You can get the gist when someone said a sad face or a thumbs up. So, why haven’t see fully adopted this way of communication? After all, English is a difficult language to master.

Because context matters. And the better we can describe something that a six-year-old can comprehend and an adult can contemplate, the more likely we are able to change our minds.

Yes, an emoji could get the point across. And perhaps, we need to add a like button on an email chain to avoid unnecessary clutter. But we don’t change people’s opinions without changing the emotion in the room. Emojis can’t ever do this.


Pride can get in the way of seeing things as they are. Holding on so tightly to the status quo we can get in the way of progress.

There is also the other kind of pride. The kind where you made something that you are proud to have your name on it. The kind of pride you have if a project fails, you were still proud you tried it. The kind of pride that comes when you see the rewards play out decades later.

What is it that we are truly proud of? And how can we rally around this person or thing to make it better?

Losing and winning

Like most, as much as I love to win, I hate losing more. (Social scientists also agree with this too.) And when we feel we are in a situation where there is no way to win, perhaps the better alternative is to make plays not to lose.

For instance, is a bad boss forcing you out of a job? Well, perhaps out the door, you make an appointment with HR so the next person doesn’t have to suffer.

Leaving a toxic relationship? Skip the part where you mourn for the time lost and get back on your feet.

There is no reason to be petty. At the same time, taking an “L” is hard on our egos. Perhaps, humbling. Perhaps, a teachable moment. And maybe there is a sliver of solace in there too.

Giving yourself permission to do great work

The only one stopping us from creating our art is the inner demon. You don’t need a million dollars for some paint and a canvas. You don’t need 10 years of schooling to write a book. A legal notepad is sufficient.

So why do more people just pick up the guitar and start playing? Or start the business they always wanted to start?

The answer is Resistance. The personal shame we all carry is that we feel not good enough to be creative. And when we can learn to accept this a whole bunch of possibilities open up.

Remembering each of us a little longer

That is the beauty of the internet. Before it, we had paper. And before paper, there wasn’t much available to record outside people’s memory.

With technology, we can document our journey and share it with others. That is one of my hopes with this blog that when I am gone people who knew me can find a piece of me on the web.

That is really powerful.

The internet isn’t just a micro medium, a connection tool, or a place to waste time but also a place we can remember each other just a little longer.

YouTube concert recommendations

This has really become a fun thing to do in our household. A great way to “scroll” together as a family. Each of us will pick live songs to watch and listen to together.

Katie Pruitt will make you want to bop your head and then cry.

Gordi does a great rendition of Unready and a great set at the Sydney Opera House.

The War on Drugs blowing the socks off with Red Eyes.

St. Vincent bringing the house down with Down.

Vance Joy covering Sia’s Elastic Heart.

Leon Bridges brings that old-school sound with Coming Home.

Modest Mouse reminds us of the dangers of missing our opportunities.

On our own, together

For most of us on a day-to-day basis, we walk around as if things are out of our control. That there is nothing to be said or done, we are just here for the ride. That all problems are systemic and too large for someone so small.

But that isn’t true.

As a species, we are on our own. The fairy godmother isn’t going to come down and waive a magic wand. The Wizard of Oz certainly isn’t going to help. Which means we don’t have to wait around. Instead, we can take responsibility instead of giving it away.

The great fictional philosopher, Uncle Ben, once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” That is great wisdom. But flip it around and it says, “With great responsibility comes great power.” The latter is much more pertinent in today’s world.

Top 40’s

Recently, I came across a great community project with an Indie Rock Reddit group called Top 10 Tuesdays. They put together a list of their favorite bands and every Tuesday they poll their favorite songs. Deep cuts and all.

It’s refreshing to see hardcore fans speak about the music that has touched their lives.

Juxtapose that from America’s Top 40 or the NYT’s Bestseller. These lists lack heart. You have to pay to play. If you want to play a game, you have to change your art to fit in with the masses. But the masses usually don’t have good taste.

It’s been said plenty of times on this blog: What’s popular isn’t the same as important.


“Nature versus nurture” is a term so ingrained into our language when talking about the upbringing of children to why people behave the way they do.

It turns out, that phrase was coined by Francis Galton, the father of the pseudoscience of eugenics.

We mirror our behaviors from the people that have come before us. Most of the time, without even knowing. When we hear phrases like “In this economy?” or “ballpark figure”–what are we really saying? More importantly, who are we copying?

“Always the bridesmaid, never a bride”

Oddly enough the phrase originated from a 1925 Listerine ad. The big selling point was how this antibacterial product can help women with halitosis (bad breath) get a man. There were two cultural phenomena happening during this period.

1) An emphasis on cleanliness. In fact, taking baths was seen as unnecessary for most of human history. Many believed it could lead to getting sick. But that changed as we moved to cities and bleach became a more widely available product.

2) As Betty Friedan pointed out in her essential book, The Feminine Mystique, women moved to the workforce during the War and were then asked to go home. During that time period, women were indoctrinated to find meaning in their lives as caregivers and were treated as second-class citizens.

It had me thinking about why is Utah last in the country in terms of women’s rights. I’m not suggesting that an advertisement in 1925 that it led to it. I am saying that when you tell a story long enough, loud enough we can begin to confuse fiction with fact.