Adam Bendell: Reconsidering the Classic Definition of Success & Planting Seeds for Change – Episode 55

Adam Bendell: Reconsidering the Classic Definition of Success & Planting Seeds for Change - Episode 55This week, Robert is joined by a guest that exemplifies the essence of a psycho-political life with his relationship with the world. Adam Bendell is the CEO of Toniic, a global action community for impact investors. Toniic creates community, provides educational resources, and curates impact investment opportunities for its members. Adam joined Toniic from his role as chief innovation officer for FTI Consulting. He was also CEO and co-founder of Strategic Discovery, an electronic discovery innovator. Adam is an active impact investor, philanthropist, innovator, meditator, yogi, backpacker, motorcyclist, utilitarian, student of collaborative communication, and a lifelong learner. Here, Robert and Adam discuss the great work he is currently doing and share the seeds of change that led him away from the classic definitions of success. It also reveals how well this motivation dovetails into Psycho-Economics.

Psycho-Politics can be broken down into three core principles. The first is to become aware of our tendency to externalize our challenging emotions on others. Instead, we can learn to relate to challenging emotions without letting them rule our responses. The effect of externalizing our emotions on others is to believe they are the source of our anger, distrust, alienation etc.  This is a setup for war, divorce, competition, corruption, rationalization and much more. The first principle also reflects that It is natural to want to take care of ourselves and our family first, but given that this is what almost all of us do, we need to contemplate giving a greater percentage of our heart, time and energy to the greater world. Very few are taking care of the poor, the planet and natural resources. This leaves us at great risk of killing ourselves if we cannot see that our emotions are our responsibility.

The second is similar to the first principle except it is related to those that have some extra money.  It is an encouragement to revamp our relationship to money and success as we consider how to care more for others by increasing our percentage of sharing wealth from those that have some to give. This also highlights the realization that if those that have extra money, which is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars, don’t make these new moves, then the chances for our planet’s survival are deeply imperiled.

The third is to ask ourselves, what is the balance for me between taking care of those I love and also the poor, the country and planet on which I live? We must continue to reflect on this for the rest of our lives. Join Robert and Adam as they traverse the many issues facing our world today with vulnerability, heart, and the opportunity to see their joy in giving.

Mentioned in this episode
FTI Consulting
SV Technologies
Gibson Dunn
American Enterprise Institute
The Global Bridge Foundation

Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast

Announcer: (00:00)
The Missing Conversation, Episode 55.

Adam Bendell: (00:03)
If you swim against the tide and you choose to use your resources to help others on the planet, the riches you receive in return will wildly exceed market rate financial returns. right.

Announcer: (00:19)
On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking, as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host, Robert Strock, has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry. Born from working on his own challenges.

Robert Strock: (00:58)
Welcome again, to The Missing Conversation where we do our best to address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet. And also find a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that both we and the world so badly needs. Today, we have a guest that exemplifies someone who’s lived a life that I would say really expresses so much of the essence of a psycho-political life in his relationship to the world and has a very interesting background and has made personal and global choices that expanded dramatically as his life progressed when he had other incredibly great options that lead me to feel honored to have him on our show today. Adam Bendell is the CEO of Toniic, the global action community for impact investors. Toniic creates community, provides educational resources and curates investment opportunities for its members, high net worth individuals, family offices, and foundations who are active impact investors. Toniic also curates public resources to attract additional capital to impact investing.

Robert Strock: (02:41)
Adam joined Toniic from his role as chief innovation officer for FTI Consulting, Inc. A NYS listed global consulting firm. Prior to FTI, he was CEO and co-founder of Strategic Discovery, an electronic discovery innovator and before that co-founded and served as president of SV Technology, a software startup. After serving as chief technology council for Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, Adams, an active impact investor and philanthropist, an innovator in several fields, a meditator, yogi, backpacker, motorcyclist, utilitarian, student of collaborative communication and life-long learner. His wife says he’s a good listener, too. And as you know, there aren’t many of us that can say that. So, I’d like to start off with saying hi, Adam, and thanks so much for joining the show.

