My favourite Peter Block quotes

Peter Block really does give good guru.

Image result for peter block
  • ‘How do we do this over a long period of time?’ ‘Stay healthy’
  • ‘How do we sustain this over a long period of time?’ ‘Exactly. Join us and we’ll see.
  • A church in Cincinnati is proud of feeding 5,000 people every week, but they don’t know any of them. If you ask those 5,000 people what they’re good at, you know what they’re good at? Cooking.
  • All advice, all ‘help’, is an act of colonialism.
  • All marketing’s pornography
  • All projects with a clear specification, good funding and the ambition to scale are doomed to failure
  • All self-development is an act of violence (implying ‘I’m not enough’)
  • All transformation is linguistic – we can measure transformation by ‘are they speaking into a different world?’
  • All you have to hear is from four people and you’ve heard the room.
  • Always rearrange the room. At the very least, it will show everyone how they do everything.
  • Another protocol that’s even more radical is – don’t be helpful.
  • Ask questions that are ambiguous, and personal, and anxiety-provoking. And don’t let people be helpful. All help is a form of colonialism, all development is a form of colonialism.
  • Ask questions that are ambiguous, and personal, and anxiety-provoking. And don’t let people be helpful.
  • Be with people you know less
  • Build connections before anything else (allow people to fall in love with each other)’
  • Community – don’t wait to be chosen and don’t be helpful.
  • Community, built by confronting people with their gifts (in small groups, close, without judgment and asking uncomfortable intimate questions) – we’re very nervous about gifts – it’s too easy to speak about needs and wants…
  • Construct an experience of freedom and accountability. Community is an alternative to development.
  • Dead spaces create lousy outcomes
  • Don’t ever tell anyone what you did at their age – whatever you did, it’s not successful cos look at you now…
  • Don’t let people make speeches. ‘Hey – have you said this before?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Well, how long does it take?’
  • Don’t let the small groups go on too long. They fall in love, they think they’re the best.
  • Don’t talk about ‘truth’ – ‘I’m speaking truth to power’ – oh, really?
  • Don’t ask people what they want from an event. Their expectations are too small. Ask questions. For example, “What’s the yes that you no longer mean?”
  • Don’t think about scaling. Think about aggregating people and getting them to talk to each other. The fastest thing we can do is invest time and money to innovate. You don’t innovate through legislation. You innovate through experience.
  • Fallibility is recognised in community – not fixed.
  • Have a meeting with only one rule: ‘no complaining’
  • How does democracy exist if we don’t trust each other?
  • I cannot serve and help anybody who I haven’t met. The idea that you can help someone who you haven’t met is the most colonial thing that I know.
  • Instead, be curious
  • In community building, rather than focusing on our deficiencies and weaknesses, which will most likely not go away, we gain more leverage when we focus on the gifts we bring, and seek ways to capitalize on them.
  • It’ll always be flawed – so what?
  • It’s a cry out against help, against charity, against philanthropy – all a form of colonialism
  • Making the world a better place will be caught up in something concrete. Cleaning up the neighborhood or feeding the hungry.
  • Many tragedies are born from the absence of community, and the colonizing of communities.
  • Methodology is too small a god to worship
  • Never facilitate it. Let them be.
  • Never facilitate, because if it goes well, people think they need a facilitator
  • Never help: (all fixing people is a form of colonialism)
  • Never solve problems: same thing; create new possibilities instead
  • Never take photos or write up notes – you suck all the life out of them.
  • Our democracy is at risk not because we have differences but because we are caught up in certainty.
  • People don’t trust each other. That’s why you build community.
  • Performance appraisals – ‘the ultimate patriarchal ritual – a once-a-year reminder that ‘I own you, and you’re insufficient’.”
  • Public leaders should be conveners, not problem solvers.
  • Sit nine inches away, and if you are from a culture where that’s not appropriate, sit 9.5 inches apart
  • Small groups with strangers are the quickest way to be surprised, and to create change.
  • Ten minute of context and then break them into small groups.
  • The antidote to helpfulness is curiosity – ‘why does that matter to you?’
  • The biggest thing you can do is restore the commons.
  • The only reason to come together is to recreate the world.
  • The tragedy of the dominant narrative is we’re waiting for someone else’s transformation
  • Tomorrow distinct from today
  • We should never ask ‘could we do better’ – we have weaknesses but can’t gain anything by working on them.
  • ‘We’re inviting people into the wilderness – with no visible means of support – that’s why it’s a tough sell’.
  • We’ve been looking for deficiencies – the gap – problem solving. I’m no longer interested in solving problems – it’s too small of a god to worship
  • What promise are you willing to make without any expectation of return?
  • What’s the crossroads? What’s the promise? What’s the doubt?
  • Why do we feel we need to leave the meeting with a list?
  • You and I right now are creating the world we want to inhabit
  • You don’t build trust by talking about trust.

