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Wednesday, December 29, 2021


I recently read The Wisdom of Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – A New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault (2011). 

In this book, CB (an Episcopalian priest) takes us on a journey of understanding the life and work of Jesus in ways that challenge assumptions and traditionally held constructs. 

My top takeaways:

·      Jesus teaching and actions challenged almost every previously held conception of God’s perspective of humans and His intentions for us. Jesus was a rule breaker and an assumption challenger – across the board.

·      The practice of Christianity is evolving. I have heartily accepted the ever-changing nature of this world and of humans, yet I have doggedly held to the belief that discipleship was somehow immune to the changes that time brings. Oops!

·      New findings of ancient texts (e.g. Nag Hammadi) are adding greatly to our understandings of Christ.  

·      As the practice of the Christian faith spread after the Passion, it began to assimilate the worldviews of the various portions of the planet to which it crept. My western upbringing has insulated me from and/or biased me against other “conceptions” of Christian discipleship being practiced in other parts of the world.

·      Jesus was more focused on how we should live than on the concept that His life and death was primarily meant as a sacrifice enacted primarily to “save” us.  His message was not so much one of repentance but one of returning to right relationship with God. 

·      The parables of Jesus can be thought of as “spiritual hand grenades,” which Jesus used not to confirm but to uproot previously held conceptions of the faith walk.

·      My binary view of God and Me (as two separate entities) should give way to the conception that it is WE (the two melded into one). That relationship is not about score keeping, but rather, about coexistence. 

·      There are many elements of The Passion of Christ that I have completely missed during my 50 years of faith walk. 

·      The wall between Life and Death is paper thin; both sides being permeated by Love.

·      There are numerous faith practices – Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Chanting, Psalmody, etc. – used by disciples around the world to deepen their faith. All require a calming of the mind and a mental and physical slowing of pace. NOT my strong suit.


My favorite quotes:

“Whatever theological premises you may or may not choose to believe about Jesus, the primary task of a Christian is not to believe theological premises but to put on the mind of Christ.”


“He [Christ] surrounds, fills, holds together from top to bottom this human sphere in which we dwell…The entire cosmos has become his body, so to speak, and the blood flowing through it is his love…Jesus in his ascended state is not farther removed from human beings but more intimately connected with them.”


“You can either harden and brace defensively, or you can yield and soften internally…The first response will plunge you immediately into your small self, with its animal instincts and survival responses. The second will allow you to stay aligned with your heart, where the odds of a creative outcome are infinitely better.”


“Jesus never asked anyone to form a church, ordain priests, develop elaborate rituals and institutional cultures, and splinter into denominations. His two great requests were that we “love one another as I have loved you” and that we share bread and wine together as an open channel of that interabiding love.”


This book was a much needed mind (and spirit) bender for me. It caused me much reflection, and I suspect it will continue to.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021


Some of the very best human beings I know embody two powerful dispositions: they are both Humble and Strong.

Here is what I see in and from those Humbly Strong folks:

  • They invite and embrace difference. Diversity does not scare them. They exude confidence that there is plenty of room at the table for all.
  • They do not seek the spotlight (though it often finds them).
  • They intensely focus on serving others, consciously choosing to be givers rather than takers.
  • They voraciously seek new knowledge and understanding. 
  • They are generous to a fault, freely sharing their resources (both tangible and intangible) with others. 
  • They are keenly aware of our minuteness in the grand scheme of life. They feel the greatness and connectedness of THAT that is beyond our humanness. 
  • They exhibit gratefulness and deference every day, in myriad ways. 

Models most worthy of our emulation: Humble, yet Strong.

Monday, December 20, 2021


"Did you ever get so busy driving that you didn't take time to stop and refuel?" 

I once heard the late Stephen Covey pose that question to an interviewee. As was his habit, SC brought to our attention in a metaphorical way an important insight into healthy living and productive working.

Thinking about my lifelong penchant to try to get "more blood out of the turnip" than is really there, here are some of the things I've seen others do that represent healthy approaches to refueling.

  • They take frequent "reset" breaks -- mentally, physically, and emotional-spiritually -- during the course of each day (usually breaking work into increments of intense focus lasting no longer than 90 minutes).
  • They purposefully build movement into their day (e.g., standing while reading documents, taking a brief walk down the hall, doing a bit of yoga or stretching, using a stand-up desk, eating lunch outside, etc.).
  • They toggle into each day some diversionary learning that is separate from their work, such as reading a favorite blogger, watching a TED Talk, reading from a daily devotional book, etc.
  • They periodically spend a few minutes, if briefly, engaging with others in an authentically interpersonal way.
  • They pay very close attention to what they put into their body by way of food and drink, making consciously healthy choices.
  • They prioritize their workday by placing the most difficult tasks at the front of the day, working their way toward the less demanding ones as the day progresses.
I've tried most of these strategies. Admittedly, I've been a slow learner in many respects. 

Yet, I am proving to be somewhat educable. 

Happy learning!

Thursday, December 16, 2021


The folks I know who seem the most self-actualized, the happiest, the most at peace are the ones who spend an inordinate amount of time serving others. 

As I watch, and learn from, these service warriors, there are some commonalities I find in their behaviors and thinking. If we (you and I) are inclined to become better servants to others then we might consider some of the following "practices" of the uber-servants I have observed:

  • They practice the art of persistent others-awareness (and spend very little time thinking about themselves).
  • They care not for praise or adulation for their acts of service; in fact, they typically abhor such attention.
  • They are keen and discerning "observers," carefully mining for opportunities to help, even in the most mundane of acts/expressions.
  • They are generous -- with their time, with their attention, with their resources (both tangible and intangible).
  • They do not rank others, but rather, think of and treat ALL as equals on the planet.
Some powerful lessons to be learned from those who are perfecting the art of Service. Their actions truly do speak louder than their words.

Ours can, too.

Sunday, December 12, 2021


Some leaders have a way of persistently humiliating the teams they work with.

Here are some of the common humiliating acts that represent a beat-down to the team:

  • Relentlessly finding fault and assigning blame.
  • Framing failures as character flaws.
  • Constantly upstaging others.
  • Providing unsolicited advice, publicly.
  • Claiming success for the work others have done.
Wanna build a strong and functional team? Don't do that stuff.

Wanna attract and hold high-performing team players? Don't do that stuff.

Wanna propel your organization upward? Don't do that stuff.

Finally, removing the "I" and the "Me" and the "My" from almost all conversations is a good starting point.

Humiliating others is a sure move toward circling the drain.

Thursday, December 9, 2021


I recently read The Choice: Embrace the Possibleby Dr. Edith Eger (2017).


This book is a memoir by EE, who was a survivor of Auschwitz in the 1940s. She later migrated with her family to the U.S., eventually earning a doctorate and become a licensed psychotherapist. 


My top takeaways:

·      The hunger to be free, embrace life, and to know and be ourselves is the fundamental desire of humans.

·      Suffering is universal but victimhood is optional.

·      Expression is the opposite of depression.

·      Stress is the body’s response to a demand for change.


My favorite quotes:

“All your ecstasy in life is going to come from the inside,” my ballet master had told me. (p. 37)


“A good definition of being a victim is when you keep the focus outside yourself, when you look outside yourself for someone to blame for your present circumstances, or to determine your purpose, fate, or worth.” (p. 204)


“…Our painful experiences aren’t a liability—they’re a gift. They give us perspective and meaning, an opportunity to find our unique purpose and our strength.” (p. 237)


“Time doesn’t heal. It’s what you do with the time. Healing is possible when we choose to take responsibility, when we choose to take risks, and finally, when we choose to release the wound, to let go of the past or the grief.” (p. 263)

Eger’s story of survival, resilience, and forgiveness is simply amazing. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021


One of the realities of leadership is that the hard calls land on our door step.

The easy decisions will almost always get made down on the third floor, out in the shop, at the distribution center, in the classroom, in the field, etc. 

The more difficult the decision, the more likely that it gets kicked up the food chain. Ultimately those tough calls walk through the door of the leader. The logic is usually (and perhaps rightly), "that's why you make the big bucks." When faced with those tough calls, the menu of options is dependable short and remarkably ugly.