Adam Bendell: (04:04)
Hey, Rob, it’s an absolute delight to bring our relationship into this domain.

Robert Strock: (04:10)
It sure is. So if you don’t mind, I’d like to begin with just giving a brief summary of psycho-politics,

Adam Bendell: (04:19)
Please. Yeah.

Robert Strock: (04:21)
So, psycho-politics starts with a premise that it’s really natural for us to want to take care of ourselves and our family, and to bring our best love to that. And as we all know, even that’s a challenge, but we are in the 21st century and so we not only are in a situation where we wanna take care of our family and our loved ones and ourself, but we also have a planet with global warming, And we also have war. We also have the threats of terrorism. And so, what does it actually mean to take care of our family when we have global threats? So, the first part of psycho-politics is really looking at what’s the balance between taking care of our family and our loved ones and the planet and the poor that are on the planets. How do we balance that out to where we all have the best chance to survive in how we use our energy?

Robert Strock: (05:34)
So, that’s the first part of three. And the second part of three is really looking at our relationship to money. And it’s the same question. How do we take care of our family, which classically, maybe we end up giving 97% of our money to our family, as a globe. And how do we take care of the planet and how do we take care of the poor, which by not taking care of the poor, of course, we’re setting up an us and them, we’re setting up a division in classes and we’re setting up a warfare that’s gone on throughout history. How do we deal with that and address that on a monetary level. And then the third part of psycho-politics is really recognizing that this question of how do we take care of ourselves, our loved ones and the planet and the poor at the same time and asking that question for the rest of our lives and really addressing it actively because we’re in the 21st century. And it’s so important that we do something because we’re at a, live in a way that we never lived before, as something close to one, or we have the dangers of killing ourselves. So, those are the three parts of psycho-politics.

Robert Strock: (07:08)
So Adam, you seem to have started your life aimed in a traditional direction and sort of a classic definition of success and done an amazing Ivy league fulfillment of that life in many, many ways. And you were conventionally living a lot of prestigious professional roles, even your tech entrepreneurial ventures were utterly successful. Your life looks quite different today. So, what were the seeds of change?

Adam Bendell: (07:49)
Well, I think, Rob, the seed was beginning a meditation practice in 1990 and what that eventually led to was two fundamental insights. The first is that I can experience challenging emotions without believing what they tell me to be true.

Robert Strock: (08:10)

Adam Bendell: (08:11)
Uh, we, you know, with awareness, I can cultivate a gap between an emotional urge and my response, my dad used to talk about, uh, having to do something because it was an internal imperative. And I came to see that feeling of an internal imperative as just another feeling that I could choose to respond to in different ways than it was suggesting. So that was, that was the first sort of key insight of starting a meditation practice a long, long time ago. And the second was really shocking. It was the, the shocking insight that into the truth of reality, um, that I’m interconnected with all living things and the planet itself, and that replaced the illusion of separateness with which I’d been living. Now, I know, uh, probably not to listeners of your podcast, but certainly to folks, I talk to that that can sound like new age problem.

Adam Bendell: (09:13)
But as you know, this reality is grounded in science as well, right? In biology, astronomy, geology, ecology, particle physics. And, uh, so my point is that this is an insight that’s accessible both through spiritual and through intellectual investigation. And so from those insights, I came to see two or three things about what you’re referring to as my kind of conventional success. The first is that that success was not the result of my efforts alone, but it was made possible by others who supported me, shared their financial and human resources and gave me breaks that others don’t get. The second was, although I’m talented and hardworking, I think my success was not a result of those factors alone. It also included luck. I was born male, white, and middle class in America, which was, you know, at least, until recently, a stable democracy governed by the rule of law.

