Is it okay to work for an unethical company?

You are sitting in a meeting or reading the news, and it dawns on you. You work for an unethical company that is involved in some sort of evil. One or more of your fellow employees is violating a principle that matters to you, and you feel tainted by the association. Perhaps your coworkers are: […]

Words can never hurt me

How to build a thick skin around verbal abuse

Imagine someone walks up to you in the street and begins shouting in a language you don’t understand. The person clearly intends to tear you down, but you cannot guess what he’s saying. Would you feel offended in such a situation? Do his words harm you? Research shows that areas of the brain that experience […]

In defense of true tolerance

During the Battle of Fredericksburg, the union soldiers launched a failed assault against a low ridge known as Marye’s Heights. By the end of the attack, 1,000 troops lay dead below the ridge. When the sun rose the next morning, thousands of injured Yankee troops lay stranded in the muddy field between enemy lines. Any […]

Why ‘what they don’t know’ hurts everyone

Remember what it feels like to get away with something? To fool someone with a well-crafted lie? To take from another without notice or punishment? Is it a mixture of guilt and power? Perhaps it is a feeling of relief that you escaped the immediate consequences mixed with anxiety of a future reckoning. I once […]

Self-reliance versus reliance on others

A group of friends once debated whether we should rely on ourselves or on others. One of them said, “If I don’t look out for myself, no one will. And I want to progress to the point where I am independent.” Then came the rebuttal. “No one on the planet has all the skills required […]

Distraction and the forbidden fruit

When Eve noticed that the forbidden fruit was pleasing to eye and able to make her wise, she plucked it, ate it, and then shared some with Adam. She was the first to be drawn in by the enticements of the serpent and a world that continues to charm and divert us. Compared with all […]

Why experiments are preferable to goals

We are taught that the relentless pursuit of big hairy audacious goals is a path toward a meaningful life… but is it really? For every Oprah, there are a million who never take a step toward their goals, who are derailed somewhere along the way or who persist but sadly never reached the finish line. […]

A critique of ambition

Every time I hear a professional football coach or player talk about an upcoming season, I hear him say that his greatest ambition is to win the Super Bowl. A player named Russ Grimm once said, “I’d run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl.” Of the 32 professional teams, only one can […]