My truths

What's this about my truths? I’ve already written books on what I think, right? 

I spent a lot of time getting all that into an order that I can still look back on and feel really good about. Moreover, I have some peace of mind that I’m pretty darn sure I’ve got a good chunk of it figured out, particular when it comes to understanding the human condition. I want to share what I've learned over the last decades with the world.    

With that in mind, below are my truths, distilled and refined over the course of my life. You can read the expanded versions of each truth in my books.

From What I really Think: The Business Chapters

On Careers
  1. The matter of time marching on requires your attention and action.
  2. You need to get it right with your career because it will be a huge part of your life.
  3. Figure out what your passions are, and then actively pursue them.
  4. There is a base minimum amount of money you need to make to insure you’re above the ‘starving artist’ lifestyle.
  5. The Internet has had the incredible effect of cheapening creativity.
  6. It’s a perfectly reasonable strategy to find a decent job to pay the bills and set up your financial security, and then focus your free time on your true passion.
  7. It is OK along the way to regularly take stock, re-evaluate and consider taking risks and re-inventing yourself.
  8. The only power you have in this world is the power of an alternative.
  9. Be careful of analysis paralysis.
  10. Taking a sabbatical is ballsy, but it can be one of the best things you can do when setting a right course.
  11. When you stir the pot, it can create a lot of upset and disturbances in your world.
  12. Go with your gut, even though you might then get kicked in it.
  13. Committing to a lifetime of learning keeps your head in the game.
  14. Touch things in your real and virtual inboxes only once.
  15. Beware when a career derails and a parent starts living vicariously through their kids.
  16. Whenever you have the freedom to consider where to live, don’t take the choice lightly.
  17. As you get older and transition out of your full-time career, if you don’t have a good answer to “Now What?”, it may take you to your knees.
  18. Work ethic matters.
  19. There is an incredible variance in work ethic.
  20. If provided with a way to take a shortcut and make things ‘easier’, even if taking that path is acknowledged as being short of achieving an original goal or expectation, a lot of people will take the shorter path.
  21. A lot of people have the dream, but they don’t have the drive.
  22. For most people, work is seen as the enemy, a four-letter word that’s a counterforce to the fun stuff in their lives.
  23. The amount of mini-screwups that occur during the process of interacting with people, purchasing things, communicating with service providers… whatever, is absolutely staggering.
  24. There are exceptional companies out there—few and far between admittedly. These companies have an incredibly positive work environment, and remarkable low employee turnover rates, attracting the upper echelon of worker bees who have a great work ethic.
  25. The companies with the best work environments and most productive employees are young, fast-growing firms with a workplace dominated by young people who are wicked smart.
  26. There are exceptional people working in mediocre companies and work environments, and they are a gift to everyone that interacts with them.
  27. The modern world is basically broken down into three kinds of people: Heavy Lifters, Light Lifters and No Lifters.
  28. Being the breadwinner is a huge deal.
  29. The business of being busy and constantly ‘doing’ is complicated.
  30. Work contentment is almost always enhanced when you’re engaged in something you’re really good at. So, practice hard and get good at something and you’ll never regret it.
  31. Our capacity for joy in our work is tied to the ability to embrace loss and defeat.
On Leadership
  1. A huge part of the secret sauce that makes a company “great” involves leaders who recognize that all things in the business world are situational, just like in life itself.
  2. No matter how intelligent a leader’s strategy is for change, it will fail without the dedicated support of the rank and file. Winning that support often requires more effort than actually devising the strategy itself.
  3. People do a much better job of just about anything when their performance is evaluated and they are held accountable for it.
  4. Eight Rules of Management #1. Establish and then communicate expectations (both statistical and non-statistical) to all the appropriate people.
  5. Eight Rules of Management #2. Identify owners for almost everything. Accountability is critical.
  6. Eight Rules of Management #3. Inspect what you expect.
  7. Eight Rules of Management #4. Get out of the gate quickly.
  8. Eight Rules of Management #5. Be extremely generous with rewards for accomplishments and jobs well done.
  9. Eight Rules of Management #6. If goals are not being achieved, appropriate constructive criticism and warnings are required.
  10. Eight Rules of Management #7. To the point, do not tolerate mediocrity.
  11. Eight Rules of Management #8. The challenge of finding and retaining competent, creative, and efficient fellow workers cannot be overstated. When you find one, cherish them.
