The Blog

You’ve had a difficult day. You come home, and you want to relax. Your children? They have a different plan for your evening. They’ve been waiting to see you since breakfast. They want to play!

FrozenDecision time. Do you stick them in front of an iPad to watch Frozen again? Do you pretend you don’t hear them and scroll through your own device? What’s it going to be?

It’s just this one time, you think. Right? Right.

If you’re thinking long-term, you engage. You look them in the eyes, you make a silly face, and you let the giggles begin. You start chasing them around the house or the yard until the neighbors can’t help running to their windows to see what the happy commotion is.

The best part is that you’re not only doing right by your children, you’re changing how they’ll engage with theirs. They’re learning how to do that from you.

Think one person can’t make a difference? That’s false. You can make the world a better place for generations to come, and you can start tonight.

How can people function with tall piles of paper scattered this way and that on their desks? I’d find it difficult -- make that impossible -- to work. I don’t find chaos soothing.

But it’s more orderly than I realized.

Let’s say you need something in a tall pile of paper. You find it, and put it back on top of the stack. If it’s been a while since you needed something else, it’s probably toward the bottom of the stack. Odds are what you need most often is handy.


Some of us just aren’t into complicated filing systems. For that contingent, tall piles of paper work. They make the most sense in the least amount of time.

That’s how computers work. And a cognitive scientist says thinking like a computer will help you make better decisions.

Do you need an opening?
October 16, 2018

As conversation starters go, this is almost guaranteed to work: “Do you remember your first day on the job?”

Dr. Carol Osborne does.

You might remember the scene in The Family Man where Jack, played by Nic Cage, almost passes out when he changes his son’s dirty diaper for the first time. Now let’s say it isn’t a baby on the table in front of you. It’s a dog. A big dog. A huge dog. With intestinal issues. The dog can’t contain himself (so to speak), and now you’re covered in those “issues.”

That was Carol’s veterinary initiation.

How was your first day at work?

Once upon a time I took a spill on a slippery sidewalk and landed, if you can believe it, on my face. The shiner was so frightening Darrell started telling people he was not an abusive husband. Which is exactly what an abusive husband would say, but that’s no laughing matter -- and neither was my face. I made an appointment with my doctor. He suggested an X-ray.

“And what will you do,” I asked, “depending on what you see?” He looked at me. And then he said, “Nothing.”

Well, then. No X-ray needed.

My friend Alex Lickerman says unnecessary tests drive the cost of healthcare up for everyone. Don’t be afraid to question the so-called authorities. As the doctor who understood why I was passing on the X-ray explained, “We work for you.”

You can’t pay someone to care about you -- or your wallet! -- the way you do.

You want to avoid getting laid off. Who wouldn’t? So don’t raise your hand and say, “Pick me.”

Tim SandersThat’s advice courtesy of Tim Sanders, a motivational speaker and another favorite guest on the talk show. Tim says twice as many people are laid off for having a negative attitude than for not performing on the job. That rings true, doesn’t it? You can train someone to do better work. To inspire them to be a better kid about it? Who has time for that?

And if the bullies in your workplace seem to be getting ahead at the expense of nice guys left behind, you might take as much comfort in another Tim Sanders gem as I do: “It’s the middle of the movie.”

Why would the same people who inconsistently take medicine prescribed by their doctors never let their pets miss a dose prescribed by a vet? Do they think more highly of their pets than themselves?

The new book by Dr. Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life, makes me think it’s plausible.

“Fido would never hurt anyone,” Fido owners everywhere insist. But the owners themselves? They’re likely all too familiar with how evil (or at least, petty) they can be. Do they really deserve the care they show their pets? Maybe not.

The most stunning thing about the way I eat is how nurturing it is toward me. Because that’s what eating right and exercising and getting enough sleep is, right? It’s taking really, really good care of yourself.

You’re worth it. We all are.

Ever heard this one? “Hurt people hurt people.”

It explains a lot, doesn’t it? And it excuses nothing.

Once upon a time the bravest person I knew suddenly and summarily distanced herself from a wide swath of her inner circle. The reaction was swift: “Who does she think she is?”

I knew her pretty well back then. I knew her to be someone who knew what she needed to be healthy. It was life or death. She chose life. She’s still choosing life, from what I hear. She stopped the cycle. Her kids will grow up with a shining example of how to take care of themselves. Because it isn’t so much about how you treat your children, as they say. It’s how you treat you.

“We hadn’t seen him doing that well in years. He was happy. He’d set goals, he was hanging out with friends, he seemed to have found some hard-earned peace.”

Dr. John Huber says it’s an all-too-common refrain from heartbroken friends and family after someone they love commits suicide. Those supposedly-good signs are often anything but, John adds. They’re a reflection of someone getting his affairs in order -- saying goodbye to friends, finding homes for possessions, looking forward to an end to the suffering.

You’d have to know someone really, really well to grasp how much pain he’s in. And you may never know, because he’s likely perfected the art of hiding it in an attempt to spare you pain. It’s a delicate, impossible dance. And a good reminder to tell the people you love how much you love them.