Ex Post Facto no. 10: Thumbs, Mask Chains & New Intellectual Humility Habit Series

We’re back for another Ex Post Facto, the email with 3 things you’ll wish you’d known earlier—just in time for the weekend. Thanks for joining! –Shane

I like to tell my friends that “I run on compliments.” I think I even say that on my website contact page, as embarrassing as that is.

Well this week I discovered two no-fail compliment generators: My new puppy Sir Remy Bear (photo below!), and these fancy mask chains that make protecting others by wearing a mask a little more enjoyable.

It’s the little things in life that often keep us going—and in my case, that keep the compliments coming!

Along that theme, I have for you…

One EXcellent bit of wisdom:

  • “Half the joy of life is in little things taken on the run...” <– This quote by French novelist Victor Cherbuliez has me thinking this week.

    In particular, the “taken on the run” part of this resonates with me. It might be too much to ask for some of us to slow down, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take in the little things while we’re barreling forward.

One POST you won’t want to miss:

  • The Art of Intellectual Humility, Audio Mini-Series <– This week’s post is actually a playlist!

    Over the last month, I recorded 7 episodes for Jess Larsen’s Innovation & Leadership podcast where we explored how intellectual humility works, and what I’ve been learning about it since writing about it in Dream Teams. If this is a topic you’re interested in, these episodes are well worth a listen!

    (Also, you should subscribe to Jess’s podcast—he has amazing guests!—on Apple, Spotify, etc.)

One FACT Of great interest:

  • They say that part of what helped humans win planet Earth is the fact that we have opposable thumbs. Not only can we think smarter than other animals, but we can grab onto things and manipulate them in ways that dolphins (also smart!) never could.

    And this brings me to this week’s shocking revelation for me…

    Dogs used to have thumbs!

    Some, but not all, domesticated dogs still do have a vestigial claw on the inside of their paws, known as a “dewclaw.” We found this out when we took Sir Remy Bear to the vet and discovered that he has dewclaws on both front and hind legs.

    Apparently, this thumb-claw used to be helpful for dogs that needed to run in the snow, turn sharply, etc. Makes sense. So why did it go away?

    Whatever the reason, imagine if instead of taking a backseat in evolution, dogs’ dewclaws had actually evolved into full blown opposable thumbs? Might we have had some extra competition for rulership of the planet in that case?

    I’d posit that, still no. Dogs would have been too busy sniffing their own poop to figure out how to invent fire. But I’ve decided it would be real nice if Sir Remy Bear had the thumb capacity to go grab me a cold one from the fridge every once in a while. Alas…

Have a great weekend everybody—and take care of each other!

Much love,


P.S. My recent Dream Teams Leadership Intensive was a smash hit in October. So much so that we’ve decided to do it again! Check out http://snow.academy/leadership for details—and pass the link along to anyone you know who’s ambitious about leveling up as a leader!

P.P.S. As promised, here’s Sir Remy Bear, camping out on my backpack while I write these newsletters: