Good & Bad Things

Bad things
are not always done
by bad people.

Bad things
are often done by people
who felt
like they had no other choice.

Choice
of either impression
or expression.

Not options,
but choice.

Good things
are not always done
by good people,
either.

Good things
are often done by people
who felt
like they have no other choice.

Choice
of either impression
or expression.

Not options,
but choice.

Tight Corner

A tight corner
is a place, where we feel
as if we have
no choice.

To tell someone
backed into a corner
to not do something,
is to attempt
to further decrease
their choice.

Slow Progress vs Stuckness

Telling someone
who feels stuck
to have more patience and grit
is akin to telling
a drowning person
to keep holding their breath.

There are times
when progress is merely slow.

Then there are times
when we are stuck.

When progress is slow,
our direction need not change.
Thus,
with patience and grit
we can prevail.

But when we are stuck,
we must significantly change direction
—even if momentarily.

The question is
in which direction?

To support someone feeling stuck
may we be there
by their side
to help them learn
the requisite new choice
of direction.

Power Dynamics

It’s tempting
to think of some relationships
as having a unilateral
power dynamic.

As if our parents
have unilateral power
over us.

As if our bosses
have unilateral power
over us.

As if our investors
have unilateral power
over us.

What we inevitably learn
is that we also have power
over our parents,
over our bosses,
over our investors.

Why?
Because they have a vested interest
in our success.

Given this,
we can choose to see these relationships
through the lens of
“They only care about us
because they have a vested interest
in our success!”

or

through the lens of
“I appreciate
that there are people who care about us
enough to have a vested interest
in our success.”

At least two choices
we can learn.

Only one of which
helps us use
power with.

Learning from Disgust

People
who provoke our disgust,
may also be those
from whom we can learn
our limiting beliefs.

Anytime
we encounter someone
who disgusts us,
may we ask
what we’re telling ourselves
they shouldn’t be doing.

Not to judge their behavior
as wrong or bad,
but to discover
if we believe we
shouldn’t be doing them,
either.

And if so,
may we get clarity
on the fear or concern
underlying this belief.

Because
the moment we discover
that there are times
and ways
in which the risk
underlying our fear or concern
is either manageable
or worth the cost,
is also the moment
we will realize empathy
and learn a new choice.

A new choice
that could lead
to innovation.

To Reflect

What does it mean
to reflect?

Stand in front of a mirror.

The mirror
will reflect.

By mirror,
I mean a relationship
from which we can receive the choice
to see ourselves
from an interfacing
perspective.

By an interfacing perspective,
I mean a perspective
from which we can receive the choice
to see ourselves
as an “other”
with which we can empathize
without hyper-empathizing.

Go ahead.

Look into the mirror
and see yourself as an “other”
with which you can empathize
without hyper-empathizing.

Now,
by look,
I mean receive the choice
to recognize,
acknowledge,
and appreciate
parts of your “self”
by recognizing,
acknowledging,
and appreciating
parts of
the “other.”

Parts you forgot
or did not know
to recognize,
acknowledge,
and appreciate.

I mean give these parts
the choice
to feel seen.

The choice
to matter.

And by giving this choice,
may you realize
that this
is a loop,
where giving
does not constitute losing,
and receiving
is not predicated on lacking.

A loop,
where fear and shame
can make way
for flow.

Whether we reflect
through journaling,
through coaching,
or otherwise…

May this be a guide.

Beyond the Horizon of Cynicism

One of the most common block to insight
is cynicism.

To realize empathy with cynicism
it can be useful to model it
as doubt + judgment.

This implies that
once we strip our cynicism of judgment,
we can more clearly confront our doubt.

Then as we develop the requisite skill and will
to zoom into our doubt,
it can lead to the discovery
of our worry or concern,
ultimately fear,
over a future we do not wish to see happen.

When we can clearly see and hear
this undesired future
we can also increase the probability
of realizing empathy,
which ultimately helps us create choices,
the kind that gives us a feeling of possibility
beyond the horizon of cynicism,
which is a key
to designing toward a future
we do wish to see happen,
instead of staying stuck
unconsciously envisioning a future
we do not wish to see happen.

Option vs Choice

Options
need not
move us
to make
a choice.

For lunch,
we may have 5 options.
Yet, none of them
may move us
to make
a choice.

We can weigh the options
all we want,
but this may merely fuel
our inner conflict,
until we feel moved enough
to make
a choice.

Choices,
unlike options,
move us
to action.

Some choices
are made
begrudgingly.
Yet,
the kind I find fascinating
is the kind that arises
when we realize
empathy.

That moment,
when we’ve finally moved
from a state of dissonance—
of not empathizing—
to a state of resonance—
of empathizing.

That moment,
when what we once could not see
becomes surprisingly self-evident,
and oh so obvious
in hindsight,
making us go
“Oh, of course…!”
exclaiming at the possibility
that has just
unfolded.

p.s: My gratitude goes out to Dr. Paul Pangaro for the wonderful conversation that inspired this post.