I’m writing this on Sunday morning, a couple of days after a few tragic incidents on “Black Friday.”
(I’m really not. This is the 2014 update of a piece I originally wrote in 2011. But…keep going. It’s worth your reading time.)
For those of you not in the United States, this is the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday when many stores offer sales with deeply discounted items.
These sales have become a phenomenon over the past few years, with stores opening at 5:00 am and people lining up the night before to buy a very limited quantity of deeply discounted items.
In New York a Walmart employee was trampled to death by the oncoming crowd as the doors opened. And in California a customer shot and killed two people in an apparent rage about some item that was in high demand.
Many people are prepared to take these two incidents and use them as a symbol of everything that is going wrong in the world.
I’d like to offer a completely different perspective: I think this is a time to recognize just how essentially right things really are.
These are sad events, but not unprecedented. As I was telling a friend of mine, I can imagine an out of control crowd rushing to get scarce loaves of bread, or medicine, or any number of things that were once considered necessities for survival.
So the fact that the rush was on for electronics or toys, things that are nice but not necessary is a sign of increased prosperity.
Indeed, this was a case of manufactured scarcity. Collectively, we decide to assign importance to certain items that really has nothing to do with our actual survival. We will continue to breathe in and out whether we have that new computer or not.
Our children will love us whether they get the hot new toy or not.
A deliberate condition of scarcity was engineered and created by the stores themselves, to entice people to come in and act out of fear. The media bought into it, with stories about the Black Friday sales and people lining up days before.
I remember attending one of these a couple of years ago. We were at a Best Buy store in Connecticut at 5:00 am, thinking we’d be among the first to be there. We were greeted by multiple police cars, dogs, television news trucks, and thousands of customers who arrived before we did.
That was the end of our Black Friday shopping excursions. Never again.
As I said, the retailers and media co-created the conditions that contributed to these deaths – along with us. Those who lined up outside the doors participated in the frenzy. We have choices in how we think, how we act and what we allow into our consciousness.
So with that, let me leave you with a few pieces of good news….
1. I predict a change in the way these sales are administered, and they may even disappear altogether. The retailers and the media don’t just create public opinion. They respond to it as well. Walmart is no doubt reeling from bad publicity surrounding this event. Black Friday sales are now associated with corporate and consumer greed. No business wants that connection.
2. For every act of chaos, greed and desperation that occurred on Black Friday, there were hundreds, even thousands of acts of civility, kindness and generosity. These weren’t reported in the media.
Doors were held open for senior citizens and children.
Children’s eyes lit up when parents bought special presents for them, and parents hearts melted with the reactions of their kids.
Strangers bonded in a shared sense of humor of the absurdity of the circumstances they were in.
Spouses had hot breakfasts waiting for their partners when they returned home.
Some minimum wage retail workers found a sense of dignity and personal empowerment in being assertive towards large groups of people. Some of these same workers received more money than usual based on the volume of sales they processed.
And some of these workers experienced something unpleasant enough, it inspired them to ask for more out of their lives. Somewhere on Friday a decision was made by a Walmart or Radio Shack worker to go back to college.
It really is a matter of where you choose to put your focus.
Three lives taken and an attitude of greed.
Or a self-correcting marketplace and many acts of compassion and grace.
I know where I’m choosing to focus!
2014 Update: Ferguson, Missouri had most of its infrastructure ripped apart for the second time in the past few months. Black Friday is going to look really different in that part of the country.
I don’t know enough about the circumstances to assign blame. The cop was right, the cop was trigger happy.
I don’t know. And neither do you.
We all come in with an opinion…based on our own history, our own prejudice, our own narrative.
40 years ago, in Hebrew school they taught me justice must co-exist with mercy. Too much of one or the other and everything falls apart.
We can all line up behind that.
So whatever else you’re going to buy this year, take a moment and see the best in the people you meet.
Especially when they aren’t showing it.
