Archived Episodes


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Episode 045 Human Networks Inspire Holiday Cheer

In this episode, Angie and Haley share clips from past interviews about the power of human networks. They also reminisce about what they have learned in 2016 and share their excitement about upcoming guests and topics to come in the new year. Happy Holidays from the HumanCurrent Complexity Podcast!


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“I do not think our biggest social challenge is know-how; it’s not even money. It’s connecting the right people with the right ideas in the right way.” - Paul Shoemaker

“The cure lies with the relationships with the very people we typically blame for the problems we are trying to solve.” - Peter Senge

“In a complex adaptive system there is no separate “other”. Everything and everyone is connected and together we co-create the whole system.” - Peter Senge

 

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Episode 044 Making Sense Of Human Systems, An Interview With Professor Dave Snowden

In this episode, Angie interviews Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive EdgeDave Snowden. Professor Snowden describes his work with complexity and how it applies to decision-making. He also introduces us to “anthro-complexity”, which is a term he has coined to represent a whole new approach to human systems based on natural science. Professor Snowden says “human systems are fundamentally organic entities”, so they should be studied as entirely different forms of complex systems.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Human systems are complex ecologies rather than complicated machines, for the last 3 or 4 decades we have been using a mechanical metaphor for what is fundamentally an organic entity.” - Dave Snowden

“Complex Adaptive Systems don’t have causality; they have dispositionality. You can say that the system is disposed to behave in this way but you can’t predict that it will. Most human systems work in that fashion.” - Dave Snowden

“There are huge additional levels of complexity when you deal with human systems, so what we are doing is to combine complex adaptive systems theory with cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to create a new theory of what systems are about.”  - Dave Snowden

“Art comes before human language in evolution, so humans constantly work at a high level of abstraction and in evolutionary terms this has massive advantage.” - Dave Snowden

“Ritual aligns identity with roles so that forms of behavior are possible.” - Dave Snowden

“If you create boundaries human beings when they cross a boundary know they can behave differently.” - Dave Snowden

“We need real-time feedback systems, which are descriptive not evaluative.” - Dave Snowden

“SenseMaker allows human metadata to be created using high abstraction principles.” - Dave Snowden

“Measure in the present by safe to fail parallel experimentation you don’t manage to future states. Manage in the present.” - Dave Snowden  

 

Resources from this episode:

A Leader's Framework for Decision-Making

Multi-Ontology Sense Making

 

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Episode 043 Conscious Voting Through Political Curiosity

In this episode, Angie and Haley explore their political mental models in order to question their own assumptions and ideologies. They also share clips from past guests, John Feehery and Spencer Gerrol, regarding presidential power in the USA. Additionally, they discuss some helpful resources, like the quiz on isidewith.com, to help increase awareness of the complexity underneath most political “talking points”.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Not everything aligns with what we may believe.” - Angie Cross

“Power in the US is unusually decentralised for a strong nation. The fact that there are so many levers to that power should undermine narratives of presidential leadership. Alas, such complexity would not help television ratings.” - Erik Loomis

“The unelected bureaucrats in this country (U.S.A.) have more power over our daily lives than most of us recognize.” - John Feehery

“It’s easy for us to get angry, but it’s time for us to get smart because we have a democracy in crisis.” - Annie Leonard

“An average 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014” - Gallup

“If we listen hard enough, we can dig down to the complexity hidden underneath the talking points and hyperbole and have positive, productive conversations with the other side that will actually move our country forward.” - Joe McGovern

“Simple us-versus-them, right-or-wrong, black-and-white games are much easier to process than the complexity of a pluralist system. But clearly, that simple game is not the best we can do.” - Michelle Holiday

 

Resources from this episode:

I Side With - an online voting guide and tool for conscious voting

The Other Side Documentary: A Liberal American Explores Conservative America - by Joe McGovern

The Story of Citizens United v FEC - by Annie Leonard

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Episode 042 The Neuroscience Behind Your Vote

In this episode, Angie interviews Spencer Gerrol, human behavior specialist, applied neuroscience expert, and founder and CEO of SPARK Experience. Spencer shares the results from a research study he performed to gather biofeedback data from both Trump and Clinton supporters. He also discusses the importance of valuing and understanding emotions in order to make more mindful decisions.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“You can not, as a human being, make a decision without emotion. It is impossible.” - Spencer Gerrol

“Every decision is influenced by emotion, emotion plays a major factor in every decision you make in life, and without emotion you can’t even decide.” - Spencer Gerrol

