When do you feel out of place? Is there anything too serious to be joked about? What are you willing to fight for and why?
In this conversation, I speak with Michael Tennant, Founder of Curiosity Lab and the creator of Actually Curious, a hugely successful card game that’s designed to spread empathy.
We speak about Michael’s childhood, how he coped with the loss of his two older brothers, and the power of a good cry.
3:15 – “I’m really grateful today for knowing how to, for one of the first times, how to say I love my self. I’m obsessed with myself right now…. I really believe in my potential… part of not being able to arrive at that sooner was being so young.”
5:45 – “Often times – what I’ve learned now – is usually when people inflict pain or inflict doubt it’s usually something that’s reflective of what’s going on in them. When you don’t know yourself you don’t have that rooting.”
6:30 – “As a boy, in particular, size matters. I didn’t break five feet until junior year in high school.”
7:15 – “Actually Curious is a conversation card game and a movement to spread empathy. But it was originally created with some sharper language. It was meant to be a Trojan Horse to teach people how to arrive at their own biases, gently.”
8:00 – “The closer you are to the most privileged archetype in your society, the more blind you are to the experience of those around you.”
12:00 – “I woke to learn that Donald Trump had been elected. There was just sadness and hysteria around me. At that point, I made a choice to start this belief in myself that the things that I had skills in – in storytelling, in partnership development – having that be values driven and wanting to do good for people, versus take away from their lives. That I could actually channel that toward making sure he didn’t get re-elected.”
18:15 – “It allows people to be seen. I used to think it was about seeing other people, and it is that. But it also gives you a platform and forum to be heard.”
22:00 – “Sadly, losing [my brothers] is what put me into that hyperwork of understanding where I didn’t love myself and what was missing.”
23:30 – “The reason why people believe in this thing, in many ways, is because of my story, and because I believe in it so deeply.”
26:00 – “I figured out to take it day by day, and I did what felt natural to me and then I strengthened my ability over time to show up for myself.”
26:30 – “I think in many ways, this loss has brought about parts of my character that I didn’t really know fully existed. I didn’t really know that I was a leader like that.”
28:00 – “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
28:30 – “I learned how to strengthen my ability to slow down and listen to myself, and not listen to the projections that people tell me.”
29:00 – “I actually feel really good with a good cry. I feel good to let that go. And I feel good that now I have the confidence that I can show up with another man – a man who is my fraternity brother – and do that and still feel very much the same. I still love myself.”
32:30 – “I’m a strong proponent that when you love yourself you show up better for everyone else.”
- The Actually Curious card game
- Michael’s company, Curiosity Lab
- “How the Actually Curious card game makes empathy accessible” on The Today Show
- “How an Empathy Expert Spends His Sundays” in the New York Times
- “How Far Would You Go to Spread Empathy?” at Medium
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Thanks so much for listening!