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The art of embracing damage

Kintsugi is an art and philosophy from 15th century Japan that teaches how to turn the scars and cracks on objects into art. You might have marvelled at beautiful Japanese bowls and plates with golden vein patterns: that’s kintsugi.

Kintsugi is working with what you have in the state it’s in, acknowledging the beauty of what is broken, the imperfections and failure of something that one day was intact, that things are not as we want them anymore.

There is great courage in practicing kintsugi. Kintsugi is not pivoting, it’s not finding another way to get where we want to go, it’s not about levelling up or thinking ‘I can do this’.

Sometimes we need to face the naked truth. The reality that’s in front of us: something is broken. And we need to decide whether to discard it or to take the pieces and make something beautiful and different out of what’s left.

Think about it. Go down on your knees. Collect the pieces one by one and start the process of mending something that you will still love, even when it will never be what it once was.

Now think about taking the pieces, putting them in the bin and buying another plate.

We pay so much attention to the results that we forget that attitude is everything in life. Like the humble act of carefully picking up the pieces because you believe in beauty and in embracing damage.

These are the kind of stories that leaders tell; damage, imperfect or broken is not equal to failure.



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