The cost of avoiding important conversations

In 1953, Hugh DeHaven introduced the idea of a collapsible steering column. Since it has been used it is estimated to have saved over 80,000 lives.

The problem was that it took car companies 13 years to launch a collapsible steering column.


It turns out, car companies were afraid to talk about safety. In fact, many car companies had safety patents they were intentionally not using to avoid the appearance of cars not being safe to drive.

The lesson we need to understand is this: Not everyone believes what you believe and not everyone wants what you want. (Even when it comes to things as important as safety.)

If it’s important to you, make it important for others. The perfect product or the perfect idea isn’t good enough to change people’s minds—only stories will.

[How many lives were lost in those 13 years because of people avoiding conversation that seemed too difficult to have?]

How can you challenge your status-quo?

By asking better questions:

What assumptions do I make that get in the way of me living the life I deserve?

How does this contribute to the false limits I put on myself?

How am I being complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?

What would I do if I weren’t afraid anymore?

What hard choices am I delaying to make?

What if…?

Our filing system is biased

It’s dangerous to compare and judge other people’s moral character to ours.

Yet, we do this all the time.

Even if we try to be objective: we don’t see the world through their lens, we see it through ours.

Just because someone doesn’t fit a label we create or into a box we designate, doesn’t make them wrong—it makes them different from how you see the world.