Are You a Taker or a Giver?

A recent study observed groups of people in public settings.  They recorded that every ninety seconds someone does something for someone else. Hold a door.  Pass the salt.  Fulfill a random request. 

Interestingly, only one in every six instances included someone saying thank you. 

Some would say this is a classic example of some people who are selfish or ungrateful. While others are by nature are more selfless and altruistic.…

This Is Impressive

Pride is a feeling of pleasure derived by the acts or qualities that we admire. It is natural to take pride in our own achievements or from those closest to us.

To be impressed is an altogether different matter. It is a feeling imposed on us. It represents something so unusually good that we can’t help but remember it. It suggests something has been forcibly pressed upon us in such a way to leave a lasting mark.…

When Yes Means No

In Tom vs. Time, the new docu-series on Facetime Watch, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gives us a glimpse into his rarified world.
In the second episode, Brady laments, “Every time you say yes, you’re saying no to something else.  We only have so much time.”
In his case, this means that when he says yes to football he is saying no to his family.…

What My Daughter Taught Me About Standing Up

With great pride I sat in our local community center the morning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Our eight-year old daughter squirmed on my lap squeezing both of my hands in anticipation.  In just moments, she would be called up to accept the MLK Art Contest winner for her elementary school.

She had built a miniature replica of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. …

Do You Know Who Is Really Wicked?

Last week we took our daughter to see Wicked for her 10th birthday. The show is fantastic on so many levels. It’s the back story of the Wicked Witch of the West, revealing how she became, well “wicked.”  Spoiler alert – she’s really not that wicked at all. 

Much like the original Wizard of Oz, what we see and have been told isn’t what it appears to be.…

Are You a Bulldozer or a Gardener?

Seven of us crammed into our Ford Flex, driving 45 minutes to see the movie Wonder. We arrived almost an hour early, only to have the cashier inform us they had just two remaining seats. Noticeably bummed, I told the cashier how long we had just driven, asking “Is there anything you could do?”  She summoned her manager, who with a push of a few buttons released the tickets for us (apparently many theaters hold seats for fire safety reasons).…

Have An Awesome 2018

Research shows that anger is the most viral emotion.

We see it online in social media, standing impatiently inline and stuck in confined spaces – like our car driving my family across the state of Pennsylvania yesterday.

One person’s anger spreads to another with surprising speed and efficiency.

It’s hard to break this cycle once it begins. Its effects are corrosive both personally and to the entire community in which it has taken place.…

How Much Do I Have To Give?

The school lost everything. An after hours fire melted crayons, turned paper to ash and pencils to tinder. The supplies had just been donated as part of a foreign aid trip to this Nigerian classroom and now needed to be replaced
When our daughter brought the note home from her teacher requesting any used supplies, it included an unnecessary apology for adding one more request on top of the flood that come in for donated coats, toys and food to mark the holiday season.…

Think Again

We like to think that our own beliefs and behavior are based on a rationale examination of the facts available to us.

Conversely, it is common to consider those whose beliefs and behaviors are different from ours irrational.  

The reality is that none of us are rationale.  Our mind is wired in such a way that we make decisions or judgments and then find the facts and figures to rationalize our position. Not

Are You Feeling More Restless?

Last week, my five-year old daughter suffered a small fracture in her tibia just below the knee. Ultimately, she will be fine. As they say, we grow stronger in all the broken places. For now, she is laid up with a removable knee brace, unable to walk, go to school, or move freely about on her own.
She has warmed to this new situation. Reminiscent of Hodor and Bram from Game of Thrones, she must be carried everywhere and has an innate power over all of us as we cater to her every desire. The

Do Your Job

This is the mantra of the New England Patriots. The idea is simple. If everyone commits to understanding what your role is, focusing on doing that job well, and trusting your teammates to do theirs, the team – and everyone on that team – will win. The emphasis is not on being the best person ON the team but being the best person FOR the team.…

What Will Be In Your Nature This Year?

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

How Do You Get Out Of A Jam?

I’m writing this fresh off an eight-hour stint in a minivan with my wife, three little girls and our new four month old puppy named Scout.  Jealous?

Three hours in things could not have been better. Only one pitstop whose efficiency would have made any Nascar driver proud.

Around hour five, the estimated time of arrival in our GPS began to go backwards. Instead of counting down, it began going up. First…

Marshmallows & Bastards

When we look at successful adults, we often see a consistent set of character traits that were ingrained when they were children. For example:

  • Seminal moments, called flashbulb memories, established important lessons early in life.
  • Willpower developed when instant gratification was delayed for a long-term goal.
  • Resilience taught by how to get back up after failure.
  • Success momentum created by success breeding confidence and more success.

I Remember, Therefore I Am

How has the idea of hard work become so prevalent that we have developed blinders to so many factors that affect our station in life?

Some may suggest it’s a cultural thing. After all, it is relatively unique to Americans. We are the land of self-reliance and pulling ourselves from our bootstraps.

Sociologically, researchers like Paul Piff will point to this as a sign of Fundamental Attribution Error, which is our natural tendency to overestimate the role of the individual versus the situation.…