My Social Emotional Journey

On a regular basis, people who get to know me describe me as one of the happiest, most positive people they know (an assessment I agree with). Is this a matter of circumstance? Genetics? Blind luck? My cousin Stephen asked me to share my reflections on this topic, and I realized that I had never … Continue reading My Social Emotional Journey

Five Ways To Inoculate Yourself Against Imposter Syndrome

I have a confession: I almost never feel imposter syndrome. I feel like that means I should be grateful, and believe me, I am. But that begs the question, how can I best contribute to International Imposter Syndrome Day? It’s hard to write a consoling essay on overcoming imposter syndrome when I have so little … Continue reading Five Ways To Inoculate Yourself Against Imposter Syndrome

Why Too Much Enthusiasm Breeds Dislike

Fascinating tidbit from Scott Barry Kaufman via Whitney Johnson’s podcast: We like people best if they start off cool or indifferent to us and warm up over time. We dislike people the most if they start off being friendly to us, then ice us out. This helps illuminate something that I have noticed, but never … Continue reading Why Too Much Enthusiasm Breeds Dislike

Responsible Rhetoric In The Age of Polarization

America is the most polarized it has been in my lifetime. Even the Covid-19 pandemic, an exogenous threat, has simply reinforced this polarization, and the protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death have pushed opposing sides even further apart. Instead of discussions, nearly every conversation between those disagree has become a debate. … Continue reading Responsible Rhetoric In The Age of Polarization

Negativity, Risk, And Why Rugged Individualism Is (Mostly) Bunk

In his book with journalist John Tierney, The Power of Bad, social psychologist Roy Baumeister writes about what he calls the Negativity Effect. For most of humanity’s existence, we lived in dangerous environments where a single careless moment would mean death. Or as The Power of Bad puts it: “To survive, life has to win … Continue reading Negativity, Risk, And Why Rugged Individualism Is (Mostly) Bunk

Awareness, Control, and Acceptance

We’re often tempted to ignore our animal nature.  In our hubris, we believe that our culture and habits trump the billions of years of evolution that have led to this point. That’s a mistake. As individuals, we’re better off acknowledging our animal nature, not to blindly accept it, but to make conscious decisions about how … Continue reading Awareness, Control, and Acceptance

Common ground between those who favor and oppose diversity hiring

Those who favor and oppose diversity actually share very similar concerns. This thought occurred to me when I read the end of this interview with Slack developer Kaya Thomas: The interview ends with the following exchange: “Brown: As one of the few black women in the industry, have you ever felt tokenized? Thomas: Yeah. It’s … Continue reading Common ground between those who favor and oppose diversity hiring

Situational Shyness

Very few people would characterize me as shy.  Based on the classic “Big Five” personality factor model, I score heavily on the extroversion scale.  Yet there are definitely times in my life when I have felt shy, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, and I’ve concluded that there is a pattern. First, I’m more likely to … Continue reading Situational Shyness

The Goal Of Communication Is To Be Understood

I often warn people that it’s shockingly hard to communicate your thoughts to someone else.  Far too often, I speak with entrepreneurs who are frustrated by how their employees or even co-founders don’t understand what needs to be done. That’s when I tell them, “The goal of communication is to be understood.”  Your responsibility goes … Continue reading The Goal Of Communication Is To Be Understood