The 7 types of rest that every person needs

This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from people in the TED community; browse through all the posts here.

Have you ever tried to fix an ongoing lack of energy by getting more sleep — only to do so and still feel exhausted?

If that’s you, here’s the secret: Sleep and rest are not the same thing, although many of us incorrectly confuse the two.

We go through life thinking we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep — but in reality we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need. The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.

Rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life.

The first type of rest we need is physical rest, which can be passive or active. Passive physical rest includes sleeping and napping, while active physical rest means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help improve the body’s circulation and flexibility.

The second type of rest is mental rest. Do you know that coworker who starts work every day with a huge cup of coffee? He’s often irritable and forgetful, and he has a difficult time concentrating on his work. When he lies down at night to sleep, he frequently struggles to turn off his brain as conversations from the day fill his thoughts. And despite sleeping seven to eight hours, he wakes up feeling as if he never went to bed. He has a mental rest deficit.

The good news is you don’t have to quit your job or go on vacation to fix this. Schedule short breaks to occur every two hours throughout your workday; these breaks can remind you to slow down. You might also keep a notepad by the bed to jot down any nagging thoughts that would keep you awake.

The third type of rest we need is sensory rest. Bright lights, computer screens, background noise and multiple conversations — whether they’re in an office or on Zoom calls — can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed. This can be countered by doing something as simple as closing your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day, as well as by intentionally unplugging from electronics at the end of every day. Intentional moments of sensory deprivation can begin to undo the damage inflicted by the over-stimulating world.

The fourth type of rest is creative rest. This type of rest is especially important for anyone who must solve problems or brainstorm new ideas. Creative rest reawakens the awe and wonder inside each of us. Do you recall the first time you saw the Grand Canyon, the ocean or a waterfall? Allowing yourself to take in the beauty of the outdoors — even if it’s at a local park or in your backyard — provides you with creative rest.

But creative rest isn’t simply about appreciating nature; it also includes enjoying the arts. Turn your workspace into a place of inspiration by displaying images of places you love and works of art that speak to you. You can’t spend 40 hours a week staring at blank or jumbled surroundings and expect to feel passionate about anything, much less come up with innovative ideas.

Now let’s take a look at another individual — the friend whom everyone thinks is the nicest person they’ve ever met. It’s the person everyone depends on, the one you’d call if you needed a favor because even if they don’t want to do it, you know they’ll give you a reluctant “yes” rather than a truthful “no”. But when this person is alone, they feel unappreciated and like others are taking advantage of them.

This person requires emotional rest, which means having the time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on people pleasing. Emotional rest also requires the courage to be authentic. An emotionally rested person can answer the question “How are you today?” with a truthful “I’m not okay” — and then go on to share some hard things that otherwise go unsaid.

If you’re in need of emotional rest, you probably have a social rest deficit too. This occurs when we fail to differentiate between those relationships that revive us from those relationships that exhaust us. To experience more social rest, surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Even if your interactions have to occur virtually, you can choose to engage more fully in them by turning on your camera and focusing on who you’re speaking to.

The final type of rest is spiritual rest, which is the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose. To receive this, engage in something greater than yourself and add prayer, meditation or community involvement to your daily routine.

As you can see, sleep alone can’t restore us to the point we feel rested. So it’s time for us to begin focusing on getting the right type of rest we need.

Editor’s note: Fatigue can also be associated with numerous health problems, so please get checked out by your physician if it persists.

To learn more about Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith and her work, visit her website. This post was adapted from her TEDxAtlanta Talk. Watch it here:

Age Of Aquarius: 21 New Rules For 2021Enjoy, People, And Keep The Vibration High!


1.) Above all else, be direct and be honest. Be the one that says what has for too long gone unsaid.

2.) Love insanely. Let it all out into the open. You don’t have time to hold back any longer.

3.) Make yourself strong. Physically strong, emotionally strong, spiritually strong.

4.) Practice radical detachment and letting go. We need to create space for the new paradigm to emerge.

5.) Learn to enjoy being patient in allowing things to unfold naturally without forcing anything.

6.) Express yourself like you never have before. Be more real. Be more raw. Be more open. Be more bad ass. Be more you.

7.) Let death be all the motivation you need to do anything you want to do. The clock is ticking faster than ever.

8.) Don’t be surprised when things work out far better than you could have imagined.

9.) Give away as much freedom to others as you can stand, then give them more. Let them have their stupid differing opinions, or whatever, and just keep on loving them with everything you’ve got.

10.) Do not allow your mind to take the wheel. Steer with your heart.

11.) Make personal evolution your prime directive and watch how quickly your life changes for the better.

12.) Be the person in the room that laughs and smiles the most, showing others how to brush off the madness of the world.

13.) Conserve your energy until it is time to move, then do so with maximum potency.

14.) Stay close to the things you can control and distance yourself from those things which you cannot.

15.) Teach everything you’ve learned so far. Participate fully in our the growth of others.

16.) Create relationships, fix relationships, find common ground, build bridges, and be there for others.

17.) Learn to fiercely observe the world and the people around you.

18.) Rewrite the rules as needed for maximum ease and minimum stress.

19.) Let yourself cry, scream or whatever as needed in order make sure you are a conduit for negative emotions, not a reservoir.

20.) Practice, practice, practice. Engage in your daily practice every single day. Cultivate your inner peace and strength through the continuity of your intentions.

21.) Maintain the highest possible vibration you can and make a point of being infectious to others.

Smile, Security Cameras Record You 238 Times Per Week!

It seems no matter where we go throughout the day, there’s a camera close by. While passing by a security camera may not shock many people, a new study finds the average person is being filmed more often than they think.

From walking the dog to driving into work, researchers say Americans are being caught on security cameras at least 238 times every week.

The report by Safety.com finds that surveillance technology is spreading to every corner of the globe.

Security Cameras Record You 238 Times Per Week

Studies estimate there will be around one billion security cameras filming worldwide by 2021. Between 10 and 18 percent of those devices will be in the United States.

When comparing this level of surveillance to the rest of the world, study authors believe only China will have more cameras watching their population.

By next year, there will be about one camera for every 4.6 people in the United States. There will likely be one camera for every 4.1 people in China.

Where Are Security Cameras Watching You?

Safety.com finds much of this weekly surveillance happens on the road.

Researchers say the average American is filmed 160 times while driving. One of the biggest reasons for this is the growing number of cameras at major intersections.

Traveling about 29 miles a day on average, researchers say motorists typically drive under 20 cameras over that span.

The report cautions that it’s hard to know how many of these devices are permanently storing their recordings or just passively filming to monitor traffic data.

Once you’re done commuting, researchers find the average employee is filmed 40 times a week at or around the office.

This number, the study finds, can be drastically higher if a person works in a retail store or in transportation.

These workers may be on film hundreds of times every week in comparison to people working where there’s a single security camera at the entrance.

Meanwhile, the average consumer in the U.S. is under surveillance 24 times while out shopping or running errands.

Researchers find security cameras are the norm in business today, as merchants crack down on theft and other criminal activity.

Under Surveillance In Your Own Home

The study says one of the biggest increases in surveillance is right in a person’s own house. The average American is on film 14 times a week in their house and neighborhood.

In the past, researchers believe this number was closer to zero.

A 2016 survey finds the majority of U.S. residents believes they’re only being recorded about five times a day.

Today, doorbell cameras are a common feature in home security systems. So a walk through your community is likely now a walk past several homes filming everything that goes by.

Safety.com says they expect this number to keep rising in the coming years as security cameras and facial recognition software becomes a normal part of society.

To this you can add gadgets like Alexa, Siri, Etc, or even Smart TV’s

For some, this average is already skyrocketing. Researchers say for Americans who frequently travel by airplane or work in high security areas, they are likely on film over 1,000 times each week.

Source: StudyFinds.org

Why Do So Many People Believe Michelle Obama Is A Biological Man? Malik Obama Tweeted That As Well

Allegedly, Michelle Obama was born a biological man named Michael LaVaughn Robinson, then he changed his name to Michelle at 12 years old.

Barack Obama has referred to Michelle as “Michael” twice on national television (as you will see in the documentary embedded below), and Michelle has said this in an interview:

“When it comes to me, they get really, really ignorant. They believe that just because I have an Adam’s Apple that I’m not a real woman.”

As we all know, only men have an Adam’s apple, so by admitting to have an Adam’s apple, “she” actually admitted to being a biological man.

Barack Obama’s brother, Malik Obama, has also tweeted that the former US president is gay, was born in Kenya (and provided a copy of his birth certificate that supported his claim), and has said Michelle is actually a man and his name is Michael.

And then there are those who have stated publicly to have had sexual relationships to Barack Obama.

Read everything in great detail below:

Michelle Obama Is Michael Lavaughn

Anybody can switch and become a Black woman or Black man at any time they want to, thanks to gender fluid social justice and trans-everything Leftist logic.

So maybe we should all declare we’re Black women, just like Michael “Michelle” Obama did, and then we’ll all be entitled to reparations, if and when they ever come. You can even use gender fluidity to steal your way to the top in politics.

It’s easy, you see, because allegedly, Michelle Obama was born a biological man named Michael LaVaughn Robinson, then he changed his name to Michelle at 12 years old.

