Daily Life


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,......

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Illuminating and Upholding Our Self-Evident Truths

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights endowed by our creator – equally, in all of us – are fundamental in America. And while we hold these truths to be self-evident, as our Declaration of Independence says, are we ensuring these rights as best we can? For example, start with life: “When it comes to the sacredness of life….an average of 28 people a day are murdered with guns in the U.S. [The estimate jumps to 89 people daily if you include......

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Missing the Trees for the Forest

We’re all familiar with the expression about missing the forest for the trees, and its wisdom about not being distracted by smaller details that undermine our appreciation of the “big picture.” No doubt, that’s often good advice. After all, who among us hasn’t gotten bogged down in the details of a situation or a relationship, to the point that we lose touch with the larger purposes which give meaning to those very details? On the other hand… What about the wisdom that comes from attending to the “trees” even when the “forest”......

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Knowledge Is Power. So How Should We Use It?

Imagine a young couple, happy and bubbling with anticipation over the birth of their first child. Only a few months are left before the big day.?But then, a sonogram reveals an anomaly – maybe in the shape of the skull, or the size of the kidneys. Something isn’t?quite right. Hearing such news is among the most devastating things a parent can experience. Thrown into panic mode, parents hunger for more information, and grasp for something tangible to help them understand what is happening with their child. Will my baby be OK? Will......

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Six Ways To Add Life To Your Years

How do you make the most of whatever you have? It’s not an insignificant question, but not exactly a new one either. Or is it? When it comes to making the most of our years, it actually is. Consider this: A person turning 65 today can reasonably expect to reach their 84th birthday and beyond, while in 1950, the average person who reached 65 was barely around past their 70th! Time remains our most precious resource, to be sure. After all, you can make more money, more friends, more love. But we......

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Time to Start Using Ecstasy?

I am a drug user, and I’m not afraid to admit it. In fact, I think if more people could get more comfortable with drug use, a great deal of needless pain and suffering could be avoided. Okay, I’m referring to my occasional use of prescription-strength naproxen for headaches and a statin to lower cholesterol – not marijuana (legal or otherwise), or whatever else you may have thought I meant. To be clear, though, I’ve used opioids, the same stuff that makes heroin all that it is, for weeks at a time......

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Coexisting Beyond Bumper Stickers

I was out walking with a friend the other day when I noticed these bumper stickers sharing space on the back of a car, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Okay, so I laughed – really hard – and then without crying, was actually kind of pained. Before telling you what I think, ask yourself what you make of the messages. For me, the irony is intense. We’re encouraged to “Coexist” with a rainbow of faiths, traditions and identities, even as we’re also invited to heap abuse on Republicans......

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Rise Above 'No Harm, No Foul'

From the playground to the most serious deliberations about what it means to live a good life, many people subscribe to a definition of goodness that can be summed up as, “No harm, no foul.” In other words: As long as nobody’s truly harmed by what we do, then it shouldn’t be considered wrong. I’ve been thinking about that lately, and the more I do, the more painfully insufficient that measure seems. Recently, I appeared on multiple news shows where I heard others explain away looters in Baltimore, and cops who give......

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Our Neighbor's Suffering

How could it be that, in this richest country at the richest time in human history, some 49 million Americans are hungry, including 33 million adults and 16 million children? In New York City alone, 1.4 million – disproportionately represented by women and children, the working poor, the elderly and disabled – rely on soup kitchens and food pantries to meet their basic food needs. How could that be? And how could we – as caring human beings – have allowed ourselves to become immune to the suffering of so many? I’m......

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Tax Time: Should We Try to Pay Less?

Tax day is upon us, no secret there. And unless you’re profoundly generous and remarkably patriotic, deeply trusting the wisdom of how dollars are spent by the government, you probably feel like most people: less than thrilled about paying your taxes. There’s generally little use in crying about what cannot be changed, e.g., the taxes owed on last year’s earnings. Instead, you may as well turn your attention to lowering next year’s tax bill, now. Turns out that’s something most of us can do, as finance columnist John Waggoner points out in......

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