magic ratio of praise

Your children are like so much wet cement according to Time Magazine, in that they are impressionable at an early age. Your words and actions make impressions that will ‘harden’ over time and guide their sense of identity. A large portion of our job as parents is to guide, correct and discipline them. While this is all true, it is important to guard how much you discipline (or criticize) in the guise of discipline and how much you praise.

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eat with your eyes

What do you like to do when you travel? My favorite thing on the planet is to visit open air markets in other countries. Sometimes they are primarily food, while others will incorporate crafts and household goods. Recently I visited both a neighborhood market in Hamburg, Germany, and a huge fish market on their harbor.

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retire rewire

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Jonathan Evison, author of This Is Your Life, Harriet  Chance!, rites about a time he lived in a trailer park because his grandmother needed a caregiver. He reported being amazed at how these widows would, with great flexibility, adapt to entirely different points of view after their husbands’ deaths.

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kaizen

Earlier I my life I lived and worked in Japan. I taught English to a group of young men at one of Honda’s subsidiaries, Keihin Seiki, where they produced Honda’s carburetors. It was from these young factory workers that I gained an understanding of how change is slowly and incrementally effected from the bottom up in Japan, a concept called kaizen. By the time a policy or idea gets to the board room, it is at a place of acceptance among the workers, and the decision that is made in the board room is but a formality. This takes time. It is also one of the key reasons Japanese made cars have such a strong reputation for reliability.

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go my way

I bet you wish you could say that and mean it. I say it many times a day, because that is where I work to place my focus.

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know thyself

Commonly attributed to Socrates is the phrase “Know thyself.” Well there are a lot of ways to accomplish that goal. In that context, today I’ll discuss one way today that can help you attain a goal or stick to a new habit you wish to maintain. Gretchen Rubin writes about this in her highly usable book Better Than Before, and it is a construct she created. That is why if it is useful to you, go for it, but if not, then just realize there are other categories out there you may find more applicable to your situation. If there is one thing our brains are designed for, it is categorizing!

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why dont we ask

I was reading an excerpt from an interview given by Dr. Atul Gawande on his book Being Mortal: What Matters in the End, and he commented that:

“People have priorities in their lives besides just living longer and they matter a great deal. The most reliable way to learn what those priorities are is to ask and we don’t ask. The result is that when you don’t ask, the care and treatment that people get is often increasingly out of alignment with their priorities and what really matters most to them.”

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how much absorb

I read an article recently on how Everything Old is New Again when marketing to boomers. In it, the author talks about rekindling their nostalgia for products by taking them and making the products relevant again (such as milk in glass bottles, Detroit’s muscle cars, or the original food trucks like Good Humor).

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trolling the past

Recently I found myself in a discussion with a friend who has a background in psychology. She was arguing that past life events and troubles need to be “processed” and “worked through” in order to alleviate current problems. She felt that all past actions would dictate future actions, therefore to understand present problems, the past has to be fully explored. Interestingly, she expressed, with a deep, heaving sigh, that having to do so was a complete drag. She said if you were starting out with a new counselor, you had to “catch them up” with all of your past significant life events. She expressed how exhausting this can be.

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am i normal

I don’t know. No tin foil hat? You don’t live in LA? You wear matching socks? Most of the time? Maybe you can define normal. It’s really tough, but I’ll give it a try.

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