A Short Essay

A Better Year Ahead One Person at a Time

Only You Can Prevent Decline

Speculation, interpretation, and imagination. Where we stand on making the new year a better year rests with us. We are the maker, the destroyer, the protector, and yes, the savior of ourselves.

William James taught us in 1892 that the greatest weapon against tension and anxiety is our ability to choose one thought over another.

Eight concrete ways to choose better

*In an age of snap decisions, what could be more appropriate than judicious analysis?

*When the world is flying off the handle, what could be more worthwhile than getting a handle?

*In an age of speed…

Aaron Burden Unsplash

First, let me be explicit. This post is about developing solutions to commonplace problems like coming off too strong at work, overreacting, or letting emotions get the best of you.

Anyone who is immobilized by depression has uncontrollable urges, or suicidal thoughts should seek professional help.

The goal of therapy is self-actualization. Carl Rogers’s ‘growth potential’ theory posits that integrating our ‘real self’ with our ‘ideal self’ is how we become ‘fully functional’ human beings.

Therapists help make you aware of the deeper reasons for behaviors and feelings, and ideally, you grow to be untethered or detached from thoughts and…

Peter H, Pixabay

It crept in like a dark, wet fog, and self-care went south. Exercise gradually came to a stop. I had no schedule. My hair grew long and unruly, and the news, the neighbors, the masks — all of it rubbed me like sandpaper on an open wound.

My immediate reaction was to deny it. I’m fine; I just need a weekend away, I said. But upon returning, I still felt agitated and out of sorts. Tense, edgy, and unable to relax, I read, analyzed, and read some more.

Aided by what I read, my experience showed me that I was…

Photo by Author

Humans tend to complicate things. We procrastinate, worry that things aren’t getting done, and anxiously ruminate over our ‘logjam.’

Nowhere is over-complication more blatant than the effort to be present and improve by practicing mindfulness.

The assumption is to practice mindfulness; I need to know how to concentrate, block my thoughts, create a special state of mind, or meditate and empty my mind.

We get pulled into the ‘complexity illusion’ by believing that mindfulness is a superhuman accomplishment.

The mind thrives on this kind of ‘activity.’ The self-talk (and associated resistance) goes something like, I can’t do this, it’s not…

Image: Carloyuen-Pixabay

Real Help Maneuvering Uncertainty

My friends and I had a virtual hangout tuning into John Lennon’s 80th ‘birthday cast’ celebration and found many similarities with what is going on today.


Human rights demonstrations

People crying when Nixon won the election

The same hopeless (will we get through this?) despair loomed. But we agreed what makes today harder is the required isolation. The uncertainty of this pandemic hangs like a thick, debilitating fog.

Reflecting, we all felt weakened, vulnerable, spent. Some of us struggle more than others to maintain strength, some sense of feeling grounded or predictability.

Brainstorming — humans are always seeking ways…

Photo: Brian Braudis

An Education Par Excellence

Almost everyone wants to know how to ‘be better’ in the face of increasing anger and hateful discourse. In my last workshop, Lisa, a customer service specialist, said it this way:

“I am not prepared to deal with people who are nastier than ever. They don’t just call and want a refund. They attack and insult you in the lowest, most personal, and vicious way. It’s like they call wanting someone to fight with.”

Whether you are in line at the DMV, helping in a customer service role, or working at a front desk, you need to recognize that you…

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Bringing our best, most elevated Self to the public square is natural. It’s what we want to do and what we are called to do. But in our divided world, it feels like we are challenged beyond human powers.

Open-mindedness, civility, and understanding in our highly imperfect world appear to be too difficult or requiring more than we have available.

The personal resources that help us operate with civility and create common ground seem out of reach by the overriding, more immediate need to defend our ideas and position.

It feels like life is asking us for everything because tribalism…

Image by Brian Braudis

A Framework for Personal Transformation

The people who contact me for coaching are typically submerged by their story of poverty, unhappiness, lack, not where they want to be.

But many people are not where they want to be. That’s not the story.

For example, the Maryland sanitation worker who got into Harvard isn’t the story.

When I shared Rahan Staton’s story as inspiration on a group coaching call, my clients yawned listlessly. I could feel their drowsy boredom.

It seems they were worn out from overexposure and viewed this story as stale, clichéd.

We often hear about a story and shrug it off, yeah, yeah…

Image by ellenconnelly74 from Pixabay

Story Reveals What Cannot be Taught

The power of story was first capitalized on as cave drawings and gradually shifted to the intrinsically human oral tradition we all know.

Stories are narratives that give us visuals showing where others have gone. They help us feel less alone while relating and connecting around understanding how to live a human life.

We make sense of the world by telling and listening to stories.

But the best stories have the best characters. They are mavericks open to the journey in a civilized way, not in the way of spite or revenge.

How I found the healing power of story

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, just when I…

Patrick Storm Unsplash

Clean Your Car Improve Your Life

Jordan Peterson describes the lessons you can learn by taking responsibility. His advice model is to clean your room.

In my experience, it wasn’t my room that helped me transform my life from an early age. It was my car.

I believe taking ownership of anything is a tool or mechanism for infinite potential. It could be a car, a dog, your room, taking care of a parent, sibling or grandparent. Find something to sink your teeth into.

In one study nursing home residents were more fulfilled and engaged when given the responsibility to care for plants.

How I learned about taking responsibility

School was in…

Brian Braudis

Coach | Advocate |

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store