  12. Keep office politics and “The Schmooze” to a minimum.
  13. Hot shots hired from outside often get sabotaged from within an organization, and their success is thereby limited. On the other hand, hired guns can bring a great new perspective, and when they have great people skills can be a genuine positive.
  14. As a boss or business owner, what constitutes being ‘sick’ is a slippery slope. It goes back to trying to hire people who ‘get it’ and have a genuine work ethic.
  15. Stress and burnout are two very different things.
  16. The lower a person’s handicap, the more fervently they believe that there is no better measure of a man than playing a round of golf with him.
  17. Gimmies, or providing an opponent a free putt, is dangerous territory on a golf course.
  18. There are far too many club players who take their game seriously and claim they’re a seven (or less) handicap, but they’re not because they expect their three or four-foot putts, whether they’re comebackers or come up short for par or bogey, to always be gimmies.
  19. The golf handicap system is seriously flawed.
  20. A round of golf should last no longer than four hours under any and all circumstances.
On Starting a Business
  1. Far too many people start a new business for the wrong reason: their current job sucks.
  2. There is one minor hang-up about owner dream jobs—reality.
  3. If you don’t have the chops to start a business, you aren’t going to make it.
  4. Starting your own business instantly makes you an outcast, particularly if your first venture is outside the corporate mainstream. And pitching your wares can be brutal.
  5. There is generally far less downside risk when starting a new business earlier rather than later in life.
  6. Writing a business plan is one of the best ways to assess whether you’ve got any chance of success in launching a new venture.
  7. If an entrepreneur doesn’t have a fundamental understanding of basic financial statements, like cash flow projections, income statements and balance sheets, they are about to learn a lot of lessons the hard way.
  8. Developing a low-cost culture early in a company’s life is one of the best things you can do to ensure success.
  9. If you will require other people’s money to get your business off the ground, you really need to have your act together.
  10. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, fee guys and consultants are usually an important part of starting a new company. But…
  11. The more money you make, the larger your Nut.
  12. A big salary will cover your Nut, but it won’t make you rich.
  13. The main path to getting truly rich is by owning stock options or a significant equity percentage in either a private or public company that performs well and has liquidity opportunities.
  14. Assume about a 5% annual return on just your income-producing investments, not your total net worth, when calculating how much money you can spend every year when you’re retired or no longer bringing in much income.
  15. Being rich is having the freedom to dictate most living decisions on your own terms.
  16. Most everyone can’t and won’t get rich.
  17. Getting your ‘joy-to-stuff ratio’ in sync is crucial when you have money. It’s pretty pathetic when rich people keep buying stuff and don’t really enjoy it.
On Money and Happiness
  1. Being rich is great, but being happy is far more important.
  2. The true measure of personal success goes far beyond the accumulation of wealth.
  3. Enjoy the ride. Carpe Diem.
  4. The best of all worlds is enjoying the ride while you’re on your way to true financial independence.
  5. “When you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do, you’ve achieved success. When you’ve enjoyed the process in obtaining that success, then that’s happiness.”
  6. More varied, interesting life experiences equals a more fascinating, enriched life.
  7. It is so much smarter to rent than buy additional houses. Let the whole world be your oyster, and don’t get yourself too tied down.
  8. Write yourself a check for an amount far north of your current net worth, post date it a few years, and keep it in your wallet. Take it out and look at it every now and then.
  9. Don’t count a potential windfall until it’s money in the bank.
  10. The English language needs some other words to define ‘semiretirement.’
  11. There is a word that describes a person who’s rich and not having fun. The word is ‘stupid’.
On Angel Investing
  1. If you have the money and are drawn to investments that are high-risk yet high-reward, and you are attracted to the idea of building something big from nothing, angel investing may be right up your alley.
  2. Angel investing helps diversify your overall investment portfolio during times of economic uncertainty and stock market malaise.
  3. When investing in a start-up, your hard-earned money can go down the drain in a heartbeat.
  4. When you get involved with start-ups, you increase your interaction with very smart, upbeat people.
  5. Smart angels seek deal flow, conduct serious due diligence, play the percentages, and invest in a portfolio of companies. Dumb angels don’t do these things.
  6. One out of every ten start-ups you invest in has to be a ten-bagger or you’re pretty much screwed.
  7. From the beginning, determine your risk tolerance for investing in areas you know vs. playing the field and entering the unknown.
  8. Deciding whether to be an active vs. passive angel has huge implications on how much fun angel investing ultimately will be for you.
