What Does Happiness Look Like?

We can all benefit from more beautiful, soothing and inspiring visual surroundings, but it is easy to underestimate the power of the physical environments we inhabit. Whether at home, in the office or anywhere else we spend significant time, our surroundings both reflect and affect our focus, enjoyment and clarity of purpose.


When I find myself in a rut, I am often able to shift my perspective and draw energy from both the process and result of any number of simple actions—cleaning off the surface of my desk, hanging a pleasant photo or painting, or even replacing a dimming light bulb.

What is something you could do in five minutes today to make your office or home feel more like yours?

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The Minimalist Oracle of Omaha

Scott Dinsmore died young.

But his story is not one of tragedy. About 6 weeks ago, on the face of Mount Kilimanjaro, Scott Dinsmore died while living his life in the exact sort of way that he inspired thousands of others to live and love their own. He died doing something he loved in pursuit of a lifelong dream. He dared to set huge goals and, in doing so, risked failing quite publicly. But this is just one of the ways in which Scott Dinsmore “walked his talk.”

Among the many powerful legacies he left is a story he shared of an encounter with a friend of Warren Buffett’s personal jet pilot. It has changed the way I think about and pursue my goals, and it is simpler than you might think.

The Two Lists

One day, Buffett approached his long-time pilot, Steve.

“The fact that you’re still working for me, tells me I’m not doing my job,” remarked Buffett, only half joking. “You should be going after more of your goals and dreams.”

Steve asked his boss for more specific advice and was told Continue reading

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How to Bend the Space-Time Continuum in Your Favor

BTTFIIdateHappy Back to the Future Day! That’s right, Doc Brown, Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker arrive today. Residents of Hill Valley beware!

And what better day than October 21, 2015 to contemplate the space-time continuum. No, not the mathematical model that joins space and time into a single idea, representing space as three-dimensional and time as the elusive “fourth dimension,” and making time travel theoretically possible. But a more practically useful space-time continuum, for which Continue reading

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Work Hard, Not Much

It turns out that productivity may actually decline as workers put in longer and longer hours. So say many recent articles and studies addressing the relationship between the hours worked by an employee and the output she can be expected to produce.

A former recruiting candidate of mine shared just such an article from the Wall Street Journal this week titled, “Radical Idea at the Office: A 40-Hour Workweek.” This particular piece focuses on the benefits of a fixed and capped work week to both the company (its ability to attract high-caliber applicants, pay lower compensation) and employees (clear expectations and work-life balance) and, like most recent articles on the topic, quotes John Pencavel, a labor economics professor at Stanford University, whose research indicates that increases in productivity from additional working hours decline above a certain threshold (read his study here).

secretary-1506166These are not new ideas. That they seem new is further evidence of our growing obsession with being “busy.” And our resulting inability (or disinclination) to truly disconnect from work is causing us to confuse working a lot with working hard.

Working hard is not (necessarily) working fast. It is not running a manic, unceasing race to stay ahead of an ever-expanding inbox. It is not responding to every ring or buzz of a phone at any time of day. It is not even within the capabilities of one who feels beholden to and at the effect of everyone’s agenda but her own. Continue reading

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