Four steps to year-round gratitude

At Thanksgiving this year, we went around the table and each of us shared what we are thankful for.  While it’s cliché, it felt good to publicly acknowledge how much I have to be thankful for. And I loved hearing the different and sometimes surprising answers around the table.

thanksgivingBut I want to tap into that feeling more often — not just on Thanksgiving.  So, in order to tap into that gratitude, I’ve come up with four easy steps:

  1. discover why you’re saying thank you
  2. connect and show appreciation for the gift
  3. acknowledge that you have more than enough (money, time, possessions)
  4. share your surplus in a meaningful way.

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Angry at Strangers? Amy’s Story Might Help

This story, that I read many years ago, has stayed with me — so much that it is now woven into the fabric of who I am. Good stories are like that. I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know if it’s true. But it might be.
subway car interior
Late one evening, Amy is on a subway, coming home from work. It’s been a long day and she’s tired. The subway car is pretty empty with just a smattering of passengers here and there. At the far end is a father, sitting with his head leaning against the window, his eyes staring straight ahead. He is oblivious to his two boys running rampant through the car. They look to be about eight and ten years old. They are having races down one length of the car, then running back, swinging around the poles, whooping it up. Their jackets are unzipped and sway behind them as they run.
Continue reading “Angry at Strangers? Amy’s Story Might Help”

Single-tasking is the New Black … I Hope

distraction image

Imagine going out for dinner with friends, and no one pulls out their phone; or trying to remember that name of Robert Downey Jr.’s most recent film without checking Google (Captain America: Civil War); or sitting on a bus and not having your neighbor talking loudly to his mother. Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for using cellphones, google-ing, and calling your mother. But research shows that there is a significant cost of both multi-tasking and being distracted by the phone — cost to brain development, creativity, and happiness.

“Wait, what?” you say. “My brain? My creativity? My happiness? But I can’t get my job done unless I multitask!” It’s time to re-think this.

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Ask Five Good Questions

imgresIn May of 2016 James Ryan, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, gave a commencement speech  about asking good questions.  While his words were directed at future teachers and leaders in education, they are invaluable to a much broader audience.
His speech includes a reference to Raymond Carver’s poem “Late Fragment.” In just thirty words, Carver beautifully articulates the simple desires that so many of us want at the end of our lives: “to call myself beloved” and “to feel myself beloved on the earth.”

Seems simple.

And it is.

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