Getting through a large volume of work – the artist continually exposes one's self to the market.

With each additional composition, new terrain has been uncovered and translated to the audience.

And the conversation between the artist and audience can improve.

Does the audience have the context to understand it?

And, did the artist translate it in a way that it resonates within them, as well as the artist?

At the root of beautiful art is miscommunication.

A misunderstanding is what the artist sees – or feels – and uses the work of art to resolve it, like a totem brought into a dialogue to provoke a lens change.

And so art is both about miscommunication, but also about the resolution of miscommunication.

This is subtle, because if you take it too far and you shut down the audience's willingness to accept or see what's been made.

But if you don't go far enough, and you fail to find a soft spot worth exposing.

Real artists ship because they are willing to be misunderstood, while they find their way to having a good conversation with their audience.

And why shouldn't they be misunderstood?

They are attempting to bring new truths to culture.

The only way through is to keep going. To expose oneself and keep learning. To keep seeing, keep translating, keep adjusting. This exposure is difficult for those who don't see that it's part of the process.

Real artists ship because Art is a conversation.

As Adam Robinson says…"Everything… EVERTYHING is a question and an answer."

Real artists ship because to find the answers, you have to pose the question.

If you want to understand who in a room is generally holding most power within themselves and the group, look for the person giving compliments.

You'd think it would be the other way around, that the bully holds power because they put other people down.

But this aggression is a false-confidence. It's a display to appear confident, which in turn means that there is a doubt to their status, otherwise, there would be no reason to show this power to others.

Instead, the humble person who is giving compliments can only do so because they have so much power/abundance that they can give it away to others freely.

Leaders give compliments because they don't see others benefiting as a threat.

Leaders give compliments because they don't put others on a pedestal.

Only someone confident in themselves can compliment another.

To tell someone else, "wow, you are incredibly smart, and what you just did was excellent" is much more powerful than saying "what you did was terrible and I think you are stupid."

To complain about others and try and bring them down is an attempt to pull yourself up, relative to them, which means you believe you are "below" them in status to begin with.

This both feels terrible and is ineffective in relationships.

Real leaders give compliments.

What humans excel at is creativity.

We solve problems, we invent, we coordinate, and we generate a thing from nothing.

And, while it can feel that way now, we are not helpless.

We invent makeshift respirators, non-electrical pumps, new methods, technologies, and we share them with others. This creative process is what builds wealth for us as humans.

And sometimes the problems we solve are emotional.

And sometimes the problems we solve are psychological.

So maybe you're stuck, or you feel like your path is unclear. That's normal.

It's just time for you to invent a creative solution.

But too often we don't give ourselves enough space to just THINK.

So today I'm going to share how to Brainstorm with yourself.


  • Go on a 30 min walk without any distractions, purely to think. You can have an idea ahead of time of what you want to ponder. Or you can go in without any expectations.
  • A few minutes into your work, begin to focus on an idea you'd like to develop. What do you want to happen? What do you want to see created?
  • Quiet the logic part of yourself, if you feel yourself thinking "but how will that…?" Stop and move back to open ideas without the need to know everything or have it be perfect.
  • Once you've developed the idea and you're feeling excited about the direction –  visualize its end state and describe it to yourself in detail. Picture it playing out like a story.
  • Use to record any thoughts out loud. This will transcribe what you say out loud to text and timestamp it for your notes to have later.
  • If it feels awkward or weird just pretend you're on the phone.

What if there was a space to talk about the ONE thing that's been on your mind for so long that you've thought about it more than any other person?

What if you were able to share about that which you've thought about all of the time, but doesn't come up often in common conversations?

In this new series, Caffeine Conversations, I'm asking my favorite set of coaches, business leaders, and creators the one question they've never been asked before.

The first conversation in this series is with Kirat Randhawa – Kirat is a contemplative mentor and meditation teacher.

In this episode, we hear more about her perspective on her journey to navigating life with more ease.

You'll see both the edited 10-minute episode as well as the and lightly edited long-form conversation on any of the players listed. I hope you feel like you're right there with us, and that I'm able to introduce you to a variety of interesting new people and perspectives along the way.

Hey All,

Pretty tough week/weekend.

I'm focusing on learning and growing my perspective while donating to causes I believe in.

A friend called me up and asked me a beautiful question – which I think could be an important question for many people as we seek to grow our ability to understand and allow people's voices to be heard.

That question was,

"When was the first time you felt like the 'other'?"


Copernicus showed the world that the earth was not, in fact, the center of the solar system. Instead, we learned that the Earth and many other planets circled around the sun and not the other way around.

I think our empathy as human beings is the same. At some point, and over time, you shift your own center, and recognize it all my not revolve around you...That there are many perspectives you cannot fully understand, but you can do your best to listen.

