Search This Blog

Stand With The Innocent - Fear Only God
























I will not be bullied into silence. The smear campaign against Judge Kavanaugh is an outrage and a disgrace. Twitter suspended me as I was in the process of fact-checking. I am the second person (after Thomas Wictor) to be suspended for criticizing Alyssa Milano, who shamelessly ignores child sexual exploitation, trafficking and abuse by Hollywood. It is outrageous that she positions herself as a woman’s advocate by trashing an innocent man—a sincere, dedicated, jurist who has served our Nation faithfully for decades.

Unraveling The Smear Campaign Against Brett Kavanaugh: Considering the Claims of Julie Swetnick

"A federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure. That is the kind of judge I am and will always be. I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. This effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out....the truth is that I have never sexually assaulted anyone—not in high school, not in college, not ever." - Judge Brett Kavanaugh, September 26, 2018

Exploiting Survivors 

Judge Kavanaugh is up for confirmation to the Supreme Court. As we enter the last few days before the vote takes place, political operatives are trying to destroy his reputation by bringing a series of false sexual assault accusations before a national audience.

As those who are watching this spectacle increasingly understand, the aim of Kavanaugh's opponents is not to ensure a better Supreme Court justice is confirmed, but rather to bring the Trump presidency to a grinding halt--sowing chaos, confusion, hatred and fear all along the way.

As a victims' rights advocate, it is painful to challenge the accounts of women who say they were abused by a wealthy, connected young man. It's even more painful as I recognize that  "the underreporting of rape represents one of the most persistent patterns in law enforcement." I don't want to do anything to make that problem worse.

Nevertheless, hanging an innocent man as a kind of sacrifice to the pain that abuse victims feel does not serve the cause of justice. Instead, it creates needless psychological trauma, destroys families, and burdens the courts with cases that should not be tried. From the perspective of recruiting judges with integrity, firing-by-allegation deters otherwise highly qualified candidates from wanting to pursue a career in public service in the first place.

A Burn-It-All-Down Mindset

In reviewing these allegations with a critical eye, I was committed to being open to the possibility that they were true. As this seemed more and more a distant possibility, I shared my conclusions. And while one would think that people with different ways of looking at the world could agree on a rational discussion of the issues, this has not turned out to be the case.

Rather, rational refutation has led only to more frantic and desperate attempts to paint Judge Kavanaugh as a belligerent, abusive drunk.

The Playbook of Destruction

The pattern has persisted. Just as soon as the first alleged victim's story fell apart, a second appeared; when that turned into a "standoff" (because of the notion that the FBI should somehow invent an investigation of such claims at the last minute), a third came forward. When too many questions arose about that one, "coincidentally" yet more wild-eyed last-minute tales were told, which Kavanaugh also flat-out repudiates.

Given all of this, one is forced to conclude that a larger strategy is at work here. The goal is not to seriously consider Judge Kavanaugh's past conduct and attitudes toward women, but rather to trigger all women into hating him as a kind of proxy for the real abusers who have inflicted so much pain and gotten away with it.

The idea, from a public relations point of view, is to repeat the message over and over that "Kavanaugh is an abuser." As a result, his opponents believe, his candidacy will eventually become politically untenable, because the public will have the impression that "at least one of these women must be telling the truth."

Refusal to Back Down

Despite all the pressure, Judge Kavanaugh is steadfast:
"There has been a frenzy to come up with something—anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious—that will block a vote on my nomination. These are last minute smears, pure and simple."
 After watching his interview with FOX News, body language expert Lillian Glass told The Boston Globe: "I did not see one single sign of deception." Another anonymous but well-known expert, known popularly as "Bombard's Body Language," called his reaction to the allegations "pure irritation" at having to deal with these false claims.

