Keeping it together - humanistically

 I've been in a funk lately. I know I'm not the only one. I've got friends. We talk. Most of us are - funky - and not in a good way. Ugh.

It's partially the pandemic and the stress related to that and  - lots of other things. It makes it hard to want to make plans. I run my own business and honestly, if I don't feel like working, no one notices but me. I'm not nearly as effective as I could be if I was - you know - motivated.  And right now I'm not.

So, how should I, as a Humanist, deal with this situation.  Well - here's how I'm approaching it.  

Step one. Accept reality. 

The reality is. I'm in a funk. And, that's honestly ok. I mean seriously, with all that is going on. I'm pretty sure my desire to not interact much with the world except, do my own thing and hang out with family, is a pretty darned good response to a global pandemic. It's me protecting myself.  That's a good thing.

The reality is, we have one job during a pandemic. And that is, to survive it. 

Not wanting to do much - is probably a health response to our current reality.

Step 2: Be OK with NOT being "productive" for a while. 

I'm normally a pretty productive person. I sit on 2 non-profit boards. I publish books, run my own company, have a kid, plus I'm working on a genealogy project. I have very little interest in doing extra for my work right now. And you know what? That's ok. I don't have to be maximizing my impact on others right now. What I can and should be doing, is surviving this pandemic - hopefully, with my sanity intact. 

I have friends who are caring for sick family members, or who are sick themselves. Or they are dealing with loss of job or income or whatever it is. The reality is, everything is harder right now. If you can't do all the extra stuff you want to - that's ok. Again, withdrawing is a health response to being overwhelmed. If you can withdraw a bit - do it. The stuff you do get done, will get better and your sanity will thank you.

If you can't withdraw from things, figure out if you can. You have one job, to survive this. What is the bare minimum you need to do, to survive. You have to earn a living. And take care of your family. That's it really. All that other still will not go away. For more on this concept - read this essay I wrote last month -

Figure out what your priorities are - and focus on 3 things at most. 

Step 3: Relax

What makes you happy? What do you enjoy out of all the things you do and what do you never want to do again?

Make time for and indulge in the things that bring you joy.  I cant' stress this enough. Yes, you have a lot going on. It's overwhelming. We all want to withdraw.  No, you do not have to be productive in your cocoon. What do you like to do that helps you feel alive?

For me, it's watching foreign movies and K-dramas. And Disney movies and let's face it - MCU.  That brings me joy. 

Time spent wasting time - is not wasted if it helps me relax and feel happy.

I do find that when I don't want to do work work, my brain occupies itself with other things. Right now, that's genealogy stuff.  Whatever it is you enjoy, indulge in your guilty pleasures. That isn't wasted time. It's quality time.

Learning More

My first online course, is my course called - Living Made Simpler.

The goal of the course is to teach people how to apply the humanist philosophy to their daily life. The result, for me at least, is my life is made easier when I think - what would a humanist do. How do I live an ethical life of personal fulfillment that aspires to the greater good of humanity?

That's what we are all striving for right?  Humanist philosophers through out history have come up with a solution that actually seems to work. So, I encourage you to learn more and see if it works for you.

The course is a 6 hour video lesson program that is loosely based on my book: The Humanist Approach to Happiness.

The book has been translated into several languages and is in use at a military academy in Canada in addition to being part of the curricula for the UUA.   

I hope this approach helps you - feel better while doing better. 

As always, if I can ever help you on your journey to living a better more ethical life, please let me know. 

Measuring Humanistic Leadership & Orchestrating Change

 One of the more interesting responses I get when people take one of my courses is - this is great. How do I get other people to do this do. This being, taking a humanistic approach to - leadership.

I always find it interesting because for me, Humanism is a personal choice. It's something I choose to do for me.  I don't expect other people to do it to.

It may seem weird to say, even though I teach Humanism, I don't proselytize Humanism.  All Humanism is, is a personal approach to being a good person. Being good is catching actually. But even if it isn't, it's still worth being a good person even if the people around you are not.

The other thing is, trying to change other people, is uncool. Helping people be better - super cool. But if they don't want to change, don't try to force them. 

I have a lot of experience orchestrating organizational change.  I don't ever force people to change. I help the people who want to change, change and then, they and we, create a new cultural norm through our efforts.  If we are doing good and doing better, everyone else will see that and want to be a part of it. And if they don't, that's normally fine too.  The mistake most people seeking to create change make is, thinking - they need everyone to buy in. You don't. You just need people willing to experiment with whatever new thing you are trying. 

