As a psychotherapist, people entrust me with their most private thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I hold that trust as sacred. Not because of strict confidentiality laws (which I uphold), but because I regard the safety and protection of these people as my highest priority. So where do my stories come from? First, when I tell a story about someone other than myself, either in a lecture to a group … Continue reading Privacy and Stories
I’ve tried all different types of time management systems. I’ve typed my goals on a spread sheet with small actions divided into columns with headings like this: Today, This week, This month, This year. I’ve tried a handwritten system with 3 notebook pages. One titled: Inside (tasks I do at home or indoors), Outside (errands in the outside world) and Work (specific to my full-time job.) … Continue reading Who Has Time for Passion Pursuit?
Sometimes, after working at something diligently, you may begin to wonder if you’ll ever get to where you want to go. When I began working in a clinic, counseling cocaine addicts, I started out being totally ignorant about the substance abuse world. The supervisor who hired me said, “I’m looking for someone with good, general counseling skills. Don’t worry about your lack of knowledge. The clients will teach you everything you need … Continue reading How do you Know You’ve Succeeded at Passion Pursuit?
Angela Duckworth, in Grit, The Power of of Passion and Perseverance, suggests that if you want to follow your passion but don’t know what it is yet, ask yourself these questions: What do I like to think about? Where does my mind wander? What do I really care about? What matters most to me? How do I enjoy spending my time? What do I find absolutely … Continue reading How do we Figure out our Passion?
Now that I’ve trashed positive thinking in The Dark Side of Positive Thinking, it’s time to set the record straight. Our beliefs and thoughts have a real, physical effect on our bodies, our brains, and our world. Take the placebo effect. When I was in college, there was a time I had a headache every evening at 9 pm. My routine was to walk into the bathroom and take … Continue reading The Sunny Side of Positive Thinking
It’s one thing to be criticized by others. It’s quite another to do it to ourselves. Is it always a bad thing? I had a client who told me she was a bumbling, stumbling klutz. She constantly tripped over her own feet, walked into furniture, and knocked statues over. “You’re a clumsy idiot!” she’d berate herself. “Don’t ever try dancing. You’ll look like a complete fool.” In a New York Times review … Continue reading Self-Criticism: Who’s your worst enemy?
A friend asked me how I knew when a piece of my writing was good. I told her that when I finish a first draft (or 2nd, 3rd, …) I always think it’s garbage. She looked shocked and asked, “Do you revise it a lot?” I nodded. “But how do you know when you’ve revised it enough and it’s finished?” Accomplished writers will tell you to let the work … Continue reading When to Move On – in Writing and Life
Today, on This American Life, I learned about the “I wish” song in movie and Broadway musicals. The main character sets the story in motion by singing about their fondest hope for themselves. 3 of my favorites are Somewhere over the Rainbow, in The Wizard of Oz; Wouldn’t it be Loverly, in My Fair Lady; Tomorrow, in Annie. This reminded me of our own lives. … Continue reading Musicals begin with an “I wish” Song
I was feeling as if life had passed me by and it was too late to do anything truly great. I tuned into an interview of the filmmaker Richard Linklater on NPR, and felt even more of a failure. He’d accomplished so much and I hadn’t. (It’s a great habit comparing yourself to successful people if you want to create paralysis.)
In thinking about my past life, I decided I fell far short of my dreams. I was clueless about what I wanted for my future life. That’s not exactly true. I knew exactly what I wanted but I was terrified I would fail. Continue reading Tricking Myself out of Fear