During this whole shut down I've also been listening, observing, reading, and generally just trying to keep a wide perspective during everything. This has lead to some personal breakthroughs, but also to more seeking for better understanding. Below are some related items.Toolkit:
Further references, links, and questions for your self-study.

  • Question: "When was the first time you felt like the 'other'?"
  • Misc: I've got about 15 bottles of natural fragrances from around the globe (photo below) and I'm going to start designing my own fragrance. I've been working my way through the Le Labo Discovery set, as well as testing out some others. I pretty much wear a different scent every day, but this is my first time digging into all-natural fragrances. Courtesy of Carta.  

Falcon Rocket

Coffee Supplies

Natural fragrances

Today, criticism and polarization are the lenses that are applied to the news that we are given.

We watch people in videos on social media, in the news, we read stories, and we think to ourselves “What an idiotic decision! How could THEY do that?”

But to be wise is to understand that this action wasn’t taken in a vacuum. That our judgment is only based on the vantage point we’ve acquired in our lives but not beyond that.

The quality and growth of your life journey are proportional to the number of new and difficult questions you are able to consider.

Here is a new question I’m considering, as posed by Adam Robinson:

“Under what circumstances, would *I* act like that person is acting now?”

This doesn’t dismiss the action as wrong or right. But it does lead to understanding.

And by the way, certain "wrong's" and "rights" have continued to change, have you noticed that?

“Under what circumstances, would *I* be making similar decisions?"

Further references, links, and questions for your self-study.

  • At Work: This question can also be applied to work, in sales, for example – when someone decides not to purchase, or not to take the job. Try and flip your view 180 around the table to the other side. Better yet, metaphorically put yourself on the same side of the table when you speak with someone.
  • Read: Status as a Service  – "Life is nothing if not a nested series of status contests." We often forget to consider a base level drive that we all have – seeking status, which is described incredibly well in this post by Eugene Wei.

There are a few things I can’t be trusted with. One of them is Dark Chocolate – I’ll eat the whole bar if it’s nearby.

That said, when I only buy one bar per week at the grocery store, I tend not to eat more than that, even if it’s all in one sitting.

The other is my work schedule – If I don’t lay it out ahead of time, or take minor breaks to lay it out, I’ll work on tasks in an incoherent fashion.

When I do layout my schedule, however, I tend to get through my tasks faster than I would even expect to.

The topic of habits is often confused with the matter of willpower.

And, like so many productivity tricks, understanding why they work is more important than enforcing any new rules or regiments.

What suits one person, most likely, will not suit you. So if you’re stuck following the prescriptions of the “5-second rule” or “GTD” without success, it’s probably one of two things:

A: Either you’re following it, but you don’t know why (other than feeling like “I’m bad,” and so it’s a shame-based, forced system).

B: You’re mistaking willpower as the critical factor, rather than the structures you set up for yourself.

In A, you’re missing the “know your strengths” aspect.

You’re not selecting a method that works for you, even if it’s different than what works for others.

In B: You’re missing the “Accept your weaknesses” aspect. You’re not recognizing that you can’t trust yourself in certain areas, kind of like admitting you have a problem. And you need a system to work for you, instead of the other way around.

Getting to know your strengths can be more complicated than it sounds, and this is one of the significant challenges we have as artists and creators. We’re so excited by so many things it can be hard to pinpoint which items are where we should spend our time.

This process is one of removal, admittance, and ultimately of acceptance. But it’s easier to accept your positive attributes, letting everything fall away than it is shooting holes in your self-image.

Accepting your weaknesses can feel like a loss of pride. Still, it can be quite enjoyable, because when you accept your weaknesses, you can finally DROP that giant stone you’ve been carrying around, acting like it wasn’t heavy (when you’ve been sweating the entire time).

When we have a goal or a desire for who we want to be, we believe that we should build our way forward through action.

But what gets overlooked are the weights we’re carrying, and the friction we’ve added to our journey through missing out on these two points.

Rather than increasing shame, increasing intensity, what if you instead lubricated the wheels and dropped some excess weight – moving more freely forward?

Rather than trusting yourself in the future to perform in a way you hope to, what if you set up a structure that helped you enforce this outcome without relying on willpower?

Productivity is more like a bow and arrow.

You point yourself in a direction, pull back, and create tension with strength.

And then you let go.

Further references, links, and questions for your self-study.

  • Read: Deep Work An overlooked part of this book is the section on what "style" of Deep Work suits you, rather than it being one size fits all. This is a "know your strengths" book.
  • Read: Atomic Habits  An overlooked part of this book is how willpower is not the solution, rather the environment, and structures are. This is a "know your weaknesses" book.