Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life Coaching in the News: The Curious Case of Alvin Greene

A South Carolina Democratic Primary has turned into national news. Why? Alvin Greene, a previously unknown unemployed military veteran is now the Democratic nominee for the US Senate. He faced off against a more well-known competitor and won. Greene won without a website, phone campaign, rallies, fundraisers or even signs. How he came up with the $10,000 filing fee is a bit of a mystery, but the bigger mystery is how this guy that no one knew managed to get over 100,000 primary voters to choose him.

Some contribute it to race. Others contribute it to name recognition (Alvin Greene sounds a lot like iconic soul singer Al Green). Others still claim it’s because his name came first on the ballot over that of his opponent Vic Rawl.

So, you ask, what the heck does this have to do with life coaching? Good question, here’s my answer. Regardless of what prompted over 100,000 people to vote for Greene – be it race, recognition or order on the ballot – they voted for Greene and they voted without a clue of who they were voting for or what he stood for. South Carolinians woke up Wednesday morning having chosen a candidate who can barely manage a basic interview.

The lesson here is simple, do your homework. Homework doesn’t end when school does. Whether it’s buying a home or a car, choosing a school for your children, filing your taxes or casting a vote, the onus of responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders. You are responsible for doing the research and the due diligence before you take action.

Predatory lenders took advantage of a lot of people’s naiveté when it came to home buying. They lead people into mortgages with ridiculous adjustable rates. Every year, some poor celebrity loses everything to the I.R.S. because they didn’t pay close enough attention to who handled the finances. There is a saying, “The devil is in the details.” He hides there because he knows no one will look for him there.

Tragically, we can’t just blame predatory lenders, the IRS, shifty politicians or the Bernie Madoff’s of the world for manipulating us. We play a role in that manipulation when we don’t do our homework. The bigger the decision, the more costly the consequences, the more due diligence you should undertake. Find the devil in the details.

And,when it comes to voting there is always another choice. If you aren’t familiar with the candidates or the causes, you can always choose not to choose – just leave it blank.

2 comments:

BLUEBUTTERFLY said...

I'm a stickler or "homework"...too many people have forgotten that it's all the homework they did early in life that helped them make wise choices. Homework is something we should be doing as long as we're on earth.

Lose the Excuses said...

Exactly. I think it's scary how many of us abdicate responsibility to others who don't necessarily have our best interest in mind.

We rely too heavily on the 'experts' to tell us what to do without realizing that the 'experts' usually have a vested interest. They are doing a job (and usually making a commission), we have to live with the results.