UAC 147 | Human Interaction


Human interaction can be a messy endeavor if you don’t know how to play your cards right. To James Bowie, it is always about being humble and aware of the other person so that you can understand the way they view things from their perspective. An accountant by trade, James works as the Assurance Senior Manager at Ernst & Young, a global professional services firm. He joins Thane Marcus Ringler on this fellowship where they talk about awareness and humility, questions and invitations, rhythms, lamenting, and the open door policy. James and Thane got in touch because of James’ open-door policy, where he lets friends and friends-of-friends stay with him when visiting New York. These connections with other people instilled in James a deep understanding of human nature and relationships which he brings to this conversation. Listen and take part in this deep dive into the human experience and learn more about human interaction.

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147: Fellowship Ft. James Bowie: A Conversation On Awareness, Humility, Questions, Rhythms, Lamenting, And The Power Of An Open Door Policy

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This is a fellowship episode with none other than James Bowie. Who is James? He grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and slipped off to college in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he started his professional career there. Although James works as an accountant, he sees his real role to help people solve problems and get where they want to be. That’s ultimately led him to fifteen years and a variety of experiences at EY also known as Ernst & Young, a global professional services firm and a path that is a little less traditional. The path would take him from Tulsa to Dallas and Houston and brief trips to Melbourne, Australia, and a couple of places in India before sending him ultimately into New York City where he resides. Throughout his career, in addition to his more conventional responsibilities, James has been responsible for creating experiences from designing two-day office visits, interview sessions with 120-plus interviews, multiple panel sessions to developing and delivering training sessions for people at various levels in their career including spending a month in India to teach sector-specific content and improve cross border teaming.

He has been a frequent speaker, host or panelist at trade events and these experiences have led him from boardrooms to ballrooms. He has been responsible for producing an internal webcast targeting an audience of 1,000 professionals across the US. Most importantly, it created opportunities for him to learn more about working with people and helping them to develop toward their own dreams and has given him resources to help people in different ways along the way. After moving to New York, James started an open-door policy to make it easy for friends or friends of friends to stay with him and experience the city. That has led to a whole new adventure of its own and created new connections that continue to change his life. In fact, it is the chain reaction that ultimately put James and Thane in touch, yours truly.

He is an incredible man, a great friend and I have only known him a short time, and that tells you how loving and caring this guy is. The open doors policy is truly how we met and I’m so grateful to him for that and to Chad, our mutual friend for setting us up. You’ll find James as an easygoing, well-spoken guy who thinks incredibly well and paving a path for us to think well. In this conversation we talk about his open doors policy, good questions, unconscious bias that we all have. Also, we’re painting in broad strokes and why that’s often convenient but not helpful, fundamental attribution error, American “success” cultures, futuristics, the five whys, rhythm, lamenting and so much more. I know you’re going to enjoy it. Sit back, relax and enjoy this fellowship episode with James Bowie.

James Bowie, welcome to show.

Thanks for letting me be here. It’s good to be here.

It’s been a long time coming. The first time we hung out, I knew that I wanted to get you on the show and have a conversation with you because you’re a man who I’ve enjoyed every single conversation I had with you starting in the cafe in New York with my mom. Where are you at?

I am hunkered down in Brooklyn near the Barclays Center for those who are familiar with where the Nets play, a couple of blocks away from there, hiding from everybody and everything. That’s the thing that we do.

I decided to do a little research before this. I found out you’re a famous person. Apparently, James Bowie is affiliated with the Alamo. You’re living your second life.

My last name is Bowie. Only people in Bowie Maryland and Texas know that because in Texas, you had Jim Bowie who died in the Alamo and he’s the one guy who had pneumonia. He was dying and they decide they’re going to do this big thing to hold down the Fort for the Alamo and he’s on a stretcher. He has them carry his stretcher across the line of the people who are going to stay. At least that’s the lore behind it all. He stayed and fought while he was sick and dying.

You are a legend.

UAC 147 | Human Interaction


I have a legend to live up to.

Was David Bowie really Bowie then or was he David Bowie? Is that why everyone says Bowie instead of Bowie?

I don’t believe his actual last name. He came up with his performer name and he said, “Bowie.” Whenever I’m anywhere else, I say Bowie and people spell it right. If you say Bowie, you get Bui or Buoy, you get all kinds of things, but you don’t get the right spelling, so I tell people Bowie. My brother heard me do this once and I got the most shade that I ever could have imagined. He’s like, “You know our last name is Bowie, right?” I was like, “Yes but I know they’ll spell it right if I say Bowie.” He was like, “You’re a traitor to our family.”

I didn’t realize that either. You got it right. It was David Robert Jones who was an English singer, songwriter, an actor, not David Bowie. That was his stage name.

My cousin is David. I always tell people I am in fact related to him but I have nothing to do with him.

Out of all the people I know, you have to have some unique way that you engage or meet people for the first time. When people meet you or get to know you, it doesn’t have to be unique, I was curious what your elevator sales pitch, which is funny that meeting people are sales pitches now. What is your introduction when you meet people?

I feel like every time I meet people, I’m insecure about it because I’m thinking, I know people who know how to ask all these powerful good questions. I’m not sure that I have a good answer other than I enjoy meeting people except I am an introvert. I don’t get out there and find people necessarily the way I should. Every once in a while, I’ll dare myself. I took a secret trip to South Africa. The first night I was there, I was like, “I’m going to dare myself to meet three people while I’m here,” which is a big deal for me. I made a new friend. I have a friend in the London area. He was asking some questions about a sushi place I had gone and it turned into a new friendship. I ran to him later in the trip. We went out to the Wine Country and hangout one day before I was headed off somewhere else. It changed the experience and it keeps reminding me. I’ve had a couple of things happen like that where I’ve gotten to do some travels or else I have this policy I call open doors. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this before.

I was going to ask about this because I was curious. You mentioned it and I’d love to know more about it.

It’s not a way of meeting people. Let me say this, because this is going to sound almost a little creepy and there are some rules to it. I grew up in Detroit. I lived in Oklahoma. I had an opportunity to come to New York for work and it was a sweet deal. I was thinking about whether I would do something else with my life and it was like, “If you want to we can get you up to our national office and we’ll help you move, find a place, get plugged in, and figure out what it is to live in New York.” I’m like, “I have to do that. I can’t think of a reason not to.” It was incredible. What I realized was once I got here is not everyone has that. Getting to this place and getting a chance to hang out in New York, New York is expensive to visit.

