No matter who you wanted to become the next President of the United States, no matter where you’re from, and no matter what your station in life may be, your voice is more important today than perhaps ever before. Too much is at stake for any of us, regardless of political orientation, to remain silent, uninformed or uninvolved.
The United States has become as ideologically divided, politically dysfunctional, and economically distressed as it has become because of the massive extent to which citizens and leaders alike have sacrificed their integrity to pursue a faulty formula for life fulfillment and prosperity. Far too many citizens, leaders and pundits have become so militant about their ideological convictions that they believe the ends justify the means when it comes to imposing their beliefs on everyone else.
Everyone I have come into contact with through my speaking, training and consulting, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, and regardless of their faith, is aware of this. In fact, as I have written about in previous posts, these people now constitute the “New Silent Majority” in the United States.
People from all walks for life, cultural backgrounds, ideological orientations, faiths, and political orientations are reconnecting with the crucial importance of restoring integrity in our society. The New Silent Majority is weary of our culture of deception (often referred to as spin), and our politics of hatred (often referred to as polarization).
The key to doing your part to help end our current Age of Spin & Polarization is to become a Freesponsible Citizen: someone who lives their daily life at the intersection of individual freedom and societal responsibility.
This article describes three powerful steps every one of us can take toward having more impact – and feeling more fulfilled – as a Freesponsible Citizen. (If you live in a country other than the United States that is also democracy-based, this applies to you too: simply replace your country’s name wherever the United States is mentioned below.)
Step 1: Embrace America’s Mission Statement
Did you know that America, like all republics that are democracy-based, has a Mission Statement? It’s a single sentence – the U.S. Constitution’s preamble. It calls for a servant government (of the people, by the people, and for the people, to quote Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address) that functions at the intersection of individual freedom and the common good. In other words, the Constitution mandates a trickle-up form of government dedicated to preserving individual freedom and promoting the common good.
True patriotism therefore begins with constitutional literacy and constitutional integrity. The heart of mature patriotism is freesponsibilty: living at the intersection of freedom and responsibility.
- Put the constitution before selfishness. This is because they discern the difference between selfishness and enlightened self-interest that lives at the intersection of me, we, and us all. Enlightened self-interest is the antidote to the three forms of narcissism that have been ripping our country apart… culturally, politically, and financially: entitlement (non-self-responsibility), financial greed, and ideological fanaticism. (For more about these three forms of narcissism, go to www.TheNewIQ.com/narcissism)
- Demand that government officials represent their interests in ways that preserve and protect the constitution, rather than allow special interests — including their own — to be more important than America’s Mission Statement.
Step 2. Be a Savvy Citizen
In today’s world, what you think is fact is usually spin. Most citizens are on a political junk food diet that is served up by self-serving special interests dedicated to manipulating citizens into believing whatever serves those interests. Spin is underhanded coercion. Most citizens spend far too much time consuming — and being coerced by — this steady diet of self-serving lies, half-truths and lies-by-omission. This is because far too much of the media, and far too many politicians and special interests from across the political and economic spectrum, foist political junk food on the American people… and they hope that we the people don’t recognize what’s being perpetrated upon us.
Citizens continue to spend far too little time consuming political health food, even though excellent nonpartisan fact-checking websites now exist in the United States, such as www.FactCheck.org and www.Politifact.com.
- Form their opinions, and make voting and advocacy decisions, by spending less time consuming political junk food and more time consuming political health food.
- Demand of leaders, especially those from their own political party, that they educate about all sides of an issue rather than feed citizens spin about one side of it for the sake of coercion.
- Demand of the media that they utilize far fewer spin-based pundits and far more fact checking-based reporting.
The more Savvy Freesponsible Citizens there are, the more rapidly the Age of Spin and Greed will finally come to an end.
You can learn more about separating fact from spin by going to www.TheNewIQ.com/spin-busting-secrets
Step 3. Practice Synergy
Compromise and coercion prevent truly sustainable root cause solutions from emerging. Coercion creates resentment that leads to rebellion, rage, and ultimately terrorism. The best outcome a “compromise” strategy can create is that all parties walk away from the negotiation table feeing equally ripped off. (The reason most bipartisan solutions tend to fall far short of what is needed is because they are arrived at through “compromise” rather than synergy.)
