(Issue #515) Marbles


That got me thinking about a mindset for saving money.
Are we encouraged by punishment or reward?

Is losing your marbles beneficial or detrimental to your forward progress? In this case, I use marbles literally, not figuratively.

The authors of The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and We Can Rule It found that people “learn more and faster from punishment and reward…If you have to pick just one, the negative feedback stimulates learning faster than the positive.”

Which leads us to marbles for an example.

Consider two situations:

  • An empty jar into which a marble is placed for every right answer a student gives. She gets to keep the marble. Reward.
  • A jar full of marbles. For every wrong answer, a marble is pulled out of the jar. Punishment.

The authors found the students learned faster when they lost a marble.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

That got me thinking about a mindset for saving money.  Are we encouraged by punishment or reward? Would we save more (in the long-run) if we started with a fully-funded investment (marbles already in the jar) and focused on not losing the money?  (Not a likely starting point for most people I know.)  Maybe, instead of fully-funded, we start with the investments we have built over the last ten years. At this point, it represents our full jar. Would we be inspired and continue to put away even more money–or just make sure we did not lose any money?

Or do we accrue more wealth starting from zero (the empty jar) and continually add dollars, thereby growing the investment (marbles in the jar)?

Obviously, this depends on a lot of factors (such as discretionary income level, personal discipline, debt level, unforeseen events, or tolerance for risk).

Last week I found a one-page spreadsheet I had created nine years ago (2011).  On the left side of the page were the dates of my, then, bi-weekly paychecks. Across the top of the table were seven column labels. One was for a debt we owed, four were for different savings vehicles, and one was labeled “fun account” (the money we could use for our entertainment, dinners out, and the like). The seventh column was the total amount of money that went for all six allocations for each pay period.

Marbles going into the jar.

I do remember completing that table each pay day (constantly adding the “marbles”). I had an immense sense of satisfaction seeing the entries, and the growing the numbers in the last column.  Some weeks, one column or another got less than usual. There were a few negative entries (removing the “marbles”). That generally gave me pause and made me reflect.

I credit my mother with instilling the discipline of adding marbles to the jar.  That positive reinforcement has been with me for decades.  I learned early on to remove the marbles with care and thought.

Consider what works for you when it comes to a savings plan—and what short circuits your best intentions.

And check this past post regarding a demonstration I have performed to show how a penny can add up over time.

What have you done to not only gain but, also, keep from losing your marbles?


Video Recommendation for the Week

Listen to co-author of the Power of Bad, John Tierney, give a quick overview of the negativity effect. He speaks about a “low bad diet.”


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in Discipline, financial literacy, Grit, habits | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #514) Which Road?


 If you get sidetracked, what tools have you developed
to help you move toward your happiness?

While participating in a guided mediation, I heard the words, “There is a highway to upset and a dirt road to happiness.” (Attributed to Tony Robbins.)

Love that metaphor. I don’t know about you, but it speaks to me. I’ve been on both roads—often.

Whether we attempt to deal with noise (the cacophony!) that bombards us or the angst that rises up within ourselves, that dirt road can become mud.

We get stuck; mired; angry; frightened; or discouraged. Happiness is a distant dream. And we just as quickly find ourselves on the highway speeding our way to upset.

You’ve read and heard about limiting the noise, breathing, seeking counsel, connecting with love, and taking care of yourself. That can sound great and, at the same time, only seem to be unhelpful Pollyanna words.

A powerful first step may be to notice which road you are on—or about to travel.  Are you sure you want to enter? If you get sidetracked to the fast lane of stress, angst, worry, and anxiety, what tools have you developed to help you exit and move toward your happiness? Who can help? What can help? What can you do?

As Wayne Dyer said, “I can choose peace rather than this.”

How will you go about that choice?


Video Recommendation for the Week

A quick two-plus minute video that may help you tap into some inner motivation.  In light of our title today, pay attention to the quote at the 1:55 mark of the video.


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in assumptions, awareness, Choice | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

(Issue #513) Nosie: The Ear Of The Beholder


How do you tune out the noise and allow in the useful and timely?

Time to resurrect a post from three years ago this month. The topic: noise. And what we can do about it. It’s all around us and when we don’t pay attention it can overwhelm us.