I decided that if God had given me such a positive way to be here that I was going to be willing to share it somehow. I had this idea, I called it open doors, which is if I knew the person or if they were one person removed. If I knew one person who knew them, who could vouch for them then I would be willing to make my open to someone who wanted to stay for a few days while they’re trying to visit New York. I have had my life changed by doing it. To change my life wasn’t the goal, my goal was to be thoughtful about the way that the resources that I had available to me that wasn’t money. What are the resources I have? What are the ways that God’s blessed me? What are the ways that I have and the means I have that I could use to help others? I decided to do it. I’ve made several new friends that way that I now have across the world including our mutual friend. I know you because of this policy.

It’s a mutual friend that connected us and here we are. What a sweet policy. That’s one that I’ve been thinking a lot about. My wife and I are considering ways that we can be generous with our lives. In certain seasons, you can do that financially, you can do that with time and energy, it can be with your location, house, or in phone calls. It could be in expertise or knowledge and there are a lot of ways to be able to give especially in the Christian world, we get pigeonholed and I need to give 10% of finances. There’s helpful rubrics that were never a law given by God. Thinking about it in a way that’s helpful, practical and personal is an awesome habit to get into. This open-door policy is such a beautiful example of that. Something that my wife and I have been talking a lot about displaying in our own lives. I love that you instituted that and have continued practicing that because it is a sacrifice.

It can be for sure. Have you thought of different ways that you all are thinking about doing that now? Have you come up with ideas?

Does feeling good for doing something good corrupt your gift? Either way, it shouldn’t keep you from giving. Click To Tweet

It’s one of those things where we’re being spirit-led in it. For instance, there’s a girl that my wife works with and she’s got a rougher background and is a much different type of person than we are. She’s someone though that has been on Evan’s heart that could use some generous unconditional love. The thing that we’re planning on doing is having her over for dinner. We’re waiting on God to open the door in that conversation. Evan doesn’t go into the office that much. When she’s in there, they’re both working together, and it comes up naturally so it’s not intimidating for her, we’re going to have her over for dinner and it’s going to be awesome. We have some neighbors down the hall that same thing. We met them passing by in our building complex and we don’t know anyone in this building.

It’s sad. We got to meet them, talk with them for a few minutes. She had the great idea of making cookies for them. We made cookies, drop them off on Easter and it meant so much to them. It’s something super simple and now we’re wanting to have them over for dinner so we’re going to try and figure out a time to have them over for dinner. We’re moving into a new complex and we’ve thought about ways that we can utilize that space. It’s going to be a bigger space which is going to be nice. We’re praying about whether we get a one-bedroom or two bedrooms. The two-bedrooms are more expensive.

If we get that which is going to be God wanting us to be more generous with opening up our home likely and that would be awesome. If we don’t get that then we’ll still be able to do dinners and that kind of thing. One thing we’ve had the idea of is becoming community liaisons for the building complex. It’s a twelve-unit complex which is smaller. How cool would it be to organize and facilitate community within those twelve units in a way that’s unique and special? If people are honest with themselves, we all long for that. It’s putting in that initial effort is awkward, it’s weird, clunky, and not normal culturally which doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Facilitating an opportunity for people through that would be sweet.

When I first moved into my apartment in New York, I was in actual Manhattan in the Upper Westside and that was in a relatively small complex. I got the idea that some people might be like I was who not know everybody around. I wrote Christmas cards. It was a basic simple Christmas card like a $5 Starbucks card because there was a Starbucks right under the building I lived in. For Christmas, I slipped it in everyone’s door. I ended up meeting 3 or 4 of the neighbors in the building as a result of that. It changed things a little bit and it was an intentional choice of I want to do something to engage. I don’t do it all the time because it’s overwhelming. You also can’t buy gift cards for everybody all the time. It is interesting to see how those things turn around. You can never predict what the outcome of that’s going to be. If you go in without the expectation of an outcome, I’m doing this because I want to show generosity and love for people because they’re people who have value and they have value no matter what they do with this then there’s only wins out of that.

The no expectations might be one of the hardest but most important things in that. It’s amazing how expectations ruin our interactions or perspective in a lot of ways. To be able to do something without expectations is such a freeing thing for us to love someone as they deserve to be loved, which is as a human.

There are two pieces that happen in that. One is I’ve talked with people. When you go in with expectations, are you loving somebody because now what’s happened is you’re investing toward an outcome? The question is, are you trying to get from that other person with some of your own values? If you’re satisfied with who you are, the relationships that you have, who you are in Christ, and who you are as a human being, you don’t need anything from that person, you can freely give with hands open. When you start giving with the expectation to get back, it’s because somehow you need the validation on the other side of it.

The other thing that happens is if you’re on the inverse side of that, if you’re the receiving end of somebody with expectations, this has been a struggle in my friendships. I’ve had some friendships where I ultimately felt like I owed them my behavior and a certain response. The thing was then as somebody who wants to be generous and giving, sometimes it’s my faults. I could never give again because everything was fulfilling an obligation. There was never a gift and a gift could never be received because I was always fulfilling the expectation or fulfilling the obligation. I couldn’t ever think forward about how do I be generous anymore because I’m always trying to make up ground.

That’s something we can all fall prey to. It’s funny, sometimes people don’t even recognize that’s what they’re projecting onto you. If we dive too deep into this, it’s the book, Strangers To Ourselves, by Professor Timothy Wilson. It’s all about understanding the adaptive unconscious mind, the subconscious versus a conscious. He points out that the deeper you dive into that, the more you realize that we are not in control. We’re operating 95% from our subconscious. Underlying every act of service is a subconscious condition of like, “I’m going to feel good after this because this makes me a good person.” That’s honestly how God has wired us. He’s wired us to derive joy, benefit and blessing internally from serving and loving others. That’s how he designed us. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but we do have to be honest with our conscious selves especially. Sometimes our subconscious, what is the underlying condition that I’m prescribing or someone else is prescribing? How can we try to remove that as much as possible?

I studied Psychology but undergrad, so I’m no deep knowledge here. We did spend a significant amount of time on altruism and the question is can you ever give a gift without expecting something? Even if it is that self-feeling of feeling good. The thought I always had around it was just because you feel good for doing something good, does that corrupt every gift? I think it can corrupt because all of our desires can be turned sideways. I don’t think it should keep us from giving or think that we’re doing it solely because there is a good feeling on the other side. It should challenge us when we don’t get the response we expect them to be still grateful for the opportunity to give and to use that to identify our own unconscious bias toward. I expect people to be thankful for what I do.

