The Virtuous Cycle: Our Strength Is In Our Vulnerability

The search for meaning, rather than the pursuit of personal happiness, maintains researcher Emily Esfahani Smith in The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness, is the key to living a fulfilling, joyful life.

According to Smith, one of the hallmarks of living a meaningful life is finding a way to contribute to the greater good.

At the daring heart of Living Room Conversations is something that Joan Blades, our Founder, refers to as our “Virtuous Cycle.” A virtuous cycle is a complex chain of events that reinforce themselves through a feedback loop.

A virtuous cycle is how the positive effects of individual Living Room Conversations gets aggregated to become a movement.  A movement, sparked by genuine sharing and generous listening, that offers a pathway to contribute to something much bigger than ourselves.

Imagine this virtuous cycle as a towering oak tree. Each time you have a Living Room Conversation, like leaves on a tree, you soak in sunlight.

Just as leaves convert sunlight into energy for the benefit of the whole, each time you share your experiences with the Living Room Conversations “home base,” your feedback is metabolized and funneled back into the wider community.

Ensuring that we receive feedback, what we call “closing the loop,” is the most precarious part of the virtuous cycle.

Anyone, anywhere, at any time, can download a guide and have a conversation. The health of the whole ecosystem rests on whether a sizable percentage of these participants will choose to provide feedback or not.

We know that our strength lies in our vulnerability, so we open our hands, offering freely these tools for our mutual flourishing.

No one is ever coerced into providing feedback.


Because Living Room Conversations, like America itself, is an experiment.

An experiment in the radical belief that a new world is possible…

A world based in partnership, not domination.

A world of abundance, not scarcity.

A world where power is shared, not hoarded.

A world where people are understood to be inherently trustworthy, inherently good, inherently driven to seek meaning and purpose in their lives.

Each time you share a story, a learning or a challenge, each time you tell us about your experimentations, creative applications, and inventive iterations, you take one small step towards building this new world.

Participating in the virtuous cycle lets us harness the energy of the sun and grow together towards the light.



Shannon Mannon

Newsletter Editor

How can you be part of the Virtuous Cycle?

  1. Submit a feedback form each time you participate in a Living Room Conversation. Encourage fellow participants to do the same.
  2. Join our Living Room Conversation Community Facebook group where we share perspectives and experiences, respond to questions, and support each other.
  3. Send us your stories. Tell us who you’re gathering and what you’re learning. Send to:
  4. Volunteer with us. All sorts of roles are available to fit your interests. Just answer a few questions so we can learn more about you HERE.