I received this from a dear friend by email...Enjoy!
Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning. A man with a violin plays six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people passed through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule....
4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again...
Don't worry, be happy--by thinking fast! - A new study out of Harvard and Princeton suggests that "thinking fast" can help your mood. In the study, subjects were encouraged to "think fast" by generating as many problem-solving ideas as possible in 10 minutes; by reading a list of ideas on a computer screen at a brisk pace; and by watching a video clip of I Love Lucy--in fast-forward!
When compared with other study subjects who performed the same tasks at a "relaxed speed," the fast thinker reported feeling more happy and, to a lesser degree, more energetic. So fast thinking activities, such as racing through an easy crossword puzzle or quickly brain-storming ideas, can boost energy and mood.
The Back of the Napkin author Dan Roam gave a wonderful Google Talk where he described his Six by Six Rule of problem solving. In his consultant work with corporate execs, Roam's "value proposition" is...
He supports this assertion with the observation that humans are fundamentally visual creatures -- over 75% of the sensory processing going on in the brain is visual processing. Further, the brain seems to process information using at least six "pathways"...
Stroke of Insight - Jill Bolte Taylor - One of the most profound presentations I have ever experienced....WATCH THIS!
Notes from NYT article What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage by Amy Sutherland introduces how methods used by animal trainers can be used to train your spouse (or co-workers, etc.). I adopted the trainers' motto: "It's never the animal's fault."
Main point - Reward good behavior, ignore bad behavior.
"After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband."
Forgiveness - As a former Catholic, I have experienced the sacrament of reconciliation. It begins with confessing your sins to a priest. After hearing your confession, the priest will usually offer some advice and penance. After that, the priest will declare you absolved or forgiven by God.
During my junior high and high school years, I was a fairly devout Catholic, and I found this reconciliation experience incredibly powerful. After confession, I had a clean slate and felt pure. What a marvelous feeling, especially for a guilty Catholic boy.
I remember a particularly powerful experience. During a high school retreat, we had the opportunity to ask forgiveness from any classmates we had sinned against. In essence, we asked forgiveness directly from those we'd wronged. WOW! I took this very seriously, and went up to a guy I had really hated...He was a big, strong, jock, and I really didn't like him...I can't remember why now...
Simple Ways to Change the World - I love this list of 20 Ways to Change the World! Some are quite simple, but all have the potential in some way to change the world. Here are my favorites...
Be Nice - This is something EVERYONE can do--you don’t need any money or any talent. Simply smile, say "Hello!" or hold the door for someone. You never know the impact. It could change someone’s whole day, week...or life...or simply inspire others to continue the cycle. Before you know it, your smile will have impacted THOUSANDS of lives.
My wonderful sister-in-law shared this. It gave me a big smile, especially at the end to be reminded of the USC "Professor of Love," Leo Buscaglia, who died a few years ago. I'm sure he would have "loved" this...
In Stumbling On Happiness, Daniel Gilbert exposes the flaws of the human mind.
Quite disillusioning, this expose of the human mind. His thesis is simple. Humans cannot reliably predict what will make us happy, nor can we accurately recall what made us happy in the past. That leaves us with the present.
The reasons for our failure to find happiness are many, and revolve around the idiocyncracies of the human mind.
One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and holds fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.
Howard Glasser teaches parents, educators, and therapists his Nurtured Heart Approach for "transforming difficult children." At his Transforming the Difficult Child website, Howard Glasser describes his approach this way...
"A child's feeling of self-esteem is centered on the experience for which he/she is noticed most intently."
~ Howard Glasser
Beyond Positive Discipline - Howard Glasser -In his parenting book Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach (co-written by Jennifer Easley), Howard Glasser describes some brilliant ideas that apply to parenting ALL children, not just "difficult" children.
What is the favorite toy of all children?
And children quickly learn that parents (their favorite toy) will focus a lot of attention on them when they do something wrong.
Think about it. Don't you put a lot of energy and attention on your children when they do something bad?
What about when they do something good?
Howard Glasser believes a parenting philosophy can be found in techniques used to train killer whales.
In his parenting book Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach, Glasser describes the method used by trainers to teach Shamu to jump over a rope suspended over his tank.
How they started surprised me.
How that philosophy informs parenting is profound.
Myers-Briggs Personality Types - Here's a hilarious version of the famous Myers-Briggs Personality Types. Totally loved the often comic book perspective. It's a lot of fun to guess where where you and others fit into this personality universe.....
Creative Attitude - Found these suggestions about becoming more creative in blog post: 9 Attitudes of Highly Creative People. I distilled the original list of nine tips into seven. Not terribly profound, but good reminders.
- 1. Curiosity
- Learning to ask ‘why’, ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder…’ are great questions t build into your life if you want to be a more creative person.