Adam Bendell: (10:26)
So, I had access to a great education and a connection of, to a network of influential people that, that afforded. Everything I subsequently achieved was based on that good luck. Those circumstances were random and they’re not universal, many equally talented and hardworking people would not have been able to do what I did because of these previously unseen privileges, unseen to me. And I think the, the third, uh, thing that, that these insights opened for me is that conventional success didn’t make me happy. As I, I recently heard Arthur Brooks, who’s the former CEO of the American Enterprise Institute, which is a conservative think tank in Washington, DC say, we’re taught that we should use people, love things and worship ourselves. When, what brings happiness is to use things, love people and worship the divine.

Robert Strock: (11:28)
Well, that is a mouthful. Uh, you saying so many, so much of what you just said, and I wanna highlight the first part of what you said, which is so, uh, it makes me both sad and joyous at the same time, which is having challenging emotions and having a gap and not having to respond from the challenging emotions. Now, the audience is very familiar with that message and much more so than the other more, let’s say, uh, somewhat esoteric new age pabulum as you refer to it. Um, although I don’t think it is that of course, but I, I wanna say that it, the sadness for me is that the psychology profession doesn’t have what you just shared, what I just echoed, as obvious that create a gap, feel what you feel, and then look at what really matters to you in letting that be the response.

Robert Strock: (12:36)
And that, that is the essence of what I would consider good psychology and, and I’ve suffered a lot through the years and not seeing that being psychology 101, 102, 201 or 303. The other parts I wanna just relate to is the things that you’re talking about relative to science, having proven it, et cetera, or the interconnectedness of all things. I think we can break that down even more simply and say, it’s obvious how interconnected we are by COVID, it’s obvious how interconnected we are by what’s happening in Ukraine. It’s obvious we’re interconnected in so many tangible ways. And the great news about things is, is that in the 21st century is obvious to the average human being without having to be really brainy. You, you happen to have good, common sense, but you also have a rather advanced brain. And so, I wanna try to dumb it down a little bit, um, to, to talk about the obvious interconnections that we all see and that we need to see that this is the time where we act on the interconnectedness in a way that human history has never done.

Robert Strock: (13:54)
We’ve glorified our, not only ourselves, but we’ve glorified our nations, we’ve glorified our political parties. We’ve glorified our religions, we’ve glorified, expressing feelings in psychology. We’ve glorified so many things that are not glorious. And, and yet what you’re talking about is really what The Missing Conversation is trying to bring out, as much as possible. So, thank you for really that incredibly eloquent, uh, expression, uh, in ways with, I think, a proper appropriate, uh, self-deprecation relative to the audience, where yeah, they may not understand all those things exactly, but you have the best of both worlds and they do tie in together.

Adam Bendell: (14:40)
Well, it sounds like I’m in the right place for a conversation today.

Robert Strock: (14:43)
So, you know, it, it kind of makes me think back to our past. It was, I don’t know, maybe 20 years ago, and we were somewhat in the middle phases of, of a turning point. And here we are on a trip to India visiting the largest microfinance organizations, which for people that don’t know what microfinance is, it’s making small loans, mostly the third-world village women and helping them expand their businesses so they can have greater self-sufficiency. And in going to one of the visits in particular, I remember such a wonderful joke that I’ve probably shared 3,000 times since then. And we were visiting one person who had told us that he had come back to America and he had visited McDonald’s and had visited Walmart and saw how they scaled. And he, he had made his business model based on that American dream.

Robert Strock: (15:46)
And he was devouring other microfinance organizations that had been working for 10 years. And because he was expanding at a hundred thousand borrowers a month, he was just taking other organizations. He could give them a lower interest rate, didn’t care about their work. I remember asking him about, you know, why wouldn’t you just go to fresh areas and let people that worked that hard, why wouldn’t you just let them do what they’re doing and help people that are a virgin that still need help? And he was saying, no, no, no, cause I can give them a better deal for less money. And I remember you saying, P and G, you know, Proctor and Gamble. And we had, we had such good laughs about even in the field of microfinance, it can be perverted. This guy was a rockstar and then eventually turned out to crash the whole system in India because of his, uh, putting so much pressure on the 30 women that had to be coresponsible for loans. And there were, there were suicides and all kinds of things that temporarily halted that. But I, I remember you and I having such a common theme there.

