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Maybe it’s Time to March for ROOT CAUSE instead of Band-Aids

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I believe this Henny Youngman joke can be applied to tremendously improve the current way we address and “fix” issues in our society. 

Stick with me and I’ll explain.

It seems we are conditioned to a apply a band-aid approach to “improve” any situation or concern instead of looking for the root cause – the real reason – to stop an undesirable outcome from happening in the first place.  “It hurts when I do this – then don’t do that”.  Think about it.  It’s pretty much the key to solving the issues we face every day.

To improve life, I believe we have to take a quality improvement approach where look towards the ROOT CAUSE to determine where a problem or situation starts in the first place – and to find ways to stop the problem that produces the negative or undesirable outcomes from starting – not waiting for the negative and then try to “fix” it.

This is actually the goal of the Time to Play Foundation’s PREinvent YOUR Life® program – to provide tools and skills PRE vs. the use of therapy and counseling (the REinvention and REcovery).

The other day I posted a short video with a #FightFor hash tag (www.timetoplay.com/fightfor).   Instead of continuing to fighting against things like drugs, guns, poverty, homelessness, inequality, etc., which,  in my opinion, divides our people and where we don’t seem to come to solutions, but where issue(s) perpetuate and create frustrated and angry people, what if we started to #FightFor.

How about if we stop fighting against and start to fight FOR a solution, quality of life and life enjoyment that will create a better life for ourselves, our children, and our communities.  Because, in the end, isn’t that what we really want – to enjoy life?

However, it seems, now-a-days, we just continue to apply band aids or interim solutions without addressing and shifting the real issue(s) in the first place.

The following article has a few of my thoughts about some band-aids we have in our society we seem to get applied for us through policy  and/or legislation.

As you read, please consider  if you think these “solutions” provide positive outcomes.

I apologize for the length of the article, but felt I needed to provide some examples so you can see the current way we seem to address situations and that, maybe, there may be a better way of approaching situations or concerns.

Additionally, please keep in mind that I am not a scientist or an expert in everything.  These are my observations where it is evident to me, at some point, that if it’s not working, maybe it’s time to shift how we approach things.

Let’s start with something that’s ALWAYS in the news – Climate ControlIn my opinion, we don’t really address true causes.  We only hear about easy targets where we focus blame – for example, the oil and coal used to generate our energy.  Again, I’m not a scientist.  Do I believe these things pollute?  Absolutely.

Do I believe there are there options for the energy needs of the 347 million people who live here in the United States?  Possibly.

But, have we looked at the overall root cause of what is truly hurting our planet and our fellow life creatures who live in – for example – the ocean?

The other day my daughter told me about the amount of seemingly harmless STRAWS we use.

Did you know that 500 million straws are used and discarded EACH DAY in the U.S. alone and consistently make the top ten list of items found in our oceans?

Did you know that our fish are eating plastic and, in turn, you are eating plastic when you eat fish???   Just follow the link to the photo on the home page of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.  It’s very telling, but something I do not think the majority of people know or maybe they just choose to ignore.  I think things are hidden from the general public in the interest to fulfill an agenda that is bigger than the individual human who lives here.  Visit http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org for more information about straws and plastics.

Before I do move on from plastic, I feel compelled to discuss the Plastic Bag Ban recently instituted (January 2018) in Suffolk County, NY.  This ban was on plastic bags used to pack our shopping at checkout, but it really isn’t a ban.  The legislation now requires stores to charge 5 cents a bag if you don’t bring a bag with you.

Not kidding.

Do I believe these bags are a huge problem in the scheme of garbage?  I personally, absolutely do.  However, in my opinion, this ban is a fake band-aid intervention.

ALL plastic bags add to our huge garbage crisis.

Did you EVER look at how much garbage you and/or your family generates each week?  Personally, my family recycles everything we can.  I am proud that our recycle pile is now larger than our garbage pile that goes out each week.  We even bring home recycle from our office to put out each week.  Unfortunately, many communities and businesses don’t recycle at all.  By the way – once I found food stores that collect plastic bags, I started to recycle all clean plastic bags that we use in our home — every plastic bag that I can – including the HUGE ones the paper towels or toilet tissue come in at Sam’s club or BJs or Cosco.

I’ve been recycling plastic bags in our household for many months already, but the reason was reinforced a few days ago when we visited the Holtsville Ecology Center for a Spring home show.  I had been at the Ecology Center many times in the past, but for some reason was drawn to a display of garbage that apparently had been there in the case since the 1980’s.

