Learning and Weaving: The absorption benefit of your Personal Philosophy


You see, hear, and read a lot each day.
You discover goodness, and learn all sorts of things.
And if that’s not enough, you share in what I write about here, or find and clip on Ho‘ohana Aloha.
How do you apply what’s most useful to you and retain it?

I’ll ask the question in another way: What is the Personal Philosophy you weave it into?


As a Talking Story reader, you know that my weave is Managing with Aloha, the value-verbing philosophy I’ve based on 19 values and 9 key concepts. Managing with Aloha has been an extraordinary gift in my life, serving me in several ways. I don’t pretend nor profess it to be the ‘be-all and end-all‘ — in fact, it’s somewhat the opposite: What it does for me, is absorb additional learning so I can quickly use it and retain it.

Here is an example of how I did this yesterday, as my commentary on The Five Universal Themes of Business as compiled by Todd Sattersten:

1. Clarity of Purpose:
MWA Key 3 – Value Alignment, and
Key 8 – Sense of Place

2. Wisdom in Decision Making:
MWA ӬKey 3 РValue Alignment, and
Key 9 – Palena ‘ole (Growing within your full capacity)

3. Bias for Action:
MWA Key 2 – Ho‘ohana (worthwhile, intentional work), and
Key 7 – Strengths Management

4. Openness to Change:
MWA Key 4 – Role of the Manager, reconstructed, and
Key 6 – ‘Ohana in Business (strategic form/function)

5. Giving and Getting Feedback:
MWA ӬKey 1 РAloha (as the foundational rootstock it is), and
Key 5 – Language of Intention (our communication key)

Creating a culture is creative, romantic, dreamy. But then you’ve got to give it teeth, and get it to actually happen. Third, you have to Ho‘omau, and persist in stewarding that culture so it will sustain itself and live beyond you or any single manager.

You can use MWA in this way too if you wish, or you could use another philosophy: Before Managing with Aloha came together for me, I used Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for nearly a decade, a philosophy which I would discover he’d based on the timeless principle called the Law of the Harvest:

We tend to reap what we sow.   “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny,” the maxim goes.

Scout Orchid

Usefulness is about Fit

When you learn something new, and you want to keep it close, and make it optimally useful to you, ask yourself, “Where does this fit in my personal philosophy?”

Ask, “How could this grow me?”

Push your thinking toward the value alignment (or concept alignment) that is evolving into what you truly believe, and increasingly will stand for.

Focus on your Deliberate Inputs. Don’t be too quick to move on and gather more. Dwell on what you just learned, and take more time to savor it. Think on it more deeply, and question it. Discard the clutter, and weave in the keepers. Take action in some way to satisfy your sense of urgency. (This is a good suggestion: Recreate whatever inspires you.)

One glorious day you’ll have Ka lā hiki ola, that ‘dawning of a new day’ where you realize you have your very own version of Living, Working, Managing, and Leading with Aloha. It’s your brand and your Personal Philosophy. It’s become your weave, for you’ll never stop learning, and that’s a good thing.

Palena ‘ole

You have way more capacity than you’re aware of at this moment, whether physical, intellectual, emotional, or spiritual. Weave it into tangible being.

Learning (the value of ‘Ike loa) is a fabulous thing; weave in your ‘loose ends’ and see what you can create.

Tab it and mark it up!

Aloha! Just joining us?

Talking Story is the blog home of those who are learning to be Alaka‘i Managers — those committed to managing and leading with Aloha. Read a preview of the book which inspired this movement, and visit our About Page. Purchase Managing with Aloha at Amazon.com in hardcover, or in the Kindle Store.

Talking Story with Rosa Say


  1. Thadeus says

    Thanks for this post! I’m an avid learner/info-consumer and absorbing the best bits of information I consume is always a struggle for me. I appreciate you sharing some insight on the subject. :)

    • Rosa Say says

      You’re welcome Thadeus :) and mahalo to you for continuing to comment here for us as you do. You’re certainly not alone in the struggle you mention, for this takes constant discipline for me too… my own issue is mostly the slowing down part, and moving myself toward that bias for action with a greater sense of urgency instead of consuming more, more, more.

  2. Anne says

    Hi Rosa! Great post! The last picture (the files) spoke volumes to me… daily I write down words: single words, phrases, paragraphs of wisdom and they’re everywhere…underlined in books, in small notebooks here and there…and stuffed in my head, but don’t come to memory…If I could whittle them down to 7-12 personal philosophy habits…and then review them to strengthen their value/use in my life…this is my intention for March…Mahalo!

    • Rosa Say says

      Your habit with writing things down is a good one Anne — very, very good. Similar to reading, we tend to take the act of writing for granted, not flowing with it enough to more frequently experience its full range of physical energy for us beyond the obvious gain of remembrance. Weaving therefore, might start as a review or recapping process for you now, where you can pull it all together in some way… I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with by monthend!

      That last picture is actually my teaching copy of Managing with Aloha: It’s tabbed and annotated in the way I described in Become an Alaka‘i Manager in 5 Weeks, and I have dozens of index cards and ruled post-its stuffed within it now. Come to think of it, it’s sort of another weave for me, one for my MWA workshopping process :) I have a second book/file/resource which is similar, but used for my executive coaching business.

  3. Rosa Say says

    Here is another way to think about weaving: Maria Popova calls it “combinatorial creativity.”

    This was republished in the Daily Good today ~ Steal Like an Artist (click through for a 7:44 video featuring Austin Kleon). He’s become one of my favorite Tumblr follows too.

    “We can pick our teachers and we can pick our friends and we can pick the books we read and the music we listen to and the movies we see, etcetera. You are a mashup of what you let into your life.”
    ~ designer Paula Scher

  4. Rosa Say says

    Update, for additional reflection:
    Return to Philosophy, by Ryan Holiday: “…stop learning (or “working”) for a second and refine.”

    I have written this post before, but it remains a common theme. The busier we get, the more we work, and learn and read, the further we drift. We get in a rhythm. We’re making money, being creative, we’re stimulated and busy. It seems like everything is going well. But we drift further and further from Philosophy.

    So we must catch ourselves and return to it. Pick up Meditations, Seneca, Plutarch, Hadot, our notecards of quotes and reminders or, anything from the shelf of “Life” books. Stop and evaluate. Read something that challenges, instead of informs.

    No matter how much learning or work or thinking we do, none of it matters unless it happens against the backstop of exhortative analysis. The kind rooted in the deep study of the mind and emotion, and demands that we hold ourselves to certain standards. We must turn to the practical, to the spiritual exercises of great men and actively use them. It’s the only way we’ll get anything out of the rest of our efforts. It simple: stop learning (or “working”) for a second and refine.

    Put aside all the momentum and the moment. Tap the brakes. Return to philosophy.