Monthly Archives: March 2014

8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science

From Huffingtonpost.com

8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science

Posted: 03/21/2014 8:23 am EDT Updated: 03/21/2014 8:59 am EDT

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WISDOM WELLNESS

The Earth may not be flat nor is it the center of the universe, but that doesn’t mean old-world intellectuals got everything wrong. In fact, in recent years, modern science has validated a number of teachings and beliefs rooted in ancient wisdom that, up until now, had been trusted but unproven empirically.

A full 55 pages of Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, are dedicated to these scientific breakthroughs that often confirm the power of ancient psychology and contemplative practices. On an intuitive level, we’ve known for centuries that these lifestyle practices can help us lead happy, healthy and balanced lives. But now, with the support of hard science, we can embrace these pieces of ancient wisdom and start really living them.

Here are eight ancient beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by modern science.

Helping others can make you healthier.

helping others

In their never-ending search for the best way to live, Greek philosophers argued over the relative benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness. Hedonic well-being sees happiness as a factor of increased pleasure and decreased pain, while eudaimonic (“human flourishing”) happiness has more to do with having a larger purpose or meaning in life. A recent study from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist Barbara Fredrickson may reveal which form of happiness is more beneficial for health and well-being.

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, found that while both types of happiness can make you feel good, the latter could promote physical health and longevity as well. Using phone interviews, questionnaires and blood samples, the study explored how the two forms of happiness affected individuals on a genetic level. Participants with more hedonic and less eudaimonic well-being were found to have a lower production of virus-attacking antibodies, while those with more eudaimonic well-being experienced an increase in antibody production.

Acupuncture can restore balance to your body.

The traditional Chinese medicine technique is believed to address imbalances in a person’s qi (pronounced chi), the circulating energy within every living thing. Whether or not you believe in the existence of this energy flow, a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that the age-old practice may be an effective way to relieve migraines, arthritis and other chronic pains.

Analyzing previous research data from approximately 18,000 subjects, researchers found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture and standard western care when treating various types of pain, including migraines and chronic back pain.

We need the support of a community in order to thrive.

community

Traditional Buddhist teachings suggest that community is a key component in any happy, fulfilled life. A 2010 study conducted by Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers confirmed this belief, concluding that a healthy social life promotes longevity.

In analyzing the 148 studies — involving more than 300,000 individual participants — available on the subject, the researchers discovered that those with stronger social relationships maintained a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival. The effect of social relationships on mortality risk is even greater than the effect of exercise or obesity.

Tai chi can help alleviate a variety of health conditions.

This ancient Chinese martial art is based on the belief that achieving balance with one’s mind and body creates an overall sense of peace and harmony, naturally inspiring a long life. A report in the May 2009 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch summarized several studies confirming that this “moving meditation” practice can help prevent and treat many age-related health problems alongside standard treatment in older adults. A number of studies in the past decade have found tai chi to be helpful for those suffering from arthritis, low bone density and heart disease.

Meditation can help you reduce stress and discover inner peace.

meditate

Stemming from ancient Eastern origins, the practice of meditation is believed to help still the mind and reach a heightened level of awareness, improving health and well-being as a byproduct. Science is now proving the health benefits of meditation. The latest study from a team of Harvard Medical School scientists reveals how this mind-body practice can affect genes that control stress levels and immune function.

Harvard psychiatrist John Denniger and his team used neuro-imaging and genomics technology to measure potential physiological changes in each subject more accurately. After observing the high-stress individuals as they followed the study’s prescribed yoga and meditation practices, the team noticed an improvedmitochondrial energy production, utilization and resiliency, which help to reduce the stress linked to health conditions like hypertension and infertility.

Compassion is the key to a meaningful life.

Tibetan Buddhist tradition includes a practice called metta, or loving-kindness. A 2012 study from Emory University found that compassion meditation based on this Tibetan model can effectively boost one’s ability to empathize with others by way of reading their facial expressions.

Another loving-kindness meditation study from 2011 found that, over time, this practice increased participants’ positive emotions that allowed them to find a deeper sense of mindfulness, their purpose in life, the network of support surrounding them, and their health. These components helped increase their overall life satisfaction.

Accepting what you can’t change is key to reducing suffering.

serenity

According to Buddhist teachings, one must accept the things they cannot change in order to reduce suffering. Now, scientists have found that this belief rings true,especially for older adults who are working through difficult life changes.

