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Because Voting Isn't Enough: Ten Easy Pieces

Living one's values can seem a daunting task, especially if those values are outside the mainstream, or you're struggling just to earn a living. That's why this list of ten relatively easy things you can do to change the world is so welcome. It's from the Small Planet Institute, the brainchild of Frances Moore Lappe, […]

Solving Problems vs. Dithering Over Them

Q. In your talk, you discussed the importance of solving problems as opposed to dithering over them. What's the difference, and what exactly does dithering mean? A. Solving a problem means taking specific actions that lead to change. These include observing the problem, precisely defining it, developing a strategy to solve it, testing the strategy, […]

I want to take a dance class. Is that evil?

Q. For years, I’ve wanted to take a jazz dance class, and now, after having read the part of The Lifelong Activist that says it’s good to meet your creative and other non-activist needs, I’m finally thinking of signing up for one. The only problem is that every time I actually get ready to call […]

Allergic to Spreadsheets

Q. Do I have to do time management the way you say in The Lifelong Activist? I'm allergic to spreadsheets! A. In The Lifelong Activist I offer a strategy for managing one’s time that involves (1) coming up with a short list of professional and personal priorities, based on your Mission, and allotting a set […]

Happiness = Reality/Expectations

For some reason - maybe pre-holiday anxiousness? - there's a lot being written about the nature and attainment of happiness this week. Not just the below-referenced article on happiness from the WSJ, but another article from the WSJ on cognitive dissonance as a coping strategy (subscription - hence, no link), and now a long article […]

How to Be Happier

Today's Wall Street Journal has a terrific article on how to be happier. It's subscription only, but here are some highlights: 1) PROLONG YOUR ENJOYMENT AND CELEBRATION OF HAPPY EVENTS The article states, "Possibly the biggest obstacle to greater happiness is so-called hedonic adaptation. Sure, you are thrilled when you first get promoted or get […]

A Self-Critical Paragon of Productivity

In The Lifelong Activist I talk at length about how destructive negative thinking is - and, in particular, the particular form of it that exaggerates one's perceived failures and flaws while minimizing or even ignoring one's successes and strengths. Just this weekend, as it happens, a woman with whom I was speaking on a business […]

Stop Feeling Guilty!

Liberal Guilt is a cliche, but that doesn't mean it's not a pernicious problem. All day, yesterday, when I was staffing the _Lantern Books_ table at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, I spoke with people who felt guilty - or, more precisely, ashamed. (Psychologists generally define guilt as regret over an action or feeling; shame […]

A Great Day at Work

As some of you know, I work for a Boston nonprofit that specializes in helping refugees, political asylees and recent immigrants. I'm the small business counselor, which means I help people start and grow businesses. I help Bosnian construction companies, Russian computer programmers, and East and West African artists and importers. One guy, from Congo, […]

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