Striving for a Shared Reality

Illustration by Joanne Gouaux | Future MindSync

Too many meaningful conversations never take place because people are afraid to share their thoughts.

I met my creative partner, award-winning documentary filmmaker Sarah Gerber, through a mutual connection. Neither one of us knew what might emerge from our first conversation or if it would lead to any tangible collaboration. It did.

We started having regular conversations. In time, a pattern arose. We were searching for something — a new lens to see the wonders of our modern age and ways to forge a path forward toward an inspired and hopeful future.

Over the last few years, digital interconnections have merged with the physical world at an incredible pace. The effect is dizzying. It seems that society is living multiple realities — and it comes at a high cost.

Sarah and I sensed that people are ready for a new vision of the future, one with more hopeful prospects. Finding people who embody this vision became our focus. We wanted to see through their eyes and know more about who and what contributes to the intricate and complex system needed for humans to flourish? This question became central to the Track Two Podcast, a series that explores ideas and culture through big picture thinkers' voices and vision.

Talk about the future you want to see

Life, like a conversation, gets better when you put your heart into it.

Sarah and I sat down with Fred Dust, author of Making Conversation, for a special interview and the opening episode to our second season of the Track Two Podcast, exploring the intersection of philanthropy and civil society. As a member of the Board of Directors of two of America’s most treasured philanthropies, National Public Radio (NPR) and the Sundance Institute, Fred lives life aligned with his values. His words generate a playful space for imagination, truth, and an optimistic outlook.

“My legacy is to be out there relentlessly telling stories of people who get through the hardest conversations in their life, and do it successfully.” — Fred Dust, Interview via the Track Two Podcast, Season 2, Episode 1

Silhouette of a person looking toward a colorful night sky
Image Courtesy of Canva: One small part of the big picture

A former global managing director for design firm IDEO and a founder of, Fred has designed and led conversations with some of the leading thinkers of our time. A believer in humanity’s potential for good, he cautions, “We’ve been trained on dystopia, and frankly, just by saying the word divide, we see divide. Frequency illusion makes it so that we start to see divide everywhere. So let’s tell stories of hope, so we see hope.”

Hopeful conversations

Creating hopeful conversations may be easier said than done. Maybe you feel what you have to say is not all that important? Perhaps you are afraid you will be judged? You think no one will listen. Or maybe you feel like if you start talking, you might ramble? Chances are, if a topic interests you, it likely interests people around you too. Ramble away. If it resonates, it’s relevant. It might be exactly what someone else needs to hear, and you might receive a response that surprises you.

By opening up and being willing to face our own humanity, we can crystalize honesty and stories that support our shared reality. It can also reveal cracks and broken pieces in need of attention and mending. By committing to listening closely to bridge-the-gap between the message that is sent and the message that is received, we all contribute to a healthier society.

Every generation decides how they can best be of service to the greater good. Our generation faces some tough challenges, which means there is no shortage of service opportunities. Everyone has something to contribute, and you already have the necessary instruments — your heart, your head, and your voice.

Bright colorful paper with two blank thought bubbles and the word “hope”

A healthy society values diverse perspectives and creates spaces for people to come together. It offers people access to community networks, information, resources, systems, and skills. While social divisions can create adverse outcomes or even coordination problems, these differences can also lead to learning and innovation.

Think of creating hopeful conversations as a treasure hunt; your mission is to find opportunities and build social bridges.

Conversations have the power to create a shared reality

Conversations are a vital expression of the human spirit. Humans have a long track record of being creators, community builders, dreamers, and explorers. Talking helps us push the limits of human experience to create meaning and a sense of belonging. Words are a way to find our direction and build a legacy and future. Conversations help us understand our world, create a shared reality, and make the most of it.

Join us on the Track Two Podcast as we continue exploring what makes a healthy, flourishing society.

An illustration of a radiant, glowing candle with a watercolor background.




Social Entrepreneur. Advocate. Doer. Fan of all things neuroscience. Promoter of thoughtful reflection. Believer in synchronicity.

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Joanne Gouaux

Joanne Gouaux

Social Entrepreneur. Advocate. Doer. Fan of all things neuroscience. Promoter of thoughtful reflection. Believer in synchronicity.

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