“We think we are rational beings, and if we go on assuming that and not really understanding how we make decisions in our everyday lives, then we actually act even more irrationally.” - Spencer Gerrol  

“It’s very valuable for people to understand the value of their subconscious.” - Spencer Gerrol

“If people can recognize the value of allowing themselves to turn off the conscious brain and let their subconscious do what it’s designed to do, then we would all be better off, or at least we will understand our decisions in a more real-world way.” - Spencer Gerrol

“With great power comes great responsibility.” - Attributed to Spiderman

“If we can get deeper insights as to why people are making decisions & how emotion has an influence on that, we can lead innovation in a much more real way.” - Spencer Gerrol

“I don’t devalue big data, I do think it’s important, but if it’s the only way and people aren’t digging into the human-side, we are missing half of the equation.” - Spencer Gerrol

 

Resources from this episode:

'Whom are you voting for? This guy can read your mind.' - Washington Post article featuring SPARK Experience who "measured people’s brain waves to examine how much attention and the severity of emotion people felt while watching clips of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They found that what people feel and what people say they feel are rarely in sync.(Alice Li/The Washington Post)"

 

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Episode 041 Compassion In Chaos

In this episode, Haley interviews Republican strategist, columnist, and part-time lobbyist, John Feehery, on the complexity of politics in the United States of America. John describes his political outlook and shares how and why democracy requires a lot of personal accountability from all American citizens.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"I do think that democracy is all on us (American citizens)." - John Feehery

“There are ways to have your voice heard despite all the complexity.” - John Feehery

 

Resources from this episode:

John's blog: The Feehery Theory

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Episode 040 The Myth Of The Dysfunctional System

In this episode, Angie and Haley ask past guests—Benjamin Taylor, Angela Montgomery, Oleg Konovalov, and Sonja Blignaut—to share their thoughts on a quote by Jeff Lawrence. His quote states, “There is no such thing as a dysfunctional organization, because every organization is perfectly aligned to achieve the results it gets.”


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“You have to appreciate why something [a system] is the way it is and how it’s’ learning to do that. And, you have to value what it’s creating and achieving.” - Benjamin Taylor

“If you’re looking at a system and you know what’s wrong, take a deep breath, wait, and see what happens next; see what you learn before you act and I think you might go a lot further.” - Benjamin Taylor

“We can say that an organization is dysfunctional when it works in a way that is not consistent with the goal it is supposed to pursue, so lack of clarity and understanding of the goal could easily produce dysfunctional organizational behavior which means behavior that is not consistent with that goal.” - Angela Montgomery

“What could be perceived as dysfunctional toward a stated goal can actual be extremely functional for a non verbalized one.” - Angela Montgomery

“Many organizations tend to lose their sharply defined goals or directions by rushing into something irrelevant, so wrongly set goals are making them dysfunctional. As a result, they are losing their core functions and abilities. I call this ‘goal perplexity’.” - Oleg Konovalov
 

“[This quote] perfectly describes how stuck we are in a mechanistic metaphor. We describe a system or a culture as being broken or needing fixing, as if it’s a machine.” - Sonja Blignaut

“We tend to think about self organization as just a positive thing, so we talk about self organizing teams in the agile space, for example. Complex systems or human systems are always self organizing, they may just not be organized in a way that we think is the way that it should be. This is something that we see as dysfunction, but it is something that is serving part of that system.” - Sonja Blignaut

 

Resources from this episode:

"Dysfunctional Organization: Definition and Cure" by Angela Montgomery

“Techniques to Match Our Values” by Marvin Weisbord

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Episode 039 Company Culture: An Emergent And Evolving Phenomenon

In this episode, Angie interviews Sonja Blignaut who is a narrative practitioner, change catalyst, and founder of a niche consultancy called More Beyond. Sonja shares how using a complexity thinking approach to study and influence company culture can help leaders avoid best practice recipes and reach positive organizational change.


