John Dickerson

John Dickerson is a CBS senior national correspondent and Chief Political Analyst. He is also a Contributing Writer to The Atlantic and is co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

What’s Getting You Through?

So here’s a project that I really would like to follow through on:

America is in a tough spot and has been for some period of time. This has caused considerable psychological woe. Many of us have had personal bouts. Public life has compounded things. What has helped you get through? Meaningful, joyous, frivolous, momentary. Book, TV show, sermon, image, life story. What has been the Lembas bread* on the barren road? What has served you when all else fails? Reply to the Tweet that sent you here. I’ll collect and reprint at some point when I get past the duties of covering this moment. UPDATE: I’ve decided to let the comments speak for themselves. So read the comments and get what you can. My answer: The writings of Harry Emerson Fosdick, running regularly, and the delivery mechanisms for salutary habit formation created by Marshall Goldsmith (who I wrote about here) and the really wonderful book Atomic Habits, by James Clear.


*Lembas bread: “Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall Men of Minas Tirith.” — The Fellowship of the Ring.

13 thoughts on “What’s Getting You Through?”

  1. The Lord All Mighty gets me though
    Conversations with family
    Looking forward to 2022
    when i might hug & kiss again

  2. I opened a recording studio and have been using it as a way to contribute to the community. Producing music and podcasts for others has been extremely fulfilling. It’s a great way to connect with my neighbors and share it with the city.

  3. Roger Dickerson (not relation)

    Being physical; golf, working out, biking. Mentally; diving into the Folger Library and reading Shakespeare, keeping the kids studying, helping out with Scouts, taking them to practice, hanging with the dog. Oh, and cutting back on caffeine.

  4. David/Judy Francis

    Reading Madeline Albright’s book “Facisim”, has helped me see the historical framework of everything Trump was saying and doing. Professional training helped in recognizing the delusional thinking and patterns of behavior.
    We went back to grassroots cooking and discovered a new appreciation for our food chain.

  5. Walking and reading. I received my preorder of Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light on March 10, just as everything was falling apart. I had waited for years and years for that book to come out; now it feels like divine serendipity that it was published just then. I savored it over those first weeks of lockdown, and it established the mindset that has stayed with me. Many hardships, to be sure, but so much time to read and so many great books.

  6. A few things: daily bike ride along the Pacific Ocean, reminder of how glorious the world is and how lucky I am. Quilting and needlework – it’s meditative, makes me slow down, concentrate. Zoom calls with friends and family – a chance to laugh, find perspective

  7. I’ve been doing paint by number. There are several that are quite challenging. I advise getting magnifying glasses. Takes me away from everything swirling around in my life.

  8. Nothing is getting me through. All of this is an unavailable obstacle. Hope used to get me through, but it has since become depleted.

  9. I have never, EVER thought of myself as an optomist, but I am somehow finding an unbreakable optimism inside, in spite of doing nothing to nurture it or help it along.
    I have had maybe 4 or 5 bouts since the start of Covid where I have been incapacitated by grief, sadness and despair. Each time it has felt as though I will remain in that state until the day I die. But I keep coming out of in a day or so.
    It has finally dawned on me that I have an inner self that will not give up. It’s as though this inner self is saying, “No. You will NOT give up. I will lift you back up, and you will keep going, because there are better days ahead, and you will be part of them.”

  10. I interviewed 34 Kentucky educators for a second edition of a book I co-wrote on sustainability of improvement practices in education. Talking to leaders of schools during the spring and summer 2020 pandemic was revealing about commitment and purpose. Then I began to reach out to thank people who have influenced me. Keeping my mind focused outside of myself and being grateful for health and life work for me.

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