Glossary of terms


The things we most often think of as foundations for us to work as creators are actually façades, the false or surface-level indications of our true potential. When we work from a façade, we don’t actually have something substantial to work from. We are relying on our connections or our degrees rather than trusting our actual creative talent and harnessing our passions.


 A parti, in architectural terms, is a general unifying idea for a creative project. It’s the thing on which all the other little ideas hinge. A parti doesn’t hop around from one project to the other, not if it knows what it wants. The parti is the project. In architecture, we use ground plans to express our partis. At Cornerstone, we use partis to find a path for the rest of our lives.


We have to remain vigilant of the bites on our time that are going to take our focus from our true destiny: becoming a fully immersed dynamic person. Ballast allows us language to refocus conversations and situations that might lead us away from our path. Ballast allows you to already assume that your friends and family will be supportive of your life’s work, and it allows you to use positive rather than negative language when declining invitations.

Fitts’ Law

Psychologist Paul Fitts gives us a law that says the time required to hit a target is dependent upon both the size of the target and our distance from it. When we set out our goal targets, we should first apply Fitts’ Law. What is the most meaningful next step for us in our goal, what is its size, and how far are we from that goal?


MAYA (Most Advanced Yet Acceptable) means that the most appealing ideas we can put forth come in simple terms but radically reframe what people expect of those concepts. Don’t just take a piece of paper for granted; it can become a tool to show others how to fill in the blankness of their own existence.

The Fifth F

We all have four instinctual responses: freeze, flight, fight, forfeit. These four Fs ask that we react to a threat. And that takes away our power and gives it directly to the threat. The only way to get out of that mindset is to stop using these Fs and think about The Fifth F. This F means Forward. By regarding everything as a threat with forward thinking, we’ve already considered all the possibilities, and we can give no power to them. The Fifth F gives us the power to change our circumstances dramatically by putting us steps ahead of all threats. 

The Needle in the Haystack Lie

What this adage doesn’t tell us is that we can use a pitchfork to dig through all that hay. Or we could use a magnet to draw that needle right out to us. It also doesn’t tell us what type of needle we’re looking for. The adage assumes we’re looking for a very tiny needle, but remember, there are many sizes of needles in the world. Instead of imagining a sewing needle, imagine you are looking for a knitting needle. You’ve already quadrupled your productivity! Often, we aren’t finding what we’re looking for because we’re using the wrong tools and looking for the wrong things.

Baby-Face Bias

We all have biases, whether we are conscious of them or not. The way that we see the world is informed by all the stimuli we receive as we grow up. But perhaps the most pernicious bias we struggle to overcome is baby-face bias. Baby-face bias presents to us possibilities as attractive because of surface-level associations with their “cuteness” or “innocence,” and they can become a trap because we never question them. Who questions a baby, right? To overcome our baby-face biases, we need to take a disciplinarian’s approach. Make that baby mature, and fast! If something seems like an innocent behavior in you, question it, push it to its limit. Is what you are doing truly good, or are you just assuming it is?