With that, what are some practices for yourself personally? We all struggle with that. When that isn’t a part of a relationship or that isn’t received or that’s been projected on you, whatever it may be, what are the reminders or self-talk you use to help facilitate some of that within yourself?

There are a few things. One is if it’s that somebody reacts to me, not in a way, I asked myself, “What did you expect to get out of this?” I try to pause at that moment and say, “Before you get upset about this, where you giving a gift or an obligation? If someone never sees or never receives it, can you still live with the fact that you’ve done this?” I gave somebody an apple or something one day. Someone was letting me know that this person tends to abuse gifts of other people toward alcohol, drug use, and other things so I had to be careful about what to do. You’re like, “Did that person then rob me if I gave somebody a gift?” On the flip side of this, that I feel like I’ve got to give things to people because it proves how good a person I am.

There are times you have to check in with yourself and be honest. One of those things is acknowledging that is the case. We did this thing at work, we have these periodic check-ins where people do different types of coaching around management leadership, things like that. Someone came in and did this discussion around unconscious bias and showed us in a quick anecdotal way what was already demonstrated by the research, which is that we have unconscious bias. We have tribes, in groups and outgroups, it is human and we will not ever fully get rid of them. One of the first things that we can do is acknowledge that they do exist so that we can be on the lookout when we might be behaving in accordance with one of those things. Awareness in and of itself and the humility to check in with yourself is one of the best defenses.

UAC 147 | Human Interaction


Awareness and humility to check in with yourself is a great way to summarize that because both of those are attainable. I love that question, “What did you expect?” It’s been a short season of marriage so far but it’s been cool. One of the best blessings for me has been having that mirror that reflects onto me. That question what did you expect out of this is something I’ve found asking myself more because we can be affected by the littlest things in relationships. We have to be like, “Why am I affected by this? What did I expect out of this and why? Why should I expect that? Why is it best not to expect that?” That’s a powerful question to hone in on for people reading. I would encourage everyone to sit with that one a little bit more, myself included.

One thing that comes to mind too on the other side of this is how to deal with it when you feel something has happened where you are being set up with an expectation or something disappoints you about it if you’re going to deal with it or “confront.” It is to think about in terms of invitation rather than accusation. What happens is when something happens to us, we feel empowered in a good way that we should deal with it. The way that we want to deal with it is by telling people what they did, accusing them of their intent and their behavior. When you do that, you set everyone up on the defensive and you’ve already presumed what the outcome is. On the flip side of that, you can have an invitation and you can say, “This thing happened. This is how I took it. I don’t know what’s going on. Are you okay? Is this okay?” “I felt this way when these things happened. Can we talk that through?”

Someone pointed out once that there are some places that people build fences to hold in the cattle for example and you put the boundaries in place so you’ve defined it this way. In other ranches, they put the watering hole in the middle of the property. Because the watering hole was a place where the animals want to be because they want the water, nutrients and resources, they don’t go and try to explore where the fence might be and there’s no need for a fence because the invitation is to a place where they want to be instead of trying to hold them back from a place they’re trying to get. They’ve set up the environment to be one that encourages you to come back to the center. We can do the same thing in our lives. Rather than trying to put boundaries and perimeters that we push on people or we hold them to, sometimes if we invite them, we can create that away where people say, “I like this place, I want to go back to.” They do it on their own accord because it’s a place they prefer to be.

That’s empowering versus crippling sometimes when you make statements or commands. That’s more crippling because people aren’t developing those muscles themselves. There’s a great quote, William Ury who wrote a book about negotiation. He said, “Statements generate resistance whereas questions generate answers.” That’s a great contrast too. It was like, “Invitations and questions need to be the focus, not accusations and statements.” Think about as a whole, each individual put a little bit of focus and intention around how can I change accusations and statements to questions and imitations more in life on an everyday basis especially if you look at Zoom into modern times with this COVID crisis we’re facing.

It’s been such an interesting social experiment. It is a pandemic and there are hard things and confusing things and all of that. We’re going to put that to the side but interesting from a social experiment standpoint of saying, “Here’s a situation, there are two opposing sides that are portrayed, thought about and experience from people. Let’s all interact with each other on a daily basis and see where the shakes out.” It does show the power of, if we ask questions or if we invite people into things versus accuse others or make assumptions and accusations, the difference that plays out in these human interactions is widespread. You see the fruit of both sides immediately in that process.

I sometimes wonder too, if you start taking it on that scale and you ramp it up to be something that is around two entire “positions.” I wonder if it’s also convenient to be able to paint people with such broad strokes and say, “If you are in this camp then you must be these things.” I can accuse you and not listen because it’s messy to listen to people. It’s messy to understand. I would say that the real things that are going to happen and the way we’re going to bring about change is at the dinner table. It’s going to be when we sit and recognize each other’s humanity and that everyone’s view is complex. Even though it might align more or less with mine or with some other group, everyone sits in a unique place in it. For me to love that person, I have to get to know them, that’s messy, complicated, and hard. It’s easier to paint in those broad strokes. What happens is we have a message we want to get out. Is it Covey that has seek first to understand than to be understood? The same thing happens is we’re like, “I demand to be understood. I must be understood. If you don’t understand me then I got nothing for you.” It’s inverted and it’s a challenge.

One of the things that the core that I’ve been thinking and talking about a lot is this question of why is it important to be informed and why is it important to consume the news? It comes down to a core of control. We have this semblance and need for control. By being “informed” and by consuming the news and what’s being portrayed, we thus have controlled the situation because we know and we don’t have to engage or think critically about it. We don’t have to admit that it’s a complex issue as much. We get to rest in our own control of it when it’s the worst place to be because it’s a fake semblance of control. The fact is you have zero control and being “informed” doesn’t give you any more or less control. In fact, it makes you more blind to your lack of control which may be more harmful. The other side of the argument is that maybe it is helpful so that people can have more safety and security even in an insecure time. It’s an interesting thought. What are your thoughts on that idea?

I was going to ask you, how do you manage the consumption of news and information? How do you balance the amount? General awareness is probably worthwhile and there’s a whole lot of other information out there that’s hard to assess. I’m curious about what you use.