Good leaders, strong leaders, accept this reality and make the tough calls. The best leaders do so with the greater good in mind. The best leaders clearly articulate their rationale for the tough calls made, which engenders the trust of those they work with and around. Not everyone will agree, but most everyone will understand (and be thankful that they did not have to make the tough call).

The worst leaders I know, however, when faced with the inevitable tough calls, deflect, delay, lay blame on others, try to dodge, whine, and even get angry that they were called upon to do their job. Trust is NOT the word that others feel toward them.

Leadership calls for character, and for making hard decisions. If we don't wanna make the tough calls, then we shouldn't sign up for the job.

Thursday, December 2, 2021


Leaders that traffic in fear are imposters. They attempt to use fear to control those they presumably lead. Such positioning is designed to broaden the leader-follower power differential. Leaders who traffic in fear do so to increase (artificially) their leverage and control over followers.

The best leaders I know embolden us and enable us. They insist that, together, we can overcome extraordinary challenges. They invite us to be our best and strongest selves, rather than our weakest and most dependent selves.

Fear-based leadership is all about enhancing the status of the leader. 

Leadership that encourages us to be bold and exercise our best gifts to overcome obstacles is all about empowerment.

There's plenty of examples of both to observe and learn from.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

 I recently read The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Mattersby Priya Parker (2018). 

In this book PP takes a dual look at the gatherings we host; both “balcony” view and the “back-in-the-kitchen” view.  She leads us in a conversation about how we can assemble folks more effectively, with clearly articulated purposes for our gatherings. Leadership requires us to convene “gatherings” of all sorts, so this book is directly relevant to the work of moving and influencing others. 


My top takeaways:

·     PRIME time for a gathering is the first few minutes; we are wise not to squander it on logistics and administrivia.

·     Another PRIME window of time for a gathering is the ending; we are wise to think carefully about how we want to punctuate it and to what end. Again, mundane logistics need not go here.

·     Be very selective about who is invited to the gathering. Get comfortable not inviting those who can’t or won’t bring value to the event. 

·     Avoid the trap of self-aggrandizing introductions. Make intros relevant to the purpose of the meeting, NOT about the resumes of the participants.

·     Level the playing field for all participants; avoid hierarchies and power ranking. Everyone at the gathering should feel as an equal to all the others. 

·     PURPOSE is supreme in a gathering, and should be communicated by the host ahead of time, as well as throughout the event. 

·     The chosen venue has absolute influence over the way the gathering unfolds. 

·     Numbers of 8-12 participants provide the richest environments for productive thought. Even fewer is better if we are seeking to nail down an important decision.

·     Using “pop-up” rules unique to a meeting, rather than relying on traditional etiquette, can bring an engergizing component to the gathering. 

·     Pose discussion prompts that call for example “stories” of attendees, not abstract positional statements.


My favorite quotes:

“Most gatherings benefit from guests leaving their titles and degrees at the door.” (p. 87)


“A colleague in the conflict-resolution field taught me a principle I have never forgotten: 90 percent of what makes a gathering successful is put in place beforehand.” (p. 149)


“Studies show that audiences disproportionately remember the first 5 percent, the last 5 percent, and a climactic moment of a talk.” (p. 173)


“The importance of a group “seeing” one another may sound trivial, but it can be deadly serious… A 2001 Johns Hopkins study found that when [surgical team] members introduced themselves and shared concerns ahead of time, the likelihood of complications and deaths fell by 35 percent. Surgeons, like many of us, assumed that they shouldn’t waste time going through the silly formalities of seeing and being seen for something as important as saving lives. Yet it was these silly formalities that directly affected the outcomes of surgeries. Even with such complex and intricate work, it was when the nurses and doctors and anesthesiologists practiced good gathering principles that they felt more comfortable speaking up during surgery and offering solutions.” (p. 187)


PP does an excellent job of helping us think through both the intellectual nuts-n-bolts and the big picture outcomes we wish to result from our gatherings. Her ideas were both affirming to some of the strategies I have intuitively adopted over the years, and challenging to my thinking. 


In short, PP made me THINK, and RETHINK. Exactly what I like in a book. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


PET was our first milk cow. She was 50% Jersey, 50% Holstein, and 100% knucklehead.

