What does it mean to be “present” or “in the moment”? This concept comes up often in acting and communication classes, but it was never explained to my satisfaction. I could tell it was something good: those who were “present” seemed more authentic. They created an empathic bond with the other person. They seemed more […]

I found an old article of mine arguing that you should pursue only one initiative at a time. It was a little embarassing to read, because I am still learning this lesson the hard way. My latest conclusion is that you need to distinguish initiatives from other projects. When you really see what’s involved in […]

People often ask me how to remember to do something in the future. The answer usually is, make a plan. Then remember to check the plan. But some kinds of actions cannot be planned.  For example, I started a humor notebook at the recommendation of comedian Judy Carter. She says, “Notice anything that is weird, […]

Paradoxically, celebration and mourning* are similar processes. They involve similar steps and achieve similar purposes. And they are similarly misunderstood and neglected, despite their critical importance to a joyful life. Neither celebration nor mourning concerns an emotional experience per se.  Their essence is that they involve strengthening your own values. I will explain this first […]

Do you take 15 minutes to plan each and every day? I strongly recommend you do so. 15 minutes is enough time to let you review your calendar and consider your priorities. 15 minutes is enough time to get an overview so that you know what matters most today. 15 minutes is also short enough […]

Self-critical thoughts get a bad rap. You should neither reject self-critical thoughts nor treat them as revealed truths. Instead, treat them like crazy ideas from a brainstorming session. They, too, are products of your current knowledge, values, and skill. Used constructively, they can help you achieve your most ambitious goals. This new approach to dealing […]

“Certainty denotes confidence that one can act on a conclusion without doubt, without needing further deliberation or investigation.” (Harry Binswanger, How We Know) I learned firsthand of the need for certainty to act during Superstorm Sandy some years ago. I was living in Midtown Manhattan in a section of the city that lost power for […]

“Empathy” is a widely misunderstood concept. Understanding it properly is the first step to transforming your relationships with other people and yourself.  Empathy is not the same as sympathy.  Sympathy is a feeling you have in relation to someone else. You feel sympathy when you feel the same feeling as the other person. For example, […]

People sometimes come to me, distressed that they resist using “thinking on paper” or some other tactic. They are sure it would help them, they know that they can take the steps, but whenever the time comes to use the tactic, they feel a wall of resistance.  This seems crazy, right? You are blocked against […]

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with planning, and I’ve finally figured out why. Although I love the clarity I get from planning, and I see that planning helps me in the long run, I had always been distressed when a project didn’t go as planned. This is crazy. Most plans fail. Even excellent plans. I […]

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