Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.
I was thinking yesterday about what led me to start writing these (hopefully) inspiring posts each day. Okay, most days. And yes, I was thinking about it on a day when I didn’t write anything. I spent the morning in my cardiologist’s office and they wouldn’t let me use their computer. Apparently, that’s not a “covered service.”
I’ve written blogs and online columns off and on for 21 years. It started with straight humor – wacky observations about the world around us. Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry gave me the inspiration to think I, too, could make people laugh. And by the end of round 1, I had readers across six continents (I never could quite crack Antarctica).
My writing has changed over the years, and this time around I wanted to try something completely different. Instead of making fun of all that’s wrong in the world, I wanted to focus on what’s right. And my inspiration this time around is one we all know really well – social media.
I had fallen into a pattern of reading controversial posts and offering my own insight. Not that anybody really wanted to read it, but you know – some things just need to be said. And when people post something they know is a complete distortion of the truth, they surely expect someone like me to call them out and set the record straight. Right?
Well, it occurred to me that if I was going to spend another moment trying to change somebody else’s thinking, I wanted it to be something constructive that might actually make their life better. There’s enough wrong with our world. And there are thousands of people out there doing everything they can to prove it. I want to build hope.
I try to stay out of controversial topics for one simple reason – nothing I say will change anybody’s mind. Every now and then I’ll share my thoughts, but I’ve found that the more I focus on the ills of society, the more it wears on my sanity. And for what?
As a comedian, it was common for club owners to set some boundaries on our material and language. Most didn’t care as long as it was funny, but some were a little more discerning. And believe me, nothing would send the rookies wailing on social media faster than a club owner telling them not to use a certain word. “It’s my constitutional right! They can’t tell me that!”
Well, yes – they can. All the First Amendment says is that we can’t be jailed for the things we say. And even then, there are limits. But nowhere does it say you can’t be reprimanded or even fired for using certain language in the workplace. The same applies to public forums where you’re easily associated with your employer. Believe it or not, employers have rights, too.
As many of you know, I’m in a business that involves interacting with the public every day – people I may only know through the internet, and others who be seeing my name for the very first time. And every time I share an opinion online, even my motivational posts, there will be some who don’t want to hear it. That’s just the way it is.
And the more controversial and polarizing the opinion, the more I risk alienating people who could become a friend or business associate. Not necessarily because we disagree, but possibly because they’re tired of being bombarded with unsolicited opinions. Nobody even asks, “Would you like to hear what I think?” They just blast it out there for the world to see.
And make no mistake, most prolific opinioneers (I just made that word up) don’t care if you want to know what they think. They don’t care if they offend somebody else with their rants. It’s not about making new friends or building an alliance of like-minded people. It’s about flooding the internet with their own opinion in the hope of drowning out somebody else’s.
I’ve often said email programs should all have a feature that, when you click “Send,” a message pops up … “Are you really, really sure you want to do this?” Think about it. What is your goal in sending the message (or post)? What do you hope to accomplish? And is this really the best way to do it?
Odds are, whatever it is you’re posting will get a “hurrah” from your closest friends. But you’re not really changing anybody’s thinking – you’re just rallying support from people who already think like you. If validation is what you need, have at it.
But realize that for every person who jumps to your side, two others are turning away. One will never think like you in the first place, and the other just has better things to do. And that person, my friends, is the one who can truly help you grow.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!
© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reservedFollow @dglardon