The book titled Stealing Fire is all about optimizing human performance. It’s a good one, filled with interesting insights around the science of flow and how to hack into flipping the switch. This one will cause you to pause and make you uncomfortable (at least it did me). However, today, I found myself again telling a story from SF that had nothing to do with finding flow.

Ellie, one of the military’s most in demand shrinks, is not about optimizing human performance. She’s focused on saving humans performance. You see, Ellie, is focused on reducing PTSD suicides in the military and she’s doing a great job. Ellie is a master at reading the face and body. She doesn’t focus on the words, she reads what’s not being said and tuning into deep signs of sadness. And, she’s getting better results than any other shrinks. Turns out the other doc’s can’t keep from showing their own emotions. Ellie never shows hers. When soldiers are interviewed as to why they revealed so much more to Ellie than the other doc’s, the responses are almost universally around the fact that she doesn’t judge them. We humans play it safe when we feel judged. So, what’s the key to Ellie’s ability to detach?  Well, for starters, she’s not human…

Ellie, you see, is the world’s first artificially intelligent (AI) shrink. Ellie does judge, she just doesn’t show it. We trust her because we feel safer revealing what we’re really thinking when it doesn’t feel like we’re being judged. Leader, there might be a nugget here. What might you be able to learn about leadership from an AI shrink, friend? Slow down. Reflect. Sit with this one for awhile, friend.


1 thought on “Ellie…

  1. Just started reading this one Chet and it will definitely test your thinking! Just got into it so your insights have offered some good motivation to really venture into this one!

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