I used to believe that if I had to ask you for something then even…Read More
Imagine you have wanted your partner or spouse to change their behavior for a long…Read More
I believe that every good relationship must be perceived as approximately equal by both…Read More
Whenever I visit a buffet restaurant I eat more than I had intended. This…Read More
“It’s simple,” the all-star defensive lineman explained. “The great ball carriers like Jim Brown…Read More
When it comes to breakfast I am a creature of habit. Years ago every morning I fried one “over easy” egg for myself. I liked the yolk medium, not hard. One morning, as I dropped the egg into the frying pan, the shell punctured the yolk, which broke. I frowned, and resigned myself to another unhappy breakfast because I knew that when I turned the egg over the yolk would become hard.
I glared at the offending egg. I tried to console myself by thinking about lunch. Then a thought popped into my head. “This egg costs about twenty cents. I can throw it away and cook another egg exactly the way I like it—‘over easy.’”Read More
Have you ever found yourself taking out your credit card to pay for something that you didn’t really want? Have you accepted an invitation to a party when you actually preferred to stay home, or entertained dinner guests far into the night because you weren’t comfortable asking them to leave?
You are not alone. Saying “no,” when appropriate, is one of the more difficult tasks in life. Many brides have told me they married their boy-friend because they were afraid to say “no” to his proposal. Of course, most did say “no,” far more painfully, a few months or a few years later.
The good news is that saying “yes” when you really mean “no” is a pattern that you can change. By paying attention to the following seven steps you can train yourself how to say “no,” and make it stick.Read More
Last Friday I appeared at the beautiful Barnes & Noble bookstore in Santa Monica, California for a People Tools book signing. The sidewalk was slippery, so I held on to Daveen who was carrying an extra box of books, just in case the bookstore ran out of copies.
Frank, the event manager, walked us upstairs to the auditorium which was filled with chairs. My assistant, Lauren, and her fiancé were seated to the right. My dad, who will be 100 years old in July, took a chair halfway back. Two friends were seated on the left.
Front row center sat a friendly woman, Saudy. I smiled at her, and said “hello.” We had a brief chat, as I thought, “Only one member of the public here? If she leaves I’ll really be preaching to the converted.”Read More
I agree with Ralph Ellison and I am, at least in part, “an invisible man.” How is it possible not to be? I have so many thoughts and feelings that it is impossible for me to convey to you all that passes through my mind. Also, I am selective. That is a polite way to say that I edit before I talk. If I think that you will dislike certain words or ideas I will trim my speech to suit your taste. I will censor myself in an attempt to avoid your disapproval. (And, of course, there are certain topics, which “nice” people simply don’t talk about.)
All of this is perfectly normal. But occasionally I want something which is going to slip away from me forever unless I act immediately and make myself completely visible. This was the case when I first met my wife Daveen more than thirty-five years ago. In the 2011 movie We Bought A Zoo the leading man, Matt Damon, advises his son that to woo and win his ladylove he needed “Twenty seconds of insane courage.”Read More
For me, and perhaps for you, one of the more difficult emotions to deal with is anger.
My father used to get angry a lot. If he was worried about money he stormed around the house and the rest of us stayed out of his way. When I asked for something he didn’t want to give me he shouted. When I broke the glass table in the living room . . . well, I won’t go further into that.Read More
Today I drove 77 miles North from Los Angeles to attend the first 100th birthday party I have ever been invited to. I stopped at a drug store to buy a card for Bill, the birthday boy. Finding no greeting cards for a 100th birthday, I bought two cards congratulating him on his 50th birthday. The cards were funny and turned out to be a hit.
I have been a guest at Bill’s birthday parties for more than twenty years. At first there was a dinner at the home of one of his two daughters, but in recent years Bill has lived in a bed, mostly reading or sleeping, in an assisted living facility. He was born in 1914, before the start of World War One, and has been a friend of my father’s for more than 80 years. My father will celebrate his own 100th birthday in five months, and I’m looking forward to mine on March 5, 2040.Read More
At age 21 I was married and living with Jo Anne in a one bedroom furnished apartment on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles. I was enrolled in law school, but during the summer I held a full time job with the National CPA firm Peat, Marwick, with offices in downtown Los Angeles.
