August 9, 2022

Empathy & Relevance in Music & ABM — 2/4

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Episode Highlights

How do you gauge the success of your B2B marketing? Is it by how much is expressed? How much is heard? Or by how well the message resonates? In this episode, we continue the story of musician Kishi Bashi as he takes a leap of faith to discover his own voice in an industry known for some of the loudest voices on earth. Emotional intelligence researcher Justin Bariso explains why communication often lacks empathy and how we can improve the relevance of our messaging.

Topics Discussed

  • Recap [00:49]
  • Kishi Bashi on low point in career [02:02]
  • Kishi Bashi on embracing own voice and dual heritage [04:18]
  • Kishi Bashi on value of authenticity in pop music [05:17]
  • Kishi Bashi on the wabi-sabi philosophy of 151a [05:56]
  • Kishi Bashi on seizing opportunities [07:05]
  • Kishi Bashi on value of a brand as an artist [10:10]
  • Reach team takeaways [12:14]
  • Justin Bariso introduction [12:59]
  • Justin Bariso on emotional intelligence [14:23]
  • Justin Bariso on teaching emotional intelligence [15:25]
  • Justin Bariso on three types of empathy [19:17]
  • Justin Bariso on overcoming the perspective gap [22:04]
  • Justin Bariso offers tips on improving communication [24:06]
  • Reach preview [27:21]

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[00:00:00] Hiromi: If your job is to communicate with and inspire others how do you gauge success? Is it by how much is expressed? How much is heard? Or by how well the message resonates? In this episode, we continue the story of Kishi Bashi as he takes a leap of faith to discover his own voice in an industry known for some of the loudest voices on earth.

[00:00:24] How do musical artists reach their audiences? And what role does empathy play in creating more relevant communication? This is a podcast about B2B marketing and the account based mindset. This is Reach. Thanks so much for joining us today. My name is Hiromi and I'm here with Chief Creative Officer, Garret Krynski.

[00:00:48] Garret: Nice to be here.

[00:00:50] Hiromi: Well, in our last episode Kishi Bashi told us a little bit about how he got into music in the first place as a violinist. And then eventually backing up other artists, like, of Montreal. And even starting his own indie rock band in New York City. But it seems like there was a pivotal moment, right, while touring with Regina Spektor when he had this opportunity to start playing solo. And it introduced him to a certain vulnerability. Right?

[00:01:14] Garret: Yeah. I love that K brought up ... you know, with Regina where, where he was, like, the, the crowd just wanted the band to leave so that they could just be alone with her and hear her thoughts and, and connect as humans. You know? That's what the relevance was really about. And what he discovered was intimacy with the audience.

[00:01:34] Hiromi: Exactly right. And so that's where we left off. K is now interested in exploring this intimacy with his audience. But I think we can all relate to the anxiety that you would feel in this position. Right? It's scary to be vulnerable. It kind of reminds me of when you see an artist stage dive. How do you know that the crowd is going to catch you? You know? How do you know that they want what you have to offer? And how do you know that you'll eventually find success?

[00:02:03] Kaoru Ishibashi: Of course I wanted to be successful. When I was with Regina Spektor as her side musician I wanted to be like her. You know? She was, uh, absolutely adored. And she was playing huge venues and she was making money and I had a child. She was, like, four or five then. So, it was a struggle.

[00:02:23] Going on tour and making music is kinda hard sometimes. A lot of musicians in New York, you know, you finish tour, you go back and you ... because the rent is so high your life is just so committed to a certain lifestyle that you just jam pack a whole day long of stuff. And I think that that can be extremely exciting, 'cause I was playing with of Montreal and playing with artists. I was connected basically to a world, like the Indie Rock world that I always wanted to be connected with. But, like, financially, um, I was very desperate. You know? And I felt like a peasant.

[00:02:55] So, I think I started to realize that just playing guitar and singing in a meaty synth rock band wasn't really gonna pay the bills. And so I moved out of New York and I went to live with my parents. Took my whole family. I was pretty defeated. And I think being an older person. That was 2011. I was probably, what, 36, 37? That's like elderly for the Indie Rock arena. [laughs] And I was like, "Uh oh, well, here I am living with my parents." You know? With my kid. You know? It was kind of a low point in my life.

