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Speak up for yourself. Do you need mentoring?

Speaking up is hard to do, even when you know you should.

Learn how to assert yourself, navigate tricky social situations and expand your personal power with sage guidance.

Adam Galinsky. Social psychologist. Full bio
Filmed Sept. 2016
I understood the true meaning of this phrase exactly one month ago, when my wife and I became new parents. It was an amazing moment. It was exhilarating and elating, but it was also scary and terrifying.
And it got particularly terrifying when we got home from the hospital, and we were unsure whether our little baby boy was getting enough nutrients from breastfeeding. And we wanted to call our pediatrician, but we also didn’t want to make a bad first impression or come across as a crazy, neurotic parent.

So we worried. And we waited. When we got to the doctor’s office the next day, she immediately gave him formula because he was pretty dehydrated. Our son is fine now, and our doctor has reassured us we can always contact her. But in that moment, I should’ve spoken up, but I didn’t.

1:09 But sometimes we speak up when we shouldn’t, and I learned that over 10 years ago when I let my twin brother down. My twin brother is a documentary filmmaker, and for one of his first films, he got an offer from a distribution company. He was excited, and he was inclined to accept the offer.

But as a negotiations researcher, I insisted he make a counteroffer, and I helped him craft the perfect one. And it was perfect — it was perfectly insulting. The company was so offended, they literally withdrew the offer and my brother was left with nothing.

I’ve asked people all over the world about this dilemma of speaking up: when they can assert themselves, when they can push their interests, when they can express an opinion, when they can make an ambitious ask.

And the range of stories are varied and diverse, but they also make up a universal tapestry. Can I correct my boss when they make a mistake?

Can I confront my coworker who keeps stepping on my toes?

Can I challenge my friend’s insensitive joke?

Can I tell the person I love the most my deepest insecurities?

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.
ted.com|By Adam Galinsky
And through these experiences, I’ve come to recognize that each of us have something called a range of acceptable behavior

sometimes we’re too strong; we push ourselves too much. That’s what happened with my brother. Even making an offer was outside his range of acceptable behavior. But sometimes we’re too weak. That’s what happened with my wife and I. And this range of acceptable behaviors — when we stay within our range, we’re rewarded. When we step outside that range, we get punished in a variety of ways. We get dismissed or demeaned or even ostracized. Or we lose that raise or that promotion or that deal.

3:00 Now, the first thing we need to know is: What is my range? But the key thing is, our range isn’t fixed; it’s actually pretty dynamic. It expands and it narrows based on the context. And there’s one thing that determines that range more than anything else, and that’s your power. Your power determines your range. What is power? Power comes in lots of forms. In negotiations, it comes in the form of alternatives. So my brother had no alternatives; he lacked power. The company had lots of alternatives; they had power. Sometimes it’s being new to a country, like an immigrant, or new to an organization or new to an experience, like my wife and I as new parents. Sometimes it’s at work, where someone’s the boss and someone’s the subordinate. Sometimes it’s in relationships, where one person’s more invested than the other person.

3:54 And the key thing is that when we have lots of power, our range is very wide. We have a lot of leeway in how to behave. But when we lack power, our range narrows. We have very little leeway. The problem is that when our range narrows, that produces something called the low-power double bind. The low-power double bind happens when, if we don’t speak up, we go unnoticed, but if we do speak up, we get punished.

4:24 Now, many of you have heard the phrase the “double bind” and connected it with one thing, and that’s gender. The gender double bind is women who don’t speak up go unnoticed, and women who do speak up get punished. And the key thing is that women have the same need as men to speak up, but they have barriers to doing so. But what my research has shown over the last two decades is that what looks like a gender difference is not really a gender double bind, it’s a really a low-power double bind. And what looks like a gender difference are really often just power differences in disguise.

Oftentimes we see a difference between a man and a woman or men and women, and think, “Biological cause. There’s something fundamentally different about the sexes.” But in study after study, I’ve found that a better explanation for many sex differences is really power. And so it’s the low-power double bind. And the low-power double bind means that we have a narrow range, and we lack power. We have a narrow range, and our double bind is very large.

5:33 So we need to find ways to expand our range. And over the last couple decades, my colleagues and I have found two things really matter. The first: you seem powerful in your own eyes. The second: you seem powerful in the eyes of others. When I feel powerful, I feel confident, not fearful; I expand my own range. When other people see me as powerful, they grant me a wider range. So we need tools to expand our range of acceptable behavior. And I’m going to give you a set of tools today. Speaking up is risky, but these tools will lower your risk of speaking up.