Julie Swetnick's Claims

Attorney Michael Avenatti represents Julie Swetnick, who says she observed Judge Kavanaugh behaving in a sexually aggressive manner around the time period that Christine Forward says he attacked her. Specifically, Swetnick claims:
  • "On numerous occasions at these parties, I witnessed Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh drink excessively and engage in highly inappropriate conduct, including being overly aggressive with girls and not taking 'No' for an answer. This conduct included the fondling and grabbing of girls without their consent."
  • "I observed Brett Kavanaugh drink excessively at many of these parties and engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls, including pressing girls against him without their consent, 'grinding' against girls, and attempting to remove or shift girls' clothing to expose private body parts. I likewise observed him be verbally abusive towards girls by making crude sexual comments to them that were designed to demean, humiliate and embarrass them. I often witnessed Brett Kavanaugh speak in a demeaning manner about girls in general as well as specific girls by name. I also witnessed Brett Kavanaugh behave as a 'mean drunk' on many occasions."
  • "During the years 1981-82, I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to 'spike' the 'punch' at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say 'No.'"
  • "I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could be 'gang raped' in a side room or bedroom by a 'train' of numerous boys. I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their 'turn' with a girl inside the room. These boys included...Brett Kavanaugh.
  • "In approximately 1982, I became a victim of one of these 'gang' or 'train' rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present."
Reading this, here are the thoughts that come to my mind with regard to the believability of the claims on their face:
  • Embarrassing, gray-area teenage parties are not a reason to punish someone for sexual assault 35+ years after the fact. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, at The New Yorker, reported on September 23 that Elizabeth Rasor, a college girlfriend of Mark Judge, "recalled that Judge had told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman. Rasor said that Judge seemed to regard it as fully consensual." Rasor added that Kavanaugh's name never came up.  
  • Swetnick lumps Judge and Kavanaugh together in several mentions, even though the statement is supposed to be about Kavanaugh alone. 
  • In the context of a teen high school party where alcohol is being consumed liberally, and boys and girls are getting together for sexual purposes, it is to be expected that the boys will engage in "fondling and grabbing of girls without their consent," "pressing girls against him without their consent," "'grinding' against girls," and "attempting to remove or shift girls' clothing to expose private body parts." Nobody signs a consent form before engaging in such teenage behaviors. 
  • It is not consistent with what I have observed of Kavanaugh's demeanor that he was "verbally abusive towards girls by making crude sexual comments to them that were designed to demean, humiliate and embarrass them." Neither is it believable that he would "speak in a demeaning manner about girls in general as well as specific girls by name." If anything Kavanaugh seems overly restrained in his commitment to politeness.
  • I find it believable that Kavanaugh would lose his restraint and "behave as a 'mean drunk'" because when people are drunk they lose their inhibitions. That said, the New York Times could not find anyone to corroborate the story that Swetnick knew Kavanaugh so it is unclear how she would observe this "on many occasions." Further, per the Times, Swetnick's lawyer "declined to make her available for an interview," which is curious since he clearly wants to help her get her story out. 
  • Even if Swetnick did know Kavanaugh, the claim about drugging the punch at house parties with actual pills is not credible. These were students from elite schools who would have a lot invested in not going to jail.
  • The claim about the boys spiking the drinks to get the girls too drunk to consent is not credible. Both the boys at Georgetown Prep and the girls at Holton Arms looked forward to getting "pass-out" drunk on alcohol. 
Screen shot from Holton Arms yearbook
  • The claim about Judge, Kavanaugh and others trying to get girls to have group sex in an "inebriated and disoriented" state cannot be assessed. In my view, it is likely that the students went to the parties knowing that they might engage in such activities, and it is also likely that some students were victimized and exploited in the process, due to peer pressure or abusive classmates. It is not clear why the term 'gang raped' appears in quotes. 
  • I find it non-credible that Swetnick knows whether Kavanaugh waited to "gang rape" someone or that he was in the room while she was being gang-raped. It is possible that Kavanaugh participated in group sex, but it has not been established that Swetnick knew Kavanaugh, so my question is how would she know that? Additionally, if Swetnick attended so many parties where she saw boys trying to get girls too drunk to consent, why would she continue to attend them, to the point where she then became a victim?

Key Discrepancies

An anonymous person posting to 4Chan shared research showing that Swetnick may not have attended Gaithersburg High School. Indeed, what is available is inconsistent.

On GaithersburgHighSchool.net, several different variations of her name were added just on the 26th (when her lawyer broke the allegations), in 1980 and 1981.


Swetnick's name is not in another database listing students at the school.


She is also not in the yearbook. See the "people tagged" section on the left hand side of the graphic. 