- 2. See Problems as Interesting and Acceptable
- Instead of seeing problems as obstacles and unacceptable, see problems as natural, normal and fascination.
Ben Stein's 10 Tips for Business Conversation - I always like Ben Stein's stuff. Here's his advice on managing a business conversation.
"Scientists have uncovered the first concrete evidence that playing music can significantly enhance the brain and sharpen hearing for all kinds of sounds, including speech."
Music and the Brain - Interesting research results suggest that learning to play music early in life (especially before age 12) can affect the brain stem (and cerebral cortex) and lead to enhanced hearing and sound processing.
Notes and quotes from Psychology Today: Finding flow - creativity and optimum functioning
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE SKIING DOWN A SLOPE and your full attention is focused on the movements of your body and your full attention is focused on the movements of your body
There is no room in your awareness for conflicts or contradictions; you know that a distracting thought or emotion might get you buried face down in the snow. The run is so perfect that you want it to last forever.
It is the full involvement of flow, rather than happiness, that makes for excellence in life. We can be happy experiencing the passive pleasure of a rested body, warm sunshine, or the contentment of a serene relationship, but this kind of happiness is dependent on favorable external circumstances. The happiness that follows flow is of our own making, and it leads to increasing complexity and growth in consciousness.
Pain...and pleasure...but in my case it's pain.
We're not driven by logic or new information, unless they lead to an emotion. Logic won't drive us to behave differently. Emotion does. The association of pain or pleasure drive us to act...which is why feelings are called e-motions. Emotions get us to move, to act, to behave.
It's why diets don't work. They don't address the emotion we associate to food. It's so damn simple when you think about it. If you associate pleasure with pizza, you will associate sacrifice if you stop eating pizza because of a diet. Naturally, you will want to both relieve the feeling of sacrifice (avoid pain) and pursue the pleasure you associate with eating pizza (pursue pleasure). It's inevitable!
He begins with three overarching steps to real change:
- Raise your standards
- Change your limiting beliefs
- Change your strategy
I'm not sure if this could be called the broad outline of the book, where the other chapters can fit into this. Don't totally think so yet. But he seems quite organized in his thinking and the models he espouses with such enthusiasm. I expect the outline will soon become clearer.
Anthony Robbins' Awaken the Giant Within - Picked this up some years ago. Actually found the ideas very helpful and insightful. I know many are turned off by Tony, but he knows his stuff and lives it. I'm hoping to jot down some notes from the book. My notes are organized by the book's chapters:
New Think - In this classic, Edward de Bono presents an accessible, practical handbook on how to generate new ideas or lateral thinking. His original book Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step is excellent, but a bit difficult to get through. New Think is quite the opposite. It's an easy, informative read. Below are my notes. New Think by Edward de Bono
Below are notes from Edward de Bono's book New Think.
Hallucinogenic drugs alter our perceptions, the direction of our gaze, our focus. Many drugs alter perceptions. Funny. Altering perceptions is the goal of lateral thinking, too. Techniques of lateral thinking are like hallucinogenic drugs. And this, the 100th birthday of LSD's creator, Albert Hofmann.
Is the way we try to solve a problem, part of what makes the problem difficult to solve?
Training Whales - I found information on training a killer whales some time ago. It's a popular topic for parenting sites--and with good reason. Some of the 'lessons' we learn from training killer whales are very helpful to consider when teaching our kids.
Reduce Stress - Long lists usually give me a headache, but not this one. Here's an excellent list of 52 stress reducing tips from the National Headache Foundation.
- Turn needs into preferences. Our basic physical needs translate into food, water, and keeping warm. Everything else is a preference. Don't get attached to preferences.
- Be prepared to wait. A paperback can make a wait in a post office line almost pleasant.
- Have a forgiving view of events and people. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world.
- Take a lunch break. Try to get away from your desk or work area in body and mind, even if it's just for 15 or 20 minutes.
Best Friends - This article by Karen Karbo is fascinating, especially to a shy guy like myself. It describes how and why some friends become "best" friends, and how those close relationships are maintained...or not.
"The conventional wisdom is that we choose friends because of who they are. But it turns out that we actually love them because of the way they support who we are."
Friends that support our dominant social identity (parent, student, superhero) tend to be the strongest. So if I think of myself as a superhero first, my best friends will likely be those that support that identity, usually superheros themselves but not necessarily. Non-superhero friends can support my superhero identity, too.
This looks very interesting. It starts out acknowledging the conventional belief that depression is the soil of creativity. Not so say scientists. Happy people are the most creative. That is a "happy thought."
