Today’s Topics: The Christmas Story | Day 11’s Christmas Deal | PPE Restock Alert | What is Right – Part 3 | News to Start Your Day
December 22nd is National Cookie Exchange Day! Sounds good to me…I like chocolate chip cookies by the way.
In the last couple of days before Christmas, I wanted to share with you the Christmas story from the book of Luke, Chapter 2. The gospels all have an account of Jesus’ birth. Luke’s version is the one we hear most often.
Here is Luke 2:1-20
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
For those more into video presentations, here is an animation account of chapters 1 and 2: The Birth of Jesus – Gospel of Luke Ch. 1-2
Product Spotlights & Updates from Rebecca:
I can’t believe we’re already on Deal 11 of our 12 Deals of Christmas!
Today’s deal is on the Cisco Catalyst 2960X-STACK! This stacking module allows you to maximize scalability by increasing the number of stacking members and bandwidth in your network! This module supports a bandwidth of up to 80 Gbps over distances of up to 3 meters (10 feet)! This usually sells for $189.99 but it is on sale now for only $150!
We were running low on our MagiCare Disinfecting Wipes but have added more to our stock! Check out our selection of alcohol cleaning wipes that are competitively priced, in stock, and ready to ship!!
- Individually Wrapped 70% Alcohol Cleaning Wipes – We have some awesome INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED 70% Alcohol Cleaning Wipes that are perfect for a wide variety of uses! Keep them in your home, your purse, your car, your desk drawer, your kids’ backpack or lunchbox… these things are so convenient and can go anywhere!! We offer these in packs of 50 Wipes, 100 Wipes, or even a case of 2,500 Wipes!
- MagiCare Premium Disinfecting Wipes 75% Alcohol – If you’re looking for a pouch of cleaning wipes, look no further than our MagiCare Premium Disinfecting Wipes! These have a 75% alcohol content which makes them perfect for ensuring proper sanitation! Carry this convenient pouch with you anywhere to make sure that you can quickly and easily clean surfaces in under 10 seconds! Act quickly though, these are almost gone!
What is Right? Part 3 (Binary Decision Trap) – by Gary, our Chief Administrative Steward
This is Part 3 in a series on “What is Right?” (How to decide when the choice isn’t obvious). Part 1 (here) identified seven filters (tools) that can help you choose right. Part 2 (here) outlined a simple three-step thought process for applying those tools. This post describes a subtle, but potentially dangerous trap into which we often inadvertently fall. I call it the “Binary Decision Trap.”
In short, the Binary Decision Trap frames questions around issues with only two possible answers – yes/no, start/stop, go/stay, etc. Without denying the presence in life of authoritative questions involving right and wrong, we too often allow binary thinking to constrain our alternatives and thereby eliminate a vast array of potential outcomes which might enrich our lives. I want to quickly explore three perspectives around binary thinking. Why do we submit to, or even prefer, binary thinking? The consequences of binary thinking? And, how to avoid binary thinking?
Why we fall into binary thinking?
It’s simple. Binary thinking enables us to address the increasing complexity of our world. We quickly narrow our thinking to one alternative and frame it as a go/no-go, good/bad, us/them choice.
It’s easy. Admittedly, some decisions are substantially less consequential and deserve an easy decision process. However, we must guard against lazy thinking that allows decisions of import to drift into binary thinking mode.
Competitive mindset. The competitive nature of American culture cultivates a mindset that frames the world in binary terms—winners and losers. We especially see this happening in the political arena where players from all political persuasions leverage and twist every action and statement for advantage—whether to lift its own party or tear down others. When our minds and emotions get bombarded daily with win/lose dialogue it seeps unaware into every aspect of our lives.
Scarcity mentality. People with a scarcity mentality automatically default to “either/or” thinking. Their fixed-pie worldview condenses every issue into haves and have-nots; givers and takers; and winners and losers.
Consequences of Binary Thinking
Law of Unintended Consequences. We get surprised. Striving for simplicity causes us to devalue or neglect context. We naively consider inconsequential and ignore whatever caused the current situation. We also fail to speculate about the impact our choice may have on the future.
Polarization occurs. Binary thinking divides us. Advocates for either side of a binary decision quickly fracture into separate camps and harden their positions. Rather than facing off against the issue advocates face off against each other.
Extremes get amplified. Oversimplification and polarization make it easy to believe that more is better (or worse). Arguing replaces dialogue. Binary choices drive stakeholders to choose a side too early in the thought process. Once we’ve chosen a side, we feel compelled to defend that choice. The dialogue which naturally accompanies a spirit of open inquiry gets supplanted by the argumentation which flows from a mind closed to other alternatives.
Winning replaces learning. Binary thinking encourages a win-lose mentality. Our thought process narrows to alternately selling or defending our position. Our energy gets consumed in advocacy and leaves no mental capacity for learning.
Identity crises. In extreme cases, we even let our identity get allied with our choice. At that point, our ego enters the equation, and we lose perspective. Rather than a dispassionate search for the best solution, we engage our intellect and emotion in self-defense. As an aside, this reminds me of one of the best pieces of business advice I ever received; namely, “Never get so closely identified with your position (on an issue) that when it goes down, you go down with it.”
Avoiding Binary Thinking
What practical steps can we take to avoid binary thinking?
- First, and most importantly, actively seek the best alternative; frame the issue as “ What is the best/wise thing to do?” Consider a variety of alternatives and mentally condition yourself to avoid staking out a position too early when faced with an important decision.
- Take time to consider context. How did I/we get in this situation? How have my own choices influenced the present? How have external factors contributed to present circumstances? What is driving current behaviors—My own and others? What’s changing around me that could make the future different from the past?
- Consider consequences. Invest time in contemplating what-if scenarios. I will discuss in a future post the fourfold test I use.
- Consider all the stakeholders. Who is affected by this decision? Ideally seek their input and perspective, but at a minimum reflect on how the various alternatives will impact them.
- Actively seek different points of view. There is wisdom in many counselors. Look beyond the circle of stakeholders. Listen and learn from those who have walked the path before you. Seek input from subject matter experts. Sound out the wise people in your life.
A shout out to Eric Jackson whose TechWire column of many years ago got me thinking about binary thinking.
Today’s News to Start Your Day:
- As of this morning, there are 21,422,256 active cases worldwide, 54,716,714 have recovered and there have been 1,711,815 deaths. In the US, there are 7,344,448 active cases, 10,802,496 have recovered and there have been 326,772 deaths.
- Both the Senate and the House approved a $900 billion coronavirus relief package late Monday, hours after the long-awaited bill passed the House of Representatives. Many Americans could receive $600 stimulus payments as soon as next week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.
- The Coronavirus Relief bill was the longest in US history with over 5,000 pages, and included additional items dealing with the succession of the Dalai Lama, two new museums, Meat and Poultry facility upgrades, and $15 billion for live music venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and top federal infectious-disease specialist Anthony S. Fauci will follow suit today.
- Reuters reported on Monday that Apple is aiming to start production of an Apple-branded car for consumers as soon as 2024.
- Walmart on Monday said it added a new pickup option to make returning online orders less of a hassle. The new service, Carrier Pickup by FedEx, lets people return items without having to leave their home, Walmart said in a blog post. Customers start the return process on Walmart’s website and print out a shipping label, then schedule a time for FedEx to pick up the unwanted item. Carrier Pickup by FedEx is free for items shipped and sold by Walmart.com and available in areas where FedEx offers small-parcel pickup service, the retail giant said.