Articles by Sean Doyle
Alexander the Great looked at the philosopher sitting there, impoverished, rags over the rib-thin body, and asked what he was doing. “I am experiencing nothingness,” said the philosopher. “What are you doing?” “I am conquering the world,” responded Alexander, and they both laughed. Each thought the other was a fool.
Approaching the world as fundamentally fair makes us sensitive to when it is not. This is good and powerful and essential for proportionality and equity in our world. It is how laws are made and changed. It is what calls us to protect the vulnerable. But if we are not attentive to the biases and wishes cast by our strengths, they can also blind us to other values that may be at stake. You might not see that there were other facts holding the scales in balance.
In The 3 Promises, David Pollay illustrates a beautiful way of living and sets out a simple formula to help us get there.
Just as the possibilities beyond the horizon are endless, so too are our potential ways of interacting with the world. The challenge is to embrace the sweet density and obscurity of life, recognize the meaning in the rawness of experience, and acknowledge that through reflection we may never catch up. What we decide now matters. If we have to play the game, we might as well play it beautifully, see what we can learn, try to make things better and easier for one another and enjoy the ride as much as we can.
Slowing down re-energizes us and allows us to nurture ourselves so that we can enjoy what we are doing in the moment we are doing it. It allows us to connect with people, rather than just check in. It opens us to awe and wonder, and it lets us play and discover the beauty that exists all around us.
When my parents responded to a drunk, despondent and aggravated old woman with compassion and respect, they did not know that this kindness would reach the child quietly listening in the next room, plant seeds in his soul, and continue to grow outward for forty years. Whether we are seeking peace in middle school or the Middle East, in most circumstances, the most effective strategy is the one that increases the amount of humanity between people.
Forgiveness. Mercy. Prudence. Modesty. The strengths of temperance don’t get as much attention as our more muscular qualities. Yet in a certain sense, maybe this cluster of strengths enables every other strength, and thus makes the good life possible.
Florentino is in his mid-forties, and has worked for a fortune 500 company for the last ten years. For the first six, he worked hard and stayed late. However after several small events that caused him to question his role in the organization, he was passed over for a promotion. No one acknowledged his work, or talked with him about his progress. While he continued to do the minimum necessary for his job, by all measures, Florentino was disengaged and unhappy. How did he change that?
How do we choose our goals? How do we decide how to spend our time and energy and where to direct our attention? These are the topics covered in another workbook in Robert …
This semester I taught positive psychology at North Carolina State University. After our studies of, and exercises on, “savoring” one student lost 20 pounds by changing her relationship with food. Another, who reported …