Further, the statement refers to Swetnick's work "with" the Federal government, implying that she is a civil servant; the New York Post called her a "decorated U.S. government employee." However, her resume indicates that she was a contractor

To verify this, I searched federalpay.org/employees, a public listing of federal employees. Unless she is in there under another name, it showed no result for "Julie Swetnick" for any of the years the database has information, 2004-2017. 

Implausible Coincidences

Here's another problem: Swetnick was previously represented in a sexual harassment lawsuit by the law firm "run by" Debra Katz, the attorney for the first accuser. As Rebecca Ballhaus noted today, per her article with Aruna Viswanatha in the Wall Street Journal:
"New: A decade ago, Julie Swetnick made a sexual harassment complaint against her former employer, New York Life Insurance. Representing her was the firm run by Debra Katz, who now reps Christine Blasey Ford. She was ultimately paid a financial settlement."

A Key Concern About Credibility

Swetnick claims to be a victim, but multiple news outlets reported that her ex-boyfriend filed a restraining order against her. The ex-boyfriend told POLITICO: “Right after I broke up with her, she was threatening my family, threatening my wife and threatening to do harm to my baby at that time....She’s not credible at all. Not at all.”

Big League Politics found that Swetnick has financial issues. The implicit question is whether those issues somehow prompted her to make this statement about Kavanaugh. (I find it hard to believe that she manufactured this story out of whole cloth.)

Clinton-Soros Takedown Plot?

Judge Kavanaugh played a key role in the Independent Counsel investigation of then-President Clinton, with records spanning a four-year time period from 1994-1998. The connection prompted the Boston Globe to remark that the painful confirmation process "must be putting a smile on Bill Clinton’s face."

George Soros financially supports the anti-Kavanaugh effort, notes the Daily Caller. Through his Open Society Policy Center, Soros partially funds "Demand Justice," which has "vowed to put $5 million dollars behind a multi-platform effort to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation." 

Per its 2016 Annual Report, Soros also provided more than $50,000 of funding in 2016 to the Project for Government Oversight, where Debra Katz serves as Vice Chair of its Board. 

Meanwhile, Ricki Seidman, Senior Principal at TSD Communications, was a Clinton White House adviser (and worked for the Obama campaign as well, supporting Vice President Joe Biden), and her firm lists George Soros as a client.

Consider All Sides

The public benefits greatly from robust, logical inquiry and fact-based debate over the issues that matter. We are harmed when public discourse is deliberately slanted to favor a particular point of view. Hopefully this post has contributed in a productive way to the consideration of Judge Kavanaugh for appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, one of the most important jobs we can possibly fill as a Nation.

God bless America. 

May God bless everybody involved in this painful situation with a swift resolution and a restoration to normal life, unblemished by public discord.
__________
Copyright 2018 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. This post and my associated Tweets are hereby released into the public domain.

An Open Letter To Chairman Grassley Regarding the Confirmation to the Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Updated With Correction)


September 25, 2018

The Honorable Chuck Grassley
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510


Re: Confirmation to the Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Dear Senator Grassley:

I write to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a private citizen with relevant expertise in matters pertaining to Congressional correspondence. I support Judge Kavanaugh and believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is being less than forthcoming with respect to her allegations against him.

Specifically, I believe Dr. Ford's letter may have been written by a third party, and should be evaluated with this in mind, for the reasons below. (Please forgive any typos as it is late in the evening and I understand this matter is time-sensitive.):

My background: For the past 2.5 years I have served as Chief, Executive Correspondence in a civil service capacity. (All opinions are my own.) I have been a professional writer for 30 years, have taught at the graduate and undergraduate level, and hold a Ph.D. in sociology and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on creative writing.

Overall impression: Having read Dr. Ford's letter carefully, it strikes me as poorly written, below her professional and educational letter, and oddly phrased, almost as though it were written by someone from another country who does not speak American English. There are also quality issues with the actual typeface of the letter itself. Below I will enumerate as many specific examples as I can.

