If I Only Had A Brain – aka Endorphins versus Cortisol

I could while away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain
And my head I’d be scratchin’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain

Incivility in Canada? Say it ain’t so?

It’s been a damaging few weeks in our Nation. The Federal Election rhetoric was brutal. Social Media in particular, but all media was responsible for whipping us frothy. We only have to look at the candidates to see it all began at the top. They spent most of their time tearing down each other and did their best to discredit one another. It was shameful and embarrassing in many respects. Is this what we’ve come to? Maybe we just experimented and wanted to see what it was like to mimic our neighbours to the South, you know, Land of the Free and Home of the divided. Ugh, that’s not the Country I know and love. The vitriol and disrespect lowered our normally reasonable leveled and collective IQ in Canada.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am disappointed. We now have a minority Government, and I’m hopeful we can get some actual Governing done. We said some nasty things to each other and it left us divided but hopefully, the next few months will see a calming of the expert opinion and inflammation.

And let’s not have a unity crisis! Please. We face some difficult challenges. Climate change, pipeline construction, equalization payments, Indigenous issues, debt and deficits, Nafta, world trade and of course whether the Raptors will repeat. We need to stick together.

Speaking of divided, and that’s what inspired this edition, it’s not just political mudslinging that’s happening. We are divided EVERYWHERE and EVERYDAY it seems.

Our brains our complicated. (Thanks Captain obvious) Now I’m no neurologist, so forgive the simplicity.

But when something positive happens to you, or you are exposed to something pleasant, the brain emits chemicals. Endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine.

When something bad happens, or you are exposed to negativity or aggression, cortisol – kicks in. Fight or flight.

Think of it like Ghostbusters 2 when Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon battle Prince Vigo and his negativity charged, cortisol filled ectoplasm was taking over New York City. It took a collective playing of the dopamine laden “Higher and higher” by Jackie Wilson to defeat it. Of course it was entertainment, but the plot had a point.

I think the cortisol is dominating our thinking these days. If it’s fight or flight, we seem to fight. Maybe when it was life threatening, like being attacked by a dinosaur, it was a good thing. But losing it with the driver in front of you for going slower than they should in the passing lane, is not life threatening?

I heard a story from London Ontario this week about after school fights that are so violent, educators can’t and understandably won’t step in to break them up for fear of their own safety. And that of other students. Yes, the teen years are angst filled and aggressive and confusing with puberty and hormones, but honestly, this is not right. Violence in our schools is a real thing. Bullying in our schools is a real thing. And I am very concerned about the future generations who have to live through this media revolution and come out the other end as healthy and positive members of society.

This week in Ottawa, Canada’s Environment Minister had her office facade vandalized with the cee word spray painted over her picture. Really? What kind of low life takes any pleasure in doing that? What has Catherine McKenna the woman or the MP ever done to deserve that indignity? Cortisol much? Truth is, the individual(s) more likely than not, have mental issues.

I give you 2 minutes now to think about your past week and how many times you encountered, witnessed, or participated in a negative interaction or incident. Right? What can you do next week to re-think it all? One day at a time, one interaction at a time.

I have thought about the state we are in in 2019. We are bombarded with messages. It’s impossible to watch or read a newscast without it being filled with negative stories, Facebook and Twitter are a terrible source of opposing and offending discourse. I choose to use FB for good, not evil and I honestly don’t ever remember going at it with anyone on social media. I prefer food pics and flowers and nature and kids. I am not an angel, and not without faults or regrets, but I’ve never been violent. Aggressive at times, yes, in my thoughts and actions but never ever violent. I’m a flighter, not a fighter.

Let’s do this

The world is not a garden of Eden. And to be clear, I don’t want it to be. I love a good disagreement about what I think and feel about things versus what others think and feel about things. I’ve enjoyed many of those conversations with many people over my life. From parents, to siblings, to friends and bosses and colleagues….it’s how we move forward intellectually by listening and disagreeing perhaps and dare I say, be influenced to think differently on a topic or subject. There is so much to be grateful for and so many reasons to be optimistic about the future. But those of us that can, we need to play a part whenever we can to tone down the hostility and rancor. Everywhere.