Adam Bendell: (17:02)
It’s funny that you and I had that experience together because unlike you, I guess you’ve relayed that story a bunch of times about making the world safe for Proctor and Gamble. Um, I don’t bring it up very often. Um, and the reason in terms of what I took away from that experience, and the reason that I don’t is that I worry that my conclusions will be misunderstood as me thinking that they’re universally applicable, that everyone should draw the same conclusion in terms of the, the microfinance industry. And I don’t think that, these are, these are my reflections, they’re personal to me. But at the start of my impact investing journey and, and impact investing for those who don’t know is investing in for-profit businesses that have a social or environmental impact, a positive social or environmental impact. So, we’re seeking both return on capital and also what we refer to as return on impact, you know, positive impact on the world.

Adam Bendell: (18:08)
So, um, at the start of my impact investing journey, which I’m, I’m happy to talk about, I was really focused on microfinance. You and I were there and microfinance was the center of what we were looking at together. Um, and microfinance, as, as you said, Rob is the provision of, you know, small loans to poor people. And we saw that some, not all microfinance institutions were pushing loans on poor people because loans are what they had to sell. Uh, and what those people really needed was something different like eye care or health care or insurance, or a savings account. And then later on, I, I saw evidence from randomized control trials, which are the, at least arguably the gold standard of social science research, which showed that the positive impact of micro-credit is neither the most efficient way to help, nor lasting after the intervention. So that experience was the seed for me to stop my direct support from microfinance and turn my attention to other areas.

Robert Strock: (19:18)
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And the reason probably that it worked for me to share it more was I had a very narrow selection of clients who are philanthropic. And I wanted to share a, that things aren’t as obvious as they appear. Number one, which is somebody that looks like they’re out to save the world could be a much more complex character. And, and also really a big part of the work is I don’t want people to, uh, feel guilty, which was an offshoot of that, that they should be doing impact investing, or they should be saving the world that it’s a natural evolution. As you shared just a few minutes ago, that you weren’t happy with the, with the success. And that’s kinda the center point of the clients that I see are people that are very successful, but they realize, you know what, it’s not doing it for me.

Robert Strock: (20:16)
And that it is the greatest joy to be able to naturally want to give. Not that you should give it’s that your evolution hopefully gets you to a point, if you’re, as you said, also earlier, lucky enough to be able to succeed. You’re not born in an area where you’re not white, you’re not male, you’re not in America. You don’t have the opportunities. You don’t have all the connections. If you’re lucky enough to be able to have that opportunity, it needs to be organic because if it comes out of guilt, it’s really not gonna go very far, very long or very deep.

Adam Bendell: (20:53)

Robert Strock: (20:55)
So if you, if you were on two soapboxes, okay, and I’ll, and I’ll start with the first soapbox and just on more of a general message, essentially from the heart, what message would you most wanna give to the people that you are speaking to that you already are speaking to, but to this audience, what’s the theme that you put out.

Adam Bendell: (21:21)
All right. So, at the more general, on the more general soapbox, I would say, if you swim against the tide and you choose to use your resources to help others on the planet, the riches you receive in return will wildly exceed market rate financial returns. right. You might start your journey, um, as you were alluding to, and certainly was my experience, you know, you realize your luck and, and interconnectedness, and you feel a sense of guilt or shame or moral responsibility, but I promise your journey won’t end. There you’ll encounter the enduring happiness that derives from a life filled with purpose and service to others. And you’ll come to be motivated by the joy. This approach delivers, which is just what you said. So, I’m almost reflecting back what you said, but that’s, that’s my soapbox too. And if people haven’t rolled their eyes and walked away from my soapbox, at that point, I’d ask those who have the resources to invest in the stock market, how they feel when the market is way down, when their wealth has appreciably shrunk and tell them that my experience of that sinking feeling, which I too am vulnerable to is mitigated when I’m investing for people and planet, cuz even in down years financially, I know I’ve done well in those other dimensions.

