(Issue #523) Giving, Receiving, and Gratitude


It could change the world for one person.

 With all the dislocations and dysfunctions the pandemic has wrought, aren’t you encouraged and energized by the acts of graciousness you have read about or witnessed?

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Like the pizza maker sending 300+ pizzas per day to healthcare workers in New York. And that act of giving led to the owner receiving help from his landlord.

Like pen pals that have befriended residents in nursing/retirement/assisted-living homes. A similar program exists in the Community Hospice (Jacksonville, Florida) for which Roxie and I volunteer.

And like the Puppuccino Man.

In his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra speaks about the “dynamic exchange” of giving and receiving.

The best way to put the LAW OF GIVING into operation—to start the whole process of circulation—is to make a decision that any time you come into contact with anyone, you will give them something…a flower, a compliment, or a prayer. In fact, the most powerful forms of giving are non-material…When you meet someone, you can silently send them a blessing…. (p. 33)

We do not (or, at least, should not) give in order to receive. We do so to circulate joy.  Leo Buscaglia said something to the effect that if you give a gift expecting a return, then what you really gave was a loan.

Small acts of kindness and assistance can have a bigger impact than we know in another person’s life.

“Helping one person may not change the world,
but it could change the world for that one person.”
(attribution unknown)

And it could change the world of the one giving as well.

Photo ©Steve Piscitelli. 2019


Video Recommendation for the Week

The cycle of giving, receiving, and gratitude.


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®

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(Issue #522) Reflecting. Learning. Appreciating.


And just like that, 2010 flew by. And so did 2011, 2012…2019….

On May 31, 2010, I ventured into the blogosphere. At that time, I had three goals:

  • Experience a new(for me) aspect of social media (remember, it was 2010)
  • Develop and flesh out new ideas
  • Provide something of value—not just another cyber rant.

Ten years of weekly blogging later, it has been a permanent part of my life. Regardless of “situations,” the posts have appeared every Sunday since that first offering in 2010.

While most of my context has involved the learning and teaching dynamic, each post has addressed the theme of growth and resilience. Positive and uplifting thought provokers. At least that has been my goal.

As I looked back through a few of those posts, I noted weak signals for what was to come. Or, I should say, what has arrived.  Take my first post (Issue #1. “Social Media: Know When and How to Use It.” Inspired by a program I had co-facilitated in Austin, Texas, I smile now reading two of the points I made then:

*People are interested in SKYPE. The ability to video conference (two people) computer to computer for FREE and with good quality is attractive.  Audio conferencing with more than twenty people at a time is also available. One participant yesterday was excited about the prospect of using this technology to connect with students on various campuses.

 **Social media is not a fad. It is not going away.  We should do what we can to help shape the discussion about appropriate uses of the technology for teaching and learning.  This is important for the classroom and the boardroom.

Like so many weak signals, the observations seem obvious now.

Issue #400 (“Do We Live in as Post-Fact World”) asked the readers to

…remember the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound?”

Have we evolved/devolved to a time when the question to ponder has become, “If a fact is offered and no one ‘likes’ it, is it a fact?”  How do we combat this? Can we combat this? How do we train and coach teachers to do this so their students live in a truth-based world?

Indeed.

As I move into the 11th year of The Growth and Resilience Network® Blog, I ask that we all take a moment and contemplate milestones and what they have meant to our lives—and what they will mean. Here is what I wrote in Issue #100 (“Milestones: Endpoints or Checkpoints”):

For me, milestones remind me of the possibilities in life.  They ARE those markers (like mile markers on the highway) that guide us.  They are something to shoot for. But they are not the end of the journey.  Key West may appear to be the end with mile marker “0”.  All that means is that we can adjust course and head east…or hop on a boat and continue west to Ft. Jefferson.  Mile markers mark the progress along the journey.  They are not the end of the line.

Where is your next mile marker…and the next…and the next…?

Thank you for reading, commenting on, and sharing my blog posts over the years. I appreciate your company on the journey. On to the next mile marker…and the next…and the next.


Video Recommendation for the Week

One quick look at the year 2010 and some of its milestones.  As the video shares: “and just like that, 2010 flew by.”

And so did 2011, 2012…2019….

Appreciate every moment.


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, Life lessons | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

(Issue #521) Sunrise, Clouds, and the News


Some people and groups focus on the darkness and what might happen.
Others ignore warning signs and
look only at what they consider to be brightness.

First, the sunrise.

I have found the best time to view sunrise on the beach comes about fifteen or twenty minutes before the sun pops out of the water. That is when nature’s spotlight of orange, pink, and yellow tints streaks across the sky. Intense and vibrant.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Add clouds to the mix, and the textures magnify the spectacle. Whether Cirrus, Stratus, or Cumulus, they add drama and beauty to the scene.  Combined with the sun’s colors, nature provides a fabric we can almost feel.  The clouds add to the story.  Rather than distracting, they provide more context for the hours ahead.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Now for the news.

