Stephen's blog

Gut feelings guide

More research to support our intuitive abilities connect and guide

"They found that the feelings participants expressed verbally about their marriages had little bearing on their later happiness. Instead, it was their inner ‘‘gut-feelings’’ - only revealed by the tests - that counted."

On the subject of vaccination

It is quite often the source of heated debate — whether or not to vaccinate children.

A couple of ideas might help those who are unsure, or who are pro-vaccination.

Firstly, what is that we want?

Do we want to live in fear, believing we are vulnerable to infections, or would we like to live knowing we can, and regularly do, fight off diseases as a natural process of life?

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The danger in "being offended"

There is, in my opinion, a troubling trend in our modern societies, when people respond with "I find that offensive".

In basic terms to take offence is to blame others for how one feels, which places the responsibility and choice of one's own emotional states with another. As Viktor Frankl so succinctly explained "the last of human freedoms (is) the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances".

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The subtext of 'being offended'

In recent times I've observed a growing trend for people (e.g. in online forums) to write "I find that offensive" in response to someone's ideas or opinions.

So I penned a few words and submitted them to an online forum.

---------------------------------

In my experience, online forums are relatively feckless forms of communication, in that they lack the immediacy of face-to-face interactions. Venues at which people get to meet and really dig deep (e.g. via Bohmian/OpenSpace/World-Cafe style groups) can be extraordinary experiences.

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A great big elephant

What's real, hugely important to health, but mostly avoided or ignored?

There's a "great big elephant in the room"1 -- a startling, well-verified fact about health and wellbeing that is being avoided, even though it is oh-so obvious.

With the help of decades of solid research we now know that the number one cause for ill-health and early death is ...  NOT obesity, or smoking or bad diet, or bad genes, or any of the other lifestyle factors most think of.

What Sir Prof. Michael Marmot and others have found is that the number one factor in your ill-health is "lack of control over your life." This by far determines the level of your wellbeing and health.

"Autonomy - how much control you have over your life - and the opportunities you have for full social engagement and participation are crucial for health, well-being, and longevity."2

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Women struggling with need to please (SMH)

Psychology Today blog article by Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D. (JUne 2009)

"When asked, people think that novel, uncertain events will be less pleasurable than feeling absolutely certain and possessing every bit of information possible in a situation. However, scientists are finding that when events are new and uncertain our pleasure is more likely to be intense; it will linger longer and be more meaningful. What this means is that most of us are doing the exact opposite of what will bring us fulfillment."

This blog echoes others I have read, Hugh Mackay,1 Charles Handy, William Butler Yeats2, Jane Roberts3 et al, in that handling surprise, challenge and difficulty is the stuff of life. It's why we're here. To learn, stretch and grow.

It's a common theme for success. As Lolly Daskal explains "By listening to your inner self and following your compass within,  you will find a life that is aligned with your talents, truth and values."

As Todd explains:

"How can you thrive in an uncertain, unpredictable, rapidly evolving world?

Explore your deepest, most central values by devoting time for introspection. Schedule this time as you would your workout sessions and doctor appointments."

I wrote in Be and Become that to handle uncertainty effectively, it behoves one to remain centred; to enable our internal gyroscope (values, beliefs) to steady our stance as the ship of life rocks and rolls in turbulent seas. Most hang on to the ships structure (ego, material things), losing a sense of direction, purpose and stability, and ultimately left feeling at the mercy of the elements. Steve Chandler explains that we hang on to our personalities at the expense of relationships, commitments and results.

Fiona Smith reports that "Happiness isn't enough - if you want to really flourish, you have to be prepared to be negative too."4

In an interview with Prof. Barbar Fredrickson (author, Positivity), Fiona reports that "experiencing negative emotions is crucial for mental social health." Fredrickson explains "'Research suggests that negative emotions are a very critical ingredient in flourishing. The honest expression of negative emotions is vital,' she says via phone from the US."

I believe it's also important to trust that which extends beyond ourselves ... the wider community, and our wider-than-thought (at-once, nonlocal) intuition.