Adam Bendell: (22:56)
So, this approach to investing is not just good for others, it’s in our own self-interest it gives us greater happiness. And you know, it, it’s probably also an insurance policy against the increasingly real possibility that the have-nots are gonna eventually get fed up, playing a rigged game and will rise up and take away what we’ve accumulated. So even if you’re still interested only in your own prosperity, this approach coupled with philanthropy is in your vital self-interest.

Robert Strock: (23:34)
I love it that the simple way that I try to frame that is I love doing things that when I lose, I still win. And that even if this gamble with this money that I want to put out in this direction or this energy I wanna put out in this direction falls flat in his face, I still love the little bit of good or even the fact that I wanted to do good. My heart still feels at peace, whereas it’s very hard when you have to win and that’s all that matters in, in accruing wealth or accruing reputation, it’s a lot more stressful.

Adam Bendell: (24:13)
That’s why they call it a rat race.

Robert Strock: (24:15)

Adam Bendell: (24:16)

Robert Strock: (24:19)
I know you’ve been exposed to a lot of human vulnerability, really real human vulnerability in your personal life with people close to you. And I’m wondering, because a lot of the framework that I operate from is that when we get exposed to life-threatening things like COVID, or like what’s happening in Ukraine, it has the possibility of waking us up even further. It has the possibility of not taking life for granted, or it could, for some people make them go the opposite direction and try to win, win, win more, more, more, but there’s a lot of people. And I think it’s happening now, where there are quite a few people where Putin’s actions have actually created a unity, has created a, a sense of for the first time the Republicans and Democrats agreeing on something primely and coming back more to the human element in your life. I’m wondering how much of a factor, how that’s played out for you.

Adam Bendell: (25:33)
Well, I love this question and that it reflects your knowing me deeply. Uh, I think the experience of vulnerability fundamentally changes one’s perspective on life. It, it certainly has for me. And I say that as someone who has had relatively little personal experience of vulnerability in the larger sense, right, as I said, I’m white, male, rich educated, well connected, strong, healthy, um, but my wife, as you know, Rob, has chronic health problems that have not only exposed me intimately to her sense of vulnerability, but they’ve also imposed that vulnerability on me in my work. Therefore, I have learned to at least to strive to lead with my own vulnerability. That invites others to share theirs, and when they do a field of possibility opens up that is otherwise elusive. So, I think personal vulnerability is in many ways the most important door we can walk through, especially for people like me, whose circumstances don’t shove that vulnerability in your face.

Robert Strock: (26:55)
So, I’m gonna put you on the spot. Uh, can you give us an example of how you lead with personal vulnerability, whereas before maybe you wouldn’t have done it quite so much, a certain way, and now maybe you do.

Adam Bendell: (27:12)
So as you mentioned, I lead this global community of impact investors called Toniic with two “i”s and, uh, and it’s an extraordinary group of people, um, who could be using their resources to do things that are a lot more self-entertaining or trivial, but are making a choice to spend their time and treasure, um, and talent, uh, in trying to make the world a better place. So, it’s a super fun, uh, gig for me and I, uh, am so in, in the role, I sometimes lead conversations or workshops or things like that within this community. And I will start, we, we try to foster difficult conversations, conversations at the edge of comfort, and we are in this safe space for wealthy people where they, we’ve cultivated a, a sense that you’re not gonna get judged or attacked for being less than perfect of like the rest of us.

Adam Bendell: (28:25)
Um, and I try to lead by showing just how imperfect I am, right? So, I’ll talk about my relationship to my own wealth. Um, and I’ve got excess resources and I have not done enough about that in my life yet. Uh, that is painful to say in front of a group of very committed people. You know, I am, I don’t measure up to my own standards in this way and I gotta live with myself and I choose to, right, because I also wanna, if not worship myself, cuz I don’t wanna worship myself, I do wanna love myself. And you’ve taught me a lot about that. And uh, loving myself includes loving my failures and my, my shortcomings and the whole magilla, right? And so that’s where I try to come from.

