A Fixed Point In A Spinning World: Transforming Injustice Through Humility

I have been working with ULEAD, Inc. for several years now. My service began over several conversations with Ritch Hochstetler, Chief Ideation Trailblazer of ULEAD, Inc., who has 30 years of innovating and delivering training experiences to youth and youth workers. During our initial virtual coffee meetings, we discussed servant leadership, the importance of bringing team-based experiences to youth and youth workers, race and race relations, and other important philosophical conversations around the human condition. We traded life stories and lived experiences. I liked him right off the bat.

After several conversations, (one of which happened at The Greenleaf Servant Leadership Conference 2017 with one of the ULEAD, Inc. staff persons, Ben Rheinheimer), I was invited to the ULEAD Board of Directors, and I happily accepted. My service has been one of the most enlightening around servant leadership to date.

Ritch posted a blog post, and I asked permission to post it. This was my response to him in an email;

“Good Morning Ritch;

I hope that this email finds you well. First, I want to say again how much I appreciate having known you and to serve with ULEAD, Inc. Our deep and rich conversations have always left me wanting more, and our sharing of experiences and life stories has genuinely been a blessing in my life.

I have a profound respect for you and this blog post. Your authenticity and transparency show up, and I believe this should be shared on every available platform available to us. This piece will bless the world and touch the hearts of people who are open to the idea of humility. I find that you exemplify humility and the openness to keep learning, and to act on what we see can be changed in the world. I love the humility book. This is how I know great minds think alike; I wrote a chapter on it in my book, Bloom Where You Are Planted.

Thank you, Ritch, for this beautiful piece of awareness and a call to action. I feel so blessed to serve ULEAD and to be called your friend. Many Blessings, Crystal”

So that you don’t have to leave this post, I have posted the blog in full length. To learn more about ULEAD, Inc., please click here.

A Fixed Point In A Spinning World: Transforming Injustice Through Humility

Recent events have ripped off the scab of decades of injustice to reveal the gaping wound still festering and bleeding from individual and systemic racism in America.  No matter who’s side you’re on, or your political leaning, to deny the reality of the impact of oppressive and dehumanizing attitudes and behaviors has become in itself an act of violence.

How do we, as people and as a society, respond?  When inaction and denial become untenable, people rise up.  We’ve seen; demonstrations, looting, finger-pointing, cries for reform, violence begetting violence, and calls for peace-making.  In approaching all issues, context matters.  My context is that of an older white male who has made the commitment to live and lead from the framework of servant leadership. First, let me be clear: Being white, male, and someone who has had the privilege of serving in a leadership role for years has put me squarely in a place of privilege.  Second, my servant leadership beliefs and values cannot be used to justify a belief that I have arrived at an evolved attitude or a practice of equity in relationships.

The reality is, I am a part of the problem.  In this admission, I am saying that talking about valuing all people, without a plan of action that impacts my behavior, leaves me in the position of silently condoning the problem rather than being a generative participant in the revolution needed to effect real change. Racism has been and continues to be, a deadly mindset that leads to the breaking of people, families, institutions, and our very nation. 

So, what am I going to do?  Options include; feeling guilty, getting angry, becoming overwhelmed, striking out in overzealous ways to fix things, or (you name it!)  What if there is a starting point…a place to orient myself toward others who are also seeking a new path of redemption, equity, and inclusion?

Today I am suggesting that there is a “fixed point in a spinning world.”  Every human being approaching this issue needs to come to terms with their context and what it is calling them to do. For me, that fixed point in my context as a white male leader is humility.   

The word humility has been around for a very long time, and yet it’s meaning is often misunderstood.    It is derived from the Latin word humilis, meaning “low.” In ancient Greek, it literally means “not rising far from the ground.” The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of humility as a noun is the feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others. This meaning is picked up and expanded upon in the lyrics of an ancient song recorded in the Bible in the book of Philippians; “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but he emptied himself…”  Here Jesus’ attitude is being held up as a word picture for what the attitude for humility looks like. This attitude is one of seeing and believing that every human being is a person worthy of being respected and valued and that no matter what status I have inherited or attained, I am willfully emptying myself of prideful elevation of self. 

