One, the Loneliest Number

In one of my recent NYU Music Business classes we were discussing voice activated listening (Alexa) — a student discovered research about how senior citizens improved their loneliness by interacting with a smart speaker.

Keeping in mind that the number one use for smart speakers like Echo is to listen to music.

But the seniors in this study talked to their artificial “friends” and treated them as they would a human.  Even saying hello when they walked into the room with a smart speaker.

Imagine the power of humans listening and responding to each other if artificial intelligence is a potent but less adequate alternative.

The Dormant Power Within

My NYU music business students are always interested in discovering and unlocking the dormant powers they have and may not even realize.

Nothing can pick up your day today more than acknowledging all the hidden powers we all have that can help us get through the ups and downs of daily living.

The power to deal with adversity – no course necessary, everyone has a pretty place to start.

The power to get along well with others – a hint, make it about them.

The power to make others happy – which makes us happy in the process.

The power to care about others and get the negativity off of us.

The dormant power within is there ready to go – hit start.

The Happiness Race

Author, physician and resilience expert Amit Sood says pursuing happiness will make you miserable.

Better to focus on caring.

And the core building block of caring is resilience.

Therefore, chasing happiness through books, blogs, videos, courses and even psychologists is a useless task.

Patterning happiness in the brain begins with increasing our awareness of caring for others.

Bad Bunny, Good Bunny

The popular singer known as Bad Bunny (real name Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) doubles down on being yourself:

“Maybe at the very beginning of my career, I tried to pretend I was someone that I’m not, but I learned that that’s the way artists lose themselves …It’s because they forgot about themselves – them as a person – and invented a fictitious personality.”

Courage to be you and not morph into someone you’re not.

Not just for a performer but anyone who loses themselves is playing to an audience they can no longer see.

The Real Messages We’re Sending

In a recent survey a majority of young people crossing all races, classes and cultures value personal success (achievement and happiness) over caring for others.

Fairness doesn’t get a high grade, either, compared to other values.

And parents and teachers may be sending the message that achievement takes precedent over caring.

The Harvard Making Caring Common Project says “The power and frequency of parents’ daily messages about achievement and happiness are drowning out their messages about concern for others.”

Kids and adults still believe in caring and fairness but the messages being sent daily may have to change.

Here’s the study.

Life is like a Radio Station

Once a radio program director always one so here I go.

Every format hour includes many elements among which are promos for contests and things to come and one-liners to promote and look forward to what’s ahead.

When my children were young and to their delight, I found myself promoting things that were upcoming even within the next hour or few hours.

The underlying truth is that all of us want something to look forward to.

Radio does it to keep listeners listening.

We should do it to keep the family engaged, our co-workers motivated and those we love optimistic.

When stations succeed, they get high ratings.

When individuals look up and promote good things ahead, they get high spirits to make life fun and rewarding.

Crappy Days to Happy Days

I don’t know about you, but I was shocked to learn of a study where adults say they feel good only 47% of the time – about half their days, they feel bad.

Aches, anxiety, stress are some culprits – one in four experience anxiety at least once a week and what’s worse is that 61% say they have accepted all of this unhappiness.

As I tell my college students, we have hidden power.

To overcome, make others feel good, put the past behind and not waste the future.

To get along with difficult people, to pat ourselves on the back as needed and to turn crappy days into happy days.

I can prove it:  talk to anyone who has a close call with death or disability, amazing how they can reprioritize what’s important.

The hidden power within us is stronger than the challenges from outside that drag us down.

Waiting for Confidence

You are good enough – probably even misjudging your competence.

Trying new things is how we got to where we are – add something new and challenging in every day.

Fear of losing something makes us less willing to face challenges – you only lose when you let fear keep you from trying.

Waiting to feel more confident is a long wait – act first, feel second.

Serena’s Aspirement

“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me. A few years ago, I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.” – Serena Williams on the prospect of ending her tennis career

Life is like a book with many chapters.

Eagerly look forward to turning the page to the next.

Aspire, don’t retire.

Hugs

Picture this.

I’m in an infusion lab at Penn Medicine in Cherry Hill, NJ getting a boost of vitamins – they also do chemo treatments for cancer patients there.

I’m sitting across from a man getting his chemo.

While chatting with the nursing supervisor who sensed a problem, she excused herself and tended to the man who within minutes passed away – the nurses and a doctor gathered, they tried to close off the area where the man was and eventually remove him without upsetting other patients, but I was too close.

The staff was in shock, some in tears but what I witnessed next was an extreme act of compassion.

The supervisor, Melanie, systematically went over to each person including the attending doctor and gave them a big hug – one, right after the other without even a moment’s delay – a round of much needed hugs.

She knew that sometimes we need hugs and time to recover from trauma and I thought what a great DayStarter she exemplified under duress.  The caregivers were also the patients that day.

When there are no words, there is always a hug.