Todd concludes:

"Forget about the pursuit of happiness. Create a life that matters and you might catch happiness along the way.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoidance of danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
~Helen Keller~"

Additional good stuff

This from Hugh Mackay:

“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/478028-i-actually-attack-the-concept-of-happiness-the-idea-that

  • 1. "I just want my kids to be happy," I hear people say, as if happy kids are part of their perfect picture of themselves. But what a dreadful fate to befall anyone, just being happy. What about anguish, despair, panic and pain? Shouldn't our offspring experience the lot? "We grow through pain," we say, mining the wisdom of the ages and mouthing it like a slogan. But then we expect our every pain to be eased instantaneously: "Quick, a pill! I need perfect happiness!"

    {C}

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Lessons from the Science of Well-Being (Psych. Today - Kashdan)

Psychology Today blog article by Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D. (JUne 2009)

"When asked, people think that novel, uncertain events will be less pleasurable than feeling absolutely certain and possessing every bit of information possible in a situation. However, scientists are finding that when events are new and uncertain our pleasure is more likely to be intense; it will linger longer and be more meaningful. What this means is that most of us are doing the exact opposite of what will bring us fulfillment."

This blog echoes others I have read, Hugh Mackay,1 Charles Handy, William Butler Yeats2, Jane Roberts3 et al, in that handling surprise, challenge and difficulty is the stuff of life. It's why we're here. To learn, stretch and grow.

It's a common theme for success. As Lolly Daskal explains "By listening to your inner self and following your compass within,  you will find a life that is aligned with your talents, truth and values."

As Todd explains:

"How can you thrive in an uncertain, unpredictable, rapidly evolving world?

Explore your deepest, most central values by devoting time for introspection. Schedule this time as you would your workout sessions and doctor appointments."

I wrote in Be and Become that to handle uncertainty effectively, it behoves one to remain centred; to enable our internal gyroscope (values, beliefs) to steady our stance as the ship of life rocks and rolls in turbulent seas. Most hang on to the ships structure (ego, material things), losing a sense of direction, purpose and stability, and ultimately left feeling at the mercy of the elements. Steve Chandler explains that we hang on to our personalities at the expense of relationships, commitments and results.

Fiona Smith reports that "Happiness isn't enough - if you want to really flourish, you have to be prepared to be negative too."4

In an interview with Prof. Barbar Fredrickson (author, Positivity), Fiona reports that "experiencing negative emotions is crucial for mental social health." Fredrickson explains "'Research suggests that negative emotions are a very critical ingredient in flourishing. The honest expression of negative emotions is vital,' she says via phone from the US."

I believe it's also important to trust that which extends beyond ourselves ... the wider community, and our wider-than-thought (at-once, nonlocal) intuition.

Todd concludes:

"Forget about the pursuit of happiness. Create a life that matters and you might catch happiness along the way.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoidance of danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
~Helen Keller~"

Additional good stuff

This from Hugh Mackay:

“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/478028-i-actually-attack-the-concept-of-happiness-the-idea-that

  • 1. "I just want my kids to be happy," I hear people say, as if happy kids are part of their perfect picture of themselves. But what a dreadful fate to befall anyone, just being happy. What about anguish, despair, panic and pain? Shouldn't our offspring experience the lot? "We grow through pain," we say, mining the wisdom of the ages and mouthing it like a slogan. But then we expect our every pain to be eased instantaneously: "Quick, a pill! I need perfect happiness!"

    {C}

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Brainstorming won't bring you good ideas (Smith - AFR)

Another excellent article by Fiona Smith.

Many good ideas, truisms concerning creativity, and the illusions concerning the creative process.

Smith reports:"Many organisations, trying to foster innovation, for example, create complex processes to encourage the generation of ideas, but those processes ignore the way breakthroughs emerge."

Smith quotes Johnnie Moore:

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Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

A fairly routine article from Harvard Business Review, but worth repeating on the subject of achieving excellence. Point 4 which underscores the importance of "not too frequent" expert advice is wise counsel, given research which shows (link tba) CEOs can be more effective when they are not coached by business coaches.

Point 5 of course is also well supported by research, and recognition that intuitive information is received "in the gaps".

And of course point 6, for the need to develop good habits.

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