6:14 The first tool I’m going to give you got discovered in negotiations in an important finding. On average, women make less ambitions offers and get worse outcomes than men at the bargaining table. But Hannah Riley Bowles and Emily Amanatullah have discovered there’s one situation where women get the same outcomes as men and are just as ambitious. That’s when they advocate for others. When they advocate for others, they discover their own range and expand it in their own mind.

They become more assertive. This is sometimes called “the mama bear effect.” Like a mama bear defending her cubs, when we advocate for others, we can discover our own voice.

7:01 But sometimes, we have to advocate for ourselves. How do we do that? One of the most important tools we have to advocate for ourselves is something called perspective-taking. And perspective-taking is really simple: it’s simply looking at the world through the eyes of another person. It’s one of the most important tools we have to expand our range. When I take your perspective, and I think about what you really want, you’re more likely to give me what I really want.

7:32 But here’s the problem: perspective-taking is hard to do. So let’s do a little experiment. I want you all to hold your hand just like this: your finger — put it up. And I want you to draw a capital letter E on your forehead as quickly as possible. OK, it turns out that we can draw this E in one of two ways, and this was originally designed as a test of perspective-taking. I’m going to show you two pictures of someone with an E on their forehead — my former student, Erika Hall.

And you can see over here, that’s the correct E. I drew the E so it looks like an E to another person. That’s the perspective-taking E because it looks like an E from someone else’s vantage point. But this E over here is the self-focused E. We often get self-focused. And we particularly get self-focused in a crisis.

8:25 I want to tell you about a particular crisis. A man walks into a bank in Watsonville, California. And he says, “Give me $2,000, or I’m blowing the whole bank up with a bomb.” Now, the bank manager didn’t give him the money. She took a step back. She took his perspective, and she noticed something really important. He asked for a specific amount of money.

8:47 So she said, “Why did you ask for $2,000?”

8:52 And he said, “My friend is going to be evicted unless I get him $2,000 immediately.”

8:56 And she said, “Oh! You don’t want to rob the bank — you want to take out a loan.”

9:01 (Laughter)

9:02 “Why don’t you come back to my office, and we can have you fill out the paperwork.”

9:06 (Laughter)

9:08 Now, her quick perspective-taking defused a volatile situation. So when we take someone’s perspective, it allows us to be ambitious and assertive, but still be likable.

9:20 Here’s another way to be assertive but still be likable, and that is to signal flexibility. Now, imagine you’re a car salesperson, and you want to sell someone a car. You’re going to more likely make the sale if you give them two options. Let’s say option A: $24,000 for this car and a five-year warranty. Or option B: $23,000 and a three-year warranty. My research shows that when you give people a choice among options, it lowers their defenses, and they’re more likely to accept your offer.

9:53 And this doesn’t just work with salespeople; it works with parents. When my niece was four, she resisted getting dressed and rejected everything. But then my sister-in-law had a brilliant idea. What if I gave my daughter a choice? This shirt or that shirt? OK, that shirt. This pant or that pant? OK, that pant. And it worked brilliantly. She got dressed quickly and without resistance.

10:16 When I’ve asked the question around the world when people feel comfortable speaking up, the number one answer is: “When I have social support in my audience; when I have allies.” So we want to get allies on our side. How do we do that? Well, one of the ways is be a mama bear. When we advocate for others, we expand our range in our own eyes and the eyes of others, but we also earn strong allies.

10:42 Another way we can earn strong allies, especially in high places, is by asking other people for advice. When we ask others for advice, they like us because we flatter them, and we’re expressing humility. And this really works to solve another double bind. And that’s the self-promotion double bind. The self-promotion double bind is that if we don’t advertise our accomplishments, no one notices. And if we do, we’re not likable.

11:12 But if we ask for advice about one of our accomplishments, we are able to be competent in their eyes but also be likeable. And this is so powerful it even works when you see it coming. There have been multiple times in life when I have been forewarned that a low-power person has been given the advice to come ask me for advice. I want you to notice three things about this: First, I knew they were going to come ask me for advice. Two, I’ve actually done research on the strategic benefits of asking for advice. And three, it still worked! I took their perspective, I became more invested in their calls, I became more committed to them because they asked for advice.

11:57 Now, another time we feel more confident speaking up is when we have expertise. Expertise gives us credibility. When we have high power, we already have credibility. We only need good evidence. When we lack power, we don’t have the credibility. We need excellent evidence.

12:16 And one of the ways we can come across as an expert is by tapping into our passion. I want everyone in the next few days to go up to friend of theirs and just say to them, “I want you to describe a passion of yours to me.” I’ve had people do this all over the world and I asked them, “What did you notice about the other person when they described their passion?” And the answers are always the same. “Their eyes lit up and got big.” “They smiled a big beaming smile.” “They used their hands all over — I had to duck because their hands were coming at me.” “They talk quickly with a little higher pitch.”

12:53 (Laughter)

12:54 “They leaned in as if telling me a secret.”

12:56 And then I said to them, “What happened to you as you listened to their passion?”

13:01 They said, “My eyes lit up. I smiled. I leaned in.”

13:06 When we tap into our passion, we give ourselves the courage, in our own eyes, to speak up, but we also get the permission from others to speak up. Tapping into our passion even works when we come across as too weak. Both men and women get punished at work when they shed tears. But Lizzie Wolf has shown that when we frame our strong emotions as passion, the condemnation of our crying disappears for both men and women.

13:39 I want to end with a few words from my late father that he spoke at my twin brother’s wedding. Here’s a picture of us. My dad was a psychologist like me, but his real love and his real passion was cinema, like my brother. And so he wrote a speech for my brother’s wedding about the roles we play in the human comedy.

14:01 And he said, “The lighter your touch, the better you become at improving and enriching your performance. Those who embrace their roles and work to improve their performance grow, change and expand the self. Play it well, and your days will be mostly joyful.”

14:19 What my dad was saying is that we’ve all been assigned ranges and roles in this world. But he was also saying the essence of this talk: those roles and ranges are constantly expanding and evolving.

14:35 So when a scene calls for it, be a ferocious mama bear and a humble advice seeker. Have excellent evidence and strong allies. Be a passionate perspective taker. And if you use those tools — and each and every one of you can use these tools — you will expand your range of acceptable behavior, and your days will be mostly joyful.

Self-Publishing Companies, Through a Legal Lens

In my last post, Five Legal Terms Every Author Should Know, I explained that the worst mistake indie authors make is losing control of their work.

After all, the key benefit of self-publishing is controlling the quality and marketing of our books, in other words, wearing the publisher hat.  [Read More]

 

The 63 differences between British and American English

Posted 3 days ago by Jessica Brown

America and Britain have a lot more in common than their special relationship. Remember when our leaders held hands that one time?

One thing that’s vastly different though, is how we implement the English language.

It was perhaps best summed up by the comedy god Eddie Izzard:

 

Here’s the infographic, put together by Grammar Check.

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Picture: Grammar Check

 

Some are obvious, like autumn and fall, but others are a lesser known – such as cooker and stove, lorry and truck and queue and line.

 

3d326a5100000578-4226540-image-a-16-1487155271152.jpg

Picture: Grammar Check

 

Memorise (or memorize) these before any holidays to one country or the other in order to avoid any confusion – because there’s a lot of potential for that to happen.

Then you can sit and enjoy your biscuits/cookies in the privacy of your rented flat/apartment after you’ve hit the pavements/sidewalks and visited the shops/stores.

 

3d326a5100000578-4226540-image-a-15-1487155232392.jpg

Picture: Grammar Check

 


More: The difference between the US and UK – in 20 photos

 

 

Hans Rosling: ‘A kind and constantly curious genius’

Hans Rosling, who died this week aged 68 a year after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, had a virtuosity and flair that brought statistics to life

Hans Rosling was a kind and constantly curious genius. He was truly committed to the poorest people in this world, passionate about statistics and dedicated to communicating a fact-based worldview. His knowledge, virtuosity and humour infused his unique data visualisations with a life of their own, encouraging people around the world to engage with facts about population, global health and inequality that might otherwise have passed them by.

I first met him in his messy, overloaded office at Uppsala University in Sweden, where he was associate professor of internal medicine, in 1992. He showed me his now famous bubble graph on world statistics on handwritten overheads, and from that moment on he constantly provoked me to think and to become better.

