February 2022

Where do you get your information and stimulation these days? Who do you talk to, what do you read, where do you scroll, when do you listen and how do you follow events? Beyond that, who do you block, unfollow, cancel or tune out?

Now, more than ever, our content shapes what we know (or think we know) how we feel, and the assumptions we make about other people.

It’s a weird self-fulfilling cycle – we’re most comfortable hearing information and perspectives that validate our thoughts, so we only listen to those sources and talk to those people. We unfollow anything that hits us wrong. We steer clear of anyone who annoys us. The safer we are, the more it seems that anyone who feels and thinks differently is a threat.

That door swings both ways, too. God forbid we’re “caught” listening to a news source with an alternative POV or having a conversation with someone who is “on the other side” of our norms. In the current state of polarization, when we stray out of our lane, we risk being judged, ridiculed or even canceled.

So here’s what I want to know: Are you content with your content?

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This was a conversation that hit at the heart of the Parlay House team as we met last week to talk about what we’re putting out into the world. After all, we host virtual events multiple times each month, live events in twelve cities around the world, a weekly podcast called Bring a Friend, our recurring Weekend Lift newsletter and my monthly notes like this one. We’re responsible for creating and curating a lot of content and stimulating a lot of conversation.

Are we too liberal or too cautious? Over-sensitive or insensitive? Inclusive or exclusionary?

When we stopped to ask ourselves how we could bring even more relevance and diversity of thought into our conversations, we found that despite our intention to be broad and inclusive, we didn’t know where to start!

When we stick to people, subjects and resources that only confirm our beliefs, we don’t know what we don’t know.

Yes, asking people to stretch outside of their comfort zones is risky.

As the Founder and leader of an organization that was created to foster authentic conversations that feel both meaningful and safe for everyone, I walk a fine line.

But it’s in those stretches beyond the familiar that we have the possibility of finding commonalities and building a sense of belonging – even when we may not see the world the same way.

As Arielle often says, “We can love each other even when we don’t always like each other.”

From what I can tell, the Parlay House team isn’t alone in walking the tightrope between “neutral and inflammatory”. Whether it’s related to politics, religion, social behavior, relationships and more, we’ve all got to get a bit more comfortable with the uncomfortable. Flirt with the unfamiliar. Taste the forbidden fruit. By stepping into the unfamiliar, we hope to come out the other side with broadened perspectives about other people’s experiences that shaped their different but important lives, views and values.

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So this newsletter includes an ask. Can you burst our bubble?

We‘d love for you to let us know about a perspective that is being missed, give us context for a POV that is not mainstream, or provide background that might help people who are different from you understand you a bit better.

Share it Small: Tell us something that’s important to you that we might be missing. Tell us something that you are feeling but not saying because it isn’t PC. Tell us about something you want to talk about but don’t want to get slammed for. We’ll try to pick up the conversation on your behalf.

Share it Big: What are the conversations we aren’t hearing on a community or even a national level? If the mainstream media isn’t calling it out, we probably don’t know about it either. Open those doors for us so we can dig deeper and figure out how to broaden those conversations too. If we don’t know, we can’t grow. Thanks for helping change that.

Share it with Me: We all learn from each other. If you have had a revelation, a breakthrough, an insight, or a triumph, we can learn from you so please tell me about it here! I’m collecting stories of these cascades of good for ongoing community building and to track The Parlay Effect in action. I would love nothing better than to hear how you lifted, were lifted, or observed something in others that made you feel good and recognize your own power.