I made a killer presentation on the empathy of DISC profiling – and got fired for my efforts.

What? Me worry?

What? Me worry?

The presentation I made to The 21 Convention in Tampa in October of 2014 has finally been made available. I spoke on the underlying empathy strategies that result in the DISC personality profile, providing a scorecard to human motivation to the people who need it most: Cautious, socially-awkward nerds.

The events surrounding that presentation are taken up in this week’s Church of Splendor homily. My take? I killed it. The upshot? I got fired. Other people might be dismayed by such an outcome, but I am Driven/Incandescent: If there’s no risk of getting canned, I’m not working hard enough.

A number of other videos are cited in this one. These are those in their order of importance (to me):

My presentation on the empathy of DISC. (My slides for this presentation.)

My interview with Marilee Johnson.

A podcast with Steve Mayeda and Socrates.

The DISC of Love and Sales.

My long interview with Anthony Johnson, Socrates and Marilee Johnson.

All of this grows out of two short books I wrote in the late Summer of 2014, both of which you should read to reap all I have to sow: Nine Empathies and Shyly’s Delight.

If you want to explore your social world – discerning why it is so-often broken and how to go about fixing it – this is where the magic happens.

And if you’re looking for a speaker who can deliver the goods – fun, funny, original, insightful and inspiring – hire me. Your audience will love me – even if it turns out you don’t.

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Donald #Trump’s fatal conceit? You can’t fake leadership.

You were expecting Henry V? More fool you.

You were expecting Henry V? More fool you.

What cost Donald Trump Iowa? The man is a phony – and everyone knows it.

I’ve written too much about this loser already, and I expect there will be more to be heard from Brother Willie. For now, a brief gloss to defend the headline.

First: Trump is an Id (Incandescent/Driven) with outrageous father-hunger. An Is is negotiable; he wants to be liked. An Ic is implacable, which is why you’re more likely to find him in government or other inescapable spaces, rather than in business. An Id is a carny: He will say whatever it takes to get the deal done, and every scruple you find on the man will have been put there by conscious intention, rather than by long-standing habit of mind. Steve Jobs was Donald Trump with slightly better values. Look for this profile in memorable politicians from history – whose crimes we are most often only too happy to forget.

Id is a hardy reptile, and Trump is a very big lizard, owing to the outrages that made him what he is. Every bully on every playground is telling you awful truths about his homelife. That Trump has only gotten worse as a bully, all his life, is how you can measure the scale of his outrage. He is a man out of Sophocles, and in all the worst ways. I look forward to according him nothing but pity.

But Donald Trump is a Prom King, not an actual leader. He is Driven for Incandescent purposes, not the other way around, which means that how other people see him will always matter more to him than getting the job done. This is why he has been a serial failure in business, contrary to his blowhard claims: The claims matter a hell of a lot more to him than the failures.

Moreover, what people see as Trump being a leader is actually Trump being the Prom King, the social arbiter who sustains his false status by pre-emptively rejecting all potential challengers. He doesn’t have an actual following. What he has is (more…)

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You know #Trump is a monster. What do you plan to tell your children when he comes for you – or for them?

No one does smug like a lifelong thug. Will you feed your kids to this monster?

No one does smug like a lifelong thug.Will you feed your kids to this monster?

The Republicans are screwed: They have reduced their options to Benito Mussolini versus Frank Underwood. The worst of it is, the election will be won by President Fallguy, either way. Marxism is collapsing, and Marxism must not be blamed for that failure. And #BrotherYouAskedForIt!

You could argue that I have it easy: I don’t vote – or, rather, I make an elaborate production of voting for no one. Plus which, while people who take me seriously take me very seriously, those folks are few in number – and most of them don’t vote, either. My favorite candidate in this race is a hopeless case – Rand Paul – and I like his father better than him, and I like perennial libertarian favorite #NoneOfTheAbove best of all.

But even though the eventual winner of this election – the ignominious Fallguy – will be remembered as one of history’s great losers, the candidate I want to see lose – and lose in the most humiliating fashion – is Donald Trump.

Why? Because Trump is a monster. People natter all the time about sociopaths – where sociopath is almost always a squishy sobriquet meaning, “He called me on my vices and the truth hurt” – but Trump is the real thing: An actual remorseless bullying thug.

You know that’s true. If you hate him, it’s why you hate him. Much worse, if you like him, it’s why you like him: You think he will be your monster – which is me calling you on your own vices.

Why is Trump a monster? Because his father summarily rejected him at the age of 13 or 14, when he shipped the already-vicious bully he had spawned off to military school:

You will have noted that I tend to focus on fathers. A mother’s job is to nurture her child’s body. A father’s job is to cultivate his intellectual and emotional life. Where children or adults betray enduring, outsized unmet needs, these are failures of cultivation rather than of nurturance. This is not to say (more…)

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The Rancor-Free Marriage: Deploying better empathy strategies to be most-happily wed.

A key to our happy marriage is my desire to keep my Cathleen looking at me that way.

A key to our happy marriage is my desire to keep my Cathleen looking on me that way.

