Parenting · You

Let’s Stop Saying No All the Time and Try a Yes Day Instead

Sometimes we parents think it’s our job to so “no” all the time. While there are certainly times when we must so “no” — hard rules, boundaries, safety — we often so “no” for the wrong reasons.

For example, we say no because the kids is just being loud or messy. Or when saying “yes” means extra work for us such as letting the kid help us with dinner.

Often “no” is our answer when we don’t have the time, energy, or patience to clean up messes or tend to bumps and scrapes.

According to this article, toddlers hear “no” an average of 400 times a day 😳, so “no” stops having real power or meaning to them.

👉 Let’s Stop Saying No All the Time and Try a Yes Day Instead

This article suggests a “yes” day and stop saying “no” out of reflex.

In doing so, our kids might be more responsive, obedient, and accommodating. We might even find out that saying yes can be fun—for the whole family.

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Parenting · You

Don’t Give Up—How to Get Your Kids to Do Chores

I have to admit, I’ve been slacking on giving my kids chores. It’s just basics – mostly cleaning up after themselves, emphasizing individual responsibility.

Without responsibilities, how will our kids grow up?

But this great article from Let Grow has me thinking about chores — reframed as “responsibilities” — as part of helping the family and growing your kid’s sense of community and self-confidence.

👉 Don’t Give Up—How to Get Your Kids to Do Chores

This article explains the benefits to your kids having chores responsibilities to do around the house. It also has practical tips for making these responsibilities work for everyone.

I’ve never been so inspired about chores! 😀

how to get kids to do chores LetGrow
You

The Artist’s Hierarchy of Needs

I’ve been taking on some creative projects lately (music and writing) and found this idea of an artist’s needs really helpful. I makes me want to create!

👉 The Artist’s Hierarchy of Needs

(I’m not sure this is technically a “hierarchy”, but still it’s a good list.)

Cheat sheet: creative physical space, creative imaginative space, creative peers / community, creative fuel (filling the well), being active / taking care of your body, creative edge / challenge, faith and belief in yourself and your work, having your work responded to, certainty (confidence?), and time.

Here’s just one of the ten artist’s needs that I really liked: The need for your creative edge:

Solving problems, pushing boundaries, developing something new is at the heart of the creative process. Rather than despair about how difficult it is, embrace the challenge of your craft.

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Parenting · You

Let’s Stop Telling Our Kids to Be Careful All the Time

I love this post from Let Grow. It’s calling out how pointless and even damaging it is to just say “Be careful!” to your kids all the time. It’s a really interesting read.

👉 Let’s Stop Telling Our Kids to Be Careful All the Time

Of course we all want our kids to be safe. But the point here is that we should teach them specifically how to identify and deal with risk instead of a hand waving “Be careful!”, which only indices fear and is mainly meant to make the parents feel better.

As parents, we should be guiding our kids through risk. Our job is to make them strong, independent, smart people. That means helping our kids recognize, evaluate, and manage different kinds of risk. 💪🏻 How about empowering them by asking them, “What’s your exit strategy?” instead of vaguely scaring them with “Be careful!”.

Using phrases that empower our confident kids to manage risk on their own not only gives them important information about their environment, but it also teaches them that they’re capable of doing it.

They even have a poster of things to say instead of “Be careful!”.

Be Careful Be Careful Print small
You

Discomfort is Your Best Friend

I really love the message in this article. It sounds severe, but discomfort is actually your best friend in life.

👉 You Will Not Grow Until You Learn to Tolerate Discomfort

I have found this to be more and more true the older I get, to the point where if things are very easy or comfortable for too long, it sort of terrifies me. It is the first sign of your downfall. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Embracing discomfort and seeing it as your friend allows you to shed fear and enjoy the feeling of progress. It lets you learn to play guitar or programming, it lets you take a chance with someone, it lets you find new ways to be happy and fit, it lets you be shed stale thinking.

When we are in pain, discomfort heightens and communicates. When we are making progress, discomfort peaks and recedes, and clarity washes over us.

PS I told my kid the other day that discomfort grows you, before I even read this article. She said that sounded like something I would read. 😂

You

Five Tips to Be Memorable in Social Settings (and Still Be Yourself)

This is a great article for those of us who may be on the understated side and/or not a big fan of small talk.