Robert Strock: (29:27)
You know, when you say I don’t live up to my own standards, I started to have some tears. Oh, those are the sweetest words, the most powerful words that I’ve been longing to hear from leaders, from spiritual leaders, you know, from national leaders to psychological leaders, to wealth leaders. To me that is, that is such a teaching with such a starting point. I was gonna say, if you didn’t say it that I notice you usually have a joke on yourself, a self-deprecating humor. Um, but this goes a level further because it’s, it’s more substantial. It’s, it’s not the, um, sort of token statement, it shows. And one of the things that I share in my work is that even the most generous need to doubt their generosity. Even if you think, oh yeah, I’m already given a lot. Yeah. I’m given a lot and you realize, well, it’s only X percent of my, my net worth and I can’t even spend what I have. So, what am I holding onto it for? You know, and that’s the real conversation for those that are fortunate enough and lucky enough and good enough or smart enough to have. And that’s the real conversation. So I’m, I’m thrilled and moved and touched to hear you say that that’s, that’s a part of the, a major part of the dialogue or a beginning or an entry point and a middle point of what you’re sharing.

Adam Bendell: (31:02)
If, uh, I may use the, uh, open heart, openheartedness that I, uh, created then to, to make a, uh, a request, um, you, you use the word net worth and, uh, and, and introduced, uh, Toniic, right, as, uh, as serving high net worth individuals, we have changed our language around that now because of what you’re pointing at. And we just say either wealthy or because that term, HNW, HNI is sort of established, we say high net wealth individuals, and you will know immediately why we make that change, which is we don’t wanna equate, equate someone’s financial wealth with their worth, they aren’t the same thing.

Robert Strock: (31:49)
Yeah. And so commonly that’s the norm. I mean, that, that is so commonly the standard. And it’s why I, I think it’s pretty fair to say, disagreement with me if you, if you will, that that’s a lot of the reason why we are, where we are in the world is because the, the goal is to increase net worth rather than worthiness or, or some kind of purpose or meaning or interconnectedness as you shared.

Adam Bendell: (32:22)
Beautiful. I can’t disagree, I, because I agree.

Robert Strock: (32:27)
I’m wondering because you’ve had a chance to look at, uh, the psycho-politics piece and also have referred to it. I’m wondering what for you is the part of it that most relates to your world and most, uh, is most meaningful, most touches your heart.

Adam Bendell: (32:53)
So, the three core principles, as I understand them, right, the first one is to become aware of our tendency, to externalize our challenging emotions on others, and to learn, to relate to challenging emotions without letting them rule our response. Uh, the second is to revamp our relationship to money and success as we consider how to care more for others. And the third is to ask ourselves, what’s the balance for me, between taking care of those I love, and, and also the country and planet on which I live. So, you asked me kind of what touches me most about that. I think what all of these principles have in common is they’re based on an awareness of the reality of interdependence, rather than the illusion of separateness and a commitment to humility and ongoing curiosity about our own beliefs. When we, as a society reach the tipping point of enough people having had the insights to which psycho-politics is pointing, then we’ll be fundamentally enabled to begin working towards what author Charles Eisenstein calls, the more beautiful world our hearts know as possible.

Robert Strock: (34:25)
Hmm. That’s very, very touching and, and, uh, may it be true? Um, may it be true? And, and it truly is a gift. And I mean, that in the sense of, as you said, lucky, to be able to participate with the more than a few that are actually experiencing that gift. And it’s, it seems to be increasing in these last years as the life and death of, of humanity has become more obvious to more people that people are realizing. I think the emptiness is even more for the successful when, oh my God, we really are gonna die. One of my clients said to me recently, before I met you, I didn’t really think I was gonna die. You know, we had a good laugh, of course, of course he didn’t.

Adam Bendell: (35:22)
There’s a great, there’s a great joke about this. I think it’s attributed to George Burns. He said, uh, of course I always knew everyone would die. I, I always knew everyone dies, but I always thought an exception would be made in my case.

