These are dark times, but not because of out reaction to COVID-19 and racism.  Those are the symptoms, not the cause.  Sadly, the cause is far more insidious – our rampant insensitivity and greed.  And the cure is the reversal of our current attitude toward life itself.

We are here for 80 years, give or take.  No amount of money buys us immortality, and yet we continue to step on those around us to become more efficient earners of wealth for ourselves and others.  Instead of helping each other smile more, we deride givers of happiness and decency as saps who just don’t get it.

I usually write about sports, but I have had enough of callousness for this lifetime – a great deal of which I have exhibited myself.  I apologize for that.  If you are one of the thousands of drivers I have flipped off over the years, I apologize.  If I made you sad with an offhand remark I found amusing, I apologize.  If you felt I judged you as insignificant 10 seconds after we met, I apologize, although I was probably just distracted by something.

Life is so simple – yet we choose to complicate it by running a race no one really wins.  Dave Thomas has it right.  “Just be nice.”  I’m going to try it.

One thought on “Our greed, judgment, indifference, and misery are senseless and have to stop now!

  1. Tony

    Thanks, Kent. I believe you are a genuinely good person and appreciate the encouraging sentiments shared. My mom used to say what Dave Thomas said repeatedly, ‘Just be nice’. Simple. Difficult. Doable. Correct.

    A comment for your consideration. Instead of apologizing ‘if’ you made someone sad for your own amusement, simply apologize to those you’ve made sad.

    Instead of apologizing ‘if’ someone felt you judged them as insignificant, simply apologize to those you’ve made insignificant. As genuine as you are, there’s really no need to offer the excuse you were ‘probably just distracted by something’. After all, isn’t that exactly why someone would feel insignificant?

    I live in a thin-paned, glass house here, Kent. I find myself apologizing to my teenage daughter a couple times each week for being too harsh, too quick to criticize, too ‘distracted’ to really listen, too caught up in whatever I’m working on, or enjoying, to engage with her at her level of life. Too self-centered, too full of my own wisdom she needs to hear (for the 15th time!).

    I preach about her need to be ‘more considerate’, while simultaneously failing to consider her feelings. Huh? I excuse my failings as ‘unconscious’ and the hurt they cause, as ‘unintended’, but, so what? Its exactly what you wrote – not really listening, just waiting to talk.

    So, I’ve begun consciously refraining from quick criticism (count to ten, etc.).
    I’m working to minimize ‘wisdom-sharing’.
    We’ve instituted a ‘time-out’ where she can form a ‘T’ to mute me.
    Its a work in progress.
    None of us will ever become perfect, but we can prioritize that effort.

    Again, thank you for your sentiments and using your platform to share them.


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