4 thoughts on “My favourite Peter Block quotes

  1. And from my notes from Flawless Consulting

    ‘Every time you give advice to someone who is in the position to make the choice, you are consulting’
    ‘The consultant’s objective is to engage in successful actions that result in people or organisations managing themselves differently’
    ‘There is much more to the client-consultant relationship than the simple content of the problem’
    ‘Techniques are not enough: there are dimensions to the consulting role that transcend any specific methods we might employ’

     In the client-consultant relationship, there is always a cognitive (thinking) relationship, and an affective (emotional) relationship
     Ask questions about the client’s personal role in causing or maintaining the presenting or target problem
     Probe directly for the client’s underlying concerns about losing control, exposure, and vulnerability
     Confront the client with all relevant data, even if it wasn’t part of your original assignment
     Involve your client in interpreting the data collected
     Recognize the similarity between how the client manages you and how they manage their own organisation
     Resistance is the surface expression of underlying anxieties. Your job is to identify the resistance, name it neutrally, and ask the client to be authentic – to put directly into words what s/he is experiencing. Then be quiet and listen.
     If a meeting or project is stuck, say ‘I think we are stuck’. Declaring the fact is is probably the most powerful thing you can do
     Always name the possibility as well as the problem
     Understand that client criticism and resistance are not directed at you personally
     Structure and control the feedback meeting to elicit client reaction and choice of next steps
     Open with transparent purpose and a level playing field – tell the whole, unvarnished, story of why we are here
     Renegotiate expectations about participation – the structure of the meeting telegraphs our intentions about the future
     Rearrange the room – the shape shows our intentions
     Create a platform for openness and doubt – tell truth, expect the same
     Ask ‘what do we want to create together?‘ – the power is co-creation
     To create new possibilities – create a new conversation
     Focus on gifts – the power to change
     Don`t collude – don’t support a stance that reduces the possibilities of getting to the outcome, don’t avoid topics the client doesn’t want to talk about, don’t develop explanations for problems that leave the solution outside the client’s control, don’t minimise the impact of relationships
     Don`t project – stay aware of your own feelings and ask others theirs
     Do support the client’s expectations – where they are right, confirm this
     Do confront – identify self-defeating actions and areas of vulnerability
     Be assertive and authentic – use language that is descriptive, focused, specific, brief, simple
     Three layers of analysis: the presenting problem, the person’s perceptions about how others are contributing to the problem, and how the person sees their own way of contributing to the situation


  2. It’d be a lot of fun to mix these in with these Jordan Peterson quotes from facebook and have some fun. In fact, I’d love to hear a conversation between them (obligatory disclaimer that of course as a good leftish liberal, I /obviousy/ despise JBP and everything he stands for…)

    Mark CarlyonJordan Peterson Study Group
    What has Jordan Peterson said that has stuck with you the most?

