The Bigger Picture

An Encouraging Word: Why and How to Offer More Compliments

By Brett and Kate McKay, for The Art of Manliness.

“Idle words are characterless and die upon utterance. Evil words rankle for a while, make contentions, and then die. But the hopeful, kind, cheering word sinks into a man’s heart and goes on bearing fruit forever. How many beautiful written words—words in book and song and story—are still inspiring men and making the world fragrant with their beauty! It is just so with the words you write, not on paper, but on the hearts of men. I wish there were room to mention here the testimonies of great men to the power of some hopeful, encouraging word they had spoken to them in youth and in the days of struggle. But every autobiography records this thing. Booker T. Washington tells how the encouragement of General Armstrong saved the future for him. I know a young man who is to-day filling a large and useful place in the world, who was kept to his high purpose in a time of discouragement by just an encouraging word from a man he greatly admired. That man’s word will live and grow in the increasing influence of the younger man. This world is full of men bearing in their minds deathless words of inspiration heard in youth from lips now still forever. Speak hopeful words every chance you get. Always send your young friends from you bearing a word that they will take into the years and fulfill for you.”

—The Enlargement of Life (1903) By Frederick Henry Lynch

All the World's a Stage

On Rejection

By Kirk Douglas, for the Huffington Post

Portrait of Kirk Douglas with his back against an enormous fallen tree trunk, circa 1945. (Huffington Post)
Portrait of Kirk Douglas with his back against an enormous fallen tree trunk, circa 1945. (Huffington Post)

Actors are often described as “people who love rejection.” That’s not true. Every year hundreds of young boys and girls come to New York or Hollywood with dreams of becoming an actor and having their name in lights. They never expect to meet with rejection. “Too fat! Too thin! Too loud! Too soft!” Most of them go home. I stayed.

The Bigger Picture

The Value of Suffering

Illustration by Daehyun Kim
Illustration by Daehyun Kim

by Pico Iyer for The New York Times

NARA, Japan — Hundreds of Syrians are apparently killed by chemical weapons, and the attempt to protect others from that fate threatens to kill many more. A child perishes with her mother in a tornado in Oklahoma, the month after an 8-year-old is slain by a bomb in Boston. Runaway trains claim dozens of lives in otherwise placid Canada and Spain. At least 46 people are killed in a string of coordinated bombings aimed at an ice cream shop, bus station and famous restaurant in Baghdad. Does the torrent of suffering ever abate — and can one possibly find any point in suffering?

The Write Life

Membership Has Its Privileges

Getting Walking Tall: A Memoir About the Upside of Small and Other Stuff birthed proved to be a very fulfilling experience thanks to a core group of old and new friends who encouraged me to not only write the memoir, but who also helped me pull off a successful launch. Hearing from readers how my story resonated with them made all the hours spent writing and rewriting and rewriting some more worth every minute.


Under Construction

Pardon the mess, but I’m in the process of redesigning the website to coincide with an upcoming announcement about my new book. The navigation may change a couple of times before it’s all over, but stay tuned for more info.
Thanks, Clay