The Art of ‘Relationship Diplomacy’: A Valentine’s Day Strategy

2019-02-20T18:30:33+00:00 By |Tags: , |

When Empress Wu Zetian sent a pair of pandas to her Japanese counterpart in the 7th century, she sent with them a desired impression of her nation. A figure of gentleness and strength, the symbol of this gift spoke multitudes. The practice of ‘panda diplomacy’ prospered for centuries, from Empresses to Chairmen. Success stories span globally, with explicit requests arising from U.S. President Nixon to British PM Edward Heath in the 1970s. Clearly, this was a winner of a gift. And the Valentine’s market has certainly picked up on the theme. For what gift inspires our feelings of warmth, endearment, and delight than a cuddly panda bear (albeit in a rather less alive form)? In our heart of hearts, is this not a most desirable outcome (especially when certain calendar dates exacerbate expectations)? Though we may throw in the metaphorical hat on any prescription of romantic activity being constrained to [...]

The Deal of Theseus

2019-02-20T18:30:07+00:00 By |Tags: , |

When deciding between two or more competing solutions that each have their own strengths, it can be valuable to repeatedly and hypothetically modify each solution, reconsidering their merit each time, until the choice becomes clearer. Imagine you are deciding to live in the Central Business District of a major city, close to work and entertaininment, or on a gorgeous rural property with sweeping vistas and unique flora and fauna all around. The difference between the two lifestyles offered up by these choices can be so overwhelming that you simply may not know where to begin in evaluating them. One mental tool you can use to assist you in this process is a "slight modification" exercise, where you modify each deal (keeping only its core features intact) and then reconsider how they stack up against each other. This can reveal important factors or decision-making processes that you could not see previously, [...]

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