Tyranny Prevention

Yale University’s Levin Professor of History Timothy Snyder has written a manifesto for democracy titled On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2017). This little volume (128 pages, 6” x 4.5”) packs a wallop. Although he never names anyone as his focal tyrant wannabe, the reader knows that this... Continue Reading →

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 →

I’m Just a Churl Who Can’t Say “No”

Well, not really a churl. Or a girl, for that matter. At the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies, we employ the Five-Factor Model to describe individual differences in personality traits. One of the traits is Accommodation, which reports how an individual typically behaves around power. Broadly described, Challengers are those low in Accommodation—as a rule... 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 →

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 →

Politics is a Team Sport

All politicians have weaknesses, but having a strong team compensates for them. German-born political scientist Hans Morgenthau (1904-1980), advisor to U. S. presidents and professor at the University of Chicago and City University of New York, is known for his theory of political realism. Something he wrote back in the 1970s offers insight into the... Continue Reading →

Understanding Your Panic Button

I have more terms of endearment for my wife than there are waves headed for the beach. And like waves, they just keep on coming. Turn-of-the-century anthropologist Franz Boas (1858-1942) first identified this phenomenon. People have more words for things that are most important to them. Snow is vitally important to those living within the... Continue Reading →

What Does Meaning Mean?

Give me a break! That was my first thought when I read these passages in a scholarly article: “How do students make meaning when they explore their strengths?” “Does their meaning-making influence their daily lives?” “Identify your strengths and give them meaning.” “Enabling a deep analysis of personal meaning-making…” “Depending on individual meaning-making, etc….” “…reflection... 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 →

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