The Danger of “Cheer Up”

“Positive reframing” – what we do when we remind people to be grateful and look on the bright side may actually be making things worse.

Inspired by a recent article by David Brooks, it’s better to “hear, respect and love the person” – to show you haven’t given up on them or walked away.

That is powerful stuff not only for those suffering from discouragement or even depression but for those of us looking for the right words to a help support a friend.

You Win or You Learn

Those are the words of the losing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts who led his team to an unlikely storybook season that collapsed in the final half of the Super Bowl when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

“You either win or you learn,” Hurts said. “That’s how I feel. You either win or you learn. Win, lose, I always reflect on the things I could have done better, anything you could have done better to try and take that next step. That’ll be the same process I always have going on.”

The next sweetest victory is the one that comes from how you handle defeat today.


Today, assume everyone you work with will go on to be equally or more successful than you.

Assume you will work for them some day.

This is the formula of mutual respect that brings the best out of people, eliminates needless judging and avoids the urge to dismiss others who have yet to gain prominence.

Think the best about people because it is in your best interest.

Living for Approval

“When you’re living for the approval of strangers, and that is where you derive all of your joy and fulfillment, one bad thing can cause everything to crumble…when people decided I was wicked and evil and conniving and not a good person, that was the one I couldn’t bounce back from because my whole life was centered around it” – Taylor Swift

Your life is not an election.

No need to campaign for consensus.

Lead and let others follow.

Sure Things

One billion dollars was the estimated total of betting in states that allow it for this year’s Super Bowl.

State and local lotteries attract almost $30 billion on the chance each year.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery are slightly worse than Powerball at 1 in 302.6 million.

This is not about betting – it’s about how quickly most folks are to defy the odds for a chance to be a winner.

Yet on a personal level, many have a hard time betting on their own chances to succeed in various areas of their lives.

Accentuate the Positive

My longtime friend John Parikhal inspired this morning’s thought that I’d like to share.

The great football coach Vince Lombardi went against the grain of coaching of his time.

Most coaches showed players the things they had done wrong in game films – and even today most still do.

Vince Lombardi only showed them what they had done right.

He knew that they would focus on replicating the right moves rather than trying to avoid the wrong ones.

The more we emphasize what’s wrong, the harder it is to get to what’s right.

To Change a Habit

For decades it was widely thought that it took at least 30 days to create a new habit.

There’s more recent research from a 2009 study that indicates it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days which is either less time than previously thought or almost the better part of a year.

Here’s a better metric.

If you don’t start now, the time to effect a change will be infinite because change is not possible until a commitment is made to look at things differently, come up with a workable plan and persevere until a new habit is achieved.

In other words, it’s not how long it takes but how much longing you have to change things.

Super Bowl Psychology

With less than a week until the next Super Bowl between the Eagles and Chiefs, there’s another playbook that fans could consult.

In sports, two teams show up with the intention of winning but people often show up to work or whatever else matters with some question as to whether they will succeed.

That’s never a question in sports.

When one team wins, they enjoy their victories endlessly — for the rest of us, when we have a success, we often move on too quickly shortcutting the “celebration”.

The loser in sports licks their wounds, learns from their mistakes but can hardly wait to play another day for a chance to win the next time – but we often get stuck in disappointment, overlook the lessons adversity can teach us and fail to have that eager anticipation to try again in the future.

The Super Bowl of psychology is always bet on yourself.

Best Way to Cure Anxiety Today

Showing kindness towards others actually works wonders on anxiety and depression according to a new study.

Did you really need a study to know that?  Probably not.

We get caught in our own problems AND the issues, fears and worries of others that bring us down.

How does doing acts of kindness for others help us?

It gets our mind off of our problems, furthers connections with others which has been proven to relieve depression.

Big or small acts that benefit others or make others happy.

No iPad, No Problem

Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella ordered the removal of iPads on the bench typical used by players to view their shift on the ice.


He wants the players to focus more on what they will do the next time they jump on the ice, not looking at the last one.

It seems to have worked as the team which has struggled all season is winning more than losing at midpoint with the removal of iPads.

I emphasize to my NYU students, our digital devices exist to serve us and there are times when we do better focusing our attention on the next task up rather than getting caught up in the past.