I. Tone:
1. The letters I receive are usually highly charged. This one seems oddly cold.
2. Legalistic
3. Like an editor is writing it, not a human being who experienced a trauma
4. Inconsistent - from childish, to formal, to flowery, to legalistic, to professional
5. Sloppy, not well thought-out

II. Content:
1. Doesn't mention Judge Kavanaugh right up front, e.g. "I am writing to express my concerns about Brett Kavanaugh..."
2. Vague reference to "early 1980s" -- someone who went to a significantly traumatic party at around age 15 should know the year.
3. Why does she say "I have not knowingly seen Kavanaugh"? Normally one would simply say "I haven't seen Kavanaugh." Why the qualifier "knowingly?" That seems overly legalistic.
4. "They" locked the door--wouldn't she say it was one, or the other of the people in the room?
5. Refers to the same bathroom twice, but in the second mention makes it sound like a different bathroom.
6. Married and published under her married name, but uses her maiden name.
7. If her assailant covered her mouth, but not her nose, why was she afraid he would "inadvertently kill" her?
8. "I am available to speak further should you wish to discuss" - sounds like an editor, not a person telling their story.
9. Signed "Christine Blasey" and not "Dr. Christine Blasey Ford," her married name in full.
10. Marked "Confidential" multiple times, but easily leaked, seemingly with Dr. Ford's support

III. Words or phrases that sound like the writer does not speak American English natively:
1. "Very drunken" rather than "very drunk"
2. "Mixed words" rather than "contradictory things"
3. "The two scrapped with each other" rather than "they tussled" or "they wrestled"--Americans don't say "scrapped"
4. "I was able to take this opportune moment" -- this sounds overly formal, almost British, and doesn't match the way someone would describe escaping a near-rape
5. Refers to psychotherapy as "medical treatment"
6. Signature doesn't include her title, and the return address is in the wrong place, at the bottom of the page rather than the upper right. City and state are used rather than the typical formatting of a full address -- this is how one would sign an op-ed.
7. "In Confidence" is used as a signoff rather than "Sincerely," or "Yours truly." Americans don't write that way.
8. "Mid-Atlantic" is used instead of "East Coast." Americans don't say "Mid-Atlantic."
9. "Notified my local government representative," rather than "contacted Congresswoman Eshoo"
10. Use of formal words like "exited" rather than "left"; "inebriated" rather than "drunk"; "disrobed"

IV. Grammar:
1. "High School" is capitalized when it should be lowercased.
2. "early 1980's" instead of "early 1980s"
3. Shift in tense: "It is upsetting" (present tense) but "I felt." (past tense)

V. Type/Quality:
1. Font size is not consistent
2. Odd shading around sentences, not like a Word document but rather like a scan
3. Certain letters aren't spaced properly, almost as though someone had used white-out (the first "p" in "opportune"), or are tilted (the first "e" in "feared")

The theory that Dr. Ford's letter is ghostwritten would explain:

1. The timing. Dr. Ford says she first came forward July 6, 2018. On July 10, 2018, Democratic strategist Ricki Seidman, who worked for the Clinton White House, publicly stated that she believed a strategy would emerge to counter Judge Kavanaugh. The letter was delivered to Sen. Feinstein about three weeks later, on July 30. That would have given the Democrats time to plan.

2. The format. It appears to be a "dead PDF" or a graphic file that has errors overwritten. Typically one would see a clean, formatted, typed Word-style document.

3. The clear sense of coordination around this document. First there were media leaks; then with an orchestrated circus of celebrity endorsements, demonstrations, and even an ambush on Sen. Ted Cruz as he went out for dinner with his wife.

4. The obvious strategy. Sen. Feinstein held the document for many weeks, until the last minute. The Democrats believed its mere release would be enough to discredit Judge Kavanaugh. This would also explain the obviously coordinated use of the words "credible allegation," followed by "bullying" as Dr. Ford was actually offered the chance to speak.

5. The refusal to testify. It seems that no amount of support for Dr. Ford is sufficient for her to speak publicly, despite the negotiations and apparent promises. In reality, Dr. Ford will not even provide a formal statement in advance of testifying.

6. The issue around questioning. At every turn, her attorneys balk. A scripted, third-party letter written by someone else would explain why Dr. Ford's handlers seem to want all elements of her public discussion scripted as well, rather than having the alleged victim speak out for herself.

