Think Globally, Act Locally

I’ve been thinking about this duality for a while, many years in fact. But for some reason, it showed up in multiple ways today.

I have a tendency to be a big picture person, I see it, and I want to get us there. The problem is that along that road there are a lot of small victories that need to be had. It’s often demoralizing if you know where you should be, and know how far ahead it still is.

Oddly enough, today’s letter of Seneca I read (#7) had these choice quotes:

“One man means as much to me as a multitude, and a multitude only as much as one man.”

Democritus

“I am content with few, content with one, content with none at all.”

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”

Epicurus

My take away for today is that while there are many big picture items I will strive towards, it’s only by taking small steps, by helping one person, improving one tool, that I’ll be able to achieve them.

The public service is non partisan

As you may know I’ve recently started at CDS. CDS is part of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, making me a civil servant. While I’ve had some fun blogging random, not really useful, thoughts about the current going-ons in politics I’m going to stop. While I don’t think they were partisan in nature ( since they were pretty much all over the place ), the default go to for civil servants is to stay quiet publicly about their personal thoughts on politics. I actually think this is a good, and a very important thing. I think Canadians needs to know that the folks in the civil service are working for the country ( technically the Queen ) and not working for a political party.

When joining the public service you take an oath. Part of it reads:

I solemnly affirm that I will faithfully and honestly fulfil the duties that devolve on me by reason of my employment in the public service of Canada

That oath is no matter what the government of the day is. And I intent to uphold that oath, no matter what the government of the day is. That’s why I won’t be posting any more musings on politics for the foreseeable future.

Belonging to political tribes

As you can see, my frequency of posts on the SNC Lavalin matter has declined. A bit because it seems like it’s not really that big of a deal. Ya it’s probably not the best thing to have done, especially moving Wilson Raybould out of that position, but in the scheme of things… shrug.

I’m concerned that perhaps my thoughts on it as biased because it’s “my tribe” and I’m just making excuses but I’m not sure. It does seem a bit overblown. I mean, would I of preferred if it hadn’t happened, yes. Do I think it’s sub-optimal and reflective of politics in general, yup. Will this change how I vote, probably not.

The “tribes” aspect is an interesting one. It reminded me of a blog post by Vincent St. Pierre about how you shouldn’t be a blogger. The problem is that many people, especially in politics assume that if you blog or tell thoughts that are not towing the party line, you’re not loyal and don’t deserve a job in politics. I understand the appeal of having folks who will toe the party line all the time even when not employed. You see it in many op eds written by consultants/lobbyists (which are often former staffers) who will probably go back to the ranks of political staff after making good money for a bit.

I’ve had a few people who mentioned to me that my analysis is interesting, but they don’t understand why I’d “burn bridges”. I understand the concern. I guess I don’t feel I’m burning bridges, I’m just talking about what I feel and how I understand things to be.

If someone doesn’t want me as part of their team because I speak my mind (publicly when not part of an organization, privately when part of an organization), then perhaps I’m not right for that job/organization.

I prefer having a nuanced conversation about topics instead of just hurling talking points to others. I understand that’s not something you can do when you’re working for a party, but as individuals, we should acknowledge when things are or were sub-optimal and really try to find common ground. We should dig into the root causes of issues and how we can fix them together.

As a friend recently said, “Elevate your discourse, you piece of shit”

La CAQ au Québec

La CAQ viens de gagner les élections au Québec. Il sont de droite et je me demande si c’est juste de la chance ou si quand le fédérale est plus de gauche les provinces change plus a droite et vice versa.

En tout les cas je suis d’une manière soulagé de ne pu vivre au Québec par ce que je n’aurais pas été sur pour qui voter. Les Libéraux au Québec sont un peu plus a la droite que je l’aimerais mais l’autre option, Québec Solidaire,  avec lequel je partage quand même assez d’opinion est super souverainiste.

Ya aussi un échange en particulier qui m’aurais probablement faite voter Libéral et c’est celui-ci:

La chose intéressante c’est que tous les parti sauf les Libéraux sont en accord. Je trouve sa troublant….

Accepting the things we cannot change

I recall reading Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change a few years ago and there’s one thing I always liked about it. It takes the quote:

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.

And then harps on “the wisdom to know the difference” part. The goal of that chapter was that there is always a way to impact change. That we don’t need to accept things we cannot change.

I’m not sure if I follow that. I think in a sense for me, not accepting the things we cannot change doesn’t mean banging your head against the wall trying to do the same thing over and over. It means reframing the goal. Giving things up the original way we intended to impact change to approach things in a different way.

In a sense knowing when to quit something to change completely the approach. I didn’t accept that I couldn’t change politics as much as realized that wasn’t the only way of going about my goal of making the world a better place.

You can impact change, sometimes you just need to totally ditch the current approach and do something completely different.