A few things that I learned from researcher, author, and TED talker, Brene Brown at the recent Inbound conference interspersed with thoughts from talks from Dharmesh Shah from Hubspot and others:

  1. If you recognize emotion in yourself or others, get curious.  Seek to understand what is happening.
  2. The sense of relief when you think you understand what is going on is your brain rewarding itself to having a story that reduces ambiguity.  However, reward is the same whether or not the story we tell ourselves is true or not.
  3. We are great at seeing patterns.  Even when patterns don’t exist. 
  4. Everyone has a poor quality first draft of explanations for the facts we perceive and the emotion we feel.  Reveal it’s poor quality by writing it down.  You might be mortified or amused by what you write down.
  5. After all a conspiracy theory is nothing more than a story with limited facts filled in with beliefs, assumptions, and fear.  That is describes most of our first draft explanations, so we should hold them loosely.
  6. We don’t have to look any further than the constellations to find examples of how we have stretched stories to cover an unrelated and sparse group of facts.  How did we get Orion’s Belt or The Little Dipper but someone filled in the blanks with their own beliefs.
  7. Address things directly by recounting the observable facts and the story you are making up to those involved.  Get clarity and move on.