Shawn Achor provides a useful four-point checklist to help identify and separate the noise from the useful. Perhaps you can use these as your path to noise cancellation.

Ask yourself, Achor proposes, if what you attend to (or what you endlessly speak about) is unusable, untimely, hypothetical, or distracting.  More specifically,

  1. Unusable. Will the information you continuously “take in/give out” change your behavior? If not, you are probably wasting time.

*Example. As I type this, our nation is in the grips of the virus pandemic. Every newscast tells you they have your back with facts not fear.  Ask yourself if watching two, three, or more hours of coverage of the virus is helping or hindering you. Is the amount of new information and usable information you get in that time changing your behavior? That is, are doing anything differently. Or does nothing change other than maybe the level of your anxiety. You could be self-medicating on Noise.

  1. Untimely. Will you use the information, now? Will it more than likely change in the future when you might use it?

*Example.  Is the situation so fluid that changes are expected, often? You hear, for instance, that tomorrow’s news briefing by the city leader will give more direction about what to expect. OK. Will all the speculation about tomorrow’s headline help you now? Does the speculation change by the hour—and will it change the leader’s briefing? Useful, timely—or Noise?

  1. Hypothetical. Do we focus on what “could be” rather than what “is”?

*Example. The pandemic is serious No doubt. There are valid concerns about social distancing, hand washing, and economic impacts. We are told to act with “an abundance of caution.” The scientists and doctors understand what can happen. They provide hypotheses for the immediate future based on their research and expertise. Others provide hypotheticals based on who knows what. Helpful or Noise? (And since hypotheticals can change, see numbers one and two above.)

  1. Distracting. Does the information deter you or stop movement toward your goals?

*Example. Your goals relate to your career, relationships, health, finances, intellectual development, emotional stability, and spiritual wellbeing.  How much of the onslaught of information you get hit with (and allow yourself to be hit with) relate to those goals? How much gets in the way of goal achievement?  And consider that what is distracting for one group (Noise), may be considered needed information by another. Again, consider a pandemic example. Not all people have been adhering to the suggested social distancing. Some do not feel at-risk. They find the warnings to be Noise.  Others, believe they are at-risk, and find the warnings usable.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Noise is in the ear of the beholder.  What is noise to me might be nuggets of gold for you. How do you discern the noise from the gold? How do you tune out the noise and allow in the useful and timely? And, how is that working for you?


Video Recommendation for the Week

What can (and do) you do to “turn your brain into noise canceling headphones”?


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in accountability, awareness, Choice, collective monolgues, Communication, Connection-Disconnection, Grit, happiness, leadership, Life lessons | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #512) Reflecting On Calm Over Noise


I hope they inspire you (remind you; reinforce you)
to look at the grandeur that surrounds your place on this planet.

A lot of stuff is grabbing at our attention. And some of it recently has reached critical levels. Whether the discussion focuses on health, economics, social justice, or leadership, there is a lot to digest. It can be overwhelming.

Atlantic Beach, FL
©Steve Piscitelli.

Rather than add more words to the abundant noise that abounds, this week’s offering provides a respite of sorts. The opportunity to breathe in the beauty—if only for a few moments. Perhaps it will help you reset if needed. Reaffirm what you may take for granted that is around you, your friends, your family, and your community.

Atlantic Beach, FL
©Steve Piscitelli.

With the help of my canine partner, Roxie, I welcome most days from the beach. Looking out over the ocean reminds me of the magnitude of nature. I have included a few shots below. I’ve thrown in two from other calming spots.  I hope they inspire you (remind you; reinforce you) to look at the grandeur that surrounds your place on this planet.

Cedar Key, FL
©Steve Piscitelli.

Maybe, for a few moments, you can catch your breath. And then move on all that stuff that confronts your various communities. The stuff won’t go away. Maybe, we can approach it from a renewed perspective.

Tucson, AZ
©Steve Piscitelli.

Atlantic Beach, FL
©Steve Piscitelli.


Video Recommendation for the Week

The view from my kayak one morning. Listen to the stillness. See the colors and the dolphin. Breathe.


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in Appreciation, awareness, Life lessons, noise, resilience | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #511) Voice In Your Ear


What can you learn? How can you grow?