Last week, I saw a piece on the news (read about it, too) about airline passengers, masks, and seating assignments.  The piece showed overcrowding (read: no social distancing) and inconsistent mask usage. The reporter helped paint a dire picture with words.

These were the clouds if you would allow the metaphor.

Even with the dramatic decrease in airline flights due to the pandemic, I wondered how representative this news was of flights in general.  Maybe it was. Maybe not.

I do not know how many flights flew in the country that day.  Maybe I missed the stories about the flights that had a better experience for its passengers. But we did not get those rays of sunshine.

The highlighted flights do have lessons to which we need to pay attention. So do the flights that have no or minimal incidents.

Why concentrate (solely) on the clouds? Why not take in more of the view and see the bright spots?

Some people and groups focus on the darkness and what might happen. Others ignore warning signs and look only at what they consider to be brightness.

And there are those amongst us who embrace both.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli


Video Recommendation for the Week

I shot this video on a sunrise ocean kayak paddle in Atlantic Beach, Florida.  Take it all in. The blue sky, colors, clouds, reflections, and the water. Oh, and don’t miss the pod of dolphins just off my bow. I would have missed them if all I did was focus on the clouds (or colors, or reflections).


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 #520) What Will Change?


Yes, a lot has changed. How, though, have you used that change
to exact needed change in your life for good? How has the time helped your resilience?

Even though a lot has changed in the last two months, what has really changed?  That is, when a greater distance exists between the pandemic and where we stand, what will change in your life going forward. How will your approach to life be different?

I stumbled on a video I made for my students in 2011. It was a mid-semester checkup on their progress towards their respective dreams.

I used the three-step strategy:  Stop. Keep. Start.  And I thought about how those steps apply to our situation now.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

STOP

During the past two months (and those to come as we go through various phases of “re-opening”), many (most) have had to STOP the standard ways of connecting in business, school, church, and relationships. We had to adopt and adapt strategies to earn a living, engage in community service, and continue formal education.  Much has been made about the amount time people spend at home.

So, in a sense, we have been forced to STOP the way we typically do things. The pause has created a time to think and act anew. A time for re-evaluation about what we value.

KEEP

 Have you developed new ways of doing things that you plan to (think you will) continue to do. What new ritual have you developed that you plan on staying with even when all is back to “normal.”  Maybe it is a new workout routine, or an activity you have started with your family.  For those who have been “Zooming” on video calls, perhaps you have found a new and efficient way to do business if only on occasion. What were you forced to do in this time of exigencies, that you will KEEP because they have the power for good in your life moving forward?

START

Can you think of some things you had to curtail, that you no longer miss because you enjoy what you have put in their place. Maybe you found that the old habits created obstacles for growth. Maybe you found the time to revisit an old project that had been neglected or begin a journey that you had not considered before. And then there are the things you have missed that you cannot wait to START again. They have taken on a new meaning for you. You will treasure them more than you ever have.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Yes, a lot has changed. How, though, have you used that change to exact needed change in your life for good? How has the time helped your resilience?


Video Recommendation for the Week

Here is the video I mentioned above.


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 , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #519) Lessons From A Dragon And His Friend


Can we look to a time when we will be able to wipe away the tears,
emerge from the cave, and once again play along the cherry lane?

Working out to an “Oldies” playlist, I heard the dulcet voices of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing about their favorite dragon. Taking a moment to listen (and stop grunting), the words (especially their final verse) gave me pause.

Was it about loss of friendship, childhood, connection, and innocence. If so, it wasn’t the happy bouncy song I thought I remembered.

Or was it about friendship, exploration, creativity, joy, interconnectedness, and a world built on uplifting “what ifs”?

I pulled up the song on YouTube (see the first Video Recommendation for the Week below) and listened some more. I read comments about the emotion it conjured. And the love for the song some 55 years after its recording.

One comment on the video page caught my attention with a new perspective.  It was a final verse not in the original song.  I am not sure of the origin.   In the second Video Recommendation for the Week below, Peter Yarrow actually draws from these words at the end of the clip.

Puff the Magic Dragon walked out on the Strand.
He looked down and there he saw footprints in the sand.
A voice said Mr. Dragon, please don’t be so sad.
My name is Jenny Paper. I was sent here by my dad.

Perhaps it is a song about the future, hope, mentorship, and childhood regained through a generation to come.  About passing along memories and lessons.

About a legacy of connection that cannot and should not be lost.

In this time of pandemic, lockdowns, loss of life, and unimagined dislocations, can we look to a time (in the near future) when we will be able to wipe away the tears, emerge from the cave, and once again play along the cherry lane?

For our health and the well-being of our generations to come, how can we not?


Video Recommendation for the Week

  1. Peter, Paul, and Mary perform “Puff the Magic Dragon” in 1965.
  2. Peter Yarrow gives the song some context and a different twist at the end.