Michael Robinson’s Tranny Conversion Into Michelle Obama

Michael Obama is said to have undergone surgery in his late 20s, just before he met Barack Hussein, who knew from the beginning about the real Michelle.

Michael was not going to begin that relationship based on a lie, so he told Barack, but he already knew. Their kids are all from Barack’s sperm but they’re surrogates. Michael is “mom” and that’s that.

“When it comes to me, they get really, really ignorant. They believe that just because I have an Adam’s Apple that I’m not a real woman.” [emphasis added]

The dead giveaway, when you’re trying to tell someone’s biological gender (that’s called science, by the way), is by taking a look at their laryngeal prominence or “neck triangle.”

Commonly known as the Adam’s apple, that’s the protrusion or “lump” formed by a certain angle of thyroid cartilage that surrounds and protects the larynx.

For adult males this secondary sexual characteristic is clearly visible and also palpable. This is related to the deepening of the voice, as it becomes accentuated during puberty.

There is cosmetic surgery, called chondrolaryngoplasy, that can be done to reshape the Adam’s apple by reducing some of the thyroid cartilage. But then there’s those big manly shoulders to contend with, when we’re speaking of Michael Obama (video source):https://www.youtube.com/embed/AtWBGLbH8tU?feature=oembed

Maybe everyone will think she works out really hard, and so the simplest solution to that cover-up problem is just don’t cover them up, ever.

Attention women seeking arms and shoulders like “Michelle” Obama, if you weren’t also born a man, it may be difficult to just work out and develop shoulders like an NFL linebacker.

From All The Possible Names In The World, Why Is Her Book Titled Becoming Michelle Obama?

And let’s not forget her recently published book. The cover reads Becoming Michelle Obama:

Becoming Michelle Obama

Rumours That Barack Obama Is Gay

And then there are the never-ending rumours about Barack Obama being gay (even a call boy when he was in college), that he was a member of a gay bath house in Chicago, and then there are the men who claim to have had sexual relationships with him.

Barack Obama Has Called Michelle “Michael” Twice On National Television, As You Will See In The Following, Extremely Revealing, Documentary:

Michael Still Has His Junk, Cause That Ain’t No Summer Sausage He’s Grabbin’

Watch Michael “Michelle” Obama shake his junk on the Ellen Show. That’s a package, unless “she” is just carrying “her” mace around her waist in “her” jock strap.

Michelle Is A Biological Man, Says Barack Obama’s Brother Malik

Michael Obama

Ooops. Did that get published? Yes, the brother of the infamous former president spilled the beans about the first gay president that we know about, and the first “First Man” to live in the White House.

Barack’s brother Malik posted tweets about Michelle really being Michael. After all, with hands that huge, an Adam’s apple, and shoulders that could lift the back end of a pickup truck off the ground, Malik was simply stating the obvious.Obama Brother 3 18 19 2

Malik Obama provided proof, in the form of the birth certificate, that Barack Hussein Obama was born in Kenya

Here is a larger picture of the real birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama, which proves that he was born in Kenya:

Real Birth Certificate Of Barack Obama Kenya

five-year-long investigation proved that the birth certificate provided by Barack Hussein Obama was a forgery, and even Mr. Obama’s lawyer has admitted to that in court.

On March 7th, 2012, the Russian publication “Pravda” called out the U.S. press for its deliberate neglect of the largest scandal in modern American history.

Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio released credible forensic evidence that Barack Obama, presumed President of the United States, presented to the world a forged Birth Certificate on April 27th, 2011.

Since then, the scandal has only expanded. Former United States Postal Service worker Allen Hulton has recently come forward with compelling testimony given under Oath, which leads to only one conclusion: Barack Obama attended College in the United States as a Foreign Student.

But I digress.

Below is a tweet from Malik Obama who also suggested that Michelle Obama is actually a man:

Obama Brother 3 18 19

Is that just a woman with thyroid problems and a big banana in her pocket for a snack later? Only his husband knows for sure.

What we do know for sure is that every day was opposite day for Barack Obama when he was in office for those long eight years, and he’s still lying through his teeth to get his senile cohort in the driver’s seat now.

The 8 Key Elements of Resilience

Resilience is defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events. Resilience is considered a process to build resources toward searching for a better future after potentially traumatic events. Some of these resources come from our inherent potential and some from what we learn about how to endure hardship. The ability to bounce back requires being empowered to make decisions that promote personal well-being. And like sobriety, they must be frequently reconfirmed (Southwick & Charney, 2012).