    Biruk Daniel
    Hell is having everything that is bad about life happen to you and to know yourself as the cause!
    · Reply · 2 h
    Ricky Dean Jones
    Biruk Daniel this hit home hard.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Jim Hartling
    Do uncomfortable things
    · Reply · 2 h
    Richard Goode
    Maybe you wanna save the world? Well, you can’t until your room is clean.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Rich Cutcliffe
    When he talks about finding meaning in life, he talks about finding the heaviest thing you can pick up and carry. That’s kept me going for a while. I’m a full time carer for my wife and I’ve got 2 kids, in the lost 5 years I’ve lost my mum, 3 grandparents and my relationship with my father has dissolved (really as a result of losing my mum) and the responsibility of family has been one of the main things keeping me on an even keel.
    · Reply · 2 h · Edited
    Vincent James
    Rich Cutcliffe sounds like you have a pretty damn “Fulfilled” life. The kind Jordan speaks of as more important than just a happy life. It’s ok to be frustrated and burned out. Start and End your Day with God. Bring every little detail to him for approval. Ask for Help when you can. God has Angels.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Arthur Kay
    “always play on the edge of disaster”
    · Reply · 2 h
    Bernhard Friedrich
    „Don’t become bitter even though you have every reason to be.“
    · Reply · 2 h
    Ariel Mayer
    To find meaning in life you must find the heaviest load you can carry and carry it
    · Reply · 2 h
    Ronald Airlangga
    God only knows what you are in the final analysis. You’re blind to your own weaknesses but you’re also blind to your own strengths.
    · Reply · 2 h
    David Ackerson
    Pick up your damn cross! And bear it!
    · Reply · 2 h
    Vincent James
    David Ackerson right out of the lips of Jesus.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Riku Soikkeli
    “Clean your room!”
    · Reply · 2 h
    Kerry J Walker
    Set yourself a goal so lofty that the pain you will endure along the way is worth it
    · Reply · 2 h
    Gabriel Knies
    About 24 damn great rules!
    · Reply · 2 h
    Tom Trilling
    It’s not his original idea but i first heard it in his video: the sermon on the mount – Blessed are the meek. Meek is the wrong word. It doesnt mean timid. It means more like disciplined or has good judgement. “One who can wield a sword but can keep it sheathed”
    · Reply · 2 h · Edited
    Dwayne Rhodes
    Recently about why woman don’t chose men
    · Reply · 2 h
    Dwayne Rhodes
    But his stance is old, the smart phone and the internet has mad false reality s accessible to more ppl
    To many believe in disney and romcoms endings
    · Reply · 2 h
    Andrew Howard
    There are some games that you don’t get to play unless you are all in.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Sean Andrew
    from his last lecture on the Maps of Meaning series
    “What’s so interesting about being alive is you’re all in. No matter what you do you’re all in. This is gonna kill you. So I think you might as well play the most magnificent game you can, while you’re waiting”
    · Reply · 2 h
    Phillip Murphy
    “You’re not everything you could be, AND you know it”
    · Reply · 2 h
    Popo Soswa
    “Weak people cannot be virtuous”. Damn if that ain’t the truth and that is precisely the problem of our time. Everybody is friggin weak.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Vincent James
    Play this game…Look around you and see what you can make better. After your done, do it again and then again…
    · Reply · 2 h
    Julian Rushton-Givens
    That Marx was right about some things
    · Reply · 2 h
    Vincent James
    Save your father from the belly of the whale.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Vincent James
    I still am not too clear on what it means. I think it refers to the flaws your father might have that limited his power to improve your life… rather than be resentful or powerless because of a feeling of dependence on an imperfect being, be empowered to overcome you’re own flaws and your fathers by taking responsibility and discerning the necessary steps to strive in the right direction.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Darío Gutiesco
    Vincent James In essence it means that you need to go all the way down to hell (your own hell), meet your demons & confront them, learn the lessons from what you have been avoiding, come back as a renewed wiser person
    · Reply · 2 h · Edited
    Arthur Kay
    Darío Gutiesco right. everything that most of our fathers didn’t do because they did not know.
    · Reply · 54 m
    Frizzio Flammalot
    For me it was the concept of Phainesthai. The idea that you don’t control what you’re interested in, and that is your spirit
    · Reply · 2 h
    Julian Rushton-Givens
    In all seriousness though I’d say the idea that you can’t be virtuous if you’re not strong enough to enforce your virtue upon the world, and the idea that to be truly strong you need to be able to understand how to tap into your shadow.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Paul Allen
    The Analogy “Rescue your father” Its such a classic stage of life with the relationship between young men and women to their father or actually both parents)
    · Reply · 2 h
    David Mcree
    I put the word damn before the title of any group I am discussing.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Sean Sullivan
