Issue № 27


The results of fully listening are profound and couldn’t be more relevant today in times of immense distractions and a world constantly in a rush: Others feel accepted.

They feel heard. They take their own words more seriously. By thinking out loud, they are discovering their own words and, by that, their own true selves.

~ Klaus Motoki Tonn from,

This article touches on a number of different things which are interesting about conversation. I was surprised to realize that despite its having several great quotes from famous authors, this bit from Tonn was the part I kept returning to. It’s just deposited quietly in the middle of the whole thing which made it all the more delightful to discover; if I’d only skimmed I’d surely have missed it.

Let’s be fair: In today’s world, no one actually listens and every thing is intentionally distracting as it clamors for our attention. That makes what should be the “simple” act of listening into something profound. I’ve encountered the effect Tonn’s highlighting many times. The more I listen, the more each guest seems to be on a journey of self-discovery. The more I implicitly promise not to interrupt them, the more confident becomes their self-exploration. And it’s made all the more special by their not expecting it.

True optimism

[True optimism involves] seeing the world as it is, yet still believing—and more importantly behaving—in ways that create better outcomes for all of us.

~ Karen Reivich

Tasks, broken

Just like with a real egg, you only have to damage the task’s exterior a little bit in order to transform it, to make it ready for step two, and it doesn’t particularly matter where on its surface you do that. As soon as the egg is cracked, it becomes a different object — one that tells you what to do with it.

~ David Cain from,

Usually, I begin a task by envisioning what “done” looks like. It’s critical that I sit with that vision of done and be certain I want it in my life. I cannot do the majority of things I imagine tackling. Too often, my vision of done actually has me in a worse place: Becoming the sad maintainer of some complicated system is a common side effect of my imaginings.

If I’m buying into the vision though, there’s nothing like feeling you’ve taken a big bite out of the task. When working with others, I used to spend too much effort selling the vision. Which then leads to a lot of explanation of how we’ll get there. It turns out that if I’m supposed to be helping (or gasp leading) it’s better to get everyone involved doing. Doing something. Anything. Suddenly, it’s all hands on deck and we’re making light work out of the task. It’s much easier to course correct once we’re moving.

Social media

We cannot make social media good, because it is fundamentally bad… all we can do is hope that it withers away, and play our small part in helping abandon it.

~ Ian Bogost

Ya big softie

Maybe I’m just a big sentimental softie, but I bet if you peer deep into your past, you don’t see a list of names, dates, and places. Instead, I bet you get a hodgepodge of images and events, and I bet that some of the details are hazy or mixed up, like who was there, what they were wearing, or whether it happened when you were six or when you were eight. But I bet the feelings are clear. You’re probably not confused about whether you felt proud or afraid, welcomed or rejected. And I bet that although you could describe these memories to me—a golden-hued day at the zoo, the last fight your parents had before they got divorced—the words would leave a lot out. To really get me to understand, you’d need to hook your brain up to mine, Avatar-style, so I could feel what you felt.

~ Adam Mastroianni from,

Mastroianni’s article is about learning. In particular, how and why and when we forget, and what might we try to do about that fact. I go through cycles of grasping at trying to remember, and leaning into the forgetting. At the end, I expect I’ll forget everything. (Just sayin’.)

My life improves when I realize that my happiness is relative to where I set my sights. If my goal is to remember as much as possible, I’m going to fall short and be disappointed. If my goal is to be pleasantly surprised when I’m reminded of things (experiences, ideas from others, and my own ideas) which I had already discovered, then that suggests a different course of action. Rather than strain to hold on to everything, I try to release everything from within my mind, and try arrange the world around me to bring me joy.

Entire vital function

So far as man stands for anything, and is productive or originative at all, his entire vital function may be said to have to deal with maybes. Not a victory is gained, not a deed of faithfulness or courage is done, except upon a maybe; not a service, not a sally of generosity, not a scientific exploration or experiment or textbook, that may not be a mistake. It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all.

~ William James

How does this even exist?

In fact, now I’m wondering if that’s one way you know something is great? When you say: “How does this even exist?”

~ Austin Kleon from,

Yes, that’s definitely one way.

In about ten weeks I’m making my annual journey to Boston and neighboring Somerville for a parkour event. Much has changed over the years I’ve been going. It’s moved from Septembers to Junes. The size has waxed and waned. A few of the same people are usually there, and there is an endless banquet of new forever-friends.

If you get into doing this thing, and you start going to play and train with others, you soon have a very unusual problem: The more you run into a particular someone, the more it happens in different places. You start to have this precious view of who this person is separated from where that person normally is. Sometimes you know someone well, but have no idea where you know them from. It’s weird. It’s awesome. How does this even exist?

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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