Newell: Let's get on board and "Give a Damn!"

Mark Lewis' book shows us the way to more kindness and positivity in the world

Newell Normand
October 07, 2019 - 9:08 pm

Have we lost the art of being kind and respectful? By changing our attitudes, can we make a positive impact on each other and on our communities? Mark Lewis thinks so. He's the Managing Director of Communique LLC, a business coaching and consulting firm, and the author of "Give a Damn: Give A Damn - The Ticket to Cultural Change." He says that the reason our world can feel like such a mess sometimes is that we have forgotten to, well, give a damn about each other. Lewis joined the Newell Normand show Monday morning to explain.

 "Give a Damn' is certainly a movement," Newell began, "and what's unusual about this release of the book is that it also comes with a challenge - a challenge to members of Congress, and accountability challenge for them to give a damn... you come from the technology center and you've spent a lot of time talking about that in the book, some of the successes and failures of leaders in that world. At one point, you say 'in large part, technology is to blame for robbing us of skills like maintaining empathy in an emotionally charged situation. We need to spend more time interacting with people in all sorts of situations, and less time watching screens." 

"Technology has been great at improving productivity with people," Lewis said. "What's terrible about it as that it's eliminated or reduced face-to-face interaction. We text, we send emails - people don't send thank you letters in the mail anymore - so a lot of that communication, both non-verbal and what and you actually hear from someone and see how they say it - is reduced, because now we look at those things in this different matter. When you take out that face-to-face interaction, you don't have as much empathy... that's the biggest problem technology has. Another thing is that with this technology, we've now become providers of information. We used to receive it from media, now we provide it and a lot of the time, it's not right."

"We spent a lot of time when I was Sheriff talking about emotional intelligence, which is a learned behavior, the ability to control one's emotions and the emotions of others - a lot of that you talk around in your book. which says 'Giving a damn is not a superficial change.' What do you mean by that?"

"What people need to realize is that we've become so self-centered and defensive, that when we hear a comment, instead of viewing it as something that might have some validity, we automatically put ourselves on the defensive. We don't open up our minds, because we're looking at comments that are said to us as being 'against' us instead of saying, 'there might be some value here, let me open my mind.' Everything seems to be closed, and we get really defensive about it. That's what I'm trying to say - open your mind, see what's available without trying to create an argument going back and forth," Lewis said. 

Another important point from the book: What you do wrong, whether that be to lie, steal, or cheat - that will always come out sooner or later.

"It does, when you think about it. It could be a day, a week, a month, several years -  there are situations where it will always come out, so if you do the right thing, you don't have anything to worry about. But a lot of people will do the wrong thing, and then justify it in their mind as being right, and therefore they would go and continue to do it, and a lot of times we know that's wrong."

"You put out a challenge to not only the American people but Congress as well," Newell said, before reading from Lewis' Congressional Accountability Pledge. "As a Member of Congress, I pledge to serve and be accountable to the American people by providing a deep commitment to putting the needs of others first, and improving interpersonal relationships that motivate and inspire positivity amongst all Members of Congress, regardless of party affiliation."

"It all starts at the top," Lewis said. "I put this out there because we've become so polarized that there's no cooperation between anyone in Congress. If someone asks me if I'm a Democrat or a Republican, I ask them the same question and they don't tell me, and I know why they won't tell me, because as soon as I tell you I'm a Democrat or Republican,  I can't think outside that party affiliation, and if I do, the others in my party are going to ostracize and crucify me. So my goal is to go to Washington and give everybody, all 535 a them a copy of my book and tell them they need to sign this Congressional Accountability Pledge because they need to be accountable to the American people, and I don't think they are. At the same time, what I want to do is get people to assign the American people to sign this pledge. If we can get a grassroots campaign together and go to Congress and say, 'We've got a million people to sign this, you need to buy into this.'" 

Hear the entire interview in the audio player below.

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