Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian.
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That's kind of the point, isn't it? Young Mitt didn't think - he reacted to what he preceived (believed) to be a threat to the status quo, and reacted aggressively. Based on Romney's own recollection, it could have been any kid that was different - it was the lack of conformity that caused Romney to act in an aggressive, offensive way.
This isn't the first time Romney's conscious cognition has been brought under scrutiny. In fact, there seems to be a lot of "might makes right" in Romney's overall presentation, instead of consciously thinking ahead. It's not a good basis for decision-making.
Leadership isn't about reacting - it's about careful contemplation and getting input. This kind of approach leads to the best, considered, balanced decisions.
The American people should think hard about what sort of leader they want in these variable times; the more they think about it, the clearer their option will become.
To me, these are all variations on the position of not wanting a daughter because 1) she can’t carry on a family line and b) she’s going to be taken away from you.They imply a fear of loss, of subjugation, of losing out to another.
They are all instinctual, reactive positions.They might feel right, but they aren’t based in fact.
Having a son-in-law is not detraction; it’s an addition, a linking of families, a provision of new opportunities for partnership, expansion and growth.Plus, if there are grandkids, your genes get carried on anyway.
Learning more languages doesn’t steal from the richness of mother tongues – it adds to one’s capacity to think in different ways, come up with better solutions and develop competitive advantages.In a global economy, who doesn’t want multilingual employees?
Deafness is a condition of biology that getting cochlear implants doesn’t change, only accomodates.Having assistive technology enhances your ability and can actually facilitate cognitive development (plus, you can still turn them off when you want silence).There aren’t separate “deaf” and “aural” worlds – there’s just one world.The only question is how much access to it do you have?
Foreigners are the embodiment of diversity – you can feelthey threaten your genetic/culture superiority, but what they really do is challenge your stagnancy.We’re all about innovation, right?Infinite diversity allows for infinite combinations.We want more diversity, not less.
In other words – move forward together.Not just a cute political line, but a model that succeeds.Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Let's not rest on our laurels, though - we can make one of the world's best education systems even better. The current appetite for change allows for new ideas and structural changes that are long overdue.
Extending the school year is just one such example; very few kids need the tilling season to help on the family farm any more, which is was the point of that system. Doing that (but including sufficient break periods throughout the year) means more education, could allow for teachers to have more normalized schedules (with a couple blocks of weeks off here and there for battery recharging) and make better use of our education infrastructure. With an expanded suite of after-school programming, it can be easier for parents of all economic backgrounds to provide quality extracurricular programs for their kids and manage their own time better, too.
That's one idea - there are plenty more good ones out there. When we choose not to settle for best, there's no limit to how far we can go.
President Obama is someone we should all be proud of. He's not just standing up for his constituents; he's providing an example for the world to follow. Opportunity and the ability to commit cannot and will not be the perview of the few; not if we want to reach our fullest potential as human beings.
It must be asked, as we look at proactive mental health, at improved training and opportunity and a focus on accountability - would a more proactive approach to mental health have prevented the challenges at ORNGE? Could they have prevented "personality" problems that led to e-Health, or Walkerton, or the death of Dudley George?
There's plenty of evidence to suggest the answer is yes; given the right, proactive accommodations and conscious thought as to consequences, we could have planned better in each one of these cases. Social-Emotional learning, EQ development, etc. can help foster consciously pro-social development. But do we believe that, seriously?Are we ready to accept that difficult personalities (and charming personalities) are reflective of neurochemistry and environmental factors?Can we get past the “suck it up” and “get over yourself” mentality still prevalent and really invest in understanding who we are and how we exist as a societal system?
My guess is no. Or at least, not yet.Most (I say again – most) backroom political operators I know see mental health as a policy widget, period.They fundamentally don’t believe in “move forward together” – they practice “every man for himself.”A bit over a year ago, I had a chat with a guy in the know about what the next steps should be on mental health; the reply came back “we already allocated funds” as though that meant the right demographic had been assuaged, so it was on to the next thing.
Problem is, that kind of survival-of-the-fittest mindset is the exact same thought process that landed the system with Chris Mazza.Mazza, by every account I’ve read of him, is a big-thinker, fast-talker, charming to the nines.He’s the kind of person you just feel is somehow ahead of the curve – his very demeanour inspires confidence.
What if that demeanour, that behavioural pattern, is the exact same starting point for the mess that ORNGE got itself into?What if Mazza has, like so many people in politics and business, an undiagnosed “mental health” condition that, because it caused him to excel, people were willing to overlook until the cracks started to show?
Political operatives can tell you countless tales about seeking the perfect candidate and apparently finding them, only to run into a whack of “personality-challenges” down the road.You could sit in any Legislature in Canada and probably assess rather quickly a number of people who could be slapped with a diagnosis (and some already have one).The problem is, these manic, delusional, obsessive people – when harnessed the right way – are the ones who move the ball forward.They are our innovators, our social outliers, the people who think around corners and inspire other to follow.
Conversely, the ones who are quieter, less confident, or seek greater direction are seen as “dead wood” – without consideration ever being paid to the environmental factors of work.Again, it’s subconscious “survival of the fittest” at play, meaning it’s the most aggressive and competitive, not necessarily the most talented, who rise to the top – until they over step themselves.Our approach to proactive occupational mental fitness is feeding into our broader health and economic crisis.It’s like we’re wringing our hands over the complexity and cost of treating lead poisoning without looking upstream for a leaky pipe.
