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Archive For: Self-Improvement

A Different New Year’s Resolution

Common New Year’s resolutions involve quitting something such as smoking or drinking, eating too much, being too sedentary, being rude to others, procrastinating, or living beyond our means. Most of us are familiar with them because we’ve made them, in many cases again and again. Sometimes we’ve even been partially successful in achieving them.

The resolution I am recommending differs in that it emphasizes, not stopping something, but starting something that our busy pace has caused us to neglect.… Read More


Isn’t Self-Esteem a Good Thing?

A perceptive friend told me that, though she agrees with my often-expressed criticism of the self-esteem movement (see, for example, ), she believes I should acknowledge that all people need at least a measure of self-esteem and that some lack it.

36809016 - cartoon of son telling parents he solved his low self esteem problem by becoming arrogant.

I responded by quoting G. K. Chesterton’s observation, “A thinking man should always attack the strongest thing in his own time. For the strongest thing of the time is always too strong.” I added that I believe the need for self-esteem movement is both dominant in our time and seriously mistaken.… Read More


Adjusting Our Expectations

Disappointment 14511569_sThere is an old saying, “Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.” Whether it was first uttered as pithy wisdom or a tongue-in-cheek comment on the likelihood of disappointment is not known. But either way, the idea is interesting.

The pertinent question is, of course, expect from whom? Other people or ourselves? And therein lies the clash between past and present cultures.… Read More


The Pharisee’s Confession

Pharisee & Publican 2I know it couldn’t have happened, but imagine that the Pharisee in the famous Gospel parable had gone to confession. No doubt the exchange with his confessor would have gone something like this:

Pharisee: Bless me, Father, for my wife, kids, parents, in-laws, fellow Pharisees and neighbors have sinned. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out. Oh, yes, I’m sure that Publican behind me has sinned, too, probably grievously.… Read More


Learning from Our Mistakes

oopsAlbert Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By this measure, when an approach proves unsuccessful, the “sane “ (intelligent) response is to try another.

Why, then, do so many people do the same foolish things over and over?  For example . . .

Mothers or fathers who threaten children with punishments, such as taking away privileges, that they and their children know will never be carried out.… Read More