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.

A Beginning and an End

One of the things I liked about being on-the-air in radio and television was that being on was always exciting but there was also a definite ending.

In TV, a countdown to clear.

In radio, the transition to the next song, show or content element.

In the busy digital age, we’re always on – there doesn’t seem to be a beginning because we are always in motion and there is never an end to what we do.

To me, life is a like a show – when it’s on give it 100% and when it’s over, walk away, relax, enjoy and get ready for another day.

Good Enough

Just saying you are is a powerful reminder.

Life happens in digital quickness, we’re up, we’re down, we’re stressed and distracted but at the end of the day why do often feel not good enough.

Never rely on someone else to make that decision.

Just showing up for life, handling its challenges and facing adversity makes us good enough – anything else is just ego.

A Gift from Arthritic Children

When I was program director of a Philadelphia radio station, I raided the prize closet and brought some portable radios (this is before iPhones and iPods) to give to arthritic children at Moss Rehabilitation Center.

I can remember it as if it was yesterday –  Christmas Eve, I was very tired and had all I could do to make the appearance that had been requested of my wife  – she worked there.

The kids were on what looked like skateboards racing up and down the hallways because it was difficult if not impossible for them to move around unassisted and without pain.

Before my visit ended, the nurses put their young patients in bed and I visited one by one to hand each of them a little radio courtesy of our station – they were delighted (of course, I showed them how to tune in to the best station).  They hugged me and were so grateful for something that many of us take for granted because a radio could bring them the world.

Suddenly I was no longer tired.  The children got the radios but I got the gift – the best and most meaningful Christmas that I have ever had.

P.S., our station gave away tens of thousands of dollars-worth of prizes each year to get listeners to fill in their diaries and increase our ratings but this relatively minor requisition was the best investment we ever made.

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Fill Your Mind with Positives

In my NYU Music in the Media Business class, our focus is —  it’s just as important to make a life as it is to make a living.

God knows these young folks are going to be successful in their careers post-college and we want to make sure they are just as successful at finding happiness.

I thought you might be interested in one of the most popular Dale Carnegie principles they commit to work on during their semester.

Fill your Mind with Thoughts of Peace, Courage, Health, and Hope

Because what we think about matters.

And by visualizing peace, courage, health and hope, it is easier to battle anxiety, lack of confidence, the emotional price we pay for stress and the loss of hope.

It is possible to change the daily diet of destructive thoughts that plague all of is at this moment in time.

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Buy a Ticket to Happiness

Arthur Brooks does great writing for The Atlantic on the process of happiness – note that I say process because if we expect happiness to visit us rapidly, it may feel like a long wait.

“There is an old joke about a man who asks God every day to let him win the lottery. After many years of this prayer, he finally gets an answer from heaven: ‘Do me a favor,’ says God. ‘Buy a ticket.’ If you want happiness, reflecting on why you don’t have it and seeking information on how to attain it is a good start. But if you don’t use that information, you’re not buying a ticket.”

Like everything else in life, a plan is required otherwise even happiness is just an accident.

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No Such Thing as Good Advice

There is no such thing as good advice.

Even when someone outwardly asks for advice, they really don’t want it – they want to listen instead.

A better question:  “tell me more”.

Gathering information from all sources – those jaded and with a secret motive to those who want you to do what worked for them – can be helpful.

You are always the decider which means outsourcing your ability to make a decision to anyone else even if they seem to be or claim to be more knowledgeable is useless.

Music is as Addictive as Fast Food

It’s essentially one-third filling and sounds great.

A new McGill University study indicates music can be as addictive as fast food, alcohol or money.

And it’s hard to overdose on it, does not require a prescription and perhaps I am not telling anyone what they don’t already know except this.

Use only as directed every day, every time you want to improve a mood or steady your feelings.  Other studies indicate music can relieve depression.

Sometimes we look too far for something that is right next to our ears – that firing up the neurons in our brain can create happiness and dousing these same neurons can make us  feel down.

Adversity’s Advantages

For the most trying times in history you can find political leaders who met the challenge which is why they are often referred to as great.

On the Republican side, there was Lincoln.  FDR for Democrats – it’s true here and worldwide that hard times breed successful people.

It’s also true in our everyday lives.

A rough patch is often a chance to shine when challenges are met.

A crisis is never the end, it’s always the beginning for those who meet them.

How long we continue battling tells us how badly we want to succeed.

If we can change the way we look at bad luck, hard times and while overwhelming, we will see instead an opportunity to shine.

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