Show Notes 


Quotes from this episode:

“The moment we think we know the answer, or even the question, we close down our options to explore and we can no longer find the things that we didn’t know to look for.” - Sonja Blignaut

“Keep a couple of pet mavericks around.” - Dave Snowden

“Hold your plans and outcomes very lightly. Focus on having a clear direction a purpose but not alignment to a specific goal.”- Sonja Blignaut

“In complexity, context is everything, there are no recipes. You really need to understand what the emergent contextual ideas are, and not just come in and apply your best practice recipes.” - Sonja Blignaut

“I believe that culture emerges. It’s not a thing, but an emergent property of a complex adaptive system.” - Sonja Blignaut

“We all have meaning-making skills and we do that through narratives.” - Sonja Blignaut

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” - Mark Twain

“Always assume a posture of curiousity or not knowing. Be curious. Question assumptions.” - Sonja Blignaut

“Realize, that in complexity, diversity really matters. So, I surround myself with people who have radically different perspective than I do.” - Sonja Blignaut

“Think anew and act anew.” - Abraham Lincoln

 

Resources from this episode:

"A Leader's Framework for Decision Making" by Dave Snowden

 

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Episode 038 A Philosophical Look At Company Culture

In this episode, Haley interviews Benjamin Taylor, a business evolutionary, systems thinker, and avid learner. Benjamin discusses the intended and unintended consequences of systemic leadership, and he describes the philosophical side of company culture, as well as, how leaders can influence company culture.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Most of my work is really helping people to do transformation or ‘serious change’ in public services.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Most people in this world should be trying to work themselves out of a job.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Once you’ve really explained system thinking, it starts to sound like common sense.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Meaning only ever emerges in context.” - Benjamin Taylor

“You cannot understand a system until you try to change it.” - Kurt Lewin

“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.” - Millard Fuller

 

Resources from this episode:

Benjamin Taylor is a Managing Partner at RedQuadrant, Chief Executive at The Public Service Transformation Academy, and a non-executive Director at SCiO. Benjamin is a frequent contributor on model.report, an online forum for system thinkers. He is also a moderator on the Linkedin group System Thinking Network and co-host for the Outliers Inn Podcast.

 

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Episode 037 The Complexity Of Living Organizations

In this episode, Haley interviews Dr. Oleg Konovalov, who is the author of a new management concept called Organisational Anatomy, which views organisational processes and functions from a biological perspective. Dr. Oleg shares some key concepts from his new book, along with several metaphoric examples to help unpack complexity and make it more digestible.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Complexity is a pack of simple things; don’t make it unsolvable, don’t make it a mess” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Professionalism is reflected in simple language.” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Organizational culture is a catalyzer of performance...if negative, culture can be an inhibitor.” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

"Complexity is always multi-dimensional, it is not flat.”  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Things should be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” - Albert Einstein

 

Resources from this episode:

Organizational Anatomy by Oleg Konovalov

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Episode 036 Harnessing System Potential

In this episode Angie interviews author, entrepreneur, and systemic thinking advocate, Angela Montgomery PhD. Angela discusses the importance of leadership education and systemic thinking within organizations, and she shares some key insights and tools for managing business complexity.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"Systemic thinking is how we save the world, because the problems we are facing today are unprecedented." - Angela Montgomery

“Today we need a much more sophisticated type of organization that gives space for humans to be humans inside a human system.” - Angela Montgomery

"When people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at home.” - Betty Bender

 

Resources from this episode:

Angela Montgomery is the founder of Intelligent Management, which is an organization that guides CEOs & decision makers on systemic principles & methods to manage complexity. She is also the author of the business novel, The Human Constraint which is available for download. Her novel was inspired by the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Eliyahu Goldratt. In her interview, she references the The Goal , a popular business novel by Eliyahu Goldratt.

One of her new projects is called Social Nation, which is “A Social Network that will enable us to grow together”. This exciting new online platform focuses on identity verification, privacy, and security.

In her interview, Angela also describes the “Core Conflict Cloud” which is a tool that provides a structure way for people to take a close look at their fears and desires.

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Episode 035 Using System Science to Improve Community Health

In this episode, Haley interviews Dr. Daniel Taber, a scientist who specializes in food policy and systems research. In his interview, Dr. Taber uses real-world language and examples to explain the complex relationship between system science, science communication, policy change, and public health.   


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“A key part of policy research is understanding how people and organizations adapt. And, of course, that’s a key part of complex systems research – understanding how people adapt to a “shock” in their environment.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

“A lot of science – particularly health science, where I work – is built to reflect an artificial world that’s very simple and unrealistic.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

“Complex systems research is more focused on what we observe in the real world and trying to understand the dynamics that take place, rather than creating this artificial world.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

“I think the key is understanding the systems that we live in, understanding those systems’ goals, and strategically thinking about how we can utilize them better.” - Dr. Daniel Taber

 

Resources from this episode:

System Science & Obesity - Coursera taught by Dr. Dan Taber in collaboration with John Hopkins University

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Episode 034 Network Challenges within Child Welfare