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 , , , , | 1 Comment

(Issue #518) Ever Consider a Low-Bad Diet?


“Just about every measure of human well-being has improved
except for one: hope.

The healthier we become, the gloomier our worldview.”
—John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister—

 Pause on the above quote for a moment. Let it sink it. What do you think creates the disconnect?

In their recent book, The Power of Bad: And How to Overcome It, Tierney and Baumeister attribute the seeming contradiction to the negativity effect. Some call it negativity bias, negativity dominance, or positivity discounting. Whatever the concept label, research shows that people have an irrational impulse to consider one (negative) thing and ignore the broader (more positive) picture.

We catastrophize  as we fixate on a single negative event while discounting the positives that surround us. The negative has such and impact that it will override one, two, or three uplifting actions. There is a great deal of good around us—but how often does the focus goes to the bad?

Crisis mongers know this and seize on it. How many times does the “news” start with a “Breaking News Alert!”? (Often.)  And how many times is that “Breaking News Alert!” about a positive story? (Seldom.) Or a politician grabs hold of an isolated event only to use it as “evidence” that our world is threatened. Our discomfort provides an opening of opportunity for the crisis monger. More emphasis on the threat creates fear, which brings about more coverage and anxiety.

Tierney and Baumeister remind us that “The Merchants of Bad” (found in news, politics, and social media, for instance) want us to fret and squirm. Regardless of the good, they focus on the bad. And they have found a power in bad. They focus, we shake.

Research speaks of the (again, according to the authors) Rule of Four: It takes (roughly speaking) four positive things to overcome one negative turn of events. When confronted with a “bad” (an insult, a broken promise, an unkind word, an action), any previous “good” is more than likely to be overshadowed. A mental health counselor told me that the rule can be as high as 6 to 1 when it comes to marital issues. One transgression can wipe out a half-dozen well-intentioned actions.

A Russian proverb holds that “a spoonful of tar can spoil a barrel of honey, but a spoonful of honey does nothing for a barrel of tar.”

It takes a lot more “good” to overcome a “bad,” then it does for a “bad” to wipe out all the preceding “good.” It interferes with life. It has an impact on hope. We end up fixating on one negative of the past or the unknown what if of the future. We end up on a runaway train of negativity and lose touch with the present. Especially the good in the present.

Be a discerning and critical thinker as you read about bad. It has real power to override the good that surrounds us daily.

The authors suggest we place ourselves on a low-bad diet. For instance, “when politicians and pundits are assailing each other, switch channels. If you try to follow the Rule of Four by watching four uplifting stories for every bad one, you’ll spend a lot less time on all-news stations.”

Add more honey. Limit the tar.


Video Recommendation for the Week

Sometimes we need to stop, breathe, and contextualize. Here is a simple breathing exercise to help focus on the breath, if only for a few seconds to regain our bearings. It is a Zen technique called Breath Counting.


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 #517) Rule of 30


Tomorrow we find out if we are better than we were.
Today we create our tomorrow.

So, what have you been doing during the “Safer at Home” stage of life (or whatever your locality may call it) you now find yourself in? Cleaning closets? (Check!) Organizing the garage? (Check!) Learning what six feet actually looks like? (Check!) Or maybe you have pulled out some old projects that you tucked away because you didn’t have the time to complete/deal with them. Now you do.

One of my old projects that I dusted off (and old it is…20+ years) is a novel manuscript.  It needs major surgery. Despite its many shortcomings at this stage, I have had fun re-reading the pages and getting to know the characters again.

One of them, Gracie, describes her philosophy of life as the Rule of 30. At this point in the novel, her and her husband are in their forties. In her words:

We got twenty, thirty years left? Maybe we only got ten left.
Why we bustin’ our asses for someone else?
Life ain’t gonna wait for us. We need to grab it.

Gracie and her husband have dreams, and they had been ignoring their dreams. Until they didn’t. Until they realized life, obviously, gets a shorter each day we close our eyes. What we put off, we may never do/see/feel/experience/achieve/enjoy.

Let’s put the Rule of 30 into a visual.

Consider the following graphic. You look to the future and say, “Got plenty of time to save for retirement/get the dream job/build a family/ [you fill in the blank].”  With the table below, you are standing on the far left. Looking at the 30 years in the future—the “plenty of time.”

So, you figure, I got a lot of time. And then, the following happens (the red indicates years that “pass us by”):

Life happens. And twenty-five years pass…and the dream is still in the future. And then 30…and then…..

For sure, there are reasons. Some extenuating and poignant. Others, mere excuses.

We all have opportunities and obstacles as we journey to our dreams. It’s what we do with each of those that creates our story.

Tomorrow we find out if we are better than we were.

(NOTE: If 30 years out is just too much to get your head around, try 30 days. What do you need to accomplish in 30 days?)


Video Recommendation for the Week


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 , , , , , | 1 Comment