Judicial Wisdom Shines Through Our Imperfect Legal System

If you've been following my blog, you probably have read at least one post about my friend Clemetin. Last week, in a post about the need we all have for unconditional support, I discussed Clemetin's current judicial predicament. And this week, he stood in judgment. Here's the outcome: Clemetin is not in prison. In fact, he's not even on probation any more. So what happened? He had the good fortune of appearing before a wise judge who made a humane … [Read more...]

How Big Do You Choose to Be?

It's perhaps a bit late in my life, I know, but I'm wondering whether is possible to imagine myself taking up more space in the world. It sounds odd, I know. But I think your sense of how big you want to be -- i.e., how visible and successful you want to be, and how much impact you want to have -- may actually shape just how big you become! Small can be comfortable So far, I've opted for smallish.  I've never really thought of myself as wanting to be visible in a … [Read more...]

Artificially Prolonging Life: The Gawande Condundrum

Have you read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande? If not, you should! Everyone should. This remarkable book describes how dying has become medicalized. It used to be that people got sick and died. They were killed by influenza and TB and heat attacks, cancer and strokes. These things happened to them and, well, they just died. But now, someone has a stroke or a heart attack or cancer and off to the doctor they go to be cured. Or, if not to be cured, to have their lives … [Read more...]

6 Years of Freedom and 3 Valuable Lessons

Next month, my friend Clemetin will celebrate six full years of being out of prison. According to the statistics of the Bureau of Justice, three-quarters of all of the people released from prison get rearrested within five years. And indeed, Clemetin has been rearrested. Not once, but several times. He's been arrested for trumped up drug charges he wasn't guilty of, and he's been arrested for shoplifting, which he did. He's never ended up back in prison, but he gets picked … [Read more...]

Having a Beginner’s Mindset is Good for You

My phone rang. It was my young friend, Jordan. She had just landed an exciting new job in a big, prestigious social justice organization. She was anxious that she didn't know enough about social justice or about how the organization worked, and she wanted my advice about how she should prepare. But really, there's no way that even this smart young woman could learn enough to be competent in what is for her an entirely new field. She could study and prepare for weeks … [Read more...]

A Good Reason to Celebrate Endings

Your memory of an event is shaped disproportionately by the most intense part of the experience and it's ending rather than the entire duration of the experience. That reality of how we remember experiences has been so well researched and documented that it even has a name! It's known as the Peak End Rule. Here's an example from Atul Gawande's remarkable book, Being Mortal... Have you ever watched a football game in which your team played wonderfully, but at very end … [Read more...]

Retribution, Reaction and Response: Tamir Rice Meets Lizard Brain

I read Seth Godin's blog pretty much every day. Yes, amazingly enough, he posts each and every day. And that, in and of itself, impresses me. Most days, I find it worth reading. Some days it's truly illuminating. Other days it just gives me food for thought. And that's what happened today. In his post on Retribution, Seth highlights a comment by Zig Ziglar that caught my eye. Seth says: We can react or respond. … When we react to a medicine, that's a bad thing. When … [Read more...]

Being “Okay” is a Fragile Thread

Do you have a sense of well-being? Does it seem that everything in your life is going along (mostly) the way you'd like it to? Perhaps you have a calm inside that all is as it should be. Particularly going into the holiday season, that feeling of contentedness is something we all hope for. But this week, I've had several powerful reminders that health and happiness are fleeting. Unwelcome Reminders I spent Thanksgiving with a close relative who was recently told … [Read more...]

The Meaning of Life: Are You Just Clocking Time?

You could count the days, if you only knew how many there were. And as you get older, though you still don't know exactly how many there will be, the days of your life seem all the more countable. That's what I was thinking about when I finished reading a detective novel last week. Though I enjoyed reading it, after I put it down, I couldn't shake the sense that while I was reading, I was just clocking time... Letting the minutes go by. What Makes Life … [Read more...]

What’s Your Impact in the World?

Every once in a while, a few words can change the way you think.  Here are the words that recently rocked my brain. My work is more impact." That's how Seth Godin responded in an interview when asked to describe his work. He didn't say his work was writing books, or selling books, or starting internet companies, or creating internship programs for budding entrepreneurs. Yet, he does all of those things. Instead he said, "My work is more impact." And that caught my … [Read more...]