My posture towards it is I get my news from other people, meaning my wife, family or friends. Hearing things from them is a lot of how I get news vetted. I may see a few headlines every day but that’s about it. I don’t read any news articles. I don’t watch any news channels. That’s been freeing for me because I’ve found that I have zero effect or impact on those topics or issues. What I do have an effect or impact on is my own life and the people that are within my life daily. I want to focus my attention solely on that, on the day-to-day, the interactions of where I live, people that I know, and where I can tangibly be making an impact. It’s minuscule what I’m consuming. I found a lot of freedom in that. It’s interesting I was with some people, Fox News was on in the background, and I hadn’t consumed any news for a long time.

I don’t care what side of the fence you’re on, whether you’re at CNN or a Fox News person, if you take a week where you don’t consume any of that, don’t listen and don’t read any of that and then you come back to it. You’re going to be a little bit surprised with how loaded all of that is. It’s loaded with a lot of underlying animosity and agenda regardless of where side you stand on, it’s going to produce stances and closed hands versus open hands because that’s part of the drug of it. It’s like candy or sugar produces this rush and then it becomes addictive because it goes away, so you keep consuming it. It was interesting to experience that and see it from a different light than I have before. The way that I’m approaching it is to what I do consume to try and take it with an open hand to know that it’s a view. What Richard Rohr said that every view is a view from a point, there are many different perspectives of that point, and there are many different points in time. To understand that helps us take it for what it is, but don’t take it as everything but as a practice.

Fourteen things came to mind about all of these different perspectives while you’re saying that. One of which is the news or whoever. Even if they report completely unbiased, let’s for one brief second assume that all the media and news outlets themselves are unbiased in the way that they report. There still is what’s called a gatekeeping function. They choose which stories to tell because there’s news happening all the time, but only certain stories can be told. The mere fact of choosing which story introduces an opportunity for bias. When you tell that story, the angle that you take on telling that story introduces another possibility for bias. That’s what we were talking about the idea of unconscious bias, whether conscious or unconscious. To your point, everyone comes from somewhere. Everyone who’s going to report an article, everyone who’s going to edit, everyone who’s going to gatekeep how that’s reported has a perspective that’s informed by their entire experience that is going to lead to something that is likely going to have some level of bias to it.

It’s almost inhuman to assume that we could do something without bias. The first place we can come as a place of humility to say, “Whether it’s me or somebody else, there’s going to be bias.” There’s this notion called the Fundamental Attribution Error. It’s like if we’re driving and somebody cuts me off trying to get to an exit, my first thought is that person is a jerk. I make a character assessment of that person. On the other hand, if I’m driving down the street and I need to get over to get to an exit and I’m about to miss it, I cut across and I ended up cutting somebody off, I explained the circumstances to myself that led to the behavior.

It’s almost inhuman to assume that we could do something without bias. Click To Tweet

It’s not who I am, there are some poor choices that I made but I attribute that to the circumstances and conditions. We extend that to our ingroups and outgroups. Those that are in our ingroup, we assume positive things, our character traits, and negative circumstances are the result of circumstances when somebody that is on the outside, we presume that negative things are their character traits and the positive things are a result of circumstances. The more that we’re aware that we do that, the more we can short circuit our own process which everybody has. The ability to say that about ourselves and acknowledge it gives us a chance to behave differently.

Nassim Taleb talks a lot about that especially in Antifragile, which I’ve been working through. One of the things you brought up reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Morgan Housel who said, “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world, but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. We’re all biased to our own personal history.” That’s a great illustration to help us be more curious. When someone has a posture, perspective, or stance on something, how can we get curious? I wonder what this person’s life has been like that has led them to this place. How have they drawn these conclusions? How do they see the world based on what their experiences in life have been? Those questions open up a world of possibility that the most important effect of it is that unites versus divides. It helps us see we’re all human, we all come from somewhere, we all have a story, and we’re all operating as if we’re right. Every single person thinks they’re right. That is a novel thing for many people.

The thing is that we may have to make assumptions that we assume are facts about how things work. I think it’s CS Lewis who talks about that there’s the ancient mind, the modern mind, the ancient classic, modern, and postmodern. Each of them makes fundamental assumptions about how even the world works. For example, the mindset that we live in now tends to have as ascendant the scientific method. There are pieces of true reason that were more important back in ancient traditions. We take for granted that those are the things. Even in the US, there are Americans constructs of what it is to be successful. There are American constructs of what relationships should look like. The level of independence and the level of autonomy that we should have. We assume that those things are the way that humans should be.

I always like to meet people who are different from me and who come from different backgrounds. I would say like, “You don’t know what color of air you’re breathing until you encounter somebody who’s breathing different air.” That’s the very first opportunity you have to make a new choice is, “If I’ve always been breathing the same air, I don’t know it from anything different.” I encounter somebody who breathes, let’s say green air and I breathe blue air. I start seeing there’s green air. I sit down and I think about it as having a dinner conversation is I have a conversation with someone and to get to know. I start to understand where their view comes from and why they breathe green air. I’m now aware because of their green air that I breathe blue air. That’s the first time I have the ability to choose and say, “Is blue air what I want to breathe?” What an important, powerful moment to have to recognize your own assumption and then choose whether it’s one you want to continue to operate under.

That’s an empowered choice. The other thing that made me think of is a question I’ve often had is much of our perspectives have been broadened by our blessing and luxury of being able to travel and see the world in many different places. There are tons of people that have not had that luxury. If you haven’t had the luxury in your world is the city of 20,000 people that you grew up in or whatever the situation is and that’s the extent of your worldview. Can you facilitate a similar experience without the luxury of travel or broadening horizons through different cultures? While you’re talking, I was considering that a little bit. The first obvious point of entry would be books and reading widely or consuming a wide range of information from people from different backgrounds and experiences.

That’s a great option. It’s not the same as lived experiences but what you brought up is the thing that does create more of a powerful impact. That is inviting people into your life that are in your community, that have been out of your community, have seen different things, or have a broader perspective and have dinner, conversation, and be curious. The thing none of us can argue with his personal experience. I can’t argue with your experience because it’s your experience and you’ve had it. I have to accept that just like you can’t argue with my experience. We can argue with our interpretations of that experience and all those things. That’s why I love Galatians. Paul makes his whole argument based on experience and we forget that Paul is saying, “This experience happened to me. This is real.” You can’t argue with that. I think what seems unattainable is still attainable to an extent by those human interactions infused with curiosity.

