Inspirational people

The kind of story that moves me the most is one where a person triumphs over adversity and manages to maintain a healthy positive attitude. (Chèrs lecteurs Francophone, voir plus bas pour une belle histoire inspirante, écrite en Français). There is enough horror and evil out there to make us all miserable. But we are not completely impotent in the face of it. Good and evil are forces of human nature highly influenced by context. In a war, previously good people can be made do so horrible things. In a campaign to raise money for earthquake survivors, previously stingy people can make...

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The flagpole and the flag

THE FLAGPOLE AND THE FLAG
(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française)

A flagpole stays in its place while the flag keeps changing position. Such is the way of logic and emotion. These two parts of our minds are in a constant dance for control. They can work together as allies and take us far in life, or battle each other and keep us from ever finding mental peace.

If you were to see a rattle snake while on a hike you would certainly freak out and get away from it. After you made it back safely to camp you would calm down. But regardless of whether you are calm or in the process of...

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Am I having a heart attack?

AM I HAVING A HEART ATTACK?
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Do you worry whenever you get an unexplained pain in your chest? Whenever you hear of someone your age having died, do you suddenly start feeling the same sensations in your body as the other person noticed before dying?

Health worries affect us all from time to time. Even the calmest and most rational person is not immune to this type of anxiety.

Always wrong…almost
I like to say that every time we think we have a disease that will kill us, we will be wrong…except for the last time! This implies that we can never...

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I’m dying for some chips

I’m dying for some chips!
(Published on-line: La Vie en Tranches. Journal Métro, February 23, 2015)

Man, don’t we all get the occasional hankering for some salt? A nice pile of crunchy chips will do the trick! Go to your cupboard, grab a bag, plop down in front of the TV, and munch away in a nirvana of carb, salt and fat! It doesn’t get any better than this.

But wait! You can’t find any. Where are the chips? Oh, no, don’t tell me they’re finished. AAAHHH! Oh well, that’s good. Phew! Now I won’t be tempted. I’ll just stick to my diet plan. There, I feel good. I dodged a bullet there.

Then...

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Workaholic nutcases

Workaholic nutcases
(Published on-line, La vie en tranches, Journal Métro, February 9, 2015)
SVP, voir plus bas pour la versionFrançaise

Would you like a recipe for building a strong and hyper-productive team? Here’s a strategy:

Step 1: Hire ten people for your team. Among the ten, there is a pretty good chance you will find one workaholic nutcase willing to work 80 hours per week and do whatever is asked.
Step 2: Either fire the other nine or make their lives so miserable they all quit.
Step 3: Hire nine others. Chances are pretty good you will find another workaholic nutcase.
Step 4:...

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It’s your turn to do the dishes!

Publié le 27 janvier, 2015: Journal Métro. SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were easy to ask for what you wanted? Being able to assert yourself is a necessary skill. It ensures that our rights are respected and that we are treated as equals in relationships. But it is tough to do. If you overdo it you can come across as arrogant, self-centered or aggressive. Many people choose instead to say nothing when they are bothered by something.

The difficulty with asserting yourself is that as tough as it is to do in a new situation it gets even harder in an...

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Boredom has its rewards

Boredom has its rewards
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There’s a funny thing about the activities that give us the most pleasure; we never would have found them if we weren’t bored at some point.

If you think about the things you really enjoy – a sport like tennis or golf or hockey – a social activity like cooking for friends or family – a leisure activity like painting or doing crosswords – the common denominator in all of these was that at one point you were bored and looking for something to do.

The way in which we fill our voids can sometimes make the difference...

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The foster mother

The foster mother
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We are blessed by the mother who gave up the child. – Lucinda Williams.

As an adoptive father, that lyric makes me cry every time. My last two trips to the United States were to Burlington, Vermont and New York City. Both times we saw Lucinda Williams in concert and on both occasions she opened her show with Blessed, the song from which that line is taken.

The trip to New York also gave me the chance to see the 9-11 memorial. It was among the most moving experiences of my life. To see the memorial and to hear that song...

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Malala and the triumph of good over evil

Many people wonder if human beings are fundamentally good or evil.

Most of us will acknowledge that there is a bit of both in the world. I agree but the quantity of each is not fixed in stone. Good and bad actions are forces that influence our collective mindsets.

Malala Yousefzai was shot by the forces of evil. We are not always in control of events in our lives but we are in control of how we respond to them. It would have been easy to capitulate and shake her head at the injustice of such an act. Instead she stood defiant in the face of adversity and steadfastly continued to fight for...

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Not forgotten

Photo by René Lortie

I have nothing more to add but in case you missed what I wrote five years ago, here it is:(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française)

Today is the 20th anniversary of Marc Lépine’s rampage. Yesterday, I was in my car and heard two riveting interviews on CBC’s As It Happens. The first was with Nathalie Provost, who was shot by Lepine. The other was with Monique Lépine, Marc’s mother. I thought it might be a good time to re-post a column I had written on the 16th anniversary of the event.

I don’t get paid to write the column in Métro and often wonder why I...

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