In 2001, I worked with a team of displaced tech executives creating a revolutionary technology training notion we called “The Academy.” It was lovingly named so after the Star Fleet Academy of movie fame. The fate of that particular adventure is another story, but essentially, together with my former boss, mentor and business partner Phil H, we created an innovative educational model to retrain and re-employ a legacy technology-bound workforce.
Tech was changing everything. Ethics and humanistic design were not keeping up. Neither were the laws. My sense of urgency and demand were overwhelming. Having already made an impact on the tech world through work I did at two major corporations, I was full of experience and full of ideas. We were going to change the world! I became a sort of program-idea machine, none of them developed or modeled; but each and every one was a great concept, based on sound research.
By the end of the heady adventure I was a veteran of running into establishment walls, had more than a few dreams squashed and saw more than a few hopes die. In exuberance it was easy to see everyone’s mistakes. In retrospect, it is much easier to see mine. I remember that time with vivid clarity, as one day, Phil wisely pulled me back with these words:
“Your challenge will be to take these innovative models and break them down into small bite-sized chunks of seminars and workshops that can be implemented and understood.”
Phil and I parted company not too long thereafter, but his words, almost identically, came to me again a few weeks later from a professor in my final MBA class. And there they were again in 2005 when, acting as my academic and professional advisor, then Chair of the Dept. of Psychology at UC Berkeley, Steve Hinshaw, also counseled me to narrow my models and frames and focus my ideas. This year, working on the qualitative research design for my doctoral program, I heard the words yet again; Great idea – needs narrowing. Ugh! I thought I had it down. I thought years of teaching folks how to build mechanisms and do-able plans and schedules and budgets put me out of that worry zone.
The end result and moral of this dull story is some 20 years of my life have been spent designing, refining, executing and selling community programs now operating and winning best practice votes and awards in several US locations. The point, which gradually developed along the way, was…
Everything is a process.
This is why I’m so vocal about the vile corruption of what I call the HillBillary Bunch and the various Clinton Foundation fundraising frauds. It’s why I’m fed up with the demands of The Squad. I’m tired of nursing the hordes of foot-stomping balled-up-fists demanders who have great ideas, but not an inkling of an idea about what they’re demanding. I’m actually sick and tired of people who want a trophy for demanding things they’ve never led or accomplished in their lives. I’m really tired of Bernie Sanders. Is there anyone left worth mentioning?
People out there pounding the airwaves with their current version of let’s change the world kumbaya think their personal stamp on things gives them expertise and experience out of that same thin air. Do I agree with much of what they’re saying about colonialisms and corrupted American hegemony now operating like an evil empire at home as well as abroad? Yes. Do I think they’re all this year’s unwitting converts to Paulo Freire’s 1970’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, P.,2019)? Yes. Do I think a single one of them understands how to build a functional model for any of their pipe dreams, let alone how to implement them on a national scale? Neither on their best day nor my worst. Not on your life. Why? Because not a single one of them talks about change management. Without it we have two choices: Buckle up for a gigantic ride on the rollercoaster of out of control budgets, long long long unscheduled project durations, and resistance-caused unaccomplished and lackluster goals; or, Fascism led by unelected industry and government experts with the cumulative real-world experience of a single gnat. It’s your pick.
Everywhere I turn I see the symptoms of the real problem. People are so busy thinking about what they want, they’re not thinking about how or what it takes to get it done. This laissez-faire attitude smacks of youth and screams of problems with delay of gratification goals normally met in early childhood. It includes intersubjectivity development – seeing things from someone else’s point of view, waiting your turn, and planning things out in order to do them better or do them right. Or do them once. As we witness today’s collective behavior, people have reached the level of about a 5 year old, and I only give them that because they appear to have a full neurological system in place, just not a developed adult one. That’s not a joke – I’m serious.
Having spent years and years of my life involved in large scale change initiatives from technology consolidation, integration and implementation, I will claim my knowledge in this area. People in large scale organizational change act like kids with ADD. That’s not a joke either – it’s a scientifically derived observation, and included as part of the foundation of my doctoral research at CIIS. What does it mean? Does it mean it’s time for our meds? It’s the solution that’s been implemented so far with the best cohesion and effect – and that’s not a joke. That’s not a joke at all. How many people do you know on meds for various mental disorders, diseases and malfunctions? Like them or not, the words are true. Like it or not, it means we need to stop giving society higher goals and standards than they’re capable of discerning or achieving on their own. It does not mean we need some authoritarian parental decision-making organization to take control of our lives and assign us all to menial tasks and no responsibility. In fact, like Steve Hinshaw’s 2005 NIMH research showed, kids with ADD become “normal” when they’re raised by Authoritative (not authoritarian) parenting. What does that mean?
It means we all need a very good process.
The ancient Egyptians knew it. Fear Chaos. We all know it. There’s science and medical advice and even religious tenet built around it. These same devices are also used to manipulate you with it. And yet, every day is littered with the stories of people living their life in chaos. They devote themselves to it. Their mind tells them one thing, but their body is living quite another. While advertisers and assorted propaganda and multimedia outlets sell you their profitable remedies, most fail to tell you you’re being driven there. You’re purposely maintained in a state of chaos. It keeps you pliable and busy. It keeps you whipped up just enough to keep going, and just unsatisfied enough to keep trying. Yes, it keeps you unsatisfied. And that means it keeps you deprived – just enough – of dopamine. Not un-coincidentally, Dopamine is what people with ADD lack at various synapse points and levels in their brains. It is fundamental to learning, attention and memory. It creates and is created by art. The comparison of large groups being driven in literal human herds toward artificial, impersonal, non-creatively derived goals is exactly the driving paradigm behind ADD. If you doubt my 30+ years studying and working in neurosciences, technology and business, it’s because you lack dopamine.