    “I’m gonna encroach on you until you protest, then I’m gonna stop. You’ll calm down, and I’ll encroach on you again until protest, and then I’ll stop. Eventually you’ll be three miles from you started, wondering ‘well, how’d I end up here?’ That’s how it starts, tyranny one tiny step at a time.”
    · Reply · 2 h · Edited
    Ryan Ogden
    I spent the first 16 days of my daughter’s life having no idea if she’d survive. “Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street” saved my soul, “Treat yourself as if you’re someone you are responsible for helping” saved my health, and “Pusue what is meaningful not what is expedient” helped me make sense of it all.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Ryan Ogden
    Also she’s home and healthy now and I don’t let her do anything that makes me not like her nor do i bother her while she’s skateboarding.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Randall Owen
    · Reply · 2 h
    Anthony Kilburn
    When he talked about how governments become tyrannical and authoritarian when there is a health scare/pandemic, years before Covid. Eerily prescient
    · Reply · 2 h
    Steven King
    It’s nothing more than an understanding of three things.
    3)That the first doesn’t change and the second is repeated.
    Studying psychology and history will make you seem like you can predict the future.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Anthony Kilburn
    Steven King totally….because it repeats
    · Reply · 1 h · Edited
    Arthur Kay
    Anthony Kilburn it rhymes
    · Reply · 51 m
    Leandro Jaume Iacomoni
    I’m paraphrasing but… You need to take responsibility, it’s the only way in life. You’re more capable than you think.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Philip Weston Holmes
    I cannot quote it exactly, but consider your words carefully before you speak. He owns what he says.
    · Reply · 2 h
    Sina Makhsous
    · Reply · 2 h
    Dillon Surette
    Paraphrasing but something like, who you are is not okay because you could be much more.
    · Reply · 2 h · Edited
    Arthur Kay
    Dillon Surette “you’re fine the way you are” WRONG!!! -JP
    · Reply · 50 m
    Jodi O Moriarty
    Value yourself. If people are not listening to you, stop talking.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Monia Haque
    Compare yourself to who you were yesterday . / Do not wish to be in someone else’s position based on your thinking they are better than you in some sense or another because you don’t know anything about their story , the truth of their life or what they wish for ….etc …..
    · Reply · 1 h
    Timothy L. Gott
    “Clean up your room”. But it was the context that stuck with me.
    The context of taking care of your own stuff first (generally speaking) before you go out there thinking that you can change the world.
    · Reply · 1 h · Edited
    Jennifer Howard
    Make my bed. 😂
    · Reply · 1 h
    Steven King
    “Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie”.
    “Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for”
    There are a lot but these Two stick with me.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Arthur Kay
    Steven King i love the first one. it reveals that there is more to just truth or lies. there’s also other.
    · Reply · 49 m
    Sarah Laverick
    Tidy your room
    · Reply · 1 h
    Klaus Morgan Maier
    Smoke weed every day
    · Reply · 1 h
    Kozure Ōkami
    Klaus Morgan Maier That mighta been Nate Dogg but equally as insightful
    · Reply · 1 h
    Pecker Maroo-PtyLtd
    ive had my vaccination now leave me alone
    · Reply · 1 h
    Robert Rzep
    Pecker Maroo-PtyLtd “…leave me FUCKING alone”
    · Reply · 1 h · Edited
    Pecker Maroo-PtyLtd
    Robert Rzep if by now your not aware, the shots turn off your bodies ability to produce killer T cells.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Robert Rzep
    Pecker Maroo-PtyLtd dude. I wasn’t disagreeing with you. I was correcting the quote. JP rarely swears and the reason he swore there is because he was pissed.
    · Reply · 1 h · Edited
    Pecker Maroo-PtyLtd
    Robert Rzep yeh all g, just waiting to see the reaction from the world when it realizes how badly poisoned its been by this jab.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Cassandra Nagel
    “There’s a reason hell is a bottomless pit. That’s because some sorry son of a bitch like you can find a way to make it a lot worse. So let’s not do that.”
    · Reply · 1 h
    Michael O’Shea
    “tell the truth, at least don’t lie” and “behave as if god exists”
    The interesting bit in the 2nd one is the “behave as if” part. I don’t need god but the “behaving as if” is precisely what characterises western culture: we behave *as if* all men were equal. It’s not true but behaving as if it were true is how we built this amazing civilisation.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Roger Anthony Essig
    ‘There might be something to that’. He said that to me when I told him my hypothesis on why people see reptilian beings while on DMT.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Beth Annie Hesse
    Roger Anthony Essig tell it?
    · Reply · 30 m
    Roger Anthony Essig
    Beth Annie Hesse I was at a book signing, so had a few seconds. I told him i’ve seen a ‘dragon of chaos’ while on DMT and he asked me “what do you make of it?” I suggested it may be a side effect of human’s innate ability to detect snake-skin patterning in nature. Similar patterns emerge while on DMT, causing a feedback loop, and thus predatory reptilians can form. A few weeks after talking to him, I gave this presentation.

