QUOTE AND OBSERVATION: If we take care to repair ourselves with ointments laced with gratitude, humility and compassion, the scars left by healed wounds reveal life insights and experiences that can make us more beautiful.-Michael Josephson

Nietzsche told us “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” and Hemingway wrote about becoming stronger in broken places. A different way of thinking is found in the Japanese concept of kintsukuroi the art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer in a way that makes the object more beautiful than it was before. I think this is …

COMMENTARY 892.5: Worth More Than a Million Dollars

If you had the choice of winning $1 million in the lottery or saving a stranger’s life, which would you choose? I suspect many of you think you should say, “saving a life,” but what you are really thinking is how much better your life would be if you were rich. If the test was which act improves the world …

COMMENTARY 872.5: Clichés and Milestones

One of the things I hate most about clichés is that whenever I experience milestone experiences, I have to admit they are true. There’s nothing unique or original about my feelings except that they are mine. So, when I witnessed my daughter Samara turn 18, my mind and heart flooded with trite and corny thoughts and emotions: “Where did the …

COMMENTARY 860.2: Deeply Personal Reflections

As I ponder quietly observing another New Year push the past year into history, I find myself more deeply aware of the profound truths buried in all the clichés about the fleeting quality of time and the transitory nature of youth.  It staggers my mind to realize I’m over 70, that none of my children are children anymore, and that, …

My Year-End Plea and an Update on Josephson Institute Activities

My Dear Readers: In this note I get to do two things — one I love to do, and another I’m not so crazy about. The part I love is to provide you with a brief summary of the Josephson Institute’s achievements in 2013. Some of you may not be aware of the Institute’s range of activities and achievements, and …

Memo From Michael: Nelson Mandela’s Inspiring Example

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela, at Walter Sisulu’s 90th birthday celebration, Johannesburg, May 18, 2002 I am impressed and deeply moved by the universal wall-to-wall coverage of …

QUOTATION & POSTER: I Got Nothing I Asked For

I asked for STRENGTH – and I got difficulties to make me tough. I asked for COURAGE – and I got risks and hazards to make me brave. I asked for LOVE – and I discovered the pleasure of service. I asked for FAVORS – and I found opportunities to earn my own way. I asked for WEALTH – and …

COMMENTARY 855.5: Thanksgiving and Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Ever since my dad passed away, it’s been my holiday. I have nine brothers and sisters so we rent a tent for the backyard so we can feed our clan turkey, creamed corn, and my special onion-laced mashed potatoes. Making the potatoes is a big deal for me. I use an old, beat up, pink-handled, …

Memo From Michael: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

There is always, always something to be thankful about. Gratitude should be felt and experienced sincerely, expressed generously and received graciously. If you want to be on speaking terms with happiness, learn the language of gratitude.

Memo From Michael: A Pre-Thanksgiving Thanks to Our Supporters

As we head toward Thanksgiving, a holiday based on the concept of gratitude, I want to express my deep gratitude to those of you who have supported and encouraged my work for the Josephson Institute. Your letters, comments on our Facebook pages and blogs, and even the “likes” that affirm your appreciation for what we are doing — they all …

OBSERVATION: If you were given a wish from an all powerful genie as to one attribute for your children what would you choose. There are lots of candidate’s: honor, intelligence, perseverance, common sense, integrity – I want my kids to have all of this. But if I really could bestow on them one attribute I think it would be optimism.

Optimism is the most powerful of the children of positivity (experiencing the world and expressing oneself in positive  terms). Its siblings: gratitude, enthusiasm, cheerfulness, hopefulness are other attitudes that not only improve the way we experience our lives, they set into motion actions and reactions that dramatically improve the likelihood of success as well as happiness. People react positively to …

OBSERVATION: Hard Times Test Our (My) Principles and Character

Life continually tests our principles and character with unanticipated twists and turns. Right now my convictions about positivity and gratitude are severely tested by economic pressures causing the nonprofit Josephson Institute to sharply reduce staff (from 32 to 16) and re-think how we can continue to pursue our mission in a world where schools have no funds for our program …

HOW TO BE A GREAT SON OR DAUGHTER

What kind of son or daughter are you? Are you as good as you could be or should be? Here’s a guide on how to get in the Hall of Fame. Father’s Day is set aside to honor dads, at least those worthy of being honored. But how often do you think about how well you did or are doing …

OBSERVATION: If Your Dad is Gone.

If your dad is gone, what do you wish you could say to him that you didn’t? I hope you have warm sentiments to share and the thought of your father evokes genuine gratitude and sadness that he’s gone, but be honest. Not all dads were great. Even through

OBSERVATION: What if You Had a Bad Dad?

Some dad’s are/were genuinely great – worthy of praise and gratitude. Others were or are outright jerks or villains. Most fall somewhere between these extremes. How well you did in the dad lottery is something you had no influence on. If you got a good one, enjoy your good fortune and be grateful. If your father falls short

QUOTE & POSTER: Thank you for your dedication, your duty, your unwavering loyalty and most importantly your unbelievable sacrifice. Americans have the freedom to be Americans because of you. There are many ways to serve. None is more significant or worthy of appreciation than sacrificing personal comforts and gain to serve in the military. Remember, we have this long weekend not simply to vacation and picnic but to say thank you to those who have served and sacrificed in the past as well as those who do so at this very moment. Please be sure to experience and express your gratitude.

WORTH READING: Beautiful in Broken Places

Nietzsche told us “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” and Hemingway wrote about becoming stronger in broken places. A different way of thinking is found in the Japanese concept of kintsukuroi the art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer in a way that makes the object more beautiful than it was before. I think this is so …

Memo From Michael: Teachers and Tornadoes

Once I got past the awe of witnessing Mother Nature’s astonishing power to wreak devastation in Oklahoma, I was awed by something more positive and uplifting: the instinctive capacity of our species to care about, come to the aid of, and — for those caught in the middle of the calamity — to even sacrifice their own lives for others.