Blog Archives

How Much Dumb Tax Are We Willing to Pay?

I was in a business class for entrepreneurs and the instructor said business owners frequently pay dumb tax and her job was to lower ours as much as possible. Dumb tax is the price we pay for what she characterized as “dumb mistakes”.  I thought the whole notion of paying a dumb tax analogy was really clever. I have paid heavily toward the dumb tax in many areas of my life not just in business. And I know I am not alone.the-new-york-public-library-kAJLRQwt5yY-unsplash

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

I feel we are currently paying a hefty dumb tax through our current apathetic response to norm violations. When I was growing up my elders would teach and reinforce for me important benchmarks, those unwritten but understood rules of society, that preserve order. I am not referring to social or traditional customs but the understood code of conduct regarding vices like the seven deadly sins; hubris, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and laziness. I was taught growing up this was God’s way of running a morally balanced universe, and that seemed reasonable to me. I find it fascinating and deeply concerning many of our elders and leaders today seem willing to pay dumb tax or eagerly impose that tax upon us to pay. Mistakes manifested by indifference or disregard for these very standards, that keeps our universe scrupulously equalized, carry a massive tax for that indifference.

picture into refleccting sunglasses

Photo by Caleb Stokes on Unsplash

This all puts a great onus on all of us indvidually to to be more discerning about the source, author and dates of information we are consuming. The use of algorithms in social media sites predict what you want to see and forward that to reinforce what beliefs you evidently hold. Its like taking a car out on a race track running a quick lap and assuming you’ve gone somewhere when you actually end up right back where you started. We are all running in circles and paying high taxes, even those who oppose all taxes, the dumb tax does not discriminate we all pay it. Rather than worrying about the danger from others or others insulting us, lets not insult our own intelligence and be our own source of danger.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. I hope I am over wary; but if I am not, there is, even now, something of ill-omen, amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice. This disposition is awfully fearful in any community; and that it now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit, it would be a violation of truth, and an insult to our intelligence, to deny. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Be honest, Be Kind, Be Patient, Be Brave and Be Silly!

be honest - emerson


Being an entrepreneur in the business of consulting engineering has always been an incredible  journey for me. The freedom to choose a particular path, the creative energy devoted to developing a great team, the excitement of watching exceptional people rise to the occasion. These are the aspects of the business that have always held the highest appeal for me. However, there is a side to the business that is a slippery slope for me and I find myself disenchanted each time I encounter it, I call it the “hobnob façade”. We’ve all seen it and to be honest I have participated in it in the past, and each time I experienced a very unsatisfactory feeling afterward. So what is the hobnob façade? It goes something like this:

“So how is business going?” Says Dean Goldberry, CEO of Initech Corp.

“Fantastic, we are blazing new trails, can’t seem to count the money fast enough it’s pouring in so quickly.”  Says Earl Lee Riser, President of  Dunder Mifflin, Corp.

“We are too, this level of success was really inconceivable to me,” Dean adds enthusiastically.

Earl responds, “we should get together and see how we can join forces and conquer the world of paper and data.”

“Absolutely, I will get in touch with you in the next couple of weeks and we will formulate a plan to seal our deal,” Dean says.

“Well….(as Earl awkwardly fumbles with his phone) I need to get going my wife just text me and our dog desperately needs a flea bath I am the only one who can do it. Let’s get together over a grande sugar-free vanilla latte soon, I’ll call you.” Earl declares as he hastily power walks to the door.

This is a dramatization of real events, the names were changed to malign the guilty, no lattes were actually harmed in the making of this dialog.

All silliness aside, this is a very real, albeit heavily embellished, side of the business that is not consistent with my way of being in this world. I feel the most powerful, the most in sync in this world when I am being honest, kind, patient and brave. I also like to have fun, so I will go along with Ralph Waldo Emerson and add silly to that list. I try to measure my words and actions by those benchmarks. It’s so interesting as I have become more successful in the realization of my intent, life simplifies and my relationships have transformed. I find myself  attracting like-minded souls. The hobnob façade, which used to repulse me, has become a practice of observation and presence. The presence to know I am up to something else, and the compassion to recognize others are on their own journey which has nothing to do with what I am up to. In other words I’m OK and they are OK.

I notice, particularly on social media, this overwhelming need by many to engage in the repulsion of others, I get it, I have done the same in business. I invite us all to consider a new thought, a new way of looking at it, and recognize what bothers you, be present to it and make your choices from there. These moments of repulsion are not an invitation to lay down and roll in that same mud puddle, they are an invitation to be present, to recognize where you are being pulled or repelled from and make a choice from that place. Always, always, always go back to intent and harmonize your thoughts AND your actions, your intention AND your words. Peace out.


 “Great intentions become tragic actions when delivered without careful thought” ~ Michael Dooley The author of, Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams.

%d bloggers like this: