The simplest storytelling framework you can use everywhere

The spine of a red book displaying the words "The Story"

I have a storytelling board on Pinterest, and am always looking through story related pins and infographics. I’ve found a lot of pins that give you 21 rules for this, or 10 essential elements of that, and so much of it is so complex that I can’t remember them, let alone apply them. So I wanted to write something down that was simple, and that you could use everywhere. Even in the first paragraph of this post.

The three act structure of stories

The three act structure is one of the most common frameworks for writing stories. It’s the one that you heard about in elementary school when the teacher says that all stories have a beginning, middle and end. And while this is true, I don’t think that particular formulation is helpful. It lends itself into simply dividing a group of sentences into thirds, and that doesn’t make it a story. I prefer to think of it as every story having an Introduction, Escalation and a Resolution. It’s communicative, and simple enough that I can use it everywhere, and hopefully you can too.

I’ll explain each of the stages, and with a tip of the hat to Marvel Editor Jim Shooter’s $1.98 Storytelling Lecture (bookmark that and read it later). I’m going to use this nursery rhyme.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider and sat down beside her, and frightened Miss Muffet away.

I’m also going to make an assumption. I’m going to assume that there’s a conflict or a tension within whatever you’re trying to communicate. You may need to some work to identify or define the conflict, and maybe I’ll talk about how to do that later. But for now, I’m assuming you have. In which case your story starts with…

Introduction: What’s the status quo?

What was your world like before the conflict showed up? The trick with this section is to avoid over explanation. Tell us only what we need to know to understand the conflict you will hit us with.

In the nursery rhyme, all we get is “Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey.” They don’t tell us what time of day it was, where this tuffet was. We just know that there’s a little girl sitting and eating, and get just enough context to imply the stability that’s about to be disrupted.

Bonus points

  • Despite this being the first part of your story, it’s often worthwhile to write it last, or at least to review it after you’ve written everything.
  • If you can insert an element of your conflict here, you’ll grab your audience’s attention quickly. For example “After my mom died, I dedicated my life to finding a cure for the cancer that took her life,”

Escalation: Raising the stakes

In most stories, this would be where the conflict begins. This is “Along came a spider and sat down beside her…” This is where the tension rises, and the story deepens.

I used the word tension, as opposed to conflict, purposefully, because here I want you to think about your audience reaction, not just the facts of the story. It’s in this phase that you want your audience to lean forward, to know that there’s something that needs to be resolved. This is where you pull back the bowstring of their mind, knowing that it can’t stay there forever.

That something may be a conflict. It’s possible that someone or something is standing in the way of the goal you outlined in the Introduction. That something could also be a disruption of the peaceful status quo, the spider that sits beside your little girl. That something, could also be the reason why the conflict you introduced in step one is actually really important, or really tricky.

Whatever it is, what you’re answering here is less “what happened” and more “why should we care.”

Resolution: How will this all end

This part is simple. If you’ve done your job, the audience understands the conflict, and care about how what happens next. Your job is to tell them. The tricky part is making sure you are giving them the right answers to the questions you’ve raised.

Our nursery rhyme would be disappointing if it ended “and Miss Muffet finished eating and went off to school.” We want to know what happened with the spider, and so the author tells us “and [the spider] frightened Miss Muffet away.”

Often, you may be telling the story to convince your audience to take action. Then you need to make sure the action you’re asking them to take addresses the tension in the story. This might require you to write the story backwards. That’s okay. It will be worth the effort.

Example: Breaking down the first paragraph

One misconception is that storytelling means “dramatic” or “artistic”. But we can use storytelling in the most mundane ways. Take the first paragraph of this article, it was far from dramatic or artistic, but I was able to use this story structure to organize it into something that, if you got this far, kept your interest. Here’s how it broke down

Introduction: I have a storytelling board on Pinterest, and am always looking through story related pins and infographics.

Escalation: I’ve found a lot of pins that give you 21 rules for this, or 10 essential elements of that, and so much of it is so complex that I can’t remember them, let alone apply them.

Resolution: So I wanted to write something down that was simple, and that you could use everywhere.

