Lost

We are only
lost
in relation to
where we want
to go.

If we don’t know
where we want
to go,
we may instead be
faced with an opportunity
for exploration
and play.

Unless,
of course,
we think we know
where we want
to go,
because we conflate
where we want
to go
with where we think
we should want
to go.

In which case,
we may still feel
“lost.”

Withness

“When
did you start losing
trust
in the CTO?” I asked
the CEO.

“Our 3rd co-founder
was underperforming.
He came to us one day
to explain
that his underperformance
was due
to his father’s
illness.”
he answered.

“After he left,
the CTO told me in private
that he believed
that
was just an excuse.”
he continued.

“Sure,
it may have been
an excuse.
But the 3 of us
had been friends
for 10 years
before founding
the company.
I could easily see
how the CTO
would judge me the same way
if I were in a pinch.

I no longer felt
she was with me.”
he concluded.

Gratitude vs Indebtedness

Gratitude
is an emotion.

Indebtedness
is a judgment one makes
on top of gratitude
to inject our being
with a noble burden.

One that whispers
“You must pay this back.
If you don’t,
you’re not good enough.”

A burden
that sometimes leads us
to hyper-empathize
with the person
to whom
we feel indebted.

Broken, I am.

Jim Carey once said,
he acts,
because he’s broken.

For those who judge
“brokenness”
as “bad”
may feel triggered
by that comment.

But what I learned from art,
is that if “broken” implies
1) separated in parts
or 2) producing results
that defy our expectations,
then both
are requirements
for innovation.

Because parts
must be separated
before they can be
recomposed
into a new whole.

And the kind of whole
we seek in innovation
is the kind
that defies our expectations
enough to move us
in often surprising ways.

If being broken
means that I can not only
understand and appreciate,
but also artfully express
the depth and nuance
of the human experience
in ways I could not
otherwise have,
such that I impact the world
in positive ways,
as has Jim Carey,
then broken,
I am.

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.