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X Marks the spot!

In the classic Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century (, Duck Dodgers must locate Planet X, the only known source of Illudium Phosdex (the shaving cream atom). It is interesting, though a bit off-topic, to wonder whether Illudium Phosdex is related in any way to the Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator with which Marvin the Martian ( planned to destroy the Earth...

While his original navigation plan was a bit complicated, Dodgers realized (moments after Cadet Porky pointed it out), that they could simply follow the lettered planets until they reached Planet X.

What got me thinking about Duck Dodgers was that I’ve been thinking about leadership lately. You may ask how I got from one to the other...

Well, in many management, leadership, or psychology courses, you will hear about Abraham Maslow, who is best known for his “Hierarchy of Needs” (, which proposes a model for understanding how people are motivated.

Interestingly, it appears that the “traditional” portrayal of Maslow’s work as a pyramid, with each “level” of the pyramid needing to be filled or completed before we can progress to the next, did not actually come from Maslow ( at all. In digging into the paper referenced in the article, I found a summary (, which demonstrates that Maslow’s “hierarchy” was far more nuanced than is generally portrayed, and not nearly as selfish and individualistic as often portrayed.

That said, Maslow was simply a link in the chain to Duck Dodgers. When discussing motivation and leadership, another theory I have frequently encountered is Douglas McGregor’s “Theory X and Theory Y” (, which completes the chain.

To summarize (and simplify for clarity), Theory X assumes that “the typical worker has little motivation, avoids responsibility, and is individual-goal oriented”, and describes a spectrum of management styles from “soft” to “hard”, which must be balanced in order to provide an environment in which workers will be closely supervised, while also attempting to generate high morale and cooperation. Theory X appears to be best suited to consistency of process and systematic workflows, but draws a clear distinction between “manager” and “worker”, which tends to create adversarial relationships.

Theory Y, on the other hand, assumes that “employees are internally motivated, enjoy their job, and work to better themselves without a direct reward in turn”. Under this theory, people take responsibility for their actions, and the manager is more of a facilitator and coach than a dictator.

I’ve usually heard these two theories described in terms of Theory X assuming that employees must be actively managed and are assumed to be lazy and unproductive, while Theory Y assumes that people will behave in a responsible manner if you treat them as responsible.

I’ve always been a big believer and proponent of Theory Y, and have always tried to treat my colleagues as professional and responsible until and unless I have evidence that they are not. In my experience, the vast majority of people I have worked with have been dedicated and professional, and most of my work interactions have been generally positive.

I keep asking myself whether I “believe” in Theory Y because I have always worked with such dedicated professionals or whether my “belief” in Theory Y is why most of my work experiences have been positive, so I see people behaving in a dedicated and professional way? To what degree have my beliefs influenced the way I have behaved, and thus the relationships I have had, and vice versa?

This is more than idle speculation, as it ties into questions about how our attitude affects our behaviour, and the degree to which our beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s certainly something each of us should consider, but there is great danger that this train of thought can go off the rails into discussions on various methods of “harnessing” the “power” of “positive thinking” and other areas which are so blurred with pseudoscientific rubbish that there is little or no actual value in them.

Just to be clear, I am talking about the ways in which our attitudes influence our actions and how others respond to us. I am NOT talking about the power of positive thinking as described by Norman Vincent Peale ( and his followers, though I highly recommend Seb Pearce’s “Bullshit Generator” (, which automatically generates profound-sounding nonsense that (to me, at least) is indistinguishable from the sort of thing Deepak Chopra actually says...

So, for a bit of fun, I’ll end on some pseudo-profundity, which might help to highlight the difficulty of actually understanding how we think – “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (

This life is nothing short of an unfolding transmission of enlightened aspiration.
Nothing is impossible. The dreamtime is electrified with vibrations.
Without passion, one cannot vibrate.
Who are we? Where on the great myth will we be aligned? Throughout history, humans have been interacting with the infinite via ultra-sentient particles. Humankind has nothing to lose.
If you have never experienced this harmonizing at the quantum level, it can be difficult to believe. It can be difficult to know where to begin. How should you navigate this infinite dreamtime?
Turbulence is born in the gap where purpose has been excluded. Where there is illusion, life-force cannot thrive. Only an entity of the solar system may integrate this rebirth of self-actualization.
You and I are starseeds of the nexus.
The nexus is approaching a tipping point. Imagine a redefining of what could be. It is time to take wonder to the next level.



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