Silence! I’m Composing…

The story is told of the Beethoven fan who had exhausted the usual pursuits of musical enthusiasts—he had all the recordings, publications, pictures, anecdotes, and so forth. At his wit’s end to spend his zealous energy further, he arrived one midnight with spade in hand at Ludwig van’s grave in Vienna. He dug to the... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

Managing Micromanagers

“Get off my back—I can’t fly when you are weighing me down!” Such is the lament of the underling suffering from micromanagement—the uninvited incursion by a manager into the how to’s and wherefores of a subordinate’s day. Just last week a client asked me, “How do I get her off my back? I’ve about had... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

Appearances Can Be Deceiving (6. Perfectionism)

Good enough for government work—not! The government has its share of perfectionists, as well as its share of those with casual standards. Perfectionism is normally distributed throughout the world. It is neither a good nor a bad thing—rather, its value depends on the needs of a particular situation. My wife once worked with a government... Continue Reading →

Appearances Can Be Deceiving (4. Bravery)

Think twice—what you see may not be what you think. In three previous posts, we explored situations in which a single behavior might have multiple meanings and interpretations. First, we considered how fidgeting is not always impatience. Then, how solitude is not necessarily loneliness. Last week, how smiling is not always liking. I call these... Continue Reading →

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