MIND CONTROL How To Protect Your Children From Indoctrination

Do you look on with astonishment at Antifa and other extreme groups rioting and shouting “death to America?” How could all this happen? Where did all these young people come from who hate the US?

by Linnea Johnson

Chances are they caught this belief from our public school systems. If you live in California, it’s right in your face. Some are calling it out

We’ve talked about why homeschooling is an excellent choice from an academic, independence, and character-building standpoint in previous articles. In this discussion, we’ll talk about protecting your children from indoctrination.

Distance Learning Is Starting To Show Some Of The Cracks With Schooling.

Reports are starting to surface of parents uncomfortable with the political patina of their children’s online classrooms. Police visited one family because a boy’s BB gun was visible behind him in an online classroom session, and the teacher reported the “gun” to the police. 

Another teacher caught a glimpse of a 12-year old’s Nerf gun, and instead of asking him or the parents about it, she reported it to the sheriff. The child was accidentally suspended for a week for having a toy gun at home during a Zoom class!

One teacher expressed that he has to be more careful with his words now that parents can listen to online class sessions. Some school districts have gone so far as to ask parents to sign a disclaimer that they will not watch class sessions with their children to protect other children’s privacy in the online classroom.

Could it be that teachers, their unions, and school administrations are concerned about being exposed as rhetoric spreaders in the classroom?

Have We Forgotten Our Children Are Our Responsibility?

Rearing them, teaching them, caring for them, and loving them is our responsibility. In this country, it seems we have abdicated that responsibility and ceded it over to the state.

We believe the government owes our children free education, free medical care, and even free meals.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect there is a string attached when I hear something is free. That string is the ability to mold our children’s minds.

I’m not comfortable with people I don’t know taking full responsibility for my children’s care, their thoughts, and their beliefs.

Don’t we suspect that this current civil unrest was born in the classroom some years ago? While “it takes a village” has a nice familial ring to it, do we want the state to be that village?

Do We Want Our Children To Have Our Values Or Someone Else’s?

Infuse into your home education a worldview rooted in critical thinking and morality, whether it be the Principle Approach, or an education rich in the study of the US constitution and western philosophy, or Socratic reasoning, or a faith-based curriculum.

If you’re a person of faith, you will undoubtedly want your children to share your faith and not that of a secular system. Teach your children how to think and help them to develop good character.

I know many teachers who take their jobs seriously, who go to work faithfully every day and try to do a good job.

The best of them end up being frustrated by a system that doesn’t support them and is heavily influenced by the teacher’s unions and political correctness.

They don’t want to be responsible for both their children and yours. They want to educate your children in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Still, their latitude in teaching has been severely limited by common core standards, teaching to the test, and political correctness.

Their job performance is now dependent upon how much your children learn from the required curriculum and how well they can perform on a standardized test.

Children spend countless hours preparing for these tests that show only memorized information regurgitated onto the bubble-filled page. Do we want children who can memorize or do we want critical thinkers?

Students are encouraged, “get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good breakfast” on test days, as if this is not important on every other school day.

The teacher’s ability to advance to the next performance level or pay grade depends on your child’s test performance. That’s a lot of pressure for both the teacher and your child.

Don’t we want our kids to be able to read, write, and do the math, and when they’ve learned that, to be able to think critically?

As A Parent, You Have Tremendous Influence And Responsibility

You create an atmosphere of helping your children understand and make sense of the world around them by just listening and having a conversation.

Could you do that over breakfast? How about around the dinner table?

If you don’t have a meal together as a family, start now. It’s a time to reconnect with each other, discuss the day’s events, or sort out difficulties someone is having. Mealtime is a time when the family knows everyone will listen to each other. 

I’ve seen variations on the family meal. Some families discuss the events of the day. Others will pose a question and ask everyone’s opinion before the parent gives his/her view.

Others recite memorized poetry or Bible verses, and others use the time to pray. Mealtime can become a sacred time – a time for the family to lift one another, work through difficulties, and talk about what was essential to each one.

We didn’t realize how important mealtime was until my son had a group of friends over. When it was dinnertime, my son called them to the table. They said they’d come in to eat later.

My son explained that we all eat together in our house. Reluctantly, they all came in to eat. At the end of the meal, my son’s friends said they enjoyed eating together.

The only time they did that in their homes was during the holidays. I think they wished their own families did the same.

You have the power to create a safe and comforting place in your home at mealtime, not just for your children but also for their friends.

Even if the food is simple, or God forbid, scarce, don’t discard the opportunity to reconnect.

What About Homeschooling?

The decision of whether to homeschool – or even if they’re qualified to do so – has been a difficult one for many parents.

