There was a Chinese general in the 3rd century AD named Zhuge Liang. At a young age, he gained the reputation of “Sleeping Dragon” due to his vast knowledge of many subjects and his associations with the learned community.
He grew to become one of the best generals in Chinese history. There was once a time where he and only 150 soldiers were in a city and he was notified a rival army of 150,000 was approaching. Instead of fleeing, he had all his soldiers hide and Zhuge Liang sat on top of a promontory at ease playing an instrument. When the opposing general saw this, he thought it initially may be a ploy of some sort but since Liang’s reputation for being a masterful strategist was so great; the general immediately backed off.
We all want to have a reputation. For being smart, for being cool, or for being intimidating. But reputations inherently are intimidating. As many of us leave college or enter whatever new phase that is before us, it is important to note how crucial developing a nearly flawless reputation is. Because a strong rep can make others move aside with little effort on our part but a rep with even the smallest holes can devour us.
I graduated yesterday. Just like three thousand others at my school.
During graduation season, you hear a lot of famous people give commencement addresses and you hear a lot of words of wisdom being thrown around. From my school’s commencement address, Bill Clinton’s West Virginia University address, and others; I have summarized the few underlying principles of all these speeches.
1) Do not be afraid to fail. There are a bunch of famous people who were once told that they were failures but then they succeeded.
2) Do good in the world. Work for more than just yourself.
And lastly, and most importantly (to me at least)
3) As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “do something that scares you everyday.” Never settle. Never get comfortable. Always go one step higher.
People tend to think of commencement addresses as a thirty minute long speech ridden with clichés. That’s true. But the power of the addresses comes from applying those clichés to individual events in your life that have happened and to events that will happen.
While reading Fortune I came cross a full page advertisement by health insurance behemoth Blue Cross Blue Shield (my insurer until September 1)
The first line in large, bold print is “Count on us.” This ad is about trusting BCBS to navigate the waters of the new healthcare legislation with the same integrity that they have always had with every other challenge.
Some notable lines:
1) “We will continue to help people navigate the healthcare system especially at a time when people are confused…”
2) “[being part of BCBS] is a commitment to service excellence…regardless of what type of health plan you have.”
3) “We need to build a healthcare system where people live healthier lives.”
4) “We must address the rising costs of healthcare.”
People are confused about how when they need insurance the most (like you know, when you catch cancer) their insurance gets cut in the middle of treatment (which you know, could kill you)
There are a few types of health plans. Plans that screw you over early in a disease. Plans that screw you over in the middle of a disease when you actually see some glimmers of hope. And plans which give you the finger at the door because you have a disease.
Healthier lives? Yes. So let’s continue to not support preventive health and charge forward-thinking individuals who want to take charge of their future now.
A large reason healthcare costs are so high is the over-ordering of tests/procedures. This is the fee-for-service system we have. The system that BCBS and other major insurers make the most money off of. They support reforming that?
Chances are, this ad will do exactly what BCBS wants it to do. Fortune is a magazine read by fiscal conservatives. People who vote Republican. This will galvanize the message to those who care most about protecting the insurance industry that the insurance industry actually cares.
But hey, thank you BCBS for a good hypocritical-statements-derived laugh today. This ad was funny. Like cancer.
With a Democratic SCOTUS appointment comes a Republican-grade assault.
1) Kagan thinks the Constitution, as originally written, is defective. As originally written, black people aren’t included in “we the people.” Defective? Certainly. But hey, let’s not nitpick now.
2) Kagan is anti-military. As Dean of Harvard Law, military recruiters were allowed to recruit through the official career services office even though the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was at odds with Harvard’s anti-discrimination policy. (for more background see this) Before every military visit, she issued a public statement voicing the School’s disagreement with the policy but profound thanks to the military for their sacrifices. Anti-military? Sure, let’s pick and choose what we want to talk about.
But the real problem here isn’t even the assault. That’s a standard-issue, knee-jerk, and factually compromised response that the Republicans are known for. The issue here is the complete lack of fact-checking by main stream media. I had to find out the truths behind these assaults from less read new sources and from liberal news sites (which will obviously fact check)
The thing is, it is a lot better, in terms of ratings and viewership, to repeat lies over and over again and then follow it with another news story than to repeat lies with the truth immediately after and then go to another new story.