Categories
Self-Help

Information and Disinformation – “How Carrots Helped Win World War II”

Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from personal experience, newspaper or media. If our behaviors are influenced by information, how can we be sure that what we receive is information or disinformation?

Controlling Perception

It is possible to control human perception, the best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receive, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

The “Carrot Myth”

The “Carrot Myth”

According to conventional wisdom eating lots of carrots will magically enhance your vision?! While there is a little bit of truth in this, the ‘Carrot Myth‘ was engineered by British Intelligence and popularized and reinforced by the British Ministry of Information – the government department responsible for publicity and propaganda – during WWII.

During the 1940 Blitzkrieg , the Luftwaffe often struck and bombarded London under the cover of darkness. In order to make it more difficult for the German planes to hit targets, the British Government issued city-wide blackouts. The Royal Air Force (RAF) were able to repel German fighters in part because of the development of a new secret radar technology. The on-board Airborne Interception Radar (AI) was invented and first used by the RAF in 1939 and had the ability to pinpoint enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel. To protect their secret weapon, British Intelligence invented a propaganda campaign that claimed that British Pilots could see in the dark because they ate a lot of carrots!

There is no denying the fact that carrots, by virtue of their heavy dose of vitamin A (in the form of Beta Carotene) are very good for the health of your eyes; but this truth was stretched a little by granting carrots the “superpower” of improving your night vision and give you the power to spot enemy planes in the dark?! The truth is that eating carrots does not help you see better in the dark any more than eating blueberries will turn you blue. That said, the carrot campaign of subterfuge helped hide a new technology that was critical to the Battle of Britain, a major campaign fought entirely by air forces and the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces, and to the eventual Allied victory.

Joanne Reed – Author of “This Is Your Quest”

Information and Disinformation Overload

Today, we are living in a world of information and disinformation overload; data about almost anything is available at the click of a button, we are constantly bombarded by streams of information (and sometimes disinformation), making it very difficult to know what and who to believe.

Hoaxes, hysterias, misinformation and scams have been around a long time. Con men and Ponzi schemes are in every corner of recorded history. You might think that our access to vast oceans of information on the internet would change that, but it hasn’t. In fact, humans are just as gullible and easily led as ever. Skepticism is just as rare as any other time, and most people are willing to believe something they read on the internet, heard second or third hand, without subjecting their curiosities to even the most basic fact-checking.

It is important to remain skeptical. Some people may dismiss you as a cynical, but that’s likely to be the person who’s actively trying to influence you or sell you something. There are no awards for coming to a conclusion the fastest, so take your time, and don’t form an opinion based on emotion. Here are some quick ways to keep yourself in check:

  • Check your sources
  • Understand the difference between opinion and fact
  • Beware of anecdotal evidence
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • Question your beliefs
  • Turn to history for clues

Skepticism is healthy. Be discerning about the information you receive and the medium through which it is transmitted, they are skills worth developing.

And this, my Dear Companion, is Your Quest!


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Categories
Self-Help

The Four Stages of Self-Development – Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (15 October 1844 to 25 August 1900) was a German Philosopher whose writings on truth, morality, cultural theory, history, the meaning of existence has exerted an enormous influence on Western Philosophy. Nietzsche believed that embracing difficulties is essential for a fulfilling life and urged people to consider the journey of self-discovery as one of the greatest and most fertile existential pursuit and described this in his four stages of self-development.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s and his Three Metamorphoses

Knowing oneself is the first step to the meaning of existence; but Nietzsche reminds us that the path to finding ourselves is no light stroll, it is a dark and mysterious business; to dig into oneself, to climb down directly into the tunnel of one’s being is an agonizing and hazardous undertaking.  The journey through that tunnel requires us to ask ourselves questions such as:

  • what has truly uplifted our soul?
  • What has dominated and delighted us?
  • Are we operating within our true potential or just living a life of quiet desperation?

We aren’t born knowing who we are, we have to become it. Personal Development, according to Nietzsche is something inexorably linked to perseverance and transformation. It is only when we endure challenges that we improve. As Marcus Aurelius said: “The obstacle is the way. Hardship isn’t the barrier to growth. It is the source of it.”