[00:03:30] But I was always determined to ... I knew I had enough ideas. And I knew I had enough encouragement from people that I was doing something good, or adding something new to the conversation, uh, that I kept at it. But I think the one thing that really changed for me was that I started to value my time to be a conceptual artist, meaning like I could concept my songs and spend way more time on a single item because I made time for myself. I valued this kind of idleness that an artist I think needs ... to just pick up that guitar or just like spend time with music or ... or just be content with your life so that your mind can just be free to explore, uh, any avenues of inspiration that, that might present itself.

[00:04:19] Before then I was an Indie Rock singer/songwriter which is a very White genre. And I think I was always just kind of hiding, you know? I was just trying to fit in to what I thought that would be, which is just an Indie Hipster White guy vibe. And then I started realizing, you know what, I got this whole other language that has like these unique characteristics that I could incorporate into my music. And that's when I started to just dive into it. Not being embarrassed about it. And I still had the thing where I didn't want to be a world music musicians, which is like a different category. I wanted to be an Indie Rock musician with Japanese flavorings.

[00:05:04] And so I was careful not to cross that boundary, but I think at the time people were just, "Oh, that's like really unique." I think it helped me stick out. But I also embraced it. And that was probably the beginning of me being able to embrace my culture and not being embarrassed about my dual heritage.

[00:05:21] If you go about your life trying to write Pop hits it's such a struggle. You should just go about writing songs you feel great about. 'Cause what is popular? Popular means you're connecting with a lot of people. And so the truer you are to emotion, the better chance you have of connecting with a lot of people and becoming popular.

[00:05:41] Luckily, by the time I, I released 151a I had already experienced multiple releases through Jupiter One. So, I knew what I needed, you know, like a publicist and I needed some kind of marketing. And so I was lucky to sign with a very f- fledgling label at the time, Joyful Noise. [inaudible 00:05:58], you know, 151a is one time, one meeting, a meeting, you know, between two people. It's a [inaudible 00:06:08] aesthetic of just cherish this unique moment between you two, be it good or bad or flawed. A lot of, uh, martial arts people use it as well. If you're fighting someone, even if you get beat, it's like, "Oh, that was a good fight. We did well." That was unique to that one moment in time.

[00:06:26] And so for me it's a creative philosophy in that you can't just get hung up on trying to create like a masterpiece. But your art, your statement, if you write a novel, or if you make an album, a painting, it's just a snapshot on your creative moment in time. And I think if you get that in your head then it kind of frees up a lot of anxiety you might have with always trying to achieve perfection. Which is almost impossible. I finally took a leap of faith and made that debut album. Uh, and it's about cherishing life, every second at a time. Like, like wow, that just happened. The outcome was not what I expected, but you know it's beautiful for that reason.

[00:07:09] [inaudible 00:07:08] opportunity, uh, something that's always gonna come available to you, like a big break, like playing on TV or doing, or a big press break or getting some kind of opportunity. They're always gonna be there.

[00:07:19] KEXP: [inaudible 00:07:20] point three, kEXP, here in Seattle, and, uh, in studio with us is, uh, Kishi Bashi, on tour right now.

[00:07:27] Kaoru Ishibashi: You just have to be prepared to really monetize on it. And I was prepared. I had an album that I was proud of. And I just kind of put myself out there and worked every opportunity possible. There was a few early breaks. NPR really supported my debut album.

[00:07:43] NPR: [inaudible 00:07:43] Kishi Bashi. And this particular project, the, the guy funded it entirely on Kickstarter.

[00:07:48] Wow.

