“Americans Want to Pull Back From World Stage, Poll Finds”

I have read this article today: “Americans Want to Pull Back From World Stage, Poll Finds”, in the World Street Journal.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304163604579532050055966782?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304163604579532050055966782.html&fpid=2%2C7%2C121%2C122%2C201%2C401%2C641%2C1009

The Obama administration has largely itself to blame for this worrying trend. Too many Americans fail to establish the link between what the US does in the world as the sole superpower and what happens at home. Neo-isolationism is infecting part of the Republican party while in the Democratic party there has always been a strong but minority contingent that simplistically oppose concern for what happens abroad and what takes place in the US.

The Obama has failed to make its case, though it can be said the trend had manifested itself earlier in reaction to the long and not-so-successful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not so much a problem of having the right rhetoric but of having something to show for current foreign policy, and here the record of the Obama administration is at best mixed. Even possible successes such as Iran hopefully verifiably abandoning her nuclear weapon program do not yet register as such. The policy on Syria is an abysmal failure and that on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has for the moment gone nowhere, not for lack of efforts but for that of a more forceful action such as presenting a US peace plan. The pivot to Asia is welcome to the extent that its does not translate into neglect of other regions, but is hampered by the lack of funds.

The Republican-dominated House has not been exactly constructive, being more interested in scoring points than in pushing for a more determined US foreign policy. In the Senate Senatior Ted Cruz rarely knows what he’s talking about: his latest initiative has been to demand John Kerry’s resignation over the Secretary’s remarks at a Trilateral Commission meeting. Outside Congress critics like John Bolton have gone overboard: for them the main enemy is not Russia, the Assad regime, Iran or Hezbollah but the president himself. While the administration’s foreign policy must be criticized, one should not misidentify the US’s actual adversaries. Rand Paul is his isolationist self. Only Sen. McCain and Graham, sometimes Corker, are able to eschew partisanship when the administration must be supported.

It is high time responsible Americans of both parties speak up for an internationalist US role. Of course this would be easier in a steadier economic environment: the cost of the 2008 crisis is not yet fully paid. But it must be shown that economic recovery also need a propitious international environment and that as the sole global power the US must take the lead in fostering free trade, free markets and democracy.

Crăciun fericit! Merry Christmas!

Am trimis și eu urări de Crăciun fericit, la un număr foarte restrâns de persoane. De ce un număr foarte restrâns?

Fiindcă l-am tot micit de-a lungul anilor din motive foarte ipocrite și de auto-conservare. Primeam și eu sute de SMS-uri cu urări, poezii, sloganuri, mesaje din suflet, de la fiecare cum simțea și cum știa. Am observat ca nu mai știm sa facem urări simple sau nu le mai facem simple fiindcă simțim o concurenta cu celelalte urări, pompoase, sofisticate, luate sau nu de la alții, citate, etc.

Fiindcă ajungi din sutele de mesaje primite sa recunoști un mesaj re-transmis de o treime dintre trimițători, asa fiindcă a părut cel mai adecvat.

Fiindcă ajungi sa nici nu le mai citești, cu atât mai putin sa răspunzi la ele, nici SMS-urilor nici celor e-mail-ate, din motive de economie a timpului sau, eu de exemplu, fiindcă nu cunosc toate persoanele de la care vin și, astfel, nici nu pot personaliza un mesaj.

Anul acesta, am observat cum atât firmele cât și media au preluat un gen de urare foarte generala și lipsita de conținut (ceva de genul: “Season’s Greetings”), din motive de a se evita discriminările pe motive religioase, dar și din necunoaștere sau lipsa de simțire profunda a Sărbătorii Crăciunului. Eu însămi am primit de la unul dintre colaboratori o urare foarte ampla care menționa toate religiile, toți sfinții și toate ideologiile. Atunci am realizat ca urările ar trebui sa fie personale și personalizate sau deloc.

In contextul în care, în zilele de Crăciun, mass-media ni se adresează, mai nou, cu apelativul “romanilor creștini” – asta implicând ca romanii ar fi și ne-creștini și bineînțeles adresându-se cetățenilor și nu poporului roman, care este de o majoritate covârșitoare creștin – am dat peste o emisiune care-l avea ca invitat de Dan Puric. Cele spuse în emisiune mi-au amintit de cum sărbătoream Crăciunul atunci când eram mica, la bunici.

