Aug 15, 2016

The Master Game

Seek above all a game worth playing. Having found the game, play it with intensity. If life does not seem to offer a game worth playing, then invent one. For it must be clear, even to the most clouded intelligence, that any game is better than no game. 
Although it is safe to play the Master Game, this has not served to make it popular. It still remains the most demanding and difficult of games and in our society there are few who play. Contemporary man, hypnotized by the glitter of his own gadgets, has little contact with the inner world, concerns himself with outer, not inner space. 
The Master Game is played entirely in the inner world, a vast and complex territory about which men know very little. The aim of the game is true awakening, full development of the powers latent in man. The game can be played only by people whose observations of themselves and others have led them to a certain conclusion, namely, that man’s ordinary state of consciousness, his so-called waking state, is not the highest level of consciousness of which he is capable. In fact, this state is so far from real awakening that it could appropriately be called a form of somnambulism, a condition of “waking sleep”. 
Once a person has reached this conclusion, he is no longer able to sleep comfortably. A new appetite develops within him, the hunger for real awakening, for full consciousness. He realizes that he know only a tiny fraction of what he could see, hear and know, that he lives in the poorest, shabbiest of the rooms in his inner dwelling, and that he could enter the rooms, beautiful and filled with treasures, the windows of which look out on eternity and infinity. 
The player lives today in a culture that is more or less totally opposed to the aims he has set himself, that does not recognize the existence of the Master Game, and regards players of this game as slightly mad. The player thus confronts great opposition from the culture in which he lives and must strive with forces which tend to bring his game to a halt before it has even started. Only by finding a teacher and becoming part of the group of pupils that that teacher has collected about him can the player find encouragement and support. Otherwise he simply forgets his aim, or wanders off down some side road and loses himself. 
Here it is sufficient to say that the Master Game can NEVER be made easy to play. It demands all that a man has, all his feelings, all his thought, his entire resources, physical and spiritual. If he tries to play it in a halfhearted way or tries to get results by unlawful means he runs the risk of destroying his own potential. For this reason it is better no to embark on the game than to play halfheartedly.
-Robert DeRopp

Apr 5, 2016

The Ultimate Teacher

When Lee Atwater conducted dirty trick politics to denounce the Democratic Party, he reveled in slander and controversy. When he came down with brain cancer, he realized the meanness that he had inflicted on many good people. To his credit, he recanted his stories and apologized to many of those whose lives and careers he had damaged. 
I had my own reckoning with Death a little over a decade ago. I chose to ignore a growing lump in my neck for a couple of years until it suddenly began growing quickly and spreading through my lymph glands. I lived a healthy life, so I assumed that no such thing could ever happen to me. My physicians noted that my positive attitude was a form of denial. 
Cancer doesn’t have anything to teach except how to endure unbearable pain. But as my body shrank from malnutrition, I met the real teacher—the one that some call the Grim Reaper. 
I conducted a few projects with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross some years ago. In her famous book On Death and Dying she identified stages of dying as denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. It was one thing to hear about them as a healthy young man, sitting through the deaths of others, and another thing altogether to watch my own life dissolving through those conditions. 
When death appears imminent, the mind ultimately accepts the end of every belief, idea, opinion, and attitude. First you get an inkling of how much you don’t know, and you begin to fathom how much you will never know. As a young psychologist, I figured that I had figured out a lot of things. That was an illusion. 
When I pulled through, I had a new way of viewing life. I loved sweeter and I cared more deeply for each moment and each person I met. My friends and family didn’t cotton to the new me, but it wasn’t like I had a choice. When you finally see, you can’t shake the vision or pretend to be anything or anyone--at least that how it went for me. Now I live with a certain appreciation for the randomness and marvelousness of this planet that we share. 
Tim McGraw sings a lovely song about a man who was diagnosed with a deadly disease. His protagonist then went skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and became the friend a friend would like to have. He learned to forgive, to live deeper and love sweeter. The lyrics end with this sentence “I hope some day you get the chance to live like your were dying.” 
That is my sentiment exactly.

