Friday Link Love

A few choice tidbits I ran across this week: Why You Should Use Emoticons in Your E-mails

Until keyboards can actually perceive the emotional content of our digital messages (not so far off!), emoticons may be the simplest method of clarifying tone. I've had to let go of my own perception that emoticons are silly. They may currently be our best tool for elevating the emotional clarity of digital messages.

Do you agree? Hmm, let me think... :-

The Science of Heartlessness

We've all encountered people with such divergent attitudes toward suffering -- and it often brings up a rather prickly question: Why are some of us bleeding hearts while others have hearts of stone? Science actually provides us with a number of clues.

I blogged some time ago about the ways that religious communities might encourage deeper generosity. This article is a different spin on a related topic, but looking from the point of view of brain chemistry and evolution. Fascinating stuff.

Are Goals Necessary?

The author, Chris Guillebeau, asked this question on his Facebook page. My favorite response from one of his readers:

I’m reminded of Spike Milligan’s snippet of wisdom: “We haven’t got a plan so nothing can go wrong!”

That will preach, my friends.

Guillebeau's conclusion:

I’d never say that everyone needs to set goals, but I do notice that some of the objections to goal-setting always focus on “living in the present” and not letting life pass you by due to being too focused on goals.

My view is that the odds of life passing you by are much higher if you have no plan for life itself—which is why I like Barbara’s analogy [see the original post]. You’re not going to miss anything! In fact, you’ll probably have the opportunity to give and receive more than you would otherwise.


13 Writing Tips from Chuck Palahniuk

I don't write fiction so it doesn't all apply to me, and I'm not sure I agree with it all anyway, but an interesting read nonetheless... and a good sendoff for next week. Speaking of which...

So, before Christmas I wrote a blogpost about gift-giving and the fact that experiences often make people happier than the accumulation more stuff. Apparently Robert took that to heart because for my birthday he presented me with a "coupon" for a writing retreat at a place he found on the James River. There is something in it for Robert, of course---as he put it, "It's in my interest to help you get a good start on this book, so as to minimize the craziness around deadline time."

I just laughed.

Still, I am elated... and filled with gratitude to have a spouse who is so supportive of the stuff I do.

I might toss some stuff up here to prime the pump next week, but otherwise... see you in a while.

Image: Where I'll be. Gratitude...