10X Empathy in Harmony

Read by:

  • Mikey (5/7/2022 at 10:41PM PST)
  • Rachel (5/7/2022 at 10:32PM PST)
  • Peter (5/4/2022 at 12:50PM PST)
  • Matty (5/6/2022 at 5:45PM PST)

We are now facing the realities of a) growing as a team and community, b) being distributed globally with different cultural and professional backgrounds, and c) working asynchronously through a combination of voice and text.

This has led to more diverging voices, viewpoints, and misunderstandings.

My goal of writing this document is to remind ourselves to all work in harmony by 10X-ing each of our own empathy and mental models. By 10X-ing our own empathy internally, I believe we can resolve all inter-human frictions.

  • “$0 budget, Li as lead, 24 persons on the team, with the impact that the entire community listen better and seek to understand one another; Approval is needed by every person who reads this document because the change comes from within every ONE of us.”

Using our framework above, this 10x initiative won’t require any budget in tangible dollar terms, but to me is by far the hardest of all the initiatives. It will require 24 people on the team and then the entire community to read this and start practicing empathy.

In our current global, remote-work world, we each are working more with our own context. The Harmony team started working together in a rented house where we would meet 6 or 7 days a week in person for 10+ hours every day (60+ hours per week). Now, we are only seeing each other for 5-10 hours per week total.

What I noticed from this is that each of us are living in our own context and we literally just do not see the other person’s context because we are not in the same physical space together and we are in different cities, countries, timezones.

How to practice being more empathetic

I’ve been practicing stoicism for the past four years. That doesn’t mean I’m better at managing my emotions. It means that I am aware of it and try to practice the principles each day to get better. I feel that’s the same with empathy. No one is perfectly empathetic, but we can each practice it daily.

The Obstacle is the Way. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

The obstacle is the way is the philosophy that we must face our obstacles, such as our disagreements, directly. And once we face them, we become stronger together. Let’s say you don’t agree with someone on a project or grant. That’s just human. No two humans have the same perspective so let’s talk about that obstacle and get past it. As long as both sides are well meaning with the same goal of resolving the obstacle in mind, facing the obstacle directly is the way forward. 🐇

  • “We suffer more often in imagination that in reality.” — Seneca

This principle for me means that if you don’t hear back from someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t agree with you or like your idea. They may just be busy. Don’t suffer more in imagination than what’s really happening. Especially now that we see each other less—hence, less reality, it’s natural to wonder and imagine. But don’t do that if you want to live a good life.

  • Hanlon's razor: "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

A simple way to think about this is, if you receive a questioning message from someone, read it literally that they may not know what’s happening (stupidity) rather than they are trying to be skeptical of your efforts (malice).

Or let’s say I give you feedback. Don’t read it that I want to hurt you (malice) but that instead I may not have seen your context or understand your reasoning (stupidity).

How to self coach to be more empathetic. Ask yourself what these mean to you?

  • conversation turn taking. This reminds me of Franklin Covey’s “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”
  • When you see a request that you don’t understand, don’t agree with, or don’t like, seek first to understand why that person choose to say that or do that before you start defending your viewpoint.

  • disconfirm own beliefs. If we all just get on Twitter and Zoom strongly voice our opinion then we’ll probably never reach consensus.
  • Ask yourself if your beliefs are accurate? What about if you were presented with new data points? Web3 is a fast evolving space so do you want to hold on to your idea or are you open to a new person’s idea even though it contradicts yours?

  • self-aware & articulate. Are you aware what your own biases are? We all have biases and that’s what makes us beautiful and diverse humans.
  • Are you aware what your own biases are? Can you articulate them? Can you make decisions that go explicitly against your personal bias for the good for the bigger picture?

  • share a drink. (I don’t drink alcohol so let’s do coffee.)
  • What this means to me is the optimism that no matter what we disagree on, we can share a drink and if we talk enough, we’ll reach an understanding.

    An understanding might not be an agreement, but that we understand each other’s perspective.

    "I don't agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

  • spend 10 hours daily together. Let’s break the silence, can we try to understand. Together we can find the strength to overcome.
  • Even if our viewpoints clash, let’s still spend 10 hours daily together. We can work together on 2x or 10x initiatives or work on our own different approaches for each of our 1x initiatives.

  • nurture & mentor. Instead of communicating to prove my point or show that you are wrong, aim to nurture both of our ideas.
  • Nurture the details because often our ideas don’t conflict, but just need to be put into the right sequence and execution.

    Let’s aim to mentor each other rather than trying to stand taller than the other person.

  • make everyone shine. There was a Twitter thread this weekend that gave us very pointed feedback.
  • We asked that person to write a 10x NO for the offsite which then turned into opening it to the entire community to submit a proposal for our team offsite.

    Make everyONE shine!

  • people over process. Take care of the person and the process will take care of itself.
  • Whether you love or hate the way we give out grants or do anything, remember to respect and cherish the individual human being. Trust that they are still doing the best they can with the context and information that they have at that particular moment in time.

  • dare to disagree. The obstacle is the way. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
  • If we disagree, that’s okay. Again it’s human. So let us disagree in an empathetic way. Let’s talk about what we disagree on and walk directly into this “obstacle” because once we do it, it becomes our bond and strength together.

Why is your emoji 🎽?

  • To me, this symbolizes a jersey. That I am on your team. We are on the same team. And my job is to make everyONE on this team shine.

Different voices can unite as ONE!