In this episode, Angie interviews D’Artagnan Caliman, a child welfare consultant, who discusses the complexity of serving 2 million people with many different interconnected network service groups and stakeholders. His enlightening case study reveals the importance of cause prevention within the child welfare system, rather than simply treating the symptoms of family dysfunction as they arise.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Are we, as communities, thinking about what we can do as a human network to support families that are in need?” - D’Artagnan Caliman

“I really believe humans are the greatest resource for changing the world. It is up to us to be there for each other, our communities, and even people that we don’t know very well.” - D’Artagnan Caliman

“Our work is really focused on safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families...ensuring that a child and family is holistically successful.” - D’Artagnan Caliman

“If we are unsuccessful at helping children and families to become stable and viable within their communities, then we are failing our communities and we are failing our children.” - D’Artagnan Caliman

“We have to reach out to our constituent groups to find what is working and build upon those successes and also to hear from them on what is not working.”  - D’Artagnan Caliman

 

Resources from this episode:

Tavis Smiley Reports on PBS that the School to Prison Pipeline is “an epidemic that is plaguing schools across the nation. Far too often, students are suspended, expelled or even arrested for minor offenses that leave visits to the principal’s office a thing of the past. Statistics reflect that these policies disproportionately target students of color and those with a history of abuse, neglect, poverty or learning disabilities.”

From NY Times  “The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners.”

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Episode 033 Human Stories for Network Change

In this episode, Haley interviews Jasper Faolan, a writer, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and founder of Journal to Save Your Life, which is a free, online mental health program. Jasper advocates for self-expression, like storytelling, as a way for people to heal from trauma and mental health problems. And, she explains how her non-profit (J2SYL) promotes social change by connecting the dots within complex adaptive systems.


Show Notes


Resources from this episode:

Journal to Save Your Life is a therapy program, which consists of a one to 52 week online program for young women around the ages of 13 to 29. The program is carefully curated around specific personal struggles, from addiction and body image to toxic relationships. With a concrete foundation from psychology scholars, the program aims to help young women build social skills, reframe negative thoughts and inspire artistic expression in an effort to promote self-love and healing. You can find J2SYL on Twitter & Facebook

Billy Poole’s story  #projectselfiesdefeatdepression

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Episode 032 Exploring Complex Human Networks

In this episode, Stacy interviews Angie about the ins and outs of action research for her Master’s in Leadership project. They also introduce the topic of complex human networks with guest Mary Anne Herrick, who is the Communication’s Program Officer at World Vision and the President of Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA). FCAA  is also the sponsoring organization for Angie’s Master project.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Action research became the opposite of scientific research. Instead of standing outside the experiment, watching what happens and writing up your findings, you become a learner in a situation you helped devise. You develop a stake. You assume responsibility.” - Marvin Wiesbord, Productive Workplaces

“Cheers to emergent social networks powered by shared narratives and shared values.” - Stacy Hale

 

Resources from this episode:

Angie's MA in Leadership is at Royal Roads University 

May is Foster Care Month! Please click here to donate to FCAA.

You can watch this video to learn more about Mary Herrick's amazing work with World Vision.

 

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Episode 031 Understanding Complexity in Context, A Reflection Episode

In this throwback episode, Haley shares some clips from past guests: Diego EspinosaTK ColemanGloria Burgess, and Jason Dykstra. The interview clips we share are responses to these questions: what is a self organizing system, how did you become interested in systems thinking, and why does understanding complexity matter?


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“I grew up in a complex system.” - Gloria Burgess

“A self organizing system is basically a system in which order emerges from the different pieces following simple rules and interacting with each other.. and that order is kind of magical.” - Diego Espinosa

“Understanding context and what systems theory has to say can shine light on apparent discrepancies.” - TK Coleman

“Understanding how we can approach complexity is so useful in our everyday life...complexity is all around us...it’s a great opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our role within the world.”- Jason Dykstra

Resources from this episode:

General Systems Theory: Beginning with Wholes

The Answer Is Under Your Foot. How Ants Solve Inequality 

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Episode 030 How to Apply Human-Centered Design

In this episode, Angie interviews Andrea Ippolito, who is the Innovator's Network Lead at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Andrea shares how human-centered design is implemented and deployed at the VA in order to create exceptional experiences for our veterans. Her examples and advice are helpful for anyone wanting to build an innovation strategy using design and systems thinking methods.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"Design thinking forces you to understand the context in which your user operates and live and what they appreciate and don't appreciate." - Andrea Ippolito

"Using design thinking actual helps reduce rework, because you are so focused on your users...you're impacting the bottom line on both ends of the spectrum both with operation and sales." - Andrea Ippolito

