Coaching in the Age of Coronavirus

There are so many tips online these days for how to survive the pandemic or what to do during lockdown that I’ve been hesitant to add any, but since so many of us are stuck at home with time on our hands and a jumble in our heads, I thought I’d highlight a few thingsContinue reading “Coaching in the Age of Coronavirus”

Self-Compassion It

I was in a meeting at the Pentagon recently, seated at a table surrounded by uniformed military officers and dark-suited government officials. The meeting was tense, with the officials all insisting the Defense Department was doing the right thing and I and my colleagues from other human rights organizations pointing to our evidence that inContinue reading “Self-Compassion It”

War and Peace

To escape the news recently, I’ve been immersing myself in 19th Century novels, and one theme keeps coming across: the destructive human obsession with social status. In Tolstoy’s War and Peace, for example, Prince Andrew Bolkonski, infatuated with dreams of glory, leaves his young pregnant wife and family to join the military. As he chargesContinue reading “War and Peace”

No Expectations

There’s a classic zen story that goes like this: A young man approached a great master and asked to become his student. The student asked the master: “How long will it take me to become a master?” “15 years,” replied the master. “So long?” asked the young man, looking disappointed. The master reconsidered. “Well, inContinue reading “No Expectations”

Learning from Silence

There’s nothing like a 7-day silent retreat to shut you up. I don’t mean just during the retreat, when, of course, you’re supposed to be quiet. But even after. I’ve found that since returning from a week-long meditation retreat in July, I’ve been reluctant to write. Not about public affairs, which I write about forContinue reading “Learning from Silence”

Separating the Normal from the Natural

I’m getting ready to head out on a 7-day silent meditation retreat, and I’ve been feeling a little weird about it. So I really appreciated coming across Paul Graham’s essay, The Acceleration of Addictiveness, which in large part explains why I’m doing this. A computer programmer and founder of the startup funder Y Combinator, GrahamContinue reading “Separating the Normal from the Natural”

What Would You Do If Nobody Knew?

When thinking about what to do with our lives, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the idea of doing something, rather than how we’d enjoy the experience of doing the thing itself. I loved the idea of being a public interest litigator when I got out of law school, for example, but it turned out IContinue reading “What Would You Do If Nobody Knew?”

Coaching for “Wholeness”

I have mixed feelings about social media, and often feel more assaulted than supported by what turns up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. But there are always exceptions, and I’ve noticed that Maria Popova’s thoughtful and far-ranging blog Brainpickings is usually one of them. Her post on The Elusive Art of Inner Wholeness and HowContinue reading “Coaching for “Wholeness””

How To Deal With Annoying People

I was on a conference call the other day, when a familiar voice started talking. Within seconds, my blood started to boil. It wasn’t so much that the person was saying anything particularly wrong or offensive; what she was saying triggered me for all sorts of reasons that have little to do with her. InContinue reading “How To Deal With Annoying People”

The Demoralizing Science of Success

One of the most interesting subjects in the field of Positive Psychology is the science of human motivation and success. Why are some people so motivated and so successful? Why do some people not even bother to try? And how does that correlate with human happiness? I find this all fascinating. But I also findContinue reading “The Demoralizing Science of Success”