E-Notes: On Unboxing People, Genuinely Loving Them, and Enhancing Love for Yourself and Others

I was thrilled to hear from a few readers that last week’s post really resonated. Before shifting away from the topic of daily lists, I have one more to share with you.

In his talk, “Why Wonder Now,” Jeffrey Davis asks his audience members to raise their hands if they can think of a situation where they felt alive and free to be themselves. He describes this as an example of their genius becoming activated and showing who they are at their core. Then he has everyone go back to a childhood memory when they felt alive and free “without worrying about reward and recognition” and to write down three adjectives to describe themselves in that moment of genius as a child.

Every morning, he imagines his young genius and writes down some version of his 3 adjectives. Then he looks at his planner for the day and considers how his genius will show up as he goes through his day at work.

Unboxing People

The next portion of Jeffrey’s talk is about unboxing other people. He describes how our minds box in things to make sense of our surroundings and we do this to people too. He shares an amazing technique for unboxing other people.

How to unbox other people

Think of someone you’ve unfairly judged recently, acknowledge your judgment, then imagine you’re going to meet with them and have a conversation in the coming week. Try these three strategies to challenge your brain to see and hear the person and their ideas without judgment:

  1. Open up instead of size up
    • Make room for wonder and curiosity, not judgment and comparison
  2. Listen with your feet
    • Listen to them with your whole body instead of thinking about what you’ll say next
  3. One meeting, one encounter
    • Remember this moment will never be repeated again. Let wonder in.

Genuinely Loving People

Roger Martin is the former Dean and Institute Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. According to The Knowledge Project “Forward Thinking” episode page, he was 2017’s number one management thinker in the world and after listening to this episode several times, I can see why. For my readers from higher education, his budget story as a Dean will blow your socks off. (What if?! Think of all that could be accomplished.)

Today I’m focusing on a specific quote but his discussion of integrative thinking in this episode will surely be featured in the future.

I don’t know any great, great leaders who don’t love other people. If you think people are annoying and you have to put up with them and put up with their foibles, rather than you genuinely love them, then I think you can only be so good of a leader.

Roger Martin, “Forward Thinking” episode, The Knowledge Project podcast
Image of six hands of various skin tones forming the shape of a heart with all of their fingers and hands together.
Photo by ATC Comm Photo on Pexels.com

Enhancing Love for Yourself and Others

Last but not least, I want to share a touching podcast episode – Tara Brach “Wisdom for Anxious Times” on The Good Life Project. I highly recommend listening to the entire episode. The title is so fitting. Tara has a calm, soothing voice that’s full of love and vulnerability. She and host Jonathan Fields talk about a wide array of topics:

  • Vulnerability Training and Compassion
  • Trance of Unworthiness
  • Training Your Mind and Changing Your Emotional State
  • RAIN Acronym and How It Can Save Your Life
  • The Biggest Challenge: Pausing
  • Meditation and Not Believing Your Thoughts
  • The Fabric of Humanity and Compassion at Scale
  • “Where Does It Hurt?”
  • Waking Up from “Bad Othering”

Here’s one particularly noteworthy quote:

If you feel a sense of love for someone and then you say it out loud, it activates the motor cortex, which actually enhances the experience of loving. So if you just, if you’re just thinking about somebody you care about, and you mentally just think of them and then you whisper their name, and whisper ‘I love you!’ there will be an upwell in your body of loving.

Tara Brach, The Good Life Project podcast

Thank you for reading! If you haven’t subscribed, scroll a little further down and enter your email address (or if viewing on the app click the title at the top to open in a browser and you’ll see the subscribe box at the bottom.) Also, don’t be shy about sharing this blog with friends, family, and colleagues who you think will find value in what we’re learning. Until next week!

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