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    The Jargon Garden

    A blog of ruminations, ideas, and half-baked thoughts from Andy Busam


    Perfection is an Illusion

    Starting the new year with a resolution and a few personal reminders. Motivation is cultivated. Perfection is an illusion. And, as Shane Parrish says, “Intensity is overrated, while consistency is underrated.”

    Figure It Out vs I Don’t Know

    As someone who prides himself on figuring out hard problems, saying “I don’t know” hasn’t come easy or without hard lessons. There’s no shame in setting down your pride and asking for help.

    The Selective Irrationality of Getting Breakfast in Boone

    We all do selectively irrational things for emotional reasons. We make decisions with our hearts. We go to great lengths to keep our stories alive. We brave nasal swabs and sub-freezing weather to stay connected to each other.

    The Cost of Uncertainty

    Reducing uncertainty means cutting through the noise, identifying what’s most important to know, and using that clarity to make informed choices and decisions.

    Three Lessons When Starting a New Job

    We are each a collection of the experiences and interactions we’ve had over our lifetime. If we’re lucky and smart, we remember the important lessons and carry them into new experiences.

    Heavy Dreams

    A story about grand landscaping projects, heavy machinery, and failure.

    The Imitation Trap

    Imitating others is a skill we do naturally. Yet, there’s a time and place for it. Merely imitating others by following their advice or the way they live without considering their situation or goals can lead to frustration or burnout.

    Learning to Breathe

    Because breathing becomes an involuntary action, we lose sight of its importance. Now, more than ever, we need to refocus on the breath as a source of calm and preparation for the future.

    When It Comes To An End

    Endings are a part of life. How we approach them matters as much as all the time from the start.


    Every day, month, year, and generation is marked by transitions. Being present means noticing them and giving them the attention they deserve. But the real key to life is to anticipate transitions and prepare for life on the other side.

    The Childhood Lesson That Can Improve Customer Experiences

    I’m thankful for the lessons in attentiveness and initiative that my parents patiently taught me. They’re applicable in every aspect of life, including designing effective user and customer experiences.

    How to Stay Calm

    It is important to have reflections at the ready for daily rumination. Internalize them. Make them personal. Find solace in words of wisdom passed down for generations.

    A Trip to the Bookstore

    A trip to the local bookstore on a warm fall Sunday morning revealed a good way to improve the retail shopping experience in our digital-first era.

    How We Survive

    Today, this week, this era. There are, at least, three necessary and interconnected abilities we need individually and collectively to survive.

    Why Saying It Again Matters

    People tend to think of repetition as a tool for persuasion. Yet, repetition can do much more, including strengthen relationships and create loyalty.

    There’s No Substitution for Empathy

    You can’t truly solve customer’s problems on your own. No matter the industry, the time spent building empathy with the people most affected by your decisions will pay dividends.

    Culture is Created

    Every company has a culture. Yet, many of us forget that we have the power collectively to create the culture we want.

    The Difference Between Motion and Action

    Motion and action are mutually reinforcing. And while action may be more visible to others, motion is just as consequential.

    When Invisible Pain Becomes Obvious

    Sometimes pain sneaks up on you. In life, the invisible frustrations can lead to just as much damage as the obvious ones.

    How to Make Communication Fail Less Often

    Communication fails. It's part of life. Yet, an awareness gives us the opportunity to be more intentional about how we interact with each other.

    On the Search for Purpose

    While clarity of purpose requires personal effort, it allows us to become better people for everyone around us.

    A Metaphor for Life

    The best professional advice I received in graduate school.

    How to be Happy at Work

    Or, why changing jobs won't solve all your problems.

    How to Improve Your Communication with Clients

    Using communication theory to create better relationships and outcomes.

    The Jargon Garden Grows Wildly

    The enemy is noise. The goal is clarity.

    A Productive Distraction

    Reflections on my summer quarantine garden.