[00:07:49] And it's very much his own thing. There's, there's no real input from the outside influence [inaudible 00:07:52]

[00:07:52] Kaoru Ishibashi: I think they liked the idea that I was at South X Southwest, which is a big music festival and I wasn't accepted. So, I played all these private parties and they liked this underdog story of, "Look at this guy who didn't get accepted, but has this great album." And that was one of their top choices to go see. And then I got, uh, the tiny desk concert. That was huge for me, actually. That was one of my earliest incarnations of Kishi Bashi solo. [laughs]

[00:08:17] I think there's some beatboxing [inaudible 00:08:19]. All I had was that little speaker behind me that they gave me. You know? And ... so, a lot of support from that. And so I just went everywhere. Anybody who would let me open up I'd go open up. I got a great booking agent who strategically helped me grow my audience. Then I'd tour and I slowly built my following my doing national tours.

[00:08:42] [singing] Enjoying music, like creating art, is like valuable to anybody. And anybody can do this as a hobby, but to do it professionally is like a whole other thing. You know? It's not all fun and games. There's a lot of logistical stuff that's not fun at all. There's a lot of practicing you have to do. There's a lot of politics, too. So, I had no idea what the success of it was going to be like. Like, I didn't know it was going to take off. And it's not like it took off like wildfire. I, uh, it's just I'm a solo artist. I'm just one person. But for me it was great because I was finally sustainable as an artist.

[00:09:14] And people were really excited about it, 'cause it, it was a new sound at the time. New meaning there weren't that many, like, violin, string, Pop, kind of things. I had finally discovered that, "Oh, this is something that I can contribute to Indie Rock." It's only like ten years ago and with Kishi Bashi that I was able to, just now I make my own music. You know. On my own terms, which is, uh, a true gift.

[00:09:38] You know, looking back on the ten years since my debut album, I'm kind of jealous of how wild that album is. Uh, there's a lot of really interesting things going on that I couldn't re-create today. I think my music is definitely simpler now. Because I had the luxury of not needing to be so dramatic or, like, "Hey, look at me. I'm new. Like me." I don't have to worry about that kind of stuff, so I can just create an artistic statement, put it out, and, and then just move on.

[00:10:10] I think that a lot of people buy into your brand and, like, who you are. When they listen to your album or have that album and they get excited about you as an artist, they're getting excited about you as a person. I would think a good percentage of their supporting you is th- them supporting you as a human being.

[00:10:28] Performing live, the audience is really forgiving.

[00:10:30] Thank you.

[00:10:31] Because when they see you doing something challenging, it's like they're rooting for you. And if you mess up, they want to see you succeed. Messing up is totally part of being a human being. And I think people like to see people who try. That's the movie that people want to see. And so if they like what you do then they're excited and they might be forgiving if you take a weird route on your second route. They'll support you, but then if they like you enough they'll give your third album a chance.

[00:11:02] And so, like, for many bands the sophomoric effort, the second album is really tough because you spend all your time developing this unique sound and blow everybody away and then your second album you only have like six or seven months or a year to create. Because everybody wants to hear it. And albums take a little bit of time. So, it's really tricky. If you're lucky, you can release a debut album and then you have, like, this initial push of excitement, you know, because you're new. And that has a certain amount of value. And then you ... I think the sustainable artist, the ones that can continue to make ideas that engage their audience and grow their audience is the ones that can survive. But even after like ten years it's really hard to have to keep reinventing myself.

[00:11:51] [singing]

[00:11:51] You could come up with a great formula of music that people appreciate and can connect with but after a while it just kind of gets old. So, like, the general population is used to getting new things. So, you have to keep changing, you have to keep pushing yourself to, to do something new.

[00:12:14] Hiromi: It's true, isn't it? That we can often picture success and then come up with a formula that we think matches that end, but as he said, you know, people are drawn to authenticity. So, you kind of shoot yourself in the foot a little bit when you try to contrive that.

[00:12:29] Garret: Yeah. I appreciated how K talked about how people wanna hear a piece of your humanity and when he found that piece of his humanity that he wanted to communicate, that's when his career really did something. And then he experienced success as him.

[00:12:47] Hiromi: Exactly right. Yeah. It seems like if we want to connect in our communication, we really need to treat our audience as individuals, people with feelings and emotions and motivations of their own.

[00:12:58] Garret: Absolutely. Right.