Voice in your ear*
Hand on your shoulder

Have you heard it?  Maybe in the morning upon waking or at night when drifting to sleep. Perhaps during the hour of the wolf. Do you listen? Do you talk back? Do you recoil? Does it physically move you? Or maybe scare you?

Sometimes quiet
Sometimes louder

Does it seem ever-present? You try to ignore it; it gets louder. You confront it; it halts. For a time. It remains. What can you see? What do  you hear?

Sometimes a whisper, a protector, a speaker of fame
Sometimes nothing but a ball and chain

Does the voice ever comfort you? Or has it become a dreaded weight? Like a flibbertigibbet, it never ceases.

Voice in your ear

It will not go away. Until you address the issue on its mind.  What can you learn? How can you grow?


Video Recommendation for the Week

Michael Singer writes about the Inner Roommate in his book The Untethered Soul. Here he discusses “Your Inner Thorn”—that all of us have. Perhaps it feeds the voice in  your ear. Do you deal with it? Or do you avoid it and, thus, build an entire life not confronting and eliminating the disturbance? Do you mute the voice? Or do you pay attention to that voice in your ear? To whom do you turn for guidance? A mentor? A friend? A spiritual leader? A family member?


*Voice in Your Ear words ©2020. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in assumptions, awareness, consideration, Critical Thinking, curiosity, empathy, fear, focus, fortitude, Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #510) The Third Grader In The Room


Posing questions sets up a vulnerability of sorts.
Publicly admitting, “I don’t understand. I need you to help me.”

Why?

Simple question.

Why?

Seeking additional information to explain a situation.

Why?

We have heard young children ask that question as they attempt to braille their way through a confusing world.

Why?

And it is a question that may not be posed enough by adults.

Questions—like Why?—can help us understand nuances, gather important information, challenge our preconceptions and misconceptions, or show an interest in a topic or person.  And, questions can help us maintain ownership of a conversation.

As a facilitator of hundreds of workshops, I have used authentic questions to engage the audience and to help them clarify positions. Lectures tend to present what the speaker knows (or thinks she knows or wants you to believe). Questions encourage conversation, seek knowledge and highlight our shortcomings. And that last point—drawing out shortcomings—may keep some people from asking questions. They fear looking weak. So, they talk rather than ask.

If you need to think you are the smartest person in the room, you may decide not to ask a genuine question that acknowledges you lack knowledge or skill in a subject. Posing questions sets up a vulnerability of sorts.  Publicly admitting, “I don’t understand. I need you to help me.”

When I have stated, “Explain it to me like I’m a 3rd grader.” I am telling the other person, I am weak in whatever the area is in front of us.  I am asking for help to become stronger.  I am open to learning.

I believe it was the Dalai Lama who said something to the effect, “When I talk, I hear what I know. When I listen, I might learn something.”

When we stop pontificating and start asking questions we may learn something.


Video Recommendation for the Week

In this clip from Philadelphia, Denzel Washington reminds us of the importance of getting to the point of a matter; of getting help to understand.


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #509) Listen To Your Heart: Physically and Emotionally


When what we do does not match who we are, we suffer.
Pay attention to that which brings and sustains your life.

The Physical.

President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed February 1964 as the first American Heart Month. In part, his proclamation stated,

“I urge the people of the United States to give heed to the nationwide problem
of the heart and blood-vessel diseases,
and to support the programs required to bring about its solution.”

The “solution” he called for more than fifty years ago requires that we listen to our hearts. Pay attention to the signs of distress. More importantly, live the healthy life that will help to decrease the incidence of a coronary incident. The American Hear Association uses the acronym GO RED to emphasize the importance of paying attention to heart health. After all, heart disease is the number one killer of women in our country.

Photo ©Steve Piscitelli. 2019

The Emotional.

We would do well to listen to our hearts emotionally, too. When we consider our goals (professional, personal, and community-based), don’t forget to dance your dance. Pay attention to what matters.  And, please remember to give each goal, opportunity, and challenge the Second R.E.A.D.

When what we do does not match who we are, we suffer.

Pay attention to that which brings and sustains your life.


Video Recommendation for the Week

 And here, courtesy of Roxette, is a musical the reminder to listen to your heart.


strong>Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work.
Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book). More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in awareness, common sense, Goals, Gratitude, habits, listening, resilience | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment