Latest Observations

On the Beauty Resident within the Flaws of Existence

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Jul 2, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

I wish I were a triangle. Not the triangle that exists on the writing pad of the mathematician. It is imperfect no one can create a perfect line. Rather, I wish to be the triangle conceived in the abstract and represented (only poorly) on the pad.

I know the poets speak of beauty resident within the flaws of existence. Such beauty has more luster in their anthologies than it does in the gritty realities of life. They too are mathematicians, but they sketch imperfect representations of even more imperfect realities.

I hate flaws. I prefer not to romanticize them. I tolerate them because I have no other option within the confines of sanity. If it were possible, I would indulge in the unspeakable loveliness of existence without suffering the unspeakable horror of its consequences.

I wish I were a triangle. Perfect.

On Teaching and the Need to Sequence Truth

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jul 1, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Sometimes all you need to understand about a truth is enough to enable you to fully understand it later. Teachers sometimes try to teach too much. We seek to cram into the minds of our students “everything in the room” when all we must truly do is teach enough to get the student to “hold the door to the room open.” As life passes, which is to say “as time passes,” the student will encounter each of the items in that room, but the operative word is “each” instead of “every.” “Each” requires a succession of time, “every” happens in an instance. The teacher’s job is to make the way for “each,” not to cram the mind with “every.”

On the Need for Leaders to Incarnate “What Matters Most”

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jun 30, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Leadership does not just set priorities; it sets the priority. The leader communicates “what matters most.” Indeed, the leader must incarnate this communication. It forms the axis around which the entire organization rotates. This priority is the epicenter of the organization’s vision. Its core is formed by the leader’s “yes(s)”; its edges are formed by the leader’s “no(s).”

On Mistaking Talent for Truth

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Jun 29, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Do not mistake appealing writing for truthful content, and do not mistake a great intellect for a great theologian/philosopher. There is a difference between being skillful and being right.

On the Battle That Cannot Be Won

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Jun 26, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Anthony W

In a battle that cannot be won, the question changes from “How can I win?” to “How do I cope?” At this point, the combatant becomes a philosopher.

On Trusting the Process More Than the Decision

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jun 25, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

We need to trust the process more than we trust the decision. At the micro level, it is important to achieve the right decision. At the macro-level, it is important to develop the right process. The leader cannot wait for certainty; it is rare to obtain such a state. Instead, the leader must strive for clarity; it is possible to obtain such a view. Even if we are not absolutely sure that the decision is right, we may be reasonably sure that the process is right. The effective leader gets the process right so that he can hope to get the decision right.

On Leadership and Understanding the Difference between Direction and Directions

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jun 24, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

As the leader progresses towards a long-term objective, he unintentionally may create an illusion which distorts the vision for those who look from the outside-in. To those around you, it may appear as if you have strategically engineered a myriad of details. In truth, vision is more about direction than it is directions. The leader knows “where” before he knows “how.

On Writing and the Danger of the Ornate

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Jun 23, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The writer must be careful not to confuse movement with adornment. Often, we put too much furniture in the hallway, but the point of the hallway is to get to a point — to transition to the next doorway. Just because a piece of furniture is beautiful doesn’t mean that we need to buy it. Writers lay down their elaborate, sometimes ornate, descriptions. They paint beautiful scenes and, in doing so, display their artistic ability, but they do so at the price of their art itself. A story is always a movement and anything that stops the moving is an obstruction. 

On the Philosopher as Merely the Man Who Tries

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Jun 22, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

When reading the works of a philosopher, it is a mistake to think of the writer as a philosopher. The word "philosophy" can distort our understanding of the human being. Every philosopher should be considered only as this — a man trying. Philosophy is effort, not a study. Philosophy is effort, not attainment. Philosophy is effort, not a profession. Philosophy is trying. If there is to be any virtue in philosophy, it is only because the philosopher tries in a world where many never make the attempt.

On the Difference between Vision and Clarity

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jun 19, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Matthew K

The leader needs to develop a forward-looking clarity. Most of us fail not because we did not have the right opportunity, but because we did not seize it when it came. As leaders, we must develop a peculiar kind of clarity. It is not vision that separates the leader; it is right-seeing.