Jan 12, 2016

Chimps to Chumps to Champs

In the delightful comedy Big Bang Theory, the Sheldon character tries to explain how important it is for him to meet Steven Hawking: “Imagine that you lived on a planet populated by dogs in which you were the only human. And then you heard about another human. Wouldn’t you want to meet him?” When his associate takes offense, he reframes his dilemma: “Imagine that you lived on a planet populated by chimps…. 
A few eons ago humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor. As some archeologists imagine it, an especially intelligent female, often labeled Eve, split from her primate tribe to form a small community of extremely clever members that preferred to walk upright and to communicate abstract concepts by means of a rudimentary language. She and her contemporaries developed oily skin that enabled them to live near the sea, a super large brain, and an opposable thumb that made it possible to handle complex tools. Her offspring ultimately evolved into the modern humans we know today. 
So let’s imagine that a few Eves, along with their Adams, are beginning to branch off from the family tree. They would probably be brilliant individuals, prone to exploring complex realities and to gather in tribes and organizations that were less prone to aggressive dominance. Their gentle natures would enable them to work and play together in highly sophisticated games designed to create astonishing new toys and tools. 
As the pace of change picks up, tough-guy warlords would reluctantly begin to hand over the reins of leadership to their brilliant cousins. All of society would benefit from the algorithms of this elite troupe. There would likely be friction and a certain amount of violence as the humans opposed to change and transformation would fight desperately to maintain their grip on power. Therefore, the new species would gather in elite business communities and accept a variety of labels to make them less threatening to the masses. 
Imagine that some of these new players would focus on mechanical technology or new forms of science, while others would gravitate to finer systems of leadership through collaboration. They would enjoy discovering advanced systems of human dynamics that would both baffle and benefit all of society. You could easily see how weapons would become obsolete and how vast capital, human, and natural resources would be allocated to eradicate slavery, war and incarceration. 
You can allow your imagination to run free, envisioning all sorts of new productive enterprises and harmonious partnerships. Within a couple of generations the rough and tumble humans would begin to emulate their brilliant cousins, transforming the values and dissipative structures that would evolve even faster than the humans that created them. 
Perhaps this is only fantasy. Or perhaps there are invisible changes that are already rocking our industrial, educational, and social conventions. It would be my pleasure to hear from you and to contemplate your observations related to this topic.

Oct 4, 2015

One Partner

My only writing partner ever was my Mia
We walk in golden sunlight
Warm rays shine through us
Our walk becomes our talk
Becomes our books, becomes our word
Becomes the sound that we have heard
Living in this timeless bliss
Singing love in harmony

Nov 8, 2010

Passing On Over

Michael Meade died today. Mike wasn’t rich or famous or successful in the ways that this world measures wealth. But he was the kindest, most decent man I ever met. His love and his humor lit up every room he ever entered. All of us who knew him were privileged to have such a good and decent friend.
When I got the news that Mike had left his body I was listening to a cassette of a marketing workshop that Diana Lynn had conducted at the ranch in Austin many years ago. Suddenly I heard a deep baritone voice laughing in the background. Naturally it was Michael, asking questions and saying “Hello”. His presence was vivid and visceral.
A famous song says that only the good die young. When Beth Ellenby passed a few years back I was profoundly touched. I came close enough to the Angel to know that we are all walking down that road. But it does seem a shame that the most loving, peaceful ones go ahead to show the way.
There is only here, and it is always now. So no one ever passes ‘away’. They just expand into all of us. That is why I wasn’t surprised to hear Mike’s booming laughter, lifting my heart with his love. In reply I want to welcome Michael to his new place in our lives.
As eternal beings, we are only awareness. The one that is reading this cannot be created or destroyed. You will always be here with us. We will always be together in our heart of hearts. But we will miss Mike's physical presence. That feeling is an essential part of our infinite love.

Aug 13, 2010

Healing Tears

Legend has it that Buddha described the sound of the universe as soft weeping and music without a melody. I have heard these subtle sounds behind the noisy din of the crowd and the horrific chatter of the mind.

Cancer destroyed my life a few years ago. The wounds are still tender from the brutal treatment. I waited too long for a miracle, until the disease had spread to the lymph glands, so I got to get up-close and personal with the angel of death. That was when I found my place in the choir of weeping.

The few people who were willing to spend time with me in those days were uncomfortable with me crying. But there was no stopping the release of pressure when it needed to move. I learned to excuse myself and move off alone to enjoy the incredible relief that came when I could let the tears flow. Some folks chalked up my weakness as self-pity. There was no way to explain to them the sweetness of surrendering to the force of love that came through each time I let go and let the wave of love wash away the pain and pressure from my body.