Researchers from Deakin University in Australia found that facing the realities of living with assistance and losing a degree of independence helps seniors live longer and feel far happier. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies last year, compared feelings of life satisfaction and perceived control of older adults living with assistance and those living in the community. Their analysis revealed that the ability to accept the inevitable (as well as maintain low-level control) in an assisted living setting was a significant predictor of life satisfaction. The researchers concluded, “In order to protect the well-being of older individuals, adaptation involves both a sense of control and the active acceptance of what cannot be changed.”

All you need is love.

If there is one thing that a variety of ancient wisdom traditions can agree on, it’s the value of love in maintaining a happy, meaningful life. And a group of Harvard researchers, on a mission to uncover the true roots of life fulfillment, conducted a 75-year study that reached the same conclusion.

The Harvard Grant Study, led by psychiatrist George Vaillant, followed the life trajectories of 268 male students in order to answer life’s universal questions of growth, development, value and purpose. Vaillant considers the most meaningful finding of the study to be that a happy life revolves around loving relationships. Heexplained that there are two pillars of happiness: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”

Simple Stuff – Communication

(Simple Stuff is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.-Mark Twain

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.-George Bernard Shaw

Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.-Lao Tzu

Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.-Emma Thompson

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.-Tony Robbins

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.-Jim Rohn

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.-Peter Drucker

Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.-Walt Disney

First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.-Epictetus

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.-William Wordsworth

Communication works for those who work at it.-John Powell

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it – Unknown

Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.-George Carlin

Why Low Interest Rates Hurt Real Estate

 

This is a Re-Blog from http://technitrader.com/weekly-stock-discussions/martha-daily-blog

TechniTrader Market Blog by Martha Stokes CMT

Why Low Interest Rates Hurt Real Estate

Banks took the money they received from the asset purchase, aka Quantitative Easing by the Federal Reserve Bank, and used it not as it was intended, which was to help small businesses and individuals finance debt during a recession.

Instead banks and financial services organizations were selling bond funds to the Buy Side institutions and also selling Interest Rate Derivatives, the “insurance policy” for the low interest rate bonds in those funds.

importance_ of_ relative_ interest_ ratesThis was the exact same scenario that caused the banking debacle of 2008, just a different investment and derivative instrument. Instead of REIT fund of funds, it was Bond Fund of Funds. Instead of Credit Default Swaps, it was Interest Rate Derivatives.

There is nothing wrong with the basic investment concept, it is the quantity of the derivatives that posed the risk. With Interest Rate Derivatives accounting for 82% of the derivatives sold, a bubble was forming.

If the Federal Reserve Bank raised interest rates even a small amount, then banks that sold Interest Rate Derivatives would have Buy Side Institutions redeeming those Derivatives.

The similarity is that when Subprime Mortgages started to default, the Buy Side Institutions that had purchased the Credit Default Swaps as insurance redeemed those, creating the implosion as the banks were unable to meet the obligation of such a massive redemption demand.

REIT investment collapsed and CDSs forced banks into default. A similar risk was developing in interest rate swaps IF the Federal Reserve Bank had raised interest rates even a slight amount. T-Bills were at near-zero interest rates and continue to remain low as the Fed is not raising rates, despite what the news media purports.

Low interest rates benefit big banks, financial services companies and boost their revenues and earnings. However, the Federal Reserve Bank will not be able to keep interest rates at this level forever.

Those who thought it could or should were not facing some critical realities about the importance of relative interest rates to the stock market and certain areas of the economy. Not all industries benefit from near-zero interest rates. Near-zero interest rates have actually hampered growth for many areas.

Historically low interest rates were touted as being beneficial to the stock market; however, historically the stock market and interest rates have been in sync. As the stock market rises, the Fed tends to raise interest rates in response, assuming they can control the stock market buyers. When the stock market falls, interest rates are lowered in an attempt to control stock market sellers, which doesn’t work either.

This time as the stock market rose, interest rates did not, which allowed for growth in the derivatives market.

The difference this time was that Interest Rate Derivatives were cleared due to new regulations in place which allowed for a full documentation of the risk factors within the bond and Interest rate derivatives market. Not all interest rate swaps are cleared, but more are than ever before.

The massive exodus out of Bond Funds and Bond Fund of Funds that started last year about this time has lowered

TechniTrader Market Blog by Martha Stokes CMT

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

FROM:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ Carolyn Gregoire Become a fan 

Updated: 03/10/2014 8:59 am EDT

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream.

daydreaming child

Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.

According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster — they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:

“However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I,'” Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker.”

They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

They take time for solitude.

solitude

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming — we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re … not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak — and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life.

“A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman. “What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity.”

They seek out new experiences.

solo traveler

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

They “fail up.”

resilience

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious — they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

They people-watch.

people watching

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

“[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important … They’re keen observers of human nature.”

They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent — these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.”

