Does Harvard Study Show “What Makes Us Happy”?




That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.

–Dr. George Vaillant, Psychiatrist
Harvard Study of Adult Development

"What Makes Us Happy"

What Makes Us Happy?, in the June, 2009, issue of the Atlantic has attracted a lot of attention. It is an interesting story, or collection of anecdotes, but does it provide any useful guidance for CEOs or their executive coaches?

Vaillant sorts people according to their (more…)

Your Mind: Use It or Lose It

Elderly and Sharp Bridge Player

“There is quite a bit of evidence now suggesting that the more people you have contact with, in your own home or outside, the better you do” mentally and physically, Dr. Kawas said. “Interacting with people regularly, even strangers, uses easily as much brain power as doing puzzles, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this is what it’s all about.”

And bridge, she added, provides both kinds of stimulation.



“People stop playing,” said Norma Koskoff, another regular [contract bridge] player here, “and very often when they stop playing, they don’t live much longer.”

At Bridge Table,
Clues to a Lucid Old Age

New York Times


Carl Rogers Emphasizes Relationship



I watched the famous “Gloria” films this weekend, more properly known as Three Approaches to Psychotherapy. Gloria, the patient, generously agreed to have filmed sessions with each of the three great psychotherapists of the 1960s: Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls, and Albert Ellis. It must have been quite a day for her!


Carl Rogers actively worked to wrest control of counseling from the medical monopoly established by Freud and Jung, opening the work to (more…)

Language & Relationships Make Us Human



Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language According to the social-brain theory, it was this need to understand social dynamics–not the need to find food or navigate terrain–that spurred and rewarded the evolution of bigger and bigger primate brains.

This isn’t idle speculation; Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist and social-brain theorist, and others have documented correlations between brain size and social-group size in many primate species. The bigger an animal’s typical group size (20 or so for macaques, for instance, 50 or so for chimps), the larger the percentage of brain devoted to (more…)

Commitment in Marriage–and Life

A friend considering whether to propose marriage wrote to me in 1995 to request coaching. Here is my response.



In my first marriage, arguments with my wife followed a common format: I attacked and withdrew (what John Grey refers to as “the bear healing in his cave”). In my cave, I found myself stewing over imagined details of how we would divide the furniture, whether I would lose half of my library and the joys of returning to dating and seduction. Then we would cool off and gradually return to normal. But conflicts occur in close relationships, so I had lots of opportunity to (more…)

Awake to human life

Helen Keller

For nearly six years I had no concepts of nature or mind or death or God. I literally thought with my body. Without a single exception my memories of that time are tactual. … there is not one spark of emotion or rational thought in these distinct, yet corporeal memories. … I was like an unconscious clod of earth. Then, suddenly, I knew not how or where or when, my brain felt the impact of another mind, and I awoke to language, to knowledge of love, to the usual concepts of nature, of good and evil!


I was actually lifted from nothingness to human life…

–Helen Keller


A Special Gift

Holiday Garland




We know it’s just another day
that comes around each year.
But something special happens then
that makes this time so dear.


We smile at others as they pass
a child’s eyes wide with wonder
The wreaths and holly hanging everywhere
might e’en take time to ponder.


The time does come but once a year
bringing happiness and joy.
The season is for (more…)