We purchased PET when she was a young heifer, and watched her grow, grow older, then old. Very much like she watched us do the same.

PET taught us a lot about milk cows. About their nutritional needs (and ours), about their dispositions (and ours), about their values (and ours). 

PET also became what is known in ranching-farming vernacular as our "lead goat." She intuitively understood where we were trying to move the cattle and was always the first one through the gate. She'll be hard to replace in that regard.

One of the most powerful things PET taught us is a deeper understanding of the interconnectivity and the interdependence of the land to the plants to the animals to the people. As we strove (and strive) to increase the health of the land (and the microbiology that lies therein), it increased (and increases) the health of the plants thereon, which increases the health of the animals that feed on them (and each other), which increases our health in return. The Intelligent Design of that system is beyond amazing. We have much more to learn about that system.

I found PET deceased in the pasture a couple days ago. She is now returning the favor to the microbiome. As will we someday. 

RIP, PET. Thanks for the education.  

Sunday, November 21, 2021


Booger & Dian (my parents), celebrated their 65th anniversary on Saturday.

They were surrounded by a good chunk of their offspring, and the offspring of their offspring, and the matrimonial affiliates of their offspring. When ALL of that group manages to gather in one place at the same time it numbers north of 70. Quite a gaggle.

Among the Saturday celebrants were Booger & Dian's four boys, me being the oldest of that group. I've been with them for 64 of the 65 year journey (born to them when Dad was 19 and Mom 16)

All families have their pluses and deltas in the relationship ledger. One of the things that I am eternally grateful for in relation to the family of Booger & Dian is that they have fostered an environment in which "the hang is easy." When the Coulter Clan gathers, in small groups or large, the tension barometer is always low, the peace meter always reads strong, the love gauge always registers high.

Happy 65th Mom and Dad.

Blessed beyond measure...

Sunday, November 14, 2021


The wisest leaders I know are fixated on continuous improvement.

A continuous improvement mindset is inherently one that is futures focused. And, a continuous improvement mindset implies that something needs to change from its current state toward a better one. There's that change thing again.

I know a few very worthy wearers of the Continuous Improver tattoo. Here are some of commonalities I have observed in their thinking/behavior:

  • Windshield Mania - they spend 10% or less time looking/thinking/talking/planning backward (the rearview mirror) and 90% or more time looking/thinking/talking/planning forward (the windshield).
  • Perseveration Nation - they relentlessly focus on clearly articulated vision and desired outcomes for themselves and their organizations.
  • Collective Intelligencia - they constantly invite the best thinking of the whole team (internal and external customers) into the let's-get-better dialogue.
  • Energizer Gorillas (not bunnies) - they bring personal and focused energy to the endeavor and they foster it in others (through noticing, acknowledgement, praise, encouragement, and incentivizing). 
From my past days as an athletic coach: 
"If we're not getting better, we're getting left behind -- because our competition most certainly IS getting better."

Thursday, November 11, 2021


Friend and co-conspirator Dr. Glen Shinn often exhorts us to "be BOLD."

Easier said than done. Just the very word "bold" implies risks and uncertainty. And it suggests an element of courage may be required.

What are some useful lessons we can glean from successful practitioners of BOLDness?

  1. Be crystal clear on the agreed upon Noble & Worthy goals (no more than 3-5 of them).
  2. Map, execute, and constantly monitor incremental steps toward those goals (don't try to eat the whole elephant in one bite).
  3. Accentuate and accelerate those actions that produce the desired results; abandon and terminate those that don't (the stuff of disciplined continuous improvement process).
  4. Build collective engagement toward desired outcomes (individualism often results in the martyrdom of the charlatan). 
To quote former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, engaging in bold endeavor is "no time to go wobbly."

BOLD and wobbly don't mix well.

Sunday, November 7, 2021


The wisest leaders I know remain hyperfocused on their intended outcomes. They refuse to be distracted by unimportant and tangential stuff that screams for time on their calendar and for their precious attention.

Most of these excellent leaders have learned that too many "goals," the constant pull to accomplish everything, typically results in achieving very little (if anything). If we are focused on everything, then we ultimately focus on nothing.

