Past, Present and Future

The past is filed away in a cabinet or computer to be accessed when needed to give us information we may need but keeping that file open in the present is the road to unhappiness.

The future is a blueprint – a concept, an idea, a way of deciding what is important to pursue, but living in the future is the original virtual reality.

The present is currency to be spent now or lost later.  It’s the only place that life truly exists – the only place that brings happiness and gratitude at the same time.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” — Kierkegaard

One More Time

It isn’t the person with the brains that clearly outperforms everyone else.

It’s the one with the work ethic – more specifically, the person who never gives up.

Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he successfully invented the light bulb – who would do that?

Here’s his most memorable and inspiring quote from the man that did:

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

A Stress-Free Home

So, in my family, my parents and two sisters always talked politics at dinner and we lived to survive the differences, passions and heightened emotions.

Now I know why.

The American Heart Association discovered that 91% of parents notice their families are less stressed when they share meals together.

The psychologist and author Martin Padovani (“Healing Wounded Relationships”) says dinner together is an absolute must.

84% wish they could dine together more often – the real number is 50%.

This seems like a safe, quick and effective workaround to stress – even when you’re arguing about politics.

And almost 60% of those who eat together say they make better food choices.

Start the day by texting all family members to be on time for dinner tonight, ask for menu wishes (mine was always some type of pasta) and phones off – that includes the adults.

Everyone wants dinner together and it’s got all benefits – be the one to make it happen more often starting tonight if possible.

Taking Something Away

You can’t take something away without replacing it.

Which is why trying to get kids and loved ones to use their phones less and focus on paying attention can be challenging.

I have had 4 students this semester thank me on separate occasions in front of their classmates for requiring them to stow their phones out of site (turns out there is research that says people will constantly glance at a phone that is off but nearby almost as if it will turn itself on).

If you take away a phone, give new power (such as the ability to decide when you need an extra break to check it out in the hallway, participate from their seat instead of in front of the entire room, etc.).

Asking children to get off the phone at home will work if there is something better for them to do – like take a walk with dad or mom, do something together, etc.

When we take something away or have it taken from us, it is much more acceptable when we try to replace it with something as good or better.

Start the day focusing on one thing that has been taken from you or that you must take from someone else and come up with something else to distract from the loss.

Life Lessons from a Radio DJ

  1. A small room can be made into a wide world – embrace it
  2. Authentic never goes out of style
  3. People can hear a smile without seeing it
  4. The secret to effective public speaking is to feel like you’re talking to one person at a time.
  5. It’s what’s between the music that counts – in radio and in life.

Start the day choosing only one of the 5 life lessons above, use it all day and see why 100 years after radio began, success still comes from being more relatable.

The Smartest Person in the Room

You don’t necessarily win by being the smartest person in the room.

You win by making everyone else the smartest people in the room.

Being skilled at helping others reach their potential is the definition of a leader.

The unlikely Philadelphia Phillies are in the playoffs after a poor start, firing a manager and appointing a person who never managed in the major leagues.

Here’s what one of his players said about how the 59-year old Rob Thomson did it:

“He’s such a people person…he can have a conversation with anybody about anything and definitely on anything baseball.  I think he just feels relatable.”

Start the day thinking of the keys  – we carry many different kinds of keys, fobs and cards – but use a different one for different situations – then look for the right key to unlock the potential of others.

Research on a Smile

Thought you’d like to see this new OnePoll research on the power of a simple smile.

28% say receiving one is worth more than getting a gift.

26% think a smile is better than a compliment at work.

60% say receiving a smile makes them feel more confident.

52% say they feel happier to receive one.

64% think getting a smile from a stranger is worth receiving up to 3 compliments in one day.

A smile is the least expensive way to improve your looks.

Start the day smiling at ten people some you know, some you don’t and see the power you have – and how it changes your mood for the positive without ever saying a word.

Giving Your Best Every Day

This is what the CEO of Target Brian Cornell does:

Sleep and eat “just like you would if you’re playing in the U.S. Open or the Super Bowl.”

But it wasn’t always that way – he used to get too little sleep, drink coffee as a substitute for eating and not prioritizing after-work exercise and relaxation.

These habits can be detrimental to careers and health as outlined in a 2016 study.

The way I take this is defer to your brain which controls your drive and motivation, fix poor sleep and don’t forget me-time and improve diet so that the result is the mind of a well-trained athlete and the improved health to go with it.


Even doing partial favors can be appreciated.

People who offer less than requested underestimate the appreciation for partial help according to a 2020 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

In other words, even if you can’t accommodate “the big ask”, a small show of help is often significantly appreciated.

Think of what you can do, not what is too big, too time-consuming or too inconvenient to do.

Happiness Set-Point

50% of the ability to be happy comes from heredity.

The other half is on their own but with excellent options.

It’s more important to stay positive than to focus on being happy.

If you want to be happier, you have to experience occasional sadness.

Get nature time.

Buying time and using it for the money you spent.

Know your goals dreams and ambitions.

Doubling the number of friends is like increasing your income by 50% in happiness terms.