Scott’s Sunday Sentences, Issue 006

Sentences are my spiritual currency. 

Throughout my week, I’m constantly scouring and learning and reading and annotating from any number of newspapers, blogs, online publications, books, articles, songs, art pieces, podcasts, eavesdroppings, random conversations and other sources of inspiration.

Turns out, most of these sentences can be organized into about eleven different categories, aka, compartments of life that are meaningful to me. And since I enjoy being a signal tower of things that are interesting, I figured, why not share them on a regular basis?

In the spirit of “learning in public,” I’ve decided to publish a weekly digest of my top findings, along with their respective links or reference points. Sentence junkies of the world unite!

Creativity, Innovation & Art 

“Navigators need the stars to structure their voyages, and artists also need other points of reference to stay on course,” from The Artist’s Way Every Day.

Culture, Humanity & Society 

“An amateur shopper is somebody who gets pleasure out of the act of acquisition, but a professional shopper is someone who takes pride in ownership,” from the Tom Peters Cool Friends Interview with Paco Underhill.

Identity, Self & Soul 

“Our players are very skilled, but what really matters is what type of people they are,” from an article about Brazil’s psychological edge.

Lyrics, Poetry & Passages 

“Big bugs too lovely to squish,” from an art project about beautiful insects.

Meaning, Mystery & Being 

“Every human being is somewhere on the journey between belief and unbelief,” from Saving Casper by my friend Jim Henderson.

Media, Technology & Design 

“The founders threw a bat and a ball on a field and the users invented baseball,” from Duct Tape Marketing.

Nature, Health Science 

“Smoking cured everything, it could be anything I needed it to be,” from an article about returning to addiction.

People, Relationships & Love 

“Use your creativity to bring happiness to others,” from the latest edition of the Zappos Culture Book.

Psychology, Thinking & Feeling

“Jackhammer some rational thought into the debate,” from Scott Adams.

Success, Life & Career

“I don’t want so much hard work and love to disappear in exchange for a pile of cash,” from an essay on your irrelevance strategy. 

Work, Business Organizations

“Don’t make it easy for people to share your product, make it easy for them to share themselves,” from Hugh Macleod.

See you next week!

Loneliness Has Become The Most Common Ailment of the Modern World

You can’t cure loneliness with warm bodies.

Only the right bodies.

Joining a club or becoming part of a group or getting hired
at a new company quickly buys you a baseline of belonging, but if you start to discover
the organization is filled with people whose mental, physical and moral temperament
is incompatible with your own, after a while, the loneliness starts to creep
back in.

And the problem is, you don’t notice it at first. Because
it’s not your typical brand of loneliness. Unlike the bonafide social isolation
that leads to chronic inflammation
and premature
, this type of loneliness is more insidious. It comes in a
much lower dosage. So much so, that when you’re surrounded by other human
beings, your eyes actually tell you that you’re not alone.

Which is true. Physically.

But the eyes betray you. They don’t realize warm bodies aren’t
enough. They don’t realize loneliness is a multi-sensory experience. They don’t
realize feeling less alone in the world requires something beyond material nourishment.

The heart, on the other hand, begs you. It knows what home
feels like. It’s knows who the right people are. It knows that true belonging
comes from surrounding yourself with like minded, like hearted and like
spirited individuals.

That’s the organ you should listen to.

Considering that loneliness has become the most common
ailment of the modern world, it may take more work than you thought to satisfy your
basic belonging needs.

All hearts on deck, people.

Conversation Should Be Like That

We don’t care if you know

We care if you can
participate in deep, thoughtful conversations about anything.

That’s a completely different
skill. Aninfinite game, if you will. In which you’re not playing to win, but
playing to keep the game going. Where it’s less about intellectual firepower
and more about curiosity and vulnerability and enthusiasm and patience and
maybe even a little bit ofwow I never
thought about it that way.

Improv comedy has a similar

My wife and I spent a
summer taking classes at a local theater company. Not only were they some
of the funniest moments of our lives, but some of the healthiest communication
tools we learned as a couple.

As our instructors told us,
it’s not about being the funniest person on stage, constantly inventing punch
lines to get a cheap laugh from the audience. It’s about saying yes and serving
the scene. It’s about looking into someone’s eyes and feeling their reactions.
It’s about responding honestly to people’s realities. And it’s about keeping
the ball in play no matter what, fully committing to whatever rabbit hole you
go down.

Conversation should be like that.

Songwriting has a similar
model as well.