It’s in a further reading of the lyrics of this ancient song that the meaning of humility, or the ripple effects thereof, are expanded upon.  The lyrics go like this; “And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.”  This next step on the journey toward humility ties the outcome of a humble attitude, being humble action or behavior, even if/when that action leads to personal loss. This is a revolutionary idea, that if adopted, could upset the power balance and change the world as we know it.

Humility is a very personal thing based on values, beliefs, and one’s worldview.  No one can make you into a humble person, and if you try to act humble without an authentic change of heart, people’s B.S. detectors will all sound in unison.  The question is, can humility be learned?  In the book, Start With Humility: Lessons from America’s Quiet CEOs on How To Build Trust and Inspire Followers, authors Merwyn Hayes and Michael Comer, the answer is “yes!”  Maybe there still is hope for an older white man like me?

Hayes and Comer start by offering defining characteristics of humility, including;  humanness, vulnerability, and the ability to keep one’s perspective.  Humility is not weakness, the absence of ego, or lack of assertiveness.  They go on to lay out a practical process for growing humility as a person.  The formula goes like this:

Human Authenticity + Humble Behaviors = Trust/Respect

How does this relate to personal and systemic racism?  First, for me as a white man, human authenticity can and must be based on a commitment to empty myself of any and all feelings of superiority – to see myself on ground level, embracing the humanness of others with respect and dignity, no matter the differences.  I know I do not have the self-awareness needed to do this on my own.  I need Black and Brown and all Minority brothers and sisters to speak truth and tell me what they see, feel, hear, and experience.

On a systemic level, humility requires practices that lead to humble habits and behaviors.  These include but are not limited to; admitting mistakes, acknowledging where the system is broken (even if I struggle with the false belief that I’m not responsible for breaking it,) admitting my ignorance for all that I don’t know or can never fully understand, and striving to be empathic at every stage of the journey.  As it turns out, these are practices I can commit to grow habits and attitudes that connect my heart to behaviors that have the potential to effect lasting change.

In Jesus’ response in the ancient song recorded in Philippians, we see that humility was very costly.  I believe this same is true for me, and for us today.  The world around us is spinning out of control on an axis of racism and violence.  Humility is a fixed point. Change starts one person at a time.  Change starts with the transformation of one human heart.  Change starts with me.  Will you join me?

To Do or Not to Do? This is the Question.

I have been following Tim Ferris for some time now, and I appreciate his 5-Bullet Friday emails. This past Friday’s email was, as usual, excellent. I clicked on several links to read more (as I normally do), and the article titled Via Negativa: Adding to Your Life By Subtracting resonated with me. Like many of us who are struggling with our “new normal,” approaching life from the negative makes sense. Brett and Kate McKay invite us to instead of concentrating on what we do, to turn the focus on what we don’t do. This path has two main thrusts: stripping bad habits and situations out of your life and avoiding bad habits/situations in the first place.

This idea comes at an appropriate time. Working from home, helping my teenage son stay interested in school via Zoom, cooking more than usual (eating more than usual), staying up way too late, and feeling a range of emotions each day is beginning to take a toll. Going out to our local lake and walking helps a lot. I will do it again this Sunday afternoon.

What are you doing to keep your head on straight? May I invite you to be proud of what you are NOT doing? Check out the article and know that you are doing just fine by deciding not to eat that second bag of chips.

To NOT doing,

Dr. Crystal

6 Qualities of a Board Chair as Servant Leader


“The chair is the servant-leader of the board. The board is servant-leader of the ownership. The chair is, therefore, servant-leader of the servant-leaders.”

~John Carver

The Unique Double Servant-Leadership Role of the Board Chairperson by John Carver is chapter three of the book we are using as a guide, Practicing Servant-Leadership: Succeeding Through Trust, Bravery, and Forgiveness by Larry C. Spears and Michelle Lawrence. Last week, we discussed the role of the members of a board of directors. Since this chapter was chocked full of good information, I will discuss the end of the chapter today.

Carver argues that a common mistake of boards of directors today is that it looks to the CEO to tell it what to do. Ask any board today where its last agenda for the meeting came from and you will find that it is generally the CEO or Executive Director.

I served as the executive director of a nonprofit community-based organization a few years ago, and I will tell you that I managed the board of directors. I had written and won several grants for the organization (that it was building from ground zero) and I helped to recruit the board of directors. Although well-meaning people, they had no idea of how to create or run a board of directors. I found that I was creating and reporting to the board!

