thoughts on life

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a dramatic decline in the number of conversations that involve critical reasoning and independent thinking. I’m very concerned by this trend. One obvious place this has occurred is in American politics. I have friends across the full spectrum of political beliefs. I am shocked at how many debates [...]

You have an enormous advantage in life when you have the capacity to tolerate the truth. Anyone can tolerate the truth when it’s positive and favorable. It’s much more difficult when the truth isn’t what you want to hear. Just because you wish something wasn’t true doesn’t make it any less valid. For example, it’s [...]

Criticism involves telling someone what they did wrong (or worse yet, telling them what’s wrong with them). A request involves asking somebody to do something a specific way next time. When you’re talking to a spouse, an employee, or your child, and they do something you don’t like, you have a few options. 1) Criticize [...]

At one point or another in your life, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Overwhelm comes in two flavors — functional overwhelm (such as when you run a car engine past the red line and it blows up), or emotional overwhelm. In this case, you have two “levers” to pull to deal with overwhelm. 1) Increase [...]

I have a confession. I talk to pigs… specifically my daughter’s guinea pigs. More specifically, they talk to me. (No, I don’t hear voices; they don’t speak English). They chirp, squeak, and squeal to communicate their wants and needs to me. Their needs almost always revolve around wanting more food or water (when my girls [...]

The other day, a friend was praising me for my accomplishments. I felt the praise was not justified. Contrary to my friend’s perception, I attribute my success to two things: 1) the ability to learn from my mistakes; 2) a high pain tolerance (that’s needed to tolerate making a great many mistakes). Step back and [...]

You can approach life in one of two ways. You can focus on surviving, or you can focus on thriving. There’s a time and place for both approaches. Like most things in life, neither is inherently good or bad. These approaches are merely tools — to be applied in the appropriate situation. More than approaches [...]

When my oldest daughter was four years old, she would constantly blurt out all her problems. “I am hungry.” “I want my doll.” “I am cold.” She got very good at talking about the problems. She kept expecting me and her mother to solve all her problems for her. I finally got tired of this [...]

In about a year, my oldest daughter will begin to learn how to drive. As part of her learning process, I’ve been teaching her the various driver controls in the car, the rules of the road, and driving decision-making principles. One conversation, in particular, stood out in my mind. It was a conversation where I [...]

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