Synergy is based on three essential pieces of wisdom:
- Sustainable root cause solutions cannot emerge until the big picture is seen.
- No one person or group can grasp the big picture alone.
- The only way an accurate version of the big picture can emerge is by combining the wisdom of multiple perspectives.
Only synergy can end political polarization and create the solutions we need to the problems we have.
For this reason, Freesponsible Citizens know how to engage in synergy and demand synergy from their leaders. More specifically, Freesponsible Citizens…
- Don’t tolerate ideological coercion, or coercion in general (except in true emergencies). Freesponsible Citizens recognize that coercion’s only legitimate role is as a last choice intervention when safety/security is at stake, the aggressor will not negotiate, and risk of harm is imminent.
- Use compromise only as a backup plan if attempts to co-create synergy fail. Freesponsible Citizens also know that most of the time when synergy attempts fail it is because facilitation deficits rather than because synergy is impossible.
- Refuse to engage in “I’m right so you must be wrong” power struggles that lead to polarization rather than problem-solving.
- Assume that each individual and group grasps pieces of a larger picture and
that others may not see those particular pieces as clearly as some individuals or groups do.
- Understand that only by combining perspectives can the bigger picture be co-discovered, rather than believing that any one individual or group accurately sees the big picture.
- Understand that only by co-discovering the full picture is it possible to co-create sustainable solutions that address issues at the root cause level.
- Demand that government officials become excellent at synergy and make it their first choice problem-solving method. Freesponsible Citizens understand that the solutions we need will not be created through partisan coercion or bipartisan compromise, but rather through transpartisan synergy.
You can learn more about the fundamental mechanics of synergy creation through this free e-Course:
You Have More Impact Than You Think
In all democracy-based republics (the United States being the first such country in modern history), leaders are citizens first. No citizen should be supported in becoming — or remaining — a leader who does not first embody the three key ingredients of Freesponsible Citizenship: Embracing America’s Mission Statement, Being a Savvy Citizen, and practicing Synergy. This is the key to the trickle-up leadership that people are hungry for and our country and the world most needs.
You truly have far more impact than you think. You can have negative impact and you can have positive impact. But you can’t have no impact. You have negative impact by remaining a Narcissistic Citizen, who suffers from Freesponsibility deficits. You have positive impact by choosing to become more of a Freesponsible Citizen. You can either help to end the Age of Polarization and usher in an Age of Integrity, or you can help prevent this transformation from occurring.
The choice is yours, but if we truly value our own long-term wellbeing and the sustainable wellbeing of the generations that follow us, becoming Freesponsible Citizens is the only alternative we really have. The benefit to you is that Freesponsibility will enable you to attain a depth of life fulfillment that you may not have thought possible. The benefit to society is… well… priceless beyond measure.
This shift in how we approach our growth as human beings marks the dawn of a new era in personal, relationship and leadership development: “individual development that serves us all™.”
Today’s massive integrity problems are the direct result of massively distorted ideas about what creates life fulfillment. Integrity is not simply a high ideal. Life fulfillment is not merely a desirable goal. Both require a specific set of skills that most of us don’t have but all of us can learn. During today’s troubled times, nothing could be more important than developing them.
A complete blueprint is now available that shows everyday people to world leaders how to succeed at integrity-centered living, loving, working and serving, by reconnecting the dots between integrity, life fulfillment, profitability and social responsibilty. “The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World” is a five-award-winning book that has achieved something quite rare: winning book awards in BOTH personal development and social change categories. This makes this book, along with its accompanying self-guiding companion, “The New IQ Integrity Makeover Workbook,” the premier resource for our time. No Freesponsible Citizen (including leaders) should be without it.
But, if you do nothing else, at least read the Integrity Stimulus Plan at www.IntegrityStimulusPlan.org and make your personal customized Integrity Pledge today. It’s completely free as a public service.