1. Pursuing a meaningful goal. Resilient individuals find a calling and dedicate themselves to what gives life purpose. Pursuing a meaningful purpose may involve stress and pain in the short run but over the long run brings meaning (e.g., raising children, seeking personal growth, training for a marathon). People with a sense of purpose feel less anxiety and stress (Hagerty, 2016). As Nietzsche remarked, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

2. Challenge assumption. Resilience requires creativity and flexibility. Traditional beliefs should be examined in the light of new experiences and ideas. Creativity requires one to consider many perspectives to avoid being imprisoned by one’s habitual thoughts. In the aftermath of major life struggles, where fundamental assumptions are seriously confronted, it can lead to positive psychological change (Terdeschi and Calhoun, 2004). In a sense, change represents the death of who we once were. For example, psychologist Lyubomirsky (2013) notes that a rewarding life after divorce requires not only leaving your spouse but also leaving your past self behind.

3. Cognitive flexibility.  Resilient people tend to be flexible in their way of thinking and responding to stress. An important component of cognitive flexibility is accepting the reality of our situation, even if that situation is frightening or painful. Acceptance is a key ingredient in the ability to tolerate highly stressful situations. Avoidance and denial are the most common counterproductive coping strategies that can help people temporarily, but it ultimately stands in the way of growth.

4. Growth through suffering. Resilient people generally meet failure head-on and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Nietzsche famously remarked, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ In his book, Antifragile, Nassim Taleb (2012) writes, “Our antagonist is our helper (P39).” Thus, we can view any experience of emotional pain as an opportunity that will strengthen our ability to better deal with any future pain. However, when we medicate away our suffering we miss the opportunity to grow.

5. Acting despite the fear. Courage is an important aspect of positive psychology that allows one to overcome personal limitations and pursue a full life (Seligman, 2011). Courage is not a matter of feeling no fear. Courage is acting despite fear. Courage is the strength in facing one’s destructive habits. For example, the courage of an addict overcoming his or her addiction or the person abused as a child overcoming deep psychological traumas to become a loving and productive adult. Those who move forward in the face of adversity increase their inner strength.

6. Emotion regulation. A prominent view in psychology is that our emotional lives are shaped by our values and judgments (Solomon, 2007). It’s the basic premise of modern cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This is also one of the basic psychological principles of Stoicism (Robertson, 2019). Much, if not all, of our thinking, is up to us. We can liberate ourselves from destructive emotions such as anger and hatred by developing a capacity to choose how to interpret the situation. Our ability in managing the flow of thought and the capacity to visualize the future contribute to happiness.

7. The feeling of agency. Agency (the power of me) is an internal resource that often enables resilience. The sense of agency refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and shape their life circumstances. By exerting free will, the person expands his options and freedom. When feeling free and self-determined, we generally flourish. Believing that things are beyond our control is a recipe for helplessness.

8. Social support. Resilient individuals draw strength from their social networks. They also provide social support to others. The availability of social support reduces anxiety and stress. After all, it feels easier to face adversity when you have a close friend that you can rely on. When you have strong social support, you don’t have to use as many of your own personal resources to cope with adversity. Those relationships give you a profound sense of emotional security and the feeling that someone has your back no matter what.

References

Hagerty BB (2016), Life Reimagined. Riverhead books.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2013).The myths of happiness: What should make you happy, but doesn’t, what shouldn’t make you happy, but does.New York: Penguin Press.

Robertson, Donald (2019), How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, St. Martin’s Press.

Seligman, Martin E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New York: Free Press.

Solomon, Robert C. (2007). True to Our Feelings: What Our Emotions Are Really Telling Us. Oxford University Press, USA

Southwick, S. M., & Charney, D. S. (2018). Resilience: The science of mastering life’s greatest challenges. 2nd edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Taleb, NM (2012) Antifragile, New York: Random House.

Tedeschi RG, Calhoun LG (2004), Posttraumatic growth: conceptual foundations and empirical evidence. Psych Inquiry, 15(1-18).

Do people with a dark sense of humor have a higher IQ?

If you laughed at that joke, then first of all, I’ll save you a seat in hell. But secondly, you may have a higher-than-average IQ.

According to a study published in the Journal of Cognitive Processing, understanding and appreciating dark humor may signify a higher level of intelligence. So next time you laugh when you see a person tripping on a curb, you can put it down to your awesome intellect.

The study also found that those with the highest preference and for dark humor also had the highest verbal and nonverbal intelligence, as well as greater levels of emotional stability.

Knock knock

The type of humor used in the study was described as “a kind of humor that treats sinister subjects like death, disease, deformity, handicap or warfare with bitter amusement,” and states that it “is used to express the absurdity, insensitivity, paradox and cruelty of the modern world.”

The participants in the study were asked to read and rank various jokes,memes and were then asked questions about them. These questions related to how hard it was to understand the joke, how surprised they were by the joke’s content, whether the joke was novel to them and how interesting they found the joke. Those who enjoyed the darker jokes tended to be more highly educated.

