I came across the beautiful Japanese concept of ‘nemawashi’ yesterday, which is an informal process of laying foundations for a proposed change or project.  I guess we would call it ‘socialising’, or consider it gathering feedback to reduce the friction of the proposal.

The word ‘nemawashi’ comes from gardening and literally translates as ‘going around the roots’. A gardener would gently dig around the roots of a tree over an extended period of time to prepare the tree for a move.

Moving a tree is hard. Take your time.

Sometimes, landing an idea or a change is difficult and involves laying groundwork in a deliberate way so as not to introduce shock into a process.

Nemawashi.  Playing the long game.



A beautiful German compound word that describes ‘explanation-distress’, literally the distress at not having an explanation.

Erklärungsnot is what we feel when we realise that we don’t have any explanations for the big questions of life. It is a word that defines existential angst as much as ‘shame’.

See also : Luftschloss (Air – Castle) or Schadenfreude (Harm – Joy) – from The School of Life