Irony is when we judge others as lacking empathy

It’s ok to give up.

What may be more important
is getting to the heart of what we want.

Not the thing we say or think we want,
but the thing for which our heart yearns,
floating right on the threshold
of our conscious and sub-conscious.

Once we become aware of what this is,
we tend to realize that there are many ways to attain this.

In that moment, “giving up” becomes
but a matter of giving up one of many methods of attaining this.

If so,
“giving up” can eliminate the very thing getting in the way
of making progress:
our insistence on a particular method.
Thereby helping us make greater progress
toward attaining what we want
if even if it is merely temporary.

One way
to sort the behaviors that arise from significant tension
is into 5 categories.

It can be useful
to simply notice and acknowledge these behaviors,
as natural human reactions
to our desire to relieve ourselves of significant tension,
instead of judging them as good/bad or right/wrong.

This can give us
the requisite room in our mind
to not only appreciate the tension we experience,
but also the tension experienced by others
when they behave the same way.

Manipulation involves the desire
to move someone or something
to a place or state the manipulator envisions or expects.

This is not to judge manipulation as good/bad or right/wrong.
Through mutual agreement & rationalization,
one can differentiate between transparent vs. surreptitious,
well vs. ill-intended, manipulation.

A magic show
can be thought of as transparent manipulation.
Feeding kids hidden veges
can be thought of as well-intended manipulation.

In some sense,
the opposite of manipulation is creation.
Because creation involves the desire
to arrive
at a place or state the creator did not envision or expect.

Tolerating isn’t sustainable.
Respecting is.

There are workshops that teach listening
as a collection of techniques,
Saying “mhm.”

Even if you do all of that,
if internally you’re merely tolerating the experience,
you can feel drained
You may even feel like you’re engaged in “emotional labor.”

That’s a recipe for burn-out and resentment.

is a practice of making new value from what we perceive.

It’s not a technique,
but rather a skill that naturally emerges
from a shift in our perception.

For example,
art students,
especially those trained in the traditional crafts
learn to respect by actively perceiving value in the mundane
through drawing,
woodworking, etc…

Once we learn to respect,
What we perceive in the world
can energize us,
so much so that we may be so immersed in the art of respecting,
that we forget to eat.

There are times when we,
usually in the name of improvement,
forget that we are special.

It is not wrong to think we are special.

Special does not mean superior or exceptional in all contexts.
It simply means we are superior or exceptional in some contexts.

Cockroaches are special.
So are rocket scientists.
Just in different contexts.


I’ve coached founders
who aspire to make millions of dollars.
I’ve also coached founders
who aspire to help the less fortunate.

Some may easily judge one to be better than the other.


What I find interesting is that both struggled
with the same things.
That is until they learned to let go
of the fixed image
of who they thought they should be.
Whether that was
someone who has millions of dollars or
someone who helps the less fortunate,
it made little difference.

When we are involved in a process of innovation,
the kind mired in
complexity, and
What we often need
is someone who can
be there by our side
to help us navigate through
the difficult,
sometimes drawn out,
of coming to make a decision.

Not someone
who is quick to
tell us
what decision to make.
Nor someone
who leaves us
to make a decision.

Yet more often than not
we are surrounded
by the latter two types of people,
While it is rare to be in the company
of the first kind of person.

To all my readers,
if you wish,
May this new year
bring more
of the first kind of person
into your lives.

To all my clients,
I’m eternally grateful
for your willingness
to let me be this kind of person.

Innovation does not solve problems.
It only has the potential to do so.

Say I produced an innovative vacuum cleaner,
If the problem is a dirty house,
unless someone uses the innovation repeatedly,
problem persists.

Innovation creates unexpected choices we didn’t perceive to have,
Problem solving uses existing choices to achieve an expected result.

Problem solving gets stuck
when we lack the requisite variety of choices
to achieve our expected result.

when we’re stuck,
we need to temporarily put aside problem solving
in favor of innovation
to first increase the variety of our choices.

Sometimes innovation even helps us realize
that what we considered a problem is not,
and the problem vanishes

If an “event” that happens is the tip of the iceberg,
“context” is the rest of the iceberg.

If my saying something is an event,
its context includes
my intentions,
history, etc.

When we hear what others say,
we often use the first context that comes to mind
to make meaning from their words.

This can lead to misunderstandings.

We only understand the words of others
when we interpret their words
in conjunction with a context sufficiently similar
to the context that gave rise to their words.

So to better understand the word of others,
we often need to momentarily let go
of the first context that comes to mind.

When we, as founders,
work to fertilize a new culture in our organization,
3 emotions often rise up in ourselves and in our team:

  • Overwhelm
  • Worry/Concern
  • Anxiety

When we don’t spend the time
to realize empathy in relation to these emotions,
they easily develop into:

  • Sense of Isolation
  • Fear
  • Frustration

Which, over time, calcify as:

  • Sense of Betrayal
  • Shame
  • Resentment