COMMENTARY: 971.1: Motive, Tact, Tone, and Timing

Trustworthiness is essential to good relationships, and honesty is essential to trustworthiness. Being honest isn’t simply telling the truth, though. It’s also being sincere and forthright. Thus, it’s just as dishonest to deceive someone by half-truths or silence as it is to lie. But what if honesty requires us to volunteer information that could be damaging or hurtful? For example, …

Optimized-00 Character determined by choices

Character may determine our fate, but character is not determined by fate, it’s determined by our choices. We must never forget how powerful character is in shaping our destiny, but we must also remember how powerful we are in shaping our character.   

Strive to be the person you hope your children think you are. There’s no doubt that our character has a profound effect on our future. What we must remember, however, is not merely how powerful character is in influencing our destiny, but how powerful we are in shaping our own  character and, therefore, our own destiny. Character may determine our fate, but character …

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NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR POWER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

What we have done for ourselves dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Albert Pike. We can’t live forever, but what we do can change lives forever. In each role we play – in the workplace, in our families and in our communities – what we choose to do, who we …

COMMENTARY 970.5: Happiness Is a Choice

In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy asks Charlie Brown, “Why do you think we were put on earth?” Charlie answers, “To make others happy.” Lucy replies, “I don’t think I’m making anyone happy,” and then adds, “but nobody’s making me very happy either. Somebody’s not doing his job!” People like Lucy are so sure happiness is a matter of getting something …

COMMENTARY 970.4: Good Relationships Make a Good Life

If we interviewed 100 happy people, I think the most prominent common denominator would be good relationships. Despite the widespread promotion of materialism and vanity in our culture, wealth and beauty are not enough to produce happiness. In fact, they’re not even necessary. What’s more, bad relationships — at work, at home, or among friends — are a surefire source …

COMMENTARY 970.3: Loopholes and Slippery Slopes

As a former law professor, I know all about loopholes. I trained students to find omissions and ambiguities in wording — a perfectly legal way to evade the clear intent of laws and agreements. After all, that’s what lawyers are paid to do. And, despite commonly expressed disdain when lawyers do this, that’s precisely what

COMMENTARY 970.2: A Government Program That Is Working

I was pleasantly surprised that my visit to detention camps for juvenile girls run by the Los Angeles Probation Department turned out to be encouraging and uplifting. Instead of finding a cadre of angry and hostile girls in a punitive prison setting, I saw clean classrooms attended by very

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A Message from Michael January 28, 2016

Warmest Greetings, I hope it’s viewed as a good thing that I expect to communicating directly and personally more often this coming year including a more detailed report on what I’ve been up to (see my activities the past month below). First, I want to thank all of you who made donations to the Institute at the end of the …

COMMENTARY 970.1: Finding God in the Park

Abe was fiercely independent, even at age 85, but after a mild stroke his son insisted he move in with him. Abe missed going to the park near his old apartment, and one Saturday he set out to find it. When he became disoriented, he asked a young boy named Timmy where the park was. Timmy said he’d like to …

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COMMENTARY 969.5: The Treasure of Old Friends

In my lifetime, I’ve had the good fortune of having a handful of good friends. Each of my four teenage daughters have many hundreds. At least that’s what they call every Facebook connection they collect like trophies. The list of those kinds of friends includes people they barely know, some they don’t know at all, and even some people they …

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COMMENTARY 969.4: Some of the Things I’ve Learned

I hope the new year is off to a good start for you, and that you are confident that 2015 will be full of opportunities and challenges that will bring you pleasure and fulfillment. It’s traditional to start the New Year with resolutions designed to help us live healthier, happier, and more rewarding lives. But the ritual of starting a new …

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COMMENTARY 969.3: Happiness Is More Than Fun and Pleasure

Ask young people why they get high on drugs or alcohol or seek sex without intimacy or commitment and they’re likely to tell you it’s fun and they just want to be happy. It’s tempting to envy the life of fun-loving “party animals,” “playboys,” and “good-time girls” until one thinks about how they feel about themselves and their lives when they’re …

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COMMENTARY 969.2: Leading by Inspiration

Why are negative management practices so prevalent? They include yelling, cursing, insults (sometimes masked in sarcasm or masquerading as jokes), criticizing subordinates in front of others, threatening demotion or termination, and talking to adults as if they were children. Why are so many managers oblivious to the demoralizing effect of focusing on weaknesses and shortcomings without

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COMMENTARY 969.1: Remembering the Civil Rights Movement

I grew up in the 1960’s and remember the tumultuous times in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his historic mark on American society. Dr. King was always one of my heroes. So I was delighted a few years ago when I was asked to deliver an address about his legacy. I wasn’t ready, however, for the range and depth of …

COMMENTARY 968.5: Deal or No Deal?

Sarah’s mom agreed to let her 16-year-old go to a party if she promised to be home by midnight. But as the Cinderella hour approached, Sarah did a quick risk/reward calculation. She knew her mom would be angry and probably ground her, but she was having so much fun she decided it was worth it. Sure enough, when she got …