Recent Blog Articles

Getting Beyond Good and Bad

There’s a zen story of an old farmer who worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck!” they said, sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful!”…

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excuses socrates

Excuses, Excuses: Socrates and Un-Knowing

This deflection is named after the oft-called “father of western philosophy,” who was killed for how he used not-knowing and powerful questions to expose flaws in people’s perception, reasoning, and values. It won’t surprise you that he’s one of my heroes, and certainly one of my teachers. After you learn to use the Socratic Method,…

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excuses self contradiction

Excuses, Excuses: The Mask of Self-Contradiction

In my series of excuses, today I’ll be talking about Self-Contradiction. It’s a lack of clarity on its surface but often arises from deep-seated commitment issues. Not often used blatantly, this type of deflection may be tricky to spot. The contradictions are sometimes so subtle they require deep listening to detect. Manager: So who’s going…

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excuses laundry list

Excuses, Excuses: Dealing with the Laundry List

“Good morning, I see you’re a bit late. And it looks like you’ve got mustard on your chin.” “I couldn’t get my son out of bed this morning, then there was a huge line at the hot dog stand—when I got mustard on my chin—but the guy didn’t give me the right change, so I…

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Are you Creating False Gratitude?

Greg came to me frustrated. He felt like he was spinning his wheels. He owned a chain of four retail stores and was, by most people’s measure, successful. But he wasn’t fulfilled. His business was profitable, his customers happy, and his employees more engaged than most. “Something just doesn’t feel right,” he told me, “I have so…

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excuses prename

Excuses, Excuses: I Know What You’re Going to Say

In my newsletter this week, I told the story of how the list of excuses came about. (You’re subscribed, right?) I had been working with a management team to increase accountability and responsibility in their company culture, but was hearing excuses left and right from the management themselves. In frustration, I sat down for a…

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excuses ghost

Excuses, Excuses: The Ghost

I once served a business owner, let’s call him Aaron, who lead a cohort of his employees through my Clear Workspace, Open Mind course. While the course is on the surface about getting organized, it inevitably challenges the way people relate to work itself and calls them to a higher level of productivity and excellence.…

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excuses hair trigger

Excuses, Excuses: The Hair Trigger

I once struggled with a client, let’s call him Corey, who became easily upset—or so I thought. I never actually experienced it, but I did notice that he became slightly agitated when the conversation wasn’t entirely positive, and he would quickly change the subject. I found myself giving him a wide berth. But I needed…

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what lies do you allow people to tell you

Excuses, Excuses: Is My Reality Really Different from Your Reality?

The relatively recent advent of psychology (~1900) and the popularization of Eastern thought in the West (beginning in the 1960s) has contributed to an epidemic misunderstanding of the Buddha’s teachings: “perception is reality.” This is an increasingly popular tenet among younger generations, modern spiritualists, and, as a result, world culture. While the Buddha did teach…

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Kavanaugh hearings, wrong question

Why Struggle Over the Answer if the Question is Wrong?

Before you roll your eyes about yet another Kavanaugh piece, I promise this one is different than anything you’ve read. You’re going to learn something new. If you’ve followed the supreme court confirmation drama, you may have noticed some excuses here and there. Did you use what you’ve learned from my previous pieces? There was…

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