I commuted to work each day, and figured it was cheaper to commute by bus for twenty-five cents than to drive fifteen miles each way and pay for parking. When I returned home in the evening the cost of one additional “zone” on the bus was seven cents. Even though I didn’t like walking, I left the bus at Beverly Glen rather than ride another few blocks for seven cents more.Read More
Tonight is New Year’s Eve, when we celebrate out with the old. Good riddance, I say. The coming New Year has all the promise which we could possibly desire – we can lose weight, save money, and improve our relationships. When was the last time we had that golden opportunity?
I remember. It was about a year ago when I viewed the first sunrise of 2013. Funny how each year gets old, just like we do. How can we ensure that twelve months from now 2014 will not join that awful 2013 in the dustbin of our mind?
First, practice laughing at yourself.Read More
Tonight is Christmas Eve and most of us are shopping, anticipating, or trying to complete whatever before year end. Here I am at my dining room table writing a blog. For your sake, and mine, I’ll make it short.
I have an idea for a single gift that will cost you nothing, is already gift wrapped, and will bring joy to you and to hundreds of others for the eight remaining days this year, and the 365 days available in 2014.
Give the gift of yourself.Read More
I have nine children. Three are from my first marriage, two stepsons from my second marriage, and three daughters from my third marriage. (My final marriage, as Daveen would say.) For those few of you who check the numbers like I do, I add one foster child who graduated with honors from Tufts University.
They range in age from 26 to 51. Each has graduated from college. They have earned twelve graduate degrees among them. And every single one was once seven years old, as well as sixteen years old — just like you and me (unless you’re now younger than sixteen – but even so, there is already an adult blossoming inside of you).
I mention all of this not to brag, though I am extremely proud of each of my children, but to point out that every one was once an adult in waiting. I never spanked a single child. I never “grounded” a child. What I did was to consistently expect responsible behavior.Read More
“Foster” is variously defined as “substitute,” “temporary,” or “short-term.” So a “foster child” is an actual human being who is a “substitute,” “temporary,” or “short-term.” The antonym is “natural,” so a foster child is also not natural.
We met N (No One’s Child) after her mother could no longer care for her. As best I recall, N was about ten years old and a friend of one of our daughters in school. Both were young girls, both were in the same class, both were smart and ambitions. There was one slight difference. N was temporary and our daughter was permanent.Read More
Yesterday afternoon the airplane carrying me from London was on approach to the airport in Palma, Majorca. As I looked through my window I was concerned that we were landing in a rather heavy fog, but I had confidence in ground radar and our pilots. After we landed safely I looked through a window on the opposite side of the plane, to see no fog at all. I looked back through my window. Heavy fog.
Was there fog on my side of the plane and not on the other? No. My window was fogged over, creating the impression of fog outside. Beyond my window the air was clear.Read More
Tom had never found the woman of his dreams. Although he cared for a ten year old son from a short term relationship, he had never married. Then Tom met Vanessa. Their relationship progressed beautifully. They enjoyed camping out together, practicing yoga, and he found her to be his best companion ever.
Tom was about to leave on a five day camping trip with friends when his cell phone rang. It was Vanessa, sobbing. Tom could hardly understand what she was saying. Through her spasms of crying Vanessa seemed to be repeating the word “Princess” again and again. After a few minutes she calmed down slightly and Tom finally understood her message.Read More
What builds in a relationship over years or decades and can be lost in an instant?
A stand-up comedy show in Edinburgh is a strange place for me to receive the best compliment my wife has ever given me. And this was not in private and Daveen was not even talking to me. She was answering a question asked by a comedian, David Morgan (who I certainly recommend), in front of an audience of thirty people, four of them dear friends.
The comedian was making fun of the fact that few of us feel pretty, and he pointed to Daveen and asked, “Does your husband ever tell you he thinks you’re pretty?”Read More
I am more than sixty years beyond my first childhood, but today I smiled to see children playing the age-old game of hide and seek. Everyone else hid while “it” counted to ten then called, “Here I come, ready or not!”
When “it” found and tagged another player, he or she became the next “it.” Several children ran fast enough to touch home base before being tagged and were safe for the next round. Finally “it” called, “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” and the players still hiding raced for home with many delighted shrieks and giggles.
I was never quick at hide and seek, so I had to be clever in hiding. But I wasn’t clever at hiding either, so I was “it” most of the time.Read More