Living Large

“No one has ever become poor from giving.” Anne Frank

Last week, Tom Eager, one of our neighbors from when we lived in Belmont, Massachusetts, passed away suddenly

He lived with his family just a few houses down from us, so I would see him on neighborhood walks and every week at church. 

He was a professor at MIT and a leader in his field, intimidating and a bit gruff

But there was another side to him that we came to know; he was incredibly generous.

I read about it in his obituary, but I had also experienced it firsthand. 

When our daughter was in 7th grade, she decided to make cinnamon rolls and sell them each Saturday (props to my scientist husband, who was her sous chef), and Tom always bought them. One day he sent her several pouches of Penzey’s cinnamon. On another occasion, he purchased a laptop computer for her so she could do family history for him. She could have worked from the computer she already had, but a new computer was part of his payment—more than was necessary. And finally, every once in a while, we would discover that he had purchased a Daisy Cakes cake for us.

Sometimes people seem very nice and turn out not to be––

Then there are people like my neighbor, Tom. People with a little bit of a prickly exterior but who are deeply good and live large their best values with a great, warm heart. People we may hesitate around as casual acquaintances, but when we get to know them, we cannot help but love and appreciate them.

Most of us know someone like Tom; think about how delighted you are by the generosity of such a person and how you feel seen by them.

And then look for opportunities to be like them, generous and kind, possibly unexpectedly so. Don’t wait.

This week’s podcast guest is Annie Duke. You may have heard of her from her book Thinking in Bets and a new book titled Quit. One thing that’s not in the book, but I loved, is that the smarter you are, the more likely you are to be biased; the more likely you are to think you are right about things. 

And for a little inside baseball, I went into the conversation planning to talk about her previous book, Thinking in Bets. Once we logged on, I realized, “Oh, she wants to focus on her new book,” and rightly so. So, in real time, I got to adapt rather than work off my outline. We talked about Quit. So many opportunities to practice resilience….!

As always, thanks for being here!

My best,