As I pulled out of my driveway Monday, I glanced over at my neighbor’s yard and saw that she had dozens of bright yellow and red flowers looking gorgeous in the bright spring sunlight. I picked up my phone and called Cora as I drove so I could tell her how beautiful her yard looks today and how much I appreciate the work she’s done. I could hear the joy in her voice as she explained that she had gotten away from gardening since her husband’s death five years ago shattered her world. She said this is the first year she’s tried to get back to what she used to do — and she was proud as a peacock to have someone notice. “You have made my day, David,” she said with sincerity. The call didn’t take more than 60 seconds, but I had told her something honest that she needed to hear — and she was happy. It reminded me again that we have the power to make other people happy if we choose to care about them and express the words they need to hear. Whose day can you change today?
Bernie Sanders’ papers from the period when he was mayor of Burlington, Vt., are public now and the left-wing magazine Mother Jones has had someone go through those papers and extract some fascinating personal insights about Sanders. It’s very rare to get such a window into the personal lives of public figures while they’re still alive. The article paints a picture of a man full of personal angst and self-doubt, and it shows his personal life to have been a mess. It always shocks me that a person can know his personal life is a disaster but still believe he should dictate how others must live their lives. (And this applies to every politician in the coercive political system, not just Sanders.) I have little interest in the politics of this article, but the psychological insights are amazing.
I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but Mark Zuckerberg isn’t nearly as powerful as most people seem to fear. I don’t think especially highly of him. I think he misunderstands humans and I think his business ethics are terrible. But he doesn’t actually have power over anybody other than his own employees. He has an indirect business relationship with many millions of people, but those people hold power over him. If they chose to walk away from Facebook, his career and wealth would be destroyed. As long as our relationship with a company is voluntary, we are the ones with the power — even if you wish other people would make different choices than they do.