In măsura în care va fac și pe voi sa simțiți ceva, reproduc mai jos câteva dintre mesaje:

“Misticismul este lumina! Nu e important ca a ajuns un om pe luna, ci Dumnezeu pe pământ. Frica de Dumnezeu este frica ca el nu te va mai iubi.

Romania autentica trăiește într-o majoritate de imbecilitate. Poporul nu înseamnă populația.

Sunt gropi fiintiale! Găurile absorb. Este un hău în care omul a fost învațat sa fie indiferent. Daca poporul nu știe, ce evlavie sa aibă? Poporul roman este manelizat sufletește. Normal ca unii trebuie sa cultive o lipsa de rădăcină romanilor fiindcă altfel nu se justifica, altfel nu ii pot manipula. Soarta unei glume tine de urechea care o asculta nu de gura care o spune. Luna poate fi privita si de mine si de un dobitoc.

Romania este supusa unui program de distrugere sufleteasca a poporului roman. Pe om l-a făcut Dumnezeu, dar sunt unii care se trag din maimuțe. Răbdarea tot Dumnezeu ne-a dat-o. Răbdarea nu înseamnă pasivitate, hibernare, somn. Majoritatea care au creat dileme în poporul roman sunt trădători de țară. In “Miorița”, țăranul care afla ca va fi omorât de frații lui nu pune mana pe topor ca sa ii omoare el primul, ci așteaptă, ca Isus pe Iuda. El trăiește cu un picior în veac. El știe ca în aceasta realitate este un adevăr.  Nu aveți voi mânăstiri suficiente câți sfinți avem noi. Acum când te întâlnești cu mai multi oameni nu te împrietenești, ci socializezi.

Ce ne facem? Intram sub pământ. Dar ce sămânța va creste de acolo!

Poporul roman este germinativ. Daca îl iubești trebuie sa-i spui unde greșește? Cristos a avut mila de ologi. Poporul roman a fost ologit 70 de ani. Mama noastră este trecutul demn al acestui popor. Nu poți sa ii spui permanent unui olog ca este olog, ci trebuie sa-i incurajezi fiecare progres.”

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I also sent Merry Christmas’s to a very limited number of people. Why a small number?

I have reduced their number over the years for very hypocritical reasons and self -preservation. I was getting hundreds of SMS greetings, poems, slogans, and messages from the sender’s heart or of how he felt and how he knew. I noticed we do not know simple or traditional greetings anymore and we feel there is competition with the other wishes, as they are more pompous, sophisticated or forwarded from others , quotes from personalities, so on.

I was getting from the hundreds of messages I received I recognized messages that were only re-sent messages from the third of reference.

A lot of them I did not even read, much less to answer them, either SMS or e- mailed ones, for reasons of economy of time and because I did not know all the senders and thus I could not personalize a replay message.

This year, I noticed how both companies and the media have taken a kind of greeting very general and devoid of content (something like: “Season ‘s Greetings) for reasons to avoid discrimination on religious grounds , but also from ignorance or lack of deep feeling of the Feast of Christmas. For example, I myself have received a very large greeting, which mentions inside its message all the religions, all the saints and all ideologies known on Earth. Then I realized that Christmas Greetings should be either personal wishes and personalized or not at all.

In a context where, today, on Christmas day, we are addressed by the media , by the appellation “Romanian Christians” – implying that there are Romanians that are non-Christians and by it, of course, addressing the citizens and not the Romanian people, which is the overwhelmingly Christian – I came across a TV show that had as a guest of Dan Puric. What he has said on the show reminded me of how we celebrate Christmas when I was little, with my grandparents.

To the extent that will make you feel something, I reproduce below some of his messages:

“Mysticism is the light! It isn’t that important to get the man on the Moon, but God on Earth. Fear of God is being afraid that he will not love you anymore.

The authentic Romania lives in a majority of silliness. People do not mean the population.

