Archive for the 'Brain' Category

Inturge

Where Intuition and Urges meet.

There is a plethora of science that looks at how are biases impact our “intuition”. We also know that gut feelings can be powerful and detrimental if not heeded.

So what is occurring? The science effectively shows that “intuition” is the  subconscious sharing a plethora of experience and data on a given situation more quicky than the cognitive mind can (or wants to) process.

We also know that many times this data is trash, as our biases interefere with seeing situations for what they really are. When we have no valid data or only bad  experiences with a certain situation or group of people, we don’t really have a reason for “intuition” to be valid.

So how do we learn to see when our “intuition” is helping not hurting? By looking at inturge in our life. 

Do you, or can you even, slow down and see when a gut feeling is actually an urge? What is the difference even?

How often do you shop, eat, interact, make daily life decisions based on your gut? If this is common I would argue you are following your inturge’s! Those feelings may be little more than satisfying our emotional or physical drives, rather than a voice guiding us into better choices. 

Slow down! Think on, is this decision really making my day better! Or is it simply I’m on autopilot?! Make the choice every day to feed better data and experiences to your wonderful mind! It won’t be long until your “intuition” is making for a better set of choices and outcomes. 

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The Balance

Met a truly interesting person that does not use Facebook, never used a dating app, and per their own words “lives in a bubble”. I really enjoyed hearing how their life, sans kids, is unstructured, and they don’t worry about the news or the world or even time. I truly strive to attain that mindset for even one hour a week!!!

As talked more, my conversation partner admitted it can actually be problematic to check out so thoroughly, so often. That they end up not accomplishing necessary life tasks and miss out on connecting with their fellow human beings.

I was left contemplating balance since that discussion, specifically balance in all parts of our lives. I believe one of the most important reasons to stay open to new experiences is that it provides new data. Data that helps us recognize when we have become to stuck in our ways and out of balance. 

When we are out of balance is when we are most likely to shy away from the new and unknown. Yet, that is when we need it the most.

I wonder if it would help if we ask our friends to keep us on our toes? Or schedule random events we can’t cancel? Or is it just good old mindful self-awareness and honesty that makes some open and some closed to the new? 

Broken or Just Bent?

As I continue to mend myself from some of my poor (and even good) choices I am amazed at the number of friends, family and acquantances that tell me they can’t change. Scientifically speaking this is patently untrue. Our brains are capable of amazing feats of change. In fact, they change everyday whether we ask them to or not!

In discussing this mindset, it has dawned on me that many of these humans feel they are broken. That somehow their “peculiar” action or mindset makes them outside the “norm”. Because of this they must be “broken” and therefore cannot change.

Now, it is possible to be “broken” and unrepairable from a mental stand point. What matters here is that this condition is pretty damn RARE! Humans can function in many forms of mental acuity and still not be broken. Broken means unfixable, unrepairable, unable to be mended. If this was truly the case for my many suffering human friends, then medication and counseling wold have NO discernible impact.

I submit dear reader, that the vast majority of people in our lives that believe they are broken are in fact just rather bent. Bent not against some unattainable societal norm, but against functioning as the best human they can. Bent can and should be mended. I want all humans in my life to strive to the best individual they can be, to unbend and reform as their better selves.

In this vein, I work with anyone who will listen to understand that when they think of themselves as broken, it is their mindset that locks them in place and makes change less than likely. When we think of ourselves as changeable, we can change.

Next time someone close to you says they are broken or cannot change, slow down and take the time to help them see they are still a whole human, one that simply needs to molded into a different form.

The View from Within

One would think it’s always cozy. I personally don’t know a quantum self who feels this way. Even the most level headed, successful person is wracked with negativity, self-loathing-doubt-hate. All of which cramp our mental living space and make the view rather cloudy.  

The typically cloudy weather with a sense of doubt, like fog in Newfoundland, is just the start. Our internal perspective is farcically inaccurate. From this masquerade we create our personal stories, stories which guide, or even dictate, each interaction with the world around us.  

Oh the stories we tell! It’s as if we were all born mentally Irish! I can be successful or a failure, happy or sad, kind or mean. I am author of my everyday tale, and can decide anytime to be protagonist or antogonist, hero or villain, royalty or peasantry. How we craft the tale begets our own filterpretation of reality.