Behind our busy lives and our deep longing to hold on to people and events, we are all living with the knowledge that our time here is limited. The Buddhists speak of non-attachment, which sounds sterile and boring to me. Besides, I look terrible in orange. It seems to me that life is a paradox—we have to let go and hold on almost simultaneously.

At age fifty I took up skiing, which required launching out over an icy abyss while maintaining some important elements of control. That kind of play is exhilarating.

Coaching is a far cry from religion, but viewing life as a sport illuminates some simple, self-evident truths. You have a better chance of finding yourself through play than through boring rituals. Team spirit might not be the holy spirit, but there a few joys on this earth as enlivening as letting yourself play all out with people who love the game of life.

These days I am on intimate terms with the silent witness who views my life with supreme serenity. Each encounter with the higher self came about by facing life head-on. The Jesus, Buddha, Spirit or whatever you wish to call your genuine self, seems to come to every person in a unique way. When I see an athlete broken down by effort, or a singer weeping with her limitations, I don’t feel sorry. I know that these are the moments of truth when the players step through into the deeper meaning of their endeavors.

Gently weeping opens the heart to the subtle love of our soul. So don't hold back.

May 9, 2010

A Game Worth Playing

Seek above all a game worth playing. --Robert DeRopp

Helen Keller famously stated that life is an exciting adventure, or it is nothing. Her written words were no mere platitude. She couldn’t see or hear or speak; yet she considered every moment of her life as an adventure.

Sometimes our adventures aren’t adrenaline rushes or extreme sporting events. Some of our greatest challenges come about in our darkest hours.

This came home to me in 2001. That was the year that terrorists destroyed the world trade towers a few blocks from where I was living. It was also the year my marriage failed, my business crumbled, and I got cancer.

I was touring an old theater on Times Square on the morning of September 11th to see if it could work as a training facility. When I stepped out of that dilapidated building into the daylight, people were standing around, murmuring in horror.

“What happened?” I asked a crowd of people who were gathered on the street. One man looked at me with shock in his eyes. “Go home and turn on the television,” he said. When I did, I was astonished to see one of the World Trade Towers in flames, with an aircraft sticking out of the side of the building. Moments later, a second jet impacted, and the world changed forever.

Earlier that year my wife had asked for a divorce and had moved to a house in downtown Manhattan with my children. I was devastated by the loss of my family. Fortunately they were out of town at the time of the attack. As I wandered the empty streets of Manhattan alone it seemed to me that the whole world was being consumed in some kind of destructive force.

The events of that day were a trigger for a total collapse of everything I had lived for up to that point. I believe that our immune systems react to emotional loss. When my life fell apart, the left side of my body seemed to collapse. My face sagged and my left eye drooped as if I had Myocenia Gravis. Everything I had lived and worked for had ended, and I had no one to blame but myself. A small lump that had been sitting in the lymph glands in my neck suddenly began to grow.

The only thing left in my life by the end of that year was my work. My clients needed me, and that gave me a reason to live. When I coached I felt bathed in forgiveness. By putting my attention on the goals and aspirations of other people I could put my worries aside.

Despite the gloom, the events of 9/11 jarred me into action. I opened Sage Theater on Times Square to create a playing arena for training entrepreneurs and business leaders. Diana Blake now operates the theater, where people learn to build teams by producing and performing Off Broadway shows.

Our business clients love the innovative format. They learn innovation and project management, along with courage, spontaneity, and people skills, by writing, rehearsing, and presenting full stage productions. In retrospect, that project saved my life.

I spent the next year in denial, alternately pretending that the lump in my neck was only a symptom from an infected wisdom tooth, and believing as hard as I could that whatever it was, it would heal itself. Whenever people would ask about it, I was able to convince them that it didn’t need attention. Then, after a year of denial, the tumor abruptly grew to the size of a small chicken egg, and a second lump appeared. There was nothing left to do but submit to treatment.

The day I received confirmation of cancer I laid awake in fear the whole night. I was alone in Austin, Texas and I had to conduct a Self-Actualization workshop the next day. My closest friends, Jeffrey and Carly Smith were attending the course, and they were the only people I could confide in. I spent the breaks with them weeping with sorrow. When the class started up again, I was able to put my worries aside by immersing myself in the lives of the people who came there to change their lives.

Having waited so long to face the diagnosis, the cancer had a pretty good head start. My doctors assured me that I still had better than a fifty-fifty chance of survival. When I showed up for the first dose of radiation I saw men and women in all stages of the same cancer. Some were responding to treatment, others not. One guy had lost his entire nose from the bombardment of radiation. Another had big lesions all over his head and neck where the disease had metastasized to his skin. Many were dealing with the advanced stages of cancer and clearly would not pull through. I was afraid I had waited too long.