Robert Strock: (35:39)

Robert Strock: (35:42)
We all act that way. Right?

Robert Strock: (35:44)
Yeah. Yeah. And I think the overlap, I know the overlap between us is this sense of us and them. And it can be looked at very pragmatically through giving opportunities to succeed to the poor or opportunities to, to succeed for the poor, to help the planet. It can be looked at esoterically. It, it can be looked at spiritually, but the sense of being here to be connected with others, not as it should, but as a fulfillment, is something that I feel very so aligned with you. And especially, you know, as you share today in your own unique way, it, it just really speaks to it from a different angle, but the same blood, tell me what really addressing us and them most touches your heart or most touches your being.

Adam Bendell: (37:00)
So, I’ll focus on the current us and them in American politics. The, my experience is that the, uh, my experience of the American culture wars is that neither side enduringly wins. If we, whatever side we are on manage to swing the pendulum further towards our side, that motivates the other side to organize, to grab the pendulum and swing it back their way. It’s, Newton’s third law of physics, right? For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So, whatever our politics, we aren’t going to get what we want for long with us and them thinking the best approach that I found, uh, which I learned through the practice of nonviolent communication, but which is also very much at the heart of your book Awareness, That Heals is to learn, to distinguish fundamental human needs from strategies. So, I’ll give you an example, right? We all have needs for physical safety.

Adam Bendell: (38:10)
Now, some in America have a strategy for achieving that, which involves having guns and others feel that broad ownership of guns decreases their safety, but guns are a strategy to feel safe. They’re they, they’re not the underlying need for safety. So, when I focus on the fundamental human need, I see that it’s universal, that I, and everyone has that need to. And when I do that, it gives me a way to see the world as a shared resource. And it opens the possibility of envisioning new strategies that all sides can live with rather than temporarily swinging the pendulum our way.

Robert Strock: (39:00)
II love what you’re saying. And, and for me, it’s living in questions. How can we be safer as a country, as a world? How can we be more connected? How can I contribute to that connection today, this week? And enjoying the question, realizing that it may be more enjoyable to ask that question than anything else it’s possible.

Adam Bendell: (39:31)
Very often the question is more important than the answer, right?

Robert Strock: (39:35)
Yep, absolutely and then you get the answer and then the, the new question comes up and it just keeps being reborn in a very pragmatic way, not in an esoteric way. So I’d like to invite you to let others know how they could be in touch with Toniic and, really check into whether it’s to be part of the organization or to support the organization. How, how could a listener be able to do that?

Adam Bendell: (40:06)
Uh, it is easiest to just go to our website,, again with two “i’s” Toniic, and see if it’s for you. I think I would leave it at that. We’re here to serve.

Robert Strock: (40:23)
So Adam, I just wanna thank you so much for bringing your heart, your soul, your intelligence, and your opportunities that you’re bringing to others and honor you for, uh, what you don’t in a way almost don’t deserve honor for, because you love it so much.

Adam Bendell: (40:40)
It’s true.

Robert Strock: (40:41)
So I just thank you so much. It’s been a joy sharing this with you.

Adam Bendell: (40:47)
Likewise, thanks for the opportunity to be in a public conversation with you.

Robert Strock PhoitoJoin The Conversation
If The Missing Conversation sounds like a podcast that would be inspiring to you and touches key elements of your heart, please click subscribe and begin listening to our show. If you love the podcast, the best way to help spread the word is to rate and review the show. This helps other listeners, like you, find this podcast. We’re deeply grateful you’re here and that we have found each other. Our wish is that this is just the beginning. 

We invite you to learn more about The Global Bridge Foundation—an organization collaborating to heal communities and the world at
Visit our podcast archive page

 Be Part Of The Solution

Receive the latest news from The Missing Conversation Podcast that highlights leaders in the fields of Psycho-Politics, Agricultural Restoration, and Alternative Housing for the homeless.

Scroll to Top