Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fear-based decision making

Star Tribune columnist Gail Rosenblum hit the nail on the head when she noted how much of the current Minnesota legislative discussion is stemming from fear-based leadership (Moving forward, let's not be led by fear").  She shares a few examples of how our political leaders have been focused on responding to people's fears, rather than building on strengths and being affirming of others, especially those who are different than ourselves.  Fearful thinking has people wanting more guns, opposing gay marriage and desiring greater regulations for voting.  Research indicates there is far less fraud than most of us have imagined to exist.  Research also shows guns lead to more deaths, often accidental owner deaths.

Ms. Rosenblum cited the invocation provided by a pastor at the State Capital this past week as an example of instilling fear rather than understanding.  Shouldn't be any wonder that this pastor would have give such a fear-based message when one considers that he works for a ministry called "You Can Run But You Cannot Hide."

Knowing the many benefits of marriage, why would we not want to share this opportunity with those who are biologically wired toward homosexuality?  I've had three guy friends who have all left their wives later in life for male companions.  My marriage or sexual identify was never threatened by any of these capable and caring individuals who felt trapped into a heterosexual lifestyle that didn't fit them.

This fearful versus affirming paradigm parallels the two opposing ways in which people view the world; from a deficit/scarcity based mentality versus an abundance perspective.  Many think of life as a "zero-sum game." This leads to unnecessary competition and creates fear of all others, who are perceived as threats to one's own limited resources.  How much more enjoyable life is when we don't have to fear others who don't look like us, speak like us or worship like we do. Businesses have long known that they need a variety of perspectives and skill sets to be successful in a diverse world. When you get right down to it, there really is no 'us and them', there really is only us. How about we put our fears away and get to know others? By doing so we can achieve far more, while all boats are raised!

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