Hello! This week I want to talk about a change I noticed in my internet behaviour - I have started to use the “heart” reaction instead of the typical (traditional) “like” reaction.
This came mostly subconsciously, as part of a wider change in my perspective about what kinds of messages exist on social media, the wider web, and also at my company’s Slack workspace.
If I were to try and trace the origin of this wider change in my perspective, I would probably arrive at one person: Milan. He’s a colleague working in the same team as me at Smartly.io and he is one of the most empathetic people I know.
In our workplace Slack, Milan is known for doling out more hearts than the rest of the company combined. It can feel weird, for sure. Why is this person reacting with a heart? Does he like me especially? Does he think I need emotional support? But it didn’t long for me to adjust to it, and more importantly, I’ve learned to embrace it myself.
A heart is a symbol of love and care. I now view it as meaning “thank you for showing me an act of bravery for sharing this” or “me too, I hear you.”
A thumbs up (“like”), on the other hand, is a symbol of acknowledgement or approval. It means “that’s cool!” or “good job.”
When I “heart” someone’s message, it is about showing that I recognise that this person had displayed an act of courage to be vulnerable enough to say what he said. It is my little (but not insignificant) way of encouraging him to continue to be brave and to trust that the world will react kindly by acknowledging that it took guts and bravery and that I appreciate him.
It is the equivalent of a gentle, knowing smile in real life. (The plain smile emoji is the closest thing that resembles that kind of smile in real life, but it still feels off by a mile.)
And you know what? The first time I responded with a “heart,” I began to see just how many messages out there is the kind that could use this kind of encouragement. So I’ve started to “heart” whenever I can.
Someone shares that he has been working on a side project — heart.
Someone shares that he has just launched a company — heart.
Someone shares a success story as a teacher with a grateful student — heart!
Someone shares that he is torn — heart, and say something.
Unfortunately, not all platforms support the “heart” reaction yet but perhaps that could change if more people reacted with hearts on platforms that currently support it. The heart of the matter (sorry, not sorry) is that reacting with a heart is a cost-free way of helping another human feel loved, cared for, trusted, and less alone. So why not do it more?
I named this newsletter Heart to Heart as a reflection of this belief. My heart is on display in these dispatches and I hope that it reaches yours.
Give more hearts. When it’s your turn to share something intimate and vulnerable with the world, those hearts may just come back and you will be full.
Just like last week, in the section below I list some things that I discovered this week that I wanted to share with you.
Thank you for reading and have a good weekend.
PS. You can reply directly to this email. I will be reading every reply.
What I have been reading —
Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems. This short article applies the “know thy strength” mantra specifically to one’s professional career. “I’m no genius. I’m smart in spots — but I stay around those spots”, says Tom Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, cited in the article. But the big takeaway for me is this diagram (source):
What I published on the blog last week —
Focus on understanding, not on what is right. I tend to respond defensively when people leave a public comment on something I wrote. I do not like that because I know the reason I write is to learn to understand people and the world, to be understood by people, but not to be right. Why do I do this? How can I change? This article spells out the new mental model that I’ve adopted to be a better conversation partner.
What I have learned from cooking at home —
I’ve been using HelloFresh for the second week running and I’ve already learned a few surprising things about food pairings. Teriyaki sauce goes very well with fresh lime juice. Bake sweet potatoes with the cut-side facing down to get a softer and moister consistency. And with spring onions, chop the white, hard part and use for frying and chop the leafy part to use as garnish. Convenient and full of little opportunities to learn to become a better cook! (In case you’re interested to try, here’s my referral link. You’ll get a 20 € discount and I’ll get a 20 € credit. I think that link might only work for people in Germany, though.)