Monthly Archives: August 2014

Your Weekly Noodle: August 27, 2014

Noodle* on This…

Image pf chinses philosopher Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu

Do you have the patience to wait till you mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?

~Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching, Chapter 15

 According to translator and anthropologist Stephen Mitchell, your mud stands for concepts, judgments, desires and expectationseverything that obscures and narrows reality. What “mud” is obscuring or restricting you view of reality? Name it! Are you willing to let it go?  If not, why not? Tell us about it in the Comment field below.

This is my favorite quote from the Tao te Ching. It is amazing what I see when I am patient enough to see clearly. Try it. You’ll like it!

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brain-storm.

Read More About It:

Conduct a Cost/Benefit Analysis

Computer keyboard with cost and benefit keys for well-being analysis


A cost/benefit analysis (CBA) is a process by which decisions and analyzed and both the estimated costs and anticipated benefits of each option are calculated and then compared. Businesses use CBAs to determine the worth of various projects, such a new capital project, product/service lines and major staffing or organizational changes.

A CBA may also be used for making personal decisions such as which car to buy or whether the accept a promotion at work, which will mean more may but will also require more time. Does the pay increase offset the extra work hours? What will you have to give up or forego (opportunity cost) to accept the promotion, for example no longer being able to work directly with a favorite client.

Although cost/benefit analyses are used to make financial decision, they can also be used to make decisions about you well-being at work.  Basically, you time is limited and you want to invest your emotion and professional time and energy wisely in activities that will produce the “most bang for your buck” related to well-being.  Think of the CBA as a form of behavior economics in which you make decisions in the context of your personal values, needs and desires rather that strict logic, using your experience to evaluate and understand your situation and the options available to you.


Cost Benefit Analysis Form (in MS Word 2010)


  1. Review Your Well-being at Work Profile and select one statement that “resonates” for you or is most appropriate to your current work situation.
  2. Answer the following question, listing both benefits and costs.

Example of Cost Benefit Analysis for Your Well-being at work

My Well-being @ Work Journal (in MS Word 2010)

Ponder This…

Well-being cannot exist just in your own head. Well-being is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment. ~ Martin Seligman

What action will you take this week to enhance your well-being that will get “out of your head” and into action for your well-being at work?

Next: Mindfulness: The Foundation of Well-being @ Work

Your Weekly Noodle: August 13, 2014

Noodle*on this…

Two womening laughing while working bring well-being to both and makes the wokload lighter.

Laughing together makes the workload lighter.

“Humor helps us step outside of ourselves and see our lives with a broader viewpoint. It’s like suddenly looking at your life from the top of a mountain.”  ~ Marti Olsen Laney, Psy. D., The Introvert Advantage (2002) 

My Personal Noodle on Humor and Laughing at Work…
Laughing at yourself is healthy and tames your ego.
Laughing with others builds community and spreads joy.
Laughing at others demeans you and fuels intolerance.

Every day, find something about yourself or your life to laugh about. Share that laughter with others.

Learn about the power of humor at work with Michael Kerr:Book: You Can't Be Serious: Putting Humor to Work by Michael Kerr


* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brain-storm

Photo Credit:



Well-being @ Work: What do I need to do?

Image of Lubar Rover from NASA representing the exploration of well-being Well-being at Work is a Choice
You make choices every day. Well-being is not about your job, your co-workers, your manager, you spouse, where you live or how much you earn. Well-being is about the choices you make every day through the actions you take and not take. “Going with the flow” is a choice, as is blaming others for your problems. In every situation, you get to choose how you will respond.

Several years ago, my friend Mary was taking golf lessons. During her last lesson, she was preparing to putt when the golf pro said, “Don’t get the yips.” For non-golfers, yips are involuntary muscle movements that ruin a golfer’s putt. Mary paused, looked up at the golf pro and replied, “I’m a pediatric intensive care nurse. I don’t get the yips.” It is true – Mary does not get the yips. She is the calmest, most rational, caring person I know. She stays calm in a crisis, rapidly thinks things through and responds appropriately. She gets upset, angry and frustrated, just like everyone else. The difference is that she chooses to remain calm, to “hold her fire” in stressful situations.  I want to be just like Mary when I grow up. 

Most people are not pediatric intensive care nurses or do other work that must be “yips” free. Yet you can work on enhancing your calm in the midst of chaos; your empathy  anger; and your decision-making under stress, making wise choices in the moment and not automatically reacting. In other words, you can choose to work on improving your well-being at work. In the simple act of reading this blog, you are choosing to make your work a little more satisfying and meaningful.

