The Circumference of Me – Chapter 2

2. Positives from negatives

There are times in your life when things stop making sense. Familiar sights and sounds seem out of focus and muffled; systems which only yesterday were comforters in your business, non-profit association, or corporate world miraculously turn into a patchwork quilt with a Drunkard’s Path design. Policies which once seemed to protect you are suddenly, like the cat of homespun legend, stealing your breath away and smothering your creativity.

When your personal world – your professional portrait, familiar processes at home and work, predictable market trends – breaks apart, take comfort in the fact that there are always pieces left. Don’t discard those pieces; they are parts of you. Take them and play with them. Put them together to create a new picture of the change in you — a you collage.

To do that, take a giant step in the direction of change: Put your brain in neutral. Of course, that’s hard to do. Your brain does not normally recognize commands to go into neutral mode because it makes little sense of the attempt. With your brain in neutral, there are no thought patterns being created, and the brain is a pattern-loving organ. Your thinking self yearns to make sense of events, people, and opportunities; it wants to reason its way out of an economic ditch, a catastrophic relationship, or a job that sucks.

Putting your brain in neutral does not mean “not thinking.” It means selectively thinking about things that, when viewed from the perspective of your personal or professional life, are “neutral.”

One manager confides that her personal neutral mode consists of closing her eyes during a quiet moment and concentrating on a single thought: A turtle walking at the edge of a tranquil pond. In a personal form of meditation or bio-feedback, the woman simply takes a minute or less and “walks” the turtle in her mind – silently repeating the personal mantra, “Turtle, turtle, turtle,” the silent words matching each imagined step. This form of “non-sense” calms and relaxes this particular manager, enabling her to put her creative brain in neutral, giving herself a refreshing pause.

It’s the paradox of non-sense. Through this neutral process, or whichever one you choose, it’s possible to direct your brain back to Square One, then take off again to find to new patterns and conclusions. Now is as good a time as any to explode yourself with mental dynamite and reinvent you. It’s the perfect time for reinvestment of creative energy, setting new goals, dreaming new dreams, strengthening your personal will, and reorganizing your personal organizational structure to find positive uses for those tired, old, broken and scattered pieces of the s of your yesterday.

When things break – in your personal life, in your job, in the market – huge amounts of negative and positive energy are released. That energy has to go somewhere. You choose where to direct that energy…and when. Doesn’t it make sense to use it to enhance the positive side of your life?

That’s the premise and reason for the Circumference of Me: directing stray thoughts into a living, breathing, growing example of how you can change your life through the appreciation and development of a very special personal tool: personal thought leadership.

Take charge of your thoughts. Take charge of your life.

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The Mess Just Got Messier

By George Smith

Truism of this political cycle – The mess just got messier.

In the wake of the report by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, the partisan ship the U.S.S. Crapaduck is sailing in shark-infested waters and it’s all hands on deck, line up and walk the plank hand-in-hand singing “We Shall Overcome Because There Was No Collusion or Obstruction.”

The result of the long-awaited report made the Trump Administration giddy for the time being but the course this coarse administration will now follow is destined to be chaos-squared. You know, like what we have witnessed for the past 27 months…only this chaos will be more chaotic, if that is possible.

First, if you think that Mueller and his team of investigative lawyers and technocrats, by not bringing further indictments against Trump associates and/or family members, is wiping his hands of the investigation, you are mistaken. If there is a person in government smarter, more organized and clear of mind in regard to a mission that Mueller…well, I will wait while you ponder just whom that might be.

Knowing the pardon power of a sitting president, Mueller handed off more information, more reams of investigative paperwork and recorded interviews to various state and district prosecutors (Southern and Northern Districts of New York, Washington, D.C., and Florida) than the New York Times runs in a Sunday issue. A president’s pardon power only applies to federal charges; get charged by state prosecutors and you are on your own.

The report and the initial sippy-cup summary from Attorney General William Barr did create an initial Happyness Culture in Trump supporters and at Fox News. But even some Fox commentators spit up some of the Trump wine-flavored Koolaid and acknowledged the president and others are not yet out of legal troubles.

The House set one tone of bipartisanship by voting 410-0 (20 members did not vote) to have Barr release the entire report. In the Senate, Lindsey Graham killed a similar vote by requesting the FBI release information about the investigation into the Hillary Clinton campaign.

(Uhhh, Sen. Graham, Hillary Clinton lost the election; your side won. Your party investigated Clinton when she was secretary of state multiple times for multiple reasons and never laid a hob-nailed boot on her. Give it up, already! Clinton is a dead horse and you are still beating it to distract from the current administration issues. Stick with the issue at hand…the Mueller report and should it be made public or not.)

I am amazed that after the Democrats rolled up the House countin the midterm election that Republicans started pleading with them to work on bipartisan issues. These are the same Republicans who, for the past eight years or more have told congressional Democrats to pound sand and “let the big dogs eat.”

Now the food is in the other bowl in the House and Republicans in the lower chamber are feeling neglected and brow-beaten.

It would behoove every member of Congress to remember the lessons of the last few years: Be careful how you behave when you are in power because when you lose the majority (and you will at some point), expect to be treated like you treated those in the minority when you were big hog at the trough.

It’s not the way our government is supposed to work, but dysfunction breeds dysfunction and everyone suffers, especially the people for whom the elected officials are supposed to be working.

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The Circumference of Me – Chapter 1


Each chapter of The Circumference of Me was designed with someone just like you in mind, someone who wants to explore the realistic depths of his or her abilities, to think not only about realities but about perceptions and how they influence our lives. 

Circumference is designed to improve your business self, enhance the understanding and expansion of your leadership abilities, develop a sense of the importance of the synergies that are possible if your business and personal lives are in sync, and to be as successful and personally fulfilled in whatever business you choose.

It is, in a single phrase, a take-away tool kit of ideas. Regardless of whether you own your own business, or where you now sit in a professional organizational chart, or if you are just starting a professional career, you will take something positive away from the Circumference of Me.

Some of the chapters in this book – guaranteed! – will speak directly to you. When you start reading the book from the front, or when you start selecting chapters to read at random, you will begin to ask yourself questions: 

Why did this chapter heading interest me?

What is the intent of the chapter and how can I use it?

Will this chapter give me advice to advance my career? Make me a better employee? Better manager? 

What was the take-away lesson?

Would that work in my organization?

What would people think if I tried that at work?

    This book is not a cure-all for the Business Blahs. It is only one small piece of the multiple building blocks that make up your life. The individual chapters are tools to put into your business or association tool belt and pull out when needed. It is designed not to change the way you view your professional world, but to create a need to thin kabout your business world and explore different options that might lead to success.

With its mixture of unique visuals and around-the-corner word images, Circumference of Me encourages you to take the different shapes and parts that appeal to you so you can think about you in a different way. You can take familiar patterns in your life and, using the ideas in this book, discover the possibilities that exist when you change integral parts and shapes. Like Legos, using the ideas, thoughts, real-life examples, and advice in these pages you can take diverse pieces and design options for various pathways for your life.

The chapters are designed to stimulate thoughts about how each individual looks at themselves and provides images – in drawings and words – to enable them to start to contemplate their personal shape and how they can start corralling the errant pieces of their professional lives and rounding off the corners to create a symmetrical Circumference of Me. 

There are myriad pieces in this kit from which to choose. You can read them all or mix-and-match to suit your mood. You decide which parts are crucial to defining your personal Circumference of Me. Or you can use the chapters to create new boundaries on which to build your career … and life.

The challenge is to think, and learn; the challenge is accepting; the challenge is in your personal ability to view yourself from an analytical point of view and, where necessary, to change that which needs changing.

1 The Circumference of Me

Most people don’t think of themselves as having a “circumference.” They couldn’t be more wrong. Every man, woman, and child has a personal circumference. It is defined by their culture and education, basic personality and life-lessons (learned, ignored, and forgotten), and hopes and fears.

The Circumference of Me is what makes you, well, you. The circle defines you as a person, both professionally and personally; it’s your aura, your persona. It’s the outward focus of the inner you. It is the public face you allow others to see and dictates how they perceive you in the common slice of this world you occupy. Your circumference is not one trait, or three, or five. It’s every single last one of your traits, and it also includes every single thing that you have done to get to this point in your life. It’s the part of the circle that connects the past that is embracing the now, with the past and now defining your future, completing the Circumference of Me.

When’s the last time you contemplated the circumference of you? That’s not a trick question. The trick questions will become evident later. Your personal circumference is more than a personal inventory of attributes and weaknesses. It’s not a goal, it’s a mission. It’s not something you do to pass the time away; knowing your circumference is to define your life. It means to be conscious of who you are and what you want to be at different segments of your life-journey. 

Searching for your personal circumference creates the necessity for an objective evaluation of every aspect that makes you a unique person. It creates a need to recognize the sharp corners in the personal and business briefcase that defines you and devise an aggressive action plan to round off those obtrusive corners, creating a smooth surface that projects not only the aura, but the reality of your life. Attaining The Circumference of Me puts in clear focus (or at least un-rags the edges) your professional appearance, competence in any situation, a calm demeanor, and extraordinary communication skills. Under the right situation, and the right projection of self, it instills a belief of virtual invincibility in coworkers.

Those who attain their personal circumference create simplicity of action that transcends from one who learns, to one who mentors and teaches.

You have a personal circumference. Seriously, you do. Right now. It is a robust, simple container that can hold all the corrugated elements that make up you in the now. You determine whether you just watch your container shrink or take actions that enable it to grow; you elect to use life experiences and new-found wisdom to change the elements that make up its shape. What you do with your circumference is strictly up to you.

It’s difficult to be aware of your personal circumference, your boundaries, your length and breadth and depth . . . your personal and professional periphery.

It’s important to understand that The Circumference of Me boundaries were not established by chance. The boundaries of you are set by you. No one else gets the credit or the blame. No one but you can create an environment for personal change, set the amount of change, or relegate degrees of importance of it.

To know your circumference and the elements that define it, is to truly know yourself.

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Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the Electoral College, shall we?


There aren’t any.


Crapaduck! Where to start?

As a former history major and a reader of all genres of historical literature, I thought I knew a thing or three about the hows, whys and soforths of the Electoral College.  For example, I “knew” the Electoral College was originally set up to be quasi-independent to make sure the “unwashed masses’ didn’t vote for a simpleton or a would-be king.

According to a History Channel blurb, a little more than a decade after the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress considered several ways to elect a president. These included selection by Congress, by the governors of the states, by the state legislatures, by a special group of Members of Congress chosen by lot, and by direct popular vote..

When a consensus could not be reached, a committee devised the electoral college system in its original form. It sought to reconcile differing state and federal interests, provide a degree of popular participation in the election, give the less populous states some additional leverage in the process by providing “senatorial” electors, preserve the presidency as independent of Congress, and generally insulate the election process from political manipulation.

Oh, yes, the original intent was good. After more than 230 years, “original intent” means less than a politician’s promise 10 days before election.

The electors are expected to vote the wishes of the voters, but are not required to do so. The rub is from a section of the law creating the body allowing the states to choose the way the college members are supposed to vote; some require all college votes to go to the statewide winner, while other state’s votes are allotted as percentage of the votes received by individual candidates.

See where the basic problem lies?

In states where all electoral votes go to the overall vote-getter, regardless of how close the race is, the votes of those who voted for the ‘loser” simply do not count. That was never the intent of our forefathers, who, almost to a man, asserted that every vote was important.

Furthermore, notwithstanding the founders’ intent and efforts, the electoral college system almost never functioned as they intended, but, as with so many constitutional provisions, the document prescribed only the system’s basic elements, leaving ample room for development…or as has been the case, manipulation.

As the republic evolved, so did the electoral college system, and, by the late 19th Century, an incredible range of constitutional, federal and state legal, and political elements of the contemporary system were in place.

You know how it works…the system doesn’t work to suit one party or the other and changes, shifts and reasons are employed to make it “right’ and “right” is subjective.

While there have been electors who took the Constitution’s directive of being independent to heart and refused to follow the lead of their voting constituents as gospel (one each in 1948, 1956, 1960,1968, 1976, 1988 and 2000), no such action as ever affected a presidential election outcome.

Of the 50 states, 48 are winner-take-all states (with several states moving away from that uneven allotment of votes); in that situation, up to 49.99 percent of a state’s votes are basically disfranchised.

Bottom line: Every vote should count without exception. We all know the majority of the East and West Coast states are liberal and the country tends to be more conservative in central and southern parts of the county.

To make sure each vote counts every time, every election, the only way to ensure that happens is by mandating that members of the college shal vote as a percentage of the popular vote for each candidate or by overall national popular vote totals.

So, let’s start talking to our elected officials and get ‘er done!

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The Circumference of Me

By Ron Munden

We want your visit to to be a unique experience.  Starting next week, we will broaden that experience. Each week will publish a chapter from the book The Circumference of Me.

This is a management book written by George Smith with illustrations by a unique artist from New York. The book has been picked up and is being used at several colleges and universities as auxiliary reading.

George S. Smith is a writer, columnist, former editor and publisher of the Marshall News Messenger and other papers, national motivational speaker, college instructor and now is executive director of the non-profit Southwest Arkansas Arts Council in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas.

Steve Burnett, founder and former president of the Burnett Group, a global management, brand and communications company in New York City and a former instructor of communications designate the Pratt Institute. He is now “retired” and is an organic farmer in upstate New York.

We think you will enjoy reading each chapter.

Here is what other are saying about “Circumference of Me”:

“There are two words that describe this book: Fresh and creative.”— Kevin Dial, Director of Operations, CBIZ Medical Management Professionals

“Welcome to the world of George Smith and Steve Burnett — where whimsy consistently opens the door to profound and practical insights. Just read it. Put its lessons into practice. You will be glad you did.”
— John Wallace, Retired Director, Verizon Communications

So each Wednesday morning rush to your computer, go directly to and read the latest installment from The Circumference of Me.

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