A man I respect

Phil Lind is Vice Chair of Rogers. He was Ted’s best friend as legend has it. Mr. Lind is celebrating his 50th year with Rogers. Think about that? Amazing. Our company produced a video to pay tribute to him recently. That’s where this screensave photo is from. I see Mr. Lind more than I probably deserve, it just seems to happen and I always say hello and he is always friendly to me. I actually sat across from him at a dinner recently and he is great company and a conversationalist. He listens a lot. Let’s others do the talking. Mostly.

I have an unforgettable story about Mr. Lind that I tell often and will share here as we celebrate his milestone. When I was in Halifax, I often flew back to Toronto for meetings and such. One day, I was on a Porter flight that landed at Billy Bishop. This was before the tunnel was built so everyone had to herd off the plane and onto the ferry for the 2 minute ride. On this particular day, as I walking, there was a crowd hold up ahead. Nothing major, but of course all the important people who had other important people to see and other important places to be, were all looking ahead and wondering what it was. Mostly flustered. (See cortisol comments above) Anyhow, turns out, someone was walking slowly to the ferry. Keep in mind, the ferry isn’t going anywhere until everyone is on it, but those important people had to get there fast. When I got up to the individual walking slowly, guess who? Phil Lind. Yup, I recognized him immediately and walked beside him and introduced myself.

We chatted all the way to the ferry, he wanted to know how our Atlantic properties were doing, asked about the Bragg family, they own Eastlink, etc. We continued on the ferry and all the way to the front doors of the terminal. I was saying goodbye and he asked where I was going? I said my first stop was the Hotel at Rogers Center and then up to 333 Bloor. he said, ‘I’ll give you a ride”. “No, no” said I, “that’s very nice, but I can just grab a cab”. “Nonsense, I can take you”. I was expecting a car service to be there and thought, “hey this will be great”. But no service, he actually said, “I’m just over there”, pointing to a small group of 2-3 cars literally in the parking lot at Billy Bishop. Not for the general public, let’s put it that way. Holy smokes, I’m going to ride with Phil Lind!!! Yikes. In we jump and off we go.

I admit I was a bit starstruck. He called his assistant, asked for messages, and I’m literally wide eyed. Mr. Lind never said, “Watch what you say, I have this guy in my passenger seat”. It was as if I wasn’t there but more than that, he treated me like even if I heard something big, I could be trusted with it. I never heard anything big. But it was funny . We carry on the conversation in the car. He wanted my thoughts on so many topics and we talked about the Cleveland Browns and Toronto radio and potential acquisitions and even what he was doing that weekend. What can I say? Incredible. We pull up to the Rogers building where there is a special one car space on Jarvis and in he goes. Of course he gets that spot. But he was so funny saying he doesn’t always get it….sometimes it’s occupied. I can guess who out ranks him.

We get out of the car, I grab my bag and thank him profusely for the ride and the visit. Just then, he blurts out….’You wanted to go the the Hotel right”? “I’m so sorry” I just said, “This was a much better destination Mr.Lind, thank you for the ride”.

Happy Anniversary!!!!!!

I was in Toronto this week and with hard work, comes some fun. Thanks to this group for a nice night on Tuesday. I can now never say, “I never had a dinner”. That’s an old friars club Don Rickles joke for you youngsters.

This group runs Rogers Radio.

Halloween is coming……..have fun!!!! My neighbour goes all out as usual. Boo!

Thanks for reading……….

One response to “If I Only Had A Brain – aka Endorphins versus Cortisol”

  1. So we’ll written Danny. Hope you’ll write more, you’re great at it…but what aren’t you great at?
    Side bar…my neighbours are mostly all Jehovah’s Witness…no Halloween fun for me. Boo 😦

    Big hugs to you and lovely Dawn xo


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