I’ve read that parents are concerned about the cost of homeschooling, hiring a tutor or a teacher for their micro-school or learning pod of children. They are desperate to keep working and earning to pay someone else to educate their children and maintain their same lifestyle.

If you can afford to hire a teacher, even part-time, to educate your and your friend’s kids in a one-room schoolhouse in your converted garage, more power to you. Many don’t have that financial flexibility to hire someone else to teach.

My advice to you would be to join forces with other parents, share the load, learn to teach your children, and teach them to learn from you. Here are some tips to help you do so.

  • Be flexible. Some parents may be able to teach during part of the day, and some may be available for tutoring at night. Another parent may teach archery, bushcraft skills, gardening, food preservation, or backpacking on the weekend.
  • Be creative. Pull together something that works for you and the other families. A kitchen table is all you need.
  • Divide the work fairly. I belonged to a babysitting co-op, and we created laminated cards to exchange babysitting services.One card for one hour of babysitting for up to two children was the baseline. We all started with the same number of cards and exchanged and received them as we used and provided babysitting to the other co-op members. Parent educators could design a similar system — one card per adult for two hours of teaching for up to four children.

Using an established system, you could help one another in other ways. Perhaps one family gardens, another knows how to do car maintenance, another has an abundance of chicken eggs, and another has skills in the medical field.

Could you exchange what you have or know for what another family has or knows? Could you save money by exchanging for needs?

Think about it because this kind of system could help you navigate not only homeschooling, but also a collapse in the supply chain, rapid inflationary pressures on food or medicine, or securing neighborhoods from civil unrest.

Why Do I Push Homeschooling?

Homeschooling can form the baseline for all other thought processes.

Homeschooling creates solid values in your children, supporting one another through thick and thin, and finding others who are like-minded.

Homeschooling can be your lifeline, not just for your children, but also for your entire family.

It’s also the best way I know to have a stable and fulfilling relationship with your grown children.

Homeschooling is just part of a mindset that is undergirded by a belief in self-sufficiency. And by self-sufficiency, I don’t necessarily mean going it all alone.

I mean figuring out a way to make it a win-win for others with a similar mindset to you and getting what both you and they need.

Some people find a group of like-minded people in a church, within your own family, and others find them on a blog like this.

Find your people and figure out a way to help one another, not just in homeschooling, but also in doing life together.

I used to say it was time to leave this country if homeschooling was outlawed because I believed that was the final step in indoctrination and in limiting our freedom.

While it is not outlawed, it may become more and more regulated. I urge you to take this time to explore your options, to understand what you want for your family’s future, and to take action now to achieve that.

I believe we have a window of opportunity that may close in the years ahead. Learn to protect your children from the indoctrination of others who don’t have their best interests in mind.

Sweden’s Senior Epidemiologist: Wearing Face Masks Is ‘Very Dangerous’

Sweden’s top expert on the coronavirus has warned that encouraging people to wear face masks is “very dangerous” because it gives a false sense of security but does not effectively stem the spread of the virus.

“It is very dangerous to believe face masks would change the game when it comes to COVID-19,” saidAnders Tengell, who has overseen Sweden’s response to the pandemic while resisting any form of lockdown or mask mandate.

“Face masks can be a complement to other things when other things are safely in place,” Tengell added. “But to start with having face masks and then think[ing] you can crowd your buses or your shopping malls — that’s definitely a mistake,” he further urged.

Tegnell has consistently spoken out against the use of masks, last month declaring that “With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport.”

“The findings that have been produced through face masks are astonishingly weak, even though so many people around the world wear them,” Tengell has urged.

“I’m surprised that we don’t have more or better studies showing what effect masks actually have. Countries such as Spain and Belgium have made their populations wear masks but their infection numbers have still risen,” the epidemiologist also declared.

Sweden, which didn’t enforce any mandatory lockdown order, has seen its coronavirus cases and deaths slow to a trickle.

“That Sweden has come down to these levels is very promising,” Tegnell has said, adding “The curves are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach zero.”

As Newsweek acknowledgedearlier this month, Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate is lower than those of Spain, the UK and Italy, countries which all imposed lockdowns.

Sweden’s GDP fall of 8.6 in Q2 2020 is also significantly less severe than the 12.1 average experienced in the Eurozone, leaving the Scandinavian country in “much better shape than the rest of Europe.”

Reference: Summit.news

Ohio Schools Give Yoga & Mindfulness Classes Instead Of Detention

A school in Ohio is doing away with detention punishment and giving students mindfulness and yoga classes instead.

We think that every parent can pretty much agree that there really isn’t anything beneficial to detention.

While the thought of being punished works well for some children, for others, it’s looked at as free time during the day or after school.