[00:13:00] Hiromi: So, since we're talking about emotions and empathy in this season, I thought I'd reach out to an expert on the subject. Justin Bariso. He's a columnist for Ink Magazine. Specializing in the field of emotional intelligence. He's written a book on the topic. He runs an education platform called EQ Applied. Uh, welcome, Justin. Thank you for taking the time for us.

[00:13:21] Justin Bariso: Oh, my pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.

[00:13:23] Hiromi: So, Justin, uh, as you know, we're following the story of a musician for this series. Can I ask what, what kind of music do you listen to while you're writing?

[00:13:32] Justin Bariso: I have a writing playlist [inaudible 00:13:33], um, for some reason the, the Interstellar theme, Hans Zimmer.

[00:13:38] Hiromi: [laughs] Okay. Woo. That is emotive.

[00:13:41] Justin Bariso: Just, just ... I've, well, I ... Well, it's super inspiring.

[00:13:45] Hiromi: Yes.

[00:13:45] Justin Bariso: It's super inspiring, but then that's like, but it runs the gambit, though. It's like that, what else is on there? I got some Taylor Swift on there.

[00:13:51] Hiromi: Yeah. Wow.

[00:13:52] Justin Bariso: I got, um, I got Coldplay on there. Uh, I've got a, a [inaudible 00:13:58] remake of, um, Tracy Chapman's Fast Car.

[00:14:01] Hiromi: Wow.

[00:14:01] Justin Bariso: Which I find also very insp- So, it's, uh, really, it's like-

[00:14:04] Hiromi: Diverse.

[00:14:04] Justin Bariso: It's all over the place.

[00:14:05] Hiromi: That's how you weave together this emotional tapestry of influence and inspiration. That's great.

[00:14:12] Justin Bariso: That's it. Just trying to get in touch with those feelings.

[00:14:14] Hiromi: Yes. Yes. Okay, so, speaking of feelings, how did you get into this field of emotional intelligence?

[00:14:23] Justin Bariso: So, I'll give you the short version. [laughs] I started writing about emotional intelligence ... I got this column for, for Ink Magazine, and explored a lot of different categories. But my very first column was about empathy, showing empathy in the workplace. And then I explored a lot of different topics but I kept really looking for science backed evidence on why you should be empathetic in your communication. How you can communicate better. How you can be a better manager. How can you deepen your relationships. And things like that.

[00:14:54] And as I started writing more and more about that I didn't even know the term "emotional intelligence" at the time. But I just started doing research on it. And the basic definition is learning to identify, understand, manage emotions. But it just gave me a common language that I could use in speaking about these things. And empathy is a huge part of that.

[00:15:14] Hiromi: Yeah. I don't know if it's because I've been living under a rock or what, but I had not become aware of the term emotional intelligence until the last few years. And then, and then it was everywhere.

[00:15:25] Justin Bariso: Well, yeah, basically one of the first books I read was by Daniel Goldman which kind of opened this topic up and brought it to the masses. But even though I found it interesting to read and there we some practical examples, there was still this gap of being able to explain it in a very simple way with real life examples. And I found examples that would emerge in the news. The thing about emotional intelligence, and just empathy as a whole, you can't see what's going on in a person's head. But, you know, you can see how someone does a certain thing, how someone expresses himself. Say, okay, we can see elements of empathy here. You know?

[00:16:00] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.

[00:16:01] Justin Bariso: And just kind of breaking down those lessons. So, it's something real that someone can see, not just through original written message but then now an explanation why could this be emotionally intelligent? Or what's the lesson here? How could you do things in a similar way in your workplace environment? Hmm. For example. Stuff like that.

[00:16:16] Hiromi: Yeah, so, I can see how those examples would help a person understand the concept. But how do you teach someone how to execute on those concepts? Like, how do you teach emotional intelligence?

[00:16:29] Justin Bariso: The big project we've been working on is developing online courses that helps you to build emotionally intelligent habits and to manage your emotional behaviors. It's basically 24 simple constructs that you can carry around with you. I'm really excited to launch in the next month or so, here. It's called The Rules of Emotional Intelligence. So, for example, one of them is called The Three Question Rule. And it's something I learned watching an interview with comedian Craig Ferguson.

