When Under Attack

When I am criticized I have trained myself to initially do the opposite of my first visceral reaction – I agree with the critic.

“You’re right”

“Never thought of it that way”

I never accept abuse, in that case, I end the contact – otherwise, I keep encouraging people to tell me what they don’t like without having to get into a battle – after all, they’re not going to change their minds.

What usually happens is when faced with an open mind, theirs opens as well – a conversation ensues. I can’t count the number of times I have made a new friend or increased mutual esteem by refusing to argue.

People want to be heard – to the listener goes the advantage.

Wake Up

Before getting out of bed think of who you are grateful for and why.

And who you love and why.

Once up, recite to yourself who you want to be because no narrative is as compelling as the talk you give yourself at the start of each day.

Make the first ten people you see happy that they see you but while they will no doubt appreciate it, you will be training your brain to be a positive person the rest of the day.

When criticized, immediately recall something good about yourself.

If a major problem occurs, respond rather than react.

When your day ends, make the people you have missed feel like you haven’t seen them in two weeks.

I do this and recommend it.


We’re over-dependent on technology, social apps, people, work – somehow the pandemic ended but the problems that exacerbated it continue.

The thing about over-dependence is that is 100% a mirage, a fear of our own making and it can be lessened or eliminated by challenging every case of it.

We may not be able to live without technology today but we can control its use.

Depending on others without first depending on yourself is an open pit in which to fall.

Looking for friends or validation especially but not limited to social media can be an invitation to put yourself up for election letting others decide what is your right to decide.

The end of over-dependence begins with relying on your good judgement first and always.

Letting Go of Baggage

Every person who saps your positive energy by being negative is wasting your time and subconsciously affecting how you feel about yourself.

People who offload their anxiety on you double the anxiety you may already carry.

Anyone not in lock step moving forward with you is holding you back even if they are just standing around while you are trying to advance.

We’re so connected that we are under a constant barrage of stress from others that lessens the time we have to make a happy life and succeed at our goals.

Letting go of baggage requires strictly policing what you will allow into your brain and subconscious thoughts —  slap it down at the place of entry.

If you’re already carrying around the negative thoughts of others, take control and let go of people who are getting into your head.

If a person hasn’t asked you about yourself, you’re likely taking too much of their baggage.

Friend Appreciation

Friends appreciate when people reach out – not to ask anything of them, but for no reason at all.

A call, email, text – a new study shows how it’s done really doesn’t matter.

There’s real power in staying in touch with friends “just because” for participants on both the giving and receiving end.

Whenever I call you friend
I begin to think I understand
Anything we are
You and I have always been ever and ever

Whenever I Call You “Friend”, song by Kenny Loggins

Getting What You Really Want

Often our misfortunes eventually turn into advantages.

A broken marriage that turns into the next happy one.

The loss of a job that launches a successful career.

Overcoming a health issue you never asked for by becoming more health conscious.

An unexpected turn of events that leaves us devastated until it motivates us to make meaningful change.

No sane person hopes for things they don’t want but that doesn’t mean getting them is the end when it can be a beginning.

Imposter Syndrome

There has been an uptick of what is known as imposter syndrome, doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.

It affects high achievers who have a difficult time accepting their accomplishments as they do not feel worthy of the praise they receive – but they are not the only ones.

We also see this in talented young people who deal with panic attacks and become uncertain of their own authenticity.

The concept of berating your best efforts is a waste of time and talent for if you are not convinced that you are able who are you willing to leave it up to?

Self-compassion and celebrating successes are better alternatives.

Before asking anyone else to validate you, be convinced that you are steadfast in validating yourself.

Quick Fix for Anxiety

Perhaps you’ve heard about the 8-minute song designed to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

We came across it doing research for a new NYU course I will be adding this coming school year about reducing stress and anxiety in music and the performing arts.

Music, of course, is a potent friend of dealing with anxiety.

Many of you are interested in the things being done to deal with anxiety – here’s one that is proven to reduce it by 65% in 8 minutes Weightless recorded by a British group called Marconi Union.

Stress reduction is a whole-person endeavor, but this quick fix is powerful enough to pass along.

Listen here.  And let me know what you think.

Focus & Simplicity

I know a Mayo Clinic doctor who physically leans forward to be sure they are concentrating on their patients comments.

And another person who repeats back what they are hearing and asks, “did I get that right?”

The reason we can’t remember names is because we don’t bear down and hear them so we can repeat them twice and remember them forever.

Even in a distracted world, focusing on the present is not only possible but even more popular with those around you – they feel less important until someone can say, “did I get that right?”

As Steve Jobs said, “Focus and simplicity – once you get there you can move mountains”.

No Rules, Just Right

That may be a great motto for Outback Steakhouse but it falls short when someone is so distracted that they run a red light.

I experience almost one (and some days three) people per day barreling through stop lights almost as if they are just suggestions and not rules.  Perhaps you are seeing the same thing.

We adhere to rules for safety and order.

We break them to expand our creativity.

If you’re good at breaking rules, you must also be good at adhering to them – the lesson of the moment on this turbulent time.