• joe@jhanderson.biz   
    (206) 351-5607   

  • In her book Technology and the Virtues, Shannon Vallor draws on classical Greek, ancient Chinese, and Buddhist principles to lay out a framework for ethical action in the rapidly changing 21st century technological environment. A key principle is “expanding your circle of concern”. As humans we have a natural capacity to feel concern for those close to us. By extending that same capacity more broadly, we build a web of connectedness and trust.

    It starts by understanding where your natural sense of concern lies: with your friends, with your family, with your faith community, with the environment or the cause that matters most to you. The practice is to take that same sense of concern and apply it to others that don’t naturally seem to fit within that circle.

    As you expand the circle, it’s not that you feel concern to the same degree, only that you feel the same kind of concern. You recognize those normally outside your circle as worthy of concern. In the course of time your words and actions might change—but the point of this practice is just to expand the circle.

    Try It: Your work team functions within a matrix of social relationships, including with other teams, business partners in your organization, external partners, and customers. Bring to mind the people in that matrix that fall outside your natural circle of concern. Set the intention to expand the circle to include them. No action is required: you don’t need to change your mind or your judgments. Just notice that the circle includes them. It may help to put up in your workstation pictures of specific people or teams you want to extend your concern to.