How do these extraordinary leaders remain hyperfocused in the interest of high performance? 

  1. They clarify (both personally and collectively) no more than five (5) areas of intense focus for intended organizational outcomes.
  2. They calendar their time around the primary people, activities, and appearances that are most likely to make those intended outcomes a reality.
  3. They discipline themselves to think and talk through those limited lenses constantly.
The late General/Secretary Colin Powell wisely warned us to avoid what he called "mission creep." He also aptly modeled leadership so fashioned.

Want high performance? Hyperfocus.

The first step is knowing where you wanna go...

Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Leaders of organizations do a LOT of stuff. When meaninglittle and inconsequential stuff eats up most of our time, then the impact of our leadership diminishes. 

And, in most cases, the performance of the organization diminishes right along with it.

What are some of those inconsequential actions of leaders?

  • Attending to "tasks" not directly related to our stated vision and goals.
  • Engaging in mindless and meaningless compliance-related work.
  • Hiding from the troops, or the customers.
  • Posturing and pontificating.
  • Spending endless hours in non-productive meetings.
  • Letting politics and personal differences unduly influence decisions.
  • Making excuses for poor data trends.

So what REALLY matters as powerful time allocations for impactful leaders?

  • Noticing and acknowledging work that moves us toward our vision and goals.
  • Engaging, meaningfully, with the troops AND the customers.
  • Asking good questions to all stakeholder groups, and listening discerningly to their responses.
  • Creating the conditions that attract and hold talented people in our organization.
  • Monitoring the data closely, adapting and adjusting quickly to affect improvements.
  • FOCUSing relentlessly on continuous improvement.
There! That oughta be easy. 

(But it's not. Time to roll up the sleeves and get out of the office.)

Monday, November 1, 2021


I recently read King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild (1998). 

I first picked this book up thinking it was fiction. It was not. It was a superbly written and meticulously researched account of the exploitation of the African continent in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Specifically, AH weaves a compelling story of how King Leopold of Belgium managed to appropriate and rape the land and people of the Congo during this time frame. He managed to do it through lies, propaganda, chicanery, deceit, theft, terror, and slight of hand. 

Finally, brave humanitarians in the form of both missionaries and journalists were able to raise enough awareness to bring broad international rebuke for Leopold's pillaging.   

By the way, similar exploitation continues today, in various forms, at the hands of advanced governments and international corporations.

A sobering reminder of what humans will do to other humans in the interest of power and greed. Location on the planet, race, religion, political beliefs seem not to matter. Those with power will do almost anything, to anybody, in order to maintain that status.

Thanks for the rec, TM. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021


Most of us who work in organizations have felt the futility of trying to (or being subject to) the dynamic of "pushing the rope." 

Rope pushing is the metaphorical representation for forcing that which passively resists the effort. 

Why does that resistance exist?

  • The effort/initiative/campaign requires uncomfortable CHANGE from the current norm.
  • Disparate voices do not feel included, heard, or valued.
  • The WHY has not been clearly articulated, the case not made.
Far better for those of us in leadership roles to PULL instead of PUSH the rope. That requires having the conversations, making a clear and compelling case, including and hearing all the voices that will be impacted, and garnering the necessary buy-in BEFORE we pick the rope up.

Thursday, October 28, 2021



I recently reach Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mindby David J. Linden (2015).

DJL is a physician, but interestingly,
 not one that specializes in skin. This book is his very thorough examination of how touch, the perception(s) we get through our skin, is received, processed, and integrated into how we respond and behave downstream of those “touches.” 

My biggest takeaways:

-There are multiple types of touch receptors embedded in the largest organ of our bodies, the skin.

-There are multiple neural “pathways” by which those touch receptors communicate with our brain, some very fast, some very slow, some extremely acute, some rather diffused.

-As the brain receives signals from our touch receptors, it aggregates and collates those varied signals, and it imposes its own biases into its interpretations of those signals.

-What we feel with our skin is inherently intertwined with what we feel emotionally and what we think intellectually.

-Rattlesnakes strike based on their thermal radars, not by sight, sound, or smell (and the range of that strike is up to three feet).