They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

self expression

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

“Creative expression is self-expression,” says Kaufman. “Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”

They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,”write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

They get out of their own heads.

creative writing

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

Research has also suggested that inducing “psychological distance” — that is, taking another person’s perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar — can boost creative thinking.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

“[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman. “The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you’re engaging in.”

They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians — including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists — exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

They connect the dots.

doodle

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where others don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

“Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience,” says Kaufman.

They make time for mindfulness.

Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind — because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such asDavid Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.

And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked withimproved memory and focusbetter emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity — all of which can lead to better creative thought.

Secret Saturday

(this is an occasional secret, covert, on-the-down-low, surreptitious email made to offer entertainment, enlightenment, and empowerment stuff)

Words to Live By: Success

Society defines success one way doesn’t it?

Celebrity, money, fame, and so forth….
Each of us have our own definition of success.

This Ted Radio Hour from NPR really talks about it well.

(I’ve listened to many TED talks, this is a compilation and I found this one to be great)

 http://www.npr.org/2013/10/25/240777690/success?showDate=2014-03-21

It covers living a meaningful life, education, Grit, smiling, and dirty jobs.

So download it and go take a walk , or sit and listen, or cozy up in a nice bubble bath- or whatever it is you do.

(spoiler alert – yes Tony Robbins does talk for the first few minutes. Sometimes people don’t like him a lot. He’s on for just a few minutes – keep listening,….other, different, interesting people and viewpoints to follow)

Simple Stuff-Beauty

Image

(Simple Stuff is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

 

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.-Confucius

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.-Albert Einstein

To love beauty is to see light.-Victor Hugo

People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Met up with the dearest, little angel over the weekend, but she was so, so sad.
She asked, in the sweetest of angel voices, how there can be so much love in the world, yet so few feel it. How there can be so much beauty, yet hardly anyone sees it. And how there can be so many miracles, yet most are ignored.
Poor thing.So, I reminded her of something far more important. I reminded her that whether or not one knows of the love, they are still bathed in it. Whether or not they see the beauty, they still add to it. And whether or not they recognize the miracles, they still perform them, every single day. Then, we both just beamed.  Tallyho,   The Universe (www.tut.com Mike Dooley)

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.-Anne Frank

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.-Eleanor Roosevelt

Simple Stuff-Intelligence, Smarts

(Simple Stuff is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. –Henry Ford

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. –Albert Einstein

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. –Ernest Hemingway

Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Common sense is not so common. –Voltaire

Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart. –Alan Alda

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. –Socrates

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.-Salvador Dali

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. –Stephen Hawking

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder. –Ronald Reagan

Action is the real measure of intelligence. –Napoleon Hill

We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect. The judgement of the intellect is only part of the truth. –Carl Jung

Always be smarter than the people who hire you. –Lena Horne

People are smarter than you might think. –John Astin

Bonus: Good Book ; BRAIN RULES

http://www.brainrules.net/about-brain-rules

Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science. You’ll learn why Michael Jordan was no good at baseball. You’ll peer over a surgeon’s shoulder as he proves that most of us have a Jennifer Aniston neuron. You’ll meet a boy who has an amazing memory for music but can’t tie his own shoes.

In the end, you’ll understand how your brain really works—and how to get the most out of it.

THE 12 BRAIN RULES, ILLUSTRATED

After you read a chapter, reinforce the main points through illustrations, charts and video.

EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
SURVIVAL | Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.
WIRING | Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.
ATTENTION | Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
SHORT-TERM MEMORY | Rule #5: Repeat to remember.
LONG-TERM MEMORY | Rule #6: Remember to repeat.
SLEEP | Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.
STRESS | Rule #8: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
SENSORY INTEGRATION | Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.
VISION | Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.
GENDER | Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.
EXPLORATION | Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.

http://www.brainrules.net/about-brain-rules

Beware the Negativism Virus

Here is a good article to consider.

Beware the Negativism Virus

By Robert Ringer

Though you yourself may possess a positive outlook on life, it’s still a good idea to avoid negative people, particularly those who are critical of your aspirations or goals. Even if you try to ignore negativism in your midst, spoken words (not to mention facial expressions) are recorded by your subconscious mind.

Just as positive images stimulate your body mechanisms to do whatever is necessary to convert those images into physical realities, so it is with negative images, which explains the phenomenon of “self-fulfilling prophecies.” If you allow too much negativism to enter your subconscious mind — let alone your conscious mind — when difficulties arise, it’s quite natural to begin wondering if your critics weren’t right after all.

Life loves to beat you down, but you have no obligation to help it do so. And because life offers plenty to be negative about, that’s all the more reason to avoid negative people.

