Archive | Living

How To Be Happy

Happiness comes from achieving your values: pursuing a career you love, a romantic relationship, perhaps raising a family, or running a successful business.

Acting on Principle Pays

An MBA student of mine who had just read my book commented: “Those principles you write about make a lot of sense, but at the same time, business is ruthless, and most people do not follow such moral principles. How can you act on principle when others don’t?” My immediate answer was: “What alternative do […]

Tackle Tough Long-Term Issues with Three Pages a Day

In Thinking Tactics, I teach a set of thinking procedures that each take under 10 minutes. They can be used to clarify most confusion, resolve most conflicts, and figure out the next step on most projects. But not everything. Sometimes you face a bigger issue–one that cannot succumb to a few minutes of targeted thinking. […]

Restaurant Impossible’s Robert Irvine a Great Cognitive Therapist

If you want to better understand the concept of cognitive therapy, tune in to an unlikely source: Chef Robert Irvine’s Food Network series, Restaurant Impossible. Food Network’s website describes the show as follows: “Turning around a failing restaurant is a daunting challenge under the best of circumstances. Attempting to do it in just two days […]

Who Owns Your Life?

One of the most important and far reaching questions in moral philosophy is: Who is the proper beneficiary of an individual’s actions? There are only two possible answers to the question: The individual taking the action, or others. “Others” may mean the community, the race, the nation, or any number of groups. Your answer to […]

Three Reasons to Learn a Formula

At a humor workshop I attended recently, Judy Carter taught us a formula for creating a joke around something mean that someone said to us. The steps were: 1. Remember exactly what words were used, plus the tone and body language, so you can act it out. 2. Backtrack: what negative personality trait does this comment reveal? […]

Fear: The Great Inhibitor

Fear is the great inhibitor. When rational, fear is life-serving and life-protecting. However, the purpose of fear is avoidance. You rationally avoid things in order to obtain what life has to offer. You avoid an oncoming car when crossing a street in order to survive and live life. You avoid excessive fats and nicotine in […]

Taking Words Seriously Can Help You Get Things Done

“I need more time.” That is what a client told me was the solution to his grueling work schedule. We say such things without thinking about it, but it’s worth pausing for a moment to focus on the thought. How could the solution possibly be more time? There is no such thing as getting more […]

Your Life is Your Responsibility

If you were alone on a desert island you would not be able to escape the fact that you must work to sustain your life. Alone on the island you could spend your days in any activity of your choosing—hunting, fishing, building a home, swimming, or napping. But you would not be able to escape […]

“Waste Not, Want Not” — Another Myth!

Dear Dr. Hurd: My mother is a good, well-meaning lady. But every so often she reminds me of the fact that she grew up during the Great Depression, and so learned the value of saving things. And whenever I am seen throwing away a plastic bag or a piece of aluminum foil that could be […]

What Love Is and Isn’t

When you love someone in a rational, genuine way, you love that person as an individual. You sincerely want him or her to be happy, and you want to add to their life while, at the same time, experiencing your own enjoyment of that person.

“Moneyball” and the Source of Values

“Moneyball” is a baseball movie that isn’t about baseball. It is a movie about the passionate pursuit of values. And more fundamentally, it is a movie about the source of value creation—the rational, independent judgment of innovators. Starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, “Moneyball” tells the story of […]

Coping with Interruptions

By some estimates, people lose 2 hours of work a day due to interruptions. The time is wasted in two ways: First, when you are interrupted, you often lose your place. You have to go back and redo some of the work to restore your working context. Second, the topic of the interruption is often […]

The Pomodoro Technique: How a Kitchen Timer Can Help You Get More Done

When people complain about not getting things done, they almost always wish they had bigger blocks of time to do the work. A surprising solution to this problem is to plan your unstructured time using standard time blocks of 25 minutes. The method, called the Pomodoro Technique, helps you to resist interruptions, focus on finishing […]

How a Decision Log Can Help You Move from Scattered to Streamlined

Don’t be embarrassed if you occasionally feel scattered. It’s a normal transition state.  For example, after you’ve finished a major project, you may feel somewhat scattered until you’ve figured out the next big thing to focus on. But don’t let yourself remain feeling scattered for long. A scattered state is an indecisive state. None of […]

Achieve Your Lifetime Goals by Thinking About Them Every Year

“Change your smoke detector batteries when you change the clocks to or from Daylight Savings Time. Otherwise you’ll forget.” This little trick suggests a way to help you achieve some of the most important goals you’ll ever set: your lifetime goals. Your lifetime goals are the things you’d like to do, either in the next […]