Dogs Dealing with Failure

Perhaps you heard about the dog who flunked out of service school – part golden and part lab.

Sheldon was trained as a service dog but the gregarious dog has been certified in State Farm’s arson dog program and can detect a Molotov cocktail in about 30 seconds.

He made a better arson dog than a service dog.

Same concept is true for the two-legged species – never give up, keep trying because success isn’t always about being able to predict what we will be successful at as much as what is our special thing.

I’m saving the story of Sheldon for the next time I feel discouraged by barking up the wrong tree.  Read about Sheldon here.

Slow and Slower

When we talk too fast, we make it easy for others to ignore our message.

When we are not deliberate when talking about things that are important, we missed an opportunity to communicate.

When asked “what do you think?”, try responding slowly and adding “what do YOU think?”

As counterintuitive as it may sound in our fast paced world, slow and steady still wins the race in communication in spite of the noise, connectivity and self-centeredness.

Walt Disney on Dreams 

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney

Actually, dreaming is easy – making good on them is the hard part.


The willingness to go it alone even (and especially) when others don’t see yours.

The willingness to fail, learn and reboot.

A plan.

A plan is the Google Maps of a dream, where is it, how do you get there, how long might it take and what other things will you come across on the way.

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.