Identity Beacon

Illuminating Possibilities

Identity Beacon - Illuminating Possibilities

But, what about the bird?

It’s almost spring and here come the birds, back from their southern migrations.

Ever wonder how birds get around, how they are able to fly? They use their strong breast muscles to flap their wings to give them the thrust they need to move through the air. Further, birds use a swimming-forward motion to get the lift needed to fly. 

Naturally, both wings need to move in unison to achieve lift-off and sustain flight. It doesn’t take much to imagine the flight path of a bird whose wings are working against each other, pulling (or pushing) in different directions, or flapping at different speeds. The chance of actually breaking a wing (or two) becomes a distinct possibility. 

Welcome to America.

Today, we have a Right Wing that is stretching as far to the right as possible. This Wing is advocating attitudes and preaching policies that are fueled by fear, my-way-or-the-highway injunctions and exclusionary imperatives.

We also have a Left Wing that is stretching as far to the left as possible. This wing is advocating attitudes and preaching policies that are delusional in their idealism, economically impossible and polyannaish to a fault. 

In the midst of this turmoil, I keep asking myself: But, what about the bird? What about America, the nation? The institution? Is it really all about the wings?

America “the bird” is in the throes of a full-blown identity crisis. Its’ wings are broken and its’ flight path is indeterminable and dangerously out of control. The notion that America is, in fact, in the midst of an identity crisis has been widely acknowledged for years. (Just Google America identity crisis and see what comes up.)

Politics, in my view, is a desperate game. I find it ironic that politics is killing the very body that it purports to represent. If you know of a candidate, a party, that is more interested in protecting the bird than its wings, let me know. He or she will get my vote. And my prayers.

Post By Larry Ackerman (69 Posts)

I’m the author of two groundbreaking books on identity. The first is Identity Is Destiny: Leadership and the Roots of Value Creation. It’s for leaders – and those aspiring to lead – who want new and innovative insights into what accounts for success over the long term. The other book is The Identity Code: The 8 Essential Questions for Finding Your Purpose and Place in the World. This work is for individuals who want to live more fulfilling, meaningful, productive lives. Bottom line: I help companies and individuals realize that they’ll be much more successful being themselves than acting like somebody else. In short, I help my clients find their true identity. When you find it, you have no competition. NOBODY can beat you at being you – especially if you consistently reinterpret your identity in ways that keep you fresh and relevant to the world around you.

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  • Stephen Koenigsberg says:

    Larry, you have penned a very perceptive and well-written piece here. It confounds me how easily people are fooled by someone like Donald Trump, that they don’t see how self-serving he really is, how they miss that a man who denounces Mexican-Americans, makes fun of disabled people, will one day be disparaging them. How angry people must be to be oblivious to this. I remember how polarized the country was in the 60’s and early 70’s and now it seems that nothing has really changed (except now it’s the right in revolt rather than the left).

    My answer to how this perpetuates is this: at any given time a small percentage of people (let’s say 10 or 15% as a guess) are looking inward at how who they are, how they respond to externals, discovering that their thoughts and perceptions may be skewed by past traumas and experiences. The rest are looking outward, blaming, perhaps looking for scapegoats, believing their thoughts and perceptions to be the gospel, hardly examining where the thoughts come from or how they are generated. My view is that unless that percentage changes, nothing of any real consequence changes. With some 85% of the population seeing life as “us against them” America will remain divided no matter who is president.

    Of course, there are real injustices, and wrongs to be righted, but until a person knows who they are with clarity, many wrongs will be perceived based on skewed emotions, enemies will be perceived based on lack of inner knowledge, working together will appear very dangerous….. and the beat goes on.

    March 17, 2016 at 3:44 pm
  • Barry Rellaford says:

    Larry, this is spot-on and echoes my feelings about our country and the vast problems that face us. Birds need their wings to be birds and this metaphor reminds me of the Biblical analogy of the body in 1 Corinthians 12 that “the body is not one member, but many…the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee…” Lincoln began the Gettysburg Address, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…”

    It’s heartrending to all thoughtful people, everywhere, that our nation and culture is so divided and in such a crisis. Let me know when you find the candidate and party of reason, dialogue, civility, kindness, truth-seeking, and honor. They will get my vote as well.

    March 17, 2016 at 5:28 pm
  • Larry Ackerman says:

    Steve, Barry, Thank you both for weighing in here. The circumstances are no less than surreal, and more than a little bit scary. Let’s hope we find wisdom in time.

    March 17, 2016 at 5:35 pm
  • Dr Ghada Angawi says:

    I am so disappointed at this divide. I came to this beautiful country of freedom and justice thinking i finally found somewhere i can contribute to the world without being discriminated against, accused or labeled. I came to work towards a higher united identity. I wanted a place where i feel safe and my kids feel respected and honored for who they are. I am disappointed that there is this inability to think above race and color, that we have the same body parts but yet we label ourselves like if we were animals from another grade. I am disappointed in how this may end and what would be the american dream that the whole world look up to.
    But i cant help being optimistic and hope that this is not going to happen: I mean the fallen place that this person or that one can take this country to.
    Thank you for pointing out the identity part of all this. It’s very core work!

    March 18, 2016 at 1:06 am
    • Larry Ackerman says:

      There is to America the same thing there is to every person: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Right now, we’re seeing the ugly come out in spades. The American Dream you refer to is largely an economic construct. It doesn’t embrace a higher order “social dream,” unfortunately. Maybe someday it will.

      March 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

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