Betting on Life

Nothing is more popular currently than sports betting apps.

Think about it – we bet to win constantly in even minute ways through these sports apps.

We bet to win.

We expect a good outcome.

If we lose, we do it again betting to win and expecting a good outcome.

Aren’t the last three lines above also a great way to face daily life?

A Day Without Negativity

I don’t have to get out of bed, just pick up my iPad and the day is ready to go off the rails.

The usual bad news, troublesome emails, reminders of more to do then you thought.

But worse yet especially at holiday time is the negative attitudes of others that they cannot help but share with anyone who will listen.

We become like those around us.

Who gets into our head matters.

I have had many friends in the Dale Carnegie world who handle this dilemma by letting negativity roll off them and offer up something more hopeful in response.

Sometimes it matters to those who need to hear it.

But it always matters to those who can use a negative thought and substitute for a positive one.

A Compliment Worth 3,000 Miles

My NYU students welcomed Derrick Aroh, RCA Records executive to class last week and what transpired is worth repeating.

Aroh flew from LA to New York City on a redeye, arrived just before class, spent an hour and a half sharing real life stories about the business my students want to be in and at the end they did something remarkable.

At the end of class, and before Aroh headed back to JFK to complete his whirlwind trip, one at a time, five students thanked Aroh in front of the entire class for traveling 3,000 miles to be with them.

But they went one better – each one shared why they were thanking him and each compliment was different.  He soaked up the sincere gratitude because instead of assuming he knew how they felt, they told him.

We have hidden powers within us to make a difference – say how you feel, back it up with an example of why and you will soon discover it.

Sorry, Not Sorry

Ever notice how people apologize unnecessarily for some things and refuse to give a believable apology for others?

“Sorry” because you disagree with someone else is not required.

“Sorry” for interrupting someone is better handled with “no, you go first”.

“Sorry” for letting someone down is better directed at you, for letting yourself down first.

When a serious apology is necessary, stand up and give a sincere apology of your choice without using the word “if” (“If I offended you, I’m sorry) because it is conditional.

Regrets are part of life that are easily fixed by never apologizing for being you and always offering a sincere apology when you have wronged someone.

Stress Struggle

Anxiety is an acquired habit.

We get it from those around us and from self-doubts within.

It has no limit so when we pile on more, it stresses us more.

And we can attract the anxiety of others just by hearing, seeing or experiencing their troubles.

There is no cure for anxiety overload that doesn’t go through you first.

The brain can be trained to differentiate between real issues that you need to deal with and those of others around you.

Mental Health Uplifts

Preventing mental health breakdowns is not as important as having a plan of action ready for when they happen.

Every attempt to deal with anxiety, loneliness, loss of confidence, courage and burnout can be another step in preparing a plan of action for the next time.

Face it:  Anxiety isn’t going away any time soon.  But assembling the confidence to deal with its consequences is a more reliable life plan.

Friends in Need

Dr. Marisa G. Franco in Platonic:  “Loneliness is more fatal than a poor diet or lack of exercise, as corrosive as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.  Friendship literally saves our lives”.

Even in the age of social media.

Still, it means taking the initiative, reaching out and doing the work.

When we like a social media post how well do we really know a “friends” life beyond “the published, polished version”.

Take action:  make small gestures (“I’m thinking of you”), a funny video, a Pinterest recipe, an encouraging voice note —  things that keep us connected in an “endearing” way.

I tell my students I love them – You should see their faces the first time I say it but in their course evaluations they feed the positives back (“the professor REALLY loves us”).

Friendships are more than a click, an emoji or a glib comment – it’s a bit more work and a little risk taking to share positive feelings, but it works well in the digital age.

The Masked Smile

I have a student who shared with her class that she is working on smiling more.

Significant because she almost always wears a facemask.

Her progress report:  I have smiled at many people and I don’t know if it made me look friendlier but it made me feel good.

Everything good starts within us.


Being perfect is not a place, it is a destination.

Perfect is an illusion.

Caring is a better goal.

Caring about doing our best, being our best and accepting our best is real.

Comparison Quicksand

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are both forces to be reckoned with and imperfect works in progress.

Both have had mental health issues that they have embraced and fought.

Female stars and for that matter most young people are dealing with the ravages of anxiety in very public ways.

The reason:  social media the home of setting unreachable expectations and fostering the expansion of bullying.

Emily Weinstein and Carrie James coined the term in their book Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (And Adults are Missing).

Via the New York Times: “They quote girls saying things such as, “On social media everyone seems like they are far better and far ahead than me, which is stressful and makes me feel behind, unwanted and stupid.”

And: “I scroll through my Instagram and see models with perfect bodies and I feel horrible about myself.” For teenagers who are susceptible to insecurity (and one wonders which ones aren’t), Weinstein and James write, “going on social media can activate the ‘dark spiral.’”

Being good enough is being real and accepting not shopping for the impossible as portrayed on social media.