Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Weight of the World On Your Shoulders

Again. Still. Always…

You have responsibilities: to your children, to your spouse, to your parents, to your partner, to your employees, to your banker…

to yourself…

It’s too much. But it doesn’t go away. Oh, sometimes it gets quieter, or lighter. And sometimes it feels heavier or your feet are stuck.  And sometimes you even stumble under the weight of it all.

But you can’t rid yourself of it, make it go away, put it down once and for all.

So what’s there to do?

Carry your burden more lightly… Breathe deep into your center, remember your purpose, remember you are not alone, remember it is what it is, and, most of all, remember what is real…What matters…

And remember that it all passes; it all turns into the next thing.  Faster than we ever imagined…

Copyright © 2010 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.


You and Your Credit Card: A Love Affair Gone Bad?

Money can’t buy you class.

Can’t buy me love.

Don’t need no credit card to ride this train.

I bought a dress last week. An expensive dress. I paid in cash.

Yes, they thought I was nuts, too.

But here’s what I’ve learned: Counting out my stack of $20’s – the stack that required multiple trips to the ATM – makes it really clear just how much that dress costs. Counting out my wad of cash makes it really clear my money is leaving my hands (and bank account) for good. Counting out my hard-earned cash makes it really clear I’m trading my time and work for a thing (even if I’m secretly hoping that thing is really some terrific experiences).


Counting out that wad of cash ensures that I think before I spend (far better than I don’t think, therefore I spend). Counting out that wad of cash ensures that, come the end of the month, I don’t suffer an anxiety attack when the mail comes. Counting out that wad of cash ensures that, though it’s a fortune, I pay for my dress what my dress cost, and not a penny more. No interest. No interest. No interest.

No credit card.

Sometimes – often times – no dress. But, then, no credit card debt. And maybe just a few more dollars for when I really need it…

One not-so-consuming consumer’s small contribution (here I join Roger Lowenstein and everyone else paying down their mortgage – see “The Long Payback” in today’s New York Times Magazine section*) to the current deleveraging in the American private sector… Learning from The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means

Maybe it’s not so great for growing a consumption-based economy, but it sure feels virtuous…

C’mon in. The water’s fine, when you’re not in over your head…


Copyright © 2010 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

The Time Value of Money?

How about the money value of time?

Damon Darlin, in Sunday’s The New York Times Business section, writing about the time we spend trolling the Web to save a few of our hard-earned dollars: “It’s Free Only if Your Time is Worthless.”

Who’s working for whom? Is the Web working for us, or are we working for it?

Any behavioral economists out there want to answer this question: How to value our “free” time?

Time is money…
and money, in these times…

What’s more valuable – and when?
How do we balance our time and our money?

Copyright © 2010 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

Empathy or Brains? Is it Really a Zero Sum Game?

Twice in the last two days I’ve read about the necessity to choose between heart and head when it comes to putting one’s best foot forward in public life. And the head doesn’t seem to be winning…
As Bob Stein put it on his blog: “Rahm’s Charm Offensive: In an interview on the PBS News Hour, the President’s Chief of Staff demonstrates the difference between being brainy and empathic–a problem that is becoming crucial to the White House.” Connecting the Dots: (

And then Judith Warner writes in Sunday The New York Times Magazine about the coaching Elena Kagan supposedly received for her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings. But just when she appears to lead us to the inevitable conclusion that dumbing down intelligence is the only way to let the empathic heart show, Warner writes, “Kagan triumphed — and she did it by beating the popular crowd at its own game. She made the senators laugh. That Chinese restaurant quip, her reflection that televising Supreme Court deliberations would require her to get her hair done more often — nothing could have been more folksy. Nor could there have been a surer sign of her true intellect”.

Once upon a time, I was accused of being an intellectual snob. As if this were a bad thing. As if preferring smart to dumb were somehow the mark of arrogance, inconsistent with empathy and goodness. As if the bigger the brain the smaller the heart.

Any hope for this radical thought: we needn’t choose head over heart – or heart over head?
I, for one, prefer a leader with 2 high IQs: BOTH Intellectual and Emotional Intelligence.

Copyright © 2010 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.