You need all the positive thoughts you can absorb in order to combat the never-ending stream of unpleasantness that invites itself into your life. In extreme cases, a negative thought can nudge a person from frustration to despair, and despair can rapidly become a terminal problem.

Negativism can sneak up on you before you realize the impact it’s having on your thoughts. Some of the nicest people I know are negative, which in some respects makes them potentially more dangerous than negative people who are nasty. It’s natural to be on guard when you’re around a malevolent person, but you tend to let down your guard when you’re in the presence of someone who is generally pleasant.

In fact, negativism often comes from those closest to you, particularly family members, which can make it an especially difficult problem to deal with. The friend or family member offering “advice” may be well meaning, but his observations could still be incorrect.

Because of this danger, you should condition yourself to make tough decisions when it comes to not allowing even the nicest negative people to come into, or stay in, your life. If you need inspiration to accomplish this, just ask yourself how many times you’ve achieved successful results when you were in a negative state of mind.

Constructive advice from the right party can be worth a fortune to you, while ill-intended criticism from the wrong party can do more to tear you down, damage your self-esteem, and prevent you from actively pursuing your dreams than just about anything else I can imagine.

As such, it’s important to be selective about the people from whom you accept criticism. Do you respect the person handing out the criticism? Are his own hands clean with regard to the subject matter of his criticism? Does he have his own life in order? If the answer to any of these questions is no, just thank the person for his “concern,” delete his comments from your mind, and walk away.

The agendas of some people seem to be nothing more than to discourage others, preferably by assuring them that they can’t succeed at what they’re trying to accomplish. If there’s one thing you don’t need in your life, it’s someone who emphasizes negatives and tries to chip away at your self-confidence.

A pathological critic usually is just an unhappy person who repeatedly confirms the truth in the old saying “misery loves company.” Such an individual thrives on the opportunity to pull others down to his level, and, if you’re not careful, he can soon have you prostrating yourself and relating your troubles to him.

At that point, he’s got you. He will happily pontificate to you, appoint himself as your psychologist, and tell you everything that’s wrong with you — with a certitude that implies that he is problem-free and totally well adjusted. His ultimate joy is to succeed in making you psychologically dependent upon him. In this regard, be especially wary of so-called experts, particular self-anointed experts whose chief objective seems to be to make certain that you clearly understand their superiority over you.

Writers learn about negativism from experts early on, because they are criticized regularly by total strangers, particularly book reviewers. Ignoring professional critics isn’t an act of defiance; it’s a matter of survival. A writer would have to be suicidal to base his work on the opinions of a handful of critics.

In this regard, two quotes have been enormously helpful to me over the years, preventing me from allowing my philosophy and writing style to be altered by critical comments. The first, which I read every morning before sitting down to write, is from E. B. White: “The whole duty of a writer is to please and satisfy himself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one.” The second is from Ayn Rand: “Freedom comes from seeing the ignorance of your critics and discovering the emptiness of their virtue.”

In substance, these two quotes apply to everyone, not just writers. It is both admirable and noble to believe in your work and your code of ethics strongly enough to be able to ignore uninvited criticism. I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that to the degree you are successful, you will be criticized, because success breeds jealousy and envy.

To paraphrase the late 19th century essayist Elbert Hubbard, the only way to escape criticism is to say and do nothing, which, in turn, guarantees that you will accomplish nothing. Constructive advice can be of great value, but ill-intended criticism from the wrong party can become a huge obstacle to action.

How have you escaped negativity?

[Ed. Note: Robert Ringer is the author of three #1 bestsellers, two of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time. Robert has often been referred to as the “mentor’s mentor” because he has been an inspiration to so many famous mentors in the fields of personal development, marketing, and motivation. To receive your FREE e-book copy of Robert Ringer’s life-changing New York Times #1 bestselling classic, Looking Out for #1,

DEALING WITH THE PAST

Some great thoughts from Brendon Burchard

DEALING WITH THE PAST

We begin with this: aliveness, joy, openness, curiosity, love. Whether or not we keep these things is up to us alone.

Yet we often blame lack of those things on our past, on those who treated us poorly in years gone by. It’s not popular to say this, but here it is: Our personal past is only relevant if we choose to make it relevant. In this moment, we can direct our aim, attitude, affection, and actions in any way we desire now, regardless of the past. This isn’t to say the past is irrelevant, or that the previous chapters of our life’s story didn’t have depth and meaning and influence. It’s simply to say that as conscious and mature humans we have the remarkable ability to direct our minds and lives in this moment.

