Advice on Loneliness from an Astronaut

NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly spent 340 days in space and had plenty of time to think about loneliness.

His advice.

Keep a journal.

Stick to a schedule.

Go outside (not easy for an astronaut in space).

Get a hobby.

People who are constantly around others are also lonely and we haven’t even begun to know the consequences of “social distancing” which is now an accepted term in our vocabulary when we probably meant “physical distancing”.

In 2018, a year ahead of the pandemic, Cigna did a survey that discovered 54% of the 20,000 people they surveyed reported feeling lonely.

A year later that number rose to 61% with 18-22 year-old members of Gen Z feeling the loneliest.

Astronaut Kelly’s article on his time in space is here.


Just weeks after Apple made active a new feature that allows users to opt out of ad tracking, only 4% are choosing to allow Facebook, Google and others to invade their privacy.

So, it turns out people really care about being watched in a world that has cameras everywhere.

Steve Jobs said “Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain language, and repeatedly.”

Seth Godin calls it “Permission Marketing”.

To individuals it is the courtesy of asking first and assuming nothing.

If there is a lesson watching big tech companies scramble to force users to let them be tracked, it might be that “asking first” for anything is what people really want.

Fresh Air & Hyperactivity

A new study from Denmark concludes that children who grow up near green spaces may have a lower risk of developing ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Less green means more chance of developing ADHD in early childhood.

One advantage of the pandemic is that families rediscovered each other, did simple outdoor things together and most importantly, spent time away from their mobile devices.

We’re going to recover from the pandemic – it’s happening now.

But will we recover from the all-encompassing world of social media, connectivity and self-imposed social isolation.

They say before you can change a habit you have to replace it with a better one and now there’s evidence that experiencing the green of outdoors is a step in the right direction.

Respect Two Ways

I have no need to be respected by people I don’t respect.

Chasing after their approval is a fool’s errand.

A better use of time is to build respect from yourself, the other type will follow.

Difference Between Discussions & Arguments

Discussions are always better than arguments, because an argument is to find out who is right and a discussion is to find out what is right” – Buddha.

One of my DayStarter readers, Henry Harrison, sent this along because it’s popular today to use the phrase “we need to have a conversation about that”.

It is just as important to make that conversation a learning experience for all and not an exercise about who will eventually prevail.


When the coach of an NHL hockey team was asked at a post-game conference what he thought of his goaltender’s big mistake that cost the team the game, he did not fall for the bait.

Instead of criticizing the player, this coach said the goal was probably one that his goaltender probably would have wanted back.

Direct criticism has the effect of firing up the instinct to defend ourselves.

But indirect criticism like the words of this coach allow those being criticized to be less defensive and more willing to listen.


I don’t know about you but 20 years ago when I finished my work during the week, I had the weekend off.

I never opened my laptop – in fact, rarely took it out of my bag.

Today life is more complicated – if you turn off digital communication, you will certainly have to deal with it later.  If you leave it on, you’re always on.

The reason we like vacations is because they force us to change our routines, to simplify them and give us a break from all the things that accumulate in our lives that weigh us down.

While we can’t have a vacation every day, we can adopt the vacation attitude – change the routine if only in a minor way, find a different way to work.  The great WLS Program Director John Gehron takes pictures on his different walks to work in Chicago.

There’s a vacation in Hawaii and then there’s a vacation from every day hum drum that keeps us balanced with always being on.

A Beginning and an End

One of the things I liked about being on-the-air in radio and television was that being on was always exciting but there was also a definite ending.

In TV, a countdown to clear.

In radio, the transition to the next song, show or content element.

In the busy digital age, we’re always on – there doesn’t seem to be a beginning because we are always in motion and there is never an end to what we do.

To me, life is a like a show – when it’s on give it 100% and when it’s over, walk away, relax, enjoy and get ready for another day.

Good Enough

Just saying you are is a powerful reminder.

Life happens in digital quickness, we’re up, we’re down, we’re stressed and distracted but at the end of the day why do often feel not good enough.

Never rely on someone else to make that decision.

Just showing up for life, handling its challenges and facing adversity makes us good enough – anything else is just ego.

A Gift from Arthritic Children

When I was program director of a Philadelphia radio station, I raided the prize closet and brought some portable radios (this is before iPhones and iPods) to give to arthritic children at Moss Rehabilitation Center.

I can remember it as if it was yesterday –  Christmas Eve, I was very tired and had all I could do to make the appearance that had been requested of my wife  – she worked there.

The kids were on what looked like skateboards racing up and down the hallways because it was difficult if not impossible for them to move around unassisted and without pain.

Before my visit ended, the nurses put their young patients in bed and I visited one by one to hand each of them a little radio courtesy of our station – they were delighted (of course, I showed them how to tune in to the best station).  They hugged me and were so grateful for something that many of us take for granted because a radio could bring them the world.

Suddenly I was no longer tired.  The children got the radios but I got the gift – the best and most meaningful Christmas that I have ever had.

P.S., our station gave away tens of thousands of dollars-worth of prizes each year to get listeners to fill in their diaries and increase our ratings but this relatively minor requisition was the best investment we ever made.

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