Thursday, January 8, 2015

This Is Our Elephant

There was once a group of tribesman who had captured and killed an elephant to take back to their village. The tribesman all grabbed one of the ropes tied to the elephant and they all began walking towards their village. In order to get to their village the tribesman had to climb a steep mountain, which meant they would have to carry the heavy elephant up and over the mountain. To make the task easier, they decided to chant as they labored. They all began to chant “THIS IS OUR ELEPHANT, THIS IS OUR ELEPHANT.” For a while things were going great until one of the tribesmen began chanting “THIS IS MY ELEPHANT, THIS IS MY ELEPHANT.”  When the other tribesman began to hear their fellow tribesman’s chant they all decided, well, if it is HIS elephant, let HIM carry it and they all dropped their ropes and stopped pulling. Now of course all of the weight now fell on this one tribesman and he could not carry it on his own. Realizing his brethren had dropped the ropes and was no longer pulling, he now began chanting “THIS IS OUR ELEPHANT, THIS IS OUR ELEPHANT” and when the others heard this, they picked up the ropes and began pulling again as all of them chanted “THIS IS OUR ELEPHANT”  together until they were able to reach their village.

Think about it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

It's Real Easy To Be An Armchair Quarterback

Armchair quarterback (noun) a person who offers advice or an opinion on something in which they have no expertise or involvement
Word Origin - 1940; as a person watching televised sports from an armchair 

"Armchair quarterback" is an idiom that originated in the United States. It refers to someone who doesn't participate in an action but still makes judgments about it. The phrase takes its meaning from the fact that a quarterback is the player in the American sport of football who controls much of the game. An "armchair quarterback" is someone who offers his or her opinion on something without actually being a part of it. It is an idiom that has branched out from the sports world to encompass many other aspects of life.
                                                                                                 Source: wiseGEEK

It's always interesting to me how folks who are not in the job of whatever the job may be, i.e. president, principal, pastor, CEO, governor, superintendent, head coach, etc. etc. etc. always have so much to say about how things are being done or was done. As an elementary school principal, I have to make decisions everyday that impact students, staff, parents and other stakeholders and there are always even among the mentioned ranks those who feel that if they were in my seat, they would have done X or Y. I am using myself as an example since I am in a leadership role, however, the same types of judgments are cast towards anyone who is in a leadership role. I am not naive and realize that it comes along with the leadership game, but it just came to me to put this down in a blog post Just Because. If you are in a leadership role, you will be able to relate to this post. I watch and listen to the pundits pontificate over what they would do if they were President Obama........"He should have done this or he should not have done that,"  and on and on and on. It really does not matter what leadership role you are happens to you. Always those who sit on the metaphorical armchair and can do you better than you can do you. Yes, my friends, it's easy being an "Armchair quarterback," because you are always talking and offering advice without risk to you. To share what you would have done or not done in any given situation really does not matter because (A) YOU were not the one in the situation (B) however the results of the decision(s) turns out, YOU are not the one being held accountable for them. Hence it really is easy being an armchair quarterback, or armchair president, or armchair principal, or armchair CEO or armchair pastor, etc. etc. (Fill in the blank - Armchair _______).

I heard this response one time from someone and have used it myself since hearing it and the dialogue goes like this:

Armchair QBIf I were you, I would have done this..........
MeNo, if you were me, you would have done the same thing I did because you were me
Think about it for a little bit and you will get it. After some thought, I think you get my point. Leaders are constantly besieged by pundits who really may mean well or perhaps have served in the particular position in the past, but it's a different game for the person who is in the position now, so what may have worked then, may or may not work now. Let's be very clear, coaching and armchair quarterbacking are two different things. For example, many of our radio talk show hosts have made their careers by armchair quarterbacking the President of the United States, particularly President Obama. The two that I am thinking about and I am sure there are others, have had nothing to talk about on a daily basis for nearly seven years now other than President Barack Obama. They have become expert armchair quarterbacks as neither would be able to do any better with the country than any other president has, but you wouldn't know that by listening to them. They would change the country, even the world. Everything would be well under their leadership.

I fly on Microsoft's Flight Simulator X and I have a ball flying my jets all over the world. I know the instrument panel, the readings, the checklists, the jargon, etc. etc. I can fly fighter jets, commercial aircraft, helicopters, private planes and so on. The difference between my flying on Flight SimX and flying the real thing is, I can crash over and over again and no one gets hurt; no lives are lost. No equipment is damaged. No money is lost. Armchair quarterbacking is very similar. There is nothing lost with what you would have done in my situation because you are not the one actually in the pilot's seat. Armchair quarterbacking is like being in the simulator. In fact, it might be even less because at least being in the simulator, you really do have to have some knowledge of what you are simulating. Reread the definitions at the top of this post; words such as "no expertise or involvement,"  and "without actually being a part of it." 

We have entire organizations created to be armchair quarterbacks and they are well paid armchair quarterbacks I might add. It is easy to walk into a place, say a few words, offer a few opinions and then walk back out, on to your next stop. It's another thing to live situations from minute to minute and make decisions based on the information that you have at the moment.

