Breaking the Ice

  • My NYU music business students also practice human relations skills to give them a leg up on life and their careers.
  • This past week several reported to the class that they gathered up the courage to put themselves out there and break the ice with another person.
  • The result: feeling good about reaching out and making new friends (in one case, a promising new friend).
  • The power we all have within us to make a difference in our lives and those of others is when we channel the courage to go first.

The Most Comforting Words

  • The most comforting words are no words at all.
  • Being there to listen is your gift to give and your awesome power.

Time Is on Your Side

  • There are tons of ways to manage time better – my favorite is “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life”.
  • Stressors such as we face now make it more important to put a hold on trying to do everything in front of us.
  • Another quick way to make a difference is to abide by the rule that says 80% of your productivity is in 20% of the tasks that you choose to do.
  • Spend more time carefully picking that 20% and let the other 80% rest undone – yes, not completed.
  • To become skilled at accomplishing more, become skilled at doing less of everything and more of what matters most – knowing the difference is the difference.


  •  Love the one you are.
  • Value your assets and even your quirks that make you
  • Be on call to defend against others who would ding your confidence, health, hope or optimism.
  • How far would you go to help a loved one or valued friend? Be willing to go at least that far for yourself.
  • Self-care starts by retraining your brain to admire, respect and love yourself more in every way every day.

Smart & Smarter

  • You gain knowledge by being like a sponge.
  • Sponges can sop up everything until you need to squeeze it out.
  • The smartest person in the room is the one who asks the most questions and soaks up the knowledge not the one who is squeezing every last word out to impress others.
  • I worked for a program director at a radio station in Philadelphia who used to confuse me by asking things I knew he knew so one day I asked him why he did it.
  • His response: “If I talk to impress you with what I know, I learn nothing.  I prefer to learn something additional from you” – obviously, I never forgot his wisdom.

Tiny Changes

  • The secret to great change is tiny achievements.
  • It’s like rehearsing your lines or practicing a sport – getting the little things right adds up to big results.
  • Shooting for the moon is more than any human can expect on their own, but thinking in terms of little steps is within everyone’s ability.
  • A single still counts like a homerun in the hits column.

Being Heard

  • Last week my NYU students emphasized how important it is to them to be heard and in their study of human relations, they learned some effective approaches.
  • There is a difference between being heard and talking over someone else.
  • To be heard, first become an avid listener as the recipient is going to see hear through their perception of what you are sharing.
  • Ask questions, listen to the answers, educate instead of sell, accuse or blame and communicate.
  • The volume is less important than passionate listening.


  •  This is how a parent comforted the worries of her child at bedtime – I found this inspiring and useful in many other ways.
  • My child’s list of worries was long and it was getting late. “I’m going to take these worries for you.  I’m going to put them in a box for the night.  If you want them back in the morning, you can have them, but you don’t need to hold on to them right now.  I can hold them,” I said, running my fingers across her eyebrows.  She nodded.  I pretended to take something from her chest in my hands.  I took them away with me.  She slept all night.  (Via The New York Times).

Transactional Relationships

  • A recent episode of HBO’s Billions saw Wendy consulting her Buddhist teacher’s advice on achieving inner peace by not being so transactional.
  • Transactional relationships are built on the expectation of reciprocation – both people being concerned with how they will benefit.
  • Sometimes transactional deals are necessary but often doing something without the expectation of receiving something in return is more rewarding.
  • Just as money can’t buy happiness, getting what you want doesn’t give you power.

New Rules on Judging

  • You get to judge you – no one else gets a vote.
  • Judging is one of the big personal issues right now as people become exposed to negative sentiments not only in person but through social media.
  • When you put something out on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and other means do you regret it?
  • People say they can handle judging by others better when they are with friends and family, a place of safety or alone by themselves.
  • But even being alone requires a sense of ownership that you are unique and your life is not to be judged by how others observe it but how you live it.