The display was of garbage that had been in the landfill for 17 years before they dug it up and put it into the case.

The items that made the greatest impression on me were a can, a bread bag, a newspaper, and a beer bottle.  The items pretty much looked like they were brand new.

The bread bag made the greatest impression on me.  It looked like it was just purchased and brand new.  How many bread bags do you use at your home?  How many plastic bags do you come in contact with every day?

SO MANY THINGS we bring into our home are wrapped in plastic, pretty much – for example, frozen veggies, every package from Amazon, the bags we wrap our kids lunch in every day, the plastic wrap we use… just take a minute to stop and think about every plastic bag you touch every single day.

For info, here’s a list published in 2013 of the length of time common items take to biodegrade.  You can read more here: https://www.down2earthmaterials.ie/2013/02/14/decompose

  • Plastic bottles: 70-450 years
  • Plastic bag: 500-1000 years
  • Tin can: around 50 years
  • Leather shoes: 25-40 years
  • Thread: 3-4 months
  • Cotton: 1-5 months
  • Rope: 3-14 months
  • Cigarette: 1-12 years
  • Milk packet (tetra) covers and drink packets: 5 years
  • Nylon clothes: 30-40 years
  • Sanitary napkins & children diapers: 500-800 years
  • Glass bottles: 1,000,000 years
  • Hairspray bottle: 200-500 years
  • Fishing line: 600 years.
  • Glass bottle; 1-2 million years
  • Aluminum can: 200 years

So, how much will the plastic bag legislation really help?  In my opinion, it’s a start, but I don’t think it’s going to make a tremendous impact.

Remember that the bags didn’t go away but now just cost 5 cents a bag.  It makes me question why such a regulation would be put in place in the first place.  Think about how much money it cost the taxpayers to have our elected officials make this happen between the hearings and debates and legislation, and, when we look at the “whole”, this isn’t really going to make much difference.

We are not getting to a root cause.

And then there’s the drug crisis – I’m not going to go into a big discussion here, as this is a very powerful topic with a lot of emotion that, unfortunately, affects thousands and thousands of people.  The drug crisis is not the reason I started writing this article today, but feel it is something I need to mention.  This is a huge society issue where, in my opinion, we truly keep applying band-aids without really, really going into root cause to help people choose not to use drugs in the first place.

We keep blaming everything we can in this horrific and incredible societal situation without starting from the root cause of helping people to be happy as themselves or looking at the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) that are estimated to affect 64% of our population.  Did you know a person with an ACE has a 700% increased likelihood of becoming alcoholic, or attempting suicide by 1200%, or using IV drugs by 4600%?????

I believe we’ve been going in the wrong direction since President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” in 1972.  Did you know that we have spent over $1 trillion fighting the “war”?  I believe we are certainly losing.

A few days ago I watched President Trump’s speech where he announced that stricter penalties will be applied to persecute drug dealers.  He had a mom and dad who lost their son in their 20’s at the podium to speak about their loss.  I am a parent of 3 children, and I felt so saddened that they did lose their child, something not one parent should ever have to experience.  They told the story of how their son had so much promise and then, one day, decided to use (key words) the opiates they had in their medicine cabinet.  The pain killers were not prescribed to him.

Was the loss of this poor baby the fault of the drug company or a prescribing doctor?  Of course, I don’t know the whole story – I only know what the parents said in their few minutes telling their story – but, perhaps we should look at the WHY.  It is evident that the choice was his choice, for whatever reason.  Perhaps he had a physical or mental pain that he chose to start the self-medication, which, in turn, led to the addiction that killed him.  Without seeming cruel, I’m going to throw this out there – drug dealers are providing a service, like going to the car wash or nail salon.  If people didn’t want to buy the drugs, there would be no reason for a drug dealer to sell them.  No demand, no need for the supply.

I believe we have gotten away from the real root causes of why things start and are “fighting against” so many issues when, instead, we can have much better outcomes from finding a root cause and looking at how we can change the why it starts instead of the band-aids we apply to the aftermath.

We have tons of crisis hotlines for things like suicide prevention instead of helping people enjoy life.  We have insulin to give to the millions of people with type 2 diabetes, many times, a lifestyle disease; or the knowledge that lung cancer starts many through smoking or now vaping, but keep selling cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia; or the fact we need to keep filling food banks.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t have food banks.  Of course we need to make sure people eat.  But, it’s not solving the root cause of why the people don’t have food in the first place.