So if by chance you are a professional armchair quarterback or an amateur one, just know that it is really easy to be an armchair quarterback compared with actually BEING the quarterback. You can substitute any leadership position you would like into the quarterback role. It's easy to be an armchair quarterback. Something to critically think about. I invite you to listen to me live each Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. ET locally in the northern New Jersey area on WP88.7 FM and around the world on I also invite you to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

As We Close 2014 I Believe Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendergrass Says It Best

What's Goin' On

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today - Ya

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Ah, what's going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Father, father, everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today

"Wake Up Everybody"

Wake up everybody, no more sleepin' in bed
No more backward thinkin' time for thinkin' ahead
The world has changed so very much from what it used to be
So there is so much hatred war an' poverty

Wake up all the teachers, time to teach a new way
Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say
'Cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands
When you teach the children, teach 'em the very best you can

The world won't get no better
If we just let it be
The world won't get no better
We gotta change it, yeah, just you and me

Wake up all the doctors, make the ol' people well
They're the ones who suffer an' who catch all the hell
But they don't have so very long before the judgment day
So won'tcha make them happy before they pass away?

Wake up all the builders, time to build a new land
I know we can do it if we all lend a hand
The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind
Surely things will work out, they do it every time

The world won't get no better
If we just let it be
The world won't get no better
We gotta change it, yeah, just you and me

ENOUGH SAID!! I could not have said it any better myself than these two gentlemen if I tried. 

Have a great 2015 everyone!. In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own perfect time, for the highest good of all, I intend $1,000,000 to come into my life and into the lives of everyone who holds this intention. 

From The Critical Thinker and The Reading Circle with Marc Medley, I wish you all nothing but health, wealth and success in 2015. I pray that we wake up and come up with the solutions to what's goin' on.  Be Blessed! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Blessed Are The Peacemakers" - Officers Turning Their Backs At Funeral Ought To Be Ashamed Of Themselves

Yesterday (12/27/14) my wife and I did something that we rarely do and that is turn on the television on a Saturday morning. We are off for Christmas break and are in a more relaxed mood, so when she turned on the TV we both sat down and as it turns out the funeral service for slain NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos was being broadcast live. Vice President Biden was speaking at the time and we decided not to turn the channel. Vice President Biden was followed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who was followed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mayor de Blasio was followed by New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton followed by two pastors with the latter being Officer Ramos' pastor, Pastor Ralph Castillo. All of the words spoken by each were sincere and heartfelt. I especially connected with the words of Reverend Castillo, pastor of  the Christ Tabernacle Church where Officer Ramos and his family are active members, as he explained how Officer Ramos was a "peacemaker" and that as children of God, we all ought to be "peacemakers."

Officers with their Backs Turned to Screen
Ironically and the reason for this post is the fact that while Reverend Castillo was challenging us all to be peacemakers, many of the police officers who were attending the funeral service outside of the church were being silent troublemakers. I say this because a large faction of the police officers outside of the church chose to participate in a silent protest of New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio by turning their backs on the image of him speaking as it appeared on the large screen. I found this to be the height of disrespect as the day was not about the officers or Mayor de Blasio. The day was about celebrating the life of Officer Ramos and offering support to his loved ones left behind. It was not a day to grandstand or protest. Oddly enough, Mayor de Blasio and others asked the street protesters to honor the funeral time by not protesting and they adhered to the request, so I don't understand what made the police union and the officers feel as if they were so special that they felt the need to turn their backs at a FUNERAL service.
Widow of Officer Ramos and Sons
The officers were on the outside of the church turning their backs to a screen which I thought was stupid because the mayor was speaking inside and did not even know anything about the demonstration going on. The entire display was extremely disrespectful and appalling to me. How dare they exploit a funeral service! What type of message about respect were those officers sending children (and adults for that matter) by their behavior? They had the nerve to use Officer Ramos' funeral to express their displeasure with the mayor. The bottom line is the police union and the officers were out of order.....PERIOD. There was no excuse for that behavior. That was a time for peace and certainly acting like spoiled brats by turning their backs on a screen was not indicative of anyone wanting peace. I am thoroughly disappointed by all of the officers who participated in their little childish demonstration at the Ramos funeral and that certainly did nothing to garner my respect of them. My hats off to the officers who had the common decency not to participate in those shenanigans and chose to respect Mrs. Ramos and her sons. Sometimes you just have to know when to say when.  My condolences and prayers go out to the Ramos, Liu and Christ Tabernacle Church families. Shame on those officers who turned their backs at that funeral. Shame on you!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Intelligence Plus Character - That is the Goal of True Education

Hear me live each Saturday as the Host of The Reading Circle with Marc Medley on and WP88.7 FM. I also invite you to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Never Underestimate the Power of a Smile

Never underestimate the power of a smile. Southwest Airlines has figured that out in one of their latest advertising campaigns created by GSD&M.
"You can't charge for smiles. That's probably why Southwest Airlines is still giving them away. Enjoy your flight with Southwest today."
Think about when you have achieved your desired results when interacting with someone else. Was it when you were mean, angry or your face looking like cracked ice? Or was it when you were smiling? Think about the last time you had great customer service. Was the person smiling and polite or grumpy and mean? According to Sarah Stevenson in her post There’s Magic In Your Smile as a guest blogger for Cutting-Edge Leadership
"Scientist and spiritual teachers alike agree that the simple act can transform you and the world around you. Current research (and common sense) shows us that a smile is contagious. It can make us appear more attractive to others. It lifts our mood as well as the moods of those around us. (Merci, Colette.) And it can even lengthen our lives."
Interestingly, there are many people who for whatever reason refuse to smile. If you have ever dealt with one of these people, then you know it is not a fun experience. So lift your mood, the moods of those around you and possibly live longer. SMILE. You are invited to hear me live on Saturdays at 6 a.m. ET on as the host of The Reading Circle where I'll be smiling on the air. You are also invited to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.  

P.S. I love the ad as the actress has a beautiful smile.