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April 4, 2010

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for taking the time to speak with our class. I greatly enjoyed learning about you and meeting the man behind the book "Getting a Life" which we have been reading this semester.

During the class discussion, wisdom and personal growth seemed to be underlying themes, which were encountered from several different angles. As a Psychology major here at Rollins College, I found this information extremely helpful in terms of expanding not only my literary knowledge, but also looking at your views from psychological viewpoint. While exploring your Wisdom Page I found a multitude of areas I felt were extremely profound in terms of psychological content

I found it fascinating that Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs prompted your adventure toward self-actualization, and that in turn you found paths to self-discovery, wisdom, and personal truth. Your positive attitude and ability to embrace personal trial and error was inspiring. I feel that as a college-aged young adult we are often confronted with so many choices that sometimes it is overwhelming to make those big choices. The hopefulness you instilled with your "try again" mentality was something I believe we were all grateful and relieved to hear. For me, your book has brought up a great amount of personal growth as well as realizations in terms of what needs continuous effort in the coming years, months, and days

Your ability to incorporate your passion for travel, yoga and meditation into our Thursday conversation was also very interesting. I practice yoga on a weekly basis so it was wonderful for me to see that it can bring continuous happiness and peace throughout many years. In terms of traveling, your trip around the world seemed to be extraordinary in the area of personal growth and I can only imagine the amount of wisdom you acquired throughout the excursion. During the class discussion I jotted down, "try life experiments or follow your bliss." A constant within your book as well as the conversation, I think the push you give young people to go out into the world and experiment with experiences within our own life is more helpful than you know.

Your philosophy of victimization vs. overcoming life obstacles was also extremely relevant to me as a psychology major and as a college student. In life it is often not the battle itself that defines us, but the way in which we compose ourselves and persevere through the challenges; throughout your book and during our class discussion I believe you place a great amount of emphasis on the individual rather than the hurdle set in front of them. I think your ability to focus people inward is the most helpful element to your work "Getting A Life."

For me, you not only showed how many ways in which a psychological approach can be taken but also the many ways I can explore the vast possibilities of my life. It was a pleasure to talk with you and learn more about your philosophies of wisdom, self-actualization, and self-help.



April 14, 2010

Dear Courtney,

It was a real pleasure to read your letter, and to get, without a hint of doubt, the sense of a young woman who will "explore the vast possibilities" of her life in an adventurous and ever-developing way.

Ah, Maslow. I was 29 when I was introduced to his hierarchy of needs in a corporate seminar. The first thing that impressed me was how well those steps in the "deficiency needs" hierarchy were mirrored by my own life experience. His view of psychological progress made perfect sense to me. But the mind-blower was what came next in his scheme of things. My engineering career had zoomed along during my 20s. I had been climbing corporate ladders and getting lots of strokes. My esteem needs were being met, and I found the self-actualization concept extremely attractive. Becoming all you were capable of becoming. What a challenge. How worthwhile! Later, the "Farther Reaches" called to me as they had to him.

"Try life experiments and follow your bliss." Yes! Our culture tends to see things in terms of success and failure, and as you know, this makes many people afraid to try things. "I don't want to fail." Seeing things as life experiments changes the game. As in science, we conduct an experiment with certain hopes, but if things don't work out as hoped, at least we've learned something. Not much need be said about following your bliss. If you've got a passion, live it fully. And if the passion shifts, as it has for me several times in my life, follow the bliss to the new place.

Thank you so much for all your kind, generous and supportive words. Wherever your adventuring takes you, having majored in psychology will give you a leg up on the lifelong job of making sense of this amazing event called life. Enjoy!

All the best,