I don’t know why I get hung up on this. I think it’s having lived in New York for a while. The one thing that I always want to be cautious of in that train of thought is I get around people in New York and they think that because they live in a cosmopolitan environment that they now have the leg up of everybody else. They’d give the West Coast some thought but those that live in the middle, they don’t have the experience in life to have an informed opinion. I call it a Gnosticism of a sort because I travel, I encounter these cultures and these things, I’m now better. I know better than you what it is to be tolerant, informed, and how X, Y and Z should operate. In fact, it’s amusing to me in some cases because it becomes an urban mindset and it writes off the rural, for example, and yet people who live in rural environments have different experiences. Those experiences are as valid as you’re saying.

They’re as valid experiences as the person who’s traveled forever. We need all of those to have an informed view. There are people who are in that rural environment that are reading and experiencing what it is to have to raise animals, livestock who are dealing with the effects of what is it to have to rely on mother nature in a way that in the cities you don’t necessarily experience. There’s this entire other body of knowledge and how it is to interact with the world that’s important to understand. I always want to be cautious because sometimes people get this urban travel mindset if, “Because I’ve traveled, I therefore am better.” This is a story that resonates with me a lot which is the woman at the well, the story in the Bible. There’s this woman and she’s a Samaritan, it was the Israelites, they had been conquered by Syria. As part of that, they had interbred. That was one of the ways that when you conquered a country you did stuff.

She’s a half-breed and the Jews looked down on this group of people. Jesus encounters this woman and they have some of the history of the Jews and of the Israelites but not a full understanding. All the Jews lorded over them. If you’re second class citizen, you’re nothing and you don’t fully understand all this stuff. When Jesus encounters her and she’s like, “We’ve got all this history and stuff, why do you look down on us?” He’s like, “You worship a God you don’t know. The Jews worship a God they do know and like that they know more about but the time is coming when all these things are going to be made equal.” It’s not a celebration of ignorance but we can get so caught up in knowing. I’ve read this many books, I’ve read this particular book, and if you don’t have this knowledge, then you can’t possibly have an understanding of who God is and your place in the world.

One of the things that He challenges is the fabric of that ascendant thought of like, “I can know this so much better than I can write other people off.” He invites her and says, “Even in the thing that you have that you don’t know all that well, there is something. I’m going to acknowledge it and give it credit and breath.” In the knowing that people have on the other side, sometimes that knowledge gets in the way of the truth. Neither one of these things is the be-all, end-all. It’s leading back to someplace with the center.

I love that perspective and that helpful reminder. It’s funny how regardless if it’s urban or rural, enlightened or simple, you have these different opposing places and the danger on both sides of them is to think that that’s the best. Say that’s it, that’s all there is. Where did you grow up?

Sort of Detroit, Leavenworth, and Tennessee.

UAC 147 | Human Interaction


It’s funny because in the Midwest, we’re in a small town, you look down on the people in the city centers or on the coast because that’s a natural default. You can easily look down on the coast and say they’re crazy, progressive, liberal and all these things, whatever it may be. Wherever the story or narrative is, and it’s lesser to them. The city centers on coast look down on the Midwest of saying, “They don’t know about life. They’re in culture and all these things.” Each side, whatever it is, has a tendency, a natural default to think that they’re better than and to look down on others that are different.

That’s a human condition. At the end of the day is we love putting ourselves on a platform above humanity so that we can look down on them because it makes us feel better and more secure. Each side has a tendency to do that. I love your reminder that it’s in the center and it’s with a human. The worldview that God gives us that all humans are equal and created in the image of God, and sinners. It means everyone has divine worth and value, but no one’s better than the rest of us. That helps us so much come back to that center regardless of where you’re from. Honestly, there are immense tradeoffs to both always. It’s not complete.

I’ve tried to figure out why do we do this? Why is this innate in us? There’s this concept and I might go to say it wrong but it’s called heuristics and it’s the study of how humans make decisions. I’ve thought that together with this book, Thinking Fast and Slow. It takes incredible mental resources to make conscious decisions. We only have so many resources. I was thinking of it as we have 72 hours of decisions to make every 24 hours and we want to sleep for eight hours if we’re lucky. I have to find ways to shortcut as many decisions as possible. I choose which decisions I’m going to use those resources to consciously choose and then I’m going to come up with a bunch of shortcuts. One of my shortcuts is I’m going to paint with a broad brush.

I can create ingroups and outgroups so I can make fundamental assumptions about those people in those groups whether that they’re fundamentally good or bad. I’ve taken a whole host of decisions off the table that I have and we’ve cut off twelve hours of decisions I’d have to make by having to listen and engage people. Number two, we think we identify who we think are credible authorities and we submit our judgment to their credentials. That’s good too because we can’t all spend time fully researching ABC topic and becoming experts on those topics. We subordinate our decisions to those authorities and that makes sense. Sometimes we go too far in doing that where we don’t vet the person who we’re going to trust or the source. All of these things are part of, “I’ve only got limited resources and I may prioritize picking which set of shoes I want to buy over which person I’m willing to listen to.” Those are choices that we have to make on a day-to-day basis. Eventually, we get good at shortcutting it that we don’t even realize that we have shortcut decision-making altogether.

That is the essence of the limitations of knowledge because the more that you know, the more that your brain circuitry discards as already figured that out and don’t need to think about that. The deeper we dive into things, the more we miss the core or the essence of what matters. That’s the practice of how do we come back to what is the essence especially for people who do enjoy thinking or diving deep as we both do in the sense. We have to remember that we have to come back to the essence of the thing not this complicated, complex, convoluted, all these different facets of that thing.

That goes back to even the idea of mastery being simplicity on the far side of complexity, which I love and wrote about. It’s one of those things that there is beauty in not diving in the weeds, keeping it simple, and not even having to go there. We look at our society and there’s progress has been made, advances in technology, information, and knowledge but is it really in advance? You see a picture that it’s almost a full sense of advance. It’s almost a facade that we are more advanced than the ancient culture. There are a lot of arguments that we’re digressing in some ways that are critical.

It’s interesting because I think about it sometimes in terms of the whys. As you were saying if we go into this and we feel like we’re going to make all this progress, what is progress? Why am I doing this? One of the things about scripture is it’s in Timothy that Paul says, “There are all these people who try to figure it all out and they get into endless wranglings about genealogies and who did this and what. The whole point of the whole thing is love from a pure heart, a clean conscience and a sincere faith.” Whether it comes to my faith, what I believe about Christianity or whether it relates to how I’m engaging the world broadly, I like to think about that thought process, which is why am I getting into this endless wrangling? Why am I getting into the depths here? Why am I trying to figure out this development? Is it because I’m trying to prove that I know? Am I trying to prove that I’m somehow smarter than the next guy? What’s the real end game here? Have you heard the Five Whys?

It’s like being a two-year-old on steroids. It’s like, “I’m going to go do this. Why?” “Because such and such happens.” “Why?” “Because if we don’t do this then this happens.” “Why?” “Because of this.” “Why?” You get down to it and because of this two-year-old mentality, you get to the deeper meaning of why things happen. We don’t necessarily do that to ourselves and ask ourselves those questions often. There’s a practice called the Five Whys of trying to get to the heart of what’s motivating you toward a particular action. Asking yourself the five whys, why that, and getting a clear picture.

I’ve thought about that concept a lot especially in coaching because that’s the point of coaching. It is somewhere between 3 and 5. I’ve always thought about in 3 but it’s probably closer to 5 more like it. One thing that we talked about before this conversation was even in the midst of where we are now with a lot of the lockdown, shutdown, stay-at-home, quarantined life where we’ve been facing. It’s an interesting period of change. There are a lot of aspects to it, but the one that I was curious to hear more of your perspective on is you speak to well and I’m always encouraged by is that the tension between this American ideal of achievement and thinking we need to use this time well versus being where we are, accepting it, showing grace, and coping with the situation. How do you sit with that tension for yourself or even think about those opposing motivations or desires?

I feel like everyone is like, “We’re on pause. How do I make the most of this? How do I come out of this better, stronger, fitter? How do I have my whole life worked out?” I’ve got all these things I’ve got to be productive with and there’s all this pressure. Even behind all of that might be almost a sense of FOMO, a Fear Of Missing Out on what this opportunity could be and seeing it as here is this chance that you have to come out of the gate stronger, better than the next guy. There’s almost a competitive element to it. In the US, I don’t know all the Enneagram and all this different stuff, but people say like, “If you can think about a culture, the US would be a three. This need to achieve, to succeed, and to be the best.” Our culture has inundated that with that. That’s the American culture, but it’s not the only way of looking at the world. In fact, there are ideas of rhythms, pause and Sabbath.

There’s this old notion that you would even take off a significant amount of time to refresh. There’s also the idea that some people may be grieving. Some people have not lost someone to this disease. It’s awful for those people who’ve lost someone or for people who are living with the uncertainty of having to go out into it every day and not know people who are more exposed that are dealing with that. People who’ve lost jobs. There are significant things that people are facing. Some people are facing less significant things and they feel like, “I don’t have a writer, a space to grieve the losses that I do have, my normal way of life is gone. I’ve been struggling with having no private time.”

People feel guilty about having grief about those things and having to spend time coping because they’re busy trying to be productive. It’s unfortunate that’s where we end up sometimes because we then have this need to achieve. It’s good if you want to do something. Going back to the first thing we were talking about, it shouldn’t be coming from an obligation. It’s a gift you give yourself is that you want to work on X, Y, and Z as you say, “I want to use this time for some of that.” It’s also a gift you give yourself if you say, “I need to rest and be present. Not always in the future trying to make the future happen but I need to be present and be aware of that. That’s the gift that I get myself here.” Shifting it from being the obligation to do something, to make an intentional choice about what is best, not what does everyone else has measured but what’s going to be my own.

You don't know the color of the air you're breathing until you encounter somebody who's breathing different air. Click To Tweet

You hit the nail on the head especially for most people reading this. In America, we are such an achievement-based culture that we’re all affected by that more than we’d even like to admit. One other thing that we’ve talked about in past conversations is I’d love to hear more from you on, which is this idea of lamenting. It’s such an under-practice thing in America because of our achievement mentality that is go, move past things, don’t move through things. Don’t let it hold you back from accomplishing what you set out to. Grief, sorrow, lamenting and even rest, Sabbath and sabbatical things that get thrown to the wayside because of that achievement mentality.

Before you share, I want to read a little bit of what you wrote and email to me because I thought it was beautiful. This is speaking to lamenting a little bit, you said that, “Often we may create shame because in reality, human beings grieve and experience loss. There are things we don’t understand and as smart as we get, we will never stop being human. What Christianity offers us is a path to go down, tools to use, or a companion to go with us. It gives context to the struggle. We need to be able to be mad at God and ask hard questions without trying to answer them. We need to open ourselves up to the real losses we experience and not mask them with scripture and platitudes.” That speaks to the tendency of the American Christian Church to fall into the achievement mentality of more scripture, more platitudes, more of this and that, prescribe versus sit, experience, and lament. What have you been learning about lamenting in this time?

I’ve been learning that we don’t do it. I grew up mixed between the Episcopal Church but more in the charismatic, nondenominational church. I feel the same way about lamenting as I do about confession as I do about grief. We have this notion or at least I was and I don’t know that it was intentionally trained this way so I’m not trying to put it on someone but I think there was this undercurrent of, “If you have faith, if you get to know God, then you won’t experience these things. You’ll graduate past grief.” You’ll be caught up in the fact that this person is living eternally with Christ in heaven that you shouldn’t grieve. We’ll have a celebration, everyone’s going to be happy, there’s no sorrow and no tears. Terrible things are going to happen in the world but you are going to know that God is going to use it to a greater purpose. He’s doing something, he’s going to redeem it, he’s going to change it, everyone’s going to come back better, and it’s going to be incredible to the point of being self-deceptive about the fact that awful things happen but we’re not going to acknowledge those.

In fact, taught at some point don’t believe and listen to a bad report. You have to say something else. You don’t accept the fact that there is a tragedy. I’m not saying that’s exactly what was intending to be taught and that I’m capturing it all correctly but there is a piece of that. That even grew into confession like people wouldn’t be willing to admit when they were sick or ill when they had a physical handicap or when they were struggling with something whether it’s a behavior that’s not positive. What’s funny is it turns us into Stepford people. We become unattainable, unrealistic, and plastic because we’re faking it. Everyone’s trying to fake it until they make it because the reality is by virtue of being human, we experience loss and grief. I got upset about this, not at anyone but both of my parents have passed and I went through a grieving process and it was helpful for me.

One of my cousins, she lost her mother, my aunt. She was in this environment where I watched throughout the whole service where she was trying to be upbeat, positive, “scriptures,” and all this stuff. I talked to my other cousin that is looking out for her a little bit. I was like, “She needs the chance to grieve. She needs to be able to be sad. She has lost her mother. She needs to be able to go through that.” If we’re not careful, we try to train ourselves that negative doesn’t occur or that we can undo the negative by being Christian and that we now can say the right things to undo it. What happens is all we do is bury and suppress and we become less real, not more. What we need to do is to be comfortable to experience our grief and to know that it’s normal for every human being to do it, to go through it the way that they go through it, and to know that then you can take that thing to God and you can lament. Lament is sometimes calling on the character of God and saying, “This awful thing is happening. This is who I understand you to be. These are completely incongruent. Where are you?”

