What is Adversity?

by Paul Sherman

This morning I was a in meeting and the topic was adversity. We were invited to think about what this word means to us and how it has shaped who we are. Let me start with a big disclaimer that what I'm about to say is true for me. Many reading this surely hold alternative perspectives (as did the people I was with this morning). The reason I choose to share this topic with you is that I found it an amazing gift for Reaching In. In other words, merely sitting with this question at 7am this morning has provided me a sense of empowerment and resilience that I hope to hold onto for the rest of the day (and beyond). When thinking about adversity the place that I immediately went to is that adversity is in the eye of the beholder. For me there is "real adversity" and "manufactur  Read More→


A Symbol of Safety

by Paul Sherman

I've never been one to wear a ribbon to highlight a cause. Not that I think there is anything the matter with it, just has never been my thing. This week I found myself called to attach a safety pin to my jersey. For those who don't know, a safety pin has become a symbol of letting those around you know that you are there to support them, that they are literally "safe." Some Americans have recently borrowed this tradition from the UK, who, after Brexit, adopted it as a way to reduce fear among foreigners and reassure them that they had allies. I chose to wear the pin not because I felt personally unsafe (lucky me, white middle-aged guy), but because so many around me were feeling that way. Were these "rational fears?" That's not the point. The fears are real to them. So, rather tha  Read More→


Election Reflections

by Paul Sherman

As our country digests the election results, many are experiencing a palpable sense of dread, horror, disbelief and a litany of other emotions that epitomize stress and even suffering. For people having this stressful reaction, reality is that their core beliefs and values are under attack. Who wouldn't feel this way under these circumstances? This a modern manifestation of the classic fight or flight response complete with the neurochemicals of cortisol and adrenaline. People see an imagined sabertoothed tiger in front of them and they are about to be eaten! Enter rage, terror, aggression and doom. And, yes, for many this election result is a real sabertoothed tiger. They see dire consequences ahead. It's real and it's scary. Something needs to be done. However, unlike our caveman  Read More→


My Failure of Mindset

by Paul Sherman

I aspire to consistently practice the What Matters?! mindsets of curiosity, humor, self-honesty, gratitude, and kindness. Not because I want to be perceived as up there with Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama (though that would be nice), but because I just plain feel a greater sense of well-being when I do. What’s more, the research of Dr. Martin Seligman, Dr. David R. Hamilton, Dr. Robert Emmons and a host of other behavioral scientists reports a similar set of positive effects for anyone who adopts these ways of being in the world. So, in a perverse way, it’s actually selfish to express gratitude, kindness and the other What Matters?! mindsets. Selfish because we feel better when we do. And, oh, by the way, a fortunate byproduct of acting in these ways brings a littl  Read More→


The Courage to Choose

by Paul Sherman

This morning in my daily “reach in” (a practice in the What Matters?! Framework (, I came across the following quotation from author, John Irving: “If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” Having been fortunate enough in the past year to find a way of life that I truly love, I felt compelled to share Irving's wisdom in hopes of encouraging people who may not be loving their lives to open themselves up to all possible lifestyle choices. If your life isn't working for you, you owe it to yourself to explore alternative ways of living. Only by taking action to try something new will you create the conditions to even have the possibility of being “lucky enough to   Read More→


Much has been written in recent years about the link between gratitude and its effects on physical and mental health. Paul and I were discussing this the other day and I remembered that I had written a piece after a business trip to New York City about seven or eight years ago which I had written for no reason other than being grateful. So I trudged through the basement to look for my old computer to locate the piece and am posting it here for the first time: Lessons From a Delayed Train My train was delayed six hours due to a winter storm yesterday departing from NYC to Boston. Most of that time I spent in Penn Station. The initial few hours of frustration transitioned to something very surprising- as I stood there I developed an incredible sense o  Read More→