Tag Archives: Thoughts

  • On Finding Purpose 2018 April 13
    We’re often taught about the importance of “finding your purpose” as you set out into the world and choose your pathway forward. The words change–sometimes it’s ‘purpose’, but you might also find your ‘bliss’, your ‘passion’, your ‘voice’, your ‘career’, or your ‘calling’–but the narrative remains the same. Whatever it is, you’ve gotta find it.¬†And when ...
  • To Feel The Chill 2016 December 08
    It suffices, perhaps, to say that this has been a dark time. A time of hope transmuted into fear, a time of disbelief, a time of anger, a time of labor, a time of love, a time of mute horror limned by swastikas and flaming crosses in the night.
  • Fix The Problem, Not The Blame 2015 March 01
    When a problem comes along, four fundamental questions travel with it: why it happened, how we can fix it, how we can prevent it, and who’s to blame for it.
  • Six Thinking Hats at the Hotline 2015 February 25
    How well do you think? I’m not talking about your intelligence—I’m asking about how you use it. Are you getting the most out of it? How can you tell?
  • Fermata 2015 February 23
    A few words for my grandma, Ruth.
  • Getting Paid to Write 2014 December 29
    Most of what you read on the internet was written by someone who wasn’t paid to write it. Is that how it should be?
  • Grief In The Dark Time Of The Year 2014 December 21
    We need to honor darkness and sit with grief before the night fires of our winter traditions can warm us.
  • Does Privilege Still Exist In Our Society? 2014 December 10
    A dialogue about whether privilege exists, and why it’s often invisible. What faith provides the evidence of things not seen?
  • The CIA Torture Report: Summary of Findings 2014 December 09
    Not a fun read, but important. Bullet points about the Senate’s report on CIA torture, detention, and enhanced interrogation. We did bad things.
  • Protected By The Color Of Our Skin 2014 December 03
    I wear armor that Eric Garner never had. I’m protected by the color of my skin.
  • Why Does Assisted Suicide Bother Us So Much? 2014 November 08
    Assisted suicide kills many fewer people than suicide overall each year, but there’s much more public effort to prevent it. Why?
  • A Taoist Parable of Elections 2014 November 05
    The elections gave us the worst possible result… and the best.
  • When You Call a Suicide Hotline 2014 November 02
    Here’s what happens when you call a suicide hotline. It’s not what you might think.
  • Witnessing (Our Own) Pain 2014 October 24
    Sometimes all we can do with pain is to witness it, to honor the struggle and stay present. This applies to callers—and to us.
  • Nix the Just 2014 October 23
    The word “just” is perilous for good communication because it’s so often a stalking horse for disrespecting and minimizing others’ experiences.
  • Instructional Design Means Advocating for Learners 2014 October 18
    How is instructional design different from teaching and subject matter expertise? It’s our job to focus relentlessly on learners, not content.
  • If You Ask Me Why I’m Sometimes Depressed 2014 October 14
    Why do we expect people to know why they’re feeling depressed?
  • Waiting to Talk Isn’t Listening 2014 October 11
    Listening is more than just leaving space for the other person to talk.
  • The Protocol For Help 2014 October 08
    Five simple questions you should answer before trying to help others.
  • Want Your Kids To Survive Common Core? Do These 6 Things 2014 October 07
    Frustrated with Common Core? Want to help your kids survive the transition to CCSS? Parents have a critical role to play.
  • Want Your Kids To Survive Common Core? (short version) 2014 October 07
    Frustrated with Common Core? Want to help your kids survive the transition to CCSS? Parents have a critical role to play. (this is the condensed version)
  • ‘If’ Doesn’t Belong In Apologies 2014 October 01
    “We’re sorry if we offended you”? No you aren’t. Taking responsibility is important, and it starts with ditching the “if”. Apologies work better without if.
  • “Just a Flesh Wound”: Moving Past Stupid Arguments 2014 September 29
    Some people debate like the Black Knight: there’s no way to convince them your rebuttal wasn’t just a flesh wound. We should stop arguing and move on.
  • Corporate Funding and Common Core 2014 September 24
    Did corporations plow mountains of money into the development and adoption of the Common Core State Standards? If they did, does it matter?
  • Listening Isn’t About Giving Advice 2014 September 14
    Listening is about taking in, about receiving another person’s story. Advising is about putting forth, about dispensing your own thoughts.
  • Ten Years of Progress on Suicide Prevention 2014 September 07
    I’ve spent the last 10 years working in suicide prevention. Here are my thoughts on what we’re doing well, and what we should spend the next 10 years doing.
  • Talking about Lived Experience 2014 September 02
    People with lived experience need to be respected and heard. Here’s a framework for how to listen respectfully and learn from their lived experience.
  • Jennifer Lawrence Is A Crime Victim, Not A Sex Symbol 2014 September 01
    Her body isn’t there for us to consume. Let’s talk about how she’s the victim of a targeted crime, not about how “naughty” we think her stolen photos are.
  • Shaming Our Allies in Suicide Prevention 2014 August 31
    Suicide prevention rests on a foundation of community support. Let’s make sure we don’t accidentally alienate our allies in talking about Robin Williams.
  • Lean Optimization and Automation 2014 August 30
    Find ways to optimize small things in your life, especially if you do them frequently or they annoy you. It pays. Here’s how to start the optimization.
  • Censorship of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy’s Body 2014 August 29
    Aliaa Elmahdy’s anti-ISIS image is powerful, shocking, and honest. If we care about freedom, why are we changing it into something different?
  • Why you shouldn’t share videos of suicide death 2014 August 19
    Sharing videos and images of suicide is dangerous. Let’s talk about why, and talk about what we can do instead to prevent harm and promote healing.
