"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Do You Have Negative Capability?

embrace uncertainty

Negative Capability is “the willingness to embrace uncertainty, live with mystery, and make peace with ambiguity.” The phrase was first used by romantic poet John Keats, 1795- 1821, in reference to the lack of absolutes in the artistic world yet it applies to all of life. It has been said “only fools are certain” and there is a lot of truth to that.

Negative Capability is “ability to tolerate the pain and confusion of not knowing”, resisting the desire (need?) to impose stock, off the shelf, cookie cutter interpretations of reality, ready-made to sooth us by conforming neatly to our world view, transforming emotionally challenging ambiguities into comforting, calming (even if truth stretching) “certainties”.

It takes courage to live with uncertainty but it is often the only way to see the world as it is truly.

Closing Quotes:

“Inquiry is fatal to certainty.” – Will Durant,1885-1981

“Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.” – Mark Twain

“What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.” – Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire, 1694-1768

“The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.” – John F. Kennedy

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


“Sorry Don’t Get It Done”*: True Apologies v. Faux Apologies


Too many things are passed off as apologies that are anything but apologies; they are faux apologies, nothing but stinky self-serving justifications, transparent rationalizations and paper-thin excuses served up as a flimsy attempt to dodge the full consequences of their behavior.

True Apologies
– Accept Responsibility: Never, ever offer excuses.
– Express authentic remorse, demonstrate empathy.
– Make sincere amends: “What can I do to make it right?” Make every effort to return offended party(s) back to their original position or if not possible, in some way “pay it forward” i.e. help others in a similar position.
– Pledge not to repeat the offense i.e. when in doubt, Listen to the Action.

True apologies require courage. You are choosing to doff your armor, voluntarily making yourself vulnerable, opening yourself up to criticism. Yet it is a critical step in re-establishing trust, demonstrating your integrity, and opening lines of communication. Properly done, a genuine apology builds rapport, starts a dialogue, and creates an opportunity to rebuild, even deepen the relationship. A bona fide apology demonstrates self-confidence and enhances your reputation, personal integrity, and honor.

Closing Quotes:

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790

“Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.” – Tryon Edwards, 1809-1894

“A stiff apology is a second insult… The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton, 1874-1936

*”Sorry Don’t Get It Done, Dude.” – John Wayne, Rio Bravo, 1959

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


2018 Checklist: Characteristics of Success v. Failure


Success Checklist                                         Failure Checklist

Sense of Gratitude                                         Sense of Entitlement

Read Every Day                                             Watch TV Every Day

Journal Daily, Develop Perspective                   Live in Denial/Deliberate Ignorance             

Life Long Learner                                           Think education ends with graduation

Have Goals and Action Plans                           Drift, Dream, Doze Off

Forgive and Release                                       Cultivate Resentments, Hold Grudges

Compliment and Praise                                   Criticize and Put Others Down

Embrace Responsibility                                   Embrace Excuses

Persist                                                           Resist  

Life is all about the choices we make and how we choose to play the cards we are dealt.

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier