Was it Disrespect that Lead to the Death of Michael Brown?

I keep trying to make sense of what happened to Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. Some powerful concoction of anger, pride, racism and fear came together in an awful brew that left young Michael dead on the street. It was with thoughts about this tragedy swirling in my mind that I walked over to St. Mary's Park for my morning exercise. A Young Man Behaving Foolishly St. Mary's is a park where young and old people of many colors and languages come to exercise. People … [Read more...]

Become an Art Collector and Create a Lifetime of Memories

Have you ever bought a piece of art? Perhaps a print or a painting or a sculpture? If you haven't bought any art yet, you're in for a treat. You can become an art collector even if your resources aren't great. Off and on through the years, when we've seen a piece of art we liked, we've bought it. Not for thousands of dollars... but for modest amounts we could afford. We've made a practice of buying directly from artists. When we can, we visit their studios to … [Read more...]

The Power and Importance of Being Kind for a Healthy Life

Do You Consider Yourself Kind? I’ve always had a sense that kindness is important. And now, in this wonderful article in The Atlantic, I see how and why kindess works. (Do take a few minutes to read it from beginning to end. This is one of those life-changing articles that is well worth the time to read!) Turns out that kindness is the glue that keeps relationships together and contempt is the wedge that drives them apart. For many years, I’ve tried to become … [Read more...]

The Fragile Fabric of Trust

Trust me! Has anyone ever asked you to trust them? It's an empty request. Either you've earned someone's trust or you haven't. And if someone asks you to trust them, there's probably a reason you shouldn't. Trust is a Quality You Earn You build trust over time, by being trustworthy. Literally 'worthy of trust.' You create it by doing what you say you're going to do; by behaving consistently and in a way that fits into a coherent framework. You also build trust … [Read more...]

Want to Be Happier? Connect with Strangers!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may know that on many mornings I exercise in St. Mary's Park. This park is situated in a poor neighborhood in the South Bronx. It's about 3/4 of a mile from where I live. Walking to the park and exercising there makes me happy. Not just because the exercise feels good, but because I connect with people on my way to the park and while I'm exercising there. Connecting... with Strangers? Greeting strangers is a regular part … [Read more...]

The Oreo Cookie Approach to Constructive Criticism

How do you feel when someone sends you an email thanking you for something you did and telling you what a great job you did? Feels good, right? Now think about how you feel when you get a curt email pointing out several small mistakes in a big project you spent hours working on. All of that warm positive emotion goes away in a hurry. You feel criticized and under appreciated. Unconstructive Criticism That's just what happened to me this morning when a colleague … [Read more...]

Awe-Inspiring Family Values – The Decorah Bald Eagles

Every day, with my cup of coffee in hand, I click on this website to say good morning to the family of Bald Eagles in Decorah, Iowa. Thanks to my friend Pam, I've been watching them for many weeks. I often check on them several times a day.  A webcam fastened to a tree nearby gives me (and anyone else who chooses to look) a birds eye view of this little family. Their good-sized nest is well constructed in the fork of a big tree not far from a walking and biking path. A … [Read more...]

What You Can Learn From Knowing How Other People See You

In last week's post, I suggested an exercise to develop a word portrait of yourself as seen through the eyes of your friends. All you had to do was to invite five friends to send you a quick list of six words that come to their mind when they think about you. I promised I'd let you know my results from this little exercise. So here goes--though I must confess that sharing it makes me feel exposed. Seeing Myself Through the Eyes of Others I found myself a bit anxious … [Read more...]

A Simple Way to Find Out How Other People See You

Have you ever caught yourself glancing at your reflection in a mirror or glass as you walk by? Does Your Mirror Tell the Truth? Do you have a sense that what you see when you look in mirror might not be telling you the truth? Or at least not the whole truth? The question you’re probably really wondering about is not how you look to yourself, but what you look like through the eyes of others. And the way others see you is often not what you see when you look in the … [Read more...]

The Power of Imperfection

I’ll bet you like to do things really well. It feels good. And it’s satisfying. How Important is Perfection? Perfection may be satisfying, but takes a huge amount of time and energy and effort. How much effort should you put into making the things you do letter perfect? If you watched the amazing performances of ice skater Yuna Kim at the 2014 Winter Olympics, you’ll see a great example of perfection. She might not have won her second gold medal, but her … [Read more...]