Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

So your first choice isn’t the best

For some reason, we often expect our first choice to be the optimal choice. However, it’s actually quite normal for your first attempt to be incorrect or wrong. This is especially true of the major decisions that we make in life.

Think of the first person you dated. Would this person have been the best choice for your life partner? Go even further back and imagine the first person you had a crush on. Finding a great partner is complicated and expecting yourself to get it right on the first try is unreasonable. It’s rare that the first one would be the one.

What is the likelihood that your 22-year-old self could optimally choose the career that is best for you at 40 years old? Or 30 years old? Or even 25 years old? Consider how much you have learned about yourself since that time. There is a lot of change and growth that happens during life. There is no reason to believe that your life’s work should be easily determined when you graduate.

When it comes to complex issues like determining the values you want in a partner or selecting the path of your career, your first attempt will rarely lead to the optimal solution.

James Clear

Friday, June 5, 2015

Looking back on failure

When you look back on your choices from a year ago, you should always hope to find a few decisions that seem stupid now because that means you are growing. If you only live in the safety zone where you know you can’t mess up, then you’ll never unleash your true potential. If you know enough about something to make the optimal decision on the first try, then you’re not challenging yourself.

James Clear

Thursday, June 4, 2015

If-Then Planning

It's called if-then planning, and it is a really powerful way to help you achieve any goal. Well over a hundred studies, on everything from diet and exercise to negotiation and time management, have shown that deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal (e.g., "If it is 4 p.m., then I will return any phone calls I should return today") can double or triple your chances for success.

Heidi Grant Halvorson
Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Using Peer Pressure to our advantage

In a 1994 Harvard study that examined people who had radically changed their lives, for instance, researchers found that some people had remade their habits after a personal tragedy, such as a divorce or a life-threatening illness. Others changed after they saw a friend go through something awful... Just as frequently, however, there was no tragedy that preceded people's transformations. Rather, they changed because they were embedded in social groups that made change easier… When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.

Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It takes a Villiage

Of all the new experiences parenthood has brought into my life, I was least prepared for the public rebukes. I was standing at a bus stop recently after a long workday with my 2-year-old, worried that we would be caught in an imminent downpour. As I searched my phone for the status of the next bus, a car sped by. “Watch your kid!” the driver yelled unkindly. An immediate panic seized me, but my toddler, who had been holding my hand until a few moments earlier, was perfectly safe, intently examining the wall of a coffee shop not two feet away. The driver assumed he’d seen a neglectful mom absorbed in her phone, too busy scrolling through her Facebook feed to watch a wandering child. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t true; the reproach still stung.

Passing public judgment on a stranger’s parenting has become a national sport. Whole corners of the internet are dedicated to shaming mothers who decline to breast-feed, let their kids cry it out, or dare to sit the little one in front of the TV. Practices that were commonplace 30 years ago, such as allowing a child to walk alone to the playground or sit solo in the car for a few minutes during an errand run, now can lead to calls to the police and moms in handcuffs (see Last Word). This parenting paranoia makes little sense: Statistics prove it’s never been safer to raise a child in the U.S., though we act as if the opposite were true. Raising a child used to take a village of neighbors helping you. Now it takes a village telling you why you’re doing it all wrong.

Carolyn O’Hara
The Week Magazine

Monday, June 1, 2015

The path to wisdom

The story is told of a wise man who was asked by a student the best way to gain knowledge. He lead the student to a river, where he plunged the young man’s head beneath the surface. He struggled to free himself, but the wise man kept his head submerged. Finally, after much effort, the youth was able to break free and emerge from the water. The wise man asked, “When you thought you were drowning, what one thing did you want most of all?” Still gasping for breath, the man explained, “I wanted air!” The philosopher commented, “When you want knowledge as much as you wanted air, then you will get it!”

Stephen Goforth

Friday, May 29, 2015

Addicted to Love

Breaking up is hard to do. Literally. A brain study out of Rutgers shows getting over romantic rejection is similar to kicking an addiction. One of the study authors says, "When you've been rejected in love, you have lost life's greatest prize, which is a mating partner." Researchers examined the brains of more than dozen volunteers who had each recently been dumped but still loved the person who had rejected them. It turned out reminders of the beloved activated brain regions in the lover associated with addiction to cocaine and cigarettes. These same areas affect emotional control, rewards, addiction cravings, a sense of attachment, pain and distress. This brain system becomes activated in an attempt to win the person's affections again, according to the researchers. Details are in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Perhaps the lesson here is that it's important to become addicted to someone who is good for you.

Stephen Goforth

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Death bed request

Old Joe was dying. Realizing that time was running out, he wanted to make everything right. But something bothered him. He was at odds with Bill, formally one of his best friends. Joe had often argued with him over the most trivial matters, and in recent years they hadn’t spoken at all. Wanting to resolve the problem, he sent for Bill, who graciously consented to visit him. When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with bad feelings between them, and he wanted to make things right. When he reached out for Bill’s hand and said, “I forgive you; will you forgive me?” Everything seemed fine. Just as Bill was leaving, however, Joe shouted after him, “But remember, if I get better, this doesn’t count!”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Every person

Every person has a story-and if you look hard enough you'll find a dark place.

Posion to the Soul

What a strange thing bitterness is! It breaks in on us when we need it least, when we’re down and in desperate need of all our freedom, ability, and energy to get back up. And what strange things bitterness can do to us. It slowly sets, like a permanent plaster cast, perhaps protecting the wearer from further pain but ultimately holding the sufferer rigid in frozen animation. Feelings and responses have turned to concrete. Bitterness is paralysis.

A young man, falsely accused, condemned and penalized by his high school principal, turns sullen, angry, bitter. His faith in all justice and authority dies. He will not forgive.

A girl, betrayed by a fellow she trusted, is forced, becomes pregnant, then turns bitter and withdrawn. Her faith in all humanity ends. She cannot forgive.

A woman, deserted by her husband, left to be both mother and father to their two sons, turns angry at life- at the whole universe. Her faith in God and everything good has ended. She did not forgive.

Bitterness is such a potent paralysis of mind, soul and spirit that it can freeze our reason, emotions and all our responses.

David Augsburger
The Freedom of Forgiveness

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Night at the Theater

We keep on assuming that we know the play. We do not even know whether we are in Act I or Act V. We do not know who are the major and who the minor characters. The Author knows.

CS Lewis

Monday, May 25, 2015

You owe it to your future self

Especially when you are early in your career, one of the worst things you can do is sacrifice learning opportunities, growth, and valuable connections for ego. You owe it to your future self to make decisions today for the right reasons and the long term. -Clara Shih

Getting Clarity

We are too often motivated by a craving to put an end to the inevitable surprises in our lives. This is especially true of the biggest "negative" of all. Might we benefit from contemplating mortality more regularly than we do? As Steve Jobs famously declared, "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way that I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose."

Oliver Burkeman

Friday, May 22, 2015


Enemies are people whose story you haven't heard, or who's face you haven't seen. -Irene Butter