That experience reminds me of the Geico commercial where the elderly ladies are sitting in the front room and one of the ladies is showing the other two her Facebook timeline which she had created on her front room wall. One of the ladies said, “That’s not how any of this works!”

At any rate, there should be a distinction between the line of CEO and board chairperson. Most board chairs will not like what Carver says because he says that the board chairperson is staff (The board chairperson is staff to the board, (that is to staff the management) to the board, while the CEO is line. The board chairperson is staff to the board just as the finance officer is staff to the CEO. The board chairperson role, as important as it is, can have no real authority over line personnel- which includes the CEO and the other employees of the organization.

The chairperson’s obligation and authority can only derive from a group decision and group expectations. I discussed this “one voice” approach last week. Remember this does not imply unanimous votes. What is implies is that without a group mindset, the board lacks the discipline and until the board exercises group decision-making power, it has absolutely no authority over anyone.

Carver believes that this type of discipline for a board is difficult to achieve given the current consciousness of how boards operate. And so the vacuum is filled with uncoordinated individual actions- or worse, the board settles into the “indolent” comfort of letting someone else just tell them what to do. Sometimes that person is the board chair, but most often that person is the CEO. Boy, do I remember that! It’s just the way we’ve always done it.

A powerful thought from John Carver is this, “Governance can only have the needed integrity when boards, not their CEO’s assume responsibility for governance.” He says it would be a breath of fresh air if board meetings truly became the board’s meetings, not the CEO’s meetings for the board.

Wow, he stepped on some toes with that statement!

Carver quotes a greeting card that sums up a chair’s responsibility, “A friend is someone who learns the words of your song, then sings them back to you when you forget.” In this way, the board chair can be encouraging, inspiring, challenging, enlightening, and even cajoling – all within the servant leadership consciousness that call for this kind of tough-love leadership. This kind of tough-love leadership doesn’t let the board members off the hook, though. Group responsibility is tricky and something we are not used to as boards. As boards, we must have the discipline for the group responsibility for governance.

The deal is that there is an irony in that the group charges and empowers one of its own to help it be true to itself and its self-defined responsibility. Your experience and mine on the board makes a huge difference in board effectiveness, right? The tone of interpersonal exchange, the board’s relationship to staff, and the board’s relationship to ownership.

The irony is this: the more the board embrace’s group responsibility and expresses this through a coherent governance model, the less it matters who the board chair is. It’s like that quote from Lao Tzu, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

So, how does a board chair garner the discipline to guide a board to group responsibility? What are the core characteristics of a board chairperson who can carry out such responsibility? I am glad you asked! Carver provides us with 6. And they all align with servant leadership. I’ll give a re-cap of each below.

Personal Integrity

The board chairperson must deal – in a straightforward manner – with the trustee relationships and commitments from a place of authenticity. This means no playing favorites and engaging in games. The board chair’s behavior is guided by principles and not politics.

Ability to Leave the CEO Alone

A board chair must have no need to interfere with the CEO’s responsibility. While a chair’s intervention between the board and its CEO can ease the board member’s anxiety in the short term can inevitably damage the proper board-CEO relationship.

Intelligence and Conceptual Flexibility

Board members must have the ability to think conceptually. At this level of leadership, the ability to deal with concepts, constructs, and principles is critical to the success of a servant leader who serves as a board chairperson.

Mindfulness of Group Process

A board chairperson must not live and operate naively unaware of interpersonal and political realities. Rather, a good candidate should be comfortable with group processes and should have the ability to capitalize on the group’s skills and talents. More than that, a board chair should operate in a calm and cool manner when the group process goes awry. Especially when you will be blamed for it.

A Disposition of Servanthood

A good chairperson is a servant leader who never forgets on whose behalf he or she works and by whose grace he or she exercises authority. This is the most important characteristics. Personally speaking. A board chair works for the people!

Ability to Confront and Lead

A board chair must be able to lead with authority and confront the board members and group with their own or its behavior. A good candidate must be able to say, “We committed ourselves to X yet we at this moment are doing Y. We must either stop or change our commitment. Which shall it be?”

Servant Leaders who serve as board chairpersons understand that these characteristics are ones that allow the leader to modestly in command. This is the way of a servant leader. A board chair’s role is both compassionate and compelling. It requires self-discipline as it is asking others to do the same.