Practice does NOT make perfect - Scientists believe that striving to consistently repeat a physical action (like shooting a basketball free-throw or serving a tennis ball) is unnatural. Our bodies and brains are simply not designed to repeat the same motion in the same way over and over again. Variation invariably sneaks in, and the culprit for the inconsistency is the brain. It simply won't let you perform the same action in an identical way over and over again.
So the lesson is not to focus on the same physical action but the same outcome. Slight variations in form are a good thing and more natural to the body. Keep you eyes on the prize, not on perfect, repeatable form.
Why understanding economics is hard: This is a wonderful, thought-provoking article that has implications for all relationships, economic and otherwise.
Link is dead, so read cached copy below.
"Men are barraged with images of extraordinarily beautiful and unobtainable women in the media, making it difficult for them to desire the ordinarily beautiful."
~ Michael Levine, Why I Hate Beauty
Why would this be so? Because of how the contrast effect influences our perception of beauty. To explain, suppose I see a super beautiful woman. A short time later I see a woman of average beauty. Because I saw the super beauty first, I would likely rate the average beauty as less beautiful than if I saw the average beauty first. The contrast created by seeing the super beauty first influences my perception, making me judge the average beauty (seen second) as less beautiful than I normally would.
Also see Main/WhatUseIsReligionByRichardDawkins.
NEWSNIGHT BOOK CLUB
The God Delusion
In The God Delusion, the scientist Richard Dawkins sets out to attack God "in all his forms".
He believes that the rise of religious fundamentalism is dividing people around the world, while the dispute between "intelligent design" and Darwinism "is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science".
|The God Delusion|
Intriguing perspective on the how the Internet is a denial of service attack on your brain.
"We found that mental performance, the capability of the brain, was also reduced. Workers cannot think as well when they are worrying about e-mail or voice mails. It effectively reduces their IQ," says Wilson.
Fact: Stress shrinks neuronal cells in the brain that affect memory, decision-making, and attention (at least in mice).
Prevention: Exercise and seeing a "shrink" (cognitive therapy, etc.)
Escalating violence is natural - Fascinating NY Times piece by Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, and author of Stumbling on Happiness. In this article, Gilbert explains how our faulty human perception in a tit-for-tat exchange can lead to escalating violence. Apropos of the Middle Earth...uh, Middle East conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah, the civil war in Iraq, and so many other conflicts...
According to psychologist Steven Hayes, happiness is not normal. He came to this conclusion sometime after his first panic attack.
Hayes experienced the panic attack during a heated psychology department meeting at the University of North Carolina, where he was an assistant professor. This first attack led to others, and soon Steven Hayes felt panic attacks coming on at the slightest provocation: eating in a restaurant or even going grocery shopping could set off an episode. During lectures, he was often physically unable to speak to his class, so he frequently showed documentary and research films--though his hands shook so badly, he was barely able to thread the projector (this was pre-video days).
To remedy his condition, he turned to the most popular therapy approach he knew of, cognitive therapy. As a therapist, he had access to most recent research and tried a variety of approached within the cognitive therapy umbrella. However, no matter what technique he tried, they all made this symptoms worse, not better.
Recently watched Steven Spielberg's Munich with Eric Bana. It's a long film, about 2 hrs. 45 min. Eric Bana was great, as were all the other actors, but I was particularly by the , though she was in only a few scenes.
Turns out she's a very well respected Israeli actress. I get it. She was perfect, communicating the whole/soul of her character in seconds. Her name...well, she seems to go by a few. The movie credits her as Ayelet Zorer, but I've seen Zurer and variations of Ayelet too. Her middle name seems stable and is "July." Maybe it was because she was one of the few women who appeared in the film, but I found her performance right on, rich and textured. All in probably less than five or ten minutes of screen time.
This site is quite lengthy, so below are some notes I took while reading through the website pages. Notes are not complete, but a good taste. I really found this website helpful in understanding depression and options for treating the condition/disease.
Stress Management - When explaining stress management to an audience, the lecturer raised a glass of water and asked:
"How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
The lecturer replied:
"The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.
"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.
In each case, it's the same weight:
The longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.
Can you read this?
Fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid, too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 precnet plepoe can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
As long as the first and last letter are correct, we can read just about any scramble of letters...
It's become my literary inspiration.
Cited on reddit.com. Original post off of craigslist.org. Very sad statement.
WARNING - The following content is not suitable for children, WILL offend sane people, and may cause nausea. I'm serious! This is horrific, ugly stuff. But it does make a strong statement about the degenerates in our society, which may include this poor social worker...and me for posting this here. The truth hurts.
I was reading The Soul's Code: In search of Character and Calling by James Hillman. In lieu of a preface, he presents a small collection of quotations. Here are my favorites.
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce, Evolution's End
~ Pablo Picasso
~ Robertson Davies, Fifth Business
~ C. G. Jung
And this by Nabokov is...beautiful
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory