Using Emotions

We are not

We have

We are not

We have

We are not

We have

The moment we take ownership
of an emotion,
just as we take ownership
of a car,
may also be the moment
we use them
to get to point B
from point
instead of letting them drive us
to where we do not wish
to go.


For our behaviors to change,
our emotions
may have to change

For our emotions to change,
our thoughts
may have to change

For our thoughts to change
our focus
may have to change

For our focus to change
our perspective
may have to change


We use the phrase
only when we display extreme degrees
of emotions.

It’s as if we don’t feel
at other times.

is an emotion.

Curiosity and wonder
are emotions.

The certainty
and confidence
or the uncertainty
and hesitation we feel
when making decisions

Misunderstanding Perfection

is a feeling.

What is perfect
to one
is imperfect
to another.

What is perfect
one day
is not perfect
the next.

We can misunderstand perfection
if we focus solely
on clarifying the measurement
of perfection.

We can better understand perfection
by clarifying the tension
underlying the drive
for perfection.

Compassion without Acceptance

“I regret
not having hugged you last night.”
she said.

is too strong an emotion.
I don’t want you
to feel it.”
responded her mother.

“But it’s what I feel,
why can’t you accept it?”
she asked
mildly protesting.

“I just don’t want you to feel that.”
responded her mother.

“But I feel it.
I feel it.
I feel regret.
It’s what I feel.”
she responded.

“I just want what’s best for you.
I want you to feel better.”
responded her mother.

“I just want you
to accept me.”
she responded.

After Love or Hate?

of the most common emotions
founders discover
within themselves
is vengefulness.

In the presence
of vengefulness
it’s sometimes worth asking
whether our time
is best spent
on what we hate
what we love.

Because sometimes
we may only have enough time
to choose
who or what we love
who or what we hate.

the lack of time
isn’t always obvious
until we explore
the question.

In fact,
we may not even realize
that we are experiencing
until we realize empathy
with ourselves.

Dormant Potential

“I have to repress it.”
said the CEO.

“Why?” I asked.

“I’m afraid
I’m going to crumble,
if I let myself experience it.”
she responded.

The ‘it’
being unpleasant emotions.

Most people
have difficulty processing
unpleasant emotions.

It’s no wonder
positive thinking life hacks
such as gratitude journaling
has taken off.

they merely mask the symptoms,
and blinds us
to the valuable information
encoded in the unpleasant emotions.

When I was researching art,
it was remarkable to witness
how actors-in-rehearsal
were supported
by their director and scene partners
in decoding the information
encoded in unpleasant emotions.

I also witnessed
over and over again,
how the information,
when decoded,
inspired the actors
to unleash their potential
for a brilliant performance
that lay dormant until then.

is the kind of teamwork we need
in business.

In Praise of Survival

In startup circles,
there is wide-spread worship
of “growth.”

The lure of building a company worth $1 billion,
known as a “unicorn,”
looms large.

In contrast,
we often hear people demean survival,
with phrases like “mere survival is not enough,
we must thrive!”

The reality is that building a company
often feels like being in a war.

Not because we’re in a competition,
but because we get hurt,
often to significant degrees.

And what I find interesting
is that when I help founders recover
from these emotional wounds,
I often see them naturally grow—
their minds,
their hearts,
and their relationships.

The kind of growth made possible
precisely because they got hurt.

Just as our muscles grow
by getting hurt
then recovering,
perhaps we can also grow,
by recovering.

By surviving.

By living.

By telling the God of death,
Not today.”