The longing for connection

I believe a fundamental human longing is for connection. Most of us get this need met through friends and family, and sometimes we look for connection through brief interactions with strangers.

I guess I was wanting to connect with the elderly Japanese couple seated near me in the shade at an ancient temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand. It was warm and we all apparently wanted a respite from the heat. I gleaned they were Japanese from their son’s talking to them when he deposited them near me.

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Are you being helpful — or hurtful?

Sometimes our friends and colleagues ask us for feedback. Other times we think our feedback will help them see a blind spot that we think they should know.

But no matter if the input is asked for or not, we’re never quite sure how it will be received.

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Travel Angels Redux

A few years ago, I wrote another piece about travel angels. What are they?

When I travel, especially abroad, I am touched by the kindness of others. I call them my travel angels. We had many in our week in Myanmar. In Hong Kong, on the way from the airport to our hotel we had three.

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Been inspired lately?

Lisa (in purple) helped start the savings group

A few weeks ago I visited some projects our Together We Can Change the World foundation supports with SE Asian disadvantaged women and children in Myanmar (Burma). In addition to visiting several schools, we visited an inspirational group called Women for the World.

In their small village outside Yangon (formerly Rangoon) a group of 30 women started a savings club several years ago. Tiring of their inability to escape squalor on their husbands’ meager $5-$8/day earnings, they played the lottery as the only way they thought they could rise out of poverty. All of their money went to rent and food and they had nothing left over to save to invest in their own homes. The banks wouldn’t loan them money as they made too little.

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How long will you tolerate dysfunctional behavior?

I heard a story recently about an executive displaying highly dysfunctional behavior. She is high enough in the organization to get away with not being disciplined or fired. But she’s not emotionally mature enough to understand how her actions have negative ramifications on those around her.

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Do you create your own stress?

“I hate my mailman!” my friend exclaimed.


“Because I was expecting an important package and he just left me a notice in my mailbox. In fact, I saw him earlier in the day in another part of the condo complex.”

My friend lives on the fourth floor of a condo building with a communal mailbox station on the first floor. There is no office for deliveries to be left.

“Did you expect him to deliver it to your door?”


“Has he delivered to your or your neighbors’ doors in the past?”


So my friend expected someone to do his job differently than he’d ever done it because the package was important to her. And since she’d seen him earlier she had the opportunity to discuss picking up her package from him, but she didn’t take the time to do so.

And now she’s upset. At him. Not at herself for not ensuring she’d receive the package that day.

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Is your self-reliance dooming you?

A pal has been a supervisor at our local hardware store for 8 years. He recently shared a story about Eric, the new general manager — someone who’d never worked in a hardware store and was hired about 6 months ago.

Eric is a nice guy, but he doesn’t see how he’s causing himself to fail. It appears that Eric has a lot of confidence since he never asks anyone else for input. The result is a messy store, frustrated staff and irritated customers. His numbers are suffering as a result.

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The benefits of intentional chaos

Most people loathe chaos. It causes them a lot of stress. They don’t know where to start to create order. They feel overwhelmed and disoriented. Nothing seems familiar.

So why would one create chaos intentionally? Usually it’s because they believe life on the other side of the disruption will be better. Often much better.

When you decide to voluntarily move residences, you believe the larger/smaller/differently located lodgings will bring you more happiness. Maybe you’ve felt cramped in the previous place, or maybe it was too big. Or maybe you wanted a better view, safer location, or closer to work or better schools. You were willing to deal with the chaos because you saw the benefit.

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Common sense is hard to learn

My friend arrived at the store to pick up the donated gift card for the high school fundraiser. When she announced herself at the customer service desk, she was greeted with, “I’d like to shoot the person who wrote this letter.”

My friend was taken aback and said, “Well, it was me. So shoot me. What did I do that was so offensive to you?”

“There’s no info on the letter for us to contact you.”

My friend pointed out, “The letter has the phone number of the high school and the name of the person to contact. My personal return address is on the envelope. What more did you need? Obviously there was enough info for someone to contact us as I got notice to come pick up the card.”


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