Stop doing these 9 things to improve your life

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I was spoiled growing up. There’s no sense denying it. My Dad was an administrative law judge and my mother a devoted homemaker. We weren’t millionaires but quite comfortable.

We lived in the hills of Los Gatos, California, with an amazing view of Silicon Valley. Every Christmas there were tons of presents under the tree.

After opening my gifts, I used to phone my neighborhood buddy to compare notes on our loot. Then we’d meet up later to play with our new toys.

My mother made all my meals, cleaned and folded my laundry, and chauffeured me to friend’s homes and tennis matches. …

How to Improve Your Discourse

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Years ago I suffered an exercise-related injury. My doctor referred me to a physical therapist. On my first appointment, the physical therapist welcomed me and introduced himself as Michael. He patiently asked questions about my injury, listened intently, and explained what we would work on.

For several weeks, Michael helped me recover from my injury. As much as I appreciated his professional help, what I enjoyed more was his conversational style. He was easy to talk to and a superb listener. He asked a lot of questions and was interested in my answers. There was no competition. I felt like it was important for him to learn more about me. …

The power of saying less in a noisy world

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Hunkered down at home during this infernal pandemic, I had great plans. I was going to write more, create new artwork, and work out religiously.

Instead, I binge-watched the entire Ray Donovan TV series.

I know, I know. I’m embarrassed to admit it. Sure, I managed to get some creative work done, and exercised a bit. But once you’re hooked on a TV series, you have to follow it through.

“Sometimes I look around my living room, and the most real thing in the room is the television. It’s bright and vivid, and the rest of my life looks drab. So I turn the damn thing off. That does it every time. Get my life back.” …

The answer is the opposite of you on social media

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We are living in a time of rapid change and uncertainty, brought on by technological advancements and the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of people are uncertain about the future, and how best to position themselves to survive and succeed.

Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari, Ph.D., in his 2018 book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century,” wrote:

“Humankind is facing unprecedented revolutions, all our old stories are crumbling, and no new story has so far emerged to replace them. How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties?”

How to revive the person you were meant to be

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Certain things stay with us our entire lives, like immutable guideposts that reflect our deepest passions.

For me, it has always been the blank page, awaiting marks from my drawing pen or words from my laptop computer.

As a young boy, the blank pages of my sketchbooks became worlds of creative joy and discovery. They remain so now, in my fifth decade.

Whether drawing, painting or writing, the blank page (or canvas) is home to my creative being. It’s where the swirling dreams, ideas, and artistic expressions come alive.

Creating artwork and writing have always brought me great fulfillment and joy. Being a creative was my destiny, even though most of my adult professional life was in law enforcement. …

Transcendence in the nobility of the air

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Corbett Barr is the co-founder and CEO of the website, which helps people earn a living doing something they love.

I discovered a few years back when I first started blogging and writing online. I used to read their posts but eventually moved on to other content.

Apparently, I was still on one of the email lists, because I received a recent email from Corbett Barr. In the email, Barr wrote that he was “starting over” and had deleted all the content on his social media accounts. …

How to stop shooting yourself in the foot

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There were people in my law enforcement career who seemed determined to fail. Despite mentoring, instruction, gentle correction, and discipline, they consistently chose the low road.

What’s the low road? An appetite for excuses, blame, and underperformance. An aversion to personal responsibility.

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”― Theodore Roosevelt

Not long after being promoted to the rank of police sergeant, I was sent to a supervisory school. There, among many subjects, I learned the art of performance appraisal. …

Do you know how to spend the little hours?

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In 1960, five young men found themselves outside the imposing gates of St. Hugh’s Charterhouse, Parkminster, located in West Sussex, England. Their backgrounds were different, but they shared the same goal: to live alone with God.

Each of these young men had chosen St. Hugh’s Charterhouse, which was home to one of the Western world’s most austere monastic orders, known as the Carthusians. Some of these young men came from other monastic orders. All were seeking a deeply ascetic life to focus on their relationship with God.

“There’s a difference between solitude and loneliness. I can understand the concept of being a monk for a while.” …

How to overcome emotional pain

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You carry it inside you, like a benign tumor. Except it’s not entirely benign. Emotional pain hurts. The source and intensity will vary from person to person, but the symptoms are similar.

Sadness, grief, despair, anger, hopelessness, and regret. To name a few.

No one gets to escape emotional pain. Sooner or later we all experience it. Some of us get off lightly. Maybe we lose our job or navigate a divorce. No fun, but survivable.

For others, things can be devastating. They lose a spouse to cancer, or endure years of horrific victimization.

What to do when life is hard

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Three things happened recently that eroded some of the joy in my life. The incidents caused me to reflect deeply about where I’ve been, where I’m headed, and the inevitability of change.

The first incident occurred while walking my dogs. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic, someone in my neighborhood started leaving painted rocks along the sidewalks and footpaths.

The rocks included encouraging sayings like, “Be safe” and “Joy.” Every time I saw the rocks, they made me smile. They reassured me that good people live among us, and we need one another to get through tough times.

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