  9. If you need financial compensation for your role as an active angel, set it up early. ‘Actively’ engaged whale investors should be provided additional upside potential.
  10. Annual stock option grants need to be managed so they don’t get handed out like M&Ms. But there is a strong argument that board members, who receive no cash compensation, should be rewarded with ‘rich’ option grants.
  11. Sometimes when you’re losing money with a healthcare or similar related start-up, you can soothe the wound by looking at it as a charitable donation for the good of mankind.
  12. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #1. Don’t ever let anyone try to talk you out of how important the pre-money valuation of a start-up is in determining whether to invest or not.
  13. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #2. Management, management, management in angel investing is like location, location, location in real estate.
  14. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #3. If the business model touts disruptive technology or entry into a huge market, it’s worth a good look. Otherwise, take a pass.
  15. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #4. If you’re going to be serious about investing a lot of money into start-ups, you need to become Darth Angel.
  16. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #5. If a start-up doesn’t have focus from the beginning, take a pass.
  17. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #6. Investor beware when the researchers want to run the business.
  18. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #7. Knowing when to cut bait can be excruciating when you’re investing in a start-up, and it’s often a too-long-delayed decision.
  19. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #8. Beware of guys in their s who are in transition wanting to launch a start-up.
  20. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #9. Beware of family connections within a start-up before making an investment.
  21. Ten Tips to Becoming a Successful Angel Investor #10. Beware of the entrepreneur where it’s all about them.
  22. The matching of angel money with entrepreneurs is a courtship. And feelings get hurt.
  23. Medical start-ups can take forever to exit and the angels can get squeezed all along the way.
  24. Even when things are looking pretty good, not generating significant revenue has consequences.
  25. When things go right with a startup, it can be a lifetime highlight.
On Investing
  1. Buying and selling stocks is a form of gambling.
  2. The power of greed impacts stock prices, particularly those that are going up.
  3. Everyone knows that panic selling is not smart behavior, but it happens all of the time
  4. You aren’t at your cognitive best right after you’ve lost a lot of money.
  5. People who think they’re God’s gift to stock-picking are often the ones who eventually get crushed.
  6. The stock market game isn’t played on a level playing field and never will be.
  7. It’s hard enough to make money in the stock market without the inescapable backdrop of the cyclical market and sector crashes due to the greed and incompetence of Wall Street bankers.
  8. Bubbles burst.
  9. The rules of the money management game have been set up so that the only people who get screwed if things go sour are the investors, not the money managers.
  10. There is an ugly truth about managers of alternative investments like hedge funds and private funds: when things get tough, many of them cut and run, only to start up a new fund down the street.
  11. Most stock analysts and talking heads on cable know shit.
  12. If you truly know your risk tolerance and investing temperament, and are willing to devote some time to managing your portfolio over an extended period of time, give some serious thought to taking the matter seriously and doing it yourself.
  13. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #1. If you’re going to manage your own money, you need to be darn sure you have a handle on the basics of investing.
  14. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #2. Diversification of several asset classes and the correlations between those asset classes are the most important element of any investment strategy. It’s crucial to building wealth over a lifetime.
  15. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #3. After there’s balance, you then need to re-balance.
  16. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #4. Index funds and exchange-traded funds are a great way to invest if you do your homework.
  17. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #5. Individually stock pick only if you must.
  18. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #6. Day trading is very, very challenging to get right. Don’t do it unless you have money to lose.
  19. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #7. Old sayings that still work: Don’t fight the tape. The trend is your friend. Buy low, sell high. Pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered.
  20. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #8. One old saying that should be thrown away forever: Buy and hold.
  21. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #9. You have no business managing your own stock portfolio if you don’t regularly manage stop-loss orders on a weekly basis.
  22. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #10. Don’t underestimate the importance of income and the magic of compounding interest.
  23. Important Steps to Building and Protecting Wealth #11. Planning on living a longer life needs to be a major factor in your investment strategy. In all likelihood, that means becoming more conservative in your investments as you age.
  24. My advice for investing in timeshares and fractional ownerships: Don’t.
  25. Only collect stuff you really love and only if you enjoy the ‘hunt’. It’s not so easy unloading stuff later at the price you paid for it earlier, much less have it go significantly up in value over time.
  26. Something is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it.
  27. Purchase the most scarce and most desirable items you can afford. The crème de la crème of collectibles typically see the greatest appreciation in value over time.
