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a little more humanity

This week, we are taking a break from talking about real estate, property management and investing to talk about something that doesn’t get enough airtime these days: our shared humanity. 

Last week in a class I attended, the teacher focused on David Brooks’ new book, How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others. Whether you agree or not with Brooks on his politics and religion, I have always found him to be profound in his insights and assessments of people and our world.

 In his new book, Brooks dives deep into the concept of knowing other humans and specifically the challenges separating people which he believes are: sociological, technological and economic. All of the factors of modern society led Brooks to declare a current  “epidemic of blindness” and a lack of consideration towards fellow humans.

The chief issue Brooks sees in people is a lack of social skills that allocates people into two categories of  illuminators and diminishers. Brooks defines the difference between these two types of people as being a function of curiosity and empathy with the illuminators always seeking more knowledge to better understand the world through humanity. While diminishers are people not interested in learning, so they can stereotype their way through the world. 

Watch the video talk by Brooks below, specifically starting at the seven minute mark and finishing at the fifteen minute mark for an overview of his perspective.

One interesting thing about our collective humanity is how much I believe we can learn if we simply always stay receptive. It’s a timely theme for me this week as I reflect on why Auben started Do Good Day in honor of my sister, Laura Schuetze. My hope is some small segment of people can learn from my sister’s humanity–even those who never met her.

Although my sister committed suicide 5 years ago she is always with me. And she has been everywhere the past couple of weeks. 

  • She is in an email of gratitude about raising awareness for suicide prevention
  • She is in Bob Dylan’s “Oh Sister,” a song which randomly hit my Spotify shuffle 
  • She is in my class about David Brooks’ thoughts on humanity
  • She is in a wine store donating 10% of their proceeds to the suicide prevention organization  To Write Love on her Arms
  • She is in Auben team members donating their time to animal shelters, food banks and camps for kids with cancer
  • She is in a NYT article about a young country musician who has written a suicide prevention anthem


As I have shared in past correspondence, my sister Laura was truly one of the most considerate, compassionate and righteous humans I have ever met. One of my greatest regrets of her death is as a result of her own struggles and desire to be private, the world did not get to see the full extent of her radiant illumination. Her passion for good in humanity was truly a force to be reckoned with. And it is my goal to ensure it lives on in some way  

If you could get past some of the high walls of privacy my sister maintained, you would be hard pressed to find someone more curious, caring and supportive. Possessing a true illuminator spirit, Laura always believed in me, even when she did not agree with me. 

Laura, more specifically, was chiefly a tireless champion of the underserved, the marginalized and the disenfranchised. She was an illuminating light for those who lived in the most darkness. She had underdog DNA coursing through her veins with an unparalleled intensity. She wanted so badly to help others in any way that she could—even as she always struggled to fully support and care for herself. 

After she committed suicide, I could not reconcile that her love and care were gone from the world. So, we started Do Good Day in the hopes of doing small activities which with time and consistency can hopefully have a big impact in her honor. 

I am not naive enough to think that these days will ever bring my sister back or that I will ever be able to channel the full intrinsic depth and width of the conviction and grace she gave to the needy. But I am hopeful that in honoring her spirit we can perhaps share a little bit more humanity with the world. 

If this message resonates with you, we ask that you will join us in sharing some good with your world today to honor whomever you wish. Thanks for reading and much love.

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is available 24 hour by calling 800-273-8255.

Get Involved

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

The Fairness Campaign seeks to dismantle oppression and build an inclusive community where all individuals are valued and empowered to reach their full potential.

WREN seeks to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, and their families.