Barack Obama & Design Engineering…

As a Canadian engineer I learned in school that the first thing you do after defining the problem is to do some background research.  Given that the problem is “We are not currently living in the best possible world, what can be done to make it a better place…?”

I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did some background research and built upon these quotes…”

“The biggest deficit that we have in our society and in the world right now is an empathy deficit. We are in great need of people being able to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes” Barack Obama

“The world doesn’t just revolve around you. There’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit.” Barack Obama

“My third piece of advice is to cultivate a sense of empathy – to put yourself in other people’s shoes – to see the world from their eyes. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.” Barack Obama

“Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen.” Barack Obama

We live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principle goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained. Barack Obama

I’m determined to disagree with people without being disagreeable. That’s part of the empathy. Empathy doesn’t just extend to cute little kids. You have to have empathy when you’re talking to some guy who doesn’t like black people. Barack Obama

What is the empathy deficit? “The inability of people to stand in other folks shoes. ..  It’s hard toempathize with people who have different values than you” Barack Obama

“One of the values that I think men in particular have to pass on is the value of empathy. Not sympathy, empathy. And what that means is standing in somebody else’s shoes, being able to look through their eyes. You know, sometimes we get so caught up in “us” that it’s hard to see that there are other people and that your behavior has an impact on them. And sometimes brothers in particular don’t like to feel empathy, don’t like to think in terms of “How does this affect other people?” because we think that’s being soft. There’s a culture in our society that says we can’t show weakness and we can’t, therefore, show kindness. That we can’t be considerate because sometimes that makes us look weak.”  Barack Obama

“The second thing we need to do as fathers is pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their eyes. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in “us,” that we forget about our obligations to one another. There’s a culture in our society that says remembering these obligations is somehow soft – that we can’t show weakness, and so therefore we can’t show kindness.

But our young boys and girls see that. They see when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it’s no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets.

That’s why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down – you’re strong by lifting them up. That’s our responsibility as fathers.”  Barack Obama

We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old – and that’s the criterion by which I’ll be selecting my judges. Barack Obama

each side has legitimate aspirations — and that’s part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. That’s what we should be encouraging. That’s what we should be promoting.

As it is written in the Book of Deuteronomy, “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”  To me, that verse is a call to show empathy to our brothers and our sisters; to try and recognize ourselves in one another…

Bad Workmanship…    Relationships are the foundation/bricks that we build the best possible world.   Relationships are built over time through communication and verb love.

get down, walk around, write it down, pray

belittling of my working-brothers, in any field of their labour”





  • I Learn by experience.
  • I Learn by being told – ears
  • I Learn by being shown – sight
  • I Learn from someone who knows
  • I Learn from someone with experience
  • I learn from the bible

My heart is where my emotions live

The Bible is the packaged free gift that carries God’s wisdom knowledge to us.  The bible is a 2000 year old gift that is proven to stand the test of time.

Jesus is our teacher shows us how to live how to be behave how to make choices.  Jesus is a dance instructor showing us how to do the dance of life.

Often I am like Peter… promising to stay unto death, then denying Jesus 3 times.

Joy, happiness, salvation, is a choice.   I can choose to accept the biblical Christian world vision or not.

Jesus suffering exceeds the worse we can imagine.  All sins of all men from all time, past present, future, all at once all on the son of God on the cross.  BOOM!  Imagine what that feels like.

I know my calling my mission.  To fulfils the mission that God has for me.

Jesus calls me.  What is my answer?

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

How do I choose to respond to the suffering that God allows in my life?

  • Deny it?
  • Ignore it?
  • Pretend it does not exist?
  • Science modern world… Medicate it? Prescription drugs? Alcohol? Pot? Cocaine ? Heroin?

No – must face it, make a choice, respond to Gods call and God plan, God’s mission.  Choose for Gods plan.

  1. Stop.  I must turn my back on my “I am god” world vision that says “I can do it yourself” “I am powerful enough to handle this.” (get down)
  2. Agonize – walk around, write it down, face the emotions
  3. Pray – remove this cup from me
  4. Be persistent…. How many times did Jesus pray even after his best friends let him down multiple times?   Mark 14:32-42. 3 times before he ran out of time…. How long do I persist?  Until I run out of time just like Jesus did.
  5. Jesus cares for others (empathy for others)  in the midst of his own suffering.  Is there someone else that is in the same circumstance as me to go through this together?
  6. Actively submit my will to the will of God just like Jesus.  Choose.

Who does Jesus blame for his crucifixion here? The people that sinned? God?  Jesus blames no one.  He stands up, takes the suffering as planned by God.  That was God’s plan from the beginning.  I must own it.

Watch, learn from Jesus.