Under the bombardment of radiation and chemotherapy I felt dazed and nauseous. Sleep was the only relief I could find from the sickness and pain. The course of treatment lasted throughout the summer and fall of 2003. Throughout the ordeal I had to eat liquid through a tube in my stomach.

Then came the first major surgery in which doctors inserted tubes in my neck and performed a tracheotomy. After a few days they jammed radiation pellets into the tumor. I was awake throughout the procedure, and in a panic, I accidentally knocked over the apparatus that supplied the anesthetic.

More chemotherapy followed. When I tried to lie down, the sticky substance that provided my nutrition flowed up my digestive tract and clogged the tube in my neck, cutting off the breath. When I couldn’t breath, I panicked even more. Finally I just stopped eating. The weight began to drop off my body.

I remember standing in the center of that bleak room for hour after hour, waiting for the nightmare to end. Visitors were forbidden due to the intensity of the radiation imbedded in my neck. When the doctors finally ripped out the tubes, I signed myself out of there against the recommendations of my physicians. I had to feel something of life again.

My great good fortune was that I am a coach. A few loyal clients still needed me. Other than a few brief periods that year, when the most intense surgeries laid me low, I worked every day.

Most days I felt terribly sick and weak. Worst of all, my mind lost its ability to hold a linear grasp of reality. Unable to handle details, my anxiety grew into hysteria. I wanted to be brave, but it just wasn’t in me. Despite that, I felt that people needed me, and so I roused myself nearly every afternoon and took a taxi from the Beth Israel hospital where I was receiving radiation treatments, to the Sage Theater on Times Square.

On one occasion I was conducting interviews in my office--reclining on the couch, propped up on pillows--when the lights went out. I assumed that the building had blown a fuse, but it soon became apparent that the entire city was in a great blackout. Gathering my children around me, I began the long walk downtown along the Hudson River to my apartment near the ruins of the World Trade Towers. Crowds thronged the streets and I wilted under the hot sun. I lost a couple of days there, recovering from the exertion. But the moment those lights came back on I fought off the pain and nausea and returned to my game. It was the only relief I had.

When I coach people, I forget myself. Pain dissolves to a manageable level and fear dissipates entirely. I am not a brave person. Timidity and shyness have followed me all the days of my life. When people told me that I looked strong, I couldn’t imagine who they were talking to. My experience was pure horror and terrible weakness. But the moment I stepped into the playing arena as a coach, a little courage flowed in from somewhere. It was enough to activate something bigger than me.

When the coaching process begins, I feel a spark of life in myself. I hear strength in my voice that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with me. As I look out into the room I see people becoming peaceful and confident in the flow of that strength. For the life of me, I don’t know where that force comes from or how it works. I am just deeply grateful that it does work.

Some people believe we are only flesh and bone, moved by behavioral factors. They would consider the courage that I feel from coaching as a contrived psychological state based on movement and postural cues. I can’t buy that. During cancer and recovery I felt so sick that I could only slump. The pain was constant and unbearable. When I was home alone I felt engulfed by delirium. But in the connection with those people my awareness expanded, despite my broken body.

Throat cancer reduced my voice to a distorted croaking sound and reduced my body to a cringing hulk. Yet, the spirit came. It came in the link between my players and me. It was so powerful and so palpable that we were all swept up in it. The courage appeared in the room before it appeared in our hearts and minds. There were no strong words or wonderful messages. In fact, the less I could see and do, the more potent the force appeared.

A couple of months later my daughter, Makena, assisted me to get to the airport and flew with me to the Bahamas where I conducted a ten-day workshop. I was bedridden nearly twenty hours each day. When I tried to eat out with my clients I ended up weeping helplessly throughout the meal.

The few hours I could sit upright, I trained. The transformations experienced by the clients were more dramatic than anything I had ever seen. I weighed 130 pounds, down from over 200 pounds, and I looked like a skeleton. But when I had an opportunity to conduct a 30-day training on the island a few weeks later, I jumped on it.

The hardest thing for me during that time was the desolation I felt from losing most of my friends. Catastrophic illness has a strange effect on people. Finally, most people pull away. A feeling of abandonment overcame me. Again, my game pulled me through. Coaching was my only link to sanity. It gave me a reason to live by giving me a way to connect with other people.

