The Art of Professionalism

I grew up never really knowing what professionalism was. I came from a blue collar family that was more about living and acting in the moment according to the culture.  We didn’t always consider our actions and how we should behave or what we should or shouldn’t say around others.

In my early twenties I was more focused on my freedom to say whatever I feel, and not really worried about my responsibility to put a guardrail in place to keep my words from hurting others.  My filter was weak.

I had a wake-up call that caused me to question much of my cultural upbringing. I realized my circumstances, limitations and personal history did not have to control who I become. If I truly want to be successful at anything, it was going to take a lot of work, dedication and a change in the way that I look at myself, and present myself. I needed a new outlook on who I am and what I wanted to become.

Now as I find myself a business owner, I really appreciate a person with great verbal and writing skills. There is something about a skilled individual who can use their word to say, “I care about what you think”, or “I would like to assist you the best that I can” and “I assume the best in you and appreciate you”. Most of the world says “whatchu want?”, or “make it quick, my time is valuable”, and “Have I got a great deal for you!”

Professionalism is not just about looking sharp and acting sharp, but being sharp with direction and conviction. It doesn’t come from a script and you can’t simply take a class to become professional.

Ultimately professionalism will only come when we make the decision to put others ahead of ourselves and take what we do seriously. That’s really it. When we begin to understand what others need to hear we begin to think outside of ourselves. When what we do matters because we have already determined that it is worthy of our efforts and worth doing well, we begin to act and communicate more professionally with purpose and conviction.

Wisdom plays a major part in professionalism too. Wisdom of speech is the measure of a person. What comes out of your mouth is what others will judge you by. Even if what you say is socially acceptable, shouldn’t we try to be socially exceptional?

I have to admit that when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I had a pretty poor vocabulary (swearing), and now when I look back I see that it was mostly just to fit in with a society.  I wonder what people thought of my poor choice of words when I was young living without restraint.

What does it mean to live without restraint? Well, for me it meant that no one was going to tell me what I can say and can’t say. I was my own boss and if people don’t like me the way I am, they can take a flying leap. Foolishness!

The problem with being your own source of accountability is that you end up saying many stupid things that hurt others and yourself. You don’t even realize your own blind spot because what others see is not on your radar.  It should be.

When I was a kid I learned the term “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. While the intentions are good, that is one of the biggest lies ever to be told. Words can crush the spirit and wound people greatly. They can also heal and mend people if used with wisdom.

We need to be responsible with the words that we say and what we communicate to others. Learning to speak with restraint helps us to be more professional and courteous to others and keeps us from looking like a fool.

Learning to look at other people and determine what they need to hear makes us difference-makers. Sometimes people need encouragement, sometimes a smile or instructions; sometimes they need a kick in the pants. Whatever they need, when we do it with professionalism and respect it will be received with much better appreciation.

I don’t claim to be the most professional person or claim to have reached my best, but I do believe my behavior will make a difference in people’s day. So I will try to make it be a positive difference as often as I can.

 

 

5 Things Shift Leaders Need

The Shift Leaders Challenge

If you are a leader in the service industry, you fully understand how important our Shift Leaders are to our business.  Shift Leaders have a very challenging job.  They get to do much of the work and they don’t get to make many of the important decisions, yet they get their share of blame when the crew members they oversee fall short.

Shift Leaders are very valuable to restaurants.  They are leaders with the most hands on opportunity to make a direct difference with the crew and with customers.  They are right there in the thick of things rolling up their sleeves, making it all happen.

Sometimes Shift Leader training gets overlooked.  It’s easy to rely on their talent and experience as a crew member and overlook their need for leadership development.  This is usually an important transitional stage of a young leaders career and has the potential to make or break their leadership future.  Training sometimes gets truncated and they can tend to be a lightning rod for criticism when things don’t go right.  It all rolls downhill, but usually doesn’t quite make it to the bottom.

As veteran leaders in the service industry we have a responsibility to our entry level rock star leaders to help them kick off their leadership journey on the right foot.  Their survival may depend on it.  The example we set, and the impressions we make in these early years will stay with them for a lifetime.

Five things all Shift Leaders need from their Supervisors:

Quality Time – Shift Leaders need for their mentor to spend quality time with them. People don’t develop by accident.  Things don’t just happen without strategy and intentionality and certainly without trust.

When a supervisor takes a young leader and handcuffs with them, they introduce them to a new world. They begin to see their new opportunity in a new, practical, real way.  There is no substitution for going through the experience with someone you trust and look up to.  Likewise, there are few experiences more destructive than being thrown to the wolves during these vulnerable times.

