20 Jul Spiraling Upwards

We are stardust Billion-year-old carbon We are golden Caught in the devil’s bargain And we’ve got to get ourselves Back to the garden (Joni Mitchell, 1969) As dynamic beings, the truth is that we change every second of everyday. Evolution is imminent too, and shaped by our own designs. But think about it: in which direction do we move? Are we growing? Are we learning? Are we moving in “upward spirals” to increased well- being, spiraling downward to worsened states, or just jittering in place with complacency? The downward spiral is a slippery slope that is much easier to gain speed on, while the upward...

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We shall not travel by the road we make, [caption id="attachment_962" align="alignright" width="432"] I feel so strongly - we must - build new roads - or at the very least, connect ones that haven't been connected before. #Innovation #Pioneers #SOMO[/caption] Ere day by day the sound of many feet Is heard upon the stones that now we break, We shall but come to where the cross-roads meet. For us the heat by day, the cold by night, The inch-slow progress and the heavy load, And death at last to close the long, grim fight With man and the beast and stone: for them - the road. For them the shade of...

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12 Jul My Story: Why I Do What I Do

[caption id="attachment_303" align="alignleft" width="190" caption="circa 1980"][/caption] Picture it: 1978, Pascack Valley Hospital, Westwood, NJ - I was born an unexpected twin, breech, the youngest of four children. “Doctor you have another baby in there,” the nurse said as she was cleaning up after Christine was born. “WHAT?!??! my parents screamed.” I grew up in the suburbs of NYC (not far from the Housewives of NJ), overweight and pseudo-overachieving. I lost my brother Todd to suicide when I was 12. He was 19. Awful, tragic, sad. But I remember where I was standing that day of his death, at the edge of our driveway,...

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12 May A positive message to youth+

I’ve been working with the Governor’s Committee on Scholastic Achievement to give talks around New York to high school and college students - giving them nuggets of positive psychology that could help change the course of their lives. The best part of these programs is that they not only involve the young adults, many of whom come from tough neighborhoods, but also include their adult mentors at high power organizations like JP Morgan Chase and the Boston Consulting Group. There’s something about the diversity of these groups that is just magical - and there’s something about the power of positive psychology...

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05 Feb Hindsight is 2010: My apology to President George W. Bush

Ever since hearing President Obama’s state of the union address last week, I couldn’t help but thinking what I need to do: ask for President W and his supporters for forgiveness – forgiveness for my own lack of support during his presidency, for saying things like “He’s not my President, he’s yours.” For mocking him continually (which was easy because my friends were doing the same). But not all my friends – and certainly not many of my family members, including my parents, who have a framed photo of the man (albeit in their basement), which arrived after they made...

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15 Dec Towards a Positive*ly wonderful holiday season

Last week, our meetup discussed ways to really have a banging holiday season this year.  A mighty group of us talked about how to use Positive Psychology (the science of happiness & success) to make this happen.  We started by asking, "How do we want to be feeling on January 1?" Inspired? Excited? Rested? Hopeful? Some of our ideas for how to ensure this - about how to have a joyful season, included: * Keep a growth mindset (things change, people change) * Appreciate what's already good (what you look forward to each year - dig deep if need be) * Consider 'best' possible...

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11 Dec Positive Person: LADY GAGA (Barbara Walters thinks so too)

First on Barbara Walter’s special of the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009 is Lady Gaga. What makes her so positive? “I had a dream and was fearless with my ambition,” Gaga (who’s right around my age) says. “Every bit of me is devoted to love and art.” It’s all about clarifying dreams and building intrinsic motivation around those dreams. Hope = pathways + agency. Positive psychologists study this. She says she felt like a “freak” when she was younger, especially in high school (don’t I know it too…). “I want to free them [struggling young people} from their fears and...

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14 Oct Positive Place: In presence of the Dalai Lama

Last week I had the great fortune of being with the Dalai Lama three days in two cities. The second of these visits brought me to Washington DC, where the Mind Life Institute presented an annual congress on learning called “Educating World Citizens” which brought together over 2,000 international voices. The Dalai Lama participated in all sessions over two days, which engaged western scientists concerned about the good life, particularly in regard to schooling (teaching/learning). Session topics included: Envisioning the World Citizen; Attention, Emotional Regulation, and Learning; Compassion and Empathy, and Future Directions and Policy. To sum, we discussed how to educate...

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