The Age of Greed and Grievance


In Sunday’s issue of The Boston Globe, writer Steve Almond discusses the lack of gratitude felt by Americans, especially the young. You can read the full text here:

My guess is this is not limited to Americans.
When did we become so spoiled and narcissistic? How sad is it to watch people resort to ever escalating stupidity to get attention in our ME, ME, ME world? Is the most exciting thing happening really Kim Kardashian’s big, naked butt? Butts are for pooping – when did they get to be so fascinating?

I write about this today as it is impossible to understand human psychology without understanding the social influences that surround us all. What is going on in your world, are you tired of the endless noise to be noticed? Are you a part of it? What part of you is crying out to be heard? How does all of this influence you and how you feel each day? Are we headed to becoming and idiocracy with more people participating in the feeding frenzy of Black Friday than bothered to vote in last month’s elections?

You can join the conversation on Facebook by searching for our Psych-hacker page. I still haven’t figured out how to add it here ūüôā

The mind, the body and the spirit – the Holy Trinity

Perhaps there are not so many well kept secrets as this one – that all is linked between the mind, the body and the spirit – they are in fact, your holy trinity. Misalignment in any one of these results in problems, traumas, excessive fears and outright failure or underperformance.

Did you know that trauma can creating lasting changes in the brain? Trauma is often described as a failed overwhelming survival attempt. Trauma keeps our nervous system on constant watch or hypervigilence. Those changes in the brain have an odd way of pushing you to recreate the trauma scenario, perhaps as a way of hoping for a successful completion of our initial survival attempt. However, this is rarely successful. Too often, it reaffirms over and over again your sense of powerlessness.

Trauma freezes us in time – perhaps we still see the world though the eyes of a frightened child, or we relive an accident, the war, the terrifying emotional or physical instability at the hands of cruel, oblivious or otherwise traumatized parents. Trauma carries a generational legacy – one that can make identifiable changes to DNA and be passed on. This isn’t fiction, this is science. Are you in need of more psycho-education and/or coaching on trauma and its aftermath and legacy? Trauma can be completely or partially forgotten by the mind, but not the body resulting in fear, depression, anxiety, failed relationships and illness are but a few of the manifestations of unresolved trauma. Join in the conversation to learn and discuss more.

Psychology versus Coaching? Which is best for you?

Here in New England, the leaves are turning.  Some trees are early changers and have already jazzed up the landscape with reds and gold.  Those trees have begun shedding their leaves while the oaks and birches are just beginning to change.  In about six weeks, the trees will be bare as winter settles in here in the Northern Hemisphere for a few months.  Winter is the season of introspection and reflection; it is also the season of celebration, growth and planning.

Summer was busy this year, with studying, learning and growing. I have been thinking about what I was hoping to accomplish with this blog and why.  We have visitors who stop by often, but I wonder.  What do my readers want to read about?  What is it they care about that we can discuss?

I often have to censor myself because my interests in psychology are quite diverse.¬† I go back and forth between psychology and analysis and coaching¬†– which is better?¬†¬† Psychology is endlessly fascinating to me as a matter of understanding the question “why?”¬† Why people behave the way they do is endlessly interesting to me.

However, in the realm of growth and self-understanding analysis work can be a bottomless pit.  If you go in search of what is wrong with you, you will find more than you can imagine and it will never end, it takes a very long time and results are not always evident.   Often we come away with a great understanding of why we are the way we are and little more.

And then there are the endless labels, anxious, depressed ADD, ADHD, narcissistic, delusional, low self-esteem etc.   What is helpful about a label? For many of us it is an excuse not to grow and change or a license to not try.

In my experience, if you ask the question “What is wrong with me?”¬† You will continue to get an almost inexhaustible cascade of answers.¬†¬† I know what I would get and it would not be pretty.

The reality is that life is a challenge and society is pretty messed up. We are imperfect humans and we are struggling to deal with it.

We bring to this struggle inherited patterns of behavior transmitted by the actions, inactions and attitudes our parents, teachers and caregivers.  We think we see truth, but in fact, we see the world as we were told to expect it.  Our lenses are soiled and distorted.  If those distortions happen to serve you and your life is wonderful, you probably are not reading this.