Hans was born in Uppsala on 27 July 1948, and the city – about 43 miles north of Stockholm – loomed large in his life. He attended medical school at Uppsala University, graduating in 1974, and lectured there on international health from 1983 to 1996.

Along the way, he touched countless young lives. Fashion, food or sleep, he couldn’t care less about. The man who became famous as an “edutainer” on stage was just as mind-blowing, intense and inspiring in private discussions or in the classroom. He never accepted dogma, and had a boundless capacity to come up with new ideas.

Hans was my mentor in public health, in research and in life. He believed in people and gave me the confidence to do what I thought impossible. He was a professor who understood how to make others grow, and he sparked energy and a willingness to effect change in numerous young people in so many places around the world. Once you became his friend, he was always there for you.

We worked together for many years, organising courses in public health in India, Tanzania and Vietnam and collaborating on a textbook on global health. One paragraph in the book took weeks of conversations to agree upon, and it sometimes drove me crazy. But during our travels he never stopped educating me or anyone else who was interested, regardless of that person’s status or background.

To Hans, it didn’t matter if you were Bill Gates, a first-year medical student or a traditional birth attendant in a village in Tanzania – as long as you really listened and tried to understand. By the same token, he listened to others and liked to be challenged himself.

That appetite for challenge took Hans around the world. After graduating from Uppsala University in statistics and medicine in 1974 – by which time had already spent a year studying public health at St John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India – he worked as a doctor in northern Mozambique from 1979 to 1981.

He subsequently began investigating the cause of a rare paralytic disease affecting people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His research on the subject, which continued across Africa and led to the disease being named “konzo” – or “tired legs” in the Bantu language Yaka – earned him a PhD from Uppsala University in 1986.

Honesty came naturally to Hans. He once said to me: “To succeed, remember to always pay taxes and make no tricks with money.” No one worked for free around Hans, because he made sure everyone had a salary. His loyalty to his friends and family was strong. Agneta, his wife, who travelled to Mozambique with him when they were a young and idealistic couple, started as a midwife, became a psychiatrist, did her PhD and became head of clinic, encouraged by Hans. They married in 1972, when he was 24; he would later find statistical mileage even in those bare details.

Ola, Anna and Magnus, his three children, were very close to him, but sometimes I wondered how his family could stand all his travels and his impossible work pace. Hans always worked. I think it was compensated by his absolute attention when he was present in front of you, full of warmth and with a great sense of humour.

Hans Rosling
Pinterest
Hans Rosling delivers a talk on global population growth in Oxford in July 2012. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

In 1997, he became professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute; in 2005, still pursuing his dream of a fact-based global outlook, and determined to fight devastating misconceptions about global development”, he co-founded the Gapminder Foundation together with his son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund.

Within two years, Google paid an undisclosed amount for the Trendalyzer software behind the bouncing bubbles and animated statistics that, through his Ted talks and TV documentaries such as The Joy of Stats and Don’t Panic – the Truth about Population, propelled him into the global spotlight.

When Hans became famous, he would sometimes laugh about it like an excited boy. Yet fame never changed his way of being. He just truly loved being on stage. I think what he enjoyed most about the elevation of his status was the access it gave him to influential people. That meant he could make things happen.

One example of this occurred during the Ebola epidemic, when he mobilised funds and established an Ebola course for international aid workers. He gave an epic speech at the Medical Association on the importance of acting quickly against Ebola that left all 400 people present ready to leave the next day to help.

One of his last missions involved assisting the ministry of health in Liberia during the Ebola epidemic. He really enjoyed working cheek by jowl in a small office with his Liberian colleagues, passionately charting, analysing and acting to stop the epidemic.

Hans was discouraged sometimes. “I teach the same thing over decades and ignorance is still there,” he would occasionally lament.

But Hans, you moved so many of us. No one can take your place, but we can all play our part in creating a fact-based understanding of the world that will help us make the right decisions for our future.

Fled from Reqqa of Daesh?

After fleeing from Daesh-controlled Raqqa, several groups of Syrians speak about the ways in which Daesh distorts the minds of children living under its control and restricts civilians’ access to the outside world. (Daesh is bribing to get in fresh refugee kids)

In late October, the Global Coalition managed to speak to 6 men and 6 women who had just escaped to Turkey. This was an opportunity to gain important information about the way the civilian population is treated in the city, but also to hear the inhabitants’ hopes.