And we can’t forget to mention that it ends up disrupting their paren’s schedules whenever they need to pick them up after school instead of taking the bus.

And what do kids learn during after school detention? While they might walk away getting a head start on their homework, the lessons learned during after school detention is pretty much zip.

A school in Ohio is setting out to change that and we think that all schools should follow suit.

Good News Network reported that, high school principal, Jack Hatert, of Yellow Springs High, along with nearby Mckinney Middle school, are working on alternate detention classes.

This would include both mindfulness practice led by an expert and yoga.

Each Monday for 30 minutes before the end of their class, the students can sit down on a blanket in Donna Haller’s second-floor classroom and take time to focus on their emotions, be present, and have an allover quiet moment.

Basically, they will walk away from detention with some coping mechanisms for dealing with their big emotions that might have gotten them there in the first place. Talk about being proactive. Bravo!

This is part of a statewide education initiative that is working to encourage teachers to offer this mindfulness training more regularly to students.

The program is called “Each Child, Our Future,” and the goal of it is to address the mental health epidemic currently happening in the United States and raise capable, well rounded young people.

These mindfulness classes are also accompanied by a yoga option as well, which is held every Wednesday in their library.

Led by Donna Haller, a certified yoga and meditation instructor for both adults and youth of all ages, who has been at this specific high school for nine years.

She shared with the Yellow Springs News, “I love it. It does as much for me as them,” she said of the calming effects.

Someone I know said that mindfulness and yoga have helped them with their ADHD and with processing an event where they had lost someone who was dear to them,” wrote freshman Isabella Beiring for a video project about the mindfulness and yoga program.

What an amazing way for kids to end their day!

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.

7 Signs Your Personality Is Intimidating Others

Have you ever suspected that your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even close family members are blindsided by the sheer strength of your personality?

If you are the kind of person who knows their own mind, always sees their plans through, and doesn’t believe in following the herd, other people might find you somewhat intimidating!

Do any of these signs sound familiar?

If so, you probably earn the respect of others – but they may also be a little bit scared on occasion!

1. You Read Other People Quickly

Your intuitive abilities are strong, and you form accurate impressions of people within seconds of meeting them.

Dishonest, ignorant, and bigoted people can’t hide their true nature from you – and this makes them nervous.

You aren’t afraid to call out bad behavior when you see it, and are quite capable of putting obnoxious individuals in their place.

2. You get straight to the point

Have you often been told that you are “too blunt” or even “too honest”?

If so, your personality might be intimidating to those around you!

Whilst most people like to ease into a conversation with small talk, this isn’t your preferred approach.

You’d much rather focus on big, important, or even abstract issues rather than what you had for lunch, the latest celebrity gossip, or your next-door neighbor’s vacation plans.

3. You Often Find Yourself In The Minority

You don’t conform just to meet the expectations of others, and you don’t go along with their requests if they don’t sit with your values.

Because you pride yourself on being an independent thinker, it’s likely that you are alone in your opinions from time to time.

People with low self-confidence find you intimidating because they can’t understand what it’s like to validate yourself instead of looking to others for approval.

You’ll also be unsurprised to learn that unintelligent people also find it uncomfortable to be around you, because they soon realize that your IQ far exceeds their own.

4. You Don’t Make – Or Accept – Excuses

You don’t whine about your circumstances and you don’t see yourself as a victim, even if everything is collapsing around you.

There is no place in your life for people who moan and complain.

When you set a goal, you pursue it with vigor and do not tolerate laziness and procrastination.

Although you can be tender-hearted and kind, your willpower can make you appear resilient and tough, which can be intimidating.

It’s not that you lack sympathy for those going through a hard time, just that you have no patience for people who would rather wallow in their own misery than take action.

5. You Aren’t Jealous

For you, it doesn’t matter what other people have.

You know that their money, jobs, or status doesn’t affect your own chances of success, so you don’t waste your time feeling jealous.

When you congratulate someone on their accomplishments, you truly mean it, without a trace of malice or envy.

Your ability to focus on your own goals and destiny can surprise others, particularly if they happen to be envious or bitter themselves.

6. You Love New Opportunities

Lots of people prefer to stay in their comfort zone, but this isn’t an option as far as you’re concerned.

For you, life is about exploring new ideas and making the best of opportunities you have been given.

In fact, you even see problems or setbacks as blessings in disguise!

You aren’t a starry-eyed optimist, but you have an amazing ability to review a situation from multiple perspectives and try several approaches when solving a problem.

What’s more, you aren’t easily discouraged.

If one solution doesn’t work, you just pick yourself back up and try a new tactic.

7. You Find It Hard To Tolerate Stupid

Your open-minded attitude and capacity for critical thinking means that stupid or ignorant people really get on your nerves.

