Where Is the Fine Line?

Where is the fine line between…

  • confidence and arrogance?
  • flexibility and indecisiveness?
  • humility and self-deprecation?
  • self-respect and self-pity?
  • candor and harmful criticism?
  • compromise and cooperation?
  • communicating and talking?
  • helping and interfering?
  • love and co-dependency?

I could go on.

The point is:

  • Our happiness, success, productivity, and relationships depend upon the fine line between these character traits.
  • The trajectory of our careers and personal lives is a function of how we think and how often we think about these distinctions in our daily interactions.
  • If we chose the fast lane that speeds past these distinctions, it will not save us any time.
  • And, again, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

(Original post 2013)

Claim Your Dignity (When Others Deny It)

Especially when others deny our dignity, we must refuse to surrender it.

It is our ticket to mental health and survival.

Every slave, prisoner, and persecuted human being knows the pain of being stripped of dignity by deprivation, poverty, beatings, abuse, neglect, or humiliation; a process that pushes the most noble toward inhuman behaviors and the tragic loss of respect for ourselves.

Those of us who have never been enslaved, imprisoned or persecuted still struggle against dark forces that challenge our self-worth.

We can retain our dignity through the most dire circumstances only by obtaining and practicing a deep appreciation for, and awareness of our undeniable, and untouchable innate value.

How Our Daily Life Is Like TV News

Everyone is critical of how negative and inefficient TV news is, but most of us…

  • spend the majority of our conscious hours focused on what’s going wrong in the world rather than what’s going right
  • have too many “commercial” breaks for shameless self-promotion or ego-driven side lines
  • are more show than substance

It is no accident TV news became what it is. It’s driven by human nature.

If we want something more, we must become something more. More noble. More courageous. More grateful.

Do You Have Wise Ears?

These are the gossip-deterrents that give me the “ears of a wise person:”

  1. Imagining the subject of my words overhearing my comments reminds me to speak for intended as well as unintended audiences. (This one shuts my mouth every time.)
  2. Someone should be “bigger” than the situation. (And it sure is cool to be my own hero.)
  3. Save the airspace. (There is enough yuck in the world already.)

(Original post July 2015)

Searching for a Heart of Gold?

Searching for a heart of gold is a worthy quest, and not just for Neil Young. Neil Young might have been singing about a romantic connection, but we are all searching for hearts of gold in people we meet. It is like a quest for home.

A heart of gold is about honesty and authenticity. It is about loyalty and honor and about refusing to become small or vindictive in our words or actions.

And people with hearts of gold are not doormats, they are strong people who refuse to stoop to hatred.

To show respect to all people, even those who have disrespected us or treated others disrespectfully, is sometimes torture and often counter-intuitive. Yet, the reward of having that caliber of character is worth the exertion.

Bow to the Heart that Triumphs over Greed

Image result for all the money in the world quotes

Go ahead and deny this stubborn truth.

Go ahead and talk about all the luxury and power that money can bring into your life; how people will notice you, pursue you, flock to supply your every need.

Then, if you are brave enough, tear open the veil and look into the brutal face of greed; you were never the attraction. Watch your flock disappear when your fortune fails or wanes.

Face the horror of the pathetic defeat of money in a bout with loneliness, disease, or death.

Bow to the heart that triumphs over greed.

Related image

Top Ten Reasons Abraham Lincoln Was Magnetic

10. His stories were funny.

9. He was passionate and dedicated to his tasks.

8. He wasn’t out for his own gain: sacrificing frequently for those he served.

7. He was a born a simple man, but worked hard, persevered, and hung on to hope against all odds.

6. He was a lifelong learner and a speaker whose persuasiveness came from deep well of insight and love.

5.  He saw people as his equals: treating the poor and powerless the same as the wealthy and famous.

4. He spent long enough in depression to sympathize with those who battled personal demons.

3. He understood first hand what it meant to be a loser, rejected, hungry, hopeless, and unloved.

2. He listened well because he had trained himself not to be judgmental or arrogant.

1. He didn’t take himself nor his ego seriously.

Lincoln obviously was not perfect, but so often, his words have bailed me out of self-pity and other pathetic emotions.

When I meet someone who has any of  his qualities, I am drawn to them as a bug is to light.


gravitas morgan freeman

No Shows

I was fourteen years old the first time a friend “no-showed” and left me stranded on a weekend night. I was stunned and wounded. My expectations had been high and nothing had prepared me for the possibility of disappointment. As dysfunctional as my family was, I had been taught to keep my word and that others kept their word when the stakes were high. A sibling maybe, but a friend would never no-show and act as if nothing had happened.

Later I would be disappointed when…

  • clients, bosses, and coworkers told me they would advocate for me and didn’t
  • employers failed to follow through
  • employees no called no showed
  • romantic interests betrayed
  • and…I succumbed to being a no-show myself

But, at least I became wise to the why.

We over-promise because…

  • originally, we had good intentions
  • we were afraid to tell you the truth
  • we didn’t know how to say no
  • something better came up
  • the cost of fulfillment was too high
  • we were embarrassed, or didn’t know how to tell you our plans had changed
  • we hoped you would forget about it
  • it was always about us, not you
  • we wanted to avoid an argument, conflict, or tears

None of us are strangers to the “no show” pain. That’s why I am amazed that we can still rationalize doing it to each other.

Not so long ago, I had to choose between keeping a commitment vs. fulfilling a major bucket-list item. I struggled with it for a day or so and decided I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I became a no show for people who were counting on me (even though I called and cancelled the commitment before flying off to Alaska). I wish I hadn’t.

The trip, although beautiful, turned into a debacle, complete with painful misunderstandings and disappointments.

Big lesson.

No-shows never win.

because I said I would


Marks of Greatness

“…the warmth of his dark-blue eyes certified a delicate mind and a cordial, brave nature. Fifty years or more had spent themselves upon him with no other effect than to tinge his demeanor with gravity and temper his words with forethought. The brightness of his soul was untouched.” -Lew Wallace (from Ben Hur)

Wow! These are the qualities I want to have:

  1. Bright soul untouched by age
  2. Words tempered with forethought
  3. Gravitas
  4. Brave nature
  5. Sensitivity
  6. Cordial with all

I’ll work on it today by:

  1. Hanging out with people like this (everywhere; in books, in other cultures, in the places I go, and the relationships I choose)
  2. Spending time quieting my soul so that I remove all obstacles to these behaviors
  3. Rejecting the easy way out

What could be more valuable?

face of depth


The Big Six?

Writer, Dana King commenting upon yesterday’s blog about qualities that draw others to us, dubbed them The Big Six. It might not be an exclusive list, but it still seems important to identify obstacles that prevent us from displaying these important attributes.

In the following list, I thought of the opposite of the quality and how it has taken root in my own experience.

Passion — Lethargy, disillusionment, or disengagement, supported by thoughts of, “It’s no use” or “Why try?”
Child-like Delight — Boredom, supported by “Been there, done that” or a lack of curiosity
Presence — Detachment, fueled by anxiety or self-absorption
Courage — Fear of losing something that I cannot keep
Contentment — Jealousy, bitterness, or negativity about my circumstances
Not Taking Oneself Too Seriously — Intensity or tension, born of defending my ego