My favorite quotes:

“… the epidermis is completely renewed about every fifty days.” (p. 36)


“The truly amazing fact is that the brain is exerting control over the information that it receives. The brain actively and subconsciously suppresses or enhances pain information on a moment-to-moment basis. It spins the media, so to speak.” (p. 164)


“The similarity of emotional pain and physical pain is not merely a construction of evocative or poetic speech. The metaphor is real and it is encoded in the brain’s emotional pain circuitry. Social rejection hurts.” (p. 174)


Though pretty technical at times, this book really enlightened me with regard to the “interplay” between our skin and our brain. Intriguing stuff. Glad I read it. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021


Confrontation makes a lot of folks uncomfortable. In fact, many will engage in all sorts of contortions to avoid it.

Confrontation for the sake of confrontation is counterproductive. However, confronting that which needs confronting (e.g., ethical/legal duplicity, grossly unacceptable performance, irresponsible behavior, etc.) is a necessary role of effective leadership. 

The best leaders I know learn (and are learning) to navigate necessary confrontation in healthy and productive ways. 

Those wise leaders manage confrontation via the following strategies. They...

  • Confront the behavior, not the person(s) involved.
  • Are crystal clear about what needs to change.
  • Engage in diagnostic dialogue to explore options for corrective action.
  • Use inquiry as the springboard to improvement (constantly asking "What am I missing?).
  • Stay focused on the BIG PICTURE stuff, refusing drift toward the inconsequential.
  • Follow up by monitoring and providing subsequent feedback on progress.
  • Treat others respectfully, ALWAYS.

Healthy confrontation is as much art as it is science (which qualifies it as "craft"). Learning to be a healthy confronter is worth the time and effort needed to master that craft.

Leadership ain't for the wobbly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


Our learning (both as individuals and as a species) almost always happens out on the margins. Rarely is new learning the result of some sort of epiphany or remarkable contradiction to what we already know.

The human brain is constructed in such a way that makes it naturally curious. It constantly compares what we already know with novel experiences/knowledge and attempts to "square it" with our previous understandings.

A most fundamental form of learning is what we call "common sense." It's the intuitive understanding we glean from simply living the human experience. We all have a degree of common sense (though some seem to possess a deeper well of it than others). 

The most technical and disciplined version of learning is the scientific method -- identify a pesky problem, affix to it a testable question, design an experiment to test that question, scrupulously measure the results of that experiment, draw defensible conclusions from that data, and finally, put those results in front of many bright minds so they can either shoot holes in it or agree. 

In both common sense and scientific research, our learning persistently occurs out on the margins. We tinker on the edges, constantly pushing the knowledge boundaries outward, bit by bit. 

Problems arise when we cease the curious inquiries that afford us the incremental new knowledge that makes us smarter, healthier, more capable - in all our human dimensions. 

Anyone that tells us the learning is complete (in any domain) is either delusional or has nefarious intent.

Learning RULES!

Sunday, October 17, 2021


Multi-generational perspective is a force multiplier when it comes to leadership. 

Organizations (whether families or global corporations) benefit immensely when they have wise leaders who span the generations scattered throughout. 

The youngest ones bring energy and optimism to the table (sometimes with a dash of impulsiveness). The oldest ones bring historical perspective and the wisdom of lessons learned (often with a touch of complacency). Those in the middle bring the refined skills of prime-of-life practice and awareness of the shortness of time (frequently with an added touch of arrogance). 

As with the richest ecologies in any social or natural environment, diversity adds a healthy dynamic, as long as it is respectfully embraced.

When a business or a school or a church or a government or a family has multiple generations represented in their leadership line, the odds of a healthy, long, and prosperous existence go up exponentially. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


We all LEARN. Recent neuroscience research concludes that even old folks (like me) continue to LEARN. The scientists refer to it as neuroplasticity.

How much you and I differ in our learning revolves around two triggers: need and desire.

Some need-driven learning examples:

  • Figuring out how to comply with that new IRS tax reporting form
  • Acquiring the skill to navigate that new software application at work
  • Trying to operate the new juicer in our kitchen (engineering degree needed, evidently)
  • Interfacing more amicably with folks who don't share our worldview

Some desire-driven learning examples:

  • Improving our writing skills
  • Discerning the best nutritional choices for our long-term health
  • Operating the gadgets embedded in our newly purchased vehicle
  • Making sense of our purpose in life

Obviously, those are very abbreviated lists. And, what is on one of those lists for some of us might be on the other for someone else. 

