52 gratitude letters from 2020

In late 2019, I decided to embark on a small adventure starting in January, 2020. Every Sunday, I would hand write a letter to someone I know, thanking them for how they impacted my life.

It seemed simple enough. Little did I know how important this small practice would become.

I started with my family. Then I moved on to close friends. Colleagues. Past teachers and mentors. Once I sat down to consider the people who have helped me along the way over the past 31 years, the list grew quickly.

Some of these people opened doors for me. Others…

The Orion Nebula courtesy of the ESO

A passage about COVID-19 from Indian author Arundhati Roy:

Who can look at anything any more…a door handle, a cardboard carton, a bag of vegetables…without imagining it swarming with those unseeable, undead, unliving blobs…waiting to fasten themselves on to our lungs?… Who among us is not a quack epidemiologist, virologist, statistician and prophet? Which scientist or doctor is not secretly praying for a miracle? Which priest is not…secretly, at least…submitting to science? …

As I wrote this piece, a loud voice in my head tried to get me to stop.

“Who do you think you are?”

“You know nothing about this topic.”

“You’re going to offend someone.”

For too long, I have sat on the sidelines even though I’ve wanted to engage in conversations about systemic racism, white privilege, and diversity and inclusion. Adam Grant posted a piece on LinkedIn today that describes what prevents many of us from having these conversations, and I can relate. If you’re white, you probably can, too.

These conversations need to happen. I’m probably going to screw…

2019 Disney Channels All Hands at El Capitan Theatre, Los Angeles

Many millennials in my generation grew up with Disney Channel. The Mickey Mouse Club, many DCOMS, and series like Lizzie McGuire shaped my generation’s childhoods and helped them see the world in a new way.

I also grew up with Disney Channel, but from a different frame of reference.

I grew up with Disney Channel… but at a later age than most. My perspective also came from inside the company instead of as an audience member.

I was 21 years old and had just moved to Los Angeles. I barely knew what I wanted to do with my life, and…

Genuine smiles from genuine people.

Last night, I felt more alive and connected to others than I have in months. Yes, months. I’m talking pre-quarantine.

I felt this way despite being physically alone in my one-bedroom guest house.

Over two and a half hours, 42 friends from across the country, new and old, came together to learn, connect, and share themselves. Just a few weeks ago, if you had asked me if this would be possible online, I would have laughed and politely said, “most definitely not.”

I have a long and complicated history with technology. I grew up with computers; my dad used to…

Three years ago, in a conversation with my new boss, we were discussing the importance of kindness at work. He encouraged me to think about ways we could perform “random acts of kindness” for our people. When I got back to my desk, I wrote it on a sticky note. It has remained on my computer monitor ever since.

It has served as a reminder for me both personally and professionally over the years. Small acts of kindness matter. What makes them random is that they’re unconditional. They’re unexpected. …

Win a prize if you correctly guess the location of this book display…

Currently reading:

Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World (Vivek Murthy)
I first heard about this book when Adam Grant released his 2020 list of books to read back in January. I was so excited to read it because I believe the topic is incredibly important. Murthy was the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, known for bringing the loneliness epidemic into the spotlight.


Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind (Annaka Harris)
A short read on what conscious might (or might not!) be.

Insight (Tasha Eurich) An overdue, research based book…

Seven years ago, I began a year-end tradition of recounting what I learned in the previous 12 months. It turns out there are endless lessons if we look for them.

2019 was a remarkable year. It started with an Uncomfortable Challenge, where I got out of my comfort zone every day for a month. I became a Search Inside Yourself teacher. Some fantastic books were read. I began an organizational psychology grad program. Connections with some beautiful human beings were cultivated or deepened.

Here are ten things I learned in 2019.

1. Internal storms can lead to growth

Here’s a secret about meditation you won’t find in…

In the classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life, James Stewart’s character, George Bailey, learns what the world would be like without his presence.

On Christmas Eve, after a major setback, he considers ending his life. Given his failure, he believes that his family and friends would be better without him.

Clarence, an angel, appears and shows George what his community and family would be like had he never been born.

George realizes how much his being has impacted others throughout his life and returns home safely.

If you are reading this, do not underestimate just how much you have…

This is one of the most important stories of the year:

Nearly 50 years ago economist Milton Friedman proposed a theory called shareholder value, declaring that public companies have a legal obligation to maximize shareholder value at all costs. The public business sector slowly entered an era where short-term thinking became standard, leading to regular layoffs and putting profits above people.

In the end, Friedman’s theory has been proven wrong. If you invested in the S&P 500 prior to the widespread adoption of shareholder value (1976), you’d make an average annual return of 7.6%. From 1976 through 2013? 6.4%.


Jared Taylor

Employee experience at hp. Aspiring organizational psychologist. Mindfulness teacher. Student of life. Human being.

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