Five in a row from Seth Godin

Attitudes are skills “No one ever bought anything on an elevator. The elevator pitch isn’t about selling your idea, because a metaphorical elevator is a lousy place to make a pitch. When you feel like you’re being judged and only have a minute to make a first impression, it’s tempting to try to explain the truth and nuance of who…

Privilege(s)

Youth Age and experience Health Strength Energy Being loved Wit Family Beauty Opportunity Education Being born a socially advantaged gender Being born to socially advantaged ethnic group Being born to the ‘right’ parents within your group Not somehow ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time Friendship An enthusiastic disposition To have struggled and overcome The right chance…

Victor Hugo on right, reality and the morality of the past

The July Revolution is the triumph of right in the overthrow of reality. A splendid thing. Right overthrowing reality. Hence the magnitude of the 1830 Revolution, hence also its mildness. Right that triumphs has no need to be violent. Right is that which is just and true. Characteristic of what is right is to remain eternally beautiful and pure. Reality,…

In search of nuance

In an age of polarisation, we need nuanced understanding of people and issues more than ever. What does nuance mean to you? To me it means things like: Knowing some of the shortcomings of your side of the debate; Seeing – and not excusing – the failings (and worse) of people on your side of the debate; Looking for reasons…

Grace and mistakes

I’m a big believer in grace and second (and third) chances; I wouldn’t, couldn’t live without them. In the absence of enough information to make an unambiguously correct decision (for example, in a disciplinary matter) I think it’s better to make a mistake on the side of generosity, kindness and benefit of the doubt rather than than to make the…

Nameless dread (2): calling HALT

My occasional feeling of nameless dread goes something like this: I’ve forgotten to do something something; I’ve let someone down; I’ve neglected something important; There isn’t enough time; I’ve been wronged; I’m a terrible person; I’m going to be found out; I’ve squandered something good; Everything’s going to go wrong; Everyone’s going to die (eventually); It’s possible, eventually, that I…

Responsibility: who pays?

Taking responsibility means that you commit to doing what’s necessary to make something happen – and that you pay for your mistakes. We are often reluctant about the second part – I think with good intentions. But if people keep making the same mistakes at someone else’s expense, there’s a good chance that they don’t really understand the cost. Having…

Inconvenient values

A good test of your values is asking when they last cost you something else that you wanted. For each of your values ask: Do you donate to the cause, or otherwise pay to make it happen? Do you give up opportunities? Do you pay a financial penalty for avoiding something? Do you work to change things by writing or…

Freedom to the nose

Your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins. John B Finch (early version of a saying often attributed to John Stuart Mill, Lincoln and others) A fundamental principle of liberty and libertarianism is that people should be given as few limits as possible. John Stuart Mill argued for absolute freedom…