What Can You Say in 6 Words?

Distillation requires us to reduce something to its essence.  Within art and literature, it often means that less is more.

Hemingway was especially gifted in this regard and, as legend has it, was once challenged to write a story using only six words. His response?

  “For sale; baby shoes. Never worn.”

This six-word format has been popularized by the organization Six Word Memoirs.

It has also been an effective instrument in getting people to open up on issues like race as evidenced by The Race Card Project. …


This Is THE Moment

It was a simple enough question from a friend I hadn’t talk to in months.
 
“What did you do this your summer?”
 
My answer condensed one hundred days into a handful of stories. Each capturing a brief moment in time. 

  • The walk in the canyon during a family camping trip
  • Drinking Pimm’s with my wife at Wimbledon
  • Swimming with the kids at Walden Pond.
  • A bike ride with the entire family – including my mom!

Three Reasons History Rocks

Jimmy Carter was the first US president born in a hospital. That is the kind of historical fact that makes you go “hmmm that’s interesting.”
 
But history is more than a collection of interesting facts, dates and events. It is who we are and from where we came. 
 
David McCullough’s new book, The American Spirit, is a collection of speeches some stretching back more than twenty years. 

Why Less Time Makes For Better Living

Time is the most commonly used noun in the English language.

In our daily lives we try to manage our time or hope to use our time wisely. We grow frustrated with ourselves when we waste time and try to fill time when we have nothing planned or to do.

When experiencing a wonderful moment, we wish we could make time stand still and for a brief period we can.…


You Have 45 Seconds

It’s the biggest night of your career. Over 30 million people will watch you take the stage to accept an award. Filled with pride and gratitude for everything that it took you to get to this pinnacle of success, you lift your trophy and approach the microphone.

You now have 45 seconds to express what’s in your heart. Go.

During last night’s Oscars a few took the opportunity to use one of the world’s largest stages to make an overt political point — no doubt earning appreciation from their fans but derision from those who disagreed with their views.…


When Christmas Is Your Birthday

It has its obvious drawbacks. It’s near impossible to throw a birthday party.  You did indeed get the short end on gifts and the stiff reality that comes on December 26th when you wake up realizing it will be another 364 days until you open another present.

On the other hand, everyone seems to remember your birthday. On a day when most have a reason to be preoccupied with their own happiness, they take a few moments to share some of it with you.…


Are You Writing a Resume or a Eulogy?

This is a terrific question raised in a TED Talk by columnist David Brooks. Are more of your actions something to talk about on your resume or for others to talk about at your eulogy?

In Linda Ellis’ poem, The Dash, she asks readers to reflect on that “dash” on your tombstone; your life’s actions between birth and death.

So, when your eulogy is being read,

with your life’s actions to rehash…

would you be proud of the things they say

about how you spent YOUR dash?


Why Are We Here?

Isabel Sawhill from the Brookings Institution, one of the country’s leading thinkers on social mobility, recently said, “We do need a more nuanced conversation, and we need to get away from this sense that is being created in the political world right now that it’s either all about being a Horatio Alger or it’s all about government support to help you. It’s not either/or, it’s both.”…


Look Up…

Researchers project that 50% of the world’s population will be short-sighted by the end of 2050. The result of spending so much time focused on little screens in our hands and on our laps, and not enough time outside. As disturbing as that may sound, it is just the latest example of our growing short-sightedness.

Increasingly, we seem to focus most of our energy thinking about how our actions will affect us in the short term versus how they may affect others over the long haul.…


The Powerful Play Goes On

He was, at different points in his life, a journalist, a school teacher, a nurse and a government worker. If these were his only contributions in life, his human impact would have still been immeasurable. After all, he tended to Civil War soldiers in their greatest hour of need and educated children at a time when most received little.

But what Walt Whitman is most known for is a short collection of poetry, Leaves of Grass, that he self published in 1855 and continued to revise throughout his life.…