The Caribbean was warm, but my body was freezing. I spent most nights shivering against the coldness in my body and crying hopelessly against the loneliness. Whenever the panic became too much I called Ginger Goldsmith, who coached me throughout the ordeal. Some nights I had to scream out the pain and fear. Her kindness and strength pulled me through some dark nights of the soul. Then, when the sun came up each morning, associates showed up to transport me to the training room and to the game that had become my lifeline.

Over 50 people signed on for that month-long training. We hit peak performance within a couple of days, and entered a peak experience together shortly thereafter. For most of us, that event became the highest point in our lives. The experience was so moving that nearly every participant signed on for follow-up work.

By that time I could stand upright for brief stints. I will never forget how wonderful it felt to stand in front of that room for a few hours each day and conduct the incredible flow of love and affection we all shared. People found excuses to hang around after the event ended each night. Sometimes we cranked up the stereo and danced until the wee hours.

You can probably remember the moments in your life when a peak experience suddenly erased all the ordinary meanings and carried you into an altered perception of a reality too beautiful for words. You can view those exquisite moments as a window to a higher possibility, or you can use them as a door to another life altogether.

You can believe me when I say that your spirit is greater than the worries and petty squabbles that capture the attention of most people. We all make mistakes and we all fall into misperceptions that hurt the people we love. But behind that foolishness, we are manifestations of a great spirit. Love is the doorway to that higher self. In my experience that love grows strongest when we discover our calling and pour our lives into the game we were born to play.

During my recovery some of my associates took the opportunity to embezzle what remained of my money and steal many of my personal possessions. They seized my intellectual property and put their names on the books I had been writing, as well. Then a couple of my creditors sued so they could inflate small debts into large payouts. The impact of all that slammed my body and broke my will. My family became embittered and cut off contact with me. The pressure made it impossible to reconstruct my business. But none of that bothered me as much as the loss of the friendships. I felt betrayed. Again, my game pulled me through by shifting my mind off the perception of injustice.

The days that followed were filled with loneliness and uncertainty. When the last of my friends burned out on trying to care for me, I lost all hope. Shivering alone under a pile of blankets, I finally gave in to it all. I would always be sick. Pain would fill my days for the rest of my life. There would never be anyone to care about me again. There was nothing left but to surrender and cry myself to sleep.

When I woke up it was still dark outside. But I was on fire with love. In fact, the whole room was glowing and burning with the flames of that love. The bed, the walls, and the furniture were ablaze with rapture. A voice from inside spoke to me with forgiveness. I saw that my whole existence was only love, and there had never been anything else. I wept for joy.

Sleep descended again, but it was restful for the first time in many years. When I woke up the next morning, the world was a different place. Everything and everyone was alive with pleasure. The madness between people was only a wave on the surface. The details that people worry over only existed as a light breeze across the surface. The real life was deep, vibrant and powerful.

I couldn’t wait to put my new insights into coaching people--to share this new sense of life. But I needed to get money out of the equation. People are crazy for money; yet money makes them crazy.

The happiest time of my life was in 1969 when I entered Seminary. As divinity students we vowed poverty, chastity, and obedience. God provided for our needs. All that made sense again. So I made a choice to follow the love, and to trust the universe to provide. I began to volunteer my services, and to let a few close friends take care of me. With that, my work took on a deeper quality of love and appreciation. I was surprised to find a sweeter kindness in my voice. Again, I discovered that my life game was far and away the most sustaining element in my life.

Cancer left me with some lasting physical handicaps. Over the past several years my days have been organized around the pain and physical damage from the treatment. I suffered severe spasms in my neck, along with constant pain that engulfed the shoulder, chest and neck on the left side of my body.

Radiation and chemotherapy had burned out the cancer, along with my salivary glands, taste buds, and a large quantity of brain cells. My body hurts and my mind remains hazy to this day. It feels like I smoked a joint and the buzz won’t wear off. I can't learn new tasks or handle the details of running a business--or even remember from one day to the next how to open an E-mail. But strangely enough, that present moment thinking has increased the sensitivity that goes into the coaching process. That means I have to transcend mental, emotional and physical limitations each day and to speak from my heart.

