On Music During Work

One input at a time, please! Our mind doesn’t do simultaneity. In his 1974 autobiographical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, Robert Pirsig tells of his father-son bike ride from Minnesota to Northern California. In one stop along the (high)way, they enter a garage for repairs. The mechanic’s radio … Continue reading On Music During Work

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Adrift, But Not Sinking

Retirement stunned my psychiatrist friend. Accustomed to being a provider, teacher, administrator, and therapist, he was suddenly adrift. It was as though the sails, oars, and motor that had energized his boat had disappeared. He didn’t know what to do with himself. “Who am I?” he asked daily, hoping for an answer. “What is my … Continue reading Adrift, But Not Sinking

Loving is Living

The sleepy Davidson College campus awoke with a start. It was graduation day in the Spring of 1960. I, a lowly freshman, sat quietly with fellow singers in the Male Chorus. We awaited our next turn to entertain with song. With the audience of faculty, parents, and fellow graduating seniors expecting him to dribble on … Continue reading Loving is Living

Driving Happiness

Happiness is more like a car, less like a building. I have written elsewhere that five modes of positive being are as good or better than happiness itself— Goals—making progress towards a goal Fit—having goals that build on who you are, not who you are not Flow—having goals that are challenging, but not too much … Continue reading Driving Happiness

Beauty, Billions, and Brains

My search for summer reading led me to a first novel by Stuart Rojstaczer (ROYCE-teacher)--The Mathematician’s Shiva (Penguin, 2014). Hadn’t heard of it, but it sounded intriguing—a fictional, brilliant, female, University of Wisconsin mathematician named Rachela Karnokovitch was dead, and brainy mathematicians from around the were globe sitting shiva. Much of the story dealt with … Continue reading Beauty, Billions, and Brains

Leaving Stuff Behind

I’d like to leave more than a tombstone for folks to remember me by. German-American psychologist Erik Erikson wrote of the importance of generativity—of leaving something for future generations to value and remember us by. Something tangible that affirms our life has meaning for others after all is said and done. Our legacy. Recent happiness … Continue reading Leaving Stuff Behind

Appearances Can Be Deceiving (2. Solitude and Loneliness)

All that glitters is not gold, and alone is not always lonely. Last week I began a series on behaviors that are often mistaken for one another. Elsewhere I’ve called them “multi-source behaviors,” in the sense that one single behavior might originate in different psychological spaces. Last week we saw how fidgeting and restlessness could … Continue reading Appearances Can Be Deceiving (2. Solitude and Loneliness)