Nietzsche’s Three Transformations

In his masterpiece Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche presents a beautiful and profound metaphor for human evolution:

“Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.”

Nietzsche believed that there are 3 transformations in the four stages of Self-Development:

  • Transformation 1: From Sheep to Camel;
  • Transformation 2: From Camel to Lion;
  • Transformation 3: From Lion to Child.

Each of the three metamorphoses is a massive paradigm shift that one has to experience to move on to the next step:

Transformation 1: From Sheep to Camel

We start out as sheep and find comfort being part of a herd, to congregate and get lost in the crowd, trying not to get noticed, being invisible and to follow a path that has already been set out. Sheep have an aversion for taking any kind of risk, for taking any responsibility for themselves or others. For those who excel at being sheepish, wandering off on a different path doesn’t really cross their minds, to do so would put them in danger, it would be foolish and unnecessary.

Some are happy to stay as sheep, but for others, acting sheepish doesn’t do it, being invisible and anonymous does not suit them, it doesn’t feel authentic. For those others, wandering off on a different path is something that brings meaning to their lives and by striving to be more one undergoes the first transformation, leaving the safety and comfort of the herd to become something better, to become a camel.

Transformation 2: From Camel to Lion

The second of the four stages of self-development, being a camel means becoming more visible, less anonymous and finding a more constructive way to live. A camel’s mission in life is to be useful, obedient and hardworking. Camels fill their days with as many obligations and responsibilities as possible and walk through life with a heavy load on their backs. Camels overcome the sheepish way of life to become more productive members of society, but the solution to finding meaning becomes the camels’ new problem. In the pursuit of a meaningful life, the camel makes itself a slave to other people. Camels live for society and the acceptance of others, never for their own self-acceptance or for themselves. Camels believe that a life of labor is just how life is, carrying other people’s burdens and living according to other’s principles and expectations.

Some camels, however, have a feeling they have been misled and if something doesn’t change their body or their spirit will break. They may well be on the fast track to growing bitter, hopeless, submissive or resentful. These camels must overcome themselves again in order to become even more, to strive to become a lion, a fierce creature, a king, with nothing to bow down to.

Just like the sheep lived only to subsist;
Just like the camel lived only to conform;
The lion lives only to fight.
The lion slayed the dragon, but his victory was his defeat.
The lion’s victory leaves him with a profound nothingness. Sitting alone in the dragon’s empty cave.

From Sheep to Camel to Lion to Child

Transformation 3: From Lion to Child

The camel’s struggle in the desert can never lead to a meaningful life, but once the lion realizes that there is also no happiness either in fighting against everything: so, in order to escape a feeling of nothingness, the lion has to become a child. In this final transformation in the four stages of self-development, the child is capable of making its own meaning of living, for living for itself, for being curious about everyone and everything, for being spontaneous.

If we become children, we can live without the lion’s hostility,
 without the camel’s burdens and without the sheep’s uselessness.
 We aren’t fixated on the past or the future.
We are living fully in the moment, solving the problems that come our way and bettering in the process the world for all of humanity.

A child-like spirit is vital to happiness, health, and well-being. As a child, life is no longer a struggle or an eternal battle. Being a child allows us to find contentment, life is a celebration, a precious gift that can be opened every second of the day. The nothingness that tormented the lion, the camel and the sheep is now a blank canvas for our creativity and it is the source of our freedom – real freedom this time. Because as a child, to rediscover how to play, it is possible to completely overcome ourselves, to know what we’re truly capable of and to become who we are.

And this my dear friend is your Quest!


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Categories
Self-Help

Get Into The Genius Zone and Unlock Your Maximum Potential

If I asked you to name 3 people who worked in the Genius Zone, there is a high chance it may include:

Leonardo Da Vinci – Albert Einstein – Marie Curie

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519), Italian Genius of the Renaissance; inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, musician, mathematician, engineer, writer, anatomist, geologist, botanist, writing, historian and cartographer!

Da Vinci is considered one of the greatest painters of all time; the “Mona Lisa” is the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world, and the “The Last Supper” is the western world’s most recognizable paintings and the most reproduced religious painting of all time. One of Da Vinci famous quotes: “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), German-born physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He is considered one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 (his Nobel Prize was for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, not for the theory of relativity).

One of his famous quotes: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) was a polish naturalized French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize twice in two different scientific fields.

One of her famous quotes: “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now it is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Everybody is a Genius

All three esteemed personalities above greatly deserve the title Genius; but Einstein said: “everybody is a genius.” He was right about that and many other things too, but how to get into your Genius Zone?

Einstein Quotes, “Everybody is a Genius”

Gay Hendricks, psychologist and author of the “Big Leap” and “The Joy of Genius” explains in the “Big Leap” that people operate within 4 different zones:

  1. The Zone of Incompetence where you do things that you inherently do not understand or are not skilled at. Most of us avoid spending too much time there (although surprisingly there are lots of people who are not aware of what they’re not good at – I’m sure you know someone!)
  2. The Zone of Competence where you do things that you are good at, but somebody else could do them just as well thus not distinguishing your capabilities in any significant way.
  3. The Zone of Excellence where you get a lot of reward for your competence and if it is your profession, where you are likely to make a reasonable living.
  4. The Zone of Genius is the zone where you capitalize on your natural abilities which are innate rather than learned. This is the state in which you get into ‘flow,’ find inspiration in an effortless manner and where you seem to come up with work that is distinguished and unique but also do so in a way that excels far and beyond what anyone else is doing.

Hendricks then explains:

Most successful people are operating in their zone of excellence, in which they are doing things at which they are highly skilled. This zone is ultimately unsatisfying, though, because it does not engage the innate genius of the individual.”

If you are stuck in the Zone of Excellence you are likely making your friends and family happy and doing things that you are excellent at, but don’t let yourself get stuck there. The Zone of Genius is where you NEED to spend more time.

Everyone has a dream but not everyone realizes them. Much misery in life arises from people who are waking up every day doing things that don’t challenge them. Gay Hendricks is encouraging everyone to spend more time in their Zone of Genius by making a small commitment everyday to devote some time (start with 10 minutes every day) to operate within their Zone of Genius. Out of that commitment a new wealth of ideas will come forth.

We all have hidden potential that can be made to surface. We are so much more than we can imagine.

Let your genius out of that genie bottle.


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Categories
Self-Help

Self-Actualization – Be Whoever You Want To Be

Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist, best known for writing A Theory of Human Motivation and Towards a Psychology of Being defined the concept of Self-Actualization or the Self Actualization of Maslow as the desire for self-fulfillment.

Maslow studied mentally healthy individuals, instead of people with serious psychological issues, and in particular Self-Actualized individuals who had a better insight of reality, deeply accepted themselves, others and the world and whom share qualities such as truth, goodness, aliveness, uniqueness and playfulness.

Human Needs

Maslow noticed that Self-Actualized individuals only exist once their underlying human needs have been met and described these human needs in a prepotent hierarchy, usually represented as a pyramid. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher-up and a pressing need would need to be mostly satisfied before someone would give their attention to the next highest need.  From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards the needs are: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

At the bottom of the hierarchy, you can find basic needs of human beings such as food, water, sleep, sex. The next level is safety needs or the need for security, order and stability. Those needs are important for the physical survival of the human being. Once individuals have achieved their basic nutrition, shelter and safety needs, they are free to accomplish more; and this is how they move on to the next level i.e. love/belonging. When individuals have taken care of their basic needs for survival they are free to share themselves with others and are in a position to offer love, affection and compassion to the people around them. The fourth level i.e. esteem is the need to feel competent and recognized; this level is achieved when individuals feel comfortable with what they have accomplished through professional success and status.

At the top of the pyramid, you have the need for self-actualization which occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they are engaged in achieving their full potential.

If you are planning on being less than you are capable of,
you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life” – Abraham Maslow

How to Become Self Actualized

So how do you become self-actualized?