A Vision Caster – Most young leaders have an idea of what they have done to earn the opportunity to be responsible for others in the organization.  What they usually lack is a clear understanding of what they may become.  When it comes to vision, few people really have an accurate perception of what they are capable of.  We tend to settle for what we already are, rather than focus on what we could someday become.  It takes a Leader to paint this picture for us.

A skilled and intuitive supervisor will be able to observe and identify specific areas of strength of their young protégés.  They have the power to help them understand their own talents and passions.  Without someone to paint a picture of what the future looks like, we tend to stay in the present.

Repetitious Communication – Shift Leaders need regular, daily communication.  The clay is still wet, it will take many conversations covering the same message over and over every day for some time in order for the message to take root and begin to be internalized.

Think about how many songs you know by heart.  You learned them by not intentionally memorizing them.  You learned them because you listened to them over and over again.  No one really likes this song but when you hear the lyrics “Here’s a little song I wrote…” people sing along, even against their own will.

Repetition is the key to any message that you wish to be heard, embraced, and passed on. You need to risk being a little annoying in order to make sure your students are developed without excuse, being armed with all the necessary buzz phrases firmly stuck in their heads. My team calls them Joelisms.

To Be Challenged – Everyone needs someone in their corner cheering them on to new adventures and new challenges.  Most of us are not capable of overcoming our natural fears without someone to walk with us through the doubt and confusion.

It is far too easy to stay in our comfortable zone and focus on the simplest or least challenging course.  It takes a leader to challenge us to move forward into unknown territory, to stretch our competence and raise our capacity.

A great leader influences their students to become leaders of themselves so that they are equipped to be leaders of others.

To Be Appreciated – There is no worse feeling than to put your blood sweat and tears into something to help someone or a group of people accomplish something, only to be dismissed without being noticed.

The more mature and self-sufficient we become the less we tend to rely on praise of others to fuel us.  We can forget that our fellow leaders at the beginning of their career still need encouragement to motivate their desire to perform. Everyone needs encouragement from time to time, but one of the most important skills we can develop is the ability to connect and read into other’s needs.  When we connect with them, we get a better idea of what makes them tick and how you can meet their emotional and motivational needs.

To Trust and Be Trusted (bonus)

All too many times our best crew people are left to fend for themselves and to learn the ropes by being thrown into the fire.  What they really need is to be able to trust their supervisor and know that they have their back when things get rough. They need to know they will not be stranded and that their needs are important. They need to know that when they have questions or problems, there is someone they can count on to help guide them to solutions.

If a young leader is ever going to be able to be trusted, their supervisors will need to prove to be trust worthy.  There is no shortcut for this.

Are you a leader?  or a leader of leaders?  There is a difference.

It’s Not My Stinking Fault!

The Problem With Blame

Over the years I have made a few observations how leaders and managers tend to handle situations that have gone south or are going south. When problems arise, for most of us we prefer the problem be someone else’s mistake so it doesn’t reflect on us.  Some people go their entire life trying to avoid blame.

It seems to be important to clarify our innocence to avoid any negative perceptions about us. Once the blame has conveniently been assigned to someone else, we breathe a sigh of relief.

Man Wearing A Suit Jacket And Stripe Necktie

Sometimes we get so caught up in blame-shifting, we lose sight of perhaps the most important factor, the solution. Somehow blamelessness becomes our highest priority, or at least one of them.

“Some people’s blameless lives are to blame for a good deal.” – Dorothy L. Sayers

We will go to great lengths to make sure blame doesn’t stick to us. Inevitably we can’t avoid blame forever. We often truly are at fault. Our employees always see our faults, even when we re-assign them. When we admit our faults, we are usually the last to know.

Sometimes the question goes from “Why can’t people do anything right?” to “Why can’t I do anything right?” We associate fault with our identity. Sometimes we internalize blame and beat ourselves up.  We believe the more blame becomes attached to our name, the less others will think of us, and the lower our self-image will be. We can become paralyzed by the fear of what others think of us. The lower our self-image is, the more it hurts to receive blame or criticism. It’s a vicious cycle that spirals downhill unless interrupted. This is not a healthy way to think and will lead every leader down a black hole of dispair.