On Legacies
  1. For many people in the twilight of their life’s journey, it’s indeed comforting that they’re on the other side of most of the taller mountains.
  2. How quickly they forget you when you retire or move on, so get over yourself!
  3. It only takes one stupid move at the end of your career to screw up your business legacy.
  4. A personal legacy is more important than a business legacy.
  5. It’s more important to work on creating your legacy throughout the early and mid-stages of your life than it is strategizing about it later in life.
  6. You should set up your estate planning ‘package’ once you start to have kids and/or start to build a sizable net worth.
  7. The sooner you understand how death taxes impact what you can leave to family, friends and charities, the better.
  8. Most wealthy parents don’t actively engage their kids in matters involving charitable giving and family financial planning. Consider becoming parents that buck the trend.
  9. You should start your estate planning with a hope and an expectation that to whatever degree people are nice, it’s unrelated to you having money.
  10. How the people you love treat you while you’re alive is important and should influence how you consider providing for them in your estate.
  11. There is a fundamental, important difference between being appreciative and demonstrating your appreciation.
  12. Consider including people in your estate plans that have no idea they might be part of your bequests.
  13. It’s hard not to feel the pressure associated with the expectations to provide in your will for people once you’re dead and gone. But it’s far more important for you to feel good about things when you’re alive.
  14. It’s more than OK for you to make ongoing changes in your estate plans as situations change.
  15. I really think life should be about pursuing your passions, enjoying the ride, being good to people, being generous, and giving back. And it’s all that much sweeter if you can achieve financial freedom along the way.

From What I Really think: The Deep ENd Chapters

On Life

  1. Life is fragile. And while we say it’s precious, we don’t walk the talk.
  2. Raging hormones are one of the most powerful forces on Earth.
  3. We forsake opportunities to learn from ‘big’ past mistakes, so we repeat them.
  4. Many of the best things in life aren’t good for you.
  5. We push the envelope with our little dance with death.
  6. Our exposure to stimuli and choice is hyper-accelerating.
  7. We have perfected the art of altering reality, and that sets a very high bar when we go back to our normal lives.
  8. We have perfected the art of rationalizing.
  9. We have a long history of being disconnected with nature.
  10. We are exceptional at dumbing ourselves down.
  11. There are a lot of jerks in the world.
  12. When your ox gets gored, it’s amazing how quickly you can change your mind.
  13. Entropy always trumps whatever gets materially accomplished.
  14. The world can be falling apart at the seams, and the march of entropy can never be stopped, but that will not prevent humankind from having hope.
  15. Once you identify and better understand your primary defining points, your journey can be much more enjoyable.
  16. A lot of guys are in a perpetual search for father figures.
  17. Take yourself too seriously at your own peril.
  18. There is a lot to be said about being strong and content and knowing how to enjoy life when you’re alone.
  19. If you don’t think silence has a very high value, think again.
  20. If you are a change agent, brace yourself for an oftentimes-challenging journey through the corporate world, not to mention your personal life.
  21. Never underestimate the power bloc of the Stupids.
  22. I yam what I yam. You are who you are. And it’s AOK.
On Spirituality
  1. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #1. Nature is what God or our Maker is all about.
  2. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #2. Appreciating the scale and perspective of the universe and the passage of time soothes the soul.
  3. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #3. Things usually happen because they do, not because of a reason or some Secret.
  4. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #4. You don’t have to drink the ‘Kool-Aid’ offered up by organized religion.
  5. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #5. Often the people between you and your Maker create the problems associated with having faith in a higher authority.
  6. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #6. Don’t mistake your longing for company as a desire for meaning, for God and spirit.
  7. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #7. Hope springs eternal.
  8. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #8. Being a good and ethical person is worth something.
  9. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #9. The Divine Authority may very well be in much less control than earlier credited.
  10. Ten Key Spiritual Tenets #10. You are the only person that can reach the God within yourself.
On Health
  1. Worry can wreak havoc in your life.
  2. The ‘edge’ of your unreasonable fears lessens with the passage of time, even more so if you acknowledge to yourself that you have an issue.
  3. About a third of the stuff that degrades people’s health has nothing to do with lifestyle or eating habits and has everything to do with their genes.
  4. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #1. Exercise is the best life-prolonging activity you can do, hands down.
  5. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #2. Caloric intake is a huge factor in staying healthy, particularly as you get older. Committing to a lifetime of less caloric consumption provides indisputable health benefits.