The first step is the thought. The sowing of a thought should be followed by action. Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Sow a thought and you reap an action. Sow an action and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

The sowing of a thought should be followed by action. The reward is not so much in what the pursuit and achievement of that objective will bring but rather the skills acquired along the way and the transformation it forces us to undergo. Achieving those goals requires to leave our comfort zone, whilst developing new skills and cultivating self-discipline. The problem is that for many of us we struggle to move from sowing of a thought to taking action. So, the question is … do you have the courage to act?

Do you have the courage to act? Over to you!


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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
Self-Help

Be An Explorer – The Lost City of Atlantis

The world is full of unsolved mysteries. Rather than the land we live, what seems strange to us is the Ocean, which is home to many myths, legends & mysteries. Lost cities, hidden treasures, mystic ships are all part of the alluring marine world. Of all of these, the lost city of Atlantis tops the list.

The Lost City of Atlantis

The lost city of Atlantis was first mentioned by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato more than 2,300 years ago. In his stories, Plato describes Atlantis as a legendary island idealizing it as an advanced society where Utopia dominates. In Atlantis, wisdom is the primary characteristics of the people and their wisdom should bring peace in the world. According to Plato, Atlanteans were great engineers and their technology was much more advanced than in other parts of the world. Atlantis was special as it was technologically & educationally much more advanced than any other society.


Atlantean Jellyfish and Goddess of the Sea!?

Tale of God’s Love. Legend says that Atlantis city was built by Poseidon – The God of Sea, Storms & Earthquakes when he fell in love with a mortal woman called Cleito. He built his city on top of a hill, in an isolated island in the sea to show his appreciation for his wife. Atlantis was said to be inhabited by people who were more beautiful & more intelligent than the rest of the world. The myth says that the inhabitants of Atlantis City were superior beings.

Underwater Ray of Light

Atlantis was paradise: no one had to work hard. Every type of wonderful food grew there, and animals were plentiful. It had a glorious culture with wonderful palaces and temples. The kings were rich in gold, silver and other precious metals. The people of Atlantis lived a golden age of harmony and abundance.

Then things started to change. As the Atlanteans grew powerful, their ethics declined. They became greedy for more than they had. They became corrupt. Angered by the Atlanteans’ behavior Zeus summoned all the Gods and decided to teach Atlantis a lesson.

The legend of Atlantis ends with the wrath of Zeus who sent an earthquake that made Atlantis sink into the sea in the course of one day and one night. And just like that, Atlantis, its people & its memory were swallowed by the sea.

THE END.

In Atlantis, you don’t count sheep to get to sleep

Photos taken a Atlantis, Dubai.

 

Categories
Self-Help

Walk The Talk

Walk The Talk

Aristotle’s followers are said to have discussed philosophy while walking about with him. They literally walked the talk!

Every person, great or small has important work to do. There is for each and every one of us a goal that we must follow. A path that bears our name. A hand that we must hold. A word that we must say. A smile that we must give. A song that we must sing. For seldom do we realize the importance of small deeds. For great things can happen if everyone of us would brighten up the spot on which they are standing.

You Too can Walk The Talk

I made it my Quest for 2019 to help as many people as I can (through the words I have written in my book ) to find the path which bears their name.


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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
Self-Help

“To Be or Not To Be “- Finding Meaning in your life

To be or not to be is one of the most famous line of Shakespeare’s [1] play Hamlet.  The main character, Hamlet, lives through a full-blown tragedy with no happy ending in sight; the play deals with questions about life and existence, sanity, love, death and betrayal.   Tragedies are part of our everyday life. The philosopher Henry David Thoreau [2] managed to encapsulate this concept in one sentence when he said: The mass of men leads lives of quiet desperation.  This feeling comes from the fact that for a lot of people they feel that they are stuck in the rat race  unable to make their own choices but forced instead to go through the motion of waking up every day, go to work to get a pay check which is necessary in order to afford all the necessities of life, pay all the bills, put some money aside (if possible) for a well-deserved vacation somewhere (to get away for just a little while) from the mundanity of everyday life and repeat the process year after year after year; but people are not born to just go to work, pay their bills and then die.  Surely, there is more to it than that.