Having lived through the atrocities of living under Daesh, these civilians yearn for a better future for Raqqa. Above all else, these men and women expressed their desire for justice, freedom of information and a normal education for their children.

The thirst for good governance

Raqqa was taken by Daesh in January 2014. Despite almost three years of the terrorists’ brutal version of Sharia law, the civilians who managed to flee the area are already reflecting on what is necessary to bring their city back to its feet.

This begins with the liberation of the city. “Whoever comes to liberate Raqqa needs to respect all of its population, Sunnis and Kurds,” said Hashem, a young Raqqawi who recently fled the area.

The people of Raqqa are particularly eager to discuss what should come after liberation itself. “The people should rule the city, rulers should be elected by the people,” said Ali, another man from the area. (Don’t  you think that the current inhabitants of Raqqa will elect Daesh representatives if fair election is held?)

The inhabitants also have clear ideas of what they need. “We already have water and agriculture,” said Umm Hasan, a mother from Raqqa. “What we need now are schools and hospitals with qualified physicians.” she added.

What is also clear is that the people of Raqqa will need a lot of outside help to bring things back to normal. “We will need help to restore the city’s services,” said Hashem. “The Red Crescent could help with restoring medical services and international organisations can assist with rebuilding schools.” Umm Hasan added that the city would need a lot of competent people to return: qualified cadres, business people, medical staff and teachers.

The importance of free, reliable media

Three years of Daesh rule have severely curtailed access to reliable information from outside the city. Daesh’s Bayan Radio is more or less the only source of information and merely broadcasts the organisation’s propaganda.

As Ali commented, internet is very closely controlled: “When you go to an internet cafe, you are constantly monitored. The hibsa [The Daesh morality police] checks what you are doing and reports you if you browse anything you are not supposed to read under their law.”

Daesh also applies double standards. Umm Hasan’s husband was caught in possession of a TV and was condemned to pay 50,000 SYP (around $100) and to receive 32 lashes. “They say it’s illegal, but we know the members of Daesh have TVs in their homes,” Umm Hasan commented. (It is all about generating more money, under any excuse)

But the people of Raqqa say the media will be crucial to change public opinion after the liberation of their city. “People need free access to Social Media and the press,” said Hashem. “We need the media to help with reconciliation and the people who used to report the news on the ground during the war are the best placed to do that,” he added.

Help the children have a normal childhood

As in all conflicts, children are the most vulnerable. “Our children have seen bombings. They’ve had to listen to the adults talking about punishment, about beheadings and have been forced to watch public executions,” said Maha, another mother from Raqqa.

“They imitate the adults by carrying toy-weapons and by shouting things like “I will slaughter you!” when they play together,” she added.

According to the people of Raqqa, education is what will help their children forget the brainwashing they had endure in Daesh’s schools – and also the horrors of war.

“Our children need to be taught useful subjects again, like maths, physics and foreign languages like English and French,” said Maha. “But they also need parks and to enjoy their childhoods by playing together and spending time in nature,” she added. All agree that children will need time to feel normal again and to feel safe and secure.

The desire to move on and rebuild their city is indeed the central theme for the people who have fled Raqqa or any other region affected by Daesh’s brutal rule. These accounts show that even after three years of horror, the civilian population still retains the capacity to imagine a better future for their children and themselves –  and to think creatively about the necessary steps to achieve it.

Rebuilding Syria and the parts of Iraq which suffered under Daesh’s control will require listening to these voices.

Main image credit: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Ways we think about time

I want to share with you some ideas about the secret power of time, in a very short time.

0:17 Video: All right, start the clock please. 30 seconds studio. Keep it quiet please. Settle down. It’s about time. End sequence. Take one. 15 seconds studio. 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two …

Philip Zimbardo: Let’s tune into the conversation of the principals in Adam’s temptation. “Come on Adam, don’t be so wishy-washy. Take a bite.” “I did.” “One bite, Adam. Don’t abandon Eve.” “I don’t know, guys. I don’t want to get in trouble.” “Okay. One bite. What the hell?” (Laughter)

Life is temptation. It’s all about yielding, resisting, yes, no, now, later, impulsive, reflective, present focus and future focus. Promised virtues fall prey to the passions of the moment.

