Daily Life


The Power of Do-Overs

How often have you wished for a “do-over”? You know what I mean. You make a decision or follow a path, and it doesn’t play out as you hoped and planned. I know, in many ways that’s the definition of life, and making the best of that reality is really important. Sometimes though, we don’t want to make the best of what is, we want to roll back the tape of our lives and start again – we want a do over, and what’s wrong with that? Actually nothing at all. In......

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Is All the Breaking News Leaving Us Broken?

We all want to flourish, but one of the things that make it so difficult these days is the 24/7 cycle of negative news. Studies show that bad news outweighs the good, by as much as 17 negative news reports for every one good news story! Why is this? Evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists suggest we seek out news of dramatic, negative events because our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer society (where if we missed positive news it was inconsequential, but if we missed bad news we were dead), so we care more......

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Make a Mistake, Make a Discovery

What is your attitude toward mistakes? Well, recently researchers at IBM announced that they found two new kinds of industrial polymers that are strong, lightweight and crack-resistant, ideal for utilizing in several industries from aerospace to microelectronics. These discoveries could enable development of plastics that are easily recyclable (currently plastics are?notoriously difficult to recycle), creating far less plastic waste. Scientists had long assumed that all major types of plastics had already been discovered. But here’s the amazing thing: Jeannette M. Garcia, an IBM research chemist, found the new polymer by mistake! She......

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How Being Generous and Being Prosperous Go Together

From ancient promises in the Bible to contemporary prognostications about success in business, the claim is often made that we will do well by doing good. But is it true? Does doing what we think of as the right or good thing really create material success, and should that even matter? I am not so sure that it’s true. And yeah, I think it matters. Some will quickly say that “right is right” and “good is good”, and whatever the physical or material consequences, we should always do what is right and......

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Are You Living Your Life, Or Just Documenting It?

Have you ever sat behind someone at a concert who seemed to be watching the concert through his smart phone screen, incessantly Instagramming? Have you taken more pictures in the past few years than in your whole life? Well, there’s a karmic snafu to our technology-enabled, snap-happy attempts to preserve every “amazing” “meaningful” moment in our life. While our intention in photographing everything from the banal to the momentous is to remember, the net result on our brain may be the opposite. Taking too many pictures of something might make us forget......

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Why Look Down on Tech Devices?

When we open our computers, it’s our doors we shut,” is the central message in “Look Up,” a viral video eschewing the use of social media, computers and phones when living and experiencing life. I appreciate what it speaks to, but I cannot help noticing the profound irony that without social media, this message doesn’t get shared. In fact, when this video travels across social media – and it’s been seen by over 20 million people – it’s typically under the headline that it “must be seen by everybody!” Am I the......

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How Do You Make Peace?

From making peace in our families to resolving the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, making peace often feels like an impossible and unreachable goal. But is it? Just look at this example in the Episcopal church in Virginia – in short, the Truro parish left the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia when a gay leader was elected, “the final straw in a long-running dispute over theological orthodoxy.” Almost all people say they want peace, but how many of us actually feel it is an imperative? This splintering of the church left the......

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Are You Guilty of Microaggression?

Are we fast-becoming a culture of victims, endlessly seeking new grievances and hurts in order to define ourselves? Or, are we simply becoming increasingly and appropriately sensitive to the impact of our words upon others? A key to unlocking that puzzle may be found in conversations popping up all over the place about something called Microaggression. Don’t know that is? Neither did I until a very short while ago, so don’t worry. Microaggression is defined by Tanzina Vega, race and ethnicity reporter for the New York Times, as a catch-all for “the......

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In Defense of Scapegoating

What kind of person defends scapegoating? Before you call me crazy, ask yourself the following: how do you rid yourself of past bad acts, mistakes you wish you never made, and feelings of inadequacy? We all have “stuff” we want to get rid of, and it turns out that old fashioned scapegoating might be one appropriate tool for doing so. When I say old-fashioned, by the way, I mean really old fashioned – as in, biblical old. That’s where we find the original scapegoat, after all. And in that story, scapegoating is......

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Own Your Grit vs. Quit Decisions

Are you a quitter or a gritter? Do you take special pride in your ability to stick to a task, or to getting your kids to do so? Does it matter what is actually being accomplished, or does that not even matter because life is mostly about staying in the game, no matter what? Is grit – defined by its most prominent proponent, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth, as “the tendency to sustain perseverance and passion for challenging long-term goals” – really as important as it is increasingly fashionable to claim?......

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