This post shares several concepts that make up the Empowered Wealth "Begin in Gratitude" practice and technique. In our view, respect and generosity make up two of the three fundamental levels of Gratitude (appreciation is the third). The post describes a basic framing question, "What is the most respectful interpretation?" of any frustrating, negative situation. The Farnam Street team suggests that we challenge our negative assumptions and "try to interpret the situation in a more respectful and generous way." Using the tools of Empowered Wealth, I would add that we might find what we appreciate about the people and situation. In addition, in the spirit of generosity, we might give people the benefit of the doubt (at least initially) by assuming the best and giving people something that's in short supply these days: our attention.
The Most Respectful Interpretation
Consider this situation: You email a colleague with a question expecting a prompt response, but hours or days later you’ve yet to hear from them. Perhaps you can’t move forward on your project without their input so you find yourself blocked. How do you imagine you feel in this situation? For many of us, situations …
"Just about everyone dislikes the feeling of not knowing the answer to an important question about what’s going to happen in the future…It’s not uncommon to hear people mired in these sorts of limbos say that they’d prefer hearing about a terrible outcome than continue waiting to find out…history, recent and otherwise, is replete with examples of catastrophic blunders made as a result of leaders’ inability to deal with ambiguity." – Jesse Singal
The article below reviews the main ideas from the book "Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing" by Jamie Holmes. Holmes says that ambiguity triggers to varying degrees our human need for closure. The main takeaway for me is that dealing with ambiguity is an exercise in patience, deliberate decision-making, and scenario planning; of thinking through alternatives and not rushing to judgement.
Singal's review provides a clear example of this need for closure and its potential negative consequences in the retelling of the story of the 1993 negotiations between the U.S. government and David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Dividians. It's worth a quick read.
As a guru and life coach to entrepreneurs and family leaders, Lee Brower teaches a simple technique to evaluate new opportunities and make wise decisions. This method has served him and his followers well. In this short video, he shares this method, which he calls “Five to Thrive“.
The “Five” questions that Lee asks are:
- 1. Is this aligned with my Essentials?
In Empowered Wealth’s concept of True Wealth, the Essentials are typically what each individual and family determine are their Core assets. Nearly always, these include the Big 3: family, health, and faith.
- 2. Will this make me better and help me grow?
Underlying this question is an Empowered Wealth principle of “lifetime learning: always make your learning greater than the experience”.
- 3. Will this benefit Mankind?
This question is focuses on positive Contribution, big or small, to the well-being of others.
- 4. Will it put rice in my bowl?
This question is about personal, primarily financial, benefit versus a possible loss or especially opportunity cost.
- 5. Is this transactional versus transformational?
A transaction is a one-time event, an exchange of value. In contrast, something that’s transformational is ongoing with potential for compounding or even exponential growth and precessional effects.
“Five to Thrive” is a simple but proven method to evaluate new opportunities and make decisions.