[00:16:56] Hiromi: Hmm.

[00:16:57] Justin Bariso: Where he said, "Before you say anything you have to ask yourself three questions."

[00:17:00] Craig Ferguson: The three things you must always ask yourself before you say anything, which is, "Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me now?" Three marriages it took me to learn that.

[00:17:13] Hiromi: [laughs]

[00:17:14] Justin Bariso: Uh, and it's humorous but I use this rule every single day Hiromi.

[00:17:17] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:17:17] Justin Bariso: I use it at home. [laughs] I use it at work. You know? I use it in meetings. And there's so many different applications to that. So, the single lesson is just explaining what that rule is, how you can apply it, things like that.

[00:17:28] Hiromi: Thank you, Justin, because you probably saved me from a bunch of communication faux pauxs today. So, I appreciate that. [laughs] Those principles.

[00:17:36] Justin Bariso: I can practice them, too.

[00:17:38] Hiromi: Yeah. [laughs] So, now, those are great questions to ask, but what goes into coming up with the right answers to those questions? To, you know, improve your communication, I guess?

[00:17:50] Justin Bariso: Uh, another rule that I use, I like to call it the Golden Question. You have to ask yourself, "How will I feel about this in a day? How will I feel about this in five days? How will I feel about this in five years?" And that helps me to determine is this really as serious as I think it is? Is it something we need to address? Sometimes it's something that needs to be said, but it's not really my place to say it, or I'm not going to be the most effective to say it.

[00:18:13] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:18:13] Justin Bariso: Because, uh, that can influence now your strategy and who you choose to represent your organization or the product or the campaign. Actually, many times I'll get through both of those questions. This definitely needs to be said, it definitely needs to be said by me, but does it need to be said by me now? You know?

[00:18:22] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.

[00:18:29] Justin Bariso: Timing is such a huge thing. Right?

[00:18:31] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:18:31] Justin Bariso: From a management perspective, for example, you might need to correct someone, but do you need to correct them now in front of everyone else? Probably not. It's probably not going to have the desired effect.

[00:18:40] Hiromi: Right.

[00:18:40] Justin Bariso: Um-

[00:18:41] Hiromi: When we decide, am I the right person, or is this the right time, it's the perspective of my audience that I'm considering at that moment, right?

[00:18:49] Justin Bariso: Yeah. Because we're not speaking in a vacuum. So, even if it's something we feel really strongly that we need to say, why do we need to say it? And again, what's the impact going to be on the person? Because if the impact is not going to reach out goals, then that's definitely going to have a bearing on how, when, who says the message.

[00:19:07] Hiromi: Yeah. So, I mean, when we talk about empathy in the context of emotional intelligence, is that the empathy that we're talking about or are we talking about something else?

[00:19:18] Justin Bariso: Oh no, that's definitely it. So, Goldman and Paul Eckman, whose another psychologist who at least at one point was really specializing in the topic of empathy. They break down empathy into three types: Cognitive Empathy, Emotional Empathy, and Empathic Concern or Compassionate Empathy.

[00:19:38] Cognitive Empathy is probably going to be the most important for marketing purposes. It's just understanding what's going on in a person's head, in your audience's head, and also their feelings. So, that's really going to help you to craft your message because you craft it in a way not just that you appreciate, but that they're gonna appreciate and they're gonna quickly understand, and that's gonna reach them on an emotional level.

[00:19:59] The next one is Emotional Empathy, which takes it another step further. And that's where you can actually feel what the other person is feeling. So to speak.

[00:20:08] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.

[00:20:08] Justin Bariso: Um, and that's what a lot of us think about sometimes when we think about empathy. It's actually being able to relate to those feelings, you know, when someone is telling you about something, like, they're struggling with a presentation or, uh, they're struggling with their kids, you may understand the topic, you may understand what they're talking about, but you don't necessarily feel that pain. Either because presentations are easy for you, or you don't have kids-

[00:20:33] Hiromi: Hmm.

