Fix Everything in One Easy Step

Have you ever fixed something, but had no idea how you fixed it? We have this clock radio and the clock part went dark. Everything else worked, but we could not see the time at night. I pushed every button on that damn clock, but nothing could make the light work.

Bender: I take shop. You must be a f#*kin’ idiot!
Brian: I’m a f#*kin’ idiot because I can’t make a lamp?
Bender: No, you’re a genius because you can’t make a lamp.
Brian: What do you know about Trigonometry?
Bender: I could care less about Trigonometry.
Brian: Bender, did you know without Trigonometry there’d be no engineering?
Bender: Without lamps, there’d be no light.

One day, my wife plugs in her iPhone to the clock radio and the light comes on. So it’s fixed, but we have no idea how it got fixed. We are so paranoid about plugging our phones into the device or pressing any buttons for fear of the light going off again that we might as well not even have a clock radio.

My life was like this. I was broken, but every once in a while I’d get fixed. I’d get a nice girlfriend or I’d land a great job. I had no idea what fixed me, but I knew that at any point someone could push the wrong button and I’d be broken again.

I had a mentor in graduate school who pulled me aside one day and asked me, “Do you ever feel like you have no idea what you are doing, and you just pray that no one finds out?”
I nodded, suspecting that he had found out how clueless I was.
“The truth is that no one knows what the hell they are doing,” he re-assured me.

I used to be so clueless, not just about grad school, but life in general. I used to talk a lot about “trigonometry,” but I had no idea how to turn on a Light. Worse, I used to think and act like I knew everything, but I was really in the dark.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking I know everything again, but I think I may have found the button to turn on the Light.

Like most truths, it is pretty simple:

empathy and compassion

When I think about the biggest mistakes I’ve made in life, I can attribute all of them to a lack of empathy and compassion. When we act without compassion and empathy, we hurt others and/or create enemies that want to cut us down at the knees.

It would have been a whole different story, if the boys in Steubenville had compassion for the young girl they abused. Politics in America would change drastically if Republicans and Democrats could empathize with each other. War, genocide, domestic violence, rape, and abuse would cease to exist if everyone were able to compassionately put themselves in the victim’s shoes.

So whenever something is broken in our lives, look for the empathy and compassion button. Press it over and over until the problem is fixed.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

What button do you look for when something in your life breaks? Please share.

48 comments on “Fix Everything in One Easy Step

  1. […] Fix Everything in One Easy Step. […]

  2. jmgoyder says:

    Lately I’ve been using the laughter button!

    • Kozo says:

      That is a great button, Julie. I’m not sure if it fixes the problems, but it definitely makes us feel better. Keep laughing and loving. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  3. rarasaur says:

    It’s probably the same button, but I always call it perspective. I try to think of multiple ways and views of looking at a situation. With perspective, empathy and compassion inevitably follow. 🙂 Beautiful post– you’re entirely correct!

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Rara. I have to say that I’m never entirely correct, although I used to think I was ALWAYS entirely correct. I think if we look at different perspectives, we realize that no one is entirely correct.
      I love your idea of perspectives. Empathy is literally seeing the world through someone else’s perspective, and taking a wider perspective is a great way to gain compassion. When we see the bigger picture, we realize that we are all in this together which allows us to open our hearts to others. Great point. Maybe we can have a button that says “Change Perspectives” to wear on our clothes like in the 80s. 🙂
      {{{hugs]}} Kozo

    • kenajos says:

      She took the word right off of my fingertips…when something ‘seems’ wrong I detach from the circumstance and look at it from different points of view…yup

  4. Geo Sans says:


    was always my button

    when I felt “broken”


    I would forget myself

    the adrenalin

    the movement

    took me to clear moments



    sometimes walking

    in nature


    with a camera soothes me


    earlier today

    I had parallel thoughts

    about our overwhelming

    continuously growing ocean of knowledge

    and I wrote on my blog …


    I’m letting go

    there’s a freedom

    in learning

    how little we know

    • Kozo says:

      Love the idea of freedom in recognizing how little we know, Geo Sans.
      I see exercise as a great healer as well. I once had such an intense yoga class that I came out loving everyone. Too bad it didn’t last.
      Nature is also a great cultivator of compassion. Great tips, Geo Sans. Thanks for sharing. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  5. yaussiechick says:

    Sometimes when I feel broken or angry, I just walk away from a situation & try not to strike out. I also try counting to ten. It just depends on the situation.

    • Kozo says:

      Good advice, yaussiechick. Walking away is a form of turning the other cheek. I also like counting to ten. Patience builds compassion. Thanks for sharing. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  6. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Love it Kozo! Yeah, I found that life became much more enjoyable when I stopped a) thinking I knew everything about what I was doing and b) thinking everyone else knew everything about what they were doing. A lot of pain comes from being stuck in your beliefs and “knowing” something, being totally “sure”. I’m totally sure about very little these days and so it’s much easier to see things from another’s perspective 🙂

    I like the empathy and compassion button. Someone needs to make a big red button that says “Press in Case of Lack of Empathy!” 🙂

    Keep well buddy, hugs!


    • Kozo says:

      “A lot of pain comes from being stuck in your beliefs and “knowing” something, being totally “sure”” Words of wisdom, Rohan. Sounds like you speak from experience which is always a great teacher.
      I would love to have a button to press that would start a lovingkindness guided meditation. Maybe we can make a app!
      Thanks for sharing your wisdom. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  7. Bastet says:

    🙂 empathy has always seemed to be the most lacking in our make-up, It’s always wise to stop and reflect, before we reject..lovely advise.

    • Kozo says:

      I agree, Bastet. Empathy is lacking in our culture. Many, myself included, were not even familiar with the terms empathy and compassion until fairly recently. I like your saying, ‘stop, reflect, before you reject’. It reminds me of stop, drop, and roll for when you are on fire. Simple, but effective advice. Thanks for commenting because it allowed me to find your blog. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  8. Once again a powerful writing. For me, this is going to sound wacked, my compassion and empathy is what kills my soul… its like people who are cold hearted on the inside and wear fake compassion & empathy on the outside (wolves in sheep’s clothing) have a special radar to seek & find the kindhearted and break them down. I will always have compassion and empathy because its who I am but, I have learned in the harshest ways not to close my eyes on anyone who I think are like me. Do you know what I mean?

    • Kozo says:

      I can’t really empathize with you here, 1G4AW, because I used to be one of those “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” I would talk about onelove and compassion, but deep down, I was selfish cold-hearted. I am trying to atone for those years of hypocrisy.
      Kind souls like yourself remind me of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama said that he is grateful for the Chinese because they have allowed him to reach a deeper level of compassion that would not have been possible without them. You have obviously delved deep into compassion and empathy and these wolves have forced you to go even deeper. Keep fighting the good fight. Love, Kozo

  9. After my going on’s I forgot to add. I would be pushing that Button ad nausea trying to fix those missing attributes in others!!!!

  10. grandmalin says:

    “The truth is that no one knows what the hell they are doing,” That’s the “I get it” button I’m going to push now whenever I’m short on patience and empathy and compassion. Life is all about helping each other figure out what they hell we’re doing! You truly are a guru, Kozo. Thanks for turning on the light. 😀

    • Kozo says:

      Life is about helping other, Grandmalin. So wise, as always. Funny thing is when we help others figure out what the hell is going on, we make sense of our own lives. Go figure?? Thanks for shining your wisdom on my corner of the blogosphere. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  11. kartikasays says:

    Wise words – every day I feel confronted by my own judgements about myself and life in general – my button might be something like – “It’s all okay, I’m loved and so is everything and everyone else.” Kartika

    • Kozo says:

      Love that, Kartika. We are all loved which needs to be reciprocated. Great way to build compassion is to see how we are all connected by love. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  12. diannegray says:

    I need an “I don’t get it” button that I can push when people are rude to me (not that it happens that often).I love the analogy you use with the ‘light coming on’ and the empathy and compassion button. I agree with Rara that a ‘perspective’ button would be ideal and I’d love one of those 😉

    • Kozo says:

      “I don’t get it” either, Dianne, but I try to love them nonetheless. I think changing perspectives might often lead us to getting it. Let’s make buttons like the 80s. I used to love my Madness, The Jam, and Clash buttons. I would definitely wear an empathy, compassion, or change perspective button. You can have South of the equator distribution rights, Dianne. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  13. tchistorygal says:

    Great post. So you found me out, too. When I was working, particularly during meetings, clueless would describe how I felt from time to time. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say we need empathy and compassion. Usually that clueless feeling comes out when we feel threatened in some way, and empathy, compassion, and respect have flown out the window.

    • Kozo says:

      I didn’t think about the connection between compassion/empathy and cluelessness, Marsha, but I think you are right. If we can have compassion for others and ourselves, then we rarely feel lost or clueless. I always remind myself that “I am loved.’ This takes off a lot of pressure, and even if I feel clueless, I don’t mind.
      Thank you for your insightful comment. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  14. Sunshine says:

    i always push the Saint Augustine button that says: “…this too shall pass…” & i remind myself, that my life is not my own but it should be a vehicle for the Divine one to use. period. and as far as empathy…if we can all bury our “self” in order to “walk in another shoes,” the Universe/planet Earth would start to radiate the eternal joys found only in the kingdom of heaven. unfortunately, it is rather hard to let go of our love-of-our-life: our self! 🙂
    ♥love your reflections, Kozo…☼sunHUGS!!

    • Kozo says:

      Preaching to the choir, that is what I do, Sunshine. You guys are already on the track I am trying to lay down. I should just relax and ride with you guys on the peace train. haha.
      Love “this too shall pass.” It is also one of my favorite youtube videos by OK Go. Check it out. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  15. Dieu says:

    I’ve always thought that the same things that make a person a good writer, is also what makes someone a good person. Empathy, to understand the actions of others makes for a good writer and a good person. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      I completely agree, Dieu. Your poetry always makes me feel like you are in my heart and looking out of my eyes.
      I would add that empathy can also be used for not so noble ends. I think Hitler had great empathy for the plight of post-World War I Germans. Others use empathy to beguile us. That is why compassion is a necessary part of the button, although that makes the button really long and wordy. haha. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  16. 1EarthUnited says:

    Hey great post and comments everyone! Now tell the truth, who else watched the rest of the movie after that awesome scene?! ♥Love to all♥

  17. It’s posts like yours Kozo that are rippling around the blogosphere changing perception, opening minds and hearts while humbling us with your candour and your honesty. Thank you so much for all you do in bringing peace forward every step of your way:-)

  18. KM Huber says:

    Forgive me, Kozo, as I am behind in reading blog posts but do know what pure joy it is to read your posts. In every way, you reveal us to ourselves and in so doing, we are able to see through another lens, gain yet another perspective. We have all been wolves, thinking we were passing as anything but what we were. Now, what we are is revealed so we no longer fix anything but practice with hearts open, seeking compassion and empathy in one another. Thanks so much, my dear friend.

    • Kozo says:

      Good to know that I wasn’t the only one who was a wolf thinking I wasn’t, Karen. I was just thinking about a saying today: It’s not who you were born, but who you become that matters. Your encouragement and empathy helps me stay the course. Thank you. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  19. runningonsober says:

    What a wonderful post, so happy to have stumbled across your little corner of the world here.

    I love The Breakfast Club, and it made me think how in school on multiple choice questioned tests, they always said to pick “C” if you didn’t know an answer. Though out of school for years, I’ve remembered that and still pick C, but now because it represents “compassion” to me.

    Have a wonderful evening, I look forward to following you!
    ~ Christy

    • Kozo says:

      Love that, Christy. Pick C for compassion. Yeah, Breakfast Club is a classic. It really is all about empathy. Wish I would have realized that when I first saw it Freshman year in college, but I guess late is better than never. Looking forward to checking out your blog. Thanks for the comment and follow. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • runningonsober says:

        Better late than never, yes.

        Perhaps though you saw it right when you needed to see it? Any sooner or any later and it may not have had the same impact. That would make it perfect timing!

        Have a wonderful day ((she says as she starts humming “Don’t you, forget about me, I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby….”))

      • Kozo says:

        “it’s my feeling we’ll win in the end.” Lovely reminder of what a compassionate heart would do, Christy–NOT walk on by. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  20. kasturika says:

    No one knows what the hell they’re doing… I believe that about myself… And its nice to know that most other people feel the same way… Maybe life isn’t supposed to be like that… Imagine how would our life be if there was nothing broken… What would we do? We all need to be fixed in some way or the other, and we need to fix others in return… The day there’s nothing no fix, life would come to an end…

    • Kozo says:

      I totally agree, Kasturika. We are here to grow. We are here to evolve. All life is transient. The minute we stop evolving, we won’t need to be here anymore. Here’s to change. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  21. Flo me la says:

    I agree – most my mistakes – or at least the ones I’m most ashamed of – came from forgetting empathy.

    By the way, Breakfast club fits nicely in this post, apart from the lamp thing too – it’s all about compassion and empathy, isn’t it? Learning to understand people who are very different from yourself. And also seeing all the ways in which they aren’t. I think Hughes is pretty good at that stuff. Wish more high school flicks were like that nowadays.

    • Kozo says:

      Breakfast Club is on my list of 5 films that build empathy, along with The Lives of Others, Seven Samurai, Magnolia, and ET. I know you focus on empathy. What films would be on your list?
      {{{hugs]}} Kozo

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