by Jeff Piersall
Bullying and its consequences have caught the attention of the media. Webster defines this behavior as “the use of force in an emotional, verbal, written or physical form in an attempt to coerce, abuse or intimidate others.” Unfortunately, bullying thrives in the business environment as well as in society in general.
This bullying conduct is rooted within the individual – in people who are acting out or acting up, due to their own perceived or actual inadequacies – coupled with the recession in overall character that has permeated our society. Bullies, it appears, are unhappy people; but if one hasn’t defined “happiness,” how can one achieve it?
For the most part, we all start out life with equality in character; but from there it either gets nurtured or nullified with age. Why is that? It’s because character is your own personal responsibility. Every day, we read about people who overcame the odds or their circumstances to display remarkable virtue. But when happiness is portrayed as an illusionary target measured by material possessions, external recognition or power, the consequences multiply. The perceived imbalance, which at times everyone feels, causes reactions that only one’s character can and should address.
Your Foundational Self
Your character is your foundational self – your thoughts, decisions and actions. When you mix personal imbalance issues with the basic human desire to be recognized, the bully/victim equation can turn volatile.
Bullies are disconnected from their true character, as they act without thought to the consequences of their behavior. Anger becomes the motivating emotion and they strike out against anyone and anything they perceive as having precipitated this imbalance or injustice.
The bully crosses the line between acceptable and unacceptable criticism and causes others to cross it. Without intervention, this can result in a tragic showdown. Revenge in the hands of individuals is always misguided; whether it is with a gun or a website, it is never justice.
Are We Looking At the Wrong Amendment?
Recent shootings have sparked a lot of discussion about gun control, but no one is talking about “character control.” Who is asking, “What kind of culture produces children that want to kill others?” For 50 years our society has been told there are no absolutes morally, that values are purely a personal matter, and that life itself can be discarded if it is inconvenient. So why are we then shocked by the behavior this philosophy produces?
Is the real culprit with these shootings the Amendment that protects “the right to bear arms” or could the problem no one dares to mention be the abuse of the one guarding “freedom of speech?”
Remember, with every asset there is an equal liability. TV is a wonderful invention, but if its power isn’t regulated by some set of values it can be extremely dangerous. Journalism is now entertainment, politics is a career preserved by votes through impression management, video games are violent and anger motivated. Our culture lacks integrity-based communication and this is justified as “freedom of speech.”
Freedom of speech demands institutional and individual character. Society should be outraged by “freedom of speech” being used to protect harassing paparazzi or the communication of half-truths and vitriolic accusations on the Internet. Freedom of speech has never meant the ability to twist the truth, intimidate and threaten others in an effort to tear them down because of the shortcomings of the accuser. Bob Costas recently said it well: “Sometimes the quality of those who oppose you speaks for itself.”
The Difference: It’s Constructive
Constructive criticism is a positive and it’s needed. The social manipulation or intimidation of people through tools like the Internet, under the guise of “freedom of speech,” needs to be brought back under control.
But everyone asks, “How do you affect the change?” Stop watching, buying or supporting those businesses, institutions or individuals who can only criticize, demean, or alienate others for their own agenda.
- Throw away all video games of violence; the industry will create other games.
- Turn off the TV, when reporting is only entertainment for ratings.
- Don’t spend money on sources that tear down, misrepresent or seek negativity.
How many times have you heard or used the phrase, “Well, I’m just not happy?” But can you define happy? What IS happy? The answer is important to the balance of character. Maybe this quote can help you find that balance:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Jeff Piersall is CEO of SCB Marketing, which publishes SpaceCoast Business magazine. Contact him at (321) 537-4941 or firstname.lastname@example.org