On the other hand, coaching is rooted in practical and human needs psychology.  It involves many techniques that can shift your world and move you on WITHOUT digging endlessly into the past.  The results are often, faster, more positive and action -oriented versus the mind-action only of analysis.

When I discovered coaching, it seemed the perfect blend of principles to help people grow and change and find more effective solutions than analysis.

What are you struggling with?

Lessons from the Field.

It’s a cool late summer day here in New England and football season has begun. Today’s lesson in psych-hacking comes to us by way of New England Patriot’s receiver, Julian Edelman. Aside from being adorable and very, very funny, Julian delivers a killer statement at the end of his video. So forget about all the trashy news that the NFL has been generating this past few weeks and focus on a positive message for a change.

Watch and tell how you proved someone wrong.

Julian Edelman Reads Harsh 2009 Scouting Report About Himself (Video)

Why we need coaches!


First let’s get this off my chest – there are too many unqualified people setting up shop as coaches. Going to a coaching school and paying for a certification really doesn’t do it. If you want to really be of assistance to people, you need to learn about people. You need to learn about human behavior and about organizational behavior. Then you need to be able to connect deeply with someone by understanding their motives, values and aspirations. It can actually come together quite quickly in skilled hands or dissolve instantaneously in incompetent ones.

I hired a coach some years back – my first one. He was terrible – even though he was “highly recommended”. Our first conversation went like this:

Coach: So what do you want to work on?

Me: Organization – (not really, but this is what I said since his opener left me cold)

Coach: Okay, what are three things you will do by our next meeting to get organized?

Me: Clean up my laundry pile, clean off my desk, pay my bills.

Coach: Great! What might get in your way of doing that?

Me: Life

Coach: So how will you prevent that?

Me: I don’t know…

Okay, I was terrible too! But, here is the thing. He took no time to get to know who I was and what made me tick. He could have been an app pre-programmed to say what he said. There was no charm…no attempt to learn about me – which at $500 an hour, you had better take that time!

I had to cancel the next meeting due to a death in the family. He was insulted and told me he could not understand why THAT threw me. $1000 bucks into the trash can and I severed the relationship. I was a weanie and made a lame excuse. But, years later, I must say, Dear Coach, YOU SUCKED!

I coach students at Harvard Business School on resume development, personal branding and interviewing skills. Every conversation begins with a power-packed download of who you are and what you want to achieve. Our sessions are intense and wonderful. Why? It’s the exponential power of the coaching relationship that is nurturing, safe and often tough. but always, always personal.

The folks at HBS already understand the value of coaching. They have it at their fingertips when they need it and they use it. I have zero doubt that this is part of the reason (they are also brilliant!) that HBS students are so successful.

I need a coach, we all need coaches! If the people at HBS and in the corporate world already get the value of coaching, that’s good enough for me! Next week, we begin working with a new cohort at HBS and I will work diligently with them to provide a meaningful experience.

Truthfully, the psych-hacking IS coaching! It is the extraction of principles of human psychology in a focused way to get results quickly.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact me @

14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Are you miserable?¬† Sure,¬† at some point most of us are.¬† You know a small failure, a minor slight and for some of us it is off the races as we indulge in a major pity party with ourselves.¬† Cloe Madanes has written an insightful article outlining the major psychological habits that can lead us down the road to misery if unchallenged.¬†¬† Check them out and be sure to book mark this post for easy finding when you start down the road of¬†negative thinking……

Cognitive Traps – Repeating the Past

Do you ever find yourself experiencing similar issues over and over again – even when you are trying not to? Do you sometimes feel at the mercy of something you cannot quite put your finger on? Have you sought therapy for these issues and found zero relief? Coming soon…a program to help you break out of the vicious cycles and repeating patterns of failure, heartbreak, and pain. Schemas are maladaptive patterns of thinking and behavior that are based on faulty beliefs. There is no magic to changing them…it takes work, the magic is in being free of them and it starts here!

If you are interested in participating in this 12 week coaching session which I guarantee will provide you more insight and help than you have EVER gotten, please send me an email…there are only a few spots available for this life-changing experience. I am not given to marketing bluster…this is real….I am thrilled to be able to share this with you. This will enable you to work with your therapist or coach with success – maybe for the first time.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????