So, what does dopamine have to do with Life is a Process? Because arguably, everyone today has ADD, and that means they need to start learning about process. What are some of the handy things folks could learn if they do?
One thing they would learn is everything being proposed by the Progressive movement, in all its diasporas, is going to take time. It will take time to mobilize, train, define and devise work teams, locate and lock up resources…. and we haven’t even lifted a pencil to start any actual work yet. That’s further down in the process. The rule and instruction book that runs this in the real world is called project management, and it is complete with phases and requirements and documentation. It is the only method so far recognized to deliver large dollar projects on time and in budget. It is what the current “Squad” in Congress as well as all the refried Bernie Sanders supporters completely ignore. It is why their ideas may be great, but exactly why they will completely fail. Every one of their great ideas lacks any sign of an actual process. They do have a flow chart? Yes. But that’s the scoping portion of project management. Process designs happen 3 steps later. Does that give you any idea how far away their goals and objectives really are?
Given the sizeable amount of gathering clouds and resistance already accumulating among everyone but the in-bubble neo-globalists, we can forecast big troubles ahead. Everything that must happen, and I mean everything, will take longer than anticipated or planned. Every resource will take longer to acquire, cost more and run into back orders, and products and materials will fail. Given that not a single one of these progressives has the actual power or authority to command state money… well, perhaps you can see the problems. With the time line FAIL potential gone somewhere off the charts, maybe we should move onto the next hurdle?
And here it is: The only thing with potential to save any of this from being a failed project is focusing on planning and succession. No; not secession, although that certainly could happen too. No – this is about who will herald in and be the gate keeper and energy source behind the projects over the next 6-10 years required (and that’s a conservative guess), to usher in, assess and start to execute all these projects? In fact, most of the folks talking about these things haven’t yet lived as long as it will take for their proposed legislative initiatives to take place, and the rest will be dead long before they’re completed. With no credible or with-power allies, these ideas, no matter how much we love or hate them, are doomed to fail. Without the American Spirit behind them, they’ll be another waste of tax dollars and another merry-go-round of conflict, blame and corruption. Without the agreement of the American People, we’ll be back to the old, familiar traditions and methods in no time. Especially after failure at this scope and scale, people will be running from their dopamine deprived state and rushing back to the safety of what they knew and did before as predictably as clockwork.
Getting Past Today – Tomorrow will be a Process
One important thing to know about following a process is how it creates and promotes dopamine. It creates order and expectation. It puts the genetic memory of a lion chasing you through the woods to rest. It encourages you to stop running. When you slow down it’s a sign that dopamine is firing up. Dopamine is responsible for learning, retention, compliance, constructive communication, long range planning and inspiration for new initiatives. It’s the social engineering principle applied when you’re being offered things like guaranteed income and free college. If you take care of people’s basic needs and give them resources, under Maslow’s self-actualization model, they will then seek to improve and innovate themselves and the world. There’s a fly in this ointment, however.
Under the Weber-Fechner Law in Psychology, a just-noticeable difference of increased adrenaline tips the scale out of dopamine satisfaction, and into self-motivated action. Artificially derived dopamine comes in many forms being pushed at people today. From entertainment to drugs and unlimited personal freedoms, the adrenaline excitement is packaged in the delivery mechanism – video games, food, drugs, sexual liberty. These things are offered to us strategically. They’re incrementally delivered. They come with an entry fee and a personal cost. Combined, they keep us contained and addicted and distracted, but never quite enough to break out of our dopamine-saturated spell.
Given Beau Lotto’s recent work captured in his book, Deviate (Lotto, 2017), we require difference to really engage and live our evolutionary purpose. His theories state that when we’re given a difference to attend to, our genes choose new over known every chance we come by. Present something we know, with just enough difference attached and we’ll be paying attention in no time. When you use these principles, added through positive excitement like joy, fun, or best of all, a promise of a future dream realized, people will work toward change. The importance of a process being applied to this action potential is fundamental to achieving any goals or dreams that require people becoming and staying engaged. Abrupt change creates the opposite state – people fight it, as we see in the visceral reactions to the Squad’s radical demands and condemnation of all that is familiar to US society and culture. Their tactics leave but one outcome possible led by violence, dictatorship and military if not fascist restraints and controls.
There’s a better way. Watch my future blogs for things that can affect and create serious and long lasting change. It’s time to learn more about Process.
© Sharon M Slayton, 2019. All rights reserved
Read what the National Review thinks of AOC’s expertise here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-economics-major-ignorant-of-basic-facts/
Learn more about Weber-Fechner Law here: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-just-noticeable-difference-2795306
Freire, P. (2019). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Retrieved from Princeton EDU Commons: Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Lotto, B. (2017). Deviate – Changing the Future Past. New York, Boston: Hachette Books.