You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.
How many times have I wished that I had this pithy little quote on a card in my purse, ready to be handed to a belligerent blowhard, or an incessant evangelist, on a moment’s notice?
If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; But if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.
— Don Marquis
I lived in Denver in the late ’80s. At one point I met an acquaintance who invited me to attend his monthly book club. I was in a heavy reading phase and was excited about the prospect of connecting with fellow book lovers. I was encouraged to bring a book and plan on sharing a favorite passage.
The book I happened to be reading at the time was The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and the passage I picked to read turned out to be pretty heavy.
You ask me why I spend my life writing?
Do I find entertainment?
Is it worthwhile?
Above all, does it pay?
If not, then, is there a reason? …
I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.
— Sylvia Plath
For ten years during my late twenties and early thirties I kept a journal. I started writing modestly in college and it eventually grew into such a compulsion that I would often write for hours a day. The pen seemed to have a mind of its own. Sometimes I would start a sentence not knowing where it was going, only to be amazed at the journey that it would launch. Even as computers started to enter my life, I wrote everything longhand. There was something magic about the connection between my thoughts and the paper, linked through the pen clasped in my fingertips.
Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his moccasins.
— Source: my mom, although usually attributed to Native American sources but could be from ancient Rome and may have roots in Christ’s teaching in the Bible.
Even though this quote is an oldie but a goodie, it seemed fitting for my three day run with aphorisms on empathy. Loosely defined, empathy is the capability to share and understand another person’s emotions and feelings.
I believe that empathy is one of the most powerful tools in leadership, business, and life. By putting yourself in “the other person’s shoes” you can have richer interactions and make better decisions on every front. I am much more effective as a leader if I imagine how my style and actions are perceived by those I am endeavoring to lead. The products that I create or the services that I provide are much more valuable if put myself inside the mind of my customers as I create and deliver them.
When the news broke today that a crane had fallen in New York City I immediately went to the web in search of video footage. CNN was my first stop. As expected, they had a video clip at the top of the page.
The next two minutes were a stunning realization of all that is wrong with the current attempts to monetize online video. The clip was 75 seconds long. In order to watch the clip I had to endure a 30 second pre-roll advertisement . . . for VIAGRA! …
A few years ago Book of Joe inspired me to open a personal FedEx account. His logic was impeccable and extremely practical. Since then I have shipped numerous packages enabled by the wonderful tools on my account at the FedEx web site. Some of the outstanding features include:
- Create the order online.
- Print the shipping lable.
- Send emails to yourself, the recipient, and any third party when the item is picked up, delivered and if there is any interruption in the delivery.
- Track your shipments based on your account history.
A few weeks ago we moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. …