At the end of the day, it’s what Greenleaf has always challenged us to BE as Servant leaders; the most morally justifiable leaders and leadership are founded in, legitimated by, and yes, even sanctified by servanthood.

This kind of chair never forgets that the conductor doesn’t make the music.

To Board Chairpersons,

Dr. Crystal


3 Ways to Act Now


NOTE: Happy Memorial Day Friends! A big Thank you to Servant Leaders in the World and their service. WE Honor You! Today’s blog will complete our series on compassion using Daniel Goleman’s book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World. I have been working on community projects that have kept my schedule tight, but fun over the last six weeks. Our next series is exciting, and we shall use the book, Practicing Servant-Leadership: Succeeding Through Trust, Bravery, and Forgiveness by Larry C. Spears and Michelle Lawrence as our guide. I appreciate all of you who continue on this journey with me as Servant Leaders! I will take a week break and then come back to jumpstart our summer series! Cheers!!

No matter what is going on
Never give up Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country

Is spent developing the mind Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends but to everyone
Be compassionate

Work for peace In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up
~Dalai Lama XIV

Servant Leaders understand that action speaks louder than words. In this sense, compassion is expressed in many ways and the desire to do something that is – act now – as a force 4 good is what the Dalai Lama argues in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, by Daniel Goleman in the final chapter, chapter twelve, Act Now.

The message the Dalai Lama has shared with us is two-fold; taking control of our destructive emotions rather than acting on them and acting on our concern for the well-being of others from the sense of the oneness of humanity. The Dalai Lama’s vision is one that suggests the what and how of compassion, but also his core lesson to us is that we should cultivate a warm heart, and foster human values. We must act now, and persist. We should act even if the cause seems hopeless – and never give up.

The Dalai Lama’s vision for shifting our consciousness and our social reality begins inside each of us. We can start with ourselves and then help transform our society person by person or project by project. The Dalai Lama argues, “Start with yourself, but don’t stop there. Act for others, with positivity.” Our efforts should be voluntary knowing that we can accelerate the transformation of our society by transforming ourselves first.

Each one of us can transform by shifting our emotional center to become better vessels for compassion.

And to help that we can revamp education to include tools for this inner shift for the younger generation.

Take it to Scale

Activism is key for people who are a force 4 good. Dekila Chungyalpa, the McCluskey Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, puts it this way, “Almost every activist I know is actually an optimist at heart.: You really have to believe that the society will be better off. I think there is a natural ebullience, an enthusiasm that comes from inside. We’re convinced, no matter what the odds are, that we will win.”

The Dalai Lama advises us to think and go BIG. Spreading the good you do as far as possible is key. If we embark on some good work (like the community work that I have been doing for the last six weeks or more), we should do it well and with maximal impact.

In short, go to scale.

And sometimes when we consider the enormity of the challenge, we may feel like throwing in the towel, giving up. But, we must remember that each act that we do, no matter how simple or insignificant it may seem, when it is multiplied by others (10, 100 or 1 million of us) we can have an enormous impact.

The Human Connection

The Dalai Lama believes the pathway from thought to action is through making a commitment to other people. We must work with one another, commit to one another, and act with one another.

Indeed, compassionate acts are contagious. Thomas Jefferson coined it, “moral elevation,” this sort of inspiration we feel to help when we witness random acts of kindness. Many psychologists have verified this feeling through a plethora of studies, but we all know the feeling.

Think, Plan, Act

The Dalai Lama believes far more in the power of individuals to make an impact over huge top-down changes, whether from an organization or government. And, he believes that you can’t force people to be compassionate. His call to action for us to not wait for society to change. We can start now, wherever you are. “Everyone can find a context in which they can make a difference. The human community is nothing but individuals combined,” says the Dalai Lama.

At the end of the day, the Dalai Lama’s vision, Daniel Goleman’s book, and this blog have one core point: Seize the opportunity NOW.

As Servant Leaders, we are a Force 4 Good. All is Well. We are Complete. And So It Is.

Act Now,

Dr. Crystal

Servant Leadership and the Long View


I feel optimistic about the future because humanity seems to be growing more mature; scientists are paying more attention to our inner values, to the study of mind and the emotions. There is a clear desire for peace and concern for the environment.”