Everyone, every health service provider, teacher, politician and stakeholder I have spoken to wants the same thing – an integrated system that fully serves the needs of Ontarians.This isn’t a pipe dream; in fact, it’s completely realizable based on the tools we have available, right now.The only piece that’s missing is our willingness to give a bit of control to support something larger than ourselves.
It’s time to break down the silos in our social service system, especially in health care.As a society, we simply can no longer afford not to.
What we need now is leadership. We need someone who's willing to take the risk of putting the Public Good before personal interest, be it politics, profit or power. None of those things matter when our silo-based institutions are cracking from the internal pressure of their own inefficiency.
Everyone keeps telling me there is only one way forward - if we believe that, it's time to start working together.
In the days of yore, people envied and sought to imitate those with land.Owning property was seen as the social status symbol.Having land meant possessing resources, which allowed the owner to attract mates and support large numbers of offspring.As more people lived closer together (either on their own property, or someone else’s) the opportunity for individual gain through owning a specialized skill set or the means to employ it became the driver of social status.Wealth became less immutable stuff and more liquid capital.Personal legacy – the Horatio Alger myth of rags to riches – became the desired brand.
Now, people live in a complex, multi-level web of social engagements both in person and online.Everything we do has the potential to be scrutinized.As the Kings of 20th Century Capitalism adjust to the reality that might doesn’t make right and there are troubles you simply can't ignore or buy your way out of, they are turning to a new generation of entrepreneurs, weaned on a Facebook culture of connectivity and accountability, to navigate this new social reality.How do we leverage opportunity in a hyper-integrated global economy?How do we tread the path between personal success and a growing social accountability?
What these entrepreneurs – people like Megan McIver, people like the Centre for Social Innovation’s Tonya Surman and everyone engaged in CSI – get is that this social accountability works both ways.You will get caught, period, when you do something wrong, but you will be equally recognized when you do something right.That recognition builds legacy, builds your brand and also leaves you with a stronger, personal sense of fulfillment.
Anyone whose business it is to make money should pay attention. The social entrepreneur movement isn’t a passing phase - it’s the future of industry.
Anyone in the business of making policy should equally pay attention – the solutions for today’s myriad of networked challenges won’t come from those pursuing narrow, partisan interests, but from those Conscious Capitalists looking to leave behind a legacy of a better tomorrow.
I believe PM Harper really does care about mental health issues; it’s not an abstract policy file to him but something that hits home. Like most people, though, he doesn’t fully get mental health.If you’re tough enough, common wisdom suggests, if you’re focused enough and willing to do whatever it takes, you can bend reality to your will.You can win the race, become Prime Minister, even will away depression and anxiety.It’s a wishful theory, but it’s just not true.
Multiply that impact across communities, cities, provinces, the world – you end up with people who can’t function in society and live on the streets, aggressive drivers who aren't mindful of the traffic around them, bitter bosses and under-performing employees.You end up with people who only know how to solve problems through aggression, rather than compromise.In a nutshell, that’s the root of the challenges we are facing globally; it’s a crisis that simply turning people loose or micro-managing them cannot solve.
This, then, is Stephen Harper’s true leadership moment.What happens on the mental health front will define his legacy; either he can be the Prime Minister that builds a national solution that will positively and proactively assist generations of Canadians (and potentially be copied by other nations), or he will be remembered as the Prime Minister who saw a slide in civility, social cohesion and general mental health on his watch.
If Harper is willing to look past some of his own concerns about firewalls and collaboration, he can go down in history as the Conscious Nixon who went to the China of mental illness.He can align his fiscally conservative sensibilities not to cut and isolate services, but blend them together into an efficient, cohesive, centrally-coordinated mental health system facilitated by the best modern technology – and Canadian technology companies – have to offer.
A centralized national health and mental health system is good policy.It makes for good politics, too.Being the architect of such a system would also define Stephen Harper as one of the most visionary leaders in Canadian, perhaps global history.A powerful legacy to leave behind, but one that can only be reached by empowering and connecting others.
Canada is about to get its first-ever national mental health strategy – a massive report that may persuade Prime Minister Stephen Harper that his government must return Ottawa to a lead role on health care.
Specifically, the blueprint wants federal and provincial governments to earmark nine per cent of their health spending for mental health – up from about seven per cent now.
Given the lonely path we've chosen, you may ask - Why Should I Care? You need to care because this isn't about diagnosisng more individuals with problems - it's about empowering our society, from the soldiers coming home from Afghanistan to the average, frustrated desk worker to be at their best and have access to the tools they need to stay at their best. You need to care because mental health matters.
-You can’t have effective services if they aren’t broad in scope and centrally coordinated. This is especially true in healthcare, specialized collabiration is the way of the future.
-Putting all your eggs in one basket – be it a single ideology or a single economic resource – is folly.IDIC – evolution is about maximizing diversity, as is social evolution.That’s why from Greek Hellenism to Canada’s multiculturalism, the best in human history has come through expansion and inclusion, not isolation or dominance.
-When you look at others as lesser-thans, you cut yourself off from our collective potential.
- Mental health is everything - how we think, what we ignore, what makes us angry and what inspires us are all functions of how our brain manages that information. We can learn to manage it better.