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DaveShearon



Positive Psychology for lawyers and education leaders



Updated: 2014-01-06T08:55:55-06:00

 



Appreciative Stance

2014-01-06T08:55:55-06:00

I've come to think of gratitude, strengths, optimism, Appreciative Inquiry, high quality connections and more as parts of what seems to be an appreciative stance toward life. The practice on regularly noting these moments goes by many names. The Army calls it "Hunt the Good Stuff". Marty Seligman used "Count Your Blessings". With lawyers, I call it "Right-Spotting" (to contrast to "issue spotting") Rich Gardner, Jr. in his column "Count Your Blessings" in today's Wall Street Journal, talks about this. (BTW, getting to sit and read the complimentary copy of the WSJ at my Fairfield Inn's free breakfast while I'm stranded in NYC until tomorrow after my flight home yesterday was cancelled could be on my list tonight!) He describes his family's habit of going around the car after a trip away and talking about the best part of the trip. Sometimes, they even take multiple turns. He notes that this habit attunes one to notice and store up the good times, an effect others of us have noticed when we follow a regular pattern of recording what goes right in our lives. Enjoy the article!



Springpad vs. Evernote: Promises vs. Ecosystem

2014-01-02T05:52:21-06:00

I've been experimenting with Springpad and Evernote. I've actually used Springpad in a limited way for several years. I especially like using it for products - I have a folder for books and another for wines that is shared with family members. I love the ability to scan a bar code and (90% of the time) add the product, with reviews, links to purchases, price comparisons, etc. Very nice. I've also used it for a travel checklist and a few other items. But, not a major effort with it. I've looked at Evernote several times, but never been hooked. However, due to my colleague Larry Richard's recommendation, I've taken another look. And, over the holidays, I've played with both and done some looking at reviews and blogposts about each. Springpad's Promise I started off leaning to Springpad, partly because I was already familiar with it, partly because Evernote just didn't make as much sense to me intuitively, and partly just because I like to try out the newer and less-used product. As I dug in, I thought I was really going to like Springpad. First, you can look at items within a folder - notes, products, etc. - in a number of views and sorted different ways. And this includes a free-form "pinboard" sort of view that lets you move things around. LOVE this for organizing ideas! Also, Springpad claimed the ability to sync with Google Calendar, so I could handle appointments, engagements, events, and so forth as items within...



A Response to Jordan Furlong

2013-04-05T08:15:44-05:00

In a post at Law21, Jordan Furlong claims that no one wants to ask whether Mandatory Continuing Legal Education programs work, i.e, that they improve attorney competence. He suggests there is no evidence. There is. But MCLE organizations do need to pay more attention to the evidence. Evidence for the effectiveness of MCLE: New York Study of CPE for Accountants New York implemented mandatory CPE for accountants in the mid-90s and the state legislature required a study of effectiveness as part of that implementation. The study was run by Arden Grotelueschen, PhD, University of Illinois who was, at the time, the leading exert in the world on continuing adult professional education. They spent a half million dollars and concluded: Mandatory programs increase partcipation in continuing education, and Increased participation in continuing education correlates with increased knowledge. So, what those of us who have been involved in MCLE for decades have always assumed - that attending CLE programs would increase lawyer knowledge levels - turns out to be validated. Who wants to argue some state or province should repeat this study just to show the same in law? (As far as I can tell, the technical reports from this work aren't online anywhere, but I've got a scanned copy. Email me, dave.shearon at thrivinglawyers.org, and I'll send you the file.) Evidence for the effectiveness of MCLE: Lawyer Response Jordan also suggests asking lawyers about MCLE. Again, it's been done. Repeatedly. In multiple states. Over more than a decade. And the results...



Forever Young

2013-03-30T20:16:36-05:00

I recently read Steve Jobs biography. Very interesting in many ways. He was a huge Bob Dylan fan. Which made it interesting when Pandora served up "Forever Young", apparently written as a blessing for a child after Dylan became a father.I can imagine thinking that in my 30s with young children. Not so much today as they are young adults. Glad to see what they have become and more aware of my own mortality. And, yet, there's Bob Seeger singing this song with a children's choir at 91. Anyway, Karen Reivich hooked me on videos of versions of great songs by great artists. Here's Bob, and The Band (who recorded with him), and Bob Seeger. So, enjoy. Which is your favorite?



Great Week Ahead

2012-12-17T06:07:34-06:00

When you find something you love, do more of it. I love training the skills that help folks bounce back and bounce forward, whether it's with the Army, with teachers using Smart Strengths, or with my fellow lawyers. This week, I get two opportunities! First focusing on strengths in a CLE program sponsored by the Memphis Bar Association on Thursday, then in a joint program with Candice Reed that we are putting on here in Nashville on Friday! Even with the pressure of finishing up materials and the anxiety of trying out some new approaches, I am excited. I love it. which tells me I need to do more of this in the new year. Roger. Wilco!



A Christmas Song for Albert Ellis

2012-12-02T07:13:04-06:00

I've just finished reading Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: It Works for Me - It Can Work for You by Albert Ellis, one of the founders (he'd say THE founder) of cognitive behavioral therapy. Dr. Ellis is recognized as one of the sources for the work on resilience I'm involved in and I wanted to know a bit more about him and his work. Wow! Interesting guy! The book's an easy read and engaging read even if you know nothing about REBT, cognitive psychology, etc. The stories of Dr. Ellis' life were intriguing and engagingly told, and the book does open a window, at least, into the power of deep patterns in our thinking - the beliefs about the world and our place in it - the shoulds and musts. Anyway, I know it is a bit weird to connect a Christmas song with a man who was a practicing Jew as a child and a "probalistic atheist" from 13 on, but this song (1) seems to capture some of REBT, (2) was written by a great guy whom I used to go to church with, Kyle Matthews, and (3) is one of my very favorites. Hope you enjoy:

I've just finished reading Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: It Works for Me - It Can Work for You(image) by Albert Ellis, one of the founders (he'd say THE founder) of cognitive behavioral therapy. Dr. Ellis is recognized as one of the sources for the work on resilience I'm involved in and I wanted to know a bit more about him and his work. Wow! Interesting guy! The book's an easy read and engaging read even if you know nothing about REBT, cognitive psychology, etc. The stories of Dr. Ellis' life were intriguing and engagingly told, and the book does open a window, at least, into the power of deep patterns in our thinking - the beliefs about the world and our place in it - the shoulds and musts. 

Anyway, I know it is a bit weird to connect a Christmas song with a man who was a practicing Jew as a child and a  "probalistic atheist" from 13 on, but this song (1) seems to capture some of REBT, (2) was written by a great guy whom I used to go to church with, Kyle Matthews, and (3) is one of my very favorites.  Hope you enjoy:

 

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(image)



Scoops of Ice Cream

2012-10-27T05:51:21-05:00

I'm starting to dip my toe into the market for a new laptop (tablet?). I use several programs that are best available on Windows (Mindmanager for one). So, I'm reading reviews. Love great language. This from Wired: "Microsoft has stuck to the Windows Way. For over a decade, it’s been serving scoops of vanilla to compete with Apple’s waffle cones of mint chocolate chip with rainbow sprinkles." Photo by ElizabethHudy, Flickr



Smartphones, Mindfulness, the Masters & Intelligence

2012-04-08T09:49:44-05:00

"Navigating a No-Phone Zone" by Jason Gay in the Wall Street Journal for Friday, April 6, (http://j.mp/I4bNqJ) provides a great window into the experience of the gallery at the Masters with its "no phones" policy. That's as in no phones. They'll escort you out if you use one. Wow. And, cool! Mr. Gay describes the experience as "oddly satisfying." He says that fans "look at things - with their eyes. They solve questions - by asking nearby human beings. They come up with clever comments and somehow survive without offering them to the world in 140 characters." Love that last bit! He goes on to talk about having to make plans (meet under the big tree at 2 pm) and then having to stick to them! And he points out that, because they weren't looking at their phones, spectators got to watch, really watch, the event. They didn't miss key moments, or fail to make interesting observations from seemingly mundane moments, because they were too busy texting, tweeting, typing, or touching (the screen - not a person!). This strikes me as a policy that promotes mindfulness. Right now, my personal working definition of mindfulness is: sustained, continuously re-focused non-judgmental attention to what is. In other words, it involves paying attention to some aspect of reality (one's breath is a frequent focus, but the Masters should work!) and continuously re-focusing on that reality when the mind wanders. Some Masters fans may be more non-judgmental than others: noticing the heat of the...



He's Tough! - Mentally and Physically

2012-03-28T07:22:37-05:00

What a great story. "Pocket Hercules" turns 100! http://j.mp/GTdrqD Values: Thrown in prison for protesting oppression in India. Resilience: Trained so hard in prison, the guards gave him a special diet to build stamina. Happiness: "I never allow any sort of tension to grip me. I had to struggle to earn money since my young days, but whatever the situation, I remained happy."



What's meaningful in your life?

2012-03-23T10:31:22-05:00

For many, meaning is a critical component of a good life. We want to feel that we matter and that we are connected in some way to something greater or bigger than we are. I've run across two pieces recently that speak to this, one in the course of commenting on how the social structure and role of government in the developed world is and must change, the second in a piece on global warming. Here they are, with links. The pieces are well worth your time, but the quotes can stand on their own: "Many Americans became (and remain) stuff-rich and meaning-poor. Many people classified as “poor” in American society have an historically unprecedented abundance of consumer goods—anything, essentially, that a Fordist factory here or abroad can turn out. But far too many Americans still have lives that are poor in meaning, in part because the blue social model separates production and consumption in ways that are ultimately dehumanizing and demeaning. A rich and rewarding human life neither comes from nor depends on consumption, even lots of consumption; it comes from producing goods and services of value through the integration of technique with a vision of social and personal meaning. Being fully human is about doing good work that means something." Walter Russell Mead, "The Once and Future Liberalism" http://the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1183 Powerful. The second piece is an account of a lecture by Lord Christopher Monckton on the issue of global warming at Union College, Schenectady, NY. After the lecture, in...