👉 How to Be Memorable in Social Settings – Five tips to stand out in a positive way

These tips are great because:

  • They’re genuine and let you be yourself. In fact, they kind of help you be more you.
  • They make socializing more fun and interesting for you, not just others.
  • They are simple and practical.
  • They even work towards some of an introvert’s strengths, i.e. reading books.

Cheat sheet:

  1. Have interesting answers ready for common questions (where are you from, etc.)
  2. Dress for success, i.e. find your style
  3. Remember people’s names (damn this is hard!)
  4. Give people your undivided attention (easy)
  5. Read so you have stuff to talk about
You

Shi**y First Drafts

In a creative writing class I’m taking, our teacher pointed us to this great piece called “Shitty First Drafts”. It basically says what we all know but tend to forget: nobody ever just sits down and writes a great story on the first try.

👉 Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott

This approach frees you up to have fun with it (another topic from the class).

The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.

Anne Lamott from Bird by Bird

As a side note, this “shitty first draft” approach applies just as well to other creative endeavors such as making music or software. The key is to not actually ship the shitty first draft (although the occasional great album seems to be an exception to this rule).

Disclaimer: this blog consists entirely of shitty first drafts. 🤷🏻‍♂️

You

The Secrets to Happiness (Distilled)

I went to this talk by a Buddhist monk about happiness. I’m not a Buddhist, but one thing I like about Buddhism is that it’s more of a philosophy than a religion (from what I’ve seen). There was absolutely no talk of a religious greater power. And no attempt to convert anyone.

The talk was pretty simple, logical, and grounded in reality. It was basically just useful life hacks.

After the talk, I told a classmate, “That all seemed pretty simple.” And he said, “Simple to understand, but really hard to do,” So happiness is like chess in that sense. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Anyways, here’s the quick guide to happiness, according to this class.


Happiness is about a peaceful internal state, i.e. a happy mind.

External rewards (like money, status, etc.) are fine, but they won’t give you lasting happiness. (I know this sounds self-righteous, but it is also self-evident. There’s nothing wrong with being rich, but we all know about rich people who are unhappy and poor people who are happy. 🙃)

To reach an internal peaceful state, act on things you can control and don’t worry about things you can’t control.

If you can do something about it, don’t worry about it.

If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about.

Example: Stuck in traffic on the way to a doctor’s appointment? Call your doc and say you’re running late. If they can work you in later, great. If not, reschedule. Then relax and don’t worry about it. And don’t get mad at your fellow drivers. They’re all in the same situation as you.

Also, a happy mind is a clear, uncluttered mind. This is why mediation is so helpful. It is a quick way to clear out the clutter of your mind and reset to a more relaxed and productive state. It’s like cleaning out a cluttered closet.


And that’s it! Simple and hard, just like life.

💁🏻‍♂️ As a side note, it’s funny that this guide to happiness comes from Buddhists, who say that life is suffering. There is something kind of perfect about the people who embrace suffering to be experts on happiness.

You

Can’t Sleep? Try ‘Quiet Wakefulness’ Instead

I just stumbled upon this idea myself and love that it’s being validated here. ☺️

If you can’t sleep, then don’t stress about it. Just lay there and meditate. Or simply lay still and relax without trying to sleep. It’s low-stress and almost as good as actual sleep.

👉 Can’t Sleep? Try ‘Quiet Wakefulness’ Instead

Actually, with meditation it’s better in some ways such as in increase in “relaxation, an uptick in creativity, a decrease in depressive symptoms“.

The way I look at this is, if I wake up at 3:00 am, this is a great chance to mediate (laying-down style) with no time pressure at all. All sleep-stress goes away, and it feels pretty luxurious. It’s best to have some basic meditation practice down first, of course. But nothing fancy is required.

Most of the time I fall back asleep. But if not, I’m still getting meaningful rest and feelin’ good!

You

12 Qualities of Effortlessly Cool People

This article breaks down the characteristics of cool peeps. And thankfully it’s not the high school “popular” kind of cool, but more in a sense of being effortless and smooth.

👉 The 12 Coolest Human Traits: Do You Have Them?

I like this list because it’s all pretty easy stuff. It’s not about being crazy funny, talented, or rich. Just be cool. 🤷🏻‍♂️😆

[Cheat sheet: they’re adaptable, they like people, their clothes match their personality, they don’t take criticism too personally, they’re present, they self-regulate (food, alcohol, exercise, work, emotions), they’re curious, if you’re mean to them, they won’t make a fuss, they do interesting things, they won’t judge you, they find fun in small stuff, you wish you could see more of them.]