~Dalai Lama

Servant Leaders understand that taking the long view to positive outcomes for the world is a part of being a force for good. Thinking in new ways is critical to creating a compassionate world. This is what the Dalai Lama argues in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, chapter eleven, The Long View.

The Dalai Lama’s vision for the world seems radically different from the one we know and can seem impossibly idealistic. But, as Bab Amte once said, “No one has the right to arrange a funeral for the future.”

In the sense that the Servant leaders guide people toward a shared goal, servant leadership is widely distributed and is demonstrated in all of the stories shared in Goleman’s book. Whether we are within our family, among friends, on social media, in an organization, or society as a whole, we are all servant leaders in one way or another, if only from time to time.

The Dalai Lama argues that we all can play a part in the network of influence and impact in the world today. Indeed, a lot of the changes the Dalai Lama speaks of are systemic, and it will take all of us to make the shift. I wrote about systems thinking some time ago. You can read that blog here.

The Dalai Lama presented an example of a movement within science to study contemplative practice and how it started with just one scientist. Then, that scientist engaged friends in the conversation, and then they informed and invited other friends to the conversation.

The scientist met colleagues at conferences and all of the sudden, an informal network formed into an active professional network that collectively came together to find solutions.

“No single person can change the world. Now, we are in the modern era, with democracy, it’s really the voice of the people together, the collective, that will make the difference” says the Dali Lama.

But what of discouragement many feel, Goleman asked the Dalai Lama. He said that we should plants seeds of a better world. We have to begin somewhere and know that shift is gradual. Education and awareness are critical for the younger generation.

At the end of the day, we should not be daunted by these lofty goals. The Dalai Lama says about his own efforts, “I am not expecting to see a result. It may take twenty or thirty years or more. I tell students in their twenties that they may live to see the results, but we all have a responsibility to act now, even if we will never see the fruition of our efforts.”

Servant leaders understand that thinking for the long term, that is to have a long view, helps us to leave the world better for our children than as we found it.


To the Long View,

Dr. Crystal


Four Ways to Educate the Heart


“When educating the minds of our youth, we should not forget to educate their hearts.”

~ Dalai Lama

Servant Leaders understand that education today requires more than the standard textbook education or standard body of knowledge taught in the classroom. This education includes the basics of how the mind works, a healthy regulation of emotions, the cultivation of attention, mindfulness, empathy, and caring; learning to handle conflicts nonviolently; and a sense of wholeness and oneness with all of life. What is needed today is an education of the heart with ethics and the capacity for living by compassion and values as essential. This is what the Dalai Lama argues in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, chapter ten, Educate the Heart.

Mind Training

The Dalai Lama coached a young student, an 11th grader at Moberly High school who had on EEG headgear that was tracking her concentration. As she stayed focused, a line on the machine drifted upward. As her focus declined, the line drifted downward. Some of her friends were told to do things to distract her.

As the Dalai Lama began to coach he explained that when training the mind, one should make a distinction between the mental and sensory level. When focusing in on an object, the work is both mental and eye consciousness. He said when you focus on what’s in front of you, the mind can be limited as what is in front of us is only a prop. But when you reach the mental level, you can ignore the eye consciousness and focus on what is in your mind.

He told the student to close her eyes and focus on the mental image. As she did, the line drifted up again. He told the student she could get better with practice. He understands that scientifically when one is focused, there are more neurons connected in the brain. The Dalai Lama argues that we need to take the time to develop peace of mind. This type of mental toughness does not come overnight.

Reinventing Education

The Dalai Lama sees an urge for reinventing education. He believes today’s education is lacking in moral education, ethics, and what he calls, “the oneness of humanity” – essentially our quest for happiness. Education is the tool with which we can extend our biological instinct for compassion toward our loved ones outward, into the greater world community.

The Dalai Lama argues, “Many students study business and economics with an aim to become rich. So they work tirelessly, without sufficient sleep, always busy, busy, busy. But there’s no compassion in that – it’s just for themselves.” He says it is in our own interest to help the world. Reinventing how children are educated is a theme the Dalai Lama’s returns to time and time again in every aspect of his vision, a force for good.

Social and Emotional Learning

Victor Chan first met the Dalai Lama in 1972. Since then, he’s written two books with the Dalai Lama and founded the Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education. The organization triggered a social movement with “social and emotional learning (SEL) in schools throughout British Columbia. SEL has taken on many forms through a plethora of curricula used in schools around the world that teach life skills like managing upsets, empathy, and cooperation, in essence, emotional hygiene and compassion.

The Dalai Lama was concerned that teachers had not been trained in SEL, so now the University of British Columbia includes this training in its education programs and also offer a master’s degree in the topic. Many might fear the results of this type of education at first, but the Dalai Lama encourages, “You’ll see the results. Start with one school, then ten, then one thousand. Here you’re implementing a pilot project.” Many of the programs extend the learning beyond the school day to include community, parents, and activities.

A Call to Care

This entire chapter has focused on how we can reinvent education to teach the children about compassion. At the Smith College Campus school. Fifth-graders in Emily Endris’s class sit in a circle and have been given the assignment to observe one classmate and to carefully note what they admire about them. Ms. Endris instructs them to look each other in the eye as the complement one another. The student who receives the appreciation thanks the one giving it and then they each reflect on how it feels to say something true and complimentary to them – and to be the one on the receiving end. Powerful!

The verdict?

A lot of smiles and good feeling. The discussion afterward also focuses on the authenticity of the compliments and the fact that when you really pay attention to someone, you see aspects of the person you hadn’t noticed.

These exercises are a part of the R & D lab at Smith College, where teachers in training try out their skills and college students taking courses in child development come to observe.

More than that, the school also participates in a pilot project called Call to Care by the Mind and Life Institute, which happens to a few miles up the road from Smith College. The Dalai Lama has been mentioning the project in his talks across the country whereby he wants the scientific standards of the programs and research to be impeccable.

The Dalai Lama see the SEL training and the Call to Care as cornerstones of his vision, a force for good. He sees the program and education as part theoretical and part practical applications for life.  He believes this education could draw on ancient Indian psychology as well as recent psychological findings to widen and deepen our understanding of emotion and lay the groundwork for change.

In the end, the Dalai Lama envisions an education that is not just good minds but good people. He puts it this way, “Our existing modern education system is oriented toward materialist values. We need an education about inner values to lead to a healthy life.”

As he continued to speak to the audience at Princeton University; “Keep your high standards of education, but it would be more complete if you also included something about warmheartedness.”

To Educating the Heart,

Dr. Crystal

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Economics As If People Mattered

positive economicsNOTE: HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome back to the Learning Blog, Lead.From.Within. I am excited about 2016, and I am grateful that you are joining me in our continued journey into Servant Leadership! We will move forward with the remaining chapters in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World by Daniel Goleman. We are half way through and will be spending the next six weeks completing our lessons in compassion. Let’s get to it…

We need to employ a secular approach to ethics, secular in the Indian sense of respecting all religious traditions and even the views of non-believers in an unbiased way. Secular ethics rooted in scientific findings, common experience, and common sense can easily be introduced into the secular education system. If we can do that, there is a real prospect of making this 21st century an era of peace and compassion”. ~Dalai Lama XIV

Servant Leaders understand the need for ethical values in their work. In the capitalist world, the acquisition of wealth is at the exclusion of concern for other’s well-being and capitalism lacks a compassionate moral outlook. This is what the Dalai Lama argues in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, chapter six, Economics as if People Mattered.

Capitalism, as the Dalai Lama sees it, assumes that people are only interested in self and profit, profit, profit. The financial systems in are focused largely on rewards and greed while ignoring the consequences to people and the planet.

What’s worse is that all of this is happening extreme poverty is glaring us in the face.  The Dalai Lama believes that it is not capitalism or socialism that is the problem, rather a moral principle of the people involved in these systems.

An economics that works for everyone is one that is, a compassionate economy, mixes an entrepreneurial spirit with a sound social-support-system and taxes on wealth- similar to that of Sweden’s economy.

In Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital, he argues that those with money who can invest will always earn more than those who work for their wages. In this way, capitalism helps the rich stay rich, far more than it helps any ordinary workers.

Indeed, a healthy economy is not determined by how many billionaires there are, but by the well-being of everyone.

Capitalism can be a force for good if it has a genuine concern for all.

Goleman tells of a story when the Dalai Lama was informed about the growing number of billionaires. When he asked, through his translator, Thupten Jinpa, “Why would anyone want that much money?” After all, he said, “You only have one stomach.”

Rethinking Economics

What would an economics driven by our neural system- caring and contentment- and not a brain system that drives people’s decision about their money ( the threat that worries about safety) look like? Well, some economists are already exploring this possibility.

Early researchers in this area, Adam Smith, and Jeremy Bentham, studied economic theory from the perspective of success for an economy concerned about the well-being of its people.

Lord Richard Layard, London School of Economics, became interested in this type of economics too. Layard contends that the ballooning wealth of a small few masks the low well-being of the masses. Nations that rank high on creating wealth rank low of measure of well-being.

For example, if two parents spend long hours at work to pay for daycare for their children, the profit daycares make add to the overall GDP (gross domestic product) But the stress on the parents and family are largely ignored. Their sense of well-being…lost.

The Secret to Happiness

The Dalai Lama tells of a story of when he visited Princeton University for a lecture, and a student asked him, “What is the source of happiness?” He looked around at the students waiting for an answer and he replied, “Money! Sex!  and Nightclubs!” His joke brought the house down.

The Dalai Lama did get serious and told the students that they may feel a temporary relief in material things and experiences but when something cause us to worry or fear we tend to forget the happiness. This is why he argues we need a deeper basis for contentment.  He tells the students that feeling kindness, affection, and trust within our circle of family and friends makes us happier than luxuries.

Action for Happiness

Gus O’Donnell, former UK’s Cabinet Secretary, and Lord Richard Layard created the secular movement, Action for Happiness (http://www.actionforhappiness.org/).  In Exploring What Matters, an eight-week course of the Action for Happiness, the group focuses on one single question. People from all over the world connect and initiate small local groups, and each meeting ends with people choosing an action to take to promote happiness and well-being. One group started the Happiness Café where like-minded people come together and share ideas on how to create greater happiness. Action for Happiness is based on ten keys for happier living. Visit their website to take the happiness pledge.

10 Keys to Happier Living

Doing Good While Doing Well

The Dalai Lama was delighted to hear about Greyston Bakery, a for-benefit corporation in Yonkers, New York, who hires, trains, and houses people who were homeless, ex-convicts, drug addicts, on welfare, battered wives, or illiterate and helps them gain a right livelihood.

The bakery supplies its brownies to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Vermont. Greyston Bakery is a B Corporation (businesses that have an explicit mission to benefit society or the environment, as well as to make a profit) whose motto is, “We don’t hire people to bake brownies; we bake brownies to hire people.” There are many more B Corporations in the United States that re-create capitalism to be meaningful and not just profitable. They are essentially businesses that become a force for good.

“The global economy,” Says the Dalai Lama, “Is like a roof over all of us. But it depends on individual pillars for support.” Like he ended his speech with the college students at Princeton, “First take care of yourself financially. Then, step by step, stand on your own feet in order to help others.”

To Positive Economics,

Dr. Crystal



The Year of Servant Leadership in Review


Great leaders start within.”

It has been an amazing year for my learning blog, Lead.From.Within. Who knew the journey would yield great learning experiences (and yet more to come), allow me to network with many great leaders, and get my message across to leaders in 38 countries!!! Wow, for a person who just started learning how to blog, that’s mind blowing!

In the last few days I have been writing and contemplating goals for 2016 (as many of us do at the end of the year and the start of the next).

I’ve read a few blogs and a couple of key messages (questions) resonate with me that I’d like to share with you but first let’s take a quick glance back at what we’ve learned and the tools we’ve gained for our Servant Leadership tool box;

5 Books

  1. Start with Humility: Lessons from America’s quiet CEO’s on how to build trust and inspire followers by Hayes & Comer.
  2. Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership by James Sipe and Don Frick
  3. Authentic Conversations: Moving from manipulations to truth and commitment by Jamie Showkeir and Maren Showkeir.
  4. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. Covey
  5. A Force for Good The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World by Daniel Goleman


  1. Lessons on humility as Servant Leaders
  2. 7 Pillars of Servant Leadership (Character, puts people first, skilled communicator, compassionate collaborator, has foresight, systems thinker, moral authority)
  3. The value of real authentic conversations at work that lead away from parent-child like conversations to adult conversations and consciousness.
  4. The five waves of trust (Self-trust, relationship trust, organizational trust, market trust, and societal trust)
  5. Trust (13 behaviors and the 4 Cores)
  6. Compassion (A force for good)

Two bloggers that challenged me to greater depths of service and spirituality are David Berry and Gregory Toole. If you have a chance, you should check them out in 2016.