Instead of trying to answer that for God, you are not God, I am not God. I can’t always answer those things but the fact that I bring them to Him means that I still believe Him. I can sit in that uncertainty, lack of knowledge, not try to explain things away for Him, and be completely vulnerable in front of Him. What amazing thing might exist because we are totally honest and transparent and how God might answer or even in the not answering, sit with us. We think God is going to turn everything around and explain it. I feel like life is a sitcom. You’ve got to be strung up in the background and all of a sudden, we’re going to like, “Here’s the resolution of this event, here’s how it all plays out and here’s how I’ll be different tomorrow.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works but what we do get to is a place where we have a transparent vulnerability and what God does instead of trying to use every opportunity to explain somehow Himself is He uses some of those opportunities to be with us. I went to a church, they lost these couple of kids. Someone had a medical issue or whatever and they ended up laying on the gas pedal, plowing through a sidewalk, and these kids were tragically killed. I went into the service a year later when the families came back in, they’d been sequestered from everything for a while. The church there was this sorrow, grieving and no attempt to try and turn that into, “Here’s what God is going to do to make this thing wrap up in a boat.”

It was weird because the spirit of God was present. All He was doing was being with everyone and mourning with them for loss. Not trying to explain it, turn it, challenge people, nor pull them into whatever but just saying, “I love you, I grieve with you, and I’m here with you. I’m not going to try to explain it, but I’m going to be your comforter.” We don’t realize that is part of what our relationship with God looks. If you’ve seen the movie, Inside Out, sometimes in Christianity we’re unwilling to get to the end of that movie.

I love all that you said that, and I don’t even want to add anything to it because it was beautiful. I do want to put a bow on it and saying that lamenting as you mentioned was all over the Psalms. It’s people crying out without an answer. The Book of Job is beautiful and God doesn’t give an answer. I’ve been convicted even hearing you for myself, I’m like, “I am bad at this.” My wife is better than I am at this. When I sit in the American cultural and even my Enneagram 3 Achiever mindset, I look down on those traits. I looked down on those inefficient, ineffective, annoying, cumbersome, and all these things that I can put to them and why I don’t want to be like that when that’s a weakness and it’s hurting me. I did a video on social media about this tendency to avoid obstacles or opposition. Lamenting and grief are often viewed that as an obstacle or it’s an opposition to what I’m trying to accomplish. I try to avoid it or go around it, but the path is always through it. God wants us to go through it because it’s being human. If we don’t, it produces that plastic and fake people. The most reprehensible thing in Christianity is plastic fake people.

It was interesting you said something earlier, you were talking about how people come from a perspective and they’re looking at this thing from that perspective and if they’re looking at God. When you go through something like grief, sorrow, lamenting, what if that’s an opportunity for you to change your vantage point? You’re still looking at the same thing, but you’re looking from a different vantage point and that’s one opportunity you have in your own life to see God through a different lens. A lens of that experience too. You talk about even the idea of your experiences are like this and 80%. If your experience truly is only 0.00000001% of everything, why would you rob yourself of part of even that in the way that you approach God in life is to rob yourself of something that is part of the depths of what it is to be human.

I always think that there’s an infinite number of experiences, but we have a finite number of emotional lenses through which we view them. Why would you cut off some of those finite numbers of lenses and ways that you can identify with other people? There’s a humility to this. Humility is a trade I want to work on. I was in Peru on one of these trips. This guy was on a train. We’re on our way back from Machu Picchu and I had this incredible time. This guy was there from Brazil. He spoke Brazilian Portuguese, I spoke English but I speak a little Spanish. That guy spoke a lot of Spanish. There was a Peruvian guy on the train with us.

We ride along and this guy starts into this story. Do you have that sense of groundedness sometimes that another human being carries with them that it’s a gravitas, a weightiness but it’s like a groundedness? We’re in this train going along and I’ve rarely encountered someone who was so connected to the ground underneath them. What happened was this guy was talking about his battle with addiction to nicotine. He’d been a smoker all his life. Years ago, he had a significant health event and he is now clean. The way that he was talking about to this guy that was across the way which was a smoker and he was talking about his experience, the humility that this guy brought of acknowledging his weakness, struggle and also the victory that he had for years but the way that he went through that was not more plastic, it was more real. It was more grounded and it was incredibly powerful.

UAC 147 | Human Interaction


We sometimes think if we admit those things that we’ll find ourselves being robbed of our power, testimony, or whatever. The reality is that when we bring those things to light, when we bring them out, we face and deal with them, when we go through it and on the other side, we’re a little bit more grounded. When we encounter somebody else when we were on that train, we have this sense of being more grounded. When someone encounters us, there’s power. That power is the humility. That’s one of the reasons humility is such a powerful trait. There is a groundedness to it and it creates open arms because I no longer have to defend my existence and my value. I can be at the lowest part of who I am and know that God has a signed value. I can acknowledge that lowest part and then be more complete and because I’m more complete, I can more easily identify with somebody else and they can more easily identify with me. I’m not afraid to be present.

That’s why humility can’t be manufactured. It’s developed and grown by experience, loss, being human and failing. Failure and loss are two things that make us most human and they add up over time which is why it’s a lot harder for younger people to express that or live that out. A lot of times when you’re younger, you haven’t experienced a lot of loss. You haven’t experienced as much failure and you haven’t seen the consequences of that yet. That’s where humility is developed through the living and experiencing life. It carries with it a weight that is not a guarantee by any means, but that’s how it comes about.

One thing I try to do on that front is I keep going back to these Bible stories. There’s a story where Elijah has had this incredible moment. He thinks he’s the bee’s knees. He has gone up and there are all these prophets from Baal. He’s like, “You call down fire from heaven and see what happens.” Nothing happens then he calls down fire from heaven and God has this big thing. All of a sudden, there’s this woman, she has a bell and she’s like, “My eyes are on you. I’m getting you.” She is going to chase him down. Elijah runs off and encounters God and he’s like, “God, why aren’t you here for me now? She’s going to kill me. Life’s awful. I’m the only one left. Look at all this stuff I’ve been doing for you. Without me, there’s nothing. You owe me this.” God deals with him in a cool way. One of the things He does that I have started to try to take to heart as He says, “By the way, you think that you’re the only one, but I have 7,000 other prophets who have not bowed their knee.”