[00:20:33] Justin Bariso: ... or you didn't have those same struggles. So, you understand-

[00:20:36] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:20:36] Justin Bariso: ... intellectually what they're talking about, but you can't really feel it. And emotional empathy is being able to actually relate to that feeling. So, you say to yourself, "Okay, well, I don't struggle with presentations or with raising my kids, but I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by a problem. I know what it feels like when I just can't get past something." And so now you can relate to that person's feeling and that really helps you in your relationship. That can really help you craft your message, too. Right?

[00:20:59] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:21:00] Justin Bariso: And then the third one, Empathic Concern or Compassionate Empathy, it's basically a you taking action. So, it's not just that you understand and feel these things, but you actually take action to reach them. Hence from a marketing perspective there's different types of marketing, but this is one reason why I love content marketing. You know? Because it's not the traditional, "Let me throw stuff at you," but it's more like, "Let me understand what the person is looking for. Let me create this content and draw them in because I'm providing them something valuable." And most of the time what do people do when they get that? They want more. [laughs]

[00:21:33] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:21:34] Justin Bariso: And so that's, that's really, really what I love about content marketing.

[00:21:37] Hiromi: Yeah. It seems like through appropriate empathy we can produce communication that is more relevant to the audience. Is that fair to say?

[00:21:48] Justin Bariso: Yeah. Big time. Exactly. Exactly right.

[00:21:51] Hiromi: So, I mean, it seems like a basic enough concept, but if you look around the world and we're just drowning in conflict and misunderstanding. Why do you suppose we're all struggling so much with this?

[00:22:04] Justin Bariso: So, it's an amazing question. And there's actually quite a bit of research on it. Believe it or not. There's something that psychologists and scientists have explored, which is called The Perspective Gap. That's how Adam Grant describes it and some other, uh, psychologists. Others have described it as the Empathy Gap. And I like that term, Perspective Gap, because I think it's a little more descriptive. And what the Perspective Gap says is if you're not in a situation at this moment, it's very difficult to gauge how that situation is going to affect you. And you can turn that around, too. You might think a certain situation is going to affect you this way when in reality [laughs] it won't necessarily affect the other person that way. And so, like, some examples of that.

[00:22:46] Doctors oftentimes underestimate how a patient is going to experience pain. Mothers many times forget how much pain childbirth is until they're going through it again. So, we might hear someone expressing a situation to us, for example, and we think, um, "Oh, it's not that bad." Or, "Uh, they just need to toughen up." But when we're in that same situation, we also react very similar them or just as badly or sometimes worse. You know? But because we're not going through it at that time our memories tend to remember things happened easier or better than they actually did.

[00:23:21] So, flipping that, in the marketing context, when we're creating something we come up with a very, you know, it's a brilliant idea, maybe it is a brilliant idea, or maybe we get a lot of great feedback on it. Okay, I feel really good about this. But we overestimate how it's gonna effect the general audience.

[00:23:37] Hiromi: Hmm.

[00:23:37] Justin Bariso: Or our target audience. Maybe the people we're getting feedback from on this message is not our target audience.

[00:23:42] Hiromi: Hmm.

[00:23:42] Justin Bariso: And so it is great to them, it does reach them on an emotional level-

[00:23:45] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:23:45] Justin Bariso: But if our target audience is a completely different set of people, then we may be completely off in how that message is actually gonna effect them. And then we've missed the mark.

[00:23:54] Hiromi: Yeah. That's a really good point. So, what would be your stand out advice to people that want to improve their communications? I mean, what do you think more people should consider?

[00:24:06] Justin Bariso: One is working not just on what you want to say, but how you want to say it.

[00:24:11] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.

[00:24:12] Justin Bariso: So that you can make the maximum impact and so that you can communicate things in a way that the other person can really get, and just spending time thinking up front how do I want to communicate this.

