What do we have to gain?

Whenever we listen to someones opinion on any subject it’s worth asking. What have they been through? What are they doing now? And how does this affect their point of view?

Not that their view is necessarily right or wrong. But understanding the biases that cultivate it give us a clearer picture.

More importantly we need to do this when we form our own opinions. What biases are at play? What haven’t we considered?

You can see this clearly with the pandemic. People take a stance based on what they have to gain (or lose).

Rock in your shoe

Would you rather go for a walk with a rock in your shoe, or stay at home instead?

Most people would choose to stay at home. It’s more comfortable.

They might also forget that it only takes a moment to remove the rock.

Praise in public, criticize never

One thing I’ve learned being a parent is that criticizing doesn’t work.

There might be some short term behaviour changes if I criticize, but over the long term progress is usually lost.

Criticism and constructive feedback are very close to each other. In fact, if I drew a Venn diagram they would probably overlap quite substantially.

The thing with young kids is if you try to give them ‘constructive feedback’, it’s just criticism to them. Thus it doesn’t work.

However praising when they do things well, publicly, seems to work.

An example:

My youngest daughter hates washing her hands (how convenient during a pandemic, right?). But rather than nagging her to wash her hands it’s more effective to publicly tell her big sister that it’s great that she washed her hands.

All of the sudden, guess who wants to wash their hands?


When refurbishing something made from wood it’s more efficient to start with a coarse sandpaper, sand the entire project, and then gradually progress to something finer.

You could, in theory, start with the fine sand paper. But progress would be slow. It would be more work than necessary. You might even give up before you finish.

It’s worth applying this methodology to other project’s life.

When starting something new, rough and done is better than polished but incomplete.

Metal beer cups

My grandpa passed over 10 years ago. I remember it quite well because I was in university at the time.

My grandparents lived in Port Hope, Ontario. Just outside of Toronto.

One time my Mom came back from a visit with them and she brought me a few metal beer mugs that were my Grandpa’s. He wanted me to have them. She said I should call him and thank him. It had been awhile since we had chatted.

I didn’t call him. I’m not sure why.

A few weeks later he passed away.

One of my bigger regrets in life and I’m sharing here for anyone who might need a reminder to call someone they care about.


Telling someone ‘no’ can be hard. Hearing it can de disappointing.

No, we aren’t interested.

Sorry, you’re not a good fit.

We’ve decide to go in a different direction.

All of these are infinitely better than ‘maybe’.

From this viewpoint it’s worth setting up a framework in advance. If we hear ‘maybe’ X amount of times then we should consider it a ‘no’ and move on. Sure, sometimes an unrealistic amount of perseverance will pay off. But this is the exception to the rule.

And watch out for ‘yes but’. These are just ‘maybe’ in disguise.


Everything in hindsight is 20/20. At least that’s how the saying goes.

But this isn’t true. When we look back at things we tend to shape things to fit wherever we are. We can (and do) distort them to our (dis)advantage.

Boiling frogs

Most people are aware of the ‘boiling frog’ phenomenon.

The idea is that if you throw a frog into boiling water it will immediately jump out to save itself. However, if you put a frog in lukewarm water and then very slowly increase the temperature it won’t notice and will eventually be boiled alive.

Here’s the thing though, it’s been proven false.

If a frog was thrown into boiling water it would most certainly be burned badly, and even though it might survive, it would be hurt terribly.

And if a frog is placed in lukewarm water which is slowly being heated. It will jump out as soon as it isn’t comfortable with the temperature (assuming it has the ability to do so).

The analogy is often compared to human behaviour. But we aren’t frogs. We are humans.

Most of the issues that we face are less about the boiling frog phenomenon and more about procrastination and resistance to change.

It’s like we enjoy sitting in an overly heated hot tub. We feel that the temperature is too hot, we know it is hurting us. Yet we are too lazy to get out and change it. And the worst thing that can happen to us if someone comes by and politely suggests that we get out! For then surely we will stay in.

Solving puzzles

Yesterday my youngest daughter reminded me of an important lesson. It’s more important to enjoy the process than the result.

I was watching her solving puzzles (currently her favourite activity) and I noticed that as soon as she was done she didn’t even take a second to enjoy what she had built. She joyfully moved onto the next puzzle.

Not that we shouldn’t enjoy our milestones and achievements. But seeing it in this sense serves as a reminder of where we should seek our fulfilment.


My grandma turns 95 today.

It’s a staggering age when you think about it. I would have to live my life almost two more times in full in order to get there.

She’s been openly joking about her time to ‘go up the hill’ since she turned 90.

She’s probably the most selfless person that I know. She deeply cares about others.

I asked her a few years ago if, looking back on her life, she would have done anything differently. Everything she mentioned to me had to do with another person.

I’ll share one here.

She wishes she had had more time with her brothers, both who passed away when they were younger from different circumstances.

Life is short, even when your 95, make sure to spend time with the people you care about.