“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”Wayne W. Dyer

If you are a person in charge, and have authority to produce results through other people, you may have learned that if something goes wrong under your care, it’s your fault. There may be some truth to this, but there is a difference between fault and responsibility. It may be entirely, or partially your fault. Either way it is your responsibility as the leader to determine the reasons the problem happened, so we can determine the solution and how to prevent it from happening next time. This is far more important that assigning blame.

I have seen people in the middle of a crisis, become fixated on proclaiming “It’s not my fault!” We see this with customer service. Instead of solving the customers issue that would require a simple apology (regardless of who is right), they make it personal and take up their need for innocence or justice. The solution gets ignored, and the problem grows.

Blame is one sided and typically leads to feelings of judgement. Blame drives people further away from taking responsibility for their actions, not closer. When blame is quickly heaped upon a person already struggling with their self-image, they move further away from taking ownership and initiative to fix the problem. Their fight or flight instincts kick in and self preservation safeguards go up. Their confidence takes a hit and they lose hope that they are capable of being part of the solution. This leads to a feeling stuck and helpless.

Ironically, some struggling managers are quick to deflect blame onto their employees thinking that somehow, they will respond differently. We pass on the disfunction because we don’t feel strong enough to stop it.

The Solution

When blame is big, responsibility is small. Responsibility is the missing ingredient that gets pushed aside for blamelessness. Responsibility takes ownership of the problem, but more importantly it takes ownership for the solution. It is positive outcome focused, rather than avoidance driven.

Great Leaders have the ability of taking the focus off the problem and redirecting it towards resolutions. They encourage ownership of solutions both corporately and individually. When people begin to take ownership of their own solutions, they begin to grow personally and the organization grows.

There is a fork in the road that all in leadeship have to face. This choice we make will determine if we take flight, or if we remain grounded by blame and doubt. Leaders in most any field inevitably must go through this doorway to get to your personal launch pad.

When you make the conscious decision to commit to being 100% responsible for your life, and let go of the need for blamelessness, you will be free from the control of blame. Those people in your past that helped form your self-perception by using blame or control, will have no authority or power over you any longer. You will be free.

Glasses Reading Glasses Spectacles Eye Wea

Once a person makes this choice, the light comes on and the blinders come off and a new refreshing outlook on their career and life begins. Those of you that have crossed this bridge understand what I am describing. Everyone has a different story for how they got to this place, but we must all get through this to find clarity.

“Once a person makes this choice, the light comes on and the blinders come off and a new refreshing outlook on their career and life begins”

This World Sucks!

We want so badly to believe that all of our problems are because of our environment.  It’s the people in our lives that let us down.  It’s my parents fault,  It’s the political environment.  It’s the younger generation. Or my favorite, “it’s McDonalds fault that I am unhealthy”.   The truth is that we are all 100% responsible for our  own view of the world.  When we stop trying to bend our worldview (or religion) around our personal justification and begin yeilding our lives around others, we will learn to appreciate what we have, and the people around us.  When you see the world as a jungle, survival at others expense becomes our goal.  When we see the world as a mission field, helping people at our expense becomes our joy.

No one else is responsible for your crappy worldview! It is 100% your responsiblity, so get over it and start doing something for others and your worldview will improve.

The day you take 100% responsibility for your life is the day you will conquer the ugly blame monster and learn to give yourself and others a little grace and learn to pass it on. It’s the Law of Exchange. Like a trapeze artist, you grab ahold of responsibility with one hand and let go of blamelessness with the other. You go from bondage to freedom with one swing.

“If you want to create the life of your dreams, then you are going to have to take 100% responsibility for your life as well. That means giving up all your excuses, all your victim stories, all the reason why you can’t and why you haven’t up until now, and all your blaming of outside circumstances. You have to give them all up forever“– Jack Canfield – Taking 100% Responsibility for Your life. (great article).

John Maxwell says “You have to give up, to go up”. When you lead by example by being 100% responsible, people take notice and navigate toward you. When you give up blame, and embrace solutions, you become a magnet for future leaders. You become a vehicle to influence and prepare your employees for the time they come to their own fork in the road.

You can’t give away what you don’t have. So go get it!

I would love to hear your story of how you got over this obstacle.

Setting Goals is Ineffective

Alright, I am going to say something that some of you are not going to like or agree with.

Setting Goals is ineffective.

In fact, usually setting goals is a waste of time. Most goals we set never get met, leaving us with a sense of failure. All you goal setting ninjas out there, please don’t check out, there is more…

We may have our long, mid, and short-term goals, and they all line up with each other. Goals may be written out, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound (SMART goals), but for some reason most never get accomplished. There is a reason for that and I have a theory.