And, because I wanted to keep you interested in the rest of the post I threw in this last sentence

Escalation (part 2): Even in the first paragraph of this post.

Riffs and Variations

Hat tip to Liberating Structures for the idea.

  • The Knowledge Gap story (good for teaching)
    • Introduction: Here’s an area that you don’t know about.
    • Escalation: Here’s why this area is even stranger than you think or why it’s actually really important that you understand this.
    • Resolution: Here are the actual facts about this.
  • The Discovery story (good for explaining research)
    • Introduction: Here’s what we were hoping to find out
    • Escalation: Here’s what makes this difficult to find or Here’s where our initial research was pointing us away from the answer
    • Resolution: Here’s the discovery that led us to the real answer.
  • The Call to Action
    • Everything is the same as above except that the Resolution is in the future tense, and makes the audience the star.

Featured Image Credit: FreeImages.com/Eduardo Siqueira Filho

The temptation of the hustle: a meditation

And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" Luke 4:6-8

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of lent, the pastor read Luke 4:6-8 out loud. The passage talks about a young Jesus, before he really did anything. So far in the Bible, he’s had a really interesting birth, was a very smart 12 year old, and then isn’t really heard from for about 18 years. Suddenly he shows up, is baptized, and runs off into the desert to be tested. Jesus is given three tests, and in the second one the Devil shows him all the kingdoms of the world, all the power, all the fame and all the success and essentially says “All this is mine, I can give it to you, if you play by my rules, do what I say, and bend your heart to match my own. All this will be yours”

MTV recently announced that it had chosen a new name for the post-Millennial generation, “the founders”. But based on my experience, another name fits them well. I call them “Generation Hustle” because almost everyone I meet is hustling, they’ve started their own business, their own YouTube channel, their own nonprofit, their own fashion line, their own movement. They will not wait to be chosen, instead they will choose themselves and put in the work to make it happen. They are down for the hustle.

And while my experience tells me that this dedication to the hustle has marked this post-Millennial generation, I know that they aren’t the only ones for whom the hustle is a way of life. You may be one of those people who choose themselves, who work while others sleep for prizes that others will never achieve. You may be one of those who see others’ success and rather than simply stand in awe you think “I can do that. I will do that!”.  If you are, I think this passage is for you. 

At some point, you might look at the world and see that dealing in anger and hate will help you go viral. At some point you might take a look at the people who have achieved what you want and see that their entire life and their entire heart is dedicated to their goal. Everything outside of that goal is sacrificed on the altar of achievement. And in award speeches they are praised for their single-minded focus.

At some point it might seem that those who succeed are the underhanded, the people who play the game of politics for selfish ends. It may seem that the only way not to be a victim in a dog eat dog world is to be a bigger dog. It may seem that the only way to be bigger than those who have gathered a mob is to gather your own mob.

At some point it may appear that you can more easily convince people to join you, if you don’t look at the people on the other side as full human beings with full lives worthy of respect and dignity. But rather it may seem more effective to paint them as one-dimensional demons devoid of logic who simply exist to be defeated.

It may seem that these are the rules of success, and if you follow those rules, and bend your heart to the heart of the entrepreneurial, viral, political, hustling world around you, then all this will be yours.

There is another way.

The Bible says that God is love and if you don’t know love, you don’t know God. It that all the moral and ethical rules come down to this: Love God and love the people around you. In Luke 4:6-8 Jesus looks the personification of selfishness and hate in the eye and rejects those rules. He rejects the idea that this is what he needs to be successful. He rejects the idea that success brought by Evil is real success at all. He chooses God. He chooses love.


I don’t know if this resonates with you. If it does, here are some questions you can consider as you read and pray through the passage in Luke 4.

And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" Luke 4:6-8

  • What would your place of daily hustle (work, school, whatever) look like if everyone chose love?
  • Are there places in your daily hustle that you fear that choosing love puts you at risk? Where do you need bravery?
  • Are there opportunities you may have missed in your daily hustle to proactively choose love?
  • Where are the small places in your daily hustle where you can choose love?