Ponder This…
Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice. ~ Wayne Dyer

Your Well-being at Work Profile
The first step to improving your well-being is identifying the area(s) of your work situation that need your attention. Then, choose one or more on which to work.  The following well-being survey will help you evaluate your work situation based on the definition and principles of well-being presented on this web site. Please print it out and take a few minutes to respond to  the 16 statements. Circle the number that best describes your feelings about that item. Go with your first impression.

“First thought, best thought.”
(Poet Allen Ginsberg paraphrasing mediation master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche)

My Wellbeing @ Work Profile

16-Item Survey to Evaluate Your Well-being Next Steps (or Options for Action)
You can use the questionnaire results in four ways. It is your choice.

  1. The lowest scoring section is the area of your well-being most likely to be affected negatively by what happens at work. You may want to focus your well-being efforts in this area.
  2. If two or more sections have equal or “close” scores, they are probably connected, and you may want to work on them together.
  3. You can select  and work on improving your well-being in that area.
  4. You can develop a comprehensive action plan integrating issues in all four areas and set up a schedule to work on them in a way that is not overwhelming or overly time-consuming.

You will read more about these options for action in the future posts.

Next: Conduct a Cost/Benefit Analysis

Your Weekly Noodle: August 6, 2014

Noodle* on this…

carnegie hall stage with piano

Q: How do I get to Carnegie Hall?
A: Practice, practice, practice!

Talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force.

~ Stephen King

Noodling Question

What talent or skill can you develop that will help you succeed? How and when will you do the hard work and study needed to develop that skill? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brain-storm.

Image courtesy of


What are the side effects of well-being on the job?

Image of climber on mountain top illustrating peak experience as a side efect of well-being

In addition to the benefits and costs described in the previous posts, there are two positive side effects that may interest you. These are described below.

Peak Experience
Abraham Maslow called it a peak experience. Athletes, artists and performers call it being in the zone or playing their A-game. Researchers in positive psychology refer to it as flow and philosophers, spiritual and religious writers call it a transcendent experience. Regardless of the name you use, “it” is that experience when everything is working well – when your skills and experience allow you to complete a difficult task; you have positive relationships with your co-workers; or you are maintaining a healthy balance in your life. You do your best work. You lose track of time because you are totally engaged in what you are doing or with your co-workers or customers. It is those times when everything seems to go “just right.” 

In 500 BC, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu described it as: “Without going beyond his own nature, one can achieve ultimate wisdom. Therefore, the intelligent man knows all he needs to know without going away, and he sees all he needs to see without looking elsewhere, and does all he needs to do without undue exertion,” (1). These transcendent experiences are intermittent – they come and go, and they occur more often when you attend to your well-being.

Peak Experience Behaviors
People who have peak experiences tend to act in certain ways. They are more inclusive and less ego driven. They value those around them and are sensitive to the emotions of others. They are able to see the big picture and appreciate the detail. Curiosity and knowledge work together. This leads to effective problem-solving and innovation. Peak experiences lead to a more holistic view of the world, including the workplace. Those who have these experiences are able to look beyond their own needs to the needs of the team, department, company and even the community. They are articulate, motivated and responsive to those around them.

Virtuous Circle of Well-being
You have heard the termvicious cycle – it is a situation in which the solution to one problem leads to another problem, which in turn leads to a third problem and on, and on it goes. There is also a virtuous circle in which a successful problem solution leads to a second successful solution and so on. Well-being is a virtuous circle. 

Working on our well-being leads to positive results, which in turn motivate us to do more work on our well-being. For example, I know I need to exercise to improve my well-being, so I ride my bicycle, because I love riding my bicycle. My improved physical well-being leads to more energy and creativity. I discovered that bike riding leads to better problem solving. So, when I get stuck in my writing, I take a break and ride my bike around the block a few times; and voila, I get unstuck, go back to my computer and solve my problem, which in turn, improves my productivity, which makes me happier and more social.

When I had a “real job” (40-plus hours a week in an office with paid vacation and health insurance), I would do something similar. When I “got stuck,” I went for a little walk – only five minutes, and it was enough. Even in the middle of a sub-zero degree January in Minnesota, I would walk around the office for the few minutes. 

The virtuous cycle, also called an upward positive cycle, is what happens when you work to improve our well-being. Well-being leads to more opportunities, which improves well-being. In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Martin Seligman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and his associates describe the core features and benefits of well-being. These include positive emotions, self-esteem, resilience, vitality, accomplishment, growth, beneficial relationships, meaning and purpose in life and gratitude.(2)

Ponder This
Think about the last time you had a peak experience. What was it like? What factors, within your control contributed to it? How can you creat those factors in future situations.

Next: What do I have to do? 


  1. Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching, Chapter, 47 Stephen Mitchell translation, pocket edition, 1990
  2. Seligman, Martin (2011), Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, New York, NY: Free Press