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Forgiveness in the Age of Trump

Quite by accident, I’ve become a so-called “forgiveness expert” (I wrote a book exploring the topic through science and stories). Readers have been asking me variations of the following question: If you aspire to compassion and forgiveness, how do you contend with a U.S. administration that seems intent on pursuing policies that run contrary to those values? What do you do with your outrage over the nearly daily assaults on everyone who isn’t white, male, rich or straight (and now, since the president pulled out of the Paris agreement, that includes the entire natural world)?

There seems to be a sense that if you ascribe to love and forgiveness, taking a political stand taints your brand or removes the convenience of deeming everyone equally right and each “side” equally misguided. As if a dedication to a certain moral compass abdicates the responsibility to have… a moral compass. This is absurd.

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Storytelling is Survival, Not a Buzzword

Storytelling has become a buzzword, a “strategy,” a trope of journalists and influence peddlers and sales pitchers and TED speakers. Copywriters are now “strategic storytellers” (yours truly included), spit-balling in conference rooms about which narrative device might trigger enough “pain” or “aspiration” to propel someone to purchase whatever product they happen to be pushing. Journalists click-bait their stories by choosing the most shocking and salacious of “characters” and “hooks.” And we speakers love to wax poetic about important-sounding “techniques” like ensuring that your talk has an “emotional core” and a “universal truth.”

What a load of pretentious poppycock.

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