Stepping off the walkway: A few easy steps you could take to combat injustice

A while ago, in the post Tamir Rice and the unbearable reasonableness of it all, I referenced the idea that racism, sexism and other systemic injustices are like a moving walkway. If one simply stands still, one is taken to the same undesirable and as you might encounter if you were actively pursuing racism, sexism, etc.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

  • There are fewer women in Industry A to help make Industry A a woman-welcoming environment. Why? Because…
  • …there are fewer women applying for Industry A positions, because there are fewer women pursuing Industry A related degree. Why? Because…
  • …there are fewer women who feel welcome in those programs because there are fewer women in Industry A to help make the Industry A programs a woman-welcoming environment.

If you work in Industry A, even if you are not actively against the idea of women in Industry A, not taking action means that your industry ends up in the same place as if you were actively anti-woman. There will be few women in Industry A. And while the example above is a simplified, hypothetical example, if you replaced the phrase Industry A with either Ministry or Technology, this simplified, hypothetical example would not be very far from the truth. I work in both industries.

So what can you do about it (or maybe, what can I do about it)? Here are some ideas directed at the industries in which I work, but I’m sure you can adapt to yours.

  • Say something – You can point out, in a non-anxious way, the particular moving walkway that you’re on. Here are some examples
    • “I notice that we don’t have many women in our applicant pool. What can we do to fix that?”
    • “Our industry is notorious for being unfriendly to minorities. What can we do that’s different from the stereotype here?”
    • “Our speakers seem to mostly represent a single demographic, can we broaden that?”
  • Do the same thing in a different place – Sometimes we use the same communication channels or take the same actions in the same networks and get trapped with the same results. What if you moved some of these? for example
    • You’ve probably put your job posting on local colleges’ message board. Perhaps you can also send send it to the career office of the nearest HBCU, or perhaps to the local Women in Industry A group.
    • You’ve often put the posters for your college ministry in the student center. Do you know where the Hispanic Student Group meets? How about putting some posters there?
  • Do one significant thing differently – There’s often a big difference between where our industry is, and where it should be to just and equitable. There’s a lot of changes to be made and it can seem overwhelming. Perhaps you can start with a single change. For example –
    • Consider keeping your job posting open until your applicant pool has a certain number of qualified female applicants.
    • Consider only accepting conference speaking engagements where there is at least one woman or minority on the slate.

You might be at the end of this post and thinking that I did not fulfill my promise of “easy steps”. The truth is, they will all require some bravery, and they don’t solve the entire problem of the various -isms of our society. I’m not even sure they will all work. But the step that I can guarantee will result in continued injustice is to do nothing.

Photo Credit: WikiHow

What does Jesus have to do with this boring meeting?

A boring picture of a boring graph, probably like the ones in boring meetings

So… meetings…

Apparently, we all hate them. If you read any articles about productivity, and business, you hear about how meetings interrupt work, how they are unproductive and a sign of an unhealthy organizational culture. I’d wager that everyone who’s reading this has been a part of a poorly planned, or poorly executed meeting in which we were essentially counting the minutes until it’s over.

I have been in those meetings, and admit that I have little patience for them. It’s why, around a year ago, I found this article from 99u a challenging one. I won’t rehash the article here, but I will include a choice quote.

It’s right there, but to hit it bluntly: [Alcoholics Anonymous], and any other journey you take, works if you have the humility to accept that you’re just as full of shit as the guy who is rambling.

Source: In Defense of the Meeting – 99u

Here’s the thing that struck me. As someone who attempts to follow Christ, humility should be my modus operandi. In the stories of Christ we see that both the Priest and the tax collector are just as broken, and that the Samaritan can be a better neighbor than a Levite. But somehow, that attitude doesn’t make it into my meetings, where I think I know better, that I can do better, and that whatever someone is asking right now, or saying right now, or needs right now, is simply not worth my time.

So here’s the challenge I took from this article almost a year ago, and am taking from it one more time. The challenge is to approach meetings not from a place of superiority, but of humility. That any attempts to make a meeting better, should not come from my own desire or perceived ability to lead, but of a desire to serve my colleagues and the world. And while the author doesn’t say this, the challenge is to bring the attitude of Christ into this meeting.