The researchers reasoned that dark humor requires more brainpower to process how the jokes work compared to more standard gags. In particular, the researchers pointed out a construct of dark humor which they named “frame blending.”

This is where the premise of a joke is set up, or “framed,” in one way and then shifted into a different frame for comedic effect. Most humor is built this way —the incongruity of an unexpected twist in a joke leads to laughs.

But the “frame blending” of dark humor requires an extra step and more cognitive resources since the conscious mind would actually have to overcome its distaste for the inappropriate subject matter in order to get to the punchline of the joke.

Before you start working on your stand-up routine purely based on Helen Keller jokes, it’s worth mentioning the bottom end of the IQ bell curve also had a smaller but significantly pronounced tendency to laugh at the jokes presented in the study.

In fact it was only people of average intelligence that had trouble appreciating the darker jokes.

So next time someone tells you you’re being “inappropriate” because this is a “funeral, etc” you can remind them that it’s because of your higher than average IQ. Or your much lower than average IQ. Either way at least you’re not normal which I’m sure the person chastising you would agree with.

7 psychological superpowers few people have (that you can use to set yourself apart)

7 psychological superpowers few people have (that you can use to set yourself apart)

“Tell me where I’m going to die so I never go there.”

The sentence above describes a superpower few people have. It’s one I’ve only been able to exercise ten percent of the time, but that ten percent creates most of the positive results I get in my life.

What’s the superpower? Restraint.

Successhappiness, or whatever word you use to articulate what you want, often involves what you don’t do.

Also, restraint from one action can be a springboard to a more useful one, e.g., talking to listening.

We live in an unrestrained world. It’s getting louder, angrier, more chaotic and pretentious.

This is why it’s the perfect time for you to behave in the exact opposite fashion and wield these superpowers few people have.

Hide Your Intelligence

“A know-it-all is a person who knows everything except for how annoying he is.” — Demitri Martin

If you’re a smart person, you might have the tendency to want to show it off.

You want people to know you’re smart. While there’s nothing wrong with displaying your intelligence, the costs for showing it off too much are high. People don’t like being corrected. Also, they don’t want a mirror reflected on their own inadequacy.

If you’re in a work setting, follow one of Robert Greene’s 48 laws of power — never outshine the master. Showing up your boss is a surefire way to make the relationship contentious (even if only subtly).

Showing people up in general means you lack an important type of intelligence — social intelligence.

If you had social intelligence, you’d know that letting other people take the spotlight makes them feel important. And they’d connect that feeling of importance with being around you.

Also, paraphrasing Greene again, it’s much more clever to resist the urge to display your cleverness (move in silence…let people think you’re less intelligent than you are).

It’s difficult for me. I’m tempted to correct people when I hear them say something incorrect. I love talking about all the things I know. But, at times, I’ll catch myself and realize that nobody really wants to know how smart I am. They want to know how I can play a role in their life that benefits them.

It’s almost always better to understate your intelligence than overstate it.

Resist Group Think

Madness is rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. — Friedrich Nietzsche

We lie to ourselves a lot. One of the main lies we tell ourselves? We think we’re open-minded. On the whole, we’re not.

You’ve cobbled together an identity based on narratives. You tell yourself stories constantly and the ones you repeat often become part of your personality. You’re also prone to adopt narratives based on groups you belong to. You do this because human beings are naturally tribal animals.

The problem with this occurs when you’re unable to even hold views that deviate from your group’s list of stances. This is what you see in the political sphere right now — no one’s budging.

If you’re able to form your own worldview — a legitimate one should contain elements of contradictory philosophies — you’ll have the benefit of not being a crazy person participating in mud slinging contests.

It’s pretty much impossible to form an original worldview because you have to form it by picking up established narratives (unless you’re a truly original thinker, which you’re not). Just knowing how difficult it is to form untainted beliefs gives you the humility to second guess your own opinions.

The end goal? Be able to say that you’ve put thought into which components of group narratives you decided to adopt. And then, stay out of the herd altogether.

You’re going to have to sit on the sidelines while everyone else bickers. Don’t even participate in the discourse. Improve your life.

At the end of the day, most of what happens in your life can be seen and shaped through the lens of your individuality. No matter what group you belong to, the experiences, memories, and emotions you have are unique to you. And, you can only genuinely look to yourself to reshape any of the above.

Stop Caring What People Think About You

“You want praise from people who kick themselves every fifteen minutes, the approval of people who despise themselves.” — Marcus Aurelius

You want to know a great trick for letting go of other people’s opinions? Read a book about space or watch a Youtube video about it. Right now, I’m reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.

