Remember all those papers you wrote in High School and maybe even grade school?

You were writing about something, so your brain and embryonic research abilities led you immediately to the dictionary to find out something about it

The first sentence of your paper read something like:


Webster’s Dictionary defines it as:

  1. captious, peevish
  2. having or showing the attitude of temper of a cynic: as
    1. contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives (those cynical men who say that democracy cannot be honest and efficient – F. D. Roosevelt)
    2. based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self interest (a cynical ploy to win votes)

The kid in you got really annoyed when the first word in the definition, captious, sent you further into the dictionary to look IT up. Sort of a death spiral kind of thing, those dictionaries.

So where is this going?

Well, my sweetie has told me that much of my writing is cynical. Recently a friend whom I had not seen in close to fifty years said the same. Based on this, I decided some self reflection was in order.

That very same sweetie encouraged me to blog. She had observed my frustration as I tried to absorb the news of the day and the way it caused dissonance as I moved ever deeper into my research on sustainability.

She suggested writing about what was troubling me (and, unsaid, stop jabbering on and on in conversations with her, I suspect).

Well, it worked! I found great solace in the writing. I found that stopping, contemplating, researching, and writing something helped immensely to calm me down and even to advance my thinking on certain things.

But… Oh boy, here it comes… Maybe what I am reading, primarily business trades and sustainability writings, is at fault. Well, not completely, but at least as a stimulus. Does that make me captious or am I just that way? I think the answer is, as it often is, yes.

Probing ever deeper into the notion of a sustainable world and trying to relate it to common business practices brings me to a couple of places of dissonance in my mind. The business press, see WSJ headline above, is often filled with real crisis information. Sustainability readings often fill me with hope.

Then comes the realization that achieving sustainable businesses will be a huge hill to climb. General awareness of the issues threatening us, our planet, and our businesses seems almost tiny in business and especially in the main business media.

To deal with the dissonance, I, as many do, reflect on my personal experiences.  During my stint in “big” business I personally experienced many, very unsustainable practices. Sadly, these very practices seemed to be the ones that were most highly valued.

Now, a while back, I created a category on this blog called “The Art of the Possible”. Check it out. It won’t take long, there are few entries… To move away from all of this cynicism, sweetie said, try writing about some really positive things. I have obviously failed.

So am I doomed to a cynical death spiral? Well, as I indulge in all of this self reflection I realize that I absolutely am not!

My small life is filled with joy. It comes from my family, my boys and their gals, their mom and her friend Dennis, and that sweetie who keeps suggesting stuff. It is filled with the love of my sister and her great family, lots of wonderful caring friends, my teaching colleagues support and inspiration, my good health, business associates past and present, relationships spanning so many years, my photography, my writing, my work with the city, and much more.

As I go on with my work, though, I fear that I will most often concentrate on things that trouble me. I want to change stuff. I want stuff to be better. I can not just:

Now, to just get some of that joy into these posts…







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