Daily Life


Why We Freeze Up and Forget How to Communicate

We’ve lost the art of civil discourse. According to an annual “Civility in America” survey, more than 90% of us now consider lack of civility a real problem. More than a third of us admit to being uncivil to others. When we take into account social desirability bias, we know that there are a lot more of us out there who are not engaging in civil discourse. Our inability to enter into genuine conversation is undermining our communities and denying ourselves the opportunity to learn about each other. It’s time for a......

Continue Reading


It's a Season of Renewal. So Why Do I Feel Anxious?

This season is supposed to be one of renewal. The transition from summer to fall brings a cooler breeze, a change of color and the promise of brand new page in the books of our lives. We buy new clothes for our kids, who walk into their classrooms with the excitement of being a grade older, with the opportunity to begin with a clean slate. It sounds prospectively exciting, but I wonder why so many seem to feel so darn anxious about it…including my wife, my kids and me. The hope and......

Continue Reading


A New, Holistic Path to Redemption in the NFL

How does a football team whose defense is known as the Legion of Boom, and whose running back is wont to go into “beast mode,” come back from one of the most gut-wrenching losses in Super Bowl history? With yoga classes, of course. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is taking a Zen approach to leading his team back from the depths of last season’s tough loss, according to the New York Times, by bringing on a “human optimization specialist” who focuses on each player as a whole being – not just a......

Continue Reading


The Gift of Recognizing What's in Your Way

When I was an MFA student at Bennington many years ago, I had a poetry mentor named Jason Shinder who used to say, “Whatever gets in the way of the work, is the work.” He was talking about poetry, of course. Whatever is getting in the way of writing poems, that’s precisely what I need to be bringing into my poetry. Is something in my life keeping me too busy to write poems? Or is something in my life distracting me from the inner work required to write poems with heart? Whatever......

Continue Reading


America, Do We Have a (VMA) Problem?

MTV’s 2015 Video Music Awards was the most tweeted (non-Super Bowl) event since…wait for it…tracking ever began! Really? Even if it were only the most tweeted event since this year’s Super Bowl, I would say we have a problem. I mean, I rarely write from a negative place, and genuinely hate sounding as curmudgeonly as this. But, you know, a lot of things have happened this year – good and bad – which would have, I hope, generated more tweets than the VMA’s! When the?“most tweeted” status is earned by a show......

Continue Reading


Failure Is, in Fact, Always an Option

The world of psychology was recently shaken to its core. Since science is based on testing and retesting hypotheses, several researchers sought to replicate some of the key findings from three prestigious journals, on topics like free will, emotional closeness and finding a romantic partner. Rather than finding that additional studies confirmed these hypotheses, these researchers found that less than half were replicated successfully. As reported in the New York Times: “The vetted studies were considered part of the core knowledge by which scientists understand the dynamics of personality, relationships, learning and......

Continue Reading


A New Way to Deal: We're All In This Together

A friend said, “We all win, or nobody wins,” by way of introducing my family to a new card game recently. Hanabi, which means “fireworks” in Japanese, is simple to learn, fun to play and, most significantly, quite profound to experience. “Profound?” you may ask. “Really, Brad? It’s just a card game.” It is, indeed, a card game – played with a special deck and a few small tokens – but there’s nothing “just” about it. In Hanabi, the only way to win is when all players win together. If that isn’t......

Continue Reading


The All-American Sport of Being Offended

A recent post on The Wisdom Daily started me thinking about the line between being personally offended about something (in this case, a bobblehead offered to a select group of charitable donors – more on that in a minute) and being publicly offended (taking that offense to the level of public discourse and setting in motion a sort of public shaming, i.e., an exercise in political correctness). A friend of mine recently observed that “political correctness comes about because of peer pressure, the desire to behave like others or the fear of......

Continue Reading


Don't You Trust Me?

How many times have I – or my wife, or most any parent I know – heard the words, “Don’t you trust me?” from a child who’s frustrated by our unwillingness to acquiesce to an unwise idea? Well, it turns out that American politicians tend to ask us the same question. The difference is, with our children, the answer is that we probably do trust them, just not the idea they propose. With our politicians, is that the case? Isn’t it true that we just don’t trust most of them all that......

Continue Reading


How Negative Thinking Can Boost Problem-Solving

The New York Times website recently featured a very short puzzle to help you assess how good you are at solving puzzles. It’s simple: Type in three numbers, and see if those numbers obey a certain rule. Some sequences will obey the rule, and some won’t. What’s the rule? Interestingly, if you try the game, you’ll almost always get the response, “Yes!” (Yes, your numbers follow the rule.) But when you try to guess what the rule is, you’ll probably be wrong. Why? Because we almost always start with, “Here’s my idea,......

Continue Reading