Perhaps you sometimes catch yourself thinking, “Why don’t they just read a book once in a while?” or “There’s no excuse for being that ignorant!”

Although you are usually polite and patient, you have no desire to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary with those who can’t understand high-level concepts.

Is an intimidating personality a blessing or a curse?

Sometimes, you might scare away potential friends and partners just by being yourself.

On the other hand, those brave enough to stick around and get to know you will come to appreciate your intelligence, honesty, and unique perspective on the world.

Because you are willing to meet lots of new people there’s a good chance that you will find your tribe sooner or later, even if it takes time to find friends who are capable of keeping up with your incredible mind.

Embrace your intimidating personality! Your proactive, strong-willed nature will set you up for success in every area of your life.

The Two Things We All Want and Need Most

What are our deepest psychological needs?

What are the fundamental motivations that animate our lives, our deepest needs, the ultimate goals compelling our pursuits and desires? This is an old question in psychology, occasioning much debate.

In thinking about this question, it is useful to borrow a notion from evolutionary science, which distinguishes between proximal and ultimate causes. Proximal causes motivate behavior in the here and now. Ultimate causes are the underlying foundational forces that shape and direct our here-and-now attentions. So the proximal reason you find a woman attractive is her lush hair and smooth skin. But why are lush hair and smooth skin attractive? That’s an ultimate cause question. Proximally, you are excited by the newness of your purchase. But why is “new” exciting, ultimately?

Proximal causes are usually means to ultimate cause ends. In the examples above, lush hair and soft skin are a proxy for youth, which is a proxy for fertility, a winner in the evolutionary gene-spreading game. Novelty excites because new is change, and change requires adaptation if one wishes to survive and thrive; both danger (a predator looking to eat us up) and promise (prey we can catch and eat) lie in that which is new in the environment. Therefore tending to novelty is a winning strategy in the evolutionary game.

As you might have noticed, life is complicated. Thus, any outcome may have multiple, layered proximal and ultimate causes. The proximal causes of the sailboat gliding over the water include the fact that the wind catches the sail, and also that the sailor is proficient, and also that the boom is sturdy, etc. The ultimate causes may include the survival advantage conferred by our ability to get places fast over water, the benefits of territorial control and access to resources, our desire for an increased sense of security achieved through making something unknown known, etc.

Clearly, some ultimate motives are biological. We are biological systems and everything that is possible to us has to be biologically possible. Evolutionary psychology posits the survival and reproductive functions as the ultimate biological motivations. Reverse-engineer anything we do and you’ll find these motives at play underneath. There is truth and elegance to this claim. It’s quite easy to see how underneath all our varied efforts to distinguish ourselves, achieve, accrue fame or amass fortune, lie an effort to improve our access to resources, including protective ones (i.e. survive) and attract the attentions of quality mates (i.e. reproduce).

But human beings are not just the sum of their biological processes and structures. At least not in any way that’s interesting. We also have a characteristic human psychology, which is neither synonymous with nor reducible to biology. Reducing human behavior and experience to their biological functions provides an impoverished, not to say distorted, picture of humanity. It turns out that psychological motivations—perhaps in part because they are born of (and map onto) biological imperatives—are as enduring and fundamental (ultimate) as biological ones, at least insofar as one wants to understand people’s behavior and lived experience.

To wit, a thought experiment: Let’s say we brought a biblical figure—say, Moses—back to life right now. Despite easily passing for a Brooklyn hipster—sandals, beard and all, Moses would nevertheless be utterly perplexed at the sight of your iPhone. Yet he’d be quite familiar with your emotional and relational (that is, psychological) issues—family petulance, greed and lust, your conflict with your boss and rage at social injustice, etc. In other words, while our technology has changed dramatically from biblical times, our psychology has remained more or less the same. The proximal means by which we communicate have changed much; the ultimate need to communicate, not at all.

In psychology’s early days, human motivation was often attributed to inborn ‘instincts’—innate, fixed patterns of behavior that emerge fully formed in response to certain stimuli. Early theorists such as William James posited lists of human instincts including shyness, love, play, shame, anger, fear, etc. “Instinct leads,” said William James, “intelligence does but follow.” One problem with instinct theories is that they describe rather than explain motivation, and are tautological by nature (Q: Why am I doing x? A: because you have x instinct. Q: How do you know I have x instinct? A: Because you are doing x).

Given their limitations in advancing understanding and prediction, it’s no wonder that instinct theories soon gave way to drive theories. A drive can be defined as an excitatory state produced by an inner disturbance. In other words, when certain biological conditions are unmet (say, I haven’t eaten in a while), the body produces discomfort, which we are then motivated to eliminate (in this case, by eating).

Drive theories owed a debt to the work of Claude Bernard, a 19th century French physiologist who is considered the father of modern experimental physiology. Bernard discovered one of the fundamental principles of organic life, the concept of “homeostasis”—controlled stability of the internal milieu in the face of changing external conditions (think for example: body temperature), which he reasoned was, “the condition for free life.”

Freud, who developed the first influential drive theory in psychology, saw drives as internal forces that compel a movement toward restoring homeostasis. Freud believed that human behavior was motivated by two fundamental biologically-based drives, sex and aggression. These drives, appearing to us as “the psychical representative of the stimuli originating from within the organism” constitute, “the whole flux of our mental life and everything that finds expression in our thoughts.”

Clark Hull, an influential early 20th century American drive theorist, said it thus: “When survival is in jeopardy, the organism is in a state of need (when the biological requirements for survival are not being met) so the organism behaves in a fashion to reduce that need.” Hull believed that humans possessed four primary drives: hunger, thirst, sex and pain avoidance. 

But how does one find the behaviors that serve to effectively reduce the drive? Well, mostly we do so by trial and error, reward and punishment. In other words, we learn from experience how to respond effectively to disruptions in homeostasis.

This idea had by the 1950s worked its way into the behaviorist theory of BF Skinner, according to which we select from a repertoire of behaviors those that produce reinforcements. Skinner, however, had little patience for the notion of internal motivation. While recognizing the existence of inner drives, Skinner nevertheless argued that they did not explain behavior. Rather, the causes of behaviors earlier theorists had attributed to internal drives were actually environmental events, like deprivation and aversive stimulation, not internal states such as thirst or anger.

Drives, as de facto effects of deprivation and aversive conditions, are linked to the probability of certain behaviors, but in a corollary, not causal, manner. For Skinner, internal states like emotion and intention do exist within the brain, but as contingencies, not behavioral causes. 

Either way, both classic ‘push’ drive theories and the newer ‘pull’ behaviorist ideas, while useful in their focus on the interplay between our biological make up and the environment, proved wanting as explanations of complex human behavior. For example, why do some behaviors continue long after the biological needs from which they ostensibly emerged are satisfied? People, after all, eat when they are not hungry, and well past the point of satiation. Second, what’s reinforcing, or tension reducing, about a prisoner refusing to divulge secrets under conditions of continued torture?

It turns out that in terms of the human experience, internal psychological processes matter greatly. If you run over me with your car, I’d be interested to know whether you did so intentionally. The court would want to know, as would your friends, and mine, and God at the pearly gates.

The 1960’s, the emergence of the civil rights and human potential movements—and with them the humanist school in psychology—saw psychology’s attentions shift from a focus on drives to a consideration of psychological needs, defined as psychological conditions in which something is required or wanted. 

“Lists of drives will get us nowhere” wrote the prominent humanist theorist Abraham Maslow, opting instead to create his famous hierarchy of needs, in which biological needs must be adequately satisfied before we may pursue the higher, more delicate self-actualization needs. In Maslow’s words: “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.”

The humanistic emphasis on identifying those parts of human experience that made us unique has also provided fertile grounds for the contemplation of the idea of meaning. The psychologist Victor Frankl famously wrote that searching for meaning is ‘‘the primary motivational force in man.” Existentialist psychologists such as Rollo May in particular spoke of the motivation to find meaning, to make sense of one’s existence, as a defining feature of humanity, separating it from all other living creatures. We are aware that we will die, and we are also aware that we are not dead now. So there is a space for us to be—but how? And what? “He who has a why to live for,” said Nietzsche, “can bear almost any how.” Indeed, research has shown that a sense of meaning predicts health and wellbeing. 

The interest in needs and goals has thus replaced the interest in instincts and drives, and, with psychology’s more recent turn toward the study of cognition, the discussion of what needs could be considered fundamental, or ‘ultimate,’ has expanded.

For example, the late Harvard psychologist David McClelland has proposed three such fundamental motivators: the need for achievement (N-Ach) is the extent to which an individual desires to perform difficult and challenging tasks successfully; the need for affiliation, (N-Affil) is the desire for harmonious relationships with other people; the need for power (N-Pow) is a desire for authority, to be in charge. 

Looking to integrate research findings on the dual roles of both extrinsic (pull) and intrinsic (push) motivations in shaping behavior, the psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan proposed the influential self-determination theory, according to which human beings are motivated by three basic, innate goals: competence, affiliation, and autonomy. Competence refers to a desire to control outcome, gain mastery, and become skilled. Affiliation refers to the desire to “interact with, be connected to, and experience caring for other people.” Autonomy concerns the urge to be causal agents and to act in harmony with our integrated self. 

The diverse work on motivation is not easy to summarize. Yet two threads appear (to me) to weave vividly through all or most of the theorizing in this area.

One is the affiliation need, the need to belong. Human beings can survive and thrive only in well-organized groups, and so our search for belonging is foundational, and urgent. Many psychological theories (beyond those mentioned above) allude to this notion in varying forms.

For example, Freud’s brilliant contemporary Alfred Adler argued that our “social interest”—an orientation to live cooperatively with others, value the common good, show interest in the welfare of humankind, and empathically identify with others—was an innate and foundational component of our psychic architecture. A failure on the part of parents and schools to protect and nurture children’s innate social interest was, according to Adler, the source of much individual suffering and social turmoil.

John Bowlby’s influential attachment theory emphasizes the importance of healthy caregiver-child bonds—the so-called ‘secure attachment’—for later emotional health and adaptation. The seminal Russian developmental theorist Lev Vygotsky has written about how development entails a process of “apprenticeship in culture,” where more expert and competent individuals teach children through assisted (‘scaffolded’) interactions how to achieve social competence. More recently, psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary, in arguing for the existence of a universal ‘need to belong,’ summarized their case thusly:

“People form social attachments readily under most conditions and resist the dissolution of existing bonds. Belongingness appears to have multiple and strong effects on emotional patterns and on cognitive processes. Lack of attachments is linked to a variety of ill effects on health, adjustment, and well-being…Existing evidence supports the hypothesis that the need to belong is a powerful, fundamental, and extremely pervasive motivation.”

A second dominant thread weaving through psychological theorizing and research on motivation is that individual human beings move invariably to develop a unique and coherent identity, a psychological sense of self to match the embodied physical self. In fact, the need to belong implicitly presupposes the existence of someone to do the belonging. When the Beatles sang, “all you need is love” they were correct insofar as implying that all love also needs a ‘you.’ 

The American psychologist Gordon Allport argued that it is this innate sense of individual coherence, agency, and continuity that allows us to wake up every morning with the deep certainty that we are the same person who went to sleep last night.

Deci and Ryan put it thusly: “all individuals have natural, innate, and constructive tendencies to develop an ever more elaborated and unified sense of self. That is, we assume people have a primary propensity to forge interconnections among aspects of their own psyches as well as with other individuals and groups in their social worlds.” 

It is true that the concept of self emerges in a social context. We define ourselves vis-a-vis other selves. Cultural norms and traditions heavily influence the kind of selves we construct. Yet it is also incontrovertibly true that there is a universal quality to the notion of self. Selfhood is recognized everywhere—everybody has a name—and many of its characteristics are common across cultures.

The individual body provides a universal framework. We are all embodied, and conscious of that fact. People everywhere develop an awareness of themselves as physically distinct and separable from others. We also share an awareness of our internal activity. “A purely disembodied human emotion,” wrote William James, “is a nonentity.”

We are aware of our stream of consciousness as manifested in thoughts and feelings and its common disruptions, as experienced in sleep and intoxication, for example. We are aware of the existence of a private realm of self, unknown to others. 

My (invariably) astute readers will note readily that these two motivations, while entwined, are also in some fundamental way at odds with each other. For one, group functioning requires cohesion and conformity, which in turn involve a reduction in personal individual autonomy. Likewise, the need to define and express a coherent and unique self in part entails differentiating from the crowd in some meaningful way. Individual caprice is often at odds with communal goals and standards. As Rollo May has written: “Every human being must have a point at which he stands against the culture, where he says, this is me and the damned world can go to hell.”

The developmental psychologist Erik Erikson has alluded to this inherent tension in his developmental theory. According to Erikson, we develop in a sequence of stages, each involving a distinctive psychosocial ‘crisis,’ the resolution of which may have a positive or negative outcome for personality development. Erikson saw these crises as “psycho-social” in that they pit the individual psychological needs against the needs of society. 

Yet I would argue that it is quite heuristically useful, and justified by much evidence, to think about human motivation on the psychological plain as the interplay of these two fundamental motivations: the ‘need to belong,’ to feel embraced and connected with other humans, loved, protected, accepted and understood, a member of a tribe; and the ‘need to be’—to define and assert a coherent, unique self. There is, it seems to me, a strong case to be made that all our consequential psychological machinations can be traced back to these two motives, our deepest needs: to belong somewhere and to be someone.

If we wish to go further with this model, we may imagine these two motives as dynamic continua: separation-connectedness, marking the ‘need to belong,’ and dependence-autonomy, representing the ‘need to be.’ Placed in a 2×2 table of the kind psychologists love, these categories yield four possible combinations:

Dependence + Connectedness, a state of affairs we may label ‘Infancy’

Dependence + Separation, a state of affairs we may label ‘Anxiety

Autonomy + Separation, which we may label ‘Identity’

Autonomy + Connectedness—let’s call this state ‘Intimacy

                                    Dependence                       Autonomy

Connectedness             Infancy                              Intimacy                             

Separation                     Anxiety                              Identity

These combinations describe, I think, with some elegance, the developmental path toward personality maturity, the journey of becoming.

The infant in the first years of life is both dependent entirely on others for survival and connected, as she posses no clear awareness of a separate self. As the child matures, she acquires an awareness of self that is distinct from others, yet remains thoroughly dependent on them, unfit for autonomous existence. Through adolescence and into young adulthood, one may reach autonomy (psychological, legal, geographical, financial, etc.). Yet, having left childhood and its ways of affiliating behind, must engage the search for adult connectivity—the partner(s), friends, and communal life that are chosen rather than assigned by birth. Later in adulthood, if all works well, one may get to be both genuinely connected (belonging somewhere) and confidently autonomous (being someone).

4 Sneaky Ways You Can Use Psychology to Get What You Want From a Conversation

You’re having a conversation with your co-worker, employee, boss, customer, or maybe even your spouse. There’s something you want the other person to do, or agree to, or remember. It turns out there are a few simple psychological maneuvers that will increase the odds of your getting what you want. 

That insight comes from Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and president of Talent Smart. In an article on CNBC.com that’s a couple of years old but has surged in popularity recently, Bradberry shares 10 harmless manipulations you can use to better understand the person or people you’re speaking with or influence them toward your point of view. [Disclosure: I’m also a CNBC.com contributor.]

You can find the full list here. These are my favorites:

1. If you want someone to like you …

Ask the person for a favor. You may think that people will like you if you do them a favor. They may–or they may resent you because they feel beholden. But here’s what happens when someone does you a favor, according to Bradberry: They unconsciously tell themselves that they must like you or you must be their friend to explain to themselves why they just went out of their way to help you. Plus, by asking for a favor, you’ve expressed vulnerability and trust, which will also tend to make people like you.

Try to ask for something that you’re fairly sure they’ll agree to do–if they turn you down that could wind up harming your relationship. And for heaven’s sake if someone offers to do you a favor, don’t turn them down. And whatever happens, make sure to say thank you.

2. If you want someone to tell you more …

The other person has told you something, but you think he or she may be holding something back. Or you’ve asked a question and you aren’t getting a quick or complete answer. Here’s a surprisingly effective tactic: Don’t say anything at all for a few moments.

I’ve used this approach hundreds of times unintentionally when interviewing people as part of my research. I’ll ask a question, they’ll provide a short answer, and I’ll pause for a few moments, either because I haven’t finished writing down what they’re saying or I’m searching my notes for the next thing I want to ask about. Surprisingly often, that few seconds’ silence is too uncomfortable for the other person, and he or she winds up telling me something more. Sometimes, it’s the precise thing the other person was trying not to say.

3. If you want someone to agree with you …

Nod. “When you nod your head as you speak, you convey that what you’re saying is true and desirable, and people are more inclined to agree with you,” Bradberry writes. Not only that, but most people tend to unconsciously mirror the person they’re having a conversation with, which means that if you’re nodding, they’re more likely to nod as well. 

Incidentally, you can use this mirroring business in other ways as well. For example, if you express enthusiasm and excitement about something, the person you’re talking with will tend to do the same. 

Also, make sure you yourself are subtly mirroring the other person which will make that person like and trust you. In my favorite photograph of my mother and stepfather who were deeply in love with each other for more than 30 years, they are sitting and holding hands, and they are an exact mirror image of each other. His right leg is crossed over his left ankle while her left leg is crossed over her right ankle, and each is resting one hand near the top of the thigh. They didn’t plan this, it just naturally happened because of how connected they were, even though my mother had had Alzheimer’s for several years at the time.

4. If you want someone to remember something …

Cut yourself off before the end of it. Bradberry writes that some advertisers deliberately cut off their commercials before they end because that makes them more memorable, just as hearing just part of a song will make it stick in your head better than if you listen to the whole thing. 

So make an important point, make a second important point, seem like you’re about to make a third one, but then interrupt yourself to go retrieve a forgotten item or some such. (Make sure that whatever you do isn’t rude.) That niggling feeling that there’s a missing third point will keep your first two points in the listener’s mind much better than completing all three would have. (See what I me–?)

The Most Successful Kids Have Parents Who Do These 9 Things

Much has been written about the attributes of high-achieving adults, and what makes them different from everyone else. But if you’re a parent, a more compelling question may be: “What can I do to make sure my kids succeed in life?” Here’s what researchers say.