Servant Leaders understand that to serve others, one must be open to learning and to ever emerging as a leader who serves.

“What is it you believe you do that makes a difference to other people and to mankind?”

Clifton and Nelson, Soar with Your Strengths




In 2016, I will continue to ask myself the following questions to stay present with Servant Leadership and its message;

  1. How can I serve?
  2. How can you serve?
  3. How can we serve together?
  4. Under what context am I serving?
  5. What do I want the end result of my service to look like?


I wish to thank each of you whole heartedly for your support of my blog! I am indeed in a debt of gratitude to you. I look forward to 2016 with great joy and anticipation for our work together. All is well. We are complete. And so it is. Namaste.


To 2015,

Dr. Crystal


2015 in review

Thank you to all of my blog followers! Without you, I can’t continue to teach Servant Leadership. I am excited and hopeful for 2016! Thank you for sharing in my journey in 2015. #Servant Leadership #Lead.From.Within.


A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 620 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Partnering with Science



As my comprehension of science has grown, it has gradually become evident to me that, insofar as understanding the physical world is concerned, there are many areas of traditional Buddhist thought where our explanations and theories are rudimentary when compared with those of modern science. But, at the same time, even in the most highly developed scientific countries, it is clear that human beings continue to experience suffering, especially at the emotional and psychological level.”

The Universe in a Single Atom by Dalai Lama XIV


Servant leaders understand that science has a place concerning compassion. The Dalai Lama agrees in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, chapter four, Partnering with Science, the Dalai Lama argues that compassion, seen through the lends of spirituality and science can speak to a broader number of people than any religious faith can. “If I offer methods from Buddhism,” says the Dalai Lama, “people will dismiss it as just religion.” But if science says their methods work, “then people have more openness.”

Over the years, the Dalai Lama has made acquaintances and even close friends with many scientists and psychologists and their work in compassion; Dr. Richard Davidson, (who founded the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds), British quantum physicist David Bohm, German physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, philosopher Karl Popper, Paul Ekman, and a host of others.

What the Dalai Lama appreciates is that science is not based on differences in faith or nationality. He finds a genuine sense of internationalism among the great scientists of the world. If science helps us with findings and research that help us create greater well-being and lessen destructive emotions, then it helps us and the scientists.

A more provocative argument that the Dalai Lama makes is that today’s’ psychological science is at a mere “kindergarten” level when it comes to mapping the mind. He says that modern psychology needs to develop more knowledge and methods for dealing with destructive emotions.

He speaks about the ancient “Indian Psychology” that is found in the text of the Abhidharma, which explains the dynamics of the consciousness mind. A key dynamic of this text is that when one possesses a healthy, wholesome mind, the destructive emotions disappear.

The Dalai Lama believes that if we can meld ancient wisdom with contemporary scientific findings that we can create a larger map of the mind. He has even been instrumental in bringing science to the traditional Tibetan monastic education. Working with Emory University, Science textbooks are being translated for inclusion in the Tibetan education curriculum.

More than that, The Dalai Lama has always said that followers should not accept his teachings out of blind faith or devotion but rather through their own investigation and experiment, which is always more powerful that than mere imagination or belief. Similar to the Biblical verse in 2 Timothy 2:15 King James Version (KJV) which puts it this way, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” He says in this way, these methods are indeed scientific.

Another program supporting compassion research has gained support and success is the Compassion Cultivation Training or CCT from the Stanford University’s School of Medicine. An evaluation of the 8-week program by University researchers found that people who participate, their worries are lessened while happiness increased. Those suffering from acute social phobia had less anxiety and fears, and those who suffered from acute enduring chronic pain, their sensitivity to pain decreased after nine week and the sense of well-being improved – and their spouses reported them being less angry.

The scientific findings that the Dali Lama has found with compassion drives him to use the evidence in his message of compassion. “If I say be compassionate,” says the Dalai Lama, “then people will say, Of course, he says that- he’s the Dalai Lama, he Buddhist. But if I can show scientific evidence of the benefits, then it’s more convincing. People will pay attention.”

So, we see that compassion is not just a religious thing, but a scientific thing as well. But putting compassion into action. Well, that another thing.

Next week: A Muscular Compassion

To the Science of Compassion,

Dr. Crystal