Ken Willmarth: Get past rancor, cynicism and find solutions

February 20, 2014 

With the huge problems of water management (drought/groundwater) and land use (Modesto’s general plan amendment) now in the forefront of our minds, the disagreements threaten to make swatches of our social fabric threadbare and so deny us our best solutions. Rancor and cynicism solve little and exacerbate already difficult problems. The self-serving behaviors of those who manipulate power behind the scenes feed that rancor and cynicism, actively undermining the strengths of our democracy.

We see a silver lining brightening this storminess as new leadership is emerges to help lead us past our self-constructive barricades. Meanwhile, all of us could use a primer in working together in ways that support them and help create a better life for all.

Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” lays out principles and practices that could help move our entire Stanislaus community forward if we incorporate them. We urgently need to follow two bits of advice: First, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Then we must all “think win-win.” We all know the Golden Rule; our challenge now is to put it into practice.

KEN WILLMARTH

Modesto

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