  • Melting and Metamorphosis 2014 August 17
    A meditation on how and why we change, what holds us back, and what we can do about it.
  • How to ask about suicide 2014 August 13
    How to ask friends and family about suicide and feel more comfortable starting the conversation. You can do this.
  • Why you shouldn’t say “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” 2014 August 12
    It’s not useful to say “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. Here’s why, and here’s what to say instead.
  • Talking about suicide and Robin Williams’s death 2014 August 11
    Brief guide to talking about suicide and Robin Williams so we prevent harm to other vulnerable people.
  • Work and love, made visible 2014 August 06
    Work is love made visible. Or is that backwards?
  • Preparing for Work 2014 June 13
    Many traditions talk about approaching your work with focus and care. Here’s why preparing is important and how to do it well for any kind of work.
  • George Will and the “Myth” of Sexual Assault 2014 June 09
    George Will writes that liberals, the Obama administration, and college campuses around the country are now making “victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges”. Really? What are these privileges? The privilege of having your body violated by another person?
  • Scarcity and Overabundance in the Climate Change Debate 2014 January 20
    Why do so many “solutions” to climate change address the scarcity of fossil fuels without dealing with the overabundance of carbon in the atmosphere?
  • Atomic Actions 2013 December 21
    Atomic actions are tools for preventing distraction and focusing your attention fully during times when it’s critically important.
  • The Problem 2013 December 04
    The problem, stated succinctly. This is why things don’t change.
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me About Common Core 2013 December 03
    I’ve been told all kinds of truths, half-truths, and outright lies about the Common Core State Standards. Let’s look at some data and bust some myths!
  • Fear and Gratitude: Giving Thanks 2013 November 28
    Nobody told me that Lyme disease comes with constant fear attached. Antibiotics help with the physical symptoms; here’s how I’m working on the mental ones.
  • Compassion and the Little Prince 2013 November 19
    What can we learn about crisis work from the Little Prince and a retired counselor from Mississippi? We can learn how compassion and love connect in crisis.
  • How Much Does Grad School Cost — Followup 2013 November 16
    This post follows up on some things people have raised in the lively discussion about my earlier post, How Much Does Grad School Cost? Please start with that post if you’re just joining the discussion now. Thanks!
  • How Much Does Grad School Cost? 2013 November 14
    Grad school is expensive in lots of ways, but people often forget opportunity cost. In this post, we look at how much more money you have to make after graduate school to make up for the lost earnings and growth you missed during school, and we reach some conclusions about how much you need to ...
  • Play faster and better with this 1 weird old trick! 2013 November 12
    (Humor, partially) Scores of performers have improved their work with this 1 weird old trick, and you can too! It’s easy, free, and available anywhere. Click for more!
  • Try The Honey Badger Diet! 2013 November 10
    This… is the honey badger (diet)! You may be surprised to learn that honey badgers do care about some things. They’re actually very sensitive to the size bias and body loathing that are rampant among Mellivora capensis. Honey badgers receive a lot of negative messaging encouraging them to hate their bodies and feel stupid about their eating ...
  • Why You SHOULD Get Chills From That “Homeless Veteran Timelapse Transformation” Video 2013 November 08
    Man, we loves us some transformations. Makeovers, interventions, whatever you want to call ’em. We love the idea of saviors, too: people who come in and do the transforming/making over/intervening. This is enshrined on a pretty deep level of our culture, from religious transformers to Home Makeover shows to boot camps to alcoholism interventions to Teach ...
  • Pathologizing Language 2013 November 06
    Pathologizing Language Most of you have seen the video about the Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger, with narration by Randall, somewhere in your travels around the internet. I delight in using the honey badgers to teach about crisis hotlines; we’re using the honey badger in our initial training to talk about inappropriate sexual callers, frequent callers, the ...
  • Of Mice and Mindsets 2013 November 05
    Of Mice and Mindsets Before you read the rest of this, watch this video of a Russian mouse with a great attitude: That mouse would be a failure in most schools. Unless they’re using something like standards-based grading (SBG) that allows students to reassess skills that they didn’t ace the first time, most schools and universities ...
  • What’s Wrong With Your Savings Account? 2013 November 01
    People use savings accounts for the wrong thing. Savings accounts aren’t for making your money grow; they’re more like insurance policies. Here’s why.
  • Fears In A Hat: A Facilitator’s Guide 2013 October 28
    Fears in a Hat: A Facilitator’s Guide by Hollis Easter, (c) October 2013 Fears In A Hat is a good introductory team-building and group process exercise that gets people focused on good listening, encourages them to share vulnerability and build trust, promotes empathy for callers, and starts the process of forming groups and high-performing teams. It takes ...
  • Why Are Tweets Missing? 2013 October 27
    Why are tweets missing? Twitter hides some tweets with @usernames at the beginning of the line. This is confusing and unfriendly; here’s how to fix it.
  • Start With The Feelings: A Guide for Helping People 2013 October 24
    Good customer service involves helping people to talk about feelings, not just facts, before solving problems. Here’s how and why to do it.
  • Humble, humility, humiliated… a meditation on words 2013 October 17
    (I’m in Rochester, NY for the annual conference of the National Association of Crisis Center Directors and Contact USA, and I often draw or make lists during workshops, which often helps me dispense with the distraction of whatever thought has arisen, letting me get back to the workshop’s content.) This thought came to me today: What’s ...
  • The Grief Closet 2013 October 17
    When people postpone grief, it’s like shoving all the pain into a Grief Closet and pledging to deal with it later. Postpone it too long and trouble starts.
  • You’re So Talented! 2013 October 11
    Complimenting people’s talent or intelligence or strength or beauty often backfires because it ignores effort. Here’s how to honor their work instead.