There are existential holes! Holes absorb. Today is a pit in which man was taught to be indifferent. If people do not know how can they be godly? Romanian people are indoctrinated with gypsy culture. Of course some must cultivate a lack of root to Romanians because otherwise they can not justified themselves, otherwise they can’t manipulate it. The fate of a joke lies in a listener’s ear not in the mouth who says so. Moon can be seen by me simultaneously with an ass.

Romania is subject to a program of spiritual destruction of the Romanian people. God made man, but some come from monkeys. Patience still God has given it to us. Patience does not mean passivity, sleep, or hibernation. Most people who have created dilemmas in Romanians’ beings are traitors. In “Miorita “, the peasant who learns that he will be killed by his brothers is not stupid as he does not touch the ax to kill them first, but he waits like Jesus did  Judah. He lives with one foot in the eternity. He knows that there is truth in that reality. You don’t have enough monasteries for how many saints we have. Now when you meet people you do not meet to make friends, but socialize.

What do we do? We go underground. But what a seed will grow from there!

Romanian people are germinating. If you love someone do you have to tell them where are they wrong? Christ has mercy for lame. The Romanian people has been crippled for 70 years. Our mother is the worthy past of this nation. You can not tell a cripple permanently that he is crippled but to encourage each of its progress. “

It’s a wonderful time

It’s a wonderful time to be pursuing a new career and it always makes my day to hear from readers, whether it’s asking for advice or sharing what you’ve been getting up to in the community.

Straight to the heart of the matter then, is age a limiting factor to becoming something else?

Absolutely not! There’s no age restriction to embarking on the journey to becoming an outstanding something. The only entry requirement is a passion to learn. That’s it. I’m not kidding.

You might think it a cliche but it honestly is the one and only thing you need to begin your journey and more importantly, what is needed to continue forward on it. Passion and desire to learn, age is immaterial.

Experience Counts But Not as Much as You Think!

Whilst we’re at it let’s tackle the close accomplice to the age limit fallacy, that of x number of years of experience. I’m sure you have heard folks talk about someone they know that got overlooked for an opportunity in favor of a younger chap.

Guess what? The real difference was that the younger candidate had that essential ingredient, passion for learning. They were keen, ambitious and moving forward on their journey. The other chap was sitting all too comfortably, just trying to go get a win off the back of their years of “experience”. Which by the way is vastly overrated in an always moving market anyway. If you’re not passionate about learning, about continuing forward on your journey, then which direction are you heading? The wrong way, sadly.

Note: Five years doing precisely the same thing is an experience illusion and does not in fact equal five years of actual experience as anything. I see this all too often as a hiring manager, where I’m regularly befuddled by folks with apparently 10+ years of experience who are clueless about much of the basics.

Specialty Skills Alone are NOT Enough!

Specialty skills are one ingredient in the making of a successful and well-rounded modern professional. I bet you’ve got some great skills that you’ve developed through your professional experience. Don’t underestimate your current value in the market place.

The most successful professionals are versatile and bring a lot more to the table than specialty know-how. Perhaps you’re an excellent communicator, a great presenter, a natural leader, are customer oriented, a skilled mentor or maybe business savvy.

Maybe you’re having some doubts about taking a leap at something new. That’s understandable, particularly if you have invested your working life so far doing something different.

What you’re considering is new and unfamiliar to you, carrying with it a sense of risk perhaps. Great! Only by extending ourselves and taking on a challenge are we able to grow. Be confident that you can cast any such doubts aside because a decision to invest in yourself is always a worthwhile endeavor.

Success is rarely rewarded adequately

Success is rarely rewarded adequately if failure carries little or no consequence.

From middle management up employees are so egotistical and wrapped up in their own advancement that they do not show concern for the well being of their subordinates receive poor evaluations and do not progress in their careers. From the first day, personnel are taught this essential component of leadership. By contrast, in public institutions and in more and more private companies, concern for subordinates is not part of the management evaluation process. Nor is there much emphasis on employees’ families. Instead, new commers are taught to look after themselves and their careers first and foremost. This can lead, rightly or wrongly, to a perception by subordinates that successful’ future managers or partners are those willing to do anything to get ahead, including letting down colleagues and disappointing subordinates. It is politics like in politics.

