A jury can be persuaded, why can’t you?

In the court room, the prosecutor faces the jury and presents an argument.

If the argument is well thought out, backed with evidence and data and is proven without a shadow of doubt, the jury would then change their mind—moving from a position of innocent to guilty.

The difference between a court room and our culture is that the jurors prepare to have their minds change.

Unfortunately, we don’t.

In our culture, it’s difficult to find people who are willing to be wrong or change their minds in the face of truth. We label these people as “flip-floppers.”

We’ve built a culture to point when someone is wrong. Perhaps we should encourage those around us to not have all the right answers, to seek real truth, not our perception of it.

And maybe, “Knowing what I know now, I can make a better informed decision.”

Isn’t that what having a discussion is all about?

Why do we seek so many fresh starts?

Because when we connect with a new tribe with new faces, they don’t know who you were before.

They don’t know your past and the mistakes you’ve made. They don’t know all the little embarrassing moments and epic fails.

That’s why moving, or starting a new job is so appealing. We get a clean slate. It’s tempting to think the answer is to start over often since we mess up so much on a daily basis.

But what if instead of using fresh starts as an opportunity to run away, what if we focused on fresh endings?

Could we close projects, end discussions and interactions, say goodbye to each work day in a more meaningful way?

Is it possible to be missed when you are gone after every interaction?

It may be a long shot. The alternative is to wait until tomorrow to start again. Except, what guarantee do we have that we will still be here?

Looking for happiness in the wrong places

Happiness is not right around the corner or over the next the field.

It’s not at the next job or partner or paycheck.

Happiness is everywhere. Right here, right now.

It’s in this moment, if only we are aware of it.

Happiness isn’t going to happen while we wait to be acted upon, but rather, how we act.

You’re not leading like the rest of us

Otherwise, you’d be just another face in the crowd.

But when you stand up, speak out and march to the beat of your own drum, then we noticed.

If the song you sing inspires and moves us, we might just follow.

The toxic nature of gossip

Gossip is defined by sharing anything negative to anyone who can’t solve the problem.

And the reason why we skirt around and avoid talking to the person who can do something about the situation is because we’re afraid.

We’re afraid of being wrong or to be vulnerable. We’re afraid of raising our hands and questioning the status-quo. Or speaking out of turn or out of line. We’re afraid the boss might fire us.

The more gossip an office or team has, the more toxic the environment is. It’s that simple.

The dangerous part working in an environment like this is how easy it can carry over to other parts of our lives.

Think about it.

Statistics are numbing

Why are we deeply moved by the death of one individual, and yet, won’t blink an eye for thousands in mass genocide?

In a fascinating paper, Paul Solvic asks this very question.

While there remain many factors including things like media exposure, Albert Szent Gyorgi sums it up best:

“I am deeply moved if I see one man suffering and would risk my life for him. Then I talk impersonally about the possible pulverization of our big cities, with a hundred million dead. I am unable to multiply one man’s suffering by a hundred million.”

Emotions move us to act. When we see one person who needs our help and we know how, then, we are more likely to do so.

On the other hand, when people are overcome with numbers, it’s not that we don’t care, it’s just that don’t know where to start.

We all can’t be like them

Gates, Bezos, Jobs, Musk…we can’t all be like them. And, at the same time, they can’t be like us.

What the world needs, and is waiting for, is you. To step up. Because we need your personal insights, your abilities, your art. Because we can’t see what you see, know what you know.

The world is full of gaps, waiting to be filled. You can fill these needs by building something that needs to be built, helping someone who needs to be helped.

The world has already seen what they can do, but we’re still waiting to see what you can do.

Why default settings matter

In countries like France and Austria, they have a 99% consent rate to donate their organs while next door in Germany it’s 12%.

How does France and Austria get so much buy in?

It turns out, by simply redesigning their DMV form to be an “opt-out” instead of an “opt-in” (meaning, you are automatically enrolled as an organ donor unless you check a box to say otherwise), you can dramatically increase the number of organ donors.

Astonishing to think about really.

If you change the default settings, you can change behavior.

It’s not that people don’t care or think that organ donating is a bad thing. It’s that we, as human beings, have a difficult time making difficult decisions. Because we make so many, when we can outsource them, (i.e. leave it for someone or something else to decide like the environment) we will. Especially, if it doesn’t appear to have any consequences.

Not every solution needs to involve moving mountains to fix a broken system.

It’s the small and seemingly insignificant decisions that we don’t even think about that can lead to great things.

Get in the game

The farmer doesn’t sow without planting seeds.

And neither, the writer without her keyboard.

No matter what it is you want to do, no matter what you want to accomplish, you have to get in the game.

Wishing to get stronger isn’t near as effective as going to the gym.

Sue them

Have you heard the story of the burglar attempting to steal a skylight off the roof of a high school gymnasium but ended up falling through becoming severely injured? Did you hear that he sued the school and was awarded $260,000?

Well, that story is mostly untrue.

The teenager was attempting to adjust a light to play basketball. While he was trespassing, he stepped through a skylight and did hurt himself. The problem was that the school had a previous incident and failed to act.

(I’ve also heard this story told as a burglar with a knife in someone’s house.)

The problem isn’t the inaccurate form of telephone. The problem is that many of us use this story to validate our fears.

That’s why it’s so important to cite in our era of fake news. It spreads unnecessary fear. People taking reasonable precautions about trampolines, pools, negative reviews should be fine.

While there is no doubt that we live in an era where we can be sued for the coffee being too hot, the risk of being sued is nowhere near as high as the fear of being sued.