For more information on how to do this, take my course: Why is Change so Hard? Or ge
t the book. Or the audio book. Whatever format you like, is fine by me. 

Which brings me back to the topic of humanistic leadership. If you are trying to create cultural change, taking a humanistic approach to your leadership will help a lot. Why? Because it encourages you to treat everyone with dignity, including the people who are opposed to your efforts. Again, this is about how you decide to behave. Not how you force others to be more like you, which isn't humanistic at all.

Regardless, lets' say you want to try and recruit people in and you have some people willing to experiment with this new approach. Now what?  Well, first, you all need to educate yourself on not only the philosophy but also on the techniques. 

I have several resources you can use for this.

A book:, and

Certificate Programs in Humanistic Leadership and Humanistic Conflict Management:

If you are interested in measuring your progress as an individual or as a group, I have free downloadable tools you can use to help you better

  • Identify your personal values so you can have effective conversations about which values matter most to you and your team
  • Integrate your chosen values into your decision making process, and 
  • a Reality Based Problem Solving Matrix to use when doing strategy or problem solving work.

These are all based on my book: Applied Humanism, available through Business Expert Press.

Thanks and let me know if I can help you on your journey towards better more ethical leadership. 

Creating Change in Your Life

Whatever it is you don’t like that is going on in your professional or personal life – you can change it. Things don’t have to be the way they are. We can change things and make the world a better place for everyone to live if we take responsibility to do it and approach our problems using a combination of love, compassion science and reason. 

Most people have a list of things they don't like about themselves and others. Even if we like our job and the people around us, there are still things that annoy us and that we would like to change.

Half of the struggle in creating change is just deciding, it's your responsibility. Stop waiting for others to create change, and start - doing it yourself.

Do you have to do it alone? No. And you shouldn't do it yourself. But ... you do have to take personal responsbility to do your part.

And often that means, starting with us. What do we need to learn? What do we need to do differently for ourselves? How do we want to be in relationship to others? All of these are matters of personal responsibility.

So - start with yourself. Start by defining for yourself what it is you truly value. Decide what sort of person you want to be and then start practicing your values in real life. When you need to make a decision think - how would I do this if I lived by my values. That pause to think before acting can make a world of difference. 

 Once you start acting according to your ethics, the next challenge is how to be more effective. For this, you will need to learn how to be a more critical thinking and you will need to become scientifically literate so that you start working on problems that a) are real problems and b) so that you can find solutions to your real problems that will really work. 

Finally, you need to find balance. All work and no play makes for bad outcomes for yourself and others. If what you want is more balance, implement that for yourself. You will find it easier to understand that balance between work and play helps you be more effective at work. 

I have found that I am at my best when I combine moral philosophy, critical thinking, and science together. I think you will benefit from this approach too - which is why I teach this. Visit my website to find books and courses that can help you be a more moral, effective and capable person. 

And yes, I do have a course on the science and ethics of why change is so hard and how to overcome the resistance to change in yourself and others.

Critical Thinking 101

 Like everyone, I am being subjected to misinformation on a daily basis. And, I'm interacting with people who believe things I believe to be untrue. And like everyone, I'm annoyed at what I see as the crazy belief of others.

So, let's review critical thinking 101.  The best way to ensure you yourself don't believe things that aren't true, is to constantly look for evidence that what you believe isn't true.

Yes, this means, considering actively the possibility that what you yourself think - may be wrong.

You can't really help others with this. You can only really control what you yourself think.

So, the next time you encounter someone who says, you're wrong, ask them for the evidence that proves you are.  And if they provide you with that evidence, accept it. Read through it. Take it seriously.  The worst that will happen is, you will find out you were wrong and learn something.

What often happens when I do this is - I find out the other person was wrong. This doesn't make me happy. It makes me annoyed. But at least now I know. 

Taking this approach helps me have nice conversations with people because instead of arguing with them, I am asking socratic questions and they tend to like that as it helps them share what they think they know. It also opens them up to my questioning when I read say - a federalist paper they pointed me to - and I read it and find it seems to say the exact opposite of what they told me it says. 

At this point, we can have a genuine conversation - most of the time.  

I only do this when I am genuinely curious and want to know why people are thinking what they are thinking.

However, there is some science to this too - which is that introducing doubt and getting people to research their own beliefs, is what helps people deprogram from cults. 

So stop being so annoyed that the people around you appear to be in a cult, and start asking them questions - just in case, you are. 

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