Living in the Tension: Columbus Day, Native Americans and a non-innocent history

Given all the Columbus Day posts I’ve been seeing in my friend circle, I figured I should resurrect this one from an earlier version of my blog. At this point, I was in my final year of seminary and regularly having my mind blown by various things. Justo González’s work was one of those things, and when Columbus day came around I posted this.

Last quarter I read Justo González’s Manana, and in it he talked about an idea that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since, the idea of a non-innocent history.

As a society (possibly as Western society, but I suspect elsewhere as well) we want to see our history as innocent. That our ancestors who struggled, fought and died, struggled against evil, fought for justice and died in a noble sacrifice. History is written by the winners, and we want to believe that the good guys won. We want our history to be innocent. But history is rarely innocent, and Columbus is a particularly powerful example of that for those of us who grew up in the “New World”.

In 1492, the legend goes, Columbus bravely set out from Spain, to do what had never been done before. He set out to defy commonly held beliefs about Sea Monsters and the flatness of the world and sail west to India. Christopher Columbus had reason on his side, and traveling further than anybody had traveled before, he discovered the resource-rich lands of Caribbean Islands, and the American continents. We learn this legend in schools, we learn that we owe what we are today to Columbus’ bravery, ingenuity, and drive to explore. It’s a good history, an innocent one, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.

We learn that the continent wasn’t “discovered”, but that were several civilizations that had lived here for thousands of years before Columbus’ arrival. We learn that these explorers delivered smallpox infested blankets that decimated these civilizations with disease. We learn that the new European settlers tried to enslave those who were already here, that they stole, or took land by force, desecrated that which the pre-existing nations considered sacred, and imported countless numbers of human slaves to these continents like herds of cattle. Our history is no longer innocent, but blood-stained.

So what do we do with this history? There are two responses that are common and, in my opinion, flawed. The first response is to ignore it. It’s in poor taste to mention those who may have suffered, and whatever evil might have been done. If this is our history, then it must be told innocently. The second response is to reject it. This history is corrupt, it is evil, and therefore I will only speak of it to condemn it, and I condemn it often. There is no good here. I believe that the ignore response and the reject response are flawed because they both stem from the same desire, the desire to see ourselves as innocent. We are connected to our history, so we believe that if we can either whitewash that history so that the history is innocent, we will be too. Or if we loudly and strongly condemn the history that is non-innocent, we can separate ourselves from it and maybe even atone for it, making ourselves innocent once again. The problem is that neither of these change the past, and like the prophet Isaiah, we find that we remain non-innocent persons, living amongst a non-innocent people.

Ultimately, I believe that, we can’t create our innocence through our own effort. We must admit our non-innocence and seek grace, not the sort of grace that says “it does not matter”, but the type of grace that looks hard at what has taken place and in spite of that, gives us a second chance, a chance to get it right.

On loving those other people

At the time of writing this post. Mitt Romney has conceded and Obama is giving his victory speech. But as I look at CNN’s election results, it looks like the popular vote is going to go 50-50. This means that one out of every two people probably voted the opposite of the way you did, or the way that you would vote.

How many of those people do you know?

How many of those people would you call you friends?

Every four years I get really sad about how divided the United States can get, and how vitriolic we can get against the other. But I also realize that most of my close friends have pretty similar views to my own, and while I may not lean towards the vitriolic, I’m not a shining example of love either.

And at risk of sounding too much like a hippie, love is what it’s all about, particularly if you are a follower of Christ as I profess to be.

In Romans 12, the writer instructs us to not be conformed to the rest of the world, but instead to be transformed. Then he goes on to tell the following

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

It seems to me that if a mark of being transformed by Christ is the ability to love and to bless those who are persecuting you, and if Paul is writing this during a time when persecution involved hungry lions and whips, then what is a political disagreement.

It also seems to me that the “necessity” of hating one’s “enemy”, of considering those who disagree you as misinformed, stupid or malevolent is another way that we are captive to the brokenness of the world.

So here is my hope for myself and my hope for you. May we find ways in which we can love, rejoice and mourn with the approximately 50% of people who voted in a way that we consider inconceivable. Let us honor them above ourselves, bless them when they disagree with us, rejoice in their happiness and share in their grief.