Of teenage girls who pledged sexual abstinence and virginity until marriage — thank you George Bush — the majority, 60 percent, yielded to sexual temptations within one year. And most of them did so without using birth control. So much for promises.

 lets tempt 4-year-olds, giving them a treat.

They can have one marshmallow now. But if they wait until the experimenter comes back, they can have two. Of course it pays, if you like marshmallows, to wait. What happens is two-thirds of the kids give in to temptation. They cannot wait. The others, of course, wait. They resist the temptation. They delay the now for later.

Walter Mischel, my colleague at Stanford, went back 14 years later, to try to discover what was different about those kids.

There were enormous differences between kids who resisted and kids who yielded, in many ways. The kids who resisted scored 250 points higher on the SAT. That’s enormous. That’s like a whole set of different IQ points. They didn’t get in as much trouble. They were better students. They were self-confident and determined. And the key for me today, the key for you, is, they were future-focused rather than present-focused.

what is time perspective?

That’s what I’m going to talk about today. Time perspective is the study of how individuals, all of us, divide the flow of your human experience into time zones or time categories. And you do it automatically and non-consciously. They vary between cultures, between nations, between individuals, between social classes, between education levels. And the problem is that they can become biased, because you learn to over-use some of them and under-use the others.

What determines any decision you make?

You make a decision on which you’re going to base an action. For some people it’s only about what is in the immediate situation, what other people are doing and what you’re feeling. And those people, when they make their decisions in that format — we’re going to call them “present-oriented,” because their focus is what is now.

 For others, the present is irrelevant. It’s always about “What is this situation like that I’ve experienced in the past?” So that their decisions are based on past memories. And we’re going to call those people “past-oriented,” because they focus on what was.

For others it’s not the past, it’s not the present, it’s only about the future. Their focus is always about anticipated consequences. Cost-benefit analysis. We’re going to call them “future-oriented.” Their focus is on what will be.

the paradox of time perspective, is something that influences every decision you make, you’re totally unaware of. Namely, the extent to which you have one of these biased time perspectives. Well there is actually 6 of them.

There are two ways to be present-oriented. There is two ways to be past-oriented, two ways to be future. You can focus on past-positive, or past-negative. You can be present-hedonistic, namely you focus on the joys of life, or present-fatalist — it doesn’t matter, your life is controlled. You can be future-oriented, setting goals. Or you can be transcendental future: namely, life begins after death. Developing the mental flexibility to shift time perspectives fluidly depending on the demands of the situation, that’s what you’ve got to learn to do.

very quickly, what is the optimal time profile?

High on past-positive. Moderately high on future. And moderate on present-hedonism.

And always low on past-negative and present-fatalism. So the optimal temporal mix is what you get from the past — past-positive gives you roots. You connect your family, identity and your self. What you get from the future is wings to soar to new destinations, new challenges. What you get from the present hedonism is the energy, the energy to explore yourself, places, people, sensuality.

Any time perspective in excess has more negatives than positives. What do futures sacrifice for success? They sacrifice family time. They sacrifice friend time. They sacrifice fun time. They sacrifice personal indulgence. They sacrifice hobbies. And they sacrifice sleep. So it affects their health. And they live for work, achievement and control. I’m sure that resonates with some of the TEDsters. (Laughter)

 it resonated for me. I grew up as a poor kid in the South Bronx ghetto, a Sicilian family — everyone lived in the past and present. I’m here as a future-oriented person who went over the top, who did all these sacrifices because teachers intervened, and made me future oriented.

Told me don’t eat that marshmallow, because if you wait you’re going to get two of them, until I learned to balance out. I’ve added present-hedonism, I’ve added a focus on the past-positive, so, at 76 years old, I am more energetic than ever, more productive, and I’m happier than I have ever been.

I just want to say that we are applying this to many world problems: changing the drop-out rates of school kids, combating addictions, enhancing teen health, curing vets’ PTSD with time metaphors — getting miracle cures — promoting sustainability and conservation, reducing physical rehabilitation where there is a 50% drop out rate, altering appeals to suicidal terrorists, and modifying family conflicts as time-zone clashes.

6:06 So I want to end by saying: many of life’s puzzles can be solved by understanding your time perspective and that of others. And the idea is so simple, so obvious, but I think the consequences are really profound. Thank you so much.

