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A lover of wisdom, dedicated to imagining what we can build and achieve together. Founder & Chief Curator |The Museum of Ideas

Lake Superior Agates & Leadership

Me on a very cold day in New York City | Photo Credit Theresa Gart

“Our life has to be our message.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh

Thích Nhất Hạnh reminds us that each of us is a writer — with our life’s message as our greatest story.

As a child, I collected Lake Superior agates that I found in an open field behind my home. A pack of us roamed the Central Minnesota fields in the summertime, building forts, dipping our toes in puddles, and shooing the cows away from our mothers’ dinner gardens.

The agates were a special part of those summer afternoons.

The lines were embedded in them to remind us that time…

An animal offers us beauty in the quiet art of their presence

Photo of an English rabbit, from The American Pet Stock Standard of Perfection and Official Guide to the American Fur Fanciers’ Association (1915) — Source.

“What does the fox say?” Remember that song?

Dog goes ‘woof’… bird goes ‘tweet’. . .fish go ‘blub’ … and the seal goes ‘ow ow ow.

But, there’s one sound that no one knows. . .

‘What does the fox say?’”

The song is funny because we don’t know what it says. What does the fox say?

Great question.

Its wits and smarts show up in picture book stories, but somehow we never hear its voice.

And maybe it’s because we hear so many other things in our modern world that we can easily forget those things that just don’t…

The value of matriarchal wisdom in leadership

The ‘This We Believe’ Series

By Melanie Garson Ph.D. & Shannon Mullen O’Keefe M.A.L.D.

Photo by Bekky Bekks on Unsplash

Algorithms underpin our digital lives.

These recipes guide our computers and apps and are the inconspicuous super currents behind much of what shows up on our screens.

Algorithms have the power to know us intimately. They suggest what to buy, friends to know, news to read, and people to date or marry.

But there are questions about the decision-making ethics behind them. Whose ethics are they? Are they riddled with bias? Whose biases are these?

The truth is that while we can point out all the flaws in the algorithms, the…

Falling in love with your job is beautiful, but can it last?

Illustration of Buraq from Yusuf and Zulaykha, a 19th-century Judeo-Persian manuscript held at The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 1534 — Via Public Domain Review. Source.

Whispered sweet nothings make our hearts beat faster.

They just do.

It’s that feeling Tom Waits portrays in his song about falling in love: Hope that I don’t fall in love with you.

The refrain: “I hope I don’t fall in love with you…”

And then later. . . “The chair next to yours is free. . . and I hope that you don’t fall in love with me.”

Love boasts many great moments — and falling in love is among the greatest. We feel a current. A force that speeds up our hearts and our imagination.

The scientists and…

The Space Race Now and What it Means for Humanity

The Museum of Ideas: Conversations on the Blue Couch Series

By Shannon Mullen O’Keefe M.A.L.D. & Lakshmi Karan Ph.D.

“[Hemisphere] where the true Tract of this most surprising Zone of Light is distinguished amongst the principal Stars.” | Thomas Wright’s An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe via Public Domain Review.

We are again on the cusp of a giant leap forward in possibilities for humanity.

Remember what a big deal it was way back on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon? Americans put a flag on the moon and they left a sign there.

But, consider this.

Now there are people aiming to do a lot more than that in space and those who dominate space will probably hold a great deal of power for years to come.

So, it will matter to future generations of humans…

Manager mindsets that leave room for slack

A Young Daughter of the Picts (ca. 1585) | Via Public Domain Review

Efficiency can be beautiful.

It means waste is minimized, energy is maximized, and we achieve things.

Everything has a time and a place, everyone knows where to be, there isn’t extra — there’s just enough.

Things are right-sized.

And things clip along perfectly.

When the Pict woman (pictured above) lived — probably during the late Iron Age — people were excited about advances in efficiency. Back then, it was new iron tools that helped to streamline human life.

As humans, we’re rightfully proud of the gains we’ve made in efficiency, from iron tools to Roomba vacuums.

But, as the saying…

Some common definitions, redefined

Diagram of the Human Mind | Robert Fludd, 1617 via Public Domain Review

What do words mean to you? At the recent Great Wave event, the ethical philosopher Françoise Baylis helped call to mind the power in words when she used this example:

“What if we had a different understanding of what it meant to be wealthy?” she asked. “What if ‘wealth,’ were defined by how much you could give away — constantly gifting — rather than keeping?”

If we sit with her questions for a minute, we realize that a different definition of wealth might make a “ripple.” Her question was a pebble tossed into still water.

When “there is no pebble…

Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

Orangutans — the great apes whose babies are cuter than The Mandalorian’s green sidekick — are on the endangered list.

The world wildlife organization reports that ‘a century ago there were probably more than 230,000 orangutans in total, but the Bornean orangutan is now estimated at about 104,700 (endangered) and 7,500 (critically endangered.)’

These orangutans, whose name literally means ‘man of the forest,’ in the Malay language are endangered because their natural forest habitat is threatened.

Not only is the population at large on the endangered list, but a new sub group variety, the Tapanuli Orangutan, is also on the…

by Melanie Garson Ph.D. and Shannon Mullen O’Keefe M.A.L.D.

Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

In a world in which everything is growing exponentially around us — faster than we can comprehend — a world in which by next year 20 billion devices could be interconnected globally, where are the leaders that show us a vision to navigate this future?

A leadership thinking that is beyond November 3rd, 2020, or even November 3rd, 2024.

A leadership that offers a vision beyond the tit-for-tat spiral of election rhetoric. Something greater than “I’m not him!”

What do we want from our leadership? …

Shannon Mullen O'Keefe

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