Now, before I give you my thoughts, keep in mind that I didn’t say that we should not set goals, nor did I say that setting goals is always ineffective. Goal setting, like any tool can be very effective when used in the right context, however most of the time they are not.

If you were to do an extensive historical study on the common traits of successful people, I think you would find that they were not all extraordinary goal-setters. You would find that one thing they tend to have in common is they are all had a vision. They had a clear vision of what they believed could be, and should be, then they committed themselves to that desired outcome.

pexels-photo-347135

Setting goals is important, however I believe that a healthy vision is more important than goals. Productive people focus on vision and priorities before goals. Unproductive people focus more on goals at the expense of their vision. In fact, unproductive people often have too many goals. It’s like having a 1000-piece puzzle, with no box to look at.

“a healthy vision is more important than goals.”

If you have all your SMART goals in place, but you don’t have a clearly defined vision that you are excited about and committed to, you will struggle to muster up motivation to follow through with your goals. You know what steps you need to take, and you agree that you will be better off if you take those steps, but the fire just isn’t there and you compromise or find a good reason to change your course. Desire comes from vision not goals.

Everyone has goals, but not everyone has vision. Even the laziest, short sighted person has a goal of not being bothered by future notions, and he goes to great lenths to achieve it. The problem is, that he doesn’t know where that thinking will lead him. He doesn’t know where he is going.

“Where there is no vision, people perish”. Ancient Proverb

If you have a clear vision and it’s always on your mind, you will naturally move toward it even with limited goals. The purpose of setting goals is to clarify and accelerate the process of your vision, not substitute for it. Unfortunately, I think that so many goal-oriented people fail to place their goals on the foundation of a clear minded vision.

binoculars-old-antique-equipment-55804

Highly successful, productive people work on developing their vision more than less successful people. They visualize how they want their desired outcome to look like and feel like. Day after day they think through the details to make their vision as complete as they can. They believe the more complete their vision is, the more they will be exposed to, and ready for opportunities presented to them. They focus on their vision daily and keep what’s most important on the top of their mind, creating an opportunistic mindset.

The funny thing about goals, they represent pain and sacrifice. Think about it, we only set goals to get ourselves to do something we don’t want to do. If we did, we wouldn’t need goals, it would happen naturally.

We need to direct our attention to the solutions, not dwell on the problem. If we have a tooth ache and we are afraid to go to the dentist because it’s going to hurt, we are focused on the wrong thing. We need to think about how wonderful it will be like once you are pain free. Our vision needs to be about what could be and should be, not paralized by what is. If we are overweight or need to be healthier, we can choose to focus on all the good food we can’t eat, and all the hard excercise we need to do, or we can focus on the benefits of what it will be like when we are healthy.

“Vision always precedes preparation. Initially, your vision will exceed your competency.”
Andy Stanley, Visioneering

Vision helps clarify a mental picture to give you an emotional lift to drive you through the pain. Vision provides inspiration. Goal setting provides the bridge to get from here to there more quickly, provided there is something on the other side you are looking forward to.

Don’t just set goals, create a detailed vision for your day, your month, your life, then live toward it every day! Align your goals as rungs of your ladder not as the destination.

The 5 Levels of Irresponsibility

turkey-profile-picture-bird-53460The 5 Levels of Irresponsibility (a step by step guide on how to be a Turkey at work)

Level 1 – Begin to understand only what you need to know to get by.

  • Figure out how to do things just well enough that others won’t notice your shortcuts.
  • Just do what everyone else is doing, don’t make waves­­­­­­­­­­­­­­.
  • If you’re not sure, just do what makes sense to you.

Level 2 – Make sure no one can point a finger at you, cover your tracks.

  • Sometimes this means twisting the truth a little or claiming ignorance “I didn’t know…”
  • Protect your appearance of importance at all cost; don’t take the blame for anything…ever!
  • “Look, if you want more out of me, you will need to pay me more”
  • Don’t let anyone else get more favor from the boss than you. That’s your territory, protect it at all cost.

Level 3 – Make sure everyone else is being responsible so they don’t cause you more work.

  • Don’t do any more than what the others are doing. It’s not fair that I do more than them!
  • As long as you aren’t any worse than everyone else, you can claim that you are just doing what they do.
  • “It’s not my fault that he did what he saw me do, I didn’t make him do it”

Level 4 – Make sure others fully understand the chain of command.

