Attributes of a healthy communities, towns and cities

Schools are well funded, and all the neighborhood kids attend the same school. Teachers and parents are accountable to each other outside of school hours. It takes a village to raise a child. 

Schools and daycare are affordable.

Community members are in service to each other. Policeman, baristas, doctors, teachers accountants, small business owners, civil servants all know each other. Their kids attend the same schools, they collaborate, and interactions are in person. 

Everything is walkable, which means there’s more face to face interaction. Cars are containers that limit serendipitous discovery. Stay away from places without sidewalks. Places that don’t promote walkability are broadcasting that visitors and interactions aren’t welcome.

The community supports the elderly through multi-generational homes, well-maintained sidewalks, and subsidized bus services.

Public libraries are central to the community, authors are invited to speak, and different points of view are aired and discussed. 

There are public parks and sports centers for tennis, swimming, golf, bowling, basketball, baseball. Central gathering points encourage people to break bread together and exchange ideas. 

Health is a glass ball

Your health is a glass ball. It will shatter if you drop it. Rebuilding is hard and sometimes impossible.

A wealthy man worries about many things. A sick man worries about one thing. 

A dying billionaire would give away his fortune to be young and healthy.

Youth and vitality are priceless. Use it wisely. 

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Time for some overdue change

It is time to make some changes. It’s time to make some big changes that won’t wait any longer.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about the opening to a Robert F Kennedy speech.

Kennedy’s Day of Affirmation Address (known as the “Ripple of Hope” Speech) was given to National Union of South African Students members at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, on June 6, 1966 during the middle of Apartheid.

My father attended the University of Cape Town and listened to the speech in person in Jameson Hall on the university campus. He still talks about it 56 years later.


Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Vice Chancellor, Professor Robertson, Mr. Diamond, Mr. Daniel, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I come here this evening because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which was once the importer of slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage. I refer, of course, to the United States of America.

Robert F. Kennedy , University of Cape Town, South Africa, June 6, 1966

Please read the or listen to the full speech here

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The Times They Are A Changing

The Times They Are A Changing

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come gather ’round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls…

Bob Dylan

Choppy shallows

I never swim late in the day because the water is darker and fewer people are out. But today, the later afternoon was the only time I had.

The wind had picked up, and the beach was empty. I was tempted to turnaround and leave. I finally saw someone else in the water, and I decided to head in.

I was still nervous and hugged the shoreline. It’s comforting when I can see the bottom, and I have an exit strategy even if it means clambering over the rocks. I was getting pushed around by waves in the shallows, and the visibility sucked. It was exhausting. I realized I was paying for my anxiety.

When I turned for home, I decided to go deep and swim out into the deeper water channel. Everything inside of my head and around me calmed immediately down. The swells were more spaced out, and the visibility was spectacular. I got out of my head and focused on one stroke at a time.

There’s a tax to mitigating risk. My mitigation was swimming close to the shoreline, and the charge was a bumpy, murky ride. No fun. Once I was more comfortable, I didn’t have to pay that tax anymore, and I went deep. It paid off that afternoon.

If you de-risk your life, be prepared to pay the tax.

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Today’s exercise

Giving is way more energising than taking.

Here’s a suggestion for today: Say something kind and complimentary behind someone’s back.

Pay it forward. That’s it.


Risk free glimpes

“I am not young enough to know everything.”

Oscar Wilde

Sometimes being young and ignorant is the best state of mind to start a business, emigrate, quit your job, sail around the world. If you knew all the risks and peril ahead of you, then you probably wouldn’t start.

The upside of age and experience is that you skip the upfront thrash of mistakes and false starts.

The downside is that you know where all the problems are, so you don’t leap until there’s limited downside. Unfortunately those risk free moments are scarce.

Photo by Trace Hudson on

Indelible moments of encouragement

The right teacher at the right time can change your life.

I still remember words of encouragement from when I was a kid at school. Whether it was in the classroom or on the sports field. Those moments matter, and they are indelible.

Someone believing in you is a huge motivator, and it’s the place you go when things get dark. For some people, it makes a world of difference. It can be the difference between quitting or persevering.

One of the best things you can do in life is to marry someone who believes in you and sees the good in you.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on

Believe in someone

Imagine this clip wasn’t about sport. Imagine it was about academics and encouraging a young kid at school. It’s a little hazy now but I can’t recall ever hearing a teacher talking like this to me or anyone else when I was at school.

Marry someone who believes in you, work for people who believe in you. Then pay it forward and make sure your kids or young people in particular hear that you believe in their potential.

Talk to the pioneers

The elders of the 21st century are pioneers. This generation is going where no man or women has gone before. They are living longer than any other age before them. It’s like they’ve visited a new planet in the solar system and are right here to tell us about it. They have a perspective that nobody else has in life. Living into their nineties or even over one hundred years old is not something the previous generation was able to do.

Treat the knowledge and wisdom they hold as sacred and learn what you can. There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Google contains a lot of knowledge, but wisdom is something is a combination understanding, data, experience, education, and judgment. These explorers are have visited lands that most of us don’t know about yet, and have not recorded.

Core principles, morality, and character don’t age. Start listening to your tribal elders.