Today Will be 96% Positive

Turns out there is a big difference between our brains and our minds.

  • Our brains exist to protect us not to make us happy so the good news there is that we’re likely not doing anything wrong to experience unhappiness.
  • Understand how your brain operates –in a state of distraction focusing on threats and imperfection and dismissing the good.
  • The good news is that out of 100 events in a given day four are bad and 96% are good.

If we focus on what’s right in our lives rather than what is wrong, we are reprogramming our brain to make us more positive.

Cure for Negative People

Here’s a genius idea attributed to Albert Einstein:

Stay away from negative people.  They have a problem for every solution”

We become like the people we are around so choose your friends carefully and learn the skills for dealing with others where you have little choice.


“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” – Viktor Frankl

  • The only option left is for us to adapt.
  • Redirecting energy used to try and change something out of our control and focus our own attitudes, perspectives and behaviors.
  • Adversity can be transformational because it requires accepting what we cannot change and becoming more skilled at changing the way we deal with it.

Sometimes trying to turn ourselves inside out to deal with a difficulty is not as good as developing tools to become stronger.

Digital Detox Everyone Agrees With

I thought you’d like to hear about this interesting moment I had with a classroom full of NYU students recently –- as you’ll see, they finally agree to a person what they would be enthusiastic about doing to gain control of their digital devices.

  • I asked how many were happy with how they use their digital devices – 50% were (seems like the world is divided even here).
  • I proposed a question that could be asked every time they are tempted to spend more time on their devices.
  • The question: “How will this device, app, more screen time and additional social media make me happier or better off? 
  • Some want to gain more control and redirect their time to interacting with others and some want to make sure they don’t build a bigger bubble in which to be further removed from real time.

It’s rare to get agreement especially among young people who have never not had a digital life to ask the benefits first before plunging ahead.

Our Prehistoric Brain

People are surprised to learn that the brain is not responsible for your unhappiness.

  • The brain was wired to protect our prehistoric relatives from being eaten alive or otherwise put in danger.
  • The caveperson was in a sense the first to experience the birth of “fight or flight”.
  • Today, our phones trip the “fight or flight” mechanism in our head all day long and we wonder why we’re not happy – it’s the same wiring for the digital age.
  • Brains can be retrained through the embrace of gratitude and positivity that we can teach it.

We didn’t do anything wrong if we’re sad or down.  We were born on alert for danger so the cure is rather painless.

“What a Drag It Is Getting Old”

That’s how the ageless Rolling Stones started their hit “Mother’s Little Helper” and today Mick Jagger is 80, they have a new album out that is surprising the industry and a tour can’t be far behind.

  • Bandmember Keith Richards says “We age not by holding onto youth, but by letting ourselves grow and embracing whatever youthful parts remain”.
  • Jagger may have lived the life of a rock star with all that it encompasses but now he’s a health advocate influenced by his Phys-Ed instructor dad – here is his routine.
  • Ageism is the one form of discrimination that people somehow have embraced these days but it is worth ignoring and pursing the still-possible.
  • Ageism isn’t just discrimination against older people, it happens all the time among the young who are judged as not ready to succeed – another attitude worth ignoring.

Push the limits if you are so motivated.


In one of the playoff series between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, Phil’s superstar Bryce Harper made a serious and critical baserunning mistake that caused the team to blow a large lead and lose the game.

  • Afterwards, Harper owned it – said it was over and he had to move on.
  • Move on he did in their next game where his two homeruns helped his team defeat the Braves by a 10-2 score.
  • According to Jake Mintz of Fox Sports Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia was caught cackling in the locker room and repeatedly saying “ha-ha, atta-boy, Harper” as reporters were entering for postgame interviews.

Most players avoid mocking the other team because it can come back to hurt you but just as important is owning mistakes and looking to improve the next time you get a chance.

That doesn’t just apply to sports.


People tend to overcompensate for their perceived weaknesses instead of celebrating their strengths.

  • The great unlocked reserve of positivity comes from inside your head – the things you do well but don’t seem to remember.
  • Capture the positive – take a screen shot if it is in an email or text, save it, review it and counterbalance the human tendency to keep our weaknesses and mistakes in the front of our mind.

The change that could make the biggest difference is emphasizing the things you do right as a rehearsal for future success.


One of the things, no – the most helpful thing my young NYU students like to do is journal.

  • Many of them have done so in the past but have stopped along the way.
  • Journaling allows us to actually see our obstacles and how we deal with them.
  • If it’s not your thing that’s alright, just being able to see your growth, remember your progress helps change things in a big way.
  • Progress is best assessed by ourselves – in our own words – rather than relying on observation of others.

Simone Biles’ Other Victory

It was never in doubt that the Olympic gymnast has the physical talent to win at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

  • She has been plagued by mental health issues forcing her to withdraw from competition in the past.
  • Her real courage came from stepping away from competition, sustaining the whispering of social media only to regain her confidence and return when she was ready.
  • In the entertainment business, performance anxiety and imposter syndrome is a much more common problem than in the past – a reason we address it straight on in our NYU music business program.
  • It’s a new, complex world in which outside forces bombard those who are talented with palpable feelings of not being good enough but in time and with self-care, it can be overcome.

Simone Biles just put on a text book performance – yes, in gymnastics, but even more impressive in regaining the belief in herself to participate in a grueling sport.