Fortunately, my long-term memory is still pretty good. So now I am writing and recording coaching lessons to help people earn their living in this difficult economy. Helping people has become very exciting for me. A friend in Austin told me that Lance Armstrong often interrupts his busy training schedule to speak with people in the audience that have cancer. As a cancer survivor, I understand that need. The greatest adventures in life are those that trigger transcendent moments and peak experiences. Mine have come in equal measure through experiences of pain, and from the experience of pure pleasure that comes from helping someone along. What transforms an experience into an adventure is discovering the higher awareness that radiates behind every event.

Life looks different when the end is in sight. We feel the connection to our loved ones more because we know that our time on this earth is limited. Finally we are all separated by death. That knowledge deepens our appreciation of the time we have together. We cherish our own existence far more when we fully realize how quickly it passes. Paradoxically, that perception of limited time provides the window to our infinite nature.

Before cancer I could fall into a habitual perception of people and take them for granted. Now I feel everything deeply in my heart, as if every day would be my last. I don’t sleep much, and I don’t have even a moment for petty issues. Every second counts.

I would love to share that deeper perception with everyone, but I can see that most people are distracted by a more ordinary reality. For me, there is no time for clawing my way up the ladder of success. Some sense of inevitability forces me to move deeper into my soul, and to focus on people that are curious about the deeper meaning of existence.

Even our weakness and handicaps are a source of great adventure. Since I cannot handle linear tasks, I decided to retire to Ibiza, where I continue to work as a volunteer with a few good clients. My thinking may be fuzzy, but my deeper faculties have never been sharper. Life has become a celebration.

Some people say I am a better coach for all those trials. Others believe I just used cancer as an excuse to escape responsibilities. But other people’s opinions no longer mean anything to me. I am just grateful to have a little time left to put my coaching skills and observations into books and DVD’s that will assist other coaches who love this game as much as I do.

Tim McGraw sings a song about wishing that everyone would get a chance to live like they were dying. I can echo that. Yet more importantly, I wish for all of you that you find a game worth playing, so that no matter what adventures life brings, that you will have the link to that aspect of yourself that transcends life and death.

Apr 30, 2010

Attitude Adjustment Time

When the Berlin Wall came down, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. Most of the people coming out of the East were friendlier and more cooperative that their western neighbors. When I asked them about that, they told me that they had lived through hard times together, so they survived by looking out for one another.

Money does strange things to people. As the capitalist bubble economy expanded over the past couple of decades, people in the West seemed to lose touch with one another. Merchants acted like they were doing their customers a big favor to serve them. Workers turned up their nose at manual tasks. Bankers considered themselves above the rules. Coaches and trainers demanded extreme prices. And I was as guilty as the next guy.

After a life threatening illness, a big dose of poverty, and the loss of everyone I loved, I “got religion”. Like the song says, “One day I was flying like a bird, and the next, I was standing on my knees.” The bad times forced me back to myself and restored my natural human values.

I always seem to be a pioneer for what is coming next in society. Just a few years after my collapse, the entire global economy crashed. Suddenly the shoe was on the other foot. When the balloon economy burst, we all had to start thinking about real value. The financial fiasco brought many people back to earth and adjusted prices back to normal. As the dollar deflated, so did our egos.

Erik Lomax spent several years in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. The men survived that hellhole by developing deep compassion for one another and by making terrible sacrifices to help each other. When he returned home after the war, he found a culture of bitterness and resentment within families and society. He described his marriage as another kind of prison camp. The easy life seemed to bring out petty and vindictive feelings that blotted out basic respect and affection.

No one denies the value of money. No one wants to see poverty and misery. What we need is the skill of giving deep appreciation, even when times are good. Along with reading, writing and arithmetic, our schools need to instill an attitude of gratitude in our young people.

The heart matters more than the mind. Daniel Coleman, in his groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence, points out that there are excellent, proven ways to develop compassion and kindness in our schools and universities. But so far his recommendations have fallen on deaf ears.

But you can’t fool Mother Nature. What goes up must come down. Arrogant people always fall. Exploitive systems always fail. Whether it is global agricultural companies killing farmers in South America, corporations selling worthless stock, or you and I delivering shabby products for inflated fees, people get wise to the lies of an economy that relies on deception.

So these changes are good. There is a place for recessions and depressions. We humans need a little humbling now and again. For it is through these setbacks that we rediscover our humanity. These “bad” times offer the best chance we have to find our hearts and open our eyes to the power of compassion and cooperation.

You will achieve a better life when you make life better for other people. We invite you to tune into Coach TV to catch a reflection of the higher values in yourself that make this life worth living. The broadcasts are free, but what you will learn is priceless.