Selfishness and excessive egotism are not viewed as indicators of poor leadership and a lack of esprit de corps, but are often seen as the norm.

But, the first thing that a manager must learn is not to tolerate incompetence. As soon as you tolerate incompetence…you have an incompetent organization. “Don’t rock the boat.” is not a talent leaders should encourage! They should be willing to fire people for poor performance.

An effective institution must make room for different leadership styles.

Is intuition magic?

Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, fast and slow” and a coffee macarone – this is a special end of a Sunday for me!

“Daniel Kahneman is one of the most influential psychologists in history”. In this book he gives us insight into possible synergies between the complex mental dualism and their applicability in improving macro-management. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, another writer that I read and appreciate, the author of “The Black Swan”, says Kahneman’s book is “one of the same caliber as the “Wealth of Nations ” by Adam Smith or “The Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud.

I would say that “Thinking, fast and slow” gives us an analysis of the two concepts, the first referring to intuition, and the second to analysis, introspection, and the cognitive effort people make so they get a response to a situation.

Intuition is neither conscious nor unconscious; it is based on confidence and experience. It is an impulsive act which has two connotations: it is exceptional – people unconsciously recognize their qualities when making a decision-, but it also has drawbacks, one being not taking into consideration, when unconsciously making a decision, the element of surprise that may intervene.
He who “thinks slowly” deliberates more. Although, Kahneman says, some kinds of thinking may appear as fast thinking, or intuitive, they are not. Such examples may be found in playing chess, medical expertise, clinical prediction, and reading. They base on the application of rules/regulations for a long time, fact which creates experience, experience that can give a quick reaction, even if it is not intuitive, in the real sense of the word. It is like when professionals come to recognize situations, situations which then generate insights, insights that in time build intuition.

A language, a culture

Every language has certain phonemes. These are, in most cases, the main causes of difficulties in acquiring a foreign language, context plays an important role. It is not enough to understand separate words, we must realize the purpose, intent of the speaker or writer. Often, learning a foreign language was compared to a trip: long and tiring for some, enjoyable and entertaining for others. People who are with us on this trip also count because they influence our actions and also their ideas about a particular language or culture. Learning a language is more than learning grammatical structures and words with their meanings. The learning process needs to be completed with information about the culture and civilization of the people who use that language or where it is spoken. Language reflects the society which differs from one place to another. Learning a foreign language, we realize that there are many ways to express a concept or an idea.

In business, it is easy to realize the necessity of studying a foreign language, especially when you consider how convincing a seller may be to a buyer need that purchases a product.

Let us just consider a relationship that is being built between two people trying to communicate using an interpreter. Clearly, it is not as good as when the transmitter and receiver use the same key for communication. We need to understand, not only to talk to each other.

Technology cannot sense intention, ideology, motivation and therefore is not like human interaction.

Agreement about Judgments Does Not Prove Identical Reactions

A strange thing about psychology is that there’s a whole body of people called “researchers” who will not associate with the people who are practicing! Somehow the field of psychology got divided so that the researchers no longer provide information for, and respond to, the clinical practitioners in the field. On the other hand, in medicine for example, the people doing research are trying to find things to help the practitioners in the field. And the practitioners respond to the researchers, telling them what they need to know more about.

In addition to a lack of empirical confirmation, the question of whether specific emotional states are related to specific physiological patterns neglects the important facts that physiology will vary with action, and that actions associated with the same emotional state will also often vary. That is, most, if not all, peripheral (and to some degree, central) indices of physiological activity will vary as a function of the amount and type of somatic involvement and the accompanying demand for metabolic support. Put bluntly, running (or preparing to run) will produce a very different configuration of physiological activity than sitting and observing, with activity in one system dependent, to some degree, on activity in another system.

In the emotion literature, inferences regarding the physiology of fear, for example, are often made by comparing data from contexts as diverse as hearing loud noises, anticipating shock, imagining an intruder in the house, looking at a picture of an amputated leg, viewing a scary film, giving a speech, putting one’s hand in cold water, or hearing an anguished scream. Conversely, responses to stimuli such as receiving money, listening to joyful music, looking at a picture of puppies, viewing an erotic film, imagining a day on the beach, receiving a good grade, thinking about winning the lottery, or anticipating a vacation are compared on the basis that they prompt a happy emotional state. The  diverse sensory, cognitive, and motor processes elicited by these induction procedures may prompt quite different physiological profiles, irrespective of modulation by emotion.