And if you’re out during Black Friday, it’s a safe bet you’ll see some weirdness.
The Hidden Beauty.
Shine a light on it!
Got any Black Friday stories or thoughts to share?
Let them rip!
As we head into Thanksgiving week, and the start of the holiday season, many of you are going to ease up on whatever it is you’ve been putting effort into. Marketing your business, caring for your body, tending to the important relationships in your life, even your connection to Spirit (ironic during Thanksgiving and Christmas though that may be).
Please take a moment to remember why you got started with your effort in the first place.
Were you dissatisfied? Desperate? Did a window open and show you possibilities you hadn’t seen before?
You began a process of asking for more, and doing the work to make it happen. Big or little…you made a commitment.
Honor that commitment. And honor yourself for making it.
There are going to be plenty of people around you who see the end of November and December as their time to take their foot off the gas. “I’ll jump back on the bandwagon in January.” All that momentum lost. All those habits and confidence to rebuild.
That doesn’t have to be you. You have a choice.
And if you keep focused on the reasons you made your commitment in the first place…if you smile at the merry makers at the office parties and family get togethers…if you work your business with the same intensity while your team sits down…
You won’t be alone.
The Universe rewards commitment, in all its forms.
It loves everyone, but it gives the big prizes to those who stay in their zone while everyone else around gets pulled with the tide.
Honor the holiday season by giving your best.
Create a life and a lifestyle for which you can truly be grateful. And take some people with you!
What happens when you have great technology, but you don’t have the skills to use it?
Or the consciousness?
Could be bad.
Dim all the lights and come hang out.
Lots of people say that, and of course it’s true.
And when it comes in these amazing Truth Bombs from amazing people, it does so with style.
Lots to be grateful for on this Friday before Thanksgiving. Enjoy these Ka-Booms!
No Truth Bombs next week…taking some R. & R. time with the family.
A Glass is Half Full Truth Bomb from Mary Ellen Carges:
Yes… of course the fuckin world is falling apart and there is danger, sadness, disaster. There always has been and always will be. For god’s sake look at your history. Are we worse off…. better off??? Depends on your perspective and attitude and beliefs. Don’t muck up MY status of gratitude for MY present moment of awakening to a beautiful morning, with your obsession with ugliness and doom. That’s what you choose to see. That’s what you choose to dwell in – put it on your own status damn it!!
A Self-Worth Truth Bomb from Jeff Brown:
I heard it all from my parental wardens in early life: “You are stupid. You are to blame. It was better before you came along. You are unworthy. You are a shame.” And a little voice inside my little body told me that it was their stuff. And it was- it was never mine. Whatever shaming messages you are presently subject to, don’t believe them. They are a reflection of the communicator’s inner world, and say nothing about you. Because your inherent worth is not determined by other humans. It was already granted to you by providence. You were born with worthiness- worthiness at the heart of every breath.
A Growth Truth Bomb from Kellan Fluckiger:
Sometimes, with the best of intentions…
We convince ourselves that something difficult before us is not in our best interest…
When, in truth…
It is the path of greatest growth…
And the way to greater satisfaction and joy.
Just because the path looks ill-worn and overgrown with thistles …
This does not mean it is the wrong path…
A Showing Off Truth Bomb from Geoff Stephen:
Spending money to show people how much money you have is the surest and quickest way to have less money. Money buys things, but wealth buys freedom and security. Wealth is the stuff you don’t see.
An Out of Your Comfort Zone Truth Bomb from Karen Andrews:
The first step is always the scariest because it’s not familiar and it’s out of your comfort zone. Once you take that first step, you are on your way. You just need to take that leap of faith. When is the last time you saw a baby decide not to walk because it was too scary?
A Fear Truth Bomb from Warren Peterson:
Fear is an illusion, but it is a powerful illusion. It will impact your health, your relationships, your finances, and your entire future. When fear starts to take hold and grow in you, it buries those roots deep, growing stronger and stronger until it becomes a primary part of what you are made of.
