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Matthew Cornell

Hi Joe. I appreciate your treatise on comments, and how to take them. I usually comment for a number of reasons, some more self-serving than others, but all meant to be personal. In this case I wanted to acknowledge having *read* your post, and support you in a small way. However, I wasn't prepared to be more specific about the ideas I got reading it. The other factor is this kind of work, while still interesting to me, is no longer my focus. So I was trying to stay involved in your work and stay connected to you as a valuable friend, but also try to keep my current 5 year focus in mind - becoming a great, successful productivity consultant and thinker. Pareto's principle at work, if you will.

So do you think it's better to *not* comment in this case?

Also, while I try to be generous and think about my readers when blogging, I tend to be a little more self-focused when commenting on other blogs. Not sure this makes sense, but you helped me to realize it, which I appreciate.

Finally, a sure sign that it's not blog spam: No links to *my* blog! :-)

Matthew Cornell

After some thought, I realized that criticizing publicly the people who comment on your blog is probably not a good way to retain subscribers. Just my 2c.


Matt: I always enjoy receiving your comments, and I did feel support in what you wrote. In fact, it was the good feeling I had about reading your comment that spurred me to include it in processing my own issues about taking things personally. I did not intend to criticize you or your comment in my post, but I will take your responses into consideration as I continue to refine my blogging practice. I was concerned that my post may have the unintended consequence of discouraging people from posting comments in the future, but if I'm going to live up to the name of the blog, I have to be willing to push some boundaries and take some risks. Thanks for taking the risk of responding publicly, and helping me better understand the impact my words can have.

Sarah Elkins

I'm exasperated with the one-line fake compliment comment spam. However, if I'm not sure it's not spam (URL not obviously spammy), I'll often click through to confirm if it's spam before blowing it away.

If someone I knew already left a short comment like Matt's, though, I'd assume ;-) it was a simple thank-you for whatever I'd posted about. Sometimes I don't have the time or grey matter to post a long comment, but I want the person to know their entry is appreciated. I'm much more likely to do this if no one else has commented (positively or at least thoughtfully) yet. I'd be kind of annoyed if the person then said my comment was about me (projection? unsolicited armchair psychology?).


Hey Joe

I deeply appreciate your desire to move to a place of quietness, where praise or criticism are less important. You know, I have always felt in your comments, Joe, this deep reflective turn, a sure footed way of climbing to get at the truth of things beyond prejudice, like an ascent up a mountain. I know you to be an eminently sensitive man, and there is little that feels better than your comment on my blogs because it means somehow I have succeeded in touching you and that, as always, you are on the climb with me and also want to engender the dialogue of a mountain climber -- the conversation of friends faced with the same dilemmas of making sense of things, of getting to the top, however the top may be defined. There is nothing you could say to offend me and everything you could say to encourage me to listen. I lead for awhile and you hold the rope for me. You lead and I hold the rope for you. How else could be arrive at such beautiful high places? I send you my friendship, love, and best wishes, one gnarly climber to another.


Sarah: thanks for sharing your own experiences and feelings about the comments you receive on your blog, and the intentions and reflections on your own commenting practice. I'm also grateful for your willingness to comment on how you'd feel if I'd commented on your comment like I've commented on Matt's comment. If I could undo/redo the post, I'd do it without any attribution to Matt, as he may be feeling the annoyance you believe you would have felt. However, editing the post without editing / deleting his comments (and now yours) would remove too much context at this stage. I'll simply note that my comments on his comments (and now yours) represent my own projections ... and an unexpected opportunity for me to reflect further on Don Miguel's first and third agreements (being impeccable with my word and not making assumptions).

Dan: I am grateful for your confirmation that I have not annoyed you, and for your affirmations (which I find very challenging not to take personally :-) ).

I still have much learning to do - about not taking things personally, commenting and a variety of other dimensions of life - and am fortunate to have the support of others - online and offline - in the process.

Sarah Elkins

Joe, I do sympathize with having some desire to redo the post, but feeling that editing it now would remove too much context. If it were me, I might add something like this to the entry: [Update: I was not speaking for Matt here, this was just my interpretation]

No worries on my end; I'm glad if my perspective served as food for thought.


It seems to me that you haven't gotten the point, because you still care about comments, about what other people think and so on...

But this is only a projection, so don't take it personally... :)))))))

It seems to me that this theory divides us and isolates us. I don't know if this is a bad thing or a good thing.

Joe McCarthy

Dora: Thanks for your comment

I do care about comments, just as I care about what people say to me face-to-face. The key is to be able to read or listen attentively while not taking comments personally, however personally they may be intended.

I don't believe that don Miguel Ruiz proposes this agreement with the intention to divide and/or isolate us, as he starts off the book with a vision of unity, in which everything is a manifestation of the one living being that he chooses to call God. In his view, everyone is simply a mirror reflecting this light, but our conditioning - by parents, teachers, and political and religious leaders - creates fog or smoke that clouds our vision.

All that said, I'm still not sure I fully get it, but this gives me an opportunity to practice the fourth agreement, always do your best.

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