Yes, there was pain and hardship and disappointment for all of us. But let’s not let those darker moments or years now paint the color of our emotional sky. Let us not be so confused by the darkness that we fail to see the extraordinary light, those beaming and beautiful moments that blessed our lives. It’s the lesson written in a million ways across most spiritual practices: The only useful time in considering the past is to be grateful for it, to make peace with it, to accept or forgive it, to learn from it and use it as a springboard in deciding who we wish to be today.

No one pretends this work is easy. Some find it painful, impossible. A stunning number of people are living out self-images and a set of beliefs and standards that were developed not by choice but by their automatic responses to the events and people from their past. Some make their past a convenient dumping ground for unmet expectations and regret. (“She should have treated me this way, not that way; I should have been better cared for; I wish I had done this or that.”) Some say, “Well you just don’t understand. This thing happened to me…” as if their ego has allowed them to believe they are the only one across the millennia or of seven billion alive today who endured such a thing. And so today, some blame their past (or their unconscious hangover from it) on their failures in making good choices for themselves.

Bad things happened to us, no doubt, but surely that cannot be the sole justification of bad behavior today. Good things happened, too. If only we could integrate those lessons and joys and blessings as much as the wounds.

What if a person’s bad choices or low self-image needn’t be tied to the past? For even if you wade backwards and seek the dark crevices of yesterday, what will you do after the visit? You will at some point have to swim back to the stream of Now, to stand upon the shores of today, to rest and sit down and decide who you want to be, how you want to treat others, what you want your life to be about from this moment forth. Isn’t that the aim of all therapies that glance backwards anyway? The only goal of any helpful and responsible therapy is ultimately to bring the patient back to today, to help him or her develop agency and responsibility for their lives today, to make better decisions and create healthier habits for themselves today. There is no joy or learning or growth in living in the past forever. All progress is made in positive beliefs and behaviors enacted… today.

So, for some of us, we might choose to skip all the neck cranking and simply sit down and do that work: What decisions and habits can I begin making today that will improve my life? That one question brings it all into focus.

Again, no one pretends this work is easy. Some people need professional assistance and therapy to do this work, and without question, they should seek it. So, to those who will hate on this post, or accuse me of being cold, or drag their past here screaming with great ego and hurt, or seek to belittle humankind’s remarkable ability to rise from their history and transcend, fear not: I acknowledge many people need assistance in dealing with their past (and life). And they should seek it.

I also champion people without judgment for their strength, for struggling through, for being alive today, for meeting life with hope and guts and readiness.

But I don’t fear being blunt either: Some people simply need to turn off the blame and the television, to sit down with a journal on a regular basis, and to finally, after all this time, think about their life and consciously choose their identity, their habits, their relationships, their purpose, their next chapter.

No matter where we have been, let us now be strong and grateful, and let us get to work on our lives.

Brendon Burchard – Live. Love. Matter.
www.brendonburchard.com
Brendon Burchard Official Site. Author of The Charge and The Millionaire Messenger. Founder of Experts Academy and High Performance Academy.
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The Brain Cannot Multi-task

Here is a good book and website for all
http://www.brainrules.net
Here is a great site for pregnant moms and new parents
http://www.brainrules.net/brain-rules-for-baby

And an article from that site…..
The Brain Cannot Multi-task

Here’s what happens when you attempt to multi-task.
The brain is an amazing thing. Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know.

How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? What can science tell us about raising smart, happy children?

In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule—what scientists know for sure about how our brains work—and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives

If workplaces had nap rooms, multitasking was frowned upon, and meetings were held during walks, we’d be vastly more productive.
Learn more in John Medina’s new book, “Brain Rules.” http://www.brainrules.net/

Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science. You’ll learn why Michael Jordan was no good at baseball. You’ll peer over a surgeon’s shoulder as he proves that most of us have a Jennifer Aniston neuron. You’ll meet a boy who has an amazing memory for music but can’t tie his own shoes.

You will discover how:

Every brain is wired differently
Exercise improves cognition
We are designed to never stop learning and exploring
Memories are volatile
Sleep is powerfully linked with the ability to learn
Vision trumps all of the other senses
Stress changes the way we learn
In the end, you’ll understand how your brain really works—and how to get the most out of it.

The 12 Brain Rules, illustrated

After you read a chapter, reinforce the main points through illustrations, charts and video.

EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
SURVIVAL | Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.
WIRING | Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.
ATTENTION | Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
SHORT-TERM MEMORY | Rule #5: Repeat to remember.
LONG-TERM MEMORY | Rule #6: Remember to repeat.
SLEEP | Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.
STRESS | Rule #8: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
SENSORY INTEGRATION | Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.
VISION | Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.
GENDER | Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.
EXPLORATION | Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.

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