[00:24:27] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:24:28] Justin Bariso: Most of us hate awkward silences, but I say embrace that awkward silence. Expect it. Prepare for it. Leverage it. And in the course that's one of the rules we talk about. The rule of awkward silence. So, what does that mean? If someone asks you a question, what's our temptation? It's like, "Oh, let me respond to this question right away. Let me just speak off the top of my head." Or how about like in text messages? Like oftentimes, you know, someone writes us a text message, uh, depending on your settings, they can see you've seen the text message, "Oh man, I've got to respond." You know? So, again, we respond as quickly as possible. Sometimes we respond and then later we're like, "Oh, why did I agree to that?" Or, "Oh, why did I respond that way?" That's not usually the best answer.

[00:25:04] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:25:05] Justin Bariso: So, can I pause to the point where it's awkward?

[00:25:08] Hiromi: Yeah. [laughs]

[00:25:08] Justin Bariso: Like, ten to fif- 15 seconds and if you're not comfortable and you won't be comfortable doing that, in the beginning say, "Give me a second to think about that." So, at least you, you let them . Know, you know, where you are.

[00:25:20] Hiromi: [laughs]

[00:25:20] Justin Bariso: And then it gives you a chance to kind of catch your breath. To really think through what you wanna say. Once you can kind of lean into that, I found it's really improved the way I communicate.

[00:25:30] Hiromi: Yeah. Think before you speak kind of principle.

[00:25:33] Justin Bariso: Yeah. Exactly.

[00:25:35] Hiromi: [laughs]

[00:25:35] Justin Bariso: [laughs] Exactly. It sounds simple.

[00:25:36] Hiromi: Yeah.

[00:25:36] Justin Bariso: Right? But it's, it's simple in theory and very difficult to practice.

[00:25:39] Hiromi: I don't think my father told me anything more often then that sentence. [laughs] "Think before you do it." Think before I speak. [laughs]

[00:25:47] Justin Bariso: Mm-hmm. Mine, too. And I'm, and I'm still learning it. That's the thing.

[00:25:50] Hiromi: [laughs] So, as you know, we're following the story of the musician Kishi Bashi in this series. It seems like earlier in his career he may have fell into some of the pitfalls that maybe a lot of aspiring artists fall into. In that he was creating with his own success in mind. But then it seems like as he started considering the perspective of others, empathizing, he was able to then connect with more listeners. So, I was just wondering, Justin, do you think there are principles in this story that apply to all of us?

[00:26:17] Justin Bariso: Yeah. No, uh, actually I love just the whole concept. This is something also I haven't found much traditionally people exploring emotional intelligence in music. For example. But there's such a great connection there because you know who are our favorite musicians, it's not just that they play a piece technically well but that the emotion is there, right?

[00:26:39] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.

[00:26:40] Justin Bariso: And I don't make music myself, but um for my work of writing, that was some of the best advice a fellow columnist gave me when I first got started out. He said, "You have to find the balance between writing what you want to write about and what other people want to read."

[00:26:53] Hiromi: Hmm.

[00:26:54] Justin Bariso: You know? And that, that was such golden advice for me because yeah you can be passionate about something but you know you have to be able to communicate it in a way that other people understand. And once you find that balance, once you can write or make music, or communicate your message to give your natural passion about it, but in a way that others can understand, that reaches others, then that's really it. Right? That's what we're all trying to do.

[00:27:24] Hiromi: Well, we'd like to thank Justin Bariso for taking the time for us today. If you're interested in learning how to make your emotions work for you, instead of against you, explore some of the free resources on We also wanna thank our friends over at IKIGAI Stories for collaborating with us on this piece. If you like inspiring stories that highlight the journey toward purpose, visit Kishi Bashi finally found a fan base of listeners who wanted to hear what he had to say. But it was listening to others that inspired him to speak up.

[00:28:02] Kaoru Ishibashi: I started to look into my own artistic expression as a voice for these feelings I was having. To be able to communicate these things to my listeners, my fans, so I started writing an album and I also started making a movie.

[00:28:15] Hiromi: In our next episode, we follow Kishi Bashi around the country on a quest to turn stories from the past into relevant inspiration for today. We'll also speak with Q Superville from Transmission Agency about how this same empathy can lead to better diagnosis and more relevant solutions for our clients. All this and more next time on Reach.

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