Mark 14:32-42

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”[a] 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Disappointments, doubt, guilt

  • There is a difference between knowing and experiencing. I  know this intuitively.
  • Disappointments, doubt, guilt can be the fruit of experiences, they prevent us from experiencing Gods perfect plan for us.  Those experiences are seen through a certain world vision, a certain lens.
  • Often I say: “God, I don’t see what you are doing here.”
  • But, even when there is a gap between my experience and my expectations, God is with me.  How do I know?  I just look back at my past experiences.  They are evidence that God was there for me.  Parents, school, first job, car accidents, having kids, spouse, marriage, dumb decisions while on vacation, mosh pits, raves, parties, hiking, especially accidentally hiking off the wrong side of the mountain, back country skiing, snowboarding.

Through what world vision, through what lens do I choose to see the past, the present, the future?


The Serenity Prayer is the common name for a prayer authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr[1][2] (1892–1971).

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.







The basics of living the best possible life


  1. I am a sinner
  2. Jesus already paid for my sins on the cross
  3. I have faith only because it was a gift from God
  4. I have faith only by the grace of God

This is God in physical form on earth not only showing us how to live but paying the price for our bad choices… sin.


  1. I am a sinner — My natural bent is to be self centred and self focused.  My choosing to allow myself to continue in this lifestyle choice results in choices that are not in my best interest and wrecking God’s plan in my life and the lives I affect.
  2. Jesus already paid for my sins on the cross – In addition to my sin not being in my best interest…    my sin is against God’s plan for me.  The only thing in the world more valuable than life, is God.  If I damage, scar, desecrate God’s plan… what would it take to pay (value) or works could I do to pay God back for desecrating an infinitely perfect plan?  It would require an infinite payment.  So nothing I can pay or do with cover my choices that damage God’s plan.  The only thing that can pay would be the blood of God himself.  And Jesus already did that for me by grace.  Do I accept the free gift?
  3. I have faith only because it was a gift from God.  I believe (faith) in spite of myself.
  4. I have faith only by the grace of God

Look in my life….

  1. Do I see myself being, self centred, self focused?
  2. Do I see that this changes the world around me because of the self centred choices I choose to make?  Can I see the results?   What has happened around me when I open the “self centred Pandora box of disaster”?
  3. How did it (my choice) change the world around me?   How did this change me?  How did it put my life on a certain path?
  4. What was the world change around me caused by?  Am I accountable, did I play a part? (no matter how small?)   Can I take responsibility for it?
  5. Can I make it right?  Can I make it all perfect again?  Undo it all?
  6. Does my pride prevent me from trying?   (Sin… again)  Is my ego suffering?   Do I want to choose to be RIGHT more than I want to choose to be happy?
  7. Does my will prevent me from making a choice to take action?
  8. What can make it right?  Jesus.
  9. Am I called to overcome 6 and 7?  But why would I do it?  There is only one reason that is big enough to cover every possible case in the whole world anywhere at any time.  That reason is to comply with the word of God, to comply with God’s plan.  (an infinitely huge perfect holy plan.)
  10. What have I done or could do to be part of a perfectly infinitely holy plan?   Before I was born, what did I do to “earn” or “deserve” life?  After I choose to do things (sin) that screws up my life, what have I “done”, can I “do” to make it perfect again?
  11. I can see the grace (free gift) of God.  But what does God call me to “do”?  To do the same to everyone else.

Who is my neighbour?  Luke 10:25-37

Luke 10:25-37

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 And the next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Samaritan – the local “different” religion – enemy of the Jews.  Jesus calls us to show mercy – to show Grace… what did the Samaritan ever do for for the man?.  Each individuals choice for grace and choice for verb love makes the best possible world.

Again… why do it?  Why do this? “Each individuals choice for grace and choice for verb love makes the best possible world.”  Only thing big enough for “always forever love and grace for everything to everyone” is a perfect God and a perfect God plan.   This is the main thing that all other religions and science do not have.  Verb love and grace for everything for all above all because it is God’s plan.



The unexamined life is not worth living

I have discovered doing a blog is a great way to address this…

The unexamined life is not worth living (Ancient Greek: ὁ … ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ) is a famous dictum apparently uttered bySocrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth, for which he was subsequently sentenced to death, as described in Plato’s Apology.


Suffering – 3 given’s…

“In the secular view, suffering is never seen as a meaningful part of life but only as an interruption.”  JP

My suffering is not all about me.  My suffering is about God using me to have an experience that equips me to do something I can not see right now… but something greater than I could even imagine.

““Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.” (30)”  JP


“Some suffering is given in order to chastise and correct a person for wrongful patterns of life (as in the case of Jonah imperilled by the storm), some suffering is given not to correct past wrongs but to prevent future ones (as in the case of Joseph sold into slavery), and some suffering has no purpose other than to lead a person to love God more ardently for himself alone and so discover the ultimate peace and freedom.” (47)  JP

Story & Positioning

4 P’s of business

  • People
  • Product
  • Processes
  • Positioning (branding)

POSITIONING…   Communicate… What role do you play for the customer in 5 seconds?  More than that?  you lose.

Example Narrative (Dave R ish):

I went bankrupt.
I had bad business practices.
I opened my bible.  Asked how I should I do this (from a biblical perspective).
I created some integrity based practices.
Now I help other people.

update: 170918

  1. I had everything but was still grumpy and dissapointed.
  2. I had a bad world view focused on self.
  3. I read the bible, asked how I should see this.
  4. I adopted a biblical world view seeing my life, my resources and other people through God’s lens
  5. Now I am content and I help other people.


1st thing….  Help the hero win the day.  Know their pain points.

  • What do they want, What are they trying to accomplish,  What is the Deathstar they are trying to destroy.
  • What are the challenges that face them? (example of pain point:   Have great products but they cannot get the word out.)



Keep it simple.  (it = message)   Speak in black and white easy to understand messages.

Above helps you define the message.

Positioning the user as the hero in a human-centred design process provides a natural way to evoke empathy from the design team and from project stakeholders.

messages that grow your business:

  1. The customer is the hero, not you.
  2. Every hero has a problem. Ask “what problem do you solve for your customer.”  What is your customer’s frustration
  3. Empathy, we understand their pain.   “I understand your pain and I like you.”
  4. Authority, I know what I am talking about. The way to make a good first impression.  1) I have my stuff together and 2) I like you and I am like you and I was like you in the past.
  5. What I can do to help them solve the problem better than anyone else.
  6. Make the customer the hero of the story.


Example: 1) you have problems 2) we understand “we had the same problem xxx years ago.”   3)  We solved it by xxxx with this real result xxxx .

5 things website must include.  (objective – 5 seconds to tell what you do – focus on what you do)

1) easy to understand tag line (picture of happy person using product)   example “increase your revenue by using our product”.  Can a cave man understand it?   “We do lawn care. My lawn look good.  Me not pay big price.”.   Name your customer in tag line.  Example  “We help entrepreneurs do ________”

2)  One OBVIOUS button to push to buy.  It must ALWAYS be on every screen all the time.  Have a call to action on the page “buy now”.  (keep all the other buttons but put them on the bottom and fade them out a bit).

3)  Visually display the success your client (human) will experience if they buy your product/service.  Appeal to subconscious.

4)  Break down products and services into bite-size categories.

5)  Clear communication of brand script.


How to Tell a Compelling Story. (Bible, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Hungerer Games, ancient myths etc)

Joseph Campbell – Monomyth Model

0 – Status Quo

1 – Call to adventure

2 – Assistance

3 – Departure  (into Special World)

4 – Trials  (Special World)

5 – Approach  (Special World)

6 – Crisis  (Special World)

7 – Treasure  (Special World)

8 – Result  (Special World)

9 – Return  (out of Special World)

10 – New Life

11 – Resolution

0 – Status Quo

youtube video


Joseph Campbell – Monomyth Model – observation of real world.

0 – Status Quo

1 – Call to adventure – hero receives a message/invitation/challenge (receives a quest)

2 – Assistance – hero needs some help from someone older/wiser/experienced  (scroll, ring, sword, tool)

3 – Departure  (into Special World) – cross the threshold from normal safe world over into new environment (Special World)

4 – Trials  (Special World) – trials, hard work, solves riddle, slays monster, escapes from a trap,

5 – Approach  (Special World) – approach, time to face biggest challenge, hero’s worst fear,

6 – Crisis  (Special World) – hero’s darkest hour, faces death, get’s reborn

7 – Treasure  (Special World) – special recognition, power, knowledge, gift, treasure, experience, equipped with something new that makes you better equipped to understand and help other people who are currently at “status quo” and about to be called to adventure.

8 – Result  (Special World) – monsters continue? Or monsters bow down and die?  (varies)

9 – Return  (out of Special World) – after all that adventure, the hero returns to the ordinary world

10 – New Life – quest has changed the hero, he has outgrown his old life, he is different,

11 – Resolution – all the tangled plot lines get sorted out.

0 – Status Quo – but upgraded to a new level, more color, more flavor, more texture, more nuance, more intense.  Nothing is the same.

What do you have in common with these people?  This is the human walk.  This is the human experience.  This is God’s plan for  us.  To be built up through this.  To be sanctified through this.  This is the story of Jesus.  This is what life is – to know and experience and be delighted in God’s creation.

“in the cave you fear to enter lies the treasure you seek”

Status quo

call to adventure & accept the challenge

trials, crisis & conquer your fear

claim the treasure you seek

and then….. do it all over again….

What is the symbolic cave that you fear to enter?  (try out for school play, baseball tryouts, love, new job/career, school, religion, marriage, immigration, having kids, buy a house, vacation, cancer, heart attack, surgery)

What are the possible treasures?

What are the possible treasures you get from the alternatives?  (Alternatives are: do not accept the challenge (aka, medicate it (drugs, alcohol) ignore it (watch TV and play video games), walk away from relationship (divorce, separation from kids, parents, relatives)) or abort it. (Give up).

“You never fail until you stop trying.”   ALBERT EINSTEIN   

I believe failure is a choice you make when you choose to stop trying.

Listen for your call to adventure…  That is God’s plan for you to experience his glory through adventure.