I’m reminded of one of my
favorite books, Unintentional
, a program for
using openness and acceptance to get the most out of the creative process. The
subject matter of the book mostly revolves around music, but there’s still a
lot we can glean from an conversational standpoint.

As the author writes, focus
on the music people do not intend to make. Align yourself with the flow of
process. See disturbing or unwanted things as potentially meaningful. Stay open
to what you are typically closed to. Rather than judging experiences, just be
with what is. When something arises, let it come, and when something
disappears, let it go. And learn to love whatever happens and trust that it
will lead you to where you ultimately need to go.

Conversation should be like that.

And the best part is, you
don’t need to be a know-it-all to make that kind of interaction happen.

If you want to participate in
deep, thoughtful conversation about anything, it’s all in how you approach the
exchange. It’s all about what you see when you see people.

when everyone is operating from pure intention and passionate attention, the
rest of the exchange takes care of itself.

Filling People’s Love Tanks

You can’t teach

What you can do is create a system that makes thoughtfulness easier, reminds
people to keep practicing it and rewards them for doing so consistently.

Kahnoodle is an app that
gives you points every time you do something thoughtful for your lover, like
bringing home flowers, writing a sweet note or doing the dishes. You can even
cash your points in for discounts at popular stores. And if you haven’t done
anything in a while, the app sends a push notification to nudge you in a
thoughtful direction.

The reviews were through the

Women said it helped them
feel like they were dating again. Men said it rekindled their relationship’s
romantic flame. Even marriage counselors said they prescribed it to their
clients who were having problems communicating.

Kahnoodle dubbed this
process, “filling people’s love tanks.”

Isn’t that the perfect
definition of thoughtfulness?

It’s just sweet enough to be
memorable, just visual enough to be useful, and just simple enough to be effective.

Filling people’s love tanks. Awesome.

So I couldn’t help but
wonder, why stop at couples? Why limit thoughtfulness to just our romantic
partners? Shouldn’t we extend that same practice of care and generosity and
delight to people we aren’t sleeping with?

After all, relationships work
when we work at them. And whether it’s business or personal, it’s less about
labor and time and more about intention and attention.

As I go about my day, one of
the questions I try to ask myself is:

“Who do I love that needs to see this?”

Maybe it’s an article I find,
maybe it’s a product I buy, maybe it’s a picture I take, maybe it’s a person I
meet, or maybe it’s a book I finish. But whatever it is that I experience, I
always try to observe it with a filter of thoughtfulness. 

And then I share it with them. 

That way, the people that
I love, know that my thoughts are full of them.

Because thoughtfulness isn’t a big thing, it’s a
thousand little things.

And if we need an app to
nudge us along in the right direction, so be it.

Whatever it takes to fill
people’s love tanks.

A Strategic Audit For Delivering Insight

Insight isn’t as mysterious we make it out to be.

The nature and origin of insightful
thinking, the cognitive neuroscience that drives
the insight process, not to mention the history of how artists successfully
used insight to fuel innovation, are all widely documented.

But here’s the part of the process we miss.

Developing insight is only half the work.

Delivering it is
the other half.

And if our job as leaders and innovators and thinkers and
advisors is to contribute meaningfully to the growth and well being of every
person connected to us, we can’t just disappear into our own heads. Insight is
a social transaction. It’s not just theory, it’s theater. It requires motion. The
sharing of our thinking is the act of gratitude that finishes the labor.

Once we create that pivotal moment with our audience, when
the intellectual meets the interpersonal, when we deliver insight in such a way
that it becomes fundamental to someone’s worldview, we start to make a real
difference in people’s lives.

I’ve seen it happen. Dozens of times. And on both sides of
the insight coin, too.

I’ve had conversations with people whose insight sent shockwaves through my system and changed my life for the better, and I’ve had conversations with people who said that one of my insights changed the way they approached their work for the better.

And the same patterns always emerge:

Insights that are
delivered in interesting, packaged, original, actionable and relatable ways, exert
the greatest amount of influence.