Featured Image Credit:DonkeyHotey

On Being Wrong

Here’s another post from the previous version of my blog. As I watch some of the election votes come in. I think it’s important to revisit it.

This one’s a little old, but here is a very good talk by Kathryn Schulz on being wrong. Here are two of my favorite lines from this talk

The miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is. It’s that you can see the world as it isn’t.

Because, unlike God, we don’t really know what’s going on out there. And unlike all of the other animals, we are obsessed with trying to figure it out.

Take a moment to check out the video below.

The part that I found most insightful, and what I want to blog about today, is the part where Schulz talks about how we react to someone who believes differently from us. Someone who we believe is wrong.

I hope you’ve watched the video already, but in case you haven’t here are the reactions she outlines.

  1. First we think they are misinformed (and as soon as we provide them with the relevant data they will see the light) and when that proves to be untrue,
  2.  we think they are idiots (We’ve shown them the presence of 2+2 and somehow they are coming up with 5) and if somehow we convince ourselves of their intelligence then
  3. we think that they are malevolent, deliberately distorting the facts for their own material or immaterial benefit.

I think she’s right about these reactions. I’ve gone through them myself and I’m going to bet that you have as well. Schulz points out that by sticking to this script we miss the chance to correct mistakes.Read the script closely and you’ll find that it’s all about preserving your own rightness, and thus your own status and your own worth at the expense of the person who disagrees. Embedded in the script is a fantasy of our infallibility, a denial of our own finiteness that we work so hard to preserve that we would deny the value of the other person in order to maintain that illusion.

Earlier this year, I was introduced to the term fundamentalist relational process in the book Becoming Whole and Holy. This term is unconnected to Fundamentalism as a religious movement but instead is a sociological term that describes a family, community or other system that only tolerates a single narrative, or a single truth. Should someone have a point of view that differs from that narrative, that person risks expulsion from the group. The worldview of that family, community, organization or group takes precedence over the relationships between the members of the group. This worldview can be political, philosophical, religious or in any other area, but it is the one place where there can be no compromise, it is the one line across which there can be no love.

I see in these three steps the possibility for fundamentalist processes. When those who believe differently from us even after seeing the same evidence are stupid or malicious, we are a hairs-breadth from saying that this person is unworthy of our love. We are a hairs-breadth away from saying “Thank God I’m not like one of those people.

We are not God. We don’t know all that’s going on out there. Yes there are those who hold to powerful and dangerous incorrect beliefs, and we share with them the same ability to hold powerful and dangerous incorrect beliefs. Thus, if there is nothing else that we can hold in common with those with whom we disagree, we are bound by our common fallibility. That alone should give us pause before we condemn them.

Loving People, Changing the World, one photo at a time?


TED Blog | Restoring humanity after the tsunami: Becci Manson at TEDGlobal 2012.

Becci Manson works as a photo retoucher. Her job involves making models appear prettier, skinnier and to have better skin. In the video embedded above she talks about how she, and her friends were able to use those skills to restore alleviate some of the loss that the survivors of the tsunami in Japan felt.

I don’t know what her faith background is, but I think she’s a great example of what it means to consider “love your neighbor as yourself” one of the two greatest commandments, and in her story I see an approach to loving and serving others that I think Christians should emulate.

First of all, she responds to need with action. She saw that there was a tragedy and she was moved to help even if that help was just another pair of hands with a shovel.

Second, she looked for the ways that she could apply her own background, skills, and giftedness in love for others, even when those ways were small things.

In the Christian world we talk about “calling” a lot. There are lots of us figuring out how we are called. I would like to suggest that even without the clouds opening and the voice from the sky that sounds suspiciously like James Earl Jones, that you are called to respond to the needs you see around you and to see if there is a way you can apply your own background, skills and giftedness in love for others.

Burdens: A Meditation

I have a bad relationship with my own capacity. I’m the type of person who is interested in a lot of things, cares about a lot of causes, and in general try to keep far too many plates spinning in the air at the same time.  Yet, I keep adding one more thing. There’s always that one more thing I know I can help with, that one other group I have some ideas for, and the one other ministry that really needs volunteers.