Patsy Z shared this link
TED. 13 hrs ·

What makes certain people so successful? They’re living in the (positive) future:

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says happiness and success are rooted in a trait most of us disregard: the way we orient toward the past, present and future.
t.ted.com|By Philip Zimbardo

Read books: can open your mind?

“A dream’s most important purpose is to get us in touch with where passion comes from, where happiness comes from.”

I was trained to become a gymnast for two years in Hunan, China in the 1970s. When I was in the first grade, the government wanted to transfer me to a school for athletes, all expenses paid.

But my tiger mother said, “No.” My parents wanted me to become an engineer like them. After surviving the Cultural Revolution, they firmly believed there’s only one sure way to happiness: a safe and well-paid job. It is not important if I like the job or not.

0:43 my dream was to become a Chinese opera singer.

That is me playing my imaginary piano. An opera singer must start training young to learn acrobatics, so I tried everything I could to go to opera school. I even wrote to the school principal and the host of a radio show. But no adults liked the idea.

No adults believed I was serious. Only my friends supported me, but they were kids, just as powerless as I was.

So at age 15, I knew I was too old to be trained. My dream would never come true. I was afraid that for the rest of my life some second-class happiness would be the best I could hope for.

that’s so unfair.I was determined to find another calling. Nobody around to teach me? Fine. I turned to books.

I satisfied my hunger for parental advice from this book by a family of writers and musicians.[“Correspondence in the Family of Fou Lei“]

I found my role model of an independent woman when Confucian tradition requires obedience.[“Jane Eyre”]

 I learned to be efficient from this book.[“Cheaper by the Dozen”]

 I was inspired to study abroad after reading these.

2:07[“Complete Works of Sanmao” (aka Echo Chan)] [“Lessons From History” by Nan Huaijin]

I came to the U.S. in 1995, so which books did I read here first? Books banned in China, of course.“The Good Earth” is about Chinese peasant life. That’s just not convenient for propaganda. Got it. The Bible is interesting, but strange. (Laughter)

That’s a topic for a different day. But the fifth commandment gave me an epiphany: “You shall honor your father and mother.” “Honor,” I said. “That’s so different,and better, than obey.” So it becomes my tool to climb out of this Confucian guilt trap and to restart my relationship with my parents.

Encountering a new culture also started my habit of comparative reading. It offers many insights.

For example, I found this map out of place at first because this is what Chinese students grew up with. It had never occurred to me, China doesn’t have to be at the center of the world. A map actually carries somebody’s view.

Comparative reading actually is nothing new. It’s a standard practice in the academic world. There are even research fields such as comparative religion and comparative literature.

Compare and contrast gives scholars a more complete understanding of a topic. So I thought, well, if comparative reading works for research, why not do it in daily life too? So I started reading books in pairs.

they can be about people — [“Benjamin Franklin” by Walter Isaacson][“John Adams” by David McCullough] — who are involved in the same event, or friends with shared experiences. [“Personal History” by Katharine Graham][“The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life,” by Alice Schroeder] I also compare the same stories in different genres — (Laughter)

[Holy Bible: King James Version][“Lamb” by Chrisopher Moore] — or similar stories from different cultures, as Joseph Campbell did in his wonderful book.[“The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell] For example, both the Christ and the Buddha went through three temptations.

For the Christ, the temptations are economic, political and spiritual. For the Buddha, they are all psychological: lust, fear and social duty — interesting.

 if you know a foreign language, it’s also fun to read your favorite books in two languages. [“The Way of Chuang Tzu” Thomas Merton][“Tao: The Watercourse Way” Alan Watts]

Instead of lost in translation, I found there is much to gain. For example, it’s through translation that I realized “happiness” in Chinese literally means “fast joy.” Huh! Bride” in Chinese literally means “new mother.” Uh-oh. (Laughter)

Books have given me a magic portal to connect with people of the past and the present. I know I shall never feel lonely or powerless again. Having a dream shattered really is nothing compared to what many others have suffered.

I have come to believe that coming true is not the only purpose of a dream.Its most important purpose is to get us in touch with where dreams come from, where passion comes from, where happiness comes from. Even a shattered dream can do that for you.

5:37  because of books, I’m here today, happy, living again with a purpose and a clarity, most of the time.

may books be always with you.

Patsy Z shared this link

“A dream’s most important purpose is to get us in touch with where passion comes from, where happiness comes from.”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

February 2017
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