Living a life of quiet desperation can affect everyone, young, old, poor and also the rich & famous.   For the majority of people, the ultimate measure of success is to become rich and if you can achieve fame at the same time – all the better; but sometimes notoriety and money alone is not enough to save people from a life of quiet desperation.

The most fundamental question that each one of us should ask ourselves is What is the meaning of life?  It is in essence a very philosophical question and as such we should seek the assistance of some of the most prestigious philosophers in order to help us gain some clarity on this subject; because philosophers are the ones who spend the majority of their time thinking about the most fundamental question i.e. how to live.  The art of living is at the center of what preoccupies most philosophers.

 Aristotle[3]spent a fair amount of time thinking about the concept of human well-being and what virtues are necessary to achieve a life well-lived; he wrote his findings and conclusions in Ethics. Aristotle reached the conclusion that what we need in order to live well, is a proper appreciation of the way in which friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor and wealth fit together as a whole.  The principle idea with which Aristotle begins is that there are differences of opinion about what is best for human beings.  Most people would agree that it is good to have friends, to experience pleasure, to be honored, and to have such virtues as courage, at least to some degree. The difficult and controversial question arise when we ask whether some of these are more desirable than others.

To answer this question Aristotle came up with two key principles to help us live a full and happy life, the first one is the use of reason and the second one is the use of virtue.  What separates humans from other species is our capacity to use reason.  In order to live well, we have to use reason well.  This means that when we face a choice between several options we have to choose the option that is most rational according to the current circumstance and the most virtuous

But not everyone has the capability or the willingness to travel through life exercising virtuous acts, now, then and always. So, if one is unable or unwilling to be virtuous, what does it make him or her? According to Aristotle, someone who is unable to resist pressure to go the opposite way of being virtuous can be describes as “incontinent.”  Someone who refuses to try to do what an ethically virtuous person would do, because he/she has been convinced that justice, temperance, generosity and the like are of little value, can be described as “evil.” Evil people are driven by the desire for domination and luxury.

And this is where the American Philosopher Richard Taylor [4] enters into the frame to add an additional layer to Aristotle’s concept by proposing to add another quality that is necessary in order to pursue virtuous acts; and that quality is creativity.  For him human excellence can be achieved through the fulfillment of our capacity for creativity.

Richard Taylor urges people:

Do something – Create something. To do otherwise is simply to waste your precious life, because if the only thing you do is eat, sleep, reproduce then die, for a person to do no better than that is in effect to lapse into a mere animal nature.

 What if I have no passion?  This time round we will ask the renown philosopher Carl Jung [5] to help us answer this question. According to Carl Jung: “If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself. To give style to one’s character is a great and rare art”.

Furthermore, Richard Taylor tells us that:

Don’t suppose that a work of art must be something that all can behold – a poem, a painting, a book, a great building. Consider making of your own life a work of art.  You have yourself to begin with and a time of uncertain duration to work on it. You do not have to be what you are, and even though you may be quite content with who and what you are, it will not be hard for you to think of something greater that you might become. It need not be something spectacular, or even something that will attract any notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself and then attain. Something you can then take a look at with honest self-appraisal and be proud of.

The answer to the most fundamental question of all time (i.e. what is the meaning of life and by extension how to be happy) can be found in the following words: The Use of Reason, Virtuous Acts, and Creativity. That is all there is to it. To be or not to be that is the question?!… Over to you.


[1] William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616): English poet, playwright and actor. Best known for his plays; Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing to only name a few.

[2] Henri David Thoreau (12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862): American essayist, Poet, Philosopher, Abolitionist, Historian. Best known for his book Walden – a reflection upon simple living and his essay “Civil Disobedience.”

[3] Aristotle (384-322 BC): Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Student of Plato. Best known for his contribution to the field of science, psychology, politics, history and arts.

[4] Richard Taylor (5 November 1919 – 30 October 2003): American Philosophe. Best known for his work and papers on the meaning of life.

[5] Carl Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961): Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and prolific writer. Best known for creating some of the best known psychological concepts such as synchronicity, extraversion and introversion, the collective unconscious.


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.