How is that you can get along so perfectly with your dog or cat, when there is so much ongoing conflict in your marriage? One very big reason is that you and your pets do not have irrational expectations of each other. Your dog is going to be who he is, and you don’t expect him to be you instead. You are assuredly mystifying to your cat, and yet she manages to take your bizarre behavior in stride.

Continuing with our discussion of rancor-management, this week’s Church of Splendor homily illuminates the path to a rancor-free marriage:

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Chunkybutt Barbie? Really? In that case, here are some more ideas for anti-ideal inaction figures.

Meet Chunkybutt Barbie. If you think she’s fat now, watch how she blows up when you put a ring on her.

Meet Chunkybutt Barbie. If you think she’s fat now, watch how she blows up when you put a ring on her.

There’s a new Barbie down at the mall – and hot she is not. In an attempt to quiet the roar of shrill criticism over the unattainable ideal set by that classic Barbie physique, Mattel has elected to toss all ideals onto the trash-heap of history.

What could be more compassionate that to aim squarely for the middle? Nothing inspires indolence like the celebration of mediocrity, and no one sets a better example for impressionable children than the impresionable children who spawn them.

Accordingly, I’ve prepared a list of other anti-ideals to enshrine in semi-movable inaction figures. My sad and solemn promise: All examples are drawn from real life.

  1. Manatee Barbie. If fat is beautiful, she’s the queen of the mall! She comes with her own power-chair. Insulin drip optional. 
  2. Bulimarexia Barbie. Because lunch is always prettier the second time you see it. Comes with infinite reupchuckable food supply. 
  3. Yoga Pants Barbie. Guarantee: Zero anatomical secrets concealed. 
  4. Manatee Ken. Guarantee: Even in the tightest of fleece fashions, not a single anatomical detail is revealed. 
  5. Slugly Futt Barbie. She somehow manages to squeeze into any of Classic Barbie’s outfits – but Classic Barbie will never wear them again. 
  6. Infinidistant Ken. Even though he never looks up from his smart phone, he still manages to impregnate Manatee Barbie. 
  7. Backwards Ballcap Ken. World’s greatest dad? Not so much. Even so, he’s always passionately committed to nothing. 
  8. O.G. Pretend Ken. Slight, white and not too bright, he has one word for the world: “Word!” 
  9. O.G. For Realz Ken. Available with optional offspring – who will be raised by Barbie’s mom. 
  10. Hispanafrasian Barbie. Is she black? Hispanic? Asian? Muslim? There’s a new don’t-ask-don’t-tell in town! 
  11. Frustrated Rock Star Ken. Because somebody’s gotta wear the black top-hat around here! 
  12. Transsexual Ken. He puts the ‘out’ in pout – and makes Slugly Futt Barbie feel so pretty! 
  13. Gnomerod Ken. Is he a nimrod? Or is he a gnome? Pudgy and hairless, he comes complete with five identical sweatsuits. 
  14. Lumbersexual Ken. Changes his beard and hairstyle once a week. Changes his (more…)
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What’s even better than rancor management? How about avoiding rancor altogether – supplanting it with delight?

The people around you are open books. I can teach you how to read.

The people around you are open books. I can teach you how to read.

Sunday’s Church of Splendor homily takes us once beyond rancor management: By apprehending the empathy strategies of the people around you, you can engineer your social groups – marriage, family, work – to avoid rancor altogether, replacing it with enduring delight for everyone.

When a kitten is afraid of you, you don’t bellow at or mock its fears. There’s a reason you don’t react appropriately to the fear-induced strategies of the people you live and work with – and that reason is wrong. The people who attend to me are learning how to do better. You could be one of them.

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Ashes of Ebony: Saying goodbye to the craziest cat we’ve ever loved.

Just the seventeen of us sixteen years ago. Ebony is the cat in Meredith's arms, top-left.

Just the seventeen of us sixteen years ago. Ebony is the cat in Meredith’s arms, top-left.

Of all the crazy cats we’ve ever known, she was by far the craziest, and I can prove that proposition with just one example: She didn’t believe in gravity. She would lay flat on my chest with all four legs splayed out wide, an unwitting imitation of a cat-skin rug, with every claw dug deep into my shirt – and my skin – just in case.

She was born the runt of her litter. She never got enough milk, and then she was weaned too young. Still worse, she got herself knocked-up in her first heat by a much bigger tom and her own kittens were so big they almost suckled her dry. When they were rescued, she was barely half-an-inch across at the belly.

She was adopted by a lady who thought she was over her cat allergies but wasn’t, so she came to us as a foster cat until her forever family could find her – but that never happened because her forever family turned out to be us.

We called her Ebony because she was so very black, with just a hint of smoke in her undercoat. She was slight and lean always, even after she got some weight on her, and we always thought of her as the Audrey Hepburn of our cats – always beautiful, always elegant, always distant with the other cats.

We kept her because people can be so stupid about black cats. And because she was born most-likely-to-be-tormented anyway. And because our daughter Meredith, holding Ebony in the top-left in the photo, taken for our Christmas card in the year 2000, fell in love with her. It was with Meri that Ebony perfected her claws-out splayed repose, as comfortable as she ever got in a world that would not hold still. She glommed onto me when Meri was away, eventually glomming onto me in perpetuity.

And her crazy was so complete that, had she been human, I could not have kept her at bay with a restraining order and (more…)

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