Why Some Anniversaries are Worth Celebrating

I've always poo-pooed birthdays. The years roll by. Numbers grow year by year. So what! In truth, you've done little (or nothing) to earn your good fortune of having lived through another year. So in my family, most birthdays' pass by with little notice. But some anniversaries are worth celebrating. Why? Because you've worked to get there. You've mustered the discipline and stamina to do something again and again. And occasionally, it's worth taking … [Read more...]

Seeking Your Advice for Little Miracle

A couple of months ago, I went to an outdoor movie in my neighborhood. I got talking to a tall man sitting in front of me. He was with his 8 year old daughter. He introduced me to Miracle, his little girl. "This is my daughter, Miracle," he said. "I'm acting as both her father and her mother because her mother was killed last spring." A beautiful little girl, Miracle was full of life and energy. She was happy to talk to me. She told me that she goes to a girls' … [Read more...]

The Simple Secret to Easily Connect with Anyone

The most effective way to make a strong connection with someone else is simple. There are two key steps: Really notice who they are. Accept them as they are. Really Noticing Who People Are You may find it easier to judge people or to give them advice or argue with them. But you'll find that when you carefully observe someone close enough to notice who they really are, you'll be more likely to develop a real rapport. "Seeing" is the basis for love My friends … [Read more...]

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

Have you ever said something snarky to someone and then immediately regretted it? A Snarky Comment I was talking to someone recently and by mistake I repeated something I had told her the day before. Instead of just letting it go, she said, You're repeating yourself. You already told me that yesterday!" Now, that wasn't exactly nasty. She had stated the truth. But it was unnecessary, and I felt myself pull back for a moment to regain my footing. Another example … [Read more...]

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...]