“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” ~Andre Gide

I’ve debated about writing this for quite some time. It’s easier to be vanilla and not risk offending someone. That comes very naturally for me. I’d like to be a dean some day, so not offending anyone would be a good thing. But, I’m not vanilla. I’m quite unique, just like you are. And I think that ‘s great! Please don’t change who you are or what you think just to appease me. Be you. That’s quite special. In fact, I’d like to learn more about what makes you unique, when we get the opportunity.

So here are some of the boxes you can attempt to put me in, but in reality I don’t fit in any of them, because I don’t like boxes. When I learn something I tend to change. I like to think and I hope you do too.

My family is what is most important to me. I am far from the perfect husband or dad. I don’t always get it right, but I continue to try. Similarly, people are very important to me. We each have our own stories, our own struggles. I strive to recognize this and respect people as unique and special. I like people and believe ultimately that is why we do what we do.

Spirituality is important to me as well. I describe myself as a Christ-Follower. I believe the teachings of Christ, not our interpretations, have the ability to make the world a better place. I believe that Jesus’ goal was to make the world a better place. I believe many have distorted his teachings to make the world as they would have it. Organized religion bothers me. For me it is really simple, Love God and Love People. Everything comes from this. So I strive to do this better and forget all the other “stuff”. I love learning about other religions and look for ways that it can enrich my own understanding. I’ve learned a lot from agnostics and atheists. In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize I have so much more to learn and I really have no clue.  It’s all faith. Andre Gide said it best “Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.” You can count me as one who is seeking the truth.

Politically, I am a Libertarian, because I believe we each have a right to choose. Who am I to say what is right for you? But I get frustrated with Libertarians (politics in general) because they can take it too far. I tend to avoid extremes. Things won’t change overnight and extreme changes can be detrimental to society. We need to quit dividing and start uniting. Political parties have made it “us against them” and we have forgotten that there should be no “them”, it should be all “us”.

I take the EDGE perspective seriously. Yes, this is a key component in the ECU COB curriculum, but it is also something I really believe in.

Ethics: It’s not always easy, but doing the right thing is always the right thing to do. I am encouraged by companies that are doing well by doing good.

Diversity: I am passionate about diversity and am concerned that many simply don’t get it. It’s more than just counting colors, religions, or sexual orientation. It’s about truly appreciating the unique view we all have due to nature and nurture. How rich it is to see the world through someone else’s eyes. My own view is so limited, so biased. Add in a couple of different views and the picture becomes so much richer. I want to live a rich life by surrounding myself with people who have a different perspective than me.

Globalization: The world is an interdependent web. We need to get beyond just doing things that are good for one country and start looking for win-win situations. The US is a great place, but it is not the only place and we need to learn from others. Like diversity it’s not easy, but the potential is huge.

Environment: This is the only earth we have and we can clearly need to be better stewards than we have been. Can we leave the earth in better shape than we found it? It’s worth trying.

As you can glean from the previous, I truly do love what I do. I have a passion for business education and its potential to change lives and change the world. Seriously. My frustration is we have equated learning with passing exams. College was a period where I grew; I changed. Did I get it right? Heck no, but it set me on a course that few would have imagined. I was the first Schwager to get a college degree. So a PhD was unthinkable. Yet here I am. My dad had to work 3 jobs at one point to provide for us. College gave me the hope of a better life for my family. I believe my mom and dad would be proud, God rest their souls. How many people are in exactly that same situation? How many can we impact the trajectory of their lives? That’s worth fighting for. A college education is so much more than passing a test.

Technology continues to intrigue me. I’ve always enjoyed playing with and learning about technology. I’ve tried it all and currently I can honestly say I love my Mac. I’ve become an “Apple Fanboy” because Apple products are well designed and the do what they are designed to do. But I respect why others are passionate about their technology and the way it can make their life better.

My CARE (Clarity, Accountability, Respect, Encouragement) model is something I really do believe in and is something I hope to continue to refine. It works well as a personal model and a leadership model. Can’t say I live it as consistently as I would like, but I am a work in progress.

So what does all this mean? Yup, my boxes don’t match yours! That’s great. We’re different. I’ve had this site for many years (since I was at Auburn) and it has always floundered. Never quite becoming what I would have hoped it would be. I think that is because while it is PaulSchwager.com, it only reflects a small part of me. So my goal will be to reflect more of me. Share a bit more of my interests and struggles. My hope is not that my thoughts will provide answers for visitors (I have more questions than answers), but that visitors will feel comfortable asking questions along with me, and learning along the way.

So, now when you read my thoughts you will understand a bit about where they come from. Here’s hoping the next 15 years of PaulSchwager.com will be more authentic than the first 15 years.

All the best!

Paul

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