Culture, social groupings within cultures, and individual differences all produce large differences in expressions of emotions. There are differences in the expression itself, and in what the expression signifies to the person showing the expression and to others. The largest difference is with regards to the words which represent emotions. Languages differ not only in terms of how many words they have for each emotion, but the extent to which they have a word which gives subtle nuances, or combines emotions, or tells about what caused the emotion or what behavior is most likely to be shown.

Tips to fit in

Knowing the features of non-verbal communication, the specific behavior patterns reported by foreign persons is essential to achieving the goals of an dialogue, as follows:
Assertion messages, more or less intensity increased and the height variation of voice of the person depends on the cultural space. In Asian countries it is preferred a calm, moderate discourse and in the Latin American and Central Europe are exchanged views in an apparently hot manner, but they can not be considered personal attacks or aggressive attitudes.

The differences are more obvious when the two sides belong to different cultures and different languages ​​are used in conversation. Using the same language does not guarantee perfection communication and, in this case, it must be kept in mind that the discussion partner will have a different communication style than that of his country, would use language that will interfere strongly with the content of the communication.

Nonverbal behavior bears a strong cultural and social footprint. Many gestures and body postures betray socio -cultural area in which the individual lived or currently lives . Thus, there are cultural differences in terms of eye contact: eye contact is considered impolite in Asians countries, a sign of hostility, while Latin Americans appreciate a look directly supported.

As a result, the party’s apparent lack of attention, evidenced by the lack of eye contact can create discomfort for a European or American; while in an African or Asian country, the unusual local customs, which avoid the gaze party (usually higher in the hierarchy) is a habit, not a sign of (dis)respect.

In terms of achieving, the Arab countries, Latin America and southern Europe people tend to stay close to each other when they meet and they talk, often touching. On the other hand , North Americans and Northern Europeans prefer to keep a distance when communicating with someone.

Arab men shaking hands gently may refer to words or to kiss on the cheeks, forehead, nose or right hand in greeting, representing gestures of profound respect. They can also keep your hand to lead you to another location. If you do not touch an Arab man who welcomes you, then he shall abstain due to dislike or perception that the you are not familiar with the idea of ​​being touched. Do not shake hands at a meeting or departure is considered rude. After shaking hands, the gesture of the right palm raised to your heart is a sign of respect and sincerity. The handshake is only a right hand gesture, used to express otherwise, because the left hand is considered unclean. For Arab women, carrying his right hand on the heart by serving food is a sign that was offered sincerely. If a man is presented to an Arab women, should not usually expect women to start shaking hands; reaching only occurs in the fingers, being forbidden reaching palm of the hand or cheek kissing.

Gestures have different meanings in different cultures: for example , the mark ring (union with the forefinger tip of the thumb so as to form a circle) means OK for most Anglophones, but in some areas of France means zero , worthless.

The rumour

We live in an epoch of knowledge in which the main element is information. No matter the form it is presented under, the information is a means of communication through which society can find its harmony or its disunion. The principal role of
information is to harmonize the social space and to weld the interpersonal relational fissures. A real empire of principles, norms, guarantees, rights and juridical obligations has been built around information in order to ensure the informational flux in an organized and correct way, from the issuer to the beneficiary.

Yet, this system also has a series of flaws. Thus, the citizen, even though he is permanently bombarded with rights and obligations regarding the informing and the knowing about the law, he does not always have the possibility to achieve them concretely. The chaotic system of enactment causes cognitive disorder. There exists the right to be informed, there exists the principle “nemo censetur ignorare legem” and the assumption of the knowing of the law, there exists the Official Gazette and other public means of informing (mass-media, the internet), but most of them are difficult to get to for the common citizen, first of all because they have to pay to get access to them. Under these conditions, the most common and the most accessible modality of informing people about the law is the “rumour”, and the spreading of this procedure pushes society towards disorder.