Is That A Threat Or A Promise?


We live in a threatening world.

A quick scan of recent headlines has world leaders threatening other governments… other governments threatening their own people… and global warming threatening us all.

We have judges threatening out-of-control celebrities… out-of-control celebrities threatening their producers… and advertisers threatening the networks for threatening the out-of-control actors who are threatening to trash the brand.

What goes around, comes around.

We have a President in Washington, D.C. threatening members of his own party who don’t toe the line… we have teachers in Wisconsin threatening chaos in the classroom and the Capital… and a Governor threatening layoffs of public employees if the opposing Senators who left the state make good on their own threats to stay away indefinitely.

The House of Representatives is threatening a government shutdown… OPEC is threatening higher oil prices… and banks are threatening foreclosure on millions of American homes.

We hear of threats to our children’s education… threats to Grandma’s health care… and threats to our society’s moral conscience.

Quick question… can we stop with the threats, please?


Soon, but first…

In the business world, inept managers are threatening employees… vision-less employees are threatening the management or each other… and a toxic corporate culture is threatening the very survival of tens of thousands of companies today.

And in far too many families, husbands and wives threaten each other… parents threaten children… and the Weather Channel threatens to ruin our weekend!

“Oh my, did you hear about the terrible storm that’s on the horizon?”

No I didn’t… now please go away.


I’m not much of a fan of threats, whether heavy or hollow… real or imagined.

I don’t think they accomplish much, with the possible exception of using them to provide cover and deflect blame, as in, “It’s your own fault, I warned you…”

Yeah, whatever.

Most often, I see threats as tools used to manipulate… period. And the truth is that most people don’t like to be manipulated very much.

When I was a kid, there was a familiar saying that asked, “Is that a threat or a promise?”

Today there is a saying I like much better, “Just do it.”

If the right thing do is X… then do X.
If you must do Y… then do Y.

But if the truth is that it is B and S, then just stop.

Yes, I like that too… “Just stop it.”


I look forward to hearing from you.


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