Here’s a passage from it:

“Our sun is just one of the one hundred thousand million stars that make up our galaxy the Milky Way. The Milky Way is only one of the many galaxies in the local group. The local group, in turn, is just one of the thousands of groups and clusters of galaxies which form the largest known structures of our universe.”

Now think of your place in that universe. Why so preoccupied about ‘what will happen’ or ‘what others’ will think when you’re already essentially dead? Because human beings are the only known species arrogant enough to place themselves at the center of the universe.

I do it. You do it. The less it’s done, though, the freer you are. That’s the thing about freedom — it’s often a consequence of what you don’t do. Once you decide to stop caring so much, it’ll allow you to do what you want.

Are you going to let other people — infinitesimal pieces of existence in the expanse of the universe — stop you from living your life the way you want to live it?

Stop Placing Blame Altogether

“If it’s in your control, why do you do it? If it’s in someone else’s control, then who are you blaming? Atoms? The gods? Stupid either way. Blame no one.” — Marcus Aurelius

This is about taking ownership of your mind.

If you don’t own your mind, someone else or circumstance will. Owning your reactions to what happens to you gives you a source of power no one can corrupt.

Like most of us, I get angry when someone slights me or treats me unfairly. When situations don’t go the way I want them to, I begin feeling sorry for myself. If I’m lucky, I catch myself and focus on the role I played in the situation.

You’ve heard this before. It’s so cliche. Why add personal responsibility to this list?

Because it’s really really hard and goes against our nature.

Also, there are times where the blame should be placed somewhere other than on yourself, but it’s often fruitless.

Sure, you might be able to convince the person you blamed they’re wrong, but at what cost? To what degree did each of you play in the situation (your apt to take more percentage of the victim category than you should)?

You might be able to bend the universe to your will and make the circumstances around you better — as opposed to just being better — but, again at what cost?

In my life, at least, I’ve seen that forgoing the blame game is a net positive ninety-nine percent of the time. Does that mean I always accept responsibility instantly? Hell no, but being able to do it even some of the time goes a long way.

Stop “Waiting to Talk”

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen Covey

Have you ever been in a conversation where it’s clear no one is listening? Each person talks and the others are waiting for a millisecond of silence to jump in.

This entire post has been about dialing back your tendencies. Why is that important? When you’re a little more restrained in your actions and your thoughts, you become a better observer.

When you become a better observer, you realize that you can get further ahead by doing less. It’s not easy to put that idea together at first — less outward activity equaling better results — but it’s true.

If you let other people talk, listen to them, and give up your need to jump into the conversation right away, everyone will love you. People love to talk. Let them.

While they talk, listen. If you really listen, they’ll give you all the information you want to know — their hopes, fears, desires, needs, likes, dislikes. Just sit there while they ‘spill the tea.’

Then, you can do little things that make them feel like you’re a great conversationalist and someone they can trust, even if you barely talk — repeat what they said back to them, ask them a question that makes them continue to talk, genuinely highlight when they bring something up you have in common.

You can use this technique in a real conversation or the conversation — the zeitgeist, blogs, and social media. Don’t jump in the debate. Watch it while everyone reveals their cards.

Stop Letting Your Desires Pull You in Every Direction

“Those who act with few desires are calm, without worry or fear.” — Buddha

Books like Think and Grow Rich teach you to have an ultimate desire for wealth to get it.

If you like to read about business and self-improvement like me, you see Facebook ads on “how to start a six-figure business in real estate” or whatever.

Ambition can be good and necessary. It can also be poisonous. When I focus too much on results — output — writing becomes less fun. It starts to feel like work. When I write what I think you want to read and start to pander because of a desire for clicks, the work suffers.

Every time I do something I don’t really want to do because I think it will help me get something I desire, I feel bad, misaligned, incongruent.

The only times I’ve ever succeeded and felt good were bi-products of doing the work I enjoyed doing.

How about you? What status games are you playing right now? What objects and circumstances are you lusting over? Are you being controlled by a desire for the output or the need to do the input?

I have to remind myself constantly that I can be happy with what I have this second. And, even if my life gets better outwardly, I’ll adjust to it quickly and begin running on the hamster wheel all over again. Better to just do the things I love, right now, and forget about the future.

Stop Taking Everything So Seriously

“Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.” — Tim Kreider

Imagine a society where everyone tended to their own well-being first before shouting into the sky about the government or what’s on the news?

What if we stopped watching the news altogether? If we did that, we’d realize — while things are nowhere near perfect — the sky isn’t falling. It isn’t. It isn’t.

You can probably see this in your own life. The things we tend to take seriously at a high level, e.g., will we go to war with ‘x’ (there’s always an x), have little to do with what’s going on at the ground level, otherwise known as our actual life.