The Bible says that if you give a man a fish, he will eat today, but teach a man to fish and he will eat forever.  The Bible has been around for over 2,000 years.  We just don’t seem to listen.

In our society I believe we just keep taking up causes to fight against everything and the endless ways we put blame elsewhere and apply band-aids or interim solutions.

Maybe it is time for us to really stop and think of how these band-aids that we keep applying are not working, but hurting our families, hurting our children and keep an unhealthy cycle perpetuating.

So after this whole article, here’s the reason I started writing in the first place.

I felt I needed to showcase how we perpetuate and band-aid issues instead of solving the issues via root cause.

The hot topic of the day is gun control.

I watched the news reports of the thousands of people who marched “for life” yesterday for gun control.

I am certainly an absolute advocate of doing background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illness, depression or other health concerns that would question the judgment of the person who is purchasing a weapon of ANY type.  For example, look at OJ who “hypothetically” stabbed poor Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman to death.  I only mention this as a 2006 interview never before aired was just broadcast on national television in March 2018.

I believe we are missing a lot of issues here when we are just protesting for gun control.  Certainly, with the internet, there’s an endless array of items a person can “Google” to purchase if they truly want to do harm to others.

We are not looking at the ROOT CAUSE of gun safety.  It is evident guns don’t kill and that people do.  I think I’ve heard that phrase before.

But, for some reason, our society focuses on the band-aid or agenda of others instead of the root cause of the WHY a person would go and shoot up a store or a movie theater or a school.

A normal-thinking person who has or uses guns does not shoot people in the normal course of their lives.

If you Google you will find that the first modern gun was invented in 1364. That’s a long time to show that we’ve had guns available.  I felt I needed to put things in perspective and personally wonder what the real agenda may be.

If all we are addressing is the gun, we may be forgetting to look at the big picture.  It is not just the gun.

We certainly need to look at an individual’s reason behind the shootings.  We need to look at the thoughts of the individual(s) who carry out these unspeakable acts, their perception, and the sinister and premeditated motivation to carry forth such acts.

It does not stop there.  After we identify the motivation behind these acts, we then need to then apply a quality improvement initiative to turn lives around to one where people would value their lives and the lives of others, which would potentially prevent the hatred behind a person’s desire to conduct a mass shooting in the first place.

Again, I think there is a better way to stop negative outcomes if we #FightFor solutions.

I’m proposing a March for Root Cause.  A #FightFor our quality of life.

After all, I truly believe it is time to us to enjoy life, and the only way we can is to find the resources to give us the skills of personal empowerment, starting with the knowledge that it is possible to enjoy our life, to stop feelings of being hopeless or overwhelmed, to start looking for solutions and the need to look for ways to stop negative life experiences from starting in the first place.

It is through the power of the people that this can be accomplished.  It is time for us to come together and find opportunities to change our individuals and communities through root cause awareness and finding REAL solutions of prevention.  The solutions of the people by the people.

Just imagine the possibilities.

It is Time to Enjoy Life.  Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:  Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach, and the author of the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.

Doreen is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  The Foundation’s website, www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org, has resources, events and articles for a person to learn what they need to know for a better life.

The Foundation offers an unconventional approach in a non-threatening manner to provide solutions for the life situations that people may encounter.  Working in healthcare since 1987, and with her background in quality improvement, she has followed statistics showing our society’s current evolution to be more “sick and sad”.   She developed the Time to Play Philosophy:  you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance for quality of life and believes everyone has the ability to enjoy life.

Photo credit:  http://2peasrefugees.boards.net/thread/48704/push-on-places-hurt?page=2

Rational vs. Irrational

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rational vs irrational

Today’s reflection stems from my thoughts regarding this past week’s emotional roller coaster.

With people getting attacked for their views, I believe it really emphasizes the idea behind the science of social and emotional intelligence education.

Personally, I have to admit that this past week was hard for me.  Even with all the training I have had in life coaching and emotional intelligence coaching, I unfortunately allowed the whole negative energy to get “in” and affect me in a negative manner.  I can’t remember being so exhausted.

That being said, each experience does broaden our own personal awareness in order for us to use the experience to make future changes to enhance our quality of life.

Based on my conversations with many people, very few seem to have awareness about social and emotional intelligence. I find it worthwhile for this article to focus on what it is and what it can do for individuals and corporate organizations going forward.

Social and Emotional Intelligence is a learned behavior which I believe is the root of individual behavior and our quality of life.