  • Entitlement – “I am the boss, it’s my way or the highway!” or “Do you see my badge? What does it say?”
  • Representation – “My boss doesn’t get it! I’m not doing all that extra stuff; I will do it my way!”
  • Tolerance – Let them keep getting away with crap,  so you don’t have to confront them. Confrontation is never good; don’t want to upset the apple cart.
  • Servanthood – Make sure you are in control and well served. You deserve to reap. the rewards for making it to the top. “It’s good to be the king!”
  • Delegation – Get others to do the stuff you don’t want to do. You have power now so use it!

Level 5 – Takes credit for the success, but certainly not for failure of a group or organization.

  • Commitment – “I will do this as long as it doesn’t impede on my personal life or get too hard.”
  • Leverage – Hire only when in serious need, try not to lose anyone or you will then have to start interviewing again.
  • Fortitude – “If it gets too hard, I can always move on and get another job: The grass is always greener.
  • Accountability – “I just don’t want to be blamed for anything. I don’t know if my self esteem can handle that”
  • Stand your Grownd – “I am not changing for anyone!” “This is how I have always done it and how I want’ to do it”
  • Validation – “Look what I did!”

Great leadership is contagious!  Unfortunately, so is bad leadership.

When I was a child…

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1Co 13:11

Have you ever met anyone that is a full fledged grown up in age, but has not been able to put ways of childhood behind them, someone stuck in time, paralyzed, lost in the world?  Of course you have. They are everywhere.  If you haven’t, you likely are that person. I was.

I remember when I became a man.  It wasn’t when I turned 18.  It wasn’t when I moved out, or paid rent on my own for the first time.  It wasn’t even when I got my first real job, or had my first long term relationship.

When I was 23 years old I remember how I viewed the world in great detail. I had been burned, had a serious attitude toward life and justified it vigorously.

There were three principles that were most important to me.

  1. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Take what you can get.
  2. You can only really trust yourself, everyone else will always let you down.
  3. It’s my life, I will live it how I want! Get off my back!

These three principles became my hiding place in my early adulthood.  They gave me direction (pleasure seeking), protected me from harm (other people) and made me the king of my world (It’s all about Me).  I was a pretty good thinker so I was able to stave off any threat that came along with my witt and ability to argue.  My guards were up and I was a self-preservation machine.  My artistic and deceptive skills allowed me to create a ficade of my life.  I wore whatever mask I needed at the time, and became what I needed, to get what I wanted.  Reality was something to mold, twist and make a slave out of.  Perception was reality, and deception was the way to change reality.

The Crash

And then it all caught up to me at once.  My world came crashing down in a pile of rubble.  Like waking up from a dream or experiencing sight for the first time, I realized that the earth didn’t really revolve around me. It was the greatest most painful loss, and at the same time the biggest sense of relief.

I took a long hard honest look at my life for the first time ever. I was ambarrassed and ashamed of the blindspots that everyone else already knew. I seemed I was the last to find out. I had been exposed.

I took a long look at myself, and here is what I discovered. My worldview was all wrong.  Here are some of the the values I had come to embrace throughout my life:

  • I must let nothing be my fault as to remain blameless.
  • I must allow myself a way out of any situation in case it gets difficult (avoid commitment).
  • I must hold everyone accountable for how they have hurt me.
  • I must be in control of the situation, and not be controlled by the situation or anyone.
  • I must convince everyone of my impressiveness so they will respect me.
  • I must hide my flaws so no one can criticize or look down on me.
  • I must expect grace for my actions, and justice for everyone elses.
  • I must not think about my problems or acknowledge they exist so I don’t have to deal with them.

I realized that I was eating and drinking and being marry to avoid committing to anything.  Committment requires trust.  I didn’t trust anyone, because that would mean I needed to be a person that could be trusted.  I was living life how I wanted because I didn’t want to be held accountable.  I was avoiding responsibility in most every way.

I realized that the worldview that I had embraced, that I thought was serving me, was actually waging war against my soul.  It became clear to me that seeking to serve my own needs left all my needs unmet.

It was that day that I decided I was going to put the ways of childhood behind me.   I was about to begin a brand new life of adulthood.

Because Jesus Christ took 100% responsibility for my sin, I was able to became 100% responsible for my life.  Not only my actions and bahavior, but also my thoughts and emotions.  No longer was I going to allow my circumstances to control my thoughts and keep me in emotional imaturity.  For the first time it wasn’t about self-preservation, pride or impressiveness.