Magically Say I, we have to have these stories. They matter! They create our sense of self-existence. We are nothing without them, yet they are nothing. How easy it should be to simply craft a new story. Yet, this is the paradox of creation. 

If we do not accept our stories as do-it-yourself and self-guided, we let our reality become fixed and constant. And the story begins to write us. When this happens we simply react to our world rather than designing our reactions.

We cannot control what happens around to us and others. What makes humans so brilliant and amazing, is that we can and do control how we react. Work on the view from within and we may all find a better view when we go out. 

Moment by Moment

Today I was the quintessential human. I had an extremely long drive (40 miles) for what can essentially be looked at as physical therapy. When I got there, the directions from online were not exactly correct. After I sat for 15 minutes past when my appointment was, another person who arrived later was called. I asked the receptionist how far behind we were, because I still needed to make it to another doctors appointment. She admitted that she had forgotten about me and then let me into a room.

I admit to being fairly frustrated, bordering on angry. Recognizing that my response was not the most productive, and was probably based on my long drive and getting lost, I proceeded to meditate. Five minutes later when I was seen by the professional, he asked if I was doing OK. After I had explained the situation, he asked if I wanted to postpone the appointment. I replied no I was pretty much over it and we could move on.

At the end of the appointment, he commented how well I had overcome my frustration and how well I was doing with my exercises. I pointed out that I needed to be in control of my reactions, because I had no control over her behavior. He said that mindset is perfect for what you’re going through and I hope you can keep at it.

This made me think of how as a human being it is so important to be in the moment. By not being in the moment I allowed my frustrations to boil over and did not control one of the few things I can, how I react to other people. However, my recognizing that it was a new moment and taking the time to meditate and clear my mind, I was able to move past my reaction and make my physical therapy appointment the most efficient and productive possible.

I am not sure if this is what the Buddhist’s mean by living in the moment, but it seems like a very good example of how being aware of each moment and not allowing to previous moments to dictate our reactions is pretty important to happiness and satisfaction.

BiNaration

I know it’s a little behind schedule but I just finished reading Outliers and years of responses to it; as well as many articles   proving/disproving some of the ideas within. I was most struck not by the book or the ideas (which I did enjoy and liked) but by the standard American response. Instead of discussing the nuance of the ideas, we either jumped on board or firmly denied with little or no middle ground.

There were no fewer than five really thoughtful ideas on why people are succesful, yet we seem intent on the 10,000 hour idea. So much so that there is a whole industry now around 10,000 hours and all else in the book might as well not exist! What about the idea that Harvard should just do a lottery of their applicants (which by the way would be fair becuase it would remove the inherent bias in the admission process)? Or the idea that being lucky enough to be born in a specific month or year are key contributors to success?

Instead most Americans became fixated on a binary approach to an extremely complicated question. An approach by the way that the book clearly says won’t work by itself!!! 

Why is it that Americans so often respond with the emotional maturity of a 14 year old to these pressing societal issues? Why are we so intent on quick fixes or something having to be 100% correct or incorrect? Hasn’t life kicked each of our individual asses enough times to know this is rarely true?

I didn’t wrote this post today to tell everyone why we are a BiNaration. I wrote it so next time you became engaged in a new process or idea, you stop and think before you fall into this all in or all against mentality. 

Cheers and Rock On

Male Emotional Honesty

Over the last month I’ve had five female friends relate horrible stories about verbal and physical treatment and assault. As they’ve shared their stories what struck me was this article from the NYTimes about Male Emotional Honesty. I see my younger self and many males I know and have known over the years in this article.

I see the connection because so many of the causes of horrible male behavior (see dick pics, trolling, slut shaming) come from how we gender conform men. If we want to create a society where women don’t face constant verbal abuse and potential for physical abuse and assualt, we need the change to happen in our men. Men need to be taught not only how to express themselves emotionally, but that it’s ok and preferred for them to do this.

If this is an issue for you (which it should be for all of us) look at the young boys around you. Make sure you are teaching them to be emotionally aware and connected. Don’t be afraid to stand up for them when they are being horribly emotionally stunted and gender conformed before your eyes. Only when boys grow up and KNOW it’s ok to have emotionally mature conversations and relationships across all gender lines, will we see a true improvement in how woman are treated.   


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