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Be Happy Self-Help

should you hire a life coach or mentor?

Should you hire a life coach or mentor? Not everyone needs a coach nor wants one. If you are struggling with some unresolved issue and have a problem to resolve, you can just enter a search on the internet and you will find, in no time at all a book, a YouTube video, an article, a blog, or an online course telling you exactly how to solve your problem. There is no doubt that you can DIY your own path to success and your own self-development. If you can do this on your own, well done. Keep doing what you are doing.

But for those who are struggling with an overload of information and are getting confused with all the well-meaning advice that populate social media and other platforms, and who end up not knowing who and what to believe, hiring a coach or a mentor can be a smart decision.

What exactly is a life coach?

A Life coach is not a therapist. Therapists focus on healing past issues, whereas coaching focuses on implementing changes to create a new future. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership.

Improve your skills. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

Life coaches work with individuals who are looking to create a pathway to reaching set goals. Whether it is work, personal, or family, coaches act as unbiased thinking partners and hold their clients accountable by typically having regular meetings and guiding them throughout the process. How do you know that it is time to hire a life coach? How do you trust it will benefit you? Albert Einstein gave us the perfect answer to this question.

“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”.

Albert Einstein

Have you ever been in a situation where you think of a problem over and over going round in circles without going anywhere? Sometimes you need a new approach, a new level of thought, in this case, a third party to sound your ideas off and help you see things from a different angle, challenge your way of thinking or open you to some unexplored possibilities. Another question you may ask yourself. Is it worth the money? Rates vary enormously. Choose a life coach/mentor that you like and can afford and see if it works for you or not. It’s that simple. Life coaches who charge enormous rates are often too busy dealing with their high-profile clients and are inaccessible anyway.

When hiring a life coach or mentor may be a good idea

Do you lack a clear vision or your vision is so big you are feeling overwhelmed? Are you irritable, defensive, or prone to knee-jerk reactions? Are you facing a life transition and are having difficulties adjusting to your new circumstances? Do you have a pretty normal and pleasant life, but you are feeling a bit off anyway? If the answer to all those questions is yes, maybe it is time for you to consider hiring a life coach or mentor who can provide you with a safe and compassionate place to vent your feelings, put things into perspective and guide you. Perhaps you keep trying to improve your situation and nothing seems to be working. To achieve the results you want, you will mostly need to change your attitudes or underlying beliefs.

Transitions bring up stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, all of which have the tendency to set us on edge and make us feel we need to talk things through with someone who is not a family member, or a friend. Family and friends have great intentions, but they are not impartial. Being too close to your situation can limit their vision and the advice they may give you. Perhaps you need help in figuring out what’s next? A coach will stand next to you and guide you in this exploration process. They can ask powerful questions that break through your old defenses. When you learn to be curious about your life, you will become more willing to take on challenges that once seemed scary.

Fear of failing is the biggest killer of plans and ideas. Most people don’t dare to think big and follow their dreams because of the fear of failure or being ridiculed and rejected. The end result is that their dreams will always remain just that, a dream. The dream made them feel good while it lasted, but their ideas will remain known to them only. Their songs will only ever be sung in their heads, with no audience to listen to and no one else to appreciate them. The books they could have authored remain only thoughts. Most people won’t even reach for their dreams because they are unwilling to feel uncomfortable, to have their limits tested, to live on the edge, to be outside their comfort zone, to be criticized, to be let down, and to be challenged.

“You miss 100% of all the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzky

What could be the worst outcome if you did take that shot? Failure? A bruised ego? Loss of money? And what might you gain? Knowledge? New connections? Insights and experience? People should not focus so much on how often they fall, they should instead focus on learning, having new experiences, picking themselves up, and seeing how far they can go. And if you can’t do this yourself, or with the help of a book, a YouTube video, or an online course, maybe it’s time to ask a coach or a mentor to help and guide you.

The biggest motivator of all for hiring a life coach or a mentor, life regrets.

Be yourself. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

When people come towards the end of their life and look back to reflect on the choices they made they are often filled with regrets. Bronnie Ware a hospice worker and the author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing described in the book, conversations she had with senior citizens who were filled with regrets about their life journey and for taking the easy way out, rather than tackling challenges in a self-fulfilling way.

1. The number one regret people voice on their way out, according to Bronnie Ware is that they did not live a life true to themselves but did what other people expected of them. We often follow a path that has been traced for us by our parents, society, peer pressure, etc… don’t get me wrong, it is honorable and commendable to provide for yourself and your family, but once our basic needs are fulfilled (see Maslow pyramids of needs) spend some time and energy on your own self-actualization.

2. The second regret people voice while dying is working too hard on someone else’s dream and not their own. This goes along the same vein as the first point but there is an extra dimension to it. Time is of the essence. There is nothing wrong with being an employee and getting paid for the time and effort you spend working for someone else, but once your employee work is done, do not neglect to work on your own project/dream/side hustle, etc… Time is of the essence, you can never get back time wasted away. It is gone forever. Days, weeks, months, years pass, and just like that your life is nearly over. Instead of lazing around on the sofa every night after work watching Reality TV, why not use this time to further your own dream?

3. The third most cited regret Bronnie Ware offers is that people look back and wish they had had the courage to express their feelings. We can all relate to this one, no matter our age. We owe it to ourselves to clarify how we feel, what we feel, and how to effectively state our feelings. You don’t have to be inconsiderate when doing this, you can do it honestly and gently. For more on this, you can check the article I wrote on this subject. Voicing our feelings can also help us identify how our expression affects others as well as ourselves.

4. The fourth regret Ware includes is a desire to have stayed in touch with old friends. Loneliness is rampant in contemporary culture. Life is busy and too often it gets in the way of maintaining and nurturing connections with our friends. Friends come and go you gain some and you lose some, but true friends who you can really count on when the going gets tough are rare and it is definitely worth spending time maintaining that connection.

5. The final item Ware cites is that people regret not having let themselves be happier! Are you shocked by this? But how can we let ourselves be happy if we are not mentored in the art of developing our happiness? Where are those rare individuals who are living out their own visions? What does authentic happiness look like and how does it show up for each one of us? We’ll only have the answers to those questions through personal trial and error and maybe a life coach or mentor can help you do just that.

Personal note

One-to-One Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI).  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Be Happy

How Good are your communication skills?

Every problem big or small starts with bad communication. Someone is not communicating their message clearly and/or someone is not listening. How good are your communication skills? Being an effective communicator requires that you are able to speak, listen, write and read effectively and clearly. It also means that you are comfortable with the different channels of communication – face to face, on paper, via zoom call, and so on.

Communication is a process where at least two individuals are involved, a sender and a receiver. For it to be successful, the receiver must understand the message in the way that the sender intended. It sounds simple and pretty straightforward, but it is not. Misunderstanding and confusion are commonplace and can cause conflicts and frustrations on a professional level but also on a personal level.

Effective communication on the other hand can help understand people and situations, leading the way for an effective way to share ideas, meet challenging situations, and build better relationships at home and at work.

Effective communication starts with understanding the 7- 38 – 55% Communication Rule.

How good are your communication skills? The 7-38 -55% Communication Rule. Photo by Nakaridore via freepik.com

Did you know that only 7% of communication is verbal, 38% is tone and inflection of voice and a staggering 55% is body language? Professor Mehrabian formulated this 7-38-55% communication theory in 1967. He believed that there are three core elements in the effective face-to-face communication of emotions or attitudes: non-verbal behavior (facial expressions, for example), tone of voice, and the literal meaning of the spoken word.

These three essential elements, Mehrabian argues, account for how we convey our liking, or disliking, of another person. Professor Mehrabian’s particular focus was on the importance of such non-verbal clues when they appear to conflict with the words used and/or tone in which they are spoken. He sought to investigate the impact of the spoken word and facial expressions on an individual’s ability to discern liking in another person and came to the conclusion that the literal meaning of the word counts much less than the tone of voice and the body language used to express those words.

Your facial expressions, hand movements, gestures, eye contact, attitude, tone of voice, the way you look, listen, react, speaks far more about your feelings than words will ever be able to. The way you feel about a particular subject matter will affect your non-verbal expression; if you feel angry, sorrow or fear those feelings will transpire in your facial expression and tone of voice.

How good are your communication skills? Your tone of voice speaks far more about your feelings than words. Photo by Nakaridore via freepik.com

This is why listening is an important aspect of communication. Effective listening is not just the understanding of spoken or written information, but also an understanding of how the speaker feels during communication, it is the ability to listen with empathy. Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feeling of another regardless of whether we agree with it or not.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Aristotle

Effective communication also starts with the understanding that people are not mind-readers. Expecting people to guess your wishes and aspirations is only going to bring you frustration and resentment. If you want something from someone, express yourself clearly. If you use the right words, the right tone of voice, and the right body language, you are increasing your chance of having your wishes and aspirations becoming reality.

Effective communication starts with paying attention to the words you are using

There is no doubt that non -verbal communication is important, but we should never underestimate the power of a spoken or written word. Words have tremendous energy and power. They can have a positive or a negative impact on people. Well-chosen words can be used to attack, intimidate, demoralize or on the contrary, they can be used to inspire, motivate diffuse tension. Learn to choose your words carefully, it is a skill that is worth developing.

“If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind”

Buddha

How many times have you been in a situation where you spoke some words that you instantly regretted as soon as they left the corner of your mouth? Some people have a tendency to speak to avoid the discomfort of silence. Silence doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Other people speak to unload an ego-driven thought or speak with a negative emotion like frustration or anger. The question you should ask yourself in those situations. Is it necessary? We all experience anger and frustration and expecting those feelings never to be expressed is not realistic. This said when you are hot under the collar and feel like lashing out in anger and frustration, pause for a second or two; this will give you sufficient space to avoid a knee-jerk reaction and will allow you to respond in a more controlled manner. Respond, don’t react.

Something we see more and more these days are situations where words have no meaning. Politicians are experts in this style of communication. They could say one thing one day and the opposite the next day, feel no shame about it and make it look like no big deal, I didn’t mean it this way. Empty platitude, pandering, vitriols, hyperbolic statements, condescending announcements, fear-mongering are a few of the tools politicians are using frequently. But don’t forget that actions speak louder than words. It is also worth pointing out that sometimes, the most important thing in communication is what is not being said.

Lost in translation. How the mistranslation of a sentence is causing geopolitical issues several generations after the event

How good are your communication skills? Lost intranslation. Photo by Nakaridore via freepik.com

Never underestimate the importance of words, a misplaced word or a mistranslation can in fact change the course of history, and I am not being hyperbolic when I say this. In 1840, the British government made a deal with the Maori chiefs in New Zealand. The Maori who wanted protection from convicts, sailors, and traders who were running havoc through their villages decided to sign the Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown who jump at the opportunity to expand their colonial holdings. The Treaty of Waitangi was drawn up and both parties signed it. But unbeknown to them, they were signing different documents.

In the English version of the Treaty, the Maori were to “cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty” but are guaranteed “undisturbed possession” over their lands, forests, fisheries, and other properties. In the Maori version of the Treaty, they were not to give up sovereignty, but governance. The Maori gave the Crown “kawanatanga katoa” complete governorship. And they were guaranteed “tino rangatiratanga”, the unqualified exercise of chieftainship over their lands, dwelling places, and all other possessions. They thought they were getting a legal system, but keeping their right to rule themselves. That’s not how it turned out, and generations later the issues around the meaning of this treaty are still being worked out.

How good are your communication skills? Your ability to communicate effectively is an important tool to help you navigate through the ups and downs of your professional and personal life.

And this, my dear companion, is your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Be Happy

Life is a beach

Here comes the summer, which is often associated with trips to the beach, splashing around in the ocean, or lazing around perfecting your tan. I love the beach and being born and raised on an Island (Reunion) was very fortunate because the beach is never far away. Life is a beach. You should make the most of it.

Did you know that the beach used to be a treatment prescribed by doctors? Sea-bathing as a form of therapy was invented by the British, the same nation that gave the world the steam engine and the Industrial Revolution. The beach became a popular destination during Britain’s Industrial Revolution mostly because doctors were prescribing it. The British doctors’ orders were to go to the beach to breathe in the fresh air, soak up vitamin D, de-stress, exercise, and boost your immune system.

It’s widely believed that spending just an hour outside on a sunny day can supply a human with their daily dose of Vitamin D, which is credited with helping people get stronger bones, healthier teeth, helping your immune system function properly, and walking barefoot at the beach can help you save a few bucks on pedicure treatment. Sand is a natural exfoliant and will help you shed dead skin.

Research finds that spending time by the ocean makes you feel all Zen and meditative. The color blue has been found to be associated with feelings of calm and peace. Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative and creative state.

“B.E.A.C.H.: Best Escape Anyone Can Have.”

Unknown

In addition to all the health benefits, you can learn a few things or two if you take some advice from the beach, the ocean, or marvel at the sunset over the horizon.

Life is a beach, make the most of it

Life is a beach. I bumped into Princess Arielle/Little Mermaid. Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed. Boucan Cannot. Reunion Island

The beach is that place where you feel the warmth of the sun, the soft white sand, the ripples of water, as the waves crash to the shore, then pull away again for another encore. That place where you can smell the salty ocean air mixed with suntan lotion.

Advice from the beach

Life is a beach. Have a Blue State of Mind. Photo taken by Alize Reed. Boucan Cannot. Reunion Island

Wallace J, Nicholas a marine biologist and author of the book “The Blue Mind” believes that we all have a special connection to the color blue. It turns out that the blue color symbolizes serenity, stability, inspiration, wisdom, and health. The blue color represents the soothing effect of nature on the human mind.

When we spend time on our vacation at the beach or by the lakeside, we look for a sense of calm and clarity from these water sources. But what if you don’t have the opportunity to go to the beach or to a lake? I suggest that you head to the bathroom and have a long shower. Have you ever wondered why the best ideas always seem to strive your mind when you are taking a shower?

The relaxing solitary environment in your shower allows the brain to wander freely, you are more open to new ideas and can feel the creative spark. It’s a place where people can be unburdened (if only for a few minutes) by outside distraction, a place where you are not trying to accomplish anything. This allows our brain to shut down, which allows another part of our brain to light up.

Soak up the sun. Sea the best in others. Take time to play. Navigate life’s shifting sands. Don’t be gull-ible. Roll with the waves. Breeze through each day! Ilan Shamir

Ilan Shamir

Advice from the Ocean

Life is a beach. Advice from the Ocean. Make waves! Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed. Boucan Cannot. Reunion Island

The ocean is ever-changing and constant at the same time, rhythmic, random, and unpredictable. One should never take the ocean for granted, it can go from calm and inviting to menacing and dangerous, and if you pay attention, you can learn some valuable life lessons from the ocean.

Be shore of yourself. Come out of your shell. Take time to relax and coast. Avoid pier pressure. Sea life’s beauty. Don’t get tide down. Make waves!

Ilan Shamir

Advice from the sunset

You cannot talk about the beach and the ocean without mentioning the sunset. At the end of each day, you should let your worries drift away. Sea life’s beauty. Adopt to changes tides. Harbor strength and perseverance no matter what.

Show your true colors. Take time to reflect. End Each Day with beauty. Make a dramatic exit. Stop and be present. Keep your inner fire burning. Be amazing!

Ilan Shamir

Life is a bitch, a helpful lesson from the oyster

Life is a beach. Don’t get tide down. Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize reed. Boucan Cannot. Reunion Island

Pearls are the result of a biological process, i.e. the oyster’s way of protecting itself from foreign substances. The formation of natural pearls begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantel and the shell which irritates the mantle. The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell which eventually forms the pearl.

Sometimes, life can be a bitch. The lessons we can learn from the oyster is that when external factors enter and disrupt your life; the normal reaction would be to try to get rid of this external element in order to get back to your usual state; but once you realize that there is nothing you can do to get rid of it, the best thing to do is to settle down and go with the flow; and before you realize it this process could lead you to produce the most priceless and beautiful thing in the world.

Excellence takes time. Achievement takes patience. It is a pursuit that must be tenacious. When external events cause a disruption in your life and once you realize that there is nothing you can do to eliminate these events; think of this irritation, not with fear and anxiety, but as a pearl in the making.

And this, my dear companion, is your Quest.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help Uncategorized

As one chapter ends, another one starts

As one chapter ends another one starts. Every day you write the story of your life. Your life is like a book, there is a beginning, a middle, an end and there are chapters that catapult you from one event to another. These past few weeks, or shall I say months have been very hectic for me and my family as we geared ourselves up to say farewell to South Korea which has been our home for many years.

The Land of the Morning Calm has been the greatest adventure we had as a family. Korea has been the land where my two daughters grew up with our dog and two cats in tow. The land where we met and made long-lasting friendships with wonderful people. The Land where we had many exciting adventures making the most of the amazing scenery, beauty, and delicious food.

The Land of the Morning Calm chapter has now ended, and new events have catapulted us across the globe. My husband has started a new job in Saudi Arabia building a brand-new futuristic city in the desert, 100% powered by renewable energy. My eldest daughter has settled well in Calgary, Canada where she is studying Bio-Med, and where she is having the time of her life. My youngest daughter and I just arrived in Réunion Island, where I was born and grew up and which is going to be our new base for now. As one chapter ends, another one begins, and so our story continues….

As one chapter ends, another starts

As one chapter ends, another starts. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

When one chapter ends, it’s just one chapter in the book of your life, don’t close the book the story is not finished, just turn the page and move on. Whether this chapter brought you grief or brought you joy, no other page is written like this. If you don’t like the way the previous chapter of your life happened, have a good cry, learn the lessons. Put your big girl’s or big boy’s pants on and move on.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

“Whenever an obstacle rises that seems to block the path forward, in reality, the obstacle has an essential function. And that is, it forces me, or it forces humanity to generate more – either more strength, more energy or more consciousness.”

Eckart Tolle

If you really like the way the previous chapter of your life happened and wished that it never ended, rejoice in the memory of all the good times and the precious moments that made this chapter of your life so pleasant and beautiful. Human beings like comfort and order, and as I discussed in one of my previous articles, order is the place where the world’s behavior matches our expectations and our desires, the place where all things turn out the way we want them to.

We like to be in there. In order, we’re able to think about things in the long term. There, things work, and we are stable, calm, and competent. We seldom leave places we understand – geographical and conceptual – for that reason. But even the best things have to end. If you read a really good book and you come to the end of it, you don’t throw it away wishing you never read it, you put it on your shelves and rejoice in the knowledge that you were fortunate enough to have come across this book.

Changes are hard, but it’s OK. It is the beginning of a new chapter

There is no denying the fact that changes are hard, especially when you are facing life-changing events such as the end of a job, or the end of a relationship or moving across the world to relocate someplace new, with all the logistics that such a move requires. I have just been through this, it’s hard, definitely not a walk in the park, but more like an obstacle course where you need stamina, speed, dexterity, flexibility, and coordination.

The harsh reality of life is that everything moves on and for things to move on, first things have to end. People leave, they leave you and they leave places, and they leave things behind. Everyone finds their way, an end is just a new beginning. We are all made up of fragments of other people, places, and things, and each time this happens we write a new page in our book of life.

No matter where we are, some things are under our control and some things are not. The fundamental reality of chaos and order is true for everything alive, not only for us. Living things are always to be found in places they can master, surrounded by things and situations that make them vulnerable. Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging because there are vital and important new things to be learned.

Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while learning that you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also curious, alert, and engaged.

As one chapter ends, another one starts. Keep writing the story of your life. To be continued…

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Be Happy

Graduating From High School in the Time of Corona – A Parent’s Perspective

Challenges of parenting in the 21st century when your child is graduating from high school

2020 was the year of the Corona and also the year when my eldest daughter Maya was graduating from high school. The biggest challenge as a parent is that we have to guide and prepare our children to enter a world that is very different from the one we grew-up in. Yet, as a parent you still have the challenge of inspiring, supporting, guiding your children and prepare them for a world that is messy, uncertain and full of surprises and opportunities.

There is so much I want to say to her before she leaves the family nest. The world is complex. Things are not always what they seem. Learn to swim in the sea of information and sometimes dis-information. Don’t rush to judgment. Try to discern, connect the dots. Put things into perspective. So much to say, to keep it sweet and short I wrote her an open letter.

Maya Reed – Class of 2020 – A Memorable Year

Live and Let Live


Live fully and courageously,
Let live and understand Human Nature,
Know yourself and your true essence.

Wake up, dress up, show up,
And do the best you can every day,
Until You know better,
Then, when you know better,
Do better.

Treat your body as a Temple,
Attend to it every day,
Nurture it,
Worship it.

Know that early years can be full of tears,
But I know that you are built to face those fears,
And I will always be here to send you cheers.

Do you have what it takes?
A mind of your own,
And the ability to get in the zone.

I wish you clear vision,
So that you can make good decisions,
And not be paralyzed by indecision.

To have clear vision,
Can you master your intuition?
And use it as ammunition.

So, go and shine your unique and natural light,
As bright and as strong as you can,
Be phenomenal!
Be you.

©Joanne Reed

After graduating from high school, what do you want to be when you grow-up?

What do you want to be when you grow up is a difficult question and needs thinking about carefully. Being a doctor, a vet, an engineer, a lawyer, or a scientist are all great options after graduating from high school but what if I said you should consider all of those, but also being a writer? The writer of the story of your life.

People live the story they want to tell. Your life is your story, and your mission is to write the best story you can and have lots of adventures along the way. You are both on a journey to find your own purpose and unleash your full potential.

Becoming successful at what you do should be part of your long-term plans. But how do you define success? It is a fluid concept. Success means different thing to different people. But for me, success comprises three key things:

  1. Success is an Iceberg. When you look at successful people what you see is often only the surface; confidence, wealth, beauty, relationships, seniority. Often, what you don’t see is what took them there: persistence, failure, sacrifice, disappointment, hard work and dedication. Thomas Edison said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” don’t forget and don’t be afraid to perspire.
  2. Success is a garden. Everything starts with an idea. “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers, or you can grow seeds.” Plant a seed in your mind and care for it, work steadily towards your goal and be strong enough not to let setbacks defeat you in the accomplishment of your purpose.
  3. Success is about overcoming adversity. No journey will ever be perfectly smooth or proceed exactly as planned. There will be ups and down and unexpected turns, you will encounter difficulties. What do you do when things get a little rough? Well, I suggest that you take advice from Maya Angelou.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
– Maya Angelou

Story telling Time

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer; the farmer was struggling to provide for his family. His hope and vision for a better future for his family was placed in a few bamboo seeds. He decided to dig hole after hole to plant the seeds then he began to take care of those seeds day after day by watering the seeds and fertilizing the ground.

The farmer decided to plant other crops around the bamboo in order to feed his family; but his real hope for prosperity remained with the bamboo. A whole year passes by … and nothing. Still the farmer continued to water the seeds and fertilize the ground every day. Another year goes by … and still nothing. His neighbors laugh at him, they mock his vision and his dreams. He begins to question himself, doubt creeps into his mind, will the bamboo ever grow?

Another year goes by … and still nothing. Three years of pouring water, energy and hope into his bamboo dream and he has nothing to show for it. One day he stands over the spot and cries in frustration. The barren ground seems to mock him yet the wind whispers hope into his ear so the farmer picks himself up and continues to water the seeds and fertilize the ground. Another year goes by … but still nothing.

Five Years have passed, and our farmer is tired. He is tired of hauling buckets of water and feeding the seeds. He is tired of seeing no results day after day. Despair rocks his soul and tears fill his eyes and he arrives home feeling defeated. But, the farmer’s darkest hour is just before his dawn as the next day, a miracle happens. The farmer sees green sprouts coming out of the ground; he cannot contain his joy and runs through the village to share the news with his family. In 6 weeks, the bamboo trees grow to 90 feet tall!

Bamboo forest -5 years in the making – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The Moral of the story

If the farmer had stopped watering the seeds and fertilizing the ground during those 5 years, the bamboo would have died in the ground without seeing the light of day.

If you have a vision and a dream you need the discipline to take care of your dream day after day after day even if you don’t see the result straight away.

Ignore people that tell you it cannot be done.
Learned to push back on your own doubts and fears.
Learn to have faith when there is no reason to believe.
Good things take time. To face adversity you need patience, dedication, perseverance and courage.

Life Can Be a Struggle

The journey to achieve your dream will not be perfect. You will encounter setbacks, disappointment, hurdles, and hardship. In those moments, don’t despair but try to look for solutions to your problems and a clear path to follow. Being in a state of confusion adds unnecessary pain and suffering, but being in a state of clarity, brings hope, joy, and happiness.

Clarity, see things as they are, not how you want them to be – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

How do you find Clarity?

  1. The first thing is to know yourself. According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to know yourself. You need to know where your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can exploit your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
  2. The second thing is to understand human nature and why people do the things they do. Being able to make good decisions will require you to predict the future, accurately perceive your present situation and have insights into the mind of the people around you.
  3. The third thing is to practice the art of being still. You won’t know who you are if your mind is in constant state of agitation and occupied by mindless distractions. Moments of solitude allow you to be more tuned-in to your intuition. Stillness means to be steady while the world spins around you. Stillness can inspire new ideas, sharpen perspective and illuminate the mind.

If you do those 3 things you will find Clarity. Remember Your mind is like water. When it gets agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answers will become clear.

What Makes a Great Story?

So, what you want to be when you grow up? If you want your life to be a magnificent story, you will need clarity because clarity will make your thoughts, your emotions and your actions congruent with each other. Good stories include fun, joy and laughter, but also some drama, tears and sorrow. People like stories where a superhero does wonderful deeds. Try to be your own hero, not by wearing a cape, jumping from building to building trying to save the world, but by becoming a better person everyday shining your own light into the world. So, my dear daughters, I wish you good luck and fortune on your journeys, and hope that you write the best stories that have ever been told.

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

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Be Happy

The Three Songs That Helped Me Through 2020

The Three Songs that Helped me Through 2020

Music has a unique ability to bring people together. From a national anthem to a church hymn, or your favorite rock or hip-hop song, music has the amazing ability to unite us, to pull us together as we listen, sing, dance, and rejoice in the pure beauty of the notes and melody suspended in the air. There are three songs that helped me through 2020.

2020 was the year when everything and nothing happened at the same time. Each of us has our own coping mechanism when dealing with difficulties in life, mine is to put some music on and let the rhythm of the notes and the lyrics take me to places I want to go.

There are three songs that helped me go through 2020:

1. ‘From Hero to Zero’, a song featured in Disney’s animated movie Hercules.

2. ‘Let It Be’, a song written by Paul McCartney  when he was part of The Beatles

3. ‘How Far I’ll Go’, a powerful ballad from Disney’s’ 2016 animated film Moana, performed by Auli’i Cravalho

The first song that helped me through 2020, From Zero to Hero, Hercules

Song that helped me through 2020. From Zero to Hero. Hercules, The Greek Hero. This song teaches us that we can survive our own tribulations and become the hero of our own life. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

One of the most popular heroes of Greek mythology  is Hercules. What makes him so popular is the fact that he is half-god and full of flaws. His life was far from perfect and filled with tragedies. He endured many trials and completed many daunting tasks, but the reward for his suffering was a promise that he would live forever among the gods at Mount Olympus.

From zero to Hero – Hercules – Cover by Alize Reed

From Zero to Hero Lyrics

Bless my soul
Herc was on a roll
Person of the week in every Greek opinion poll
What a pro
Herc could stop a show
Point him at a monster and you’re talking SRO
He was a no one
A zero, zero
Now he’s a honcho
He’s a hero
Here was a kid with his act down pat
From zero to hero in no time flat
Zero to hero just like that (snaps)

When he smiled
The girls went wild with
Oohs and aahs
And they slapped his face
On ev’ry vase
(On ev’ry “vahse”)

From appearance fees and royalties
Our Herc had cash to burn
Now nouveau riche and famous
He could tell you
What’s a Grecian urn?

Say amen
There he goes again
Sweet and undefeated
And an awesome 10 for 10
Folks lined up
Just to watch him flex
And this perfect package
Packed a pair of pretty pecs

Hercie, he comes
He sees, he conquers
Honey, the…

Hercules is the son of Zeus, ruler of all the gods on Mount Olympus and his mother was Alcmene (Zeus’ mistress). Hercules’ personal problems started before he was even born. When Zeus’ wife Hera heard that her husband’s mistress was pregnant, she flew into a rage and used her supernatural powers and a whole range of nasty spells to try to kill the baby before it was even born, but to no avail. Hercules survived but was stripped of his immortality and told that he would have to become a true hero in order to reclaim his full divinity and seat on Mount Olympus among the other gods.

Hercules was raised on earth but retained his god-like strengths, which, although useful, sometimes became a disadvantage. His life was not always a happy one, it was full of disappointments, tragedies, trials, and tribulations. Hercules learned that those disappointments and dark times were part of his human experienceand were meant to teach him life lessons. He became the champion and the protector of the weak.

Hercules’ inner strength and ability to endure hardships made him an inspirational figure to the people and a symbol of stability in the midst of chaos, even if it was chaos that he himself caused. Hercules fought against monsters, titans, and all sorts of formidable adversaries, but it is his self-sacrifice to rescue his love Meg which made him a true hero.

The myth of Hercules teaches us that everyone has monsters they need to conquer, seemingly impossible tasks that they have to accomplish, and tragedies that they have to overcome. When faced with some difficult situations in life, one can take comfort in the stories of Hercules who went from zero to hero, we can survive one’s own tribulations and become the hero of our own life. Hercules encapsulates the hero that anyone can relate to precisely because his life was far from perfect and his character was less than ideal.

From Zero to Hero in no time flat!

The second song that helped me through 2020, Let it Be, The Beatles

Let It Be – The Beatles. This song teaches us to accept the bad things that have happened or bad decisions we made, especially if there is no way we can change the situation. Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Let it be, was The Beatles’ highest-debuting single on the Billboard Hot 100, and their final single before Paul McCartney  announced his departure from the band. The song, written by McCartney, was inspired by a dream he had of his mother who died of cancer when he was fourteen. 1968 was a tense period for  The Beatles , they were recording the White Album but tensions within the band was rife with members asserting individual artistic agendas. This is when McCartney’s mother came to him in a dream whispering these wise words, “It will be all right, just let it be.” Paul McCartney, in a later interview, recalled waking up, remembering the dream and turning it into a song ‘.

Let it Be Lyrics

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

Mary was McCartney’s mother’s name. McCartney’s decision to leave Teh Beatles came shortly after the release of the single.

What I learned from this song is that we should practice the Art of Acceptance, or the philosophy of Let it be; it can help us accept a difficult situation or the ups and downs we experience in everyday life. Let it Be means let go, relax, don’t worry about your troubles. These words of comfort remind us not to think about sad things too much, to accept the bad things that have happened or bad decisions we have made, especially if there is no way we can change the situation. Let it be is a beautiful reminder that you do not hold all the strings, you are not always in the driver’s seat and you are not responsible for everything.

Misery is not just an absence of pleasure but is also caused by unmet expectations and aspirations, and by a continuous need for approval in our personal and professional lives. These disappointments, some big and some small cause some people a lot of stress and anxiety and may result in depression or other Mental illnesses. But despite the imperfection in one’s professional or personal situation, psychologists and therapists believe a lot of this struggle and stress is avoidable with a simple technique, acceptance, or to let things be.

When we recall happy memories, we are often nostalgic, and remind ourselves how things used to be. When we recall less happy events, there is a tendency to hold on to those unhappy memories too.

“What you resist, persists.”

Carl Jung

Accepting the reality of our situation allows us to move forward and gives us more energy to focus on the present moment, to feel grateful for the people and things we have now.

Does acceptance mean conformity and mediocrity? By the time I was at high school, I’d already resigned myself to the idea that I was not put on this earth to be a mathematician, astronaut, or engineer, and scraping through an algebra test with a bare minimum passing grade used to make me really happy. Fast forward to today in Seoul where my two daughters go to school, it is a regular occurrence for high schoolers to score 100% not just on math tests, but across all the science subjects. Did my acceptance make me mediocre? I don’t think so.

Acceptance doesn’t mean conformity and mediocrity

If it’s within your ability to do better in math tests, or a sports event, then you should do better. Acceptance shouldn’t be a drain on ingenuity and growth. If you are born poor and underprivileged, acceptance is not going to take you very far. Acceptance is not the defeatist way of saying, that’s the way it is, there is nothing I can do about it, it’s not about being lazy, but it may be about picking the important fights and forgiving past mistakes.

There are times in our life where circumstances force us to accept the way things are, to accept our own limitations, to accept our current situation. There are times when we should be philosophical and be grateful for what we have.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer

The third song that helped me through 2020, How Far I’ll Go, Moana

Song that helped me through 2020 . How Far I’ll Go, Moana. This song teaches us that we should not focus so much on how often we fall, but to focus instead on learning, having new experiences, picking ourselves up, and seeing how far we can go. Shine your ligh as far and as bright as you can.

Most people don’t dare to think big and follow their dreams because of the fear of failure, or of being ridiculed and rejected. The end result is that their dreams will always remain just that, a dream. The dream made them feel good while it lasted, but their ideas will remain known to them only. Their songs will only ever be sung in their heads, with no audience to listen to and no one else to appreciate them. The books they could have authored remain only thoughts.

Most people won’t even reach for their dreams because they are unwilling to feel uncomfortable, to have their limits tested, to live on the edge, to be outside their comfort zone, to be criticized, to be let down, and to be challenged. People should not focus so much on how often they fall, they should instead focus on learning, having new experiences, picking themselves up, and seeing how far they can go.

How Far I’ll Go – Cover by Alize Reed

How Far I’ll Go – Lyrics

I’ve been staring at the edge of the water
‘Long as I can remember, never really knowing why
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try
Every turn I take, every trail I track
Every path I make, every road leads back
To the place I know, where I can not go, where I long to be

See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know if I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go

I know everybody on this island, seems so happy on this island
Everything is by design
I know everybody on this island has a role on this island
So maybe I can roll with mine
I can lead with pride, I can make us strong
I’ll be satisfied if I play along
But the voice inside sings a different song
What is wrong with me?

See the light as it shines on the sea? It’s blinding
But no one knows, how deep it goes
And it seems like it’s calling out to me, so come find me
And let me know, what’s beyond that line, will I cross that line?

The line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know, how far I’ll go

Songwriters: Lin Manuel Miranda  

How Far I’ll Go

Moana (played by Auli’I Cravalho) is a Polynesian teenager who goes on a Quest to save her island’s failing ecosystem accompanied by a demigod Maui (played by Dwayne Johnson). Moana, is the daughter of the chief, she has a feisty temperament and discovered from an early age that she feels the happiest when she is splashing around in the ocean, she always had a deep connection with the sea, her name means deep water.

Life on the island is happy, joyful, and idyllic, until the day when the island’s fishermen stopped catching fish and the crops stopped growing. The Island was cursed. Moana finds out that the demigod Maui caused the plight by stealing the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti. The only way to heal the island is to persuade Maui to return Te Fiti’s heart; so, Moana sets off on an epic journey across the pacific. In doing so she defies her father’s instructions for his people not to venture beyond the reef surrounding the island. How far will she go? Through the whole pacific.

Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who agreed to accompany her in her Quest. Together, they sail across the open ocean on a perilous and action-packed voyage. Along the way, Moana discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.

How far are you ready to go in your Quest to find your purpose in life?

I would like to hear from you, if you want to share your story send your responses in the comment box below.

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

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Be Happy

What You Should Know About New Year Resolutions

At this time of year, when some of us are already thinking about our new year’s resolutions, I’m encouraging you to invest a little time trying to understand a few things we could resolve that would help make us happier. We want to be happier, living a life of flourish, but we often chase both the wrong things and the wrong paths to get to them. It perhaps sounds strange but, people are awful at predicting what will make them happy. Even more disturbing is the fact that we are often disappointed when we get the very things we think we want. There are a few things that you should know before making your New Year Resolutions.

2021 Goal List?… Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

In one of the strongest statements against the possibility for change, Lykken and Tellegen, a pair of researchers from the Minnesota Twin Family Study suggested that “trying to be happier may be as futile as trying to be taller.” This study, which also coined the phrase, the hedonic treadmill, implies that our efforts to get somewhere, to be happier, don’t get us anywhere. I don’t believe this to be true, and below are three things that you may want to take into account when setting your goals for 2021.

New Year Resolutions the choice between possessions vs. experiences

What you should know about new year resolutions is that often it is a matter of choosing between possessions or experiences. There’s a logical assumption many people make when spending their money, that because a physical object lasts a long time, it will make us happier than an a one-off experience, like a vacation or a night out. But, a 20-year study by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, found the opposite to be true. “One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Gilovich. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while, resulting in no permanent gain in happiness. Worse, according to this theory, as we make more money or buy more things, our expectations and desires for them rise in tandem.

Possessions v Experiences – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

Experiences on the other hand tend to provoke more satisfaction than time using material possessions. A possible explanation is the endurance of experiences in people’s memories, while the perceived value of material goods weakens over time. Moreover, our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods.

“You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

Dr Thomas Gilovich

Another reason that experiences win over possessions, is that they connect us more tightly to other people. You’re much likelier to feel connected to someone you went to school with, went on holiday together, than say someone who just happens to buy the same type of car or smart phone.

Add to your new year resolution list: conquering negativity

Negativity is, in general, thinking that whatever happens is most likely going to turn out bad. It doesn’t help that we are hardwired such that negative events have a much greater impact on our brains than positive ones, psychologists refer to this as the negativity bias, but there is a subtle difference between negativity and negative thinking.

New Year Resolutions – Conquer NegativityPhoto by @freepik via freepik.com

The good type of negative thinking is why your mum checked if you packed a spare pair of pants on school trips. When your daughter is borrowing your car, when someone is asking you to take a risky investment decision, there’s good reason to think about worst case scenarios, it allows you to look at things more realistically, slows down decision making, and might save you money, or your life. Negative thinking often involves contemplating future events or outcomes where it is still possible to change the outcome; negativity, on the other hand, typically involves a habitual attitude of anger, cynicism, helplessness or sadness about things we cannot change. If you find yourself dwelling on an insult or fixating on your mistakes, and you keep playing it over and over in your mind, this is negativity, and it’s probably not doing you any good.

If you are someone who after an event takes place, finds yourself thinking “I shouldn’t have done that,” or focuses on things in a negative way, try to look for ways to reframe the situation in a more positive light. What did you learn? What would you do different next time?

Salvaging a funny story from your misfortunes can be a great way to turn the tide of negative thoughts. That old adage, “misery loves company,” is only partly true, “misery loves miserable company,” is more accurate. Humor is good medicine, the search for a funny aspect in a difficult moment can help us endure it, and when used to help others to copy, can be altruistic.

The Paradox of Choice

Psychologist Barry Schwartz took aim at a central tenet of western societies in his book The Paradox of Choice. Freedom of choice, in Schwartz’s estimation, has not made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied. Choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress.

In his book, Barry Schwartz explains that choice, the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish—becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being, impacts the challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs, and paradoxically becomes a problem instead of a solution.

Having too much choice, or choice overload, is a cognitive impairment in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with many options. Another factor which makes us less happy is FOMO, or the fear of missing out. To illustrate how FOMO works, imagine that you were shown 5 juicy oranges and told that one of them was the world’s tastiest, but you could only pick and eat one. Maybe you enjoyed your orange, but simply not knowing what the four other oranges taste likes lead to dissatisfaction. And, the more choices you have the worst it gets; if you have ten available choices, and you make a wrong decision, it’ll hurt more than if you only had 5 choices and made the same decision.

New Year’s Resolutions

So, when it comes to making your new year’s resolutions this year, try not to set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are vague, unrealistic, or influenced by what others expect of us. Because, if we ‘fail,’ we’re left feeling guilty, disappointed, and self-loathing—a far cry from the sense of confidence and empowerment we were after. Limit your choices, keep it simple, and try looking for something experiential. Happy new year, and here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2021!

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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Be Happy

Want to Break Social Distancing? Feel the Power of Music

Want to Break Social Distancing? Feel the power of music

Social distancing is the order of the day. Distance yourself from your friends and family, from your school teachers and school friends, from your colleagues, business partners and even from your customers! Human beings are social animals. It is not natural for us to be isolated, but this is what our governments are prescribing.

Want to break social distancing? Feel the power of music. Social distancing and lock down are being re-introduced in several countries as we speak. Maintaining our health requires us to social distance, but being isolated from our friends and family can trigger additional health issues. How one can reconcile those two conflicting agendas? If you are one of those who want to break the social distancing barriers in a safe manner, I suggest that you put some music on and feel the power of music.

Difficult times often bring the best in people. The world we are living in right now has become a strange place. We have all become strangers (to each other) in a strange land. Not long ago, people used to congregate, socialize, party with friends and family. Going to school and interacting with your teachers and your friends was part of our children’s daily routine; now our human interactions are kept to a minimum, from a safe distance and preferably via a screen.

Travelling was part of those things that we used to do with ease using whichever transportation that fitted the journey be it cars, buses, trains, or planes. Planes are still flying but border controls are much stricter; so, better stay at home rather than taking the risk of being stuck in some quarantine quarters in a foreign land.

Want to break social distancing and feel more connected? Feel the power of music

Music has a unique ability to bring people together.  From a national anthem to a church hymn,  or your favorite  rock or hip hop song, music has the amazing ability to unite us, to pull us together as we listen, sing, dance and rejoice in the pure beauty of the  notes and melody suspended in the air.

Want to break social distancing? Feel the power of music. Hip hop vibe

One of the many inspiring stories that went viral during the March  COVID lockdown was the  Balcony singing started by musicians and artists in Naples (Italy) ; these artists put together a spontaneous flash mob from their balconies and invited their neighbors to join in. This flash mob did more for people’s spirit and mental health than any empty re-assuring words from any authorities.  This musical interlude made everyone in that apartment building feel connected to each other, less isolated, and less alone. Music broke the invisible chains that the government restrictions imposed on everyone and makes everyone feel united and free.  Those flab mobs will be remembered as one of those lights that shone bright and clear during a dark and uncertain period of time.

Want to break social distancing and speak a universal language? Feel the power of music

Music is a universal language that can unite, heal, and set people free from their fear, their worries, their loneliness. Regardless of which language you speak and where in the world you call home, music and dance can unite and break down barriers in a magical way. Dance is a universal language and so is music. So, dance your own dance and sing your own song. Work your magic and sprinkle seeds of love everywhere you go.

Want to break social distancing? Feel the power of music – Sprinkle seeds of love everywhere you go

Music is a Universal language, but don’t just take my word for it, listen to the scientists who confirm this unequivocally. One Harvard University study showed that music carries a set of unique codes and patterns which are, in fact, universally understood. The aim of the study was to explore whether or not music from different cultures could be understood universally and transcend language barriers and geography. To carry out the research, the team examined ethnographic data gathered over a century’s worth of music from across 315 different cultures. The findings show that by analyzing a song’s acoustic feature, such as tonality and tempo, it is possible for people to understand its meaning, regardless of its cultural background. So, the science is settled: music is in fact a universal language that can be understood by everyone notwithstanding language and cultural differences.

But more than a universal language, music has the power to heal. Music therapy is an established health profession. Music therapists are accomplished musicians who have deep knowledge of how music can evoke emotional responses to relax or stimulate people and help them heal. Music therapy is an effective stress reliever, it reduces pain and anxiety, it can help patients recover from brain injury and treat seizures in patients who suffered from a stroke. So, the science is settled, music heals.

Want to break social distancing? Feel the power of music. Dance like nobody is watching

Music has an amazing ability to speak to our hearts, minds and soul. It is like a prayer that stretches out into the Universe; It is quite telling that the word Universe literally means one (Uni) song (Verse). Where words fail, music speaks, there are times where words will not be enough to appease, heal and convince, so in those moments, it’s best not to say a thing; switch on the radio, listen to your best tunes and dance like nobody’s watching. Dance has been part of this world since time immemorial. Our ancestors communicated with each other through body language before they developed linguistic skills, they expressed their anger, hope and love with movement.

I don’t know if music can change the world overnight, but I know that music can help someone make it through a difficult night” – Michael Franti

The Universal language of music and dance

The Universal Language of Music and Dance
To all my sisters and brothers around the world
Dance your own dance
Sing your own song
Sparkle seeds of love everywhere you go
Love is spring eternal
It is the healer of all wounds
Do not drown in anger and hurt
When you can swim in a sea of love

by Joanne Reed

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy

Want a Wheely Good Time? Embrace the Skate Aesthetic

Want a wheely good time? Embrace the skate aesthetic.

Sports like bicycling and roller-skating have been making a comeback after getting a boost from stay-at-home measures that took effect in spring 2020. While lots of bars, clubs, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters were closed the itch to get outside drove a revival in roller skating and embracing the skate aesthetic!

If your first thought was one of dismissal because, after all, when was the last time you went roller skating, think again because as it turns out, the whole skate aesthetic is actually very trendy right now.

Thanks in part to a number of roller skating dancers who have gone viral on TikTok and Instagram, people have remembered that skating is a cool, fun activity to do. Sneakers with built-in roller skates actually just got back on the market as well. 

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that if I saw a person or a group of friends out and about on their roller skates having fun the only thing I would want to do is join. Part of the skate aesthetic is having fun and being cute and as long as you embrace that, no one can really make fun of you. 

If like me just bringing this up hasn’t revived your need for speed, then here are a few more specific reasons why you should give roller skating a shot. 

Roller skating is like ice skating but better 

Ice skating is a fun winter activity, a classically cute date idea, and overall a nice outing. The thing about ice skating, though, is that you need ice, which also means being in the middle of a cold winter or going to a designated indoor facility. Because it’s cold you also need a full set of gloves and winter clothes. 

With roller skating, you can have all the same nice things – a nice outing or a classically cute date – with fewer downsides and more perks. For starters, it’s basically the same motion and activity. Sure, you need the skates themselves and, if you want to go all out, protective gear, but you can roller skate anywhere you want, and it doesn’t have to be cold. Heck, you could roller skate in your own house if you wanted to.

Skate Aesthetic

You can go roller skating and get a cool tan, make your way to the local grocery store, or just take it easy and get some fresh air. You might have to watch out for hills, but rollers are undeniably a lot more versatile than ice skating. 

You don’t need a lot of people to enjoy it, but it never hurts  

As we all know by this point, we need to do our best to avoid large groups. Luckily enough, roller skating is an activity you can do alone or with one or two friends and still enjoy to the fullest. 

Think about it. Instead of sitting at home alone binging a random Netflix show or endlessly scrolling for a decent Video to watch, picture yourself taking a leisurely roll down a riverside, shorefront, or park, headphones in, sunglasses on, sun coming down, and not a care in the world. 

Conversely, think about a group of you and a few friends, laughing about how awful you all are at roller skating and having a good time trying to look good and skate at the same time. You guys take a few skate aesthetic pictures for the books, grab a drink, and roll away.

Unfortunately, roller rinks have to stay out of the picture for a while but either of those other scenarios can be done with social distancing rules in mind and with a mask.

I used to spend afternoons roller skating down river banks with my family and had a great time with lots of laughs. I also used to roller skate back and forth in my hallway or alone in front of my apartment and had just as much of a good time, albeit much calmer. 

Roller skating is good exercise 

Admittedly, you aren’t going to see any major muscle growth or pounds shed if you go roller skating every once in a while. Unless you really pump the gas, you also probably aren’t going to break out in a heavy sweat and need a recovery day. But, after your singular or small group session, you might realize that your legs actually got a good pump going and that your body is just a little tired. 

I’ve always been somewhat athletic and even for me a couple of hours of roller-skating would leave me happy and the good kind of tired; it’s like exercising without exercising. 

Skate Aesthetic

If you’re a parent and you want your child to get out of the house to get some exercise, skating is a great way to do just that. It’s way easier and a lot more humane than making them run, and if you join them it’s almost guaranteed to be a good chance for light-hearted family bonding. I have a sneaking suspicion roller skating was a tactic my parents used to get my young ice-cream addicted self out and about, but I honestly had so much fun that I can’t resent them for it. If you are a parent, there’s no shame in using the same tactic for yourself. 

The skate aesthetic is really cute 

I’ve mentioned the skate aesthetic a few times already and you might be wondering what exactly that is, and there isn’t a good way I can think of to describe it with words. However, there’s one TikToker and Instagrammer who’s become the staple of this skate aesthetic. Ana Coto is dubbed the TikTok Rollerblading Queen after a video of her rollerblading backward to a song went viral and her account blew up. 

You can watch the videos yourself to see what everyone’s talking about, but I will say that I followed her account the second I saw her first video. Ana’s videos are cute, happy, light-hearted, and groovy. She’s exemplary of what the skate aesthetic is and it’s hard to deny that it’s alluring. I haven’t thought of or touched my roller skates in years, but seeing her videos made me want to pull them out as quickly as I could. 

Ana’s video actually brought roller skating/rollerblading back to life. I’ve already mentioned that shoes with roller skates built in got back on the market and a quick google search will yield dozens of articles from companies like BuzzFeed and Vice about how Rollerblading is ‘back.’ However, Ana isn’t the only one who can pull off the skate aesthetic.  

All in all, what’s to lose. We’re all bored and a little hopeless about the state of 2020. As long as you aren’t a leading scientist or leader of a country, all we can do is follow COVID regulations and live our lives as best we can. Nobody said we couldn’t have a bit of fun at the same time, so live a little and get your skates on. 


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

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Be Happy Quotes

“Luke, I am your Father” and Other Famous Misquotes

“Luke, I am your Father” and Other Famous Misquotes

A good quote can change the way you see your life, can give you boost when you need it, can act like a friend when you need one. Famous people’s wise words have traveled through history, some have forever been engraved in our collective memory, but many of the quotes we associate with a specific celebrity, even the famous, “Luke, I am your father,” may not be accurate at all!

Don’t believe everything you read. Faulty memories, promiscuous copying, Chinese whispers, inaccuracies, or misinterpretations in translations, have left many quotes attributed to the wrong author or as inventions of other writers with plenty of time to hone their prose. From Einstein to Darth Vader, this issue concerns the greatest philosophers as well as heroes of pop culture.

For example, did you know that the famous line “Luke, I am your father” never appeared in the Star Wars script? And once you stumble across a few of these bogus quotations, you can’t stop finding more.

Here are 18 famous misquotes that everyone has heard at least once, but which are wrong or mis-attributed. Check for yourself if you know who the authors of these famous misquotes really are!

1.  “The end justifies the means.”

“The end justifies the means” is often attributed to Nicolas Machiavelli’s The Prince. However, although Machiavelli – an Italian philosopher, writer, and politician – expressed similar thoughts in his writings, this expression does not come from him. The supposed origin of this phrase is believed to come from the cycle of poetic epistles, Heroes, by the ancient Roman poet Ovid. It is also thought that this quotation could belong to the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, or to the founder of the Jesuit order, Ignacio de Loyola.

2.  “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

auh”It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

Frequently attributed to Spock, or Leonard McCoy, from the original series of Star Trek, but this phrase was never once uttered in any episode. A similar phrase “not life as we know it” is spoken by Spock in the season one episode titled “The Devil in the Dark”. The spurious phrase – sung rather than spoken by Spock – originated in the 1987 novelty song “Star Trekkin” by The Firm. Spock’s other oft misquoted line from the same song is “It’s worse than that, he’s dead, Jim!”

3.  “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Throughout his life the political and public figure, Mahatma Gandhi, uttered many sentences of profound wisdom, this one is not his own. Perhaps he expressed similar thoughts, but Gandhi died in 1948, and the first mention of this phrase in the form we know it appeared only in 1974, in the book The Love Principles, written by teacher Arleen Lorrans.

4.  “Money is the root of all evil.”

Actually, the quote, “money is the root of all evil” is incorrect. The origin of this expression comes from the Bible, but the exact phrase can be found in the 1 Timothy, and has a slightly different meaning, translating more like: “For the love of money is the root of all evil”. Thus, this famous phrase is only partially complete, but it is not an exact quotation from it.

5.  “Luke, I am your father.”

authorjoannereed.net”Luke, I am your Father”

That’s right! The “Luke, I am your father” quote, one of the most famous sentences of Star Wars and probably of the history of cinema is, unfortunately, part of our list of “I never said that”! This is one of the cases where an incorrect quote has become more popular than the original one. In fact, Darth Vader didn’t say it like that. He said, “No, I am your father.”

6.  “Houston, we have a problem.”

“Houston, we have a problem.”

In the Apollo 13 movie about this mission, we hear Tom Hanks – playing Apollo 13 commander, Jim Lovell – say “Houston, we have a problem.” Most of us think this sentence was actually spoken by Commander Lovell, but the official NASA chronology shows it was fellow astronaut Jack Swigert, who used the almost identical words “Houston, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a main B bus undervolt.”