I hope this analysis is helpful to you and the Committee. I will also put it on my personal blog at www.dannielleblumenthal.com.

Very respectfully,

Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D.


__________
Copyright 2018 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Updated 9/26/2018 to correct Dr. Ford’s maiden name. It is Blasey, not Blaseley. I regret the error.

Fact-Checking The President

I share these thoughts in the spirit of helping fellow Federal employees to be engaged and productive regardless of which Administration happens to be in charge. My comments are non-partisan in nature, and I speak only for myself. 
- Dannielle Blumenthal

In a recent article for GovExec (published September 20, 2018), NAGC President Chris O’Neil calls on government communicators to speak truth to power. (It is not clear whether O’Neil is speaking for the National Association of Government Communicators or not, but he is clearly speaking in a personal capacity.) The context is his concern about the current state of Administration communication:
“Almost daily, President Trump uses Twitter to fuel a bombastic narrative, mixed with concepts of “alternative facts” or claims of “fake news,” to drive his agenda. Add to that a nearly complete absence of fact checking on the part of the White House, and it is no wonder that when the White House press secretary recently corrected misinformation she had provided, many were left thinking, ‘it’s about time.’”
Although O’Neil is talking about one Administration in particular, this concern is a constant regardless of who is in charge. The question is what to do about your concerns besides “roll over.”

Regardless of your specific job as a civil servant, you are a professional, and your thoughts matter — so there should be a way for you to surface them. In fact, in my experience it is typically the most skilled and engaged employees who take the time to express their concerns.

As a remedy, O’Neil suggests we refer to a quality standard, something FCN advocated in “Advancing Government Standards,” our 2016 white paper. For him, that means the NAGC Ethics Code (excerpt below). In a nutshell, the code offers federal communicators a way of thinking about their jobs in a manner that transcends partisan politics. We are here to tell the truth, because telling the truth is an “essential civil service,” and information about what the government is doing is something that “each citizen has a right to.”
“Members of the National Association of Government Communicators, as a condition of their membership, adhere to a code of ethics that states, ‘truth is sacred; that providing public information is an essential civil service; and that each citizen has a right to equal, full, understandable, and timely facts about the activities, policies and people of the agencies comprising his or her government.”
When government communicators focus on their higher role as a civil servant, suggests O’Neil, they can effectively articulate their concerns, even when it’s difficult.
“Not every government communicator is a member of NAGC, but those who are provide counsel to leadership, speak truth to power and serve as their agencies’ communications true north. By adhering to our code of ethics, our members, at the local, county, state, tribal and federal levels are leading the way toward good communication that supports good government.”
Again, keeping politics out of it, I would suggest that O’Neil is on the right track here. Whether one uses his approach or simply follows the Hatch Act and existing ethics rules and agency guidance, his article is important for civil servants and I hope people read it. There is a “third way” between mindlessly doing what you’re told and insubordination, or worse, “resistance from within.” That is, we should draw on existing law, regulation, policy, guidance and past practice to inform our professional activities.

Unfortunately, what we are seeing in the news is an approach to disagreement with the Administration that is totally inappropriate, and which gives all Federal employees a bad name.

Specifically, on September 18, 2018 Project Veritas began releasing multiple videos showing Federal employees (current and former) from the State Department, DOJ, GAO, and HHS proudly discussing how they are thwarting the Administration’s programs, “resisting” from the inside (and working with those on the inside), violating the Hatch Act, possibly using government resources inappropriately, and bragging that because they are government employees, they cannot possibly get fired.

The employees shown in these videos made a conscious decision to go outside the appropriate process for registering their complaints.

Of course all the agencies have responded — they’re investigating. But I noted the response of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said:
“If this is a mission on which you can’t sign up for (sic) it’s time to go do something else with your time.”
While I understand the sentiment, and agree — you should not be working for the government if you’re working against the Administration, obviously — the civil service also needs to have a healthy conversation about disagreement.

From the perspective of the Government, it promotes accountability, transparency, and excellence in management controls when employees are encouraged to air their concerns so that corrective actions can be taken as appropriate. Because let’s face it, every leader, every Department, and every agency will make missteps, and that is life.