I stopped reading the news and going on Twitter all the time. It’s not real life. I realized I was getting riled up over nothing. Also, even if the situations were as dire as I thought, my tweets weren’t going to fix the situation.

All the while there were plenty of things in my own life that needed tending to.

Get out of the outrage, ‘if it bleeds it leads’, machine right now. It’s not worth your sanity.

Then, even in your own life, try to stop taking everything so seriously. Focus on your career, but don’t make your career your life. Be prudent, save, budget, but don’t become a worry wart.

Spend time with your friends and family without worrying much about anything beyond them.

I’ve said this many times. From the perspective of the universe, you’re dead. Clutching on the steering wheel of life gives you the illusion you have control. You don’t, really.

Just live.

Communicating in High Context vs. Low Context Cultures

How people communicate with one another varies wildly from culture to culture. In our fully globalized times, it is more important than ever to understand these differences and where they come from. One way to reach such an understanding is through the high and low context culture framework, developed by anthropologist Edward T. Hall.

In 1976, Hall proposed that cultures can be divided into two categories—high context and low context. The concept has been a popular frame of reference since its introduction 40 years ago, and is used as a training tool to this day.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

The differentiation between high and low context cultures is meant to highlight differences in how cultures communicate. High-context cultures will use communication that focuses on underlying context, meaning, and tone in the message, and not just the words themselves.

Countries that fall into this categorization are Japan, China, France, Spain, Brazil, and more.

On the flipside, low-context cultures expect communications to be explicitly stated so that there’s no risk of confusion, and if a message isn’t clear enough, it will slow down the process of communication. In the most extreme cases, leaving any sort of wiggle room for interpretation can be disastrous.

Some of the cultures that fall into low-context communication are Western cultures like the UK, Australia and the United States.

HIGH CONTEXT VS. LOW CONTEXT CULTURE CHARACTERISTICS

Cultures typically can’t be organized strictly into either high or low context. Most cultures fall between the extremes on the spectrum and can share characteristics of both high and low context traits to varying degrees.

Although it can be a complex characteristic whether a culture is high context or low context, it can determine many other aspects of a particular culture. For example, in a high-context culture similarity is an important characteristic. This is because the majority of the population in high context cultures typically have the same level of education, as well as a shared ethnicity, religion, and history.

Through these shared experiences, messages can be contextualized by assuming an audience will think in the same way and follow the underlying message implicit in someone’s speech or writing.

In low-context cultures, the opposite is true. They are usually diverse, and focus on the individual, instead of the group. Since there are so many differences within a low-context culture, communication must be basic enough to allow for as many people to understand it as possible.

FORMS OF COMMUNICATION

Just as communication in general is different for high and low context cultures, the forms of communication also change, including the types of media that they enjoy. In today’s fast-paced digital age, these forms can shift, but underlying preferences stay the same.

Generally, high-context cultures prefer oral communications, while low-context cultures favor written communications.

When it comes to emails, texts, and online messaging, low-context cultures use it to fire off quick, frequent messages. Low-context cultures also want these communications to revolve around basic questions, like:

  • What’s happening?
  • Where’s it happening?
  • When’s it going to happen?
  • How’s it going to happen?

Of course, high-context cultures will tend to move in the other direction, with a focus on longer forms of communication that don’t always focus on basic questions.

COMMUNICATING IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Clearly, it’s important for a multinational organization to know the difference between high and low context cultures. A full understanding of these differences will effectively improve both outward, client-focused communication as well as inter-business relationships.

Will a company in Japan appreciate your attempts to get right to the point? Will a German company become bored if you talk around a subject, instead of directly addressing it? Know your audience and their cultural standing, and your message will never get lost.

I Don’t Like You, and I Don’t Know Why

Introverts and extroverts may find themselves at odds when they first meet.

Alain Lacroix/123RF

Have you ever met someone for the first time and thought, “I don’t like you, and I don’t know why?” The answer could be simple as you are an introvert and the person you just met is an extrovert. Introverts may view extroverts as arrogant, overconfident, brash, and pushy. Extroverts, on the other hand, may see introverts as quiet, nerdy, insecure, and socially inept. Such a tendency can serve as a filter through which a person’s future words and actions are judged.

People like others who share the same attitudes and perspectives as they do. Since introverts and extroverts have different perspectives, they view each other as different and thus might be naturally predisposed to dislike one another when they first meet. Extroverts focus on the outside world, while introverts have a greater tendency to be introspective. Introverts typically begin their day with fully charged social batteries, but social interactions drain them. When their batteries are drained, introverts withdraw into themselves to recharge.

The differences in their worldviews can cause social discomfort. Introverts are less likely to outwardly express their feelings. Consequently, the frustration caused by the actions of extroverts can build up over time. When the pent-up frustration reaches a certain point, the frustrated introvert may explode with a litany of past transgressions. Extroverts are often caught off guard.

