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Expansionism: Erasing the Man-Made Lines That Divide Us

Posted Wednesday July 12, 2017 3:11:43 PM EDT

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin

How true the statement by the late James Baldwin, and there has never been a time that it is more important than ever for good people, in concert, face the changes in order to help change the face of a planet and its inhabitants that continues to be at risk!

We the people, the global citizens of this planet called Earth, mostly God fearing and respectful of others, have seen enough of the high crimes of polarization and global treason being doled out in exchange for power and money by political and religious leaders.

The lines that separate us whether it be religious beliefs, gender, race, color and the like, need to be erased for this planet to heal and for its inhabitants to galvanize.

Our parents and ancestors, diverse in background, have taught us well enough that we are prepared to build and nourish an inclusive world-wide nation that will replace all other nations as the beacon of hope, tolerance, understanding, diversity, strength and opportunity, all for the cause to empower our fellow citizens.

It is our belief in each other and the natural resources bestowed upon us that is calling to us to start erasing the lines that divide us and become to benevolent, socially responsible activists to save our planet and humanity itself. 

Remember, if you believe the difference between socialism and benevolence lies in the skin color or religious beliefs of the beneficiary, you are an ignorant racist, not a patriot or nationalist.

It is our duty, to help empower each other to achieve our most important function in front of us, which is to create a better world for our planet and our future generations. 

Let's insist on building bridges and direct paths of communication for increased cultural understanding and awareness, rather than waste our time and resources by building walls and wedges.  

To do this, I believe that we must strive to become creatures of intelligence rather than continue to be complicit in a world filled with people that are being led by their emotions.

Intelligence is like the proverbial "krypto-nite" to self- serving, conquer with division and hate, political and religious leaders.

Bigotry and hatred have become profitable in money and votes, as the morally bankrupt and ethically challenged leaders seek support by darkening these aforementioned lines. The advent and subsequent proliferation of access through the internet has exacerbated this problem. Polarizing is profitable, galvanizing not so much. 

How sad and telling it is that the sports and music industries do a better job in uniting people than political leaders and religious leaders. In fact, it is these leaders that have become the great dividers as they seem to spend too much time pointing out our "lines" and promising to build walls, rather than bridges. I would prefer to just develop a mindset that erases these lines, making both walls and bridges entirely unnecessary.   

Quite unfortunately, throughout history, those that made a commitment to a life dedicated to galvanizing, liberating and promoting the love for one another, ended up dead. Assassination's, crucifixion's, hangings, the history books are filled with tragic endings to those that wanted change.    

History tells us that the sort of divide and conquer tactics being used around the world to win the bigot vote from the uneducated and under informed e is really nothing new. 

Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Sadly, its happening everywhere. Conquering through division seems to be the more prevalent tactic of choice for world leaders, whether they be of a political or religious nature than ever before. The greed for power and money has had its intended consequences on many an innocent bystander.          

Change is sometimes scary and those who stand the most to lose, will create the fear of it, which may explain the continuance of the intolerant to other people and the indifferent to our planet and its natural resources. 

Nowadays, it is understandable if at times we find it difficult to seek out the positive, in a world seemingly filled with constant accounts of mass violence, constant human atrocities, political and religious motivated divisions and the ever increasing and worrisome growing wealth gap to go along with the reckless destruction of our planet's vast resources. Keep in mind that this is really nothing new. The great Cicero told us a few thousand years ago about the six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century. Those six mistakes were (and still are):

1) Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others; 2) Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected; 3) Insisting that a thing is impossible because we can't accomplish it; 4) Refusing to set aside trivial preferences; 5) Neglecting development and refinement of the mind; 6) Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

Recently, while I was a panelist at a global conference to speak about international trade, China's emergence and entrepreneurship. I was asked to opine with my personal thoughts on various topics that have been in the news lately.

Issues ranging from BREXIT to the fear mongering, isolationist rhetoric and theocratic saber rattling of the current US Presidential election seem to have many wondering if we are really progressing as a human race or are we destined to go back to a place in time that most of the educated would rather forget. 

We all want progress, but as I often quip, "everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die".

At one point during my unscripted ad hoc opining on the dangers of walls at the borders, intolerance in the minds and the "my god is better than your god" inspired hatred, I blurted “We need a mindset of EXPANSIONISM”.

One of the audience members asked if I meant globalization. It was a fair question based on my career and the reason I was a guest speaker and panelist at this conference.

However, I stayed committed to “EXPANSIONISM” and realized this word could be a mission, a new mindset, a movement to counteract all that seems to be oppressing people and suppressing growth.