Then the plates start crashing.

In the midst of the struggle to keep the plates going, I start to ignore things. More precisely, I start to ignore people. I stop listening to what’s going on in people’s lives, I stop looking for ways I can be good news to the people around me. I stop making myself available for connection. How can I? I’m connected to all these other things, I simply don’t have the capacity.

Most problematically, I start to ignore God. My schedule is so tight, that I put my time of prayer, scripture reading and worship in more untenable slots. I’m so busy doing things, that I don’t have any attention that I can give to hearing God in the everyday.

The burden I’ve taken upon myself has become so much that I am unable to properly love God and love people.

I don’t know if you are like me in this way. But if you are, here are three passages that you can read and pray through. As you do so, consider the following questions

  • Are there specific burdens in your life that hold you back from God and others?
  • Are there ways that you are being called to show love to God and to the people around you that you are avoiding because they are burdensome?
  • Are there ways that you can give up your self-generated burdens, and find rest in God?

Hebrews 12

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Galatians 6

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Matthew 11

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

An aside on labels, identity, and being a proof of concept

Earlier this week I posted about how some people need you to be a proof of concept that their own identity is valid. Here’s another aspect that I didn’t talk about. Sometimes people need you to be a proof of concept that the ways in which they are labeled are not their identity. We have the opportunity to show, through the way we treat others and through our own stories that we don’t need to be defined by our baggage, nor do we need to define someone else by their baggage. This is why I like this campaign from People of The Second Chance. Click on the link below the picture to see what it’s all about.

 NEW POTSC CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: LABELS LIE | People of the Second Chance.

People Of The Second Chance recently launched a campaign called “Labels Lie”. You should check the campaign out. Here’s who POTSC say they are.

We are a global community of activists, imperfectionists and second chancers committed to unleashing radical grace everyday, in every moment, for everyone.

We challenge the common misconceptions about failure and success and stand with those who have hit rock bottom in their personal and professional lives. We are a community that is committed to stretch ourselves in the areas of relational forgiveness, personal transparency and advocate for mercy over judgment.

 

Pardon me, but my privilege is showing.

Not very long ago, I was sitting with a group of people, and somehow the discussion turned towards whether this person should go to the Macy’s in downtown St. Paul at midnight for Black Friday, and more specifically, whether this young woman would be safe.

For those of you who haven’t been to downtown St. Paul, it’s not exactly a hotbed of activity at night. There aren’t many clubs, nor are there many people. For the crowds, the parties, and most of the crime you cross the Mississippi into downtown Minneapolis. Based on my own experience, I was arguing that she would be fine.

The problem is that in the moment, I forgot that because I am male, my experience of walking down the street is significantly different from the experience of the typical female. I essentially forgot my privilege.

If you ask a group of men what they do on a daily basis to protect themselves from being raped, you’d probably get blank stares and maybe one answer of not going into really sketchy parts of town, or depending on the group you’d get a homophobic joke. Ask that same question to a group of women and you’d get a significantly longer list that includes things like where you walk, who you walk with and how you hold your keys (see the banner on this page)when you’re walking by yourself.

I know this, and I recognize it as an injustice, but somehow in the midst of the conversation, I forgot it and started arguing from my privilege of being a guy.

So why am I telling you this? It reminds me of a TEDx talk given by Jay Smooth recently where he talks about talking about race.You can click the link above, or watch the video embedded below.

Here’s the quote that got me thinking about this incident:

And in general I think we need to move away from the premise that being a good person is a fixed, immutable characteristic, and shift towards seeing being good as a practice, and it is a practice that we carry out by engaging with our imperfections. We need to shift from, we need to shift toward thinking of being a good person the same way we think of being a clean person. Being a clean person is something that you maintain and work on every day

I’m someone who cares about the equality of women and the elimination of sexism. What Jay and this discussion about Macy’s reminds me is that this isn’t stuff that you learn once and you’re set for life. It’s a matter of practice, of continuing to see the residue of sexism, privilege and other -isms, and continuing to work to become better at cleaning that residue off.