Posted in connections, know better do better, marriage, mindset, parenting, podcasts, thoughtfulness, tips, vulnerability



We tend not to be good at them.

We tend to force children to mutter them insincerely.

We get in the habit of muttering them insincerely, if we mutter them at all.

The first place I heard an excellent, clear explanation of what an apology should be was in Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Melon. (To be clear: I wasn’t there; I saw it online.) It was given and recorded in 2008 and the linked video has almost 20 million views. But the one I saw was a reprise on Oprah. It’s much shorter; you can watch it here. (It has a lot of good stuff in it.)

He says (starting at 7:40 in the shorter clip) that a proper apology has three parts:

  1. I’m sorry.
  2. It was my fault.
  3. How do I make it right?

A long time later, I heard an episode of Radiolab that was all about apologies. Legal, religious, secular. The history of apologies. It was fascinating and infuriating and frustrating and well worth the hour. (There’s about 5 minutes of business at the front end that might not interest you.)

But what prompted me to put this out to you today was this article from the Harvard Business Review that a friend texted to me the other day.

Like Pausch’s lecture, it includes three components of a good apology. The three pieces are a little bit different:

  1. Admit you were wrong and you’re sorry.
  2. Show them you understand the effect it had on them. (This would be amazing as a receiver.)
  3. Tell them what you’re going to do differently in the future so it doesn’t happen again.

But what really made this article impactful was the story it told prior to getting into the general “this is how you do it” part. (As per yesterday, it’s always the story we connect with…)

In the end, with mediation, someone at work apologized to someone else at work for being a jerk, and the man being apologized to broke down and cried. Because he had never been apologized to. For anything.

Part of me finds this hard to believe, but much of me sees life as it is, sees people as they are, sees my own experience, and believes that this is true.

So … own your shit. (This seems to be less and less lately.) Acknowledge it to the appropriate person or people. See what you can do to fix it, whether in the present or in the future. Make the world better by making your connections better.

Posted in connections, differences, mental health, mindset, socializing, storytelling, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Statistics vs. actual people

Individual stories are where real emotional power lies.

I mean, that 3,000 people were killed is quite something.

That millions were killed in WWII is staggering.

They’re numbers. They’re big numbers. They’re easy to wield, hard to comprehend.

“A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”

Stories? Those are where power lies. Not because it’s not sad to lose thousands of people at once, but because stories are where we connect.

That’s why there are transcriptions of last phone messages from 18 years ago.

That’s why a group (or more than one, possibly) is putting together the story of each individual person we lost in the terrorist attacks in 2001.

That’s why Anne Frank’s diary is so compelling.

That’s why we don’t interview people who are Other.

When we hear someone’s story and are open to it, we connect with our shared humanity. There are parts of their story that could be our story. It touches us. (Sometimes a story touches us despite our best efforts to stay closed. Those are the best.)

So … listen to people. Especially people who are different than you. Listen to their story. Connect with them. Share your humanity.

Posted in mindset, Sunday photos

My photography journey 8Sept19

Well … I didn’t take any pictures this week. Not with the Nikon.

I told you about the course I joined. Well, I didn’t watch a lesson last week. I didn’t take pictures last week. I didn’t run last week. (I did lift and climb, though.) I didn’t get enough sleep or eat very well last week. It was a heck of a week.

But today, I learned more about photo editing.

I have been of the opinion that edited photos should have a different title, that if you can get what you want by knowing how to manipulate the camera, credit should be different than getting what you want by using software well. They’re really different skills, in my opinion, and the products of each should be labeled differently.

That said, I am understanding more why photos are edited, how there are limitations in digital photography that didn’t exist in film, and we’re making up for that.

I still maintain my position—edited photos should have a different title, even if the editing is for legit reasons—but I don’t believe any more that all edited photos are the result of lazy or unskilled photography.

With that said, software is on my wish list.

The lead photo today was taken a couple of weeks ago. The Kid and I went for a quick hike to see if we could get some good shots of the sunset. He took his Nikon (a friend gifted him his old Coolpix), I took mine, and we hiked and photographed together.

(I know now how to manipulate the camera to take the same photo completely in silhouette, if I wanted it that way. I wouldn’t need to edit it to make it so.)

Posted in connections, differences, mindset, vulnerability

“I don’t understand”

As a person who grew up on the straight and narrow with impressively judgmental parents, there are some things that have taken time for me to stop judging. (There are others I’m still working on…)

Some brilliant advice I read somewhere a long time ago: instead of seeing or hearing about someone/something and saying, “that’s stupid,” approach it with either “I don’t understand” or “tell me more.” Variations on a theme.

Basically, instead of taking one small detail and pretending to see the whole picture (or as much of “the whole” as we ever see), acknowledge ignorance.

That said, there have been plenty of times when I’ve looked for more and not gotten more (just got the same thing over and over), so trying to learn doesn’t guarantee learning … or the type of learning we’re talking about here. And sometimes what you learn confirms that the person/thing was exactly what you thought. Rarely, but sometimes.

Regardless of the potential failures, attempting to learn more does sometimes lead to interesting and thought-provoking conversations. And those are a nice gift.

Posted in know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is a right protected by the First Amendment.

I’ve seen many people reply (in appropriate contexts) that freedom of speech is protected but freedom from consequences of said speech is not.

It’s a good point.

But the other day, I heard this reply, which I found equally compelling.

The context was in using derogatory and racist slang, and the person using it insisting that it’s free speech and they have a right to use those words if they want. (Which is entirely true. And also meets with the above reply.)

“But do you need to be an asshole, just because you have the right to?”

Good question. Not one that’s likely to get a good answer, especially when one is already triggered and in lizard brain. But a good question to reflect on when the rational brain is back in action.