Next time you go to work creating insight for your audience, execute against these five categories as a strategic audit for your insight delivery process:


1. How provocative is your word choice? 

2. How dangerous are the ideas behind your words? 

3. Are you offering a new way of looking at a problem? 

4. Does your insight give perspective or just information? 

5. What is your audience’s physical, bodily reaction to your insight?


1. Is your insight inherently rhythmic and easily repeatable? 

2. How much time did you spend on the theater of presenting the insight? 

3. Does your insight gain weight and truthfulness with each mental repetition? 

4. Is this the right message, in the right place, at the right time, to the right person, in the right proportion?


1. Have you googled your insight to
gauge its uniqueness?

2. Does your insight contain any recycled language or
secondhand wisdom?

3. Have you coined a new word, and therefore, created a new

4. Do you understand this with your life, fully believing what
you understand and incapable of disbelieving it? 


1. Does your insight contain meaningful concrete

2. What are you connecting your insight to that
helps it travel?

3. How does your insight make people proud to take
the first step?

4. Will
your insight make people think, I believe this, I can do this and I want to try


1. Is your story big and important enough to

2. Can
people easily superimpose
their own meaning onto your story?

3. Do your words equip people to spot the new story
with their own eyes?

4. What’s already in your audience’s head that you
can hang your insight next to?

5. How does your insight expresses what others
can’t think, say or feel on their own?

That’s the difference maker.

Combining intellectual
development with interpersonal delivery.

Real insight requires both.

Culture Without Ritual, Isn’t

I used to be a board member
of a small mastermind group of artists, freelancers, performers and

Once a quarter, we gathered
for a weekend retreat. The agenda was to give updates, share news, disclose
struggles, offer feedback, solve problems and of course, make tons of
inappropriate jokes.

And I was always blown away
at the quality of people’s insights. During our meetings, tears were shed,
gasps were made, epiphanies were realized and sighs of relief were exhaled. Each
time, we quickly remembered that the roller coaster isn’t as scary when you
have other people to scream with.

The only problem was, we had
no record or reinforcement around people’s insight.

And that wasn’t okay with me.

We were trying to build a culture.
A community worth belonging to. An atmosphere worth talking about. And an
environment worth passing on. And we needed a communication ritual to glue it all together.

So I had an idea.

During our final dinners, I
would ask each person to go around the table and share two things. First, one action
they planned to execute as soon as they got back to work. And second, one joke
that made them laugh the hardest during the meeting.

As the resident scribe, I
volunteered to document people’s individual contributions during the
discussion. And the next morning, I promised to send out the recap as the
artifact from our retreat. I believed everyone in the group deserved a front row
seat to their own brilliance. Not to mention, a ticket stub to remember the

Five years later, people still
talk about those dinners. Nobody remembers what we ate, but that’s not the
point. Culture isn’t about the food on the table, it’s about the people around

And that’s the power of

It’s a conscious practice and
a ceremonial acknowledgement. It’s an intentional experience we layer on top of
the activity to make it more purposeful. It’s how we make meaning, affirm belonging and turn disconnected events into an
ongoing story.

And whether it’s our peer
group, work team, sports squad, extended family or neighborhood community, any
time we tap into our natural human instinct to build communication
systems, we come alive.

What communication rituals have you created?

Scott’s Sunday Sentences, Issue 005

Sentences are my spiritual currency. 

Throughout my week, I’m constantly scouring and learning and reading and annotating from any number of newspapers, blogs, online publications, books, articles, songs, art pieces, podcasts, eavesdroppings, random conversations and other sources of inspiration.

Turns out, most of these sentences can be organized into about eleven different categories, aka, compartments of life that are meaningful to me. And since I enjoy being a signal tower of things that are interesting, I figured, why not share them on a regular basis?

In the spirit of “learning in public,” I’ve decided to publish a weekly digest of my top findings, along with their respective links or reference points. Sentence junkies of the world unite!

Creativity, Innovation & Art 

“If people in your life aren’t uncomfortable, you’re not really writing,” from a podcast conversation between Chris Rock and Alec Baldwin.

Culture, Humanity & Society 

“Buying more education only to scale new heights of stupidity,” from my new favorite book, Shop Class As Soul Craft.

Identity, Self & Soul 

“Build your story where you are,” from an interview with David Wild.

Lyrics, Poetry & Passages 

“They’ve taken their brave pills,” from a fascinating article about being Harry Potter.

Meaning, Mystery & Being 

“The principal medium of my salvation,” from an old Susan Sontag interview.

Media, Technology & Design 

“Email is now just another stream,” from an insightful Techcrunch article.

Nature, Health Science 

“There’s no free lunch in nature,” from a podcast conversation between Dr. Drew and Amber Smith.

People, Relationships & Love 

“People who are too stupid to be important,” from Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain.

Psychology, Thinking & Feeling

“In order to make the changes that you need to make, the first step is tolerating thoughts,” from an article by Eric Maisel.

Success, Life & Career

“There’s tons of money if you’re good and want to take it,” from The Lefsetz Letter.

Work, Business Organizations

“Once you can own the moment that matters, you build a loyal customer base,” from The Wall Street Journal.

See you next week!

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