A lady office staff working on the photocopier while on the phone
A lady office staff working on the photocopier while on the phone

How many times have you asked someone how they’re doing and received the response: “ I’m busy!” While we may be hearing this less often lately due to pandemic-related restrictions, many people report feelings of anxiety, stress, and even a latent fear of returning to their “overly busy” lives post-pandemic. The sentiment, in other words, is essentially the same — busyness or even the idea of being “too busy” is a significant source of stress for most of us.

Life often moves fast and we are challenged almost daily to keep pace. Whether we are a work-all-night CEO or a…


Leaves on a string with different colors due to change of season
Leaves on a string with different colors due to change of season

It’s common and easy to waste time and energy, and reduce our power by resisting change.

Everything we take for granted is constantly changing. The formation of the clouds in the sky at this moment is unique and will never be repeated. Every cell in our bodies is replaced every seven years. Our planet and the universe are in a state of continual, inconceivable transformation. …


“So many things’ written on a to-do notepad
“So many things’ written on a to-do notepad

Distractions and interruptions are such a part of modern life that we don’t often realize how hard it is to concentrate. Many neuroscientists, psychologists, and technology pundits believe that the distractions of our communication technology are actually rewiring the brain’s capacity to concentrate for any amount of time on one topic. For example, in a much-discussed article in The Atlantic (“ Is Google Making Us Stupid? “), Nicholas Carr, one of the leading thinkers on information technology, writes: “What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. …


A man working from home with three computers
A man working from home with three computers

There is an old story of a man riding very fast on a horse. As he rides past his friend standing on the side of the road, the friend yells, “Where are you going?” The rider turns toward his friend and yells, “I don’t know, ask the horse!”

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like the person riding that frantically galloping horse. Our incessant busyness, too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to tick off items on our to-do list by each day’s end-seems to…


Start Here mark for the pandemic queue
Start Here mark for the pandemic queue

What a year! Unimaginable, unpredictable, immensely unsettling and challenging. Disease, radical separation, and death.

Many parts of the world remain in the throes of the pandemic. In the United States, we appear to be turning a corner. Change is on the horizon but it’s not clear; change to what, when, and how?

What now? During this time, of change and renewal, I’ve been reflecting on a set 59 practices that come from ancient Buddhist traditions that offer powerful and practical reminders for contending with change, with difficulty, and offer the possibility of a new and different approach to our lives.


Mountains and a lake
Mountains and a lake

I’ve been learning a lot about my own patterns and assumptions about doing too much since writing the book Less: Accomplishing More By Doing Less. At times I consider myself to be a “Less failure” — that is, despite my best intentions and aspirations, it’s difficult not to be swept up in our culture of busyness and of doing more. Aspiring to do more, when it comes to solving important problems and helping others can feel and appear as only positive. It can be challenging to focus, prioritize, and put our time and energy into what matters most.

I find…


The brain non-consciously predicts what is most likely to happen and sets in motion perceptions, emotions, behaviors and interpersonal responses best adapted to what is expected-before events occur. In a sense, we learn from the past what to predict for the future and then live the future we expect.
— Regina Pally, neuroscientist

On any given day, we likely make a series of predictions and assumptions. When walking down stairs, we trust that the next steps will be there. When driving a car, we make hundreds of assumptions about the functioning of our car and the behavior of other…


A man pouring tea into small tea cups
A man pouring tea into small tea cups

Fear can be a useful ally. It can focus us, keep us safe, even keep us alive. Fear of illness or injury can motivate us to stop smoking, to exercise, and to eat healthier food. In our communities, fear can motivate us to make our air and water cleaner, our bridges and levees stronger, our workplaces safer.

Fear can also be an enormous hindrance. It can color our world so that a rope appears as a dangerous snake or an offer of friendship is perceived as an imposition or even an attack. We can fear not getting promoted or losing…


A female boss listening with all attention to her subordinate in a meeting
A female boss listening with all attention to her subordinate in a meeting

Listening may be one of the most underappreciated activities and skills, not only for leaders, but for everyone. It is central to all our relationships, and yet it generally receives surprisingly little attention.

In many of the trainings I’ve led, regardless of the industry, position, or culture of the participants, I find that people are stunned to discover the power of listening. And they are surprised to discover how rarely they truly listen — listen without interrupting, without planning the “right” or any response, just being fully present, without any agenda.

Listening to another person can take us out of…


A team leader having a high five altogether with the team members
A team leader having a high five altogether with the team members

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
— Peter Drucker

This famous quote by Peter Drucker, a world-leading business-management writer, teacher, and consultant, may be one of the most well-known and least-disputed aphorisms of business. It captures the truth that company culture is ultimately more important than business strategy for achieving success, and the wisdom of this statement has only become more relevant in today’s tumultuous business environment.

What makes up company culture? People. Human beings working together to solve problems. I sometimes call this the “dirty little secret” of the business world, one that’s easy to lose sight of in the…

Marc Lesser

Speaker, Executive Coach, Author of “7 Practices of a Mindful Leader.” CEO: ZBA Associates. Zen Priest, Mindfulness Teacher. https://www.marclesser.net/

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