“It’s not ‘us versus them’ or even ‘us on behalf of them.’ For a design thinker it has to be ‘us with them'”– Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

 

Resources from this episode:

You can find Andrea Ippolito & The Department of Veteran Affairs on Twitter

“How to Build a Culture of Innovation through Design and Systems Thinking”

Designing for Veterans: A Toolkit for Human-Centered Design

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Episode 029 Design Led Innovation with Jon Kolko

In this episode, Haley interviews Jon Kolko, the VP of Design at Blackboard and the founder of the Austin Center for Design. He is also an author of several books, including Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love, which is discussed in this episode. Jon shares his vast knowledge and experience with complexity, design, and problem solving.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Ideas are free, if you don’t make them they are up for grabs.” - Jon Kolko

"Design is about making things, it’s a verb, not necessarily a noun." - Jon Kolko

"What good is an idea if it stays in your head?" - Angela Cross

"Design is about making things for people and thinking about them critically...it is both strategic and tactical." - Jon Kolko  

"I have no misconceptions that designers can ‘solve’ massive problems, or even approach them on their own without collaboration from other disciplines. But I feel strongly that designers make great agents of change and can champion new and novel approaches to old and tired problems. The best indicator of design success, in my experience, is a passion to make an impact, and I see a generation that is wildly passionate about addressing social problems." - Jon Kolko

 

Resources from this episode:

You can find Jon and AC4D on Twitter 

HBR article: Design Thinking Comes of Age

YouTube Sketching Demo Video

 

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Episode 028 Leaping into Design Thinking with Thought Leader Turi McKinley from frog design

In this episode, Angie interviews Turi McKinley from frog design, a global design and strategy firm. As a leader at frog, Turi regularly utilizes design thinking principles in order to excel frog’s thought leadership initiatives. During her interview, Turi explains the complex topic of design thinking in layman’s terms, as well as why design thinking is an essential mindset for anyone dealing with complex, wicked problems.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Stop talking & start making!” - Turi McKinley

"You need to have multiple perspectives together in order to make a solution that is meaningful to the user, appropriate for the business, and sustainable in the market." - Turi McKinley

“You should talk and plan collaboratively as a team but more importantly DO, build & make something together.” - Angie Cross

“Turi is great at taking this complex topic of design and breaking it down to layman’s terms. It goes to show how well she understands it.” - Angie Cross

 

Resources from this episode:

At Frog, Turi leads the frogCamp program, which builds the capabilities and processes that enable teams to transform the way they approach user centered design and innovation.

You can also find frog design & Turi McKinley on Twitter

Turi’s online Lynda course: “Design Thinking: Lead Change in your Organization”

 

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Episode 027 Applying Design Thinking to Complex, Wicked Problems

How do we take an understanding of complexity and apply it to how we handle “wicked problems”? Is design thinking an innovative action plan for approaching complex problems? In this episode, Angie talks with our former co-host Stacy Hale to address these questions and take a closer look at what “design thinking” really means.


Show Notes


Resources from this episode:

Stacy Hale was the Managing Editor of design4emergence, a digital magazine which blends network science, design thinking, and strategy for better decision making in the age of networks.

The premiere issue will be available this week at design4emergence.com You can also find them on Twitter

Fostering Complexity Thinking in Action Research for Change in Social–Ecological Systems

Design Thinking is “a methodology to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions.” - Creativity at work 

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Episode 026 Mindfulness: Complexity’s Best Friend

In this episode, Haley interviews hypnotherapist and wellness coach, Pilar Angel, to discuss the power of mindfulness. Pilar shares some tips and tricks for practicing mindfulness and explains how this practice can reduce stress and improve overall performance.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"Understand that you are an observer of your thoughts and your own complexity will become less mysterious.” - Pilar Angel

“The most complex system that exists is your own mind.” - Pilar Angel

"Life consists only of moments, nothing more than that. So if you make the moment matter, it all matters. You can be mindful, you can be mindless. You can win, you can lose. The worst case is to be mindless and lose. So when you’re doing anything, be mindful, notice new things, make it meaningful to you, and you’ll prosper."Ellen Langer

 

Resources from this episode:

Pilar Angel is a hypnotherapist, wellness coach and co-founder of Axeos Performance Institute. You can also find Axeos on Twitter.

The acronym RAIN, first coined about 20 years ago by Michele McDonald, is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness. It has four steps:

1. Recognize, what is going on

2. Allow, the experience to be there, just as it is

3. Investigate, with kindness

4. Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying - not judging it

 

 

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