7.  “Sometimes a cigar is nothing but a cigar.”

“Sometimes a cigar is nothing but a cigar” is frequently attributed to the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, but there is no confirmation of its origin. The first mention of this sentence appeared in the 1950s, more than a dozen years after Freud’s death.

8.  “Let them eat cake”

“Let them eat cake”

“Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.” Demonstrating a significant disregard for the peasants predicament during a famine, the quote was first attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of the then King, Louis XVI. The year was 1789, the year of the French Revolution, and was probably Fakenews as there is no reliable record of her actually having said it.

9.  “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This misquote hearkens back to the British Lord Acton, a 19th-century English historian who was commenting about tyrannical monarchs (Caesar, Henry VIII, Napoleon, various Russian tsars, etc.). Lord Acton actually wrote: “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

10. “And you, my son?”

Some people mistakenly think “And you, my son” were Julius Caesar’s last words to his murderer, Marcus Brutus. However, this is just a quote from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Moreover, the very meaning of this expression is also often misinterpreted, for it is mistakenly thought to be an expression of surprise, when in fact the real meaning was different, meaning “You shall be next.”

11.  “Beam me up, Scotty”

“Beam me up, Scotty”

“Beam me up, Scotty, another famous misquote from Star Trek, this time from Captain James T. Kirk, also known as William Shatner. Just like “Spock’s most famous lines, this was never said during the run of the original Star Trek series. A variation of this quote “Beam us up, Scotty” made an appearance in Star Trek: The Animated Series and the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home included the closest other variation: “Scotty, beam me up.” James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty, chose “Beam me up, Scotty” as the title of his 1996 autobiography.

12.  “The eyes are the mirror of the soul.”

“The eyes are the mirror of the soul.” This famous misquote is often attributed to the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, but in fact it is a Latin proverb that has been translated into many languages. Its true author is unknown. It’s also a song title by Chris de Burgh.

13.  “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

This quote has been attributed to several sources, including Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. It may have first appeared in Rita Mae Brown’s book, Sudden Death, published in January 1983.

14.  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

This phrase, widely cited as a Nelson Mandela quote, was actually written by Marianne Williamson – author, self-help guru, and spiritual advisor to Oprah – from her best-selling 1992 self-help book, A Return to Love. If you got this wrong you’re in good company, In 1998, the New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton, astronaut Mae C. Jemison, and former Spelman College president Johnnetta B. Cole had all misattributed Williamson’s “deepest fear” passage during graduation speeches — to Nelson Mandela.

15.  “Two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity.”

“Two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity.” This expression, which has become very popular, is often attributed to Albert Einstein, and sometimes to the American musician Frank Zappa. In fact, this expression belongs to Harlan Ellison, an American writer of science fiction novels.

16. “Bikinis, as well as being empowering, they are just so darn comfortable and practical – at the beach or for fighting dinosaurs.”

“Bikini’s .. practical on the beach or for fighting dinosaurs.”

Raquel Welch’s fur bikini publicity still for the 1966 movie “One Million Years B.C.” raised her stature as a leading sex symbol of the era. The photograph became something of a cultural phenomenon and arguably did better than the movie itself. As comfortable as Ms. Welch appears in that bikini, there is no record of her actually recommending her swimwear for those dual purposes.

17.  “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Many of us think the author of the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is Bob Marley – there are versions of the song on Youtube with Bob Marley’s picture on the upload. But, the song was first written and performed by musician Bobby McFerrin seven years after Bob Marley’s death in 1988; the same year, the song became a hit, remaining at the top of the charts for two weeks. Even though the song was from the 1980’s, the expression itself was often used on motivational posters and postcards since the 1960s.

18.  “I may be drunk, Bessie, but you are ugly, and tomorrow I shall be sober.”

Some say that when a member of the Labour Party, Bessie Braddock, accused Winston Churchill of being drunk, he responded with this very ingenious insult. However, there is no evidence that he actually owned that line. Moreover, this scathing line has often been attributed to other famous people of the time.

19.  “640 KB of memory should be enough for anyone.”

“640 KB of memory should be enough for anyone.”

The sentence, “640 KB of memory should be enough for anyone,” is believed to have been uttered by Bill Gates in 1981. However, he denied it: “I have said some stupid things and made some mistakes in my life, but this was not one of them. No one in the computer world would ever say that there’s enough memory.”

And that’s not the only misattributed phrase, “Be nice to nerds, because you might end up working for one.” In fact, Bill Gates never said that either.

So, which one of these quotes is your favorite? Do you know any others, right or wrong, that you think are universal and legendary? Leave a message in the comments, and don’t hesitate to share this article with your friends and family! And don’t forget, don’t believe everything you read!


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Be Happy

What is critical thinking?

What is critical thinking?

Thinking is part of what makes us human. What differentiates humans from animals is our cognitive abilities such as fully developed language, reasoning capabilities, and the ability to make plans for the future. We are all born with the capacity to think, but not everyone is capable of critical thinking, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced with discipline.

Socrates is credited for being the first critical thinker and the Socratic method is one of the earliest critical thinking instructions tools known to man. The Socratic method is described as a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was also a fan of critical thinking, often warning that “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact; everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

I think therefore I am

Rene Descartes

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps us determine what is real and what it is not. But before we are able to exercise our cognitive ability to think critically, we need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. We can only think critically about things about which we have knowledge of, and we won’t have the structures in place to think deeply if we haven’t spent time mastering a body of knowledge related to that thinking.

Critical thinking can be understood as a deep activity, one that requires the development of new habits of mind. It is not something that comes to us naturally, it requires extensive study and practice. When we have our critical thinking hat on we develop our problem-solving capabilities and our ability to look at the strengths and weaknesses of an argument; the result is that we are more able to see things clearly and this can help us make better decisions.

Is critical thinking a skill?

We all like to think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic. Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge, vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs.  We should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind,  some discipline and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

Critical thinking includes a complex combination of skills

Rationality. We are thinking critically when we rely on reason rather than emotion, when we follow evidence, when we are more concerned with finding the best explanation rather than being right, and when we get into a habit of asking questions.

Self-Awareness. We are thinking critically when we recognize that we suffer from emotional impulses, selfish motives, nefarious purposes, and other modes of self-deception.

What is critical thinking about?

Open-mindedness.We are thinking critically when we evaluate all reasonable inferences, consider a variety of possible viewpoints or perspectives, remain open to alternative interpretations, accept new explanations, models or paradigms, because it explains the evidence better, is simpler, or has fewer inconsistencies. We cannot reject opinions just because they are unpopular.

Discipline.We are thinking critically when we are precise, meticulous, comprehensive, exhaustive, resist manipulation and irrational appeals, and avoid snap judgments.

Judgment.We are thinking critically when we recognize the relevance and/or merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives and recognize the extent and weight of evidence.

Critical thinkers are skeptical by nature. They are active and not passive. They ask questions and analyze facts and data. They consistently apply tactics and strategies to uncover meaning or assure their understanding. Critical thinkers are open to new ideas and perspectives. They are willing to challenge their beliefs and investigate competing evidence.

By contrast, passive, non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world. They see things in black and white, as either or, rather than recognizing a variety of possible understandings. They see questions as yes or no with no subtleties. They fail to see linkages and complexities. They fail to recognize related elements. They take their facts as the only relevant ones. They take their perspectives as the only sensible one. They consider their goal as the only valid one.

Is critical thinking important?

We are living in a world of information overload, data about almost everything is available to all who wish to access it at the click of a button. We are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of information (sometimes misinformation, exaggerations and mischaracterizations) about a whole range of subject matters, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe. Critical thinking is important because we need this skill in order to navigate our way through all the information, mis-information and dis-information that is being served to us on a daily basis on all media platforms.

Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order. We are huge consumers of all types of media, but often lack the tools to think about how and why we are passively consuming what we watch, read and share. We are inundated with news. How can one discern between the real news and the fake news? We are often not thinking about how our own biases affect how we think about the world. We are also getting comfortable in our echo chambers, devoid of people and ideas who challenge our own beliefs.

We expect Facebook, Instagram TikTok, Twitter and Google to filter the truth for us, rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. Some social media posts go viral in minutes after they are posted whether they carry with them the truth or an exaggeration of the truth or total falsehood. There is always the option of fact-checking some of the information via some sites such as Factcheck.org or Snopes‘ Website. The problem is that if the counter-information is not shared in the same manner of the viral post the damage from the false post cannot be counteracted.

There is a scientific term for this in psychology, it is called the Illusory Truth Effect also known as the Reiteration Effect, it is the tendency to believe information to be correct (even if it is not) after repeated exposure to that same information. Repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the conclusion is that familiarity overcomes rationality, the truth does not matter. Repetition does!

We need critical thinkers more than ever. The sheer complexity of the world demands that people are able to think about it in critical ways. Understanding our thinking process is important because we continue to believe in a lot of things that just aren’t true. Pre-existing beliefs and emotions powerfully shape our ideas and thoughts. We all have biases, but we should examine them and understand them better.

Critical thinking requires a complex combination of skills

The other tendency is to relinquish your power to think critically on someone else and rely on the opinion of the experts instead. We rely on a daily basis on the expert opinion of a whole raft of people who are specialized in a particular field and who are being paid to share their knowledge, wisdom and experience with the world at large.  If you want to build a house, you instruct an architect to draw the plan of the house for you and you instruct a builder to build it according to the specifications. Once your house is built, you may want to have your garden landscaped; so, you ask a gardener to do this for you. If you ask the gardener to build your house for you, you may end up with a house that is defective and not fit for purpose. That is why society needs experts; society needs people who know a thing or two about their own areas of expertise and know what they are talking about.

Even experts can be wrong

This said, whenever you decide to ask an expert for his advice on a particular matter, I suggest that you put on your critical thinking hat to ensure that you fully understand the advice you are being given, the scope and limitations of the adviser’s expertise, his or her ability to see the problem in its proper context, the possibility that the  expert may be subject to bias, and in the worst case scenario, the possibility that the expert may be wrong.

History is full of anecdotes showing that even the experts can be wrong.

  • In 1876, senior executives at Western Union made the following statement: “this telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. It is inherently of no value.” In early 2017, Apple announced that it has sold 216 million iPhone
  • In 1895, Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society of Science, argued that “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. The Wright Brothers built one anyway. Boing has built 10,000 of them since.
  • In 1943, Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM observed “I think that there is a world market for maybe 5 computers”.  A recent survey conducted in 2019 show that there are 4.39 billion internet users worldwide.
  • In 1946, Darryl Zanuck, the founder of 20th Century Movie Studio and winner of 3 Academy Awards noted that “Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Today, over 2 billion hours of TV is watched in the USA alone each day.
  • In 1968, Time Magazine made the observation that “online shopping while entirely feasible, will flop.” In 2019, worldwide online shopping reached nearly $3.7 trillion.
  • In 1969, Margaret Thatcher told a listening audience that “it will be years – not in my lifetime before a woman becomes Prime Minister.” 10years later she would prove her own prediction wrong by winning the 1979 UK general election and staying in power for 11 years.

No one, including experts, really know with absolute certainty what will happen in the future. Every time there is a national disaster, a gigantic event, a pandemic, we can rely on television news to find an expert to come on TV and generously share his predictions and knowledge on why this happened and what will happen next. The truth of the matter is that sometimes those experts are wrong.

Philip Tedlock wrote a book in 2005 about expert predictions called Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is it? How Can We know? In this book, he explains that not only experts are sometimes wrong, but they are nearly never called out on it.

Tedlock explains that when experts are wrong, they are rarely held accountable, and they rarely admit it, either. They insist that they were just off on timing or blindsided by an improbable event. They have the same repertoire of self-justification that everyone has and are not more inclined than anyone else to revise their beliefs about the way the world works or ought to work, just because they made a mistake.

Tedlock explains that experts fall into 2 categories: foxes and hedgehogs. The fox — the thinker who knows many little things, draws from an eclectic array of traditions, and is better able to improvise in response to changing events — is more successful in predicting the future than the hedgehog, who knows one big thing, toils devotedly within one tradition, and imposes formulaic solutions on ill-defined problems.

Foxes and hedgehogs

Foxes know many things while hedgehogs know only one. Being deeply knowledgeable on one subject narrows one’s focus and increases confidence, but it also blurs dissenting views until they are no longer visible, therefore transforming data collection into bias confirmation and morphing self-deception into self-assurance. The world is a messy, complex, and contingent place with countless intervening variables and confounding factors, which foxes are comfortable with, but hedgehogs are not.

Thinkers who know one big thing often display brisk impatience with those who don’t get it and display considerable confidence in their ability, with no time for dissenting opinions. By contrast those who know many small things are skeptical of grand schemes; they are flexible, curious, open-minded.

So, is critical thinking important? It is more than important, it is vital. Without critical thinking you will be another sheeple lost in the crowd and dutifully following the trend of the moment and absorbing the world’s accepted view. Critical thinking is a skill that should be nurtured and valued. The world needs critical thinkers more than ever. The ability to think about things in a critical way will make a difference to you and the people around you. 

I think (critically) therefore I am (free).

Knowledge is power. Thinking critically is freedom. And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Be Happy

Do Clicks Matter?

Do clicks matter, or are you wasting your time on social media?

If you’re around my age (18) then you’ve probably heard someone older than you criticize our generation’s addiction to social media, obsession over online trends, refusal to put our phones down, and tell us to do something actually productive. Maybe, like me, you’ve had teachers who routinely denounce the notion that people can actually do things worthwhile by liking posts, retweeting, sharing, and re-posting. Maybe you are one of those people who don’t see the point behind our generation’s obsession with our online presence. Are they right, or do clicks matter?

For a while, upon hearing someone say these things I would begrudgingly stay quiet because, on the surface, it sounds like a fair judgment. After all, likes and retweets aren’t physical, they don’t actually correlate to any specific, direct action, and there is a fair criticism of spending hours upon hours each day scrolling through different apps. However, what a lot of those critics don’t have, and something I do, is a grasp of the popular culture of the youth and an understanding of the apps we use to express ourselves. My teachers who make fun of kids who think they can do something by sharing online don’t even have the apps they’re so critical of, and recently, this so-called clicktivism, i.e. that clicks matter, has really begun to prove itself. 

Can social media bring about social justice?

The first case where I really noticed how much a difference online communities can make is Ahmed Aubrey’s. By now everyone knows the story. Aubrey was an innocent man out for an afternoon jog and was shot dead by a group of civilians under the false assumption that he was a robbery suspect. The story came to light in late May, but, shockingly, the incident happened in February. The only reason it was given any attention by the media and judicial system was because it went viral on twitter. As of right now, the perpetrators are in prison on felony murder charges, and all because thousands and thousands of people retweeted the original post. 

After noticing it the first time, I started seeing the same thing happen again and again. Twitter is unforgiving and hashtags like #justiceforbreannataylor and #blacklivesmatter were trending for days on end and continue to bring necessary attention to a wide range of issues. Already, there have been petitions circulated on Twitter and other apps that got millions of signatures and actually created legal reform. 

Looking back, the #metoo movement, that gave thousands of women the safe space to come forward about their sexual assault experiences, was also the direct result of retweets, shares, and likes. 

#metoo, clicks matter

Twitter isn’t the only place where online communities come together. TikTok, the recent social media giant, is the site of many similar occurrences. Most recently, TikTok users quite literally pranked the president of the United States by reserving tickets for his rally in Tulsa with no intention of going. Before the rally, President Trump was boasting of a record-high number of attendees on a number of platforms, with supposedly a million tickets reserved; the rally only sported a crowd of 15,000 people. Whatever your opinions on Trump, there’s no denying how impressive it was that such a large crowd of like-minded people on TikTok were able to insert themselves and their opinions into the political world and make themselves be heard. Like Twitter, TikTok is the frequent site of other political content that has pushed people to sign petitions, spread awareness, and fight for what they believe in.  

It has also been increasingly common for individuals sharing their stories of abuse or misfortunes on TikTok to see the good side of clicktivism. Mia Khalifa, the infamous ex-porn star, recently joined the app and shared her story of being manipulated into a less than ideal porn contract at one of the lowest points of her life and making a mere $12,000 profit from the 800+ million views on her videos. The response from the TikTok community was one of support, understanding, and recognition that created awareness about the ethical issues of big porn companies and gave Khalifa a break from the ostracization and ill-directed hate that has been so prevalent in her life. 

Each day I scroll through TikTok I see similar stories. I’ve seen thousands of supportive comments on posts about struggles with cancer, issues with significant others, health journeys, insecurities, financial issues, political problems, educational questions, and more. The response to these comments from the original posters is always one of gratitude that shows clicks matter. 

Is social media just mindless entertainment?

All that said, I won’t deny that there are still fair criticisms of my generation’s online addiction. The thing with TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are that their main purpose is to entertain. Each of those platforms have a never-ending stream of mindless and unimportant posts and videos which are only there to give someone a laugh or to evade boredom, and spending hours of your day enveloped in those things is admittedly problematic. Even among the clicktivism these sites do have, there are meaningless and performative attempts at activism that don’t accomplish anything other than a false sense of involvement and achievement (the posting of black squares on Instagram as one example). It’s also hard to ignore how mean large groups of people online can be and the severity of the hate they can deliver.

Despite all that and the long screen time it creates, I still maintain that there is and can be true value in spending time online, being involved in the current trends, and staying up to date on what’s being circulated. On the surface, scrolling through TikTok or Twitter doesn’t sound like anything important, but while there you might help make someone’s day, say the thing someone really needed to hear, stay informed, be part of a movement, or learn something new and, to me, those sound pretty productive; and that’s why clicks matter. 


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.