  6. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #3. If you partake in stupid things, like smoking or drinking alcohol excessively, and eating a lot of red meat and other foods that contain animal fats or have a lot of sodium, you are significantly increasing the chances of having trouble in your life.
  7. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #4. Consuming too much sugar in your life stands alone as a major issue that denigrates your health.
  8. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #5. The more you learn about what stress does to your body, the sooner you’ll want to figure out ways to reduce it.
  9. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #6. When you need it, talk therapy is terrific. And when you need to slay the dragon, bring in the professionals.
  10. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #7. Pursue your passions.
  11. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #8. Bask in the glow of a loving community that includes friends, family, and spiritual connections.
  12. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #9. Get enough sleep — you know what’s best for you. However, keep in mind most studies show that seven to eight hours a night is optimal.
  13. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #10. Chances are that you are not taking your primary health care seriously enough.
  14. Eleven Points to Maintaining Optimal Health #11. The acceptance of new science in the medical mainstream takes forever, and with an oncoming onslaught of new cellular and genetic diagnostics in the next decade, you may very well have to take matters into your own hands. It’s OK to keep your family doc on their toes.
  15. Taking nutritional supplements is not the ‘magic bullet’ many people hoped they were, but they still should be an important part of your health care regimen.
  16. Make sure your brain ‘sweats’ by regularly working-out your mind.
  17. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than deep tissue massage!
  18. When things hit the fan, are moving fast and involve a hospital, do whatever it takes to make sure you have an advocate by your side.
  19. Almost never let money get in the way of making a medical decision.
On Relationships
  1. Thirteen Truths to Love By #1. There are tremendous forces at play—societal, hormonal and the different way the sexes are wired—that make great long-lasting matches between a man and a woman extremely uncommon. Denying or diminishing the existence and the power of those forces, often at odds with one another, is inviting trouble to visit your life.
  2. Thirteen Truths to Love By #2. While there is no doubt a point of diminishing returns, having ‘access’ to quantity improves your chance for quality and finding what you really, truly want in a life partner.
  3. Thirteen Truths to Love By #3. Pay particular attention to the Firsts—first kiss, first time lovemaking, first deep conversation—as an important predictor of compatibility.
  4. Thirteen Truths to Love By #4. There’s nothing quite like falling in love, so bask in the glory of it when it blesses you with its presence.
  5. Thirteen Truths to Love By #5. The shelf life of new love bliss invariably lessens with time.
  6. Thirteen Truths to Love By #6. Falling in love is just a prerequisite to the much more critical issue of determining whether you’ve found the mate for the rest of your life or not. Look for the signals and give yourself enough time to fall out of love.
  7. Thirteen Truths to Love By #7. The high percentage of married couples in unhappy relationships is irrefutable. To not fully understand or simply refuse to acknowledge time-honored divorce rates is just plain idiotic.
  8. Thirteen Truths to Love By #8. Love by choice. Get married as a free-willed choice as opposed to a societal obligation and truly resist making a decision to get married based on fear.
  9. Thirteen Truths to Love By #9. Before you pop or answer the ‘Big Question’, conduct the pre-marriage inquisition.
  10. Thirteen Truths to Love By #10. Liking and even loving a person a lot is terrific, but it’s a bad idea to marry someone you aren’t truly in love with.
  11. Thirteen Truths to Love By #11. Jumping back into a long-standing relationship that has been fraught with troubles after a multi-month separation or a series of shorter separations is more often than not a very bad idea.
  12. Thirteen Truths to Love By #12. If you find yourself in love and fundamentally at peace with your partner and derive genuine happiness from the relationship, then count your blessings. The relationship doesn’t have to be perfect. Near perfect is just fine. You’re not settling, you’re just being realistic.
  13. Thirteen Truths to Love By #13. When you get it right, people in long-term marriages live longer, healthier lives with significantly higher levels of emotional well-being and lower rates of mental illness and emotional distress. And, in general, so do their kids… if they choose to have them, that is.
  14. There are fundamental, reasonable expectations that should exist between friends, co-workers, parents and children, brothers and sisters, customers and service providers.
  15. If the stay-at-home parent isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
  16. Old family dynamics often re-surface leading up to and during holiday and other reunions.
  17. The primary relationship with our parents often plays out in interactions with others, and that can be toxic.
  18. After careful review and consideration, situations and circumstances arise when it’s OK to cut bait, de-invest and pull back from family members.