Social and Emotional Intelligence has been defined as:  The ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships.

I believe that having an individual strong Social and Emotional Intelligence is so important.

I also believe there is an appropriate level of behavior that people need to exhibit when reacting to any situation, whether personal or in a workplace.  I believe that reactions need to be one of rational expression where we need to consider the whole situation and that we need to consider the ramifications of our own personal behavior.  I believe our behavior and reactions positively or negatively impact our lives and our relationships.

For example, think about explosive behavior in a workplace.  If you have a boss that does not consider all sides to a situation, but just reacts in an explosive manner, how does that make you feel?

This can be applied to any circumstance or relationship including that between yourself and your spouse, your parent, your child, your coworker, a checkout clerk, or that of a person driving a car next to you.

Our reactions are truly important to consider, which brings me back to why I wrote this article which discusses the potential different perceptions of people regarding rational vs. irrational behavior.  I believe we need to become aware of, and have a need for, broad social and emotional intelligence coaching.

In today’s society, I personally do not think we have the filters we used to have for our behaviors.  I also believe we have, as a society, have come to accept less controlled reactions from others.  It has become commonplace for bullying, riots, road rage and mass shootings, and we seem to have become desensitized and have come to expect these occurrences.  Personally, as we are not a barbaric society, I believe that this is step in the wrong direction.

While I do believe self expression is important, I also believe it is necessary to consider the “whole” and that it is the responsibility for each of us to control our reactions to not impede the rights, health, or to negatively impact the lives of others.  Ever hear the idiom “it is a two-way street”?  It may be necessary to consider that compromise is a necessary consideration in our interactions with others.  The problem with this is that we have to recognize how our behaviors and reactions relate to compromise and finding solutions to situations in a manner that is best for all.

I believe a strong social and emotional intelligence is necessary to have a quality of life for not only an individual, but the whole.

The following is an excerpt from the book, Emotional Intelligence written by Daniel Goleman in 1995:   “The emotional lessons we learn as children at home and at school shape the emotional circuits, making us more adept – or inept – at the basics of emotional intelligence.  This means that childhood and adolescence are critical windows of opportunity for setting down the essential emotional habits that govern our lives”.  He noted that hazards await those who, in growing to maturity, fail to master the emotional realm.  He further noted that deficiencies in emotional intelligence heighten a spectrum of risks from depression or a life of violence to eating disorders and drug abuse, and how teaching children the emotional and social skills they need can keep their lives on track.  Mr. Goleman reported that a survey of parents and teachers showed a worldwide trend for the present generation of children to be more troubled emotionally than the last:  more lonely and depressed, more angry and unruly, more nervous and prone to worry, more impulsive and aggressive.

Again, acknowledging that social and emotional intelligence is learned behavior, I advocate for the need for us to learn these necessary skills. Emotional Intelligence is an important component of the Foundation’s PREinvent YOUR Life® program.

During my Social and Emotional Intelligence coaching education, I learned there were 26 competencies that affect our reactions and behaviors that include: Emotional self-awareness, accurate self-awareness, personal power, behavioral self-control, integrity, innovation and creativity, initiative and bias for action, achievement drive, realistic optimism, resilience, stress management, personal agility, intentionality, empathy, situational awareness, service orientation, communication, interpersonal effectiveness, powerful influencing skills, conflict management, inspirational leadership, catalyzing change, building bonds, teamwork and collaboration, coaching and mentoring others and building trust.

I believe that you can build on your emotional intelligence strengths and that, if you have vulnerability in any particular area, it will negatively impact your quality of life and the quality of life of those with whom you interact.

Please feel free to contact me at 631-331-2675 if you have questions regarding social and emotional intelligence.  I would be most willing to discuss your personal situation.

With the knowledge that we are only able to control ourselves, our behavior, our feelings and our actions, I believe it is necessary to start with ourselves to insure a better future.  I believe it is time for us to each be personally responsible for our ability to achieve quality of life.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:

Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach, and the author of the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.

Doreen is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  The Foundation’s website, www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org, has resources, events and articles for a person to learn what they need to know for a better life.

The Foundation offers an unconventional approach in a non-threatening manner to provide solutions for the life situations that people may encounter.  Working in healthcare since 1987, and with her background in quality improvement, she has followed statistics showing our society’s current evolution to be more “sick and sad”.   She developed the Time to Play Philosophy:  you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance for quality of life and believes everyone has the ability to enjoy life.

Photo credit:  https://sophistics.wordpress.com