Strings & focus by Evan La Ruffa

Strings - when we relate to, truly hear, or have something resonate in a way that inspires us to focus. Focus - when we let all the irrelevant, untimely, misguided or disempowering squirrels in our mind run off without the slightest of chases.

Strings and focus feed off one another, and having people in our lives that are attuned to what might resonate makes all the difference.

If you're reading this newsletter regularly, you're someone that cares, works hard, lives for others, thinks strategically, is compassionate, and wants to grow. And you know people who are similar.

You also have antennas. We all do.

And to be our fullest selves we rely on relationships in which antennas are functional. You know, the kind where you communicate with someone in multiple ways - through conversations, interactions, and a 6th sense that relies on understanding how that person views their own experience.

Whether a helpful word or a bit of perspective, we have to remember that what we offer shouldn't be about us. Imposed views rarely do well, better to harness what's already there & not one-size-fits-all this thing.

But antennas need practice and relationships worth having put in that work.

We know we're doing OK when we feel the strings and focus.

Social testing by Evan La Ruffa

We usually think of our lives from one semi-cohesive vantage point. The plot, characters, and themes are the same, and we use those experiences to auto-extrapolate a way of being in the world. We react to a certain type of comment or input in pretty similar ways.

In that sense, what we offer is often the same. The energy, presence, or contribution we have carries a certain vibration and has its own tenor.

If we're putting the same thing in, we're probably getting the same thing out.

So lets test. Let's try approaching a certain type of situation in a different way, look at the data, and compare it to what we normally experience, social testing in that we switch up the equation.

Both in our overall offering and the possibilities that open up as a result.

P.s. I'm working on a rhetorical pivot that is all about changing one element of the equation and seeing what the data tells me. I'll keep ya posted.

Myatribe by Evan La Ruffa

myatribe - when our contribution to someone else's comment reflexively shifts back to a theme, topic, or opinion that we currently ascribe to. Real listening isn't happening, and the other person in the dialogue is rendered unimportant, insofar that they have merely paved the way for us to come back to our thesis of choice. We've all done it, some less opaquely than others, and it's the product of a species of restlessness; an energy which is single-minded and often well-intended but functionally precludes real connection. If the subject at hand is something directly mentioned by our conversation partner, then by all means, we should add, brainstorm, and contribute.

But if we can hear our inner monologue interrupt real listening when the subject is unrelated, it's time we cultivate the skill to sit back, listen, and forgo our latest rant.

It seems appropriate, if only on balance, but it might also help us prove that our presence isn't a one-way street.

Whether we're too far inside our own heads or overly transactional, either approach seems destined for black holes.

Here's to squashing our next myatribe.

And here's to taking my own advice.

Learning to communicate by Evan La Ruffa

In the nature versus nurture debate, there are various silos that require unpacking. As much as folks tend to argue for one or another, most of us would agree that it's a mix of both. We might have differing opinions as to the percentages, but rationality tells us it's a Venn diagram. Learning to communicate is an exception.

We all have personalities that feel inherent, but communication is something that is modeled, practiced, and experienced after birth: nurture.

We have taken queues from our family and friends. We have replicated and deviated from communication patterns that serve and don't serve us.

One thing is for sure, communication requires intentionality.

If we want to be fair and compassionate communicators, what might we do differently?

100 billion neurons by Evan La Ruffa

It's amazing to think about the fact that there are as many neurons in our brain as there are stars in the galaxy. 100 billion neurons transmitting information, serving as a link between our inner galaxy (the network of information inside us) and our external galaxy (the network of historical organic creation). If what's inside us is a mirror for what's outside us, we're lucky to have so many options.

Despite the fact that 100 billion neurons exist in our brain, its ability to categorize, delineate, decipher, extrapolate, and protect, is also essential to the ways we figure out what the hell is going on all around us.

Every day we know more about the nature of our brains and the nature of space, I'm just blown away by what we've been given to work with.

We have the bandwidth. We have the resources. We have the people.

Our mind's tendency to reduce and distill is powerful. Let's just make sure we're not taking the easy way out. Simple solutions are romantic, and there's a whole range of stuff we shouldn't overthink. Even so, we know when we're employing cognitive or emotional shortcuts, especially in areas where we know we have room to grow.

100 billion neurons of discernment, and all we really have to do is ask ourselves.

100 billion neurons to hit the pause button and listen, so that when our reflection reaches our lips, it's inclusive of the truth.

Being honest about bias by Evan La Ruffa

Oh, bias. Such a maligned issue, yet so relevant, all of the time. Ok, so let's see here... journalists aren't allowed to be biased, in fact saying someone is biased is one of the ways many people go about indicting.

"I think you're only telling one side of the story, and I probably totally disagree with you."

It's odd that being unbiased is the goal, either ideologically or rhetorically, especially since we'd all admit it's inescapable.

If we acknowledge that we all have our own biases regardless of how enlightened we might happen to be, then lets move the marker.

We're biased.

Now that we can admit it, all we have to do is be honest that we have it. Incorporating that knowledge into our communication is the next, and most important step.

Easier to say than do, but oh so worth it.