    DMT, snake detection and Alice in wonderland.
    DMT, snake detection and Alice in wonderland.
    DMT, snake detection and Alice in wonderland.
    · Reply · 22 m
    Malik Kimbisa
    “Have you read the gulag archipelago?”
    · Reply · 1 h
    Chris Lehmann
    People don’t get damaged by being punished for doing something wrong, but if you punish people for doing the right thing it is incredibly damaging. – or words to that effect.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Jason French
    If you want the gold you have to face the dragon.
    · Reply · 1 h
    Christine McKenzie
    Aim at something and work at it with everything you have, and see what happens.
    · Reply · 55 m
    Peter Thomson
    “You aren’t what you think. You are what you do”
    · Reply · 51 m
    Lisa Breece Linke
    “When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”
    · Reply · 50 m
    Anne Marie McCusker
    It’s much easier to make things worse than to make them better
    · Reply · 47 m
    Esa Lappalainen
    “Everything matters” was a tough one, yet the most important one.
    Just yesterday I took a look back to when I started listening to the maps of meaning lectures that started a huge chain event in my life. I’ve come so far during the last 3,5 years I did not think was possible. Right direction, constant improvement and working hard, fueled by meaning.
    · Reply · 47 m
    Beth Annie Hesse
    Good question, Mark! Thanks 🙏
    · Reply · 27 m
    Evan Taylor
    Good luck with that bucko
    · Reply · 19 m
    Tigo Lopez
    the peter pan concept of being stuck in just a potential state, never wanting to go further.
    · Reply · 18 m
    Israel Freitas
    In order to be good you have to become a monster first, and learn how to control your monstrosity.
    Being harmless is not the same of being good. Being harmless is being weak.
    · Reply · 17 m
    Matt Frawley
    The greatest thing reiterated ever, pull your suffering forward and try to make it better, for yourself, which in turn the family around you improves and our world 🌎 improves! It’s on you! Go forth… do great things!
    Something like that!
    · Reply · 14 m
    Richard Larsson
    His analysis of the Bible and perspective on it (speaking in general about religious doctrines) as THE ancient story of mankind as it struggles to find meaning and goals of existence. Most importantly to me is the argument that no matter what it all me… See more
    · Reply · 12 m
    Lisa Wilder
    A lot of things. The latest is, “if you think strong men do damage in the world, wait til you see what weak men do” or something like that. Also don’t think you wouldn’t have been a concentration camp guard yourself …
    · Reply · 12 m
    Vic Tomkins
    Treat yourself as though you were responsible for taking care of
    · Reply · 9 m
    Brandon Boone
    Slay the dragon in its lair


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