The Right Conditions

In this guest post by John Ryskowski, John shares a meaningful poem from a young poet.

The Right Conditions
It's paradise, but we can't get out of it. And anything you can't get out of is hell.
⏤ Eva Vasquez, Poet

With the right conditions, this stuff can come from anywhere

I recently attended an open mic poetry night at an independent coffee house called the Coffee Cartel.

The session opened with a young man announcing it was a safe space for anyone to come up and perform whatever they wished.

This sounded like what many of us are trying to bring to the workplace.

After sitting through various performances, it struck me that almost everyone in attendance was in their 20s, and it was clear they had very little public speaking experience.  

What I admired was their courage to get up and share what was in their hearts and souls.

One young woman named Eva got up and read from her diary of thoughts.

One of the pages said, "It's paradise, but we can't get out of it. And anything you can't get out of is hell."

I immediately resonated with this statement and later asked her permission to use it for one of Bill's cards.

Bill created an image for it, and is now in the deck.

Bill: John, can you share your personal experiences with this idea? Why was it so meaningful to you?

I see this as the idea that you can try and stay still, but the world continues to move.

Complacency is comfortable and can feel like paradise, but it can become hell over time.

Production line workers in Michigan who came from a long line of workers who were sure their children and grandchildren would have the same opportunities now blame the world for their plight.

They bought into their version of paradise and assumed things would never change.

Some years ago, I heard an interview with a young man from Michigan who described a spot on the production line and union membership as cocaine.

He was alluding to the assumption that this would continue and would not have to face the burden of changing his path in life.

— John Ryskowski

Editor's note

Today's newsletter came to us via my good friend and colleague, John Ryskowski.

Until today, every quote I've featured in this forum has been oriented toward helping us see how we can directly go beyond our current boundaries.

But today's message breaks that pattern a bit. But what I really like about the message is the contemplative thinking and discussion it can provoke to help us see our limiting beliefs.

But even more important is the power of creating a space where it's safe for people to share their deepest thoughts. Those words have the power to transform us and our world.

I invite you to share your thoughts in the post comments online or by emailing John at

Thank you again, John, for your continued support and contributions to this work.

And thank you, Eva, for sharing your poetry with us.

If you have an idea you'd like to share on the SpaceB site, I invite you to reply to this email to start a conversation.

— Bill

The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
— Warren Bennis