I believe that a universal adoption of the practice and discipline of "EXPANSIONISM" could be a panacea of sorts to many of the world's problems today and perhaps, at least in mindset, we can look at the world as "IMAGINE-Nation". (John Lennon would be proud as his song Imagine would be its national anthem!) If you don't know the lyrics, please go find them right away!

Practicing the ideals of expansionism, which will include the important beliefs that I was taught by my mentors and have worked for me, namely, ethical culture, benevolent capitalism, intellectual humility and socially responsible entrepreneurship. All these tenets are self-empowering and will also allow you to offer the gift of empowerment, motivation to expand and inspiration to evolve to others, All, without the influence of hate and division of politics or religion. 

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary" - H.L. Mencken

The form of "expansionism" that I am suggesting here includes; the desire for expanded knowledge, the openness of expanded understanding, the belief in expanded opportunities, the expansion of one’s overall tolerance and the spreading of expanded awareness of the inequalities that many face. 

Leadership belongs to those that are seeking solutions, and should be taken away from those that are hoping to exacerbate these problems for their own self- serving missions. I offer this as the constitution of sorts to creating a map for yourself to this mindset of "IMAGINE-Nation" counter mission of ours!

Learn to practice "Intellectual Humility" – Be intelligent enough to understand the importance of knowing what you don't know is just as important as knowing what you do know; being understated in a way that your reach never extends beyond your grasp; possessing a mind so open and curious, that you genuinely strive to learn something every day, from everyone that you encounter; being passionately interested in others, knowing that makes you more interesting to others.

Here are my 15 simple rules to achieve a foundation of intellectual humility:

  • Underachievers often make excuses; Winners always make the time.
  • Learn when to give in, but don't EVER to give up.
  • Lapses in judgment are human and forgivable, however there is no such thing as a lapse of integrity.
  • Intelligent people always fight fire with water, never with fire. Only the unintelligent allow emotions to cloud their judgements and subsequent actions.
  • Be equally passionate about understanding others as you are in wanting yourself to be understood.
  • Winners are articulate and terrific storytellers. Know that to be interesting to someone, you must first be genuinely interested in that same someone.
  • Understand that while TIME may heal all wounds, it will kill all deals. Be expeditious, passionate and determined to finish what you start.   
  • Possess a childlike curiosity to go along with a contagious smile and humbleness
  • Know what you don’t know, and be so open minded that you learn something from EVERYONE you meet.
  • Have high expectations of others, but even higher expectations for yourself. 
  • Compromise to cooperate, but never at the expense of your principals or your partners. 
  • Always be understated with a grasp that extends past your reach. The world already has too many overstated people with reaches that extend way past their grasp.
  • Always be optimistic and genuinely excited about the future and success of others and let them know it. 
  • Demand the highest in quality from your partners and always choose "character" over "characters" 
  • Express genuine benevolence, compassion, responsibility, tolerance and understanding towards everyone, every day.

Please join in this "mindset movement" and ask others to as well by sharing these thoughts and this op-ed which I thank you for reading!

James Vena

"May you always have enough of the things you need for yourself and an abundance of the things you'd like to share with others. In this way, your hands will always be extended in friendship and never in want." (James Vena)

About the Author - James Vena is an innovative thinker and global entrepreneur who has influenced key decision-makers around the globe in strategic development, growth, leadership and investment. He is respected for his unique and global perspectives, big ideas, team building, partnerships and methodical execution of a strategic plan.

Since retiring as the Founder/CEO of a well-established global trade house, James has earned a strong reputation as an adviser to a wide array of business entities around the globe. James’ s career started as a China trader of commodities in the early 1980's for a large trading house. He left his job to start his own trading company at 26.

Over the next 20 years he developed the company (SATCORP) into an internationally recognized entity with offices in 15 countries, achieving sales over USD 1 Billion before it was sold. After taking a sabbatical in 2005 to care for his cancer stricken wife and help raise his two children, James decided to re-enter the business world in 2010.

Since, he started a few ventures, been retained as an adviser to several businesses around the globe, headed a globalization, restructuring and rebranding effort, advised on several mergers and acquisitions and continue to do so as an independent consultant and advisory board member.

James’s entrepreneurial mindset combined with a gift of articulation and unique style of communication enables him to turn ideas into easy to understand and marketable undertakings. Mr. Vena is an ethical culturist that practices benevolent capitalism and teaches socially conscience entrepreneurship. He attributes his successes to his mentors and practicing of intellectual humility. He also now mentors these core principals to groups, individual and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide.

Check out James Vena’s other posts now being featured in the LinkedIn Pulse here: https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2xo7sKMz32aX_5ezTbSzZq?trk=mp-reader-h 



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