When you have allowed fear and negativity to creep in and grow in your mind, everything becomes more of a challenger. You will find nearly everything you do is now harder to accomplish, if you even start in the first place.
You need to make a conscious choice to not allow the roots of fear and negativity to grow. You need to be aware of this reality, and you need to realize that you can create a new future.
Instead of fear, you can choose love, you can choose hope, you can choose to see the positive.
Teach yourself this skill. Train your mind in this way of living, and your entire future can have a new outlook.
And Finally, a Divine Intelligence Truth Bomb from me:
There is a force at work within us and around us.
And whether you want to assign a religious affiliation to it, or call it the Creative, or Divine Intelligence, or whatever…it is absolutely working every moment of every day towards making this life experience something beautiful.
It celebrates your victories, laughs at your mistakes, gives you eternal permission to try again and encourages you to get up every time you fall down. It never judges you, since that role is already taken by people…particularly yourself.
So try getting out of your own way and letting the Godforce – by whatever name you want to call it – do the work it’s ready to do.
Which of these Truth Bombs KABOOMED you the hardest?
Got any of your own to add?
Comment below. Like, Tweet and Share.
Feeling inadequate and not up to the task is awesome! Here’s why…
I was chatting with an old friend (Facebook is cool that way…you get to catch up on people you might never otherwise find), and we were catching up on each other’s lives.
Like all of us, some things were going well, some not so much. She was telling me about parts of it where she had tried certain things and they didn’t work out.
Or more accurately, she tried some things and they kinda, sorta worked out. There was a product at the end of it, but it wasn’t what she hoped for when she first started.
So being the guy I am, I asked the question I always ask…
How did it make you feel?
The response I got was perfect…
I actually love that word. Well, no…I like it.
I would have been happier if she had said “dissatisfied” or “disappointed.”
Because those words describe the results of an effort she made, not a character trait she had.
But then again, inadequate is a hell of a lot better than “stupid” or “hopeless” or “a lost cause.”
Let me make a quick trip into my background in education for an example. The SAT test is something that is designed to make students feel inadequate at a certain point. It is a norm referenced test. In other words, you’re supposed to come to a point where you don’t know the answers. It’s supposed to stop you at some point. The ones who do well get stopped later in the process. They answer more questions correctly.
The ones who don’t know as much get stopped earlier. Their scores are worse than the people who know more.
And it’s a rare kid who doesn’t get stopped at all…who gets a perfect score. One in a thousand, or even fewer.
If we wanted more perfect scores, they would make the questions easier. If they wanted to measure whether kids knew it or not, it would be a criterion referenced test, like the standardized tests most U.S. states give kids.
At a certain point we are supposed to hit the limit of what we know how to do. Whether it’s in business, relationships, our health, even our spirituality.
We hit the wall.
And we feel inadequate.
Or yeah…maybe hopeless. At least for a little while.
But if we’re living in a healthy way, we bounce back up.
We realize our inadequacies to the task don’t tell us what our value is.
In fact, they remind us we were put here to grow. To get better.
To dig in, and either try harder or try differently.
The most advanced among us realize we’re part of the Big Dance of Life. We have a partner in the God Force, or Divine Intelligence, or Law of Attraction, or whatever words you’d like to us that tells us we aren’t alone.
And we surrender our struggle to that force, and let it tell us which is the path of least resistance.
Then we take that path, and joyfully work our asses off until we feel adequate.
Then amazing and awesome.
Until we hit the wall of our next inadequacy.
And we start all over again.
Yes, it’s great to feel inadequate.
It’s what keeps us interested, and interesting.
It’s the gift of being human.
What was the last thing that made you feel inadequate?
Did you give into the despair? Or did you embrace the challenge? Or even a little of both?
Comment below. And please Like, Tweet and Share this story. Someone needs to see it!