I discovered a different set of principles to live by:

  • I must make no excuses for my actions, thoughts and sins.
  • I must embrace reality (truth) and live by it, rather than distorting it.
  • I must committ myself fully to people and responsibilities given to me.
  • I must forgive everyone who hurt me and expect nothing in return.
  • I must be transparent and humble. For when I am weak, I am strong.
  • I must be responsible for only what I can control, and patient with what I cannot control.
  • I must earn respect through putting others needs before my own.
  • I must expose my sin, purge it from my life and experience freedom.
  • I must live fully accountable for my actions.
  • I must face my fears and perservere through the obsticles holding me back.
  • I must surrender in order to have victory.

I still fall short, but now I am more aware and have a savior to vouch for me.

Give me a call, let’s chat. 319.930.1045 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Judge a Book By its Color

I just spent four wonderful days at the International Maxwell Certification Conference in Orlando Fla.  The leaders of the John Maxwell Team and Johns Leadership teaching are a magnet for quality individuals.  There were 2600 people from all over the world and I didn’t meet one I didn’t like (and I met lots).  Many dozens if not a hundreds countries were represented.  Every kind of clothing from 3 piece suits, cowboy boots, bright African colors and even high-top sneakers were on display, even a guy wearing a kilt. There was a mutual respect among everyone there.  I made a few friends from around the world that I really connected with. 

20170828_142558[1]

After a few days connecting with dozens of people from every corner of the earth, I saw on a TV in the background some news commentators discussing the Charlottesville incident.   It hit me, I realized that not one person in any discussion I was part of all weekend had talked about racism .  That was so refreshing to me.  I get so tired of the media and Facebook crowd bringing so much bad attention to it (angry or bleeding heart).  I really like Morgan Freeman’s take on it.  He was asked in an interview what the answer to racism is, and he said “Stop talking about it”.  I am so glad that is exactly what happened at my conference.  Maybe everyone should try it.  Morgan would have fit in well.

I have done some thinking about that over the past few days and have come up with a few observations that I wanted to share.

Now I don’t deny that racism is real, active and a huge concern in our country, but I believe that so many people of all color are actively pointing their fingers, maybe in the wrong directions. I believe that a very small percentage of people are responsible for a very large percentage of the problem on both sides.  It seems to be causing unnecessary division among great people who do not deserve to be dragged into the fight.  These are people only in the fight in by association because others are pointing at their skin color, no other reason. When we generalize about like people, it covers everyone and it spills over onto innocent people who aren’t asking to be part of it.

The distinction we need to be making is not between color or ethnicity.  It’s a more of a matter of character beliefs based on ones worldview. We need to slice it horizontally and not vertically. It’s a degree of character, not a degree of color. Last weekend showed me that when you get large groups of people of high character together with a common value for human life, race doesn’t seem to matter much.  There is a freedom to enjoy company, share ideas and learn about other interesting culture. We don’t have to question motives because of an infectious idea. A common bond of unity can only come when we view the world through the eyes of a common Creator who created us in his image.  Ideas have consequences, so we need better ideas if we want better character development.

It also seems that when people with a common disregard for human dignity get together in opposition with people of other races with similar questionable values, the chances of tensions rising goes way up.   People of lower character beliefs come in every color, age, gender, religion, economic class and level of education.

Poor character beliefs is a HUMAN trait based on a bad worldview, not a racial, economic, social, political or national trait.  Poor character comes naturally, high character come from intentional growth.

People of poor character are drawing far too much attention and making the rest of their ethnic group (all colors) look bad by generalizing and assuming.  A thief believes that everyone steals.  A cheater believes that everyone cheats and a person who discriminates believes everyone discriminates. Good people see the good in people, bad people see the bad in people.  So, if you believe everyone discriminates, you may be one of them!  

A much smaller number of people are projecting the problem to be wider than it really is by limiting everyone else to their own inside the box, views, and assumptions.

The idea’s and beliefs that each of us hold about the world and what is true determines how we see people.  The choice to love others or hate others is your choice and yours alone.  No one can cause you to hate unless you choose to.  No, exceptions.  Character is shaped by what we choose to believe.  Poor character IS the problem, and DOES separate us. Color is NOT the problem and doesn’t have to separate us.  We need to know the difference and focus on fixing character rather than fixing other colors.

The next time someone discriminates against you for any reason, know that it is the ignorance in them that is causing it, and not the color of their skin.

Don’t judge a book by its color, get to know the author of all colors.