The fundamental differentiator in the two is the level of engagement we bring to the learning endeavor. We each get to decide the level of engagement we bring to each of the learning opportunities that present themselves to us (or are foisted upon us). Think of engagement as the effort we voluntarily invest in the process.

The constant in this equation is that we continue to learn, every day, in a million ways. The variable is the degree of enthusiasm we bring to the process.

Happy learning!

Sunday, October 10, 2021


Those of us who live and work in social groups (whether personal or work) will deal with conflict and contention.

The more complex and high-stakes the issue, the higher the likelihood of contentiousness.

For your consideration, a few strategies that can help us move toward resolution of conflict and solutions that foster better futures:

- Define the issue -  seek to clearly articulate the problem at hand, out loud, without emotional language.

- Remove barriers - have the conversation/discussion in settings that do not have physical barriers (tables, desks, ...) or symbolic barriers (titles, seniority, ...) that separate the discussants. Level the playing field for the richest conversations.

- Stay outcomes oriented - keep the convo more about the outcomes and less about process and protocol.

- Inquire, hypothesize, forecast - ask good questions, repeatedly, that cause all minds present to think about possible outcomes from the different options available for moving forward. "What if we..." conversations are powerful for decision making.

- Restate, on repeat - constantly restate positions and proposals to make sure that all parties are thinking about the same solution/outcome.

- Confer respectfulness - even when emotional temperatures go up, respectfulness toward others stands the best chance of building bridges (and not walls).

If you never have to be involved in such discourse, thank your lucky stars. 

For the rest of us, navigating contention is tricky business..............but learnable.

Saturday, October 9, 2021


I recently read Metabolical: The Lure and Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine by Robert Lustig (2020). 

In this book RL relies on his 40+ years as a physician-researcher (many of which were dedicated purely to treating obese children) to indict the Big Pharma, Big Agriculture, Big Medicine, Big Nutrition and Big Food for their complicity in fomenting a health crisis of monumental proportions in the United States. And of course, the scam of foodlike substances is supported, and often underwritten, by Big Guvmint. 

My top takeaways:

·       RL’s live well and long rule: “Protect the liver, feed the gut.”

·       Only by shifting to eating healthy food can we arrest chronic disease and early death.

·       It’s food quality, not quantity, that matters.

·       Not all calories are alike.

·       Modern medicine focuses on treating the symptoms, not on reversing the diseases.

·       At the current rate, computer modeling indicates that ½ of all Americans will be obese by 2030.

·       Prescription medications are the third most common cause of death today.

·       Medical schools teach treatment of disease, very little prevention, and virtually NO nutrition to physicians in training.

·       Shop the edges of the supermarket, not the aisles (where most of the processed food resides).


My favorite quotes:

“Physical activity is a useful adjunct, but you can’t outrun a bad diet.” (p. 8)   


“The good news is that for chronic disease, genetics only explains about 15 percent of the variance in risk. The other 85 percent is environmental, which means there’s plenty you can do to mitigate your risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and virtually every other chronic disease.” (p. 139)


“People think supplements are the antidote for bad food. They’re not. Rather, Real Food is the treatment, while bad food is the poison.” (p. 151)


“Whether you like it or not, you’re eating for two—you’re in a symbiotic relationship with your gut, and if you hurt your gut, your gut will hurt you back.” (p. 170)


“This process of purification turns sugar from food into drug…The minute the dose exceeds the liver’s capacity to clear and metabolize it, it’s in the brain, driving reward in all people, and addiction in some. And it’s being added by Big Food to 74 percent of the food supply, because when they add it, we buy more.” (p. 285)


This book confirms much of what Moe and I have learned about nutrition (and our own health) over the last 10 years. RL has done a masterful job of pulling it all together and making it understandable those of us who are not physicians and/or researchers.


If you’re gonna read only one book this year related to your own health and wellbeing, read this one.