Wisdom Workout


Thank You for Your Unsolicited Opinion (Said Nobody Ever)

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Nextdoor is billed as a forum where neighbors can share pertinent information about where to find help, recommend local businesses based upon their direct experience, and in general, serve as a way to connect us with other residents who we might not meet in our normal social circles

Unfortunately, it is being used during this election cycle as a free forum for personal opinions of the political kind. I object to quick answers to complex issues.

Good, bad, right, wrong, thinking is the norm. We tend to value the mundane problem-solving abilities that we have developed over the years of formulating opinions that seem, on the surface, to be viable but will never be put to the test because it isn’t our true area of expertise.

In our fast-moving society, sound bite rhetoric abounds. It has become acceptable to “talk the talk” without having the skill or knowledge necessary if we were actually required to deliver on the solutions we so blithely expound.

“Get rid of the bums!” “Replace the incumbents!” “We need new blood, new ideas!” I understand this simple logic. It is the rhetoric of change and is always the first step in tackling issues that scream out in need of solutions.

What follows after the “out with the bad air, in with the good air” philosophy is a moment of fresh air and then the deeper problems sneak out from the corners into the light of day. Current concerns need to be addressed in a deeper, more collaborative way with the cooperation of the minds elected to serve the community.

Change is the first step and the usual motivating impetus to bring about new decision-making. Look at how you approach change in your life. You decide what you don’t like about your life and make some decisions about changes you are going to make. In the political discourse of today it is the homeless, the traffic, the parking, etc.

We identify the ideal and pinpoint the problems that are real. Great. The only problem is that it isn’t that easy to do. Why? Our village is not a static entity. The Laguna you are talking about might not be the Laguna I am experiencing. The good idea you might be so sure of, when tested against the restrictions present, may not be as brilliant as you initially thought.

The good guy, bad guy approach is the weapon of the small-minded. The intellect is a comparative tool. We think in good, bad, right, wrong terms and that’s fine for the mundane issues of everyday life.

True leadership calls for a flexible, positive, expansive ability to take in all the factors available and allow them to germinate in the quest for what will work now. There is never a once and for all solution, even though we often look for that exact scenario. If you are honest with yourself, you know that you have secretly wished for the one solution to your personal problems of the moment that will yield all benefits and no prices. There are no quick answers to our city’s unique challenges. It takes a seasoned mind to be able to grapple with never-ending issues without yelling, “The sky is falling!” every time the answers aren’t instantaneously implemented.

We are susceptible to being seduced by quick fixes. There is even a name for it. Single-loop learning. This is the kind of problem solving that addresses the problem at hand, short-term, however, the solution is guaranteed to create a different problem and the beat goes on.

Exercise discernment in your choices so that you are satisfied that when all is said and done you have added your due-diligence to the privilege, power and responsibility that each of us shoulder as an active member of our special community.

Susan is a local author of the emotional resource book, “Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” For more information, visit beyondintellect.com.


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