I remind myself, there’s not just 1 or 2, there’s not one person who’s figured this out better than I have. It’s not two people who have a closer, more honest relationship with God. It’s not that there are five people or a dozen that have figured out how to be honest with all this stuff. There are 7,000 and I remind myself of that. It’s not necessarily that that’s the specific message. I try to say anytime you think you figured something out, anytime you think that you’re walking in it and you’ve got a place to be proud and arrogant. You have a place to think that you have it figured out, there are 7,000 people doing it better. You better find that your worth and your value is how God has seen that in you. You better find that you don’t think that you’ve achieved or arrived and that there are people who are beneath you because as soon as you see someone beneath you, there are 7,000 people above you. You will never win on that scale. I found that to be helpful toward a practice of humility.

Even as young people still run into things like YouTube or Instagram, here are these people who have done more than I’ve done. I experienced this potential for comparison and it doesn’t sound like humility to say this, but humility is also saying, “It’s okay for them to have succeeded in this way.” For me not to have lost my worth. I don’t need to judge them, find ways to judge and find them at fault, or to judge and find myself at fault for not achieving on that status. I need to find my humility, my actual worth somewhere else so that I can be present whether I’m at the top or the bottom of the pile. It’s Paul who says, “I can do all things through Christ.” I look at it as a response to Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes, you’ve got Solomon who’s trying to figure like, “I’ve been on top of the world and I’ve been at the bottom of the world. I’ve been enriched and I’ve tried to think about what a poor person would do. I’ve tried to drink everything away and I’ve tried to be honorable.”

All of it is vanity. It’s all vapor in the end. Paul’s approach in the end when he’s talking about how to be a base and learn how to abound. When he says, “I can do all things through Christ,” what he’s saying is imagine those things are drapes or it’s easy to look at them but the real thing is to pull them to one side or the other and to look through to Christ. The reason is then we find our value and our worth in Him and the rest of it is a circumstance. Whether I’m at the bottom or the top, in or out, have or I don’t have, that’s not the thing that I’m going to use as a measure of my worst because I’m looking through to something else.

I like to think of that as Paul’s response to Ecclesiastes. The point is when you’re looking at A versus B, when you’re looking at whatever success is or what failure is, the problem is you’re looking at the wrong thing altogether. It will always disappoint you. Success will never be enough. You can’t accept enough failure. That’ll lead to despair. Whatever it is that the metric is that you’re using if that metric is not that you have been signed fundamental worth by God. If it’s fundamental worth by creation and then reaffirmed by redemption and the fact that Jesus came, no matter what you do with Him, He has assigned value to every single human being. You start saying, “I don’t need to earn that from somebody else.” I can go back to the same posture we talked about the beginning of giving rather than expecting because I don’t need it from somebody else.

It’s such a beautiful word on identity too. It’s something that we’re all faced with on a daily basis, now more than ever before with its social interconnectedness. I’m going to end with a few one-offs, but we’ll probably have to do a round two because there’s so much that we didn’t get to that I want to talk about. You can answer these as short as long as you want. The first one is what new habit or belief has most positively impacted you or your life?

The simple one is I’ve been trying to do this for a little while and there are these talks about making your bed. I’m in a studio, I find that my bed or my sink demonstrate my emotional level at the moment. If my sink is overflowing with dishes and things, I often do check in with myself and I was like, “Something emotionally is going on and you feel something is happening if your dishes aren’t done.” It’s not because I’m a neat freak because I’m not. You could ask a lot of people I have a lot of flaws in that particular area, but I notice it because when that is disheveled, it’s usually because something inside of me is disheveled and it causes me to check-in. I’d say that habit because it causes me to check in on bigger things.

If you could dedicate a year to studying one person in their life, who would it be?

I don’t know that much about this person but there’s something about Mother Teresa. It’s an easy cop-out answer, but the reason is she came from such a privileged background. When you talk about the way that she had a relationship with God and the way that she lived itself out through her life and other people, there’s something in the undercurrent of that. I think it would take at least a year to try not to know about her, but to get to understand how she developed into the person that she was. Also, into the views and beliefs that she had, and how they practically carried themselves out. I feel that’s one area that I fall woefully inadequate, how I live out my beliefs, and let them change society.

That would be a great person to study. What books or book has had the biggest impact on you?

By virtue of being human, we experience loss and grief. Nothing good ever comes out from suppressing it. Click To Tweet

I cry every time I read Where the Red Fern Grows. That’s what has the most impact on me. It certainly has had an impact. It’s funny, I read that as a kid and I would read it again and again. Other than the Bible, it’s the book I read the most.

How has it impacted you? What has it done for you?

It’s a story of love and loss. I read it as a kid and then as a teenager. I still remember crying through the end of it like literally tears. Something about that being okay and thinking about the way that this kid loved these animals, the way the animals loved him, and the way they loved each other. There’s something about it. It was emotionally freeing. It was okay to experience any who have gotten so attached to what was happening in that story.

Finally, the question we ask every guest on the show, if you could send a morning text reminder to every up and comer out there, what short message would you say and why? This would be a text they get from you each and every morning.

Not every risk, but there are risks worth taking. I gave you 6 or 7 of these things, so I’ll have to give you a snippet for later.

UAC 147 | Human Interaction


The second installment will be much more of lessons learned from working fifteen years as an accountant and also being a creative guy. The differences in lifestyle that we both live in that sense are interesting. I’d love to dive into that. Until that next time, James. This has been such a blast. Where’s a good place for people to connect or reach out and say hi?

I’m on Instagram, @JamesBowieKnife. My email is

There are risks worth taking as a well-said word. Thanks for coming on and riffing. I can’t wait to do it again.

Thanks for having me. It’s good to catch up.

For all you Up and Comers out there, we hope you have an up and coming week because we out.

Following up with one last thing to note, if you would like to get a curated list of all the content I’m learning from, whether that be books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, quotes, some pondering, or even some sermons I’m enjoying. In Thane is a monthly newsletter that brings vetted content that I know you’ll enjoy. Go to to sign up and you’ll be sure to receive the next one. Each edition of In Thane is released on the first Sunday of the month. This is a once a month newsletter that I hope you enjoy and benefit from as much as I have. Here’s to learning and growing one day at a time.

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