life lesson

A Lesson From My Dad

One of the best lessons I learned from my dad is pretty simple, but yet so profound. He told me to replace the words “have to” with “want to.”

My mom and dad!

One night he was driving me home from a late night track meet in high school. I started to cry because it was 10pm and I still had to write an essay for class the next day. I was feeling really overwhelmed with SAT prep, the track team, art classes, and homework. I was getting about 4-5 hours of sleep on average.

He asked me why I was beating myself up about an essay when I was choosing to write it.I thought he was crazy. “It’s not a choice, dad. I have to write it.”


“Because I have to get an A.”


“Because I have to get good grades to get into a good college.”


“Because I have to go to go to an Ivy League school to get a good job.”

He shook his head. “You want a good job, so you want to get good grades to get into the school you want. You don’t have to do any of that. The only things you have to do is eat, sleep, and breath. Everything else is a choice. Think about what you really want in the long term, and then decide if it’s worth it to hand that essay in late, or if you really want to work on it tonight.”

I did end up finishing the paper that night, but with a new sense of pride. Recognizing that it was my choice, and that writing the paper was what I wanted to do, not just an obligation, changed my outlook completely.

I constantly remind myself that everything I do is a choice that I want to make. I want to pay my taxes because I want to be a good citizen and I don’t want to go to jail. I want to clean my house because I like the way it looks. I want to clean the kitty litter because I don’t like the smell. I don’t have to do any of that – I want to.

Try switching ‘have to’ with ‘want to’ for one day, and let me know what you think!

All You Ever Need to Know

Look into this baby’s eyes. Could you ever say or do  anything to hurt him? No, it’s impossible. This baby deserves to be loved and protected.

Every single person starts off just as beautiful, innocent,and magnificent. They deserve to be loved and protected. They deserve to be treated like a precious gift. However, as we grow up we do get hurt. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, but nevertheless, it’s never warranted.

We figure out how to survive; how to go through life without getting hurt. Sometimes our defenses help us but other times it keeps us from getting close to others. And usually our defenses end up hurting other people even if we don’t realize it. Hurt people hurt people.

If you can look into a person’s eyes and forget about who you think they are now, and just see the beautiful, innocent, magnificent being that’s inside them I guarantee you’ll treat them differently.

Now if you can recognize this innocent beauty inside of you, it’s possible to stop criticizing and doubting yourself. Imagine how different we would all treat each other if we did this.

How can you not love her???

Find a picture of yourself where you can see how happy and innocent you were as a child, and keep it in your wallet. I started doing this, and every now and then I look at it and remember that I need to take care of myself, and that I need to show as much love towards everyone else. I’d highly recommend it.

This is one of the lessons I learned from The Living Course. I took this course 4 years ago and it had a profound impact on my life. I’ve assisted with 6 courses since then, and I still get so much out of it. I first came up with the HeSo Project during a TLC course when I realized how little I think about what would fulfill my heart and soul.

I wish everyone could experience the joy and self-empowerment that this course brings into the lives of everyone who takes it. If you live near New York or Michigan I urge you to take the course. I know the world will be a much better place if everyone could do it!