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 →

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 →

Leaders Can Be Made, If Not Born

One can be born to be a 7-foot NBA center, but one cannot be made into one. Or? Look at the Dutch, who have an unusually tall population and who also are known for their unusually heavy consumption of calcium (milk, cheese, and their kin). Clearly most human behavior has a largely genetic component, but... 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 →

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