When civil servants have a clear, consistent and reliable framework for airing their concerns appropriately, this is a good thing all around. It promotes trust in government. It keeps the workforce productive and engaged. It dramatically reduces costly and unnecessary tensions, conflicts, and employee turnover. Institutional knowledge is retained, leveraged, built upon, and transmitted to the next generation of recruits, who benefit from the mentorship of seasoned peers.

We who go to work are adults. We are expected to handle life outside the job in a mature and responsible manner. And we should be treated as adults on the job as well.

Being a Federal employee is a tremendous responsibility. The public benefits enormously when all concerns are appreciated, taken seriously, and processed in a systematic and impartial way.

______

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. The author hereby releases this article into the public domain. All opinions are the author’s own. Creative Commons photo by WokinghamLibraries via Pixabay.

The One Bias That Can Cost You Everything

“You should meditate, it’s really good for you.”

Experts say that slowing down and tuning out carries real professional benefits — like improved focus, creativity, and better relationships with your peers.

It’s funny. The minute I hear that word, “meditate,” I get a negative reaction inside. It’s like a forced time-out, I find it authoritarian, and in the end the whole exercise is more stressful than it’s worth.

But you have to learn to slow down. For instance, today is Friday. Rather than trying to get ahead of the game by cramming more and more work into the weekend, consider that you will burn out and turn more and more useless if you don’t learn how to take a break.

Similarly, in reacting to negative stimuli — like interpersonal conflict or fear-provoking situations — consider the benefit of thinking before you react. Consider that you actually can control your reactions, rather than saying or doing something rash and potentially costly. (At the bare minimum, you can teach yourself to recognize that you’re feeling stressed, and use that moment of observation to count to ten in your brain.)

All of this sounds so obvious. But fear and uncontrollable jealousy lead people to do unwise things, like investing in risky stocks (or cryptocurrencies) without thinking it through. After all, they “reason” — really they’re just reacting — “everyone else” seems to have gotten rich doing so, and they’re missing out.

Of course, when the market goes the “other way,” nervous investors react accordingly, and sell off before it’s strategically wise to do so. This is a cognitive issue; the likelihood is that you, and most others, will overreact to bad news. In “Does the Stock Market Overreact?” De Bondt and Thaler put it this way:

“In revising their beliefs, individuals tend to overweight recent information and underweight prior (or base rate) data.”

Basically, when seemingly bad news hits, we have trouble controlling our knee-jerk impulse to sell: Our brains interpret recent bad news as somehow more important than the entire base of information about the company that existed beforehand.

It gets worse. More recent research by Piccoli and Chaudhury, “Overreaction to Extreme Market Events and Investor Sentiment,” shows that our tendency to exaggerate bad news about a stock is amplified when people are already feeling negative about it:

“In addition to confirming prior evidence of overreaction, we find much stronger overreaction when investor sentiment is low rather than high.”

If you consider that people view their relationships as investments, as well, what can happen when a single piece of distressing information arrives? It can devastate, a nuclear bomb, ruining years of positivity over absolutely nothing that matters in the long run.

It’s odd. In America, we frequently hear that “you should trust your gut,” because your first instincts are a condensation of the skills you’ve accumulated over a lifetime. But your thinking can be distorted by the accumulated events in your life, specifically the human tendency to see in future events a reflection of past patterns.

In other words, your so-called knowledge may be nothing more than bias, reinforced over time.

The importance of reflection, not just individually but as a group, is why I keep going back to the vital importance of “double-loop learning” to psycho-social health. This fancy-sounding concept, introduced by organizational theorist Chris Argyris, is really nothing more than the maxim that we should question our assumptions.

Although in the moment it may seem that slowing down is the last thing we should do — that fight-or-flight response sends our adrenaline pumping — it turns out that just the opposite is true. Reflection, then action is far more helpful to our professional health than banging out that angry email, for example, or temporarily alleviating anger with those famous words: “You’re fired!”

The truth of the matter is, while fear is a critical part of the human survival toolkit, we also benefit from slowing down at times.

Unless one is in a true crisis situation, not all fears or feelings are necessarily to be trusted, or to relied upon automatically.

____________________

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. Opinions are the author’s own. Public domain. Creative Commons photo via Pixabay.