Something to Praise

Let’s do it: I borrowed a leaf from Rob Walker, author of The Art of Noticing. I love the title of his book and newsletter and although I am not a faithful reader, tonight I paused and noticed what he wrote. It was right up my alley and a variation on a theme that I have written about.

“I often give students or workshop participants a double-sided assignment: On your next walk, or over the next week as you go about your business, make an effort to notice a problem that can be fixedand (other side of the assignment) something, anything, that deserves praise. Obviously, I mean non-obvious things; stuff that nobody else seems to pay much attention to.

Honestly the “problem” examples are usually more interesting. Often I address design folks, and they’re wired to find and solve problems.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like we’re awash in problems these days. Problems we have to face, and solve.

So I’d now like to suggest an altered version of the assignment:

On your next walk, or over the next week as you go about your business, make an effort to identify as many things as possible that quietly deserve praise, that others seem to have overlooked.

I’m not suggesting living in denial. I’m suggesting a bit of balance.”


Somehow this fills the bill for me tonight. Short, practical and doable. I would love to hear what you notice just as he encourages his readers to get back to him. We all have a lot on our minds right now and I like this simple practice and will do it myself. I think it would be even better if we write a few things down at the end of the day.

Let’s do it: something, anything, that deserves praise that is often overlooked. It is a great attention exercise.


Note 1:) Thank you Rob Walker. Your newsletter tonight with this simple exercise deserves praise from me. The book is here.

Note 2:) And a special thank you to Dr. Jinroh Itami, thanks to whom I have something to offer and to live by. Always to Wellspring Calgary and The ToDo Institute.

Note: 3) I am grateful every week that I get to pen a few words here and wonderful people known and unknown stop by to read them.

Note: 4) I am teaching a month long program starting next week for the ToDo Institute in Vermont. It is not demanding; hopefully useful and encouraging; a guided self directed method with a live weekly themed webinar for  four weeks. Some of you have been asking me and you can find more information here.   Don’t hesitate to write to me if you have any questions. No obligation –  just for your information.

Note: 5) Finally, I wish all of my Canadian readers a very special Thanksgiving weekend, coming up. It is my most favourite holiday and gives us a chance to formally count our blessings. I am thankful for all of you. You keep me company as we navigate this tender, wondrous and oftentimes difficult life. We need each other to help and be helped, as our circumstances change. Your encouraging words are heartfelt and appreciated. Please accept mine, as we cheer each other along.  A deep bow. Warmly, Trudy 


3 replies
  1. Gabriole
    Gabriole says:

    How lovely dear sister,
    …sweet divine gentle praise…
    I love it.
    Thanks for staying up to greet midnight to pen these words every week.
    Love you dearly

  2. janice
    janice says:

    I praise my late blooming clematis, my scrubby garlic bulbs, the fallen apples on the river pathway, the afternoon sun on what’s left of my garden – always as you say Trudy, something to notice and appreciate. Thank you for suggesting this. love Jan

  3. Wendy KURCHAK
    Wendy KURCHAK says:

    Dear Trudy,
    Thank you for this practice here at Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for my windows through which I can see the breeze catching the leaves that are turning red and yellow, I can see my little neighbour boy who constantly warms my heart with his imagination, and those same windows allow the light of the sun and moon to fill my house.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Trudy.
    Wendy K.


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