  19. When there comes a time when fighting battles and scoring points doesn’t work for you anymore, then just say ‘screw it’ and hug the people you love.
  20. You can almost never go wrong when you surround yourself with humor.
  21. If you have five genuine soul buddies, you’re a lucky person. Above that, it’s gravy.
  22. Cherish the people who watch your back.
  23. Just like making the call and de-investing with family members, the same ‘the juice isn’t worth the squeeze’ litmus test should be applied to your friendships, sometimes resulting in you cutting bait.
  24. Friendships with service providers often evaporate when you stop doing business with them.
  25. The first old flame sometimes never flames out.
  26. Six Danger Signs of Relationship Trouble #1. If you find yourself increasingly muttering swear words under your breath as you disengage from verbal interactions with your significant other or thinking the same, it’s time to either get out or seriously work toward fixing it.
  27. Six Danger Signs of Relationship Trouble #2. It’s a bad sign whenever you or your significant other is constantly calling ticky-tack fouls on the other person.
  28. Six Danger Signs of Relationship Trouble #3. If you stop and evaluate your situation and feel like it’s almost always ‘Heads You Win, Tails I Lose’, well, you’re in a lot of trouble.
  29. Six Danger Signs of Relationship Trouble #4. Beware of a partner who has a lot of baggage but claims they don’t.
  30. Six Danger Signs of Relationship Trouble #5. If one or both partners are increasingly less committed to pleasing the other, the relationship will only degrade over time.
  31. Six Danger Signs of Relationship Trouble #6. If you find yourself ‘begging’ for what you need, if you feel that you aren’t treasured and that your significant other is more dedicated to appearing awesome to others in the outside world and not to you, well, fair enough, it’s time.
On Parenting
  1. As a parent, once you have a reputation for something, justified or not, like being a terrible listener or not being there for your kids, or smothering them with worry, you need to accept that a turd has been put in the pool!
  2. If you think there’s some automatic correlation between your emotional investment in having and raising kids with a reward of positive feedback and loving expressions of appreciation, you may need to re-frame your expectations.
  3. Once they’re around 18, children want advice from their parents on their own terms, and there really is not much you can do about it.
  4. Stay engaged with your kids.
  5. As bad as it might get, things almost always turn around and get better.
  6. “Me happy first, you happy second.” – Bill Gross
  7. Set up basic common courtesy expectations and family chores early.
  8. Kids need to experience ‘working’—either for money or as a volunteer—early in their lives.
  9. Criticism of your kids is a force multiplier. Don’t do it.
  10. When one parent is always extolling ‘A for Effort’ while the other is coaching ‘Could be better’, guess who comes out looking like the bad guy?
  11. In high school, it’s far better to take an AP (Advanced Placement) class and get a ‘B’ than to get an ‘A’ in a ‘basic’ class.
  12. It’s far more important to bust your ass academically in high school than it is once you get into college.
  13. While the idea of a kid deciding to take a semester or two off from college can be upsetting, both the parents and the student should be open to it.
On Happiness
  1. People have set points of happiness, much like we have set points for our weight. Some of us are on the higher end of the happiness scale, and some of us are at the lower end.
  2. Set happiness points can be changed, but it’s not easy to accomplish and takes extra effort.
  3. You are in charge of your attitude.
  4. Having fun and being happy are two different things and are often in conflict with one another.
  5. Staying happy involves acknowledging when you are happy.
  6. Consider that you may need to re-frame what your happy parameters are because your current definition and thresholds are supremely elusive.
  7. Take the time to embrace simple pleasures and ‘short-term’ happiness. That usually involves slowing down, taking a lot more deep breaths and placing your focus on the now.
  8. Accepting wabi-sabi into your life is a great way to help with yearnings for perfection.
  9. If you’re not happy and you know it, do something about it. Go out there and slay the dragon.
  10. Positive people bring you up, and negative people take you down. Let’s see, whom might you want to stay close to and who might be best to avoid?
  11. There are a lot worse ways to protect your happiness than to create a cocoon around yourself.
  12. Enrich your life by enriching the lives of others.
  13. Developing a cool ‘bucket list’ relatively early in your life and then trying to check things off as your life’s journey plays out may be a great way to contribute to your optimal happiness.
  14. Out of sight, out of mind, oh the passage of time can be so kind.
  15. Brain filters can be a big help in affecting attitude.