Researchers have previous found that children of older parents tend to have fewer externalizing behavior problems than children of younger parents. But common traits are being discovered in successful adults that appears to affect the way we interact with our children.

1. Don’t Tell Them They Can Be Anything They Want.

According a survey of 400 teenagers, conducted by market research agency C+R Research, young Americans aren’t interested in doing the work that will need to be done in the years to come. Instead, they aspire to be musicians, athletes, or video game designers, even though these kinds of jobs only comprise 1 percent of American occupations.

In reality, jobs in health care or in construction trades will be golden in future decades. Why not steer them into well-paying professions in which there will be a huge shortage of workers?

2. Eat Dinner As a Family.

According to a nonprofit organization operating out of Harvard University, kids who eat with their families roughly five days a week exhibit lower levels of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, obesity, and depression. They also have higher grade-point averages, better vocabularies, and more self-esteem.

3. Enforce No-Screen Time.

Researchers have found that the brains of little kids can be permanently altered when they spend too much time using tablets and smartphones. Specifically, the development of certain abilities is impeded, including focus and attention, vocabulary, and social skills.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children younger than 18 months should have no screen time at all, other than video-chatting. For kids ages two to five, it recommends limiting screen time to one hour a day.

For older kids, it’s a matter of making sure media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep, exercise, and social interaction. The AAP also says parents should make the dinner table, the car, and bedrooms media-free zones.

Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads & You Shouldn’t Either

4. Work Outside The Home.

There are certainly familial benefits to having a stay-at-home mother, but researchers at Harvard Business School have found that when moms work outside the home, their daughters are more likely to be employed themselves, hold supervisory roles, and make more money than peers whose mothers did not have careers.

5. Make Them Work.

In a 2015 TED Talk, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and the former dean of freshman at Stanford University, cites the Harvard Grant Study, which found that the participants who achieved the greatest professional success did chores as a child.

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6. Delay Gratification.

The classic Marshmallow Experiment of 1972 involved placing a marshmallow in front of a young child, with the promise of a second marshmallow if he or she could refrain from eating the squishy blob while a researcher stepped out of the room for 15 minutes.

Follow-up studies over the next 40 years found that the children who were able to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow grew up to be people with better social skills, higher test scores, and a lower incidence of substance abuse.

They also turned out to be less obese and better able to deal with stress. To help kids build this skill, train them to have habits that must be accomplished every day — even when they don’t feel like doing them.

“Top performers in every field — athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists — are all more consistent than their peers,” writes James Clear, an author and speaker who studies the habits of successful people. “They show up and deliver day after day while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.”

7. Read to Them.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have found that babies whose parents read to them have better language, literacy, and early reading skills four years later before starting elementary school. And kids who like books when they’re little grow into people who read for fun later on, which has its own set of benefits.

That’s according to Dr. Alice Sullivan, who uses the British Cohort Study to track various aspects of 17,000 people in the U.K.

“We compared children from the same social backgrounds who achieved similar tested abilities at ages five and 10, and discovered that those who frequently read books at age 10 and more than once a week when they were 16 had higher test results than those who read less,” she writes for The Guardian.

“In other words, reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, in vocabulary, spelling, and mathematics.”

8. Encourage Them To Travel.

The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) surveyed 1,432 U.S. teachers who credit international travel, in particular, with affecting students in a myriad of good ways:

• Desire to travel more (76%)
• Increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (74%)
• Increased willingness to know/ learn/ explore (73%)
• Increased willingness to try different foods (70%)

• Increased independence, self-esteem, and confidence (69%)
• More intellectual curiosity (69%)
• Increased tolerance and respectfulness (66%)
• Better adaptability and sensitivity (66%)

• Being more outgoing (51%)
• Better self-expression (51%)
• Increased attractiveness to college admissions (42%)

If sending your son or daughter abroad or bringing them with you overseas isn’t feasible, take heart. The survey also asked teachers about domestic travel and found similar benefits for students.

9. Let Them Fail.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s one of the best things a parent can do. According to Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, a clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology and author of Parenting in the Real World: The Rules Have Changed, failure is good for kids on several levels.

First, experiencing failure helps your child learn to cope, a skill that’s certainly needed in the real world. It also provides him or her with the life experience needed to relate to peers in a genuine way. Being challenged also instills the need for hard work and sustained efforts, and also demonstrates that these traits are valuable even without the blue ribbon, gold star, or top score.

Over time, children who have experienced defeat will build resilience and be more willing to attempt difficult tasks and activities because they are not afraid to fail. And, she says, rescuing your child sends the message that you don’t trust him or her.

“Your willingness to see your child struggle communicates that you believe they are capable and that they can handle any outcome, even a negative one,” she says.