Why do extroverts frustrate introverts? What they think, they say, and sometimes what they say offends others. Introverts think before they speak and don’t understand how someone could say something without first thinking about what they say. Extroverts finish other people’s sentences. Introverts think before they speak and often pause between thoughts to plan the next thing they want to say. Extroverts see the pause in the conversation, finish the other person’s sentence, and continue the conversation, leaving the introvert frustrated and unheard.

Changing negative first impressions is difficult. A person who forms a negative impression of another will be less inclined to meet that person a second time, because that person has been judged in a negative light. Without subsequent meetings, the person who has been judged negatively does not have an opportunity to change the mind of the person who judged them.

Additionally, once a first impression is formed, people are less likely to change their minds due to the psychological principle of consistency. When a person articulates an idea, they are less likely to change their minds because they must first admit that they were initially wrong. Maintaining an erroneous notion, such as a first impression, causes less anxiety than admitting an error and adopting another position.

Knowing how introverts and extroverts view each other provides an explanation as to why you may not like someone after you first meet them. Knowing why a person may not like you will help you adjust your communication style to foster good relationships in business and social settings.

Are You Interested in Ridding Yourself of All Resentment?

Someone treats you with disrespect and you feel resentful. Such an initial reaction is common and actually good because you are saying that you are a person who deserves respect. Yet, if the initial resentment lasts, and continues to last for years, it eventually can chip away at your happiness, at your self-esteem, and make you miserable. At that point, it is healthy to try to shed the resentment.

As another challenge, it is possible that you have a history of others treating you unfairly that could go back to your childhood, your adolescence, and into your adulthood. Sometimes we still have an unconscious resentment that is abiding from decades ago. These resentments can be part of our current psychology, shaping who we think we are and affecting our level of well-being. 

I have found that there is a particular psychological exercise in which you can engage:

  1. Diagnose those people and incidences that have hurt you.
  2. Assess your current level of resentment resulting from these.
  3. Take scientifically-supported steps to rid yourself of these resentments, all of them that have occurred in your life. 

The exercise is the Forgiveness Landscape.  What is this and how does it work?  

The term Forgiveness Landscape is an expression first used in the book, The Forgiving Life (Enright, 2012), to refer to all of the people who ever have been seriously unjust to you. When people first construct their forgiveness landscape, they often are surprised at:

  1. How many people are on the list.
  2. The depth of the anger left over, even from decades ago.

When we are treated deeply unfairly by others, the anger is slow to leave. If we push that anger aside, simply thinking we have “moved on” or “forgotten all about it,” sometimes this is not the case. The anger can be in hiding, deep within the heart, and the only way to get rid of it is surgery of the heart—forgiveness.

Would you like to examine your own forgiveness landscape to see how many people in your life are still in need of your forgiveness? You might want to write down your answers to the following questions.

The first set of questions:

Think back to your childhood. Is there anyone who was very unfair to you and if so, what is your anger level now on a 1-to-5 scale, with 1 signifying no anger leftover and 5 signifying lots of anger when you reflect on this person and the actions toward you.

More specifically from your childhood, are there any incidents from your father that still make you angry? From your mother? A sibling?

What about from peers or teachers, is your anger still high when you recall the incidents?

The second set of questions:

Let us now focus on your adolescence. Follow the pattern from the first set of questions. Then let us add any coaches, employers or fellow employees, and romantic partners to the list. Are there people who still make you angry in the 4 or 5 range of our scale?

The third set of questions:

Who in your adult life has made you significantly angry, in the 4 to 5 range of anger? We can add a partner, any children, relatives, friends, and neighbors to the list.

Now please rank order all of the people from those who least offended you to those who most offended you. Now, look at that list to see your forgiveness landscape. There is your work, right there on the list. I recommend starting with people lower on the list. Forgive them first because they in all likelihood are the easiest to forgive because the anger is less. As you work up the list, you will gain in your expertise to forgive, which is good preparation for forgiving those on the top of the list—those who are the most challenging for you.

You can find more on this way of forgiving in the book, The Forgiving Life, which walks you systematically through this exercise. Enjoy the challenge. Enjoy the journey of forgiveness, which can set you free in so many ways.

References

Enright, R.D. (2012).  The forgiving life.  Washington, D.C.: APA Books.

Enright, R.D. & Fitzgibbons, R. (2015).  Forgiveness therapy: An empirical guide for resolving anger and restoring hope.  Washington, DC: APA Books.

Lee, Y-R & Enright, R.D. (2014) A forgiveness intervention for women with fibromyalgia who were abused in childhood: A pilot study. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 1, 203-217.