what am i here for

    Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

    It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

what am i here for

    Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

    It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

joy

    These are the few ways we can practice humility:
    To speak as little as possible of one’s self.
    To mind one’s own business.
    Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.
    To avoid curiosity.
    To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
    To pass over the mistakes of others.
    To accept insults and injuries.
    To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
    To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
    Never to stand on one’s dignity.
    To choose always the hardest.
Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living

relationship

    LOVE IS A FLOWER
    Treat your relationship

    As if you are growing

    The most beautiful sacred flower.

    Keep watering it,

    Tend to the roots,

    And always make sure

    The petals are full of color

    And are never curling.

    Once you neglect your plant,

    It will die,

    As will your relationship.
Suzy Kassem

meditate

Life comes with its fair share of stress and anxiety, from money and career worries to relationships and a constant barrage of distractions through which to navigate. So it’s no wonder that many people seek the solace of psychotherapy to help sort through it all and see things more clearly.
meditation is all about bringing yourself into the present.
However, being present is easier said than done. For most of us, it’s downright difficult to simply sit quietly and not obsess over past regrets or future worries.
There are two primary reasons why the brain prefers to stay away from the present.
The first is that it’s new and unpredictable. Our various senses are picking up new stimuli every moment, which means our sensations are constantly changing from one moment to the next.
Second, when there’s something unpleasant, the brain returns to old, familiar thoughts. So, rather than deal with the scary, new, unpredictable present, it retreats to the reliable mental terrain of common anxieties.
When given a choice of activities to do with your free time, you might not think meditation sounds all that exciting. However, while it may not have the same reputation as mountain climbing or windsurfing, meditation is a way to live your life to the fullest

understand that meditation isn’t a separate experience or escape from the mundane realities of life. On the contrary, meditation is a way to fully engage with the present moment, even if it’s an unpleasant one

Nevertheless, meditation isn’t a way to build up walls that keep your obligations at bay. It’s a way of learning how to be present and in the moment – whether that moment is a difficult dispute with your partner or a wondrous view from the peak of a picturesque mountaintop.

Mindfulness is a useful form of meditation, but it’s best not to overdo it.

Whereas many forms of meditation involve focusing the mind on one thing, be it a mantra or a candle, mindfulness is about opening yourself up to all sensations while allowing them to pass and not fixating on any one thing.

Find a quiet spot to sit down, preferably early in the morning. Once you’re comfortable, focus your attention on one thing only. It can be the rhythm of your breathing or a sound, like a metronome
After counting a couple of sets of in-breaths and out-breaths, many people will find their thoughts straying to whatever is going on at work or with their loved ones – or their dinner plans.
A wandering mind is normal, especially early on – the important thing is to stick with it and calmly bring your attention back to the breathing. If it goes astray again, bring it back and keep doing this for a significant period. Beginners should start off with five- to ten-minute daily sessions and gradually expand over time to a full hour whenever possible

One of the unique benefits of meditation is that it allows you to take a closer look at your thought patterns and identify the recurring ones.
For example, as you meditate, you might notice that you’re often quite hard on yourself, with recurring thoughts that you’re not good enough, not getting enough done or other thoughts that generally reflect low self-esteem.
When you create a meditative gap, it gives you the chance to sit with the sadness, process the emotion, understand where it’s coming from and how to better react.
One of the best tools that meditation provides is how it can shift your focus and thereby pacify, or calm, an anxious mind.

analytical, and often anxious, mind is separate from our consciousness, which is how we experience the world around us. 

Meditation provides a calm space to see the real motivations behind relationship conflicts.

If you’ve been in an argument with a loved one, you know how it can feel like a matter of life and death when you’re in the middle of it. But if you were to reflect on these arguments later on, you would probably see that many were blown out of proportion, with no real reason for such heated emotions.

Meditation can allow you to break free of long-held misconceptions.

Along with misplacing our anger toward a loved one, we also often have a tendency to think that someone is angry with us when they’re just in a bad mood or not thinking about us at all. And what’s really sad is that these misunderstandings can last for years.
There are a variety of ways to practice meditation, and each one has its benefits, but it is important to remember that none of these practices are about forgetting or avoiding life’s problems. 

luv n grace

The Road Less Traveled is a spiritual classic, combining scientific and religious views to help you grow by confronting and solving your problems through discipline, love and grace
Here are 3 lessons from the first three categories he discusses:
    Stay open to change your perspective of reality at any moment.

    The action of loving is much more important than the feeling, which is fleeting.

    We’re all religious, because religion is nothing more than a distinct perception of the world.
Always be willing to update your view of the world.
When we lie, consciously or not, we’ve often just fallen prey to so-called cognitive biases, like the backfire effect, survivorship bias or irrational escalation. 

What matters, he suggests is that we remain open to being wrong. How willing are you to change your opinion at a moment’s notice? It’s hard. It takes a lot of humility.

Love is an action, not a feeling.
 cathexis. It’s defined as the investment of emotional energy into an object or a person, often to an extent that’s unhealthy
If our love is genuine, it won’t require lots of feelings at all, since it’s much bigger than cathexis.For example, in a well-functioning marriage both partners continue to choose their spouse, because they made a commitment to support that person and strive towards their goals together. Even if they disagree and occasionally get angry at each other, they don’t get swayed by those passing feelings

In this sense, showing your love is as simple as giving your attention, listening and helping your partner reach their goals.

similar to the distinction Jonathan Haidt made in The Happiness Hypothesis between passionate and companionate love

Religion is just a way of viewing the world, which means we all have one.
We mostly view religion as a set of strict rules and traditional rituals that a certain group follows in order to worship a or multiple deities.
Our perspective of life is mostly shaped by our education in school and at home, as well as the family environment we grow up in.

Peck also describes grace as a mysterious force of positive growth in our lives. It universally adds serendipity in ways we can’t quite explain and thus comes as close to a miracle as it gets. 

parable -fortune

Fortune?
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Perhaps,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “What great luck!” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Perhaps,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Perhaps,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Perhaps,” said the farmer…


We’ve all had experiences where the curse turns into a blessing; rejection turns into redirection, and the unanswered prayer is the best thing that could’ve happened to you.
Life is indeed a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Yet the father isn’t delusional or apathetic, but equanimous through life’s ups and downs. And there’s a subtle expectation that fortune will follow his misfortune.

parable -wolves

Wolves.
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf will win?”
The old chief simply replied,

“The one you feed.”


It’s no surprise that expressing gratitude increases positive experiences. Focusing on something causes your brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) to red-flag all things related. If your default is toward negativity, you’ll always see the glass half empty. Start feeding the good wolf to not only see, but live the silver lining.

parable let go

Here are three timeless parables that will challenge and change the way you live life.

1. The Muddy Road.
Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself.
“We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”


Letting go can be difficult, but you’ll torture yourself mentally and emotionally by holding on. Breathe deep, and let it go. Life doesn’t always follow the script; rules are bent and broken; the ideal doesn’t match the real. But carrying wounds long after the battle is done is a mark of immaturity.

corp parable 1

Stevens Computing Services  –  Humor me!
Corporate Parables

Four Basic Management Lessons:

Lesson Number One

    A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day.  A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?”
    The crow answered: “Sure, why not.”
    So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested.
    All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
   Management Lesson
    To be sitting around, doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
Lesson Number Two
    A turkey was chatting with a bull.  “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”
    “Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?”, replied the bull.  “They’re packed with nutrients.”
    The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree.  The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.
    Finally after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.  Soon, he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.
   Management Lesson
    Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.
Lesson Number Three
    A woman was leaving the shower just as her husband was ready to enter it, when the doorbell rang.  She quickly wrapped herself in a towel and ran downstairs.
    When she opened the door, there stood Bob, the next-door neighbor.  Before she could say a word, Bob said, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.”
    After thinking for a moment, the woman dropped her towel and stood naked before Bob.  After a few seconds, Bob handed her $800 and left.
    The woman wrapped herself in the towel again and went back upstairs.  When she got to the bathroom, her husband asked, “Who was that?”
    “It was Bob the next door neighbor,” she replied.
    “Great,” said the husband, “did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”
   Management Lesson
    You may not be able to prevent avoidable exposure if you fail to disclose critical information pertaining to credit and risk to your shareholders in a timely manner.
Lesson Number Four
    When the body was first made, all the parts wanted to be Boss.
    The brain said, “I should be Boss because I control the whole body’s responses and functions.”
    The feet said, “We should be Boss as we carry the brain about and get him to where he wants to go.”
    The hands said, “We should be the Boss because we do all the work and earn all the money.”
    And so it went on and on with the heart, the lungs and the eyes until finally the asshole spoke up.  All the parts laughed at the idea of the asshole being the Boss.
    So the asshole went on strike, blocked itself up and refused to work.  Within a short time the eyes became crossed, the hands clenched, the feet twitched, the heart and lungs began to panic and the brain fevered.
    Eventually they all decided that the asshole should be the Boss, so the motion was passed.
    All the other parts did all the work while the Boss just sat around and passed out the shit!
   Management Lesson
    You don’t need brains to be the Boss – any asshole will do.
Lesson Number Five
    A little bird was flying south for the winter.  It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field.  While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it.  As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was.  The dung was actually thawing him out!  He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.
    A passing cat heard the bird’s singing and came to investigate.  Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!
   Management Lessons
    1)  Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.

    2)  Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

    3)  And when you’re in deep shit, keep your mouth shut!
 

tiny habbits

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48 Tiny Habits That Will Make You Awesome

Go to the profile of Patrik Edblad

Patrik Edblad

Mar 21, 2017

I don’t expect you to follow all of these habits, nor do I do it myself.

But hopefully, you’ll find one or two that will enrich your life.
If you do that, I consider this article a success.
Here we go!
Do the gratitude snooze. The key to happiness is to want what you already have. So, instead of hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep, spend the first few minutes of your day in gratitude (1). Think about all the blessing in your life, big and small, that you tend to take for granted. That simple practice will help rewire your brain for positivity.
Reset your expectations. Begin each day like the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius: ”When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.” (2) People aren’t perfect, so you shouldn’t expect them to act perfectly. Set your expectations straight every morning, and you’ll suffer a lot less during the day.
Do a high-intensity interval training. Physical exercise isn’t just important for your health. New research has found that it’s also crucial for mental aspects such as your brain’s ability to learn (3). If you’re a busy person, I highly recommend the 7-minute workout. It’s challenging but effective and extremely time efficient.
Meditate. It’s crazy how many benefits this simple practice has. Among many other things, regular meditators experience less stress and anxiety, better sleep, sharper mental focus, and deeper relationships (4). So, learn how to do basic mindfulness meditation. It’s well worth the time and effort.
Use mindfulness triggers. Decide on a particular set of habits you do every day and let them trigger moments of mindfulness. These could be, for example, doing the dishes, showering, or brushing your teeth. Allow yourself to be fully present during these activities.
Take cold showers. Challenging and uncomfortable to say the least. But the benefits speak for themselves. Cold showers burn fat, strengthens immunity and circulation, increases mood and alertness, and refines your hair and skin (5). Plus, it’s an excellent way to boost your mental toughness.
Eat mindfully. Turn off the TV and radio. Put away newspapers and magazines. Then eat your breakfast slowly and mindfully. Not only will the food taste better, but it also helps you absorb the nutrients better and makes it less likely that you’ll overeat (6).
Breathe deeply. Whenever you’re feeling stressed or anxious, pause for a minute and follow this sequence: Inhale in for 3 seconds → Pause for 1 second → Exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle five times, and you’ll feel calmer in less than a minute (7).
Relieve stress with cuteness. Watching a video of a cute animal can reduce heart rate and blood pressure in under a minute (8). So, if you’re not a fan of breathing exercises, you can always watch Ichi the Bitchy.
Reinforce your goals. If you’re serious about accomplishing your long-term goals, you can’t state them once a year and then forget about them. You need to remind yourself of the direction you want to go every day. Turn your goals into brain tattoos by writing them down in a journal every single day.
Use the “5-second rule.” Whenever you have an impulse to act on a goal, physically move within five seconds. Introduce yourself, raise your hand, step into the cold shower, or do whatever else you need to do to get closer to your goal. But do it before your brain kills your good intentions with fear (9).
Use the ”Eisenhower Box.” Sort your daily tasks into one of the following possibilities:
• Urgent and important. Do these things immediately.
• Important, but not urgent. Put these things in your schedule.
• Urgent, but not important. Delegate these things to someone else.
• Neither urgent nor important. Eliminate these things.
It will help you prioritize what’s important and make you much more productive.
Decide your 3 ”MIT:s.” Each morning (or the night before), choose three things you must accomplish during the day to consider it a success. Then focus all your energy on these three tasks before doing anything else.
Use the ”2-minute rule.” This is the only exception to the rule above. If something takes less than two minutes, then do it immediately (10).
Say no. A lot of people complain about not having enough time. But it’s not that we don’t have enough time that’s the problem — it’s that we waste so much of it (11). So, be protective of your time. It’s either “HELL YEAH!” or “no.”
Do a weekly review. Set aside a few minutes at the end of each week to reflect on your progress. Celebrate your successes, big or small, and think about what you can improve for next week.
See the big picture. Whenever you’re about to do some demanding work, take a moment to think about how it will make someone’s life easier. It’ll give you a deeper sense of meaning and help you stay motivated. (Note: I found this one very helpful when using this article .)
Put yourself in ”monk mode.” If you want to be highly productive, you need to work for long stretches in deep, undisturbed focus(12). So, close your door, put your phone in ”do not disturb” mode, turn off notifications on your computer, and block distracting websites before diving into your work.
Play the ”email game.” Once you’ve completed your deep work, you can use email as a reward. The email game will help you move quickly and decisively through each message. And it’s fun!
Stand up. Seriously, sitting down all day is terrible for your health (13). So, interrupt your sitting as much as possible. Set an alarm to remind you to get up and move around. If possible, use a standing desk.
Strike a pose. Whenever you’re feeling nervous about a social encounter of some sort, use a powerful posture. Take up space and exude confidence. Doing that for just a couple of minutes will significantly increase your testosterone (”the dominance hormone”) while decreasing your levels of cortisol (”the stress hormone”). That will help you calm down and feel more confident (14).
Run the “doorway drill.” Each time you walk through a door, straighten yourself up, smile, and hold your head high. By doing that, you’ll train yourself to enter rooms with a magnetic confidence (15).
Hug someone. Human beings are wired for social connection and intimacy. Hugging releases hormones like oxytocin and dopamine that makes us calm down and feel connected. So, always choose a hug over a handshake (when appropriate). 🙂
Practice being charismatic. Whenever you engage with other people, remember the three core behaviors of charisma: Presence, Power, and Warmth (16). Be 100% engaged in the conversation, use a powerful body language, and be genuinely concerned with helping the other person.
Don’t be interesting, be interested. In a world where almost everyone is constantly talking about themselves, people appreciate a good listener. If you want people to like you, more often than not, all you have to do is let them talk (17).
Give credit. According to behavioral economists, few things motivate people as much as being given credit for good work (18). And few things feel as good as complementing others for a job well done. So, give credit where credit’s due. If you’ve read a great book, email the author. If you’ve listened to a helpful podcast, send a tweet to the host. It will encourage them to keep doing great work — and it will make you feel great.
Be impeccable with your word. Never say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say straight to their face (19). This is a great way to practice personal integrity.
Take one picture every day. Pictures have the curious effect that they increase in value with time. A picture with your friends today might not seem that special, but 20 years from now, it will be a treasure. So, start building your visual autobiography today. Take one picture every day and store them in an app like Day One. In a couple of years, you’ll be so glad you did. And so will your friends and family.
Enroll in ”Toilet University.” If you spend 15 on the toilet every day reading on your phone, that translates into 90+ hours every year. That’s plenty of time to build your expertise. So, delete time-wasting apps and instead use that time to take online courses or read great book summaries. ”Never throne without something of educational value”! (20)
Savor your experiences. Eating something good? Say mmm. Stretching out in bed? Say aah. Allow yourself to indulge in the small, daily miracles of your life and they’ll become much more pleasurable (21).
Ban ”victim speech.” Your words become your reality, so choose them wisely. Instead of saying “I can’t,” say “I won’t.” Instead of “I have to,” say “I’m going to.” Instead of “I don’t know,” say “I’ll figure it out.” Never speak of yourself as a victim, else you’ll become one (22).
Have an ”end-of-workday routine.” At the end of your workday, take a few minutes to get any lingering tasks out of your head and down on paper. Schedule your most important stuff for the next day. Try to truly finish up so you can be completely present when you get home.
Put your phone away. The average smartphone user checks their phone 221 times a day. That behavior has become a significant problem in modern relationships as people feel neglected by their spouses and friends. Scientists even have a name for it; ”phubbing,” which is a combination of the words ”phone” and ”snubbing.” (23) So, put your phone in another room. Your relationships will benefit from it.
”Stop. Look. Go.” Take the time to soak in the small miracles of life. If you come across a beautiful night sky, a bird singing beautifully, or someone doing an act of kindness, let it touch you. Take a minute, or a couple of seconds if that’s all you have, to experience the moment fully before getting on with your day (24).
Set up your own ”smile therapy.” We all know that when we feel happy, we smile. But did you know that it works the other way around, too? When you smile, you tell your nervous system that you’re happy, and that makes you feel good (25). So, create your own daily smile therapy.
Do the ”misery dance.” This habit is closely related to the smile therapy. You can use it whenever life throws it’s minor annoyances at you. Did the paper get stuck in the printer? Do a silly misery dance for a couple of seconds (26). That can be enough to interrupt a negative thinking pattern and instantly make you feel better. Fair warning: People may think you’re a nut.
Adopt the ”Walk in the door rule.” No matter what your day has been like, always tell your family/friends/cat about the best thing that happened that day as soon as you walk in the door (27). That is a powerful little habit that can transform the way you communicate with your loved ones.
Use ”temptation bundling.” I used to loath housekeeping chores until I found this simple strategy (28). What you do is couple something you need to do with something you want to do. These days, I actually look forward to doing laundry (something I need to do) because it means I get to listen to an awesome audiobook (something I want to do). Combine your chores with a reward, and they’ll become much easier to do.
Do a 5-minute declutter. Spend just a couple of minutes a day getting rid of some clutter. That could be physical clutter like clothes and stuff you never use or digital clutter like icons and apps that are filling your screens. Delete, throw it out, or give it away.
Practice ”voluntary discomfort.” Do something every day that makes you uncomfortable. Underdress for cold weather, go without a meal, sleep without a pillow, or something that brings discomfort (29). You’ll get better at doing things you don’t want to do and that, as it happens, is the key to success.
Help someone. The late, great Zig Ziglar used to say “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” (30) I’ve found this to be very true in my life. The more people I help, the more opportunities come my way. Reach out and help someone every day. Lend a hand, send an email, answer a Quora question. The good intentions you put out will come back to you.
Set an evening alarm clock. Have it go off one hour before bed. When it rings, turn off all your screens and read a couple of pages in a fiction book. It will help you sleep better.
Take the ”view from above.” Whenever you’re struggling or feel overwhelmed, look up at the sky. Zoom out from your problems and widen your perspective to cosmic dimensions. Ponder the infinite universe and that the light from the stars that is hitting your eyes is so old that some of them don’t exist anymore. It will make your personal problems seem a lot less important (31).
Create a ”Jar of Awesome.” Whenever something awesome happens to you, big or small, write it down on a piece of paper and put in your jar. Then, whenever you’re feeling down, open the jar and read the notes. You’ll feel much better (32).
Practice ”negative visualization.” Take some time every day to imagine what your life would have been like without the blessings you tend to take for granted. What would your situation look like if you lost your health, your home, or your friend? Contemplating these things from time to time makes you appreciate them much more (33).
Use ”mini-actions” to break bad habits. Pre-commit to a particular behavior to engage in every time you start craving your bad habit. For example, each time you feel like smoking a cigarette, play Tetris for five minutes instead. Cravings usually only last a few minutes, so a ”mini-action” can be all you need to overcome them (34).
Create a ”token economy” to motivate yourself. Each time you’ve completed some daily goal, reward yourself with a token (such as a gold star, a coin, or a poker chip). Then allow yourself to trade your accumulated tokens for rewards related to the goal (35).If you, for example, are a runner, your rewards could look something like this:
• Water bottle — 5 tokens.
• Running socks — 10 tokens.
• Portable music player — 15 tokens.
• Pedometer — 20 tokens.
• Running shoes — 100 tokens.
• Entry to a Marathon — 500 tokens.
Practice self-compassion. Finally, whenever you mess up, know that stacking guilt on top of it won’t make things better. It will only make you feel even worse and make it harder to bounce back (36). So, whenever you’ve had a setback, treat yourself like you would a good friend — with compassion and reassurance
Patrik Edbla

I write about timeless ideas and science-backed strategies to feel great and perform at your very best. Get more from me at http://www.selfication.com/medium/
Better Humans is a collection of the world’s most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.
 Patrik Edblad (author)

rules

12 Rules For Life Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: 12 Rules For Life is a stern, story-based, entertaining self-help manual for young people, that lays out a set of simple principles, which can help us become more disciplined, behave better, act with integrity, and balance our lives while enjoying them as much as we can
 Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For…
    Sweep in front of your own door before pointing out the street is dirty.

    Treat yourself like a child you’re responsible for.

    Aim to do what is meaningful, not convenient.

These form the premise Peterson’s book is built on and thus, the context for understanding why it’s been such a success. Let’s go!

Lesson 1: Before you judge the world, take responsibility for your own life.

Life isn’t fair. We all learn that one way or other. Some of us sooner, some later, some in small ways, some from terrifying blows. But we all realize it eventually. Like the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, who, in his short, philosophical piece, A Confession, concluded there are only four reasonable responses to the absurdity of life:

    Ignorance, like a child refusing to accept reality.

    Pleasure, like an addict on the hedonic treadmill.

    Suicide.

    Holding on, despite everything.

Even though he concluded suicide was the most honest answer, Tolstoy himself chose the last option, forever struggling on, which tells you a lot about his and Peterson’s beliefs about a good life: No matter how unfair life gets, you should never blame the world. There’s always someone who’s suffered worse than you. Like Viktor Frankl, for example.

Besides, even though the future may sometimes look bleak, if you can focus on taking responsibility and keeping your own house clean, so to speak, you’ll find the bad times will pass.

Lesson 2: Care for yourself like you would for a loved one.

Have you ever gotten a prescription from the doctor and thought: “Naaa, I don’t need that?” Over one third of people do it regularly. According to Peterson, it’s neither smart nor smug. It’s a subversive form of self-punishment. We do it a lot and, as a result, tend to take better care of others than ourselves.

Peterson suggests this is a consequence of our inability to deal with the insanity of life described above. Just like Adam and Eve had to taste the forbidden fruit of knowledge, we too indulge in our dark sides from time to time and thus, feel we deserve punishment. But, as with the unfairness of life, we all got thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Like Yin and Yang, we all carry both light and dark inside us. One can’t exist without the other.

That means instead of just striving for either one, we should seek balance, which is why his second rule is to care for yourself like you would care for a loved one: do what is best for you, even though it might not always make you happy.

Lesson 3: Seek meaning through sacrifice, not happiness through pleasure.

Balancing your light and your dark side can take many different forms. Sometimes, it may be staying in bed to get healthy, even though you want to work. Other times, it might mean staying late at work on a Friday. However it looks like, it always involves choosing meaning by making a sacrifice, rather than temporary happiness by choosing pleasure.

Peterson says this is a great coping mechanism, because it helps balance your life between drowning in hedonism and being so righteous it drives you mad. Of course not all sacrifices are equal. Those you make for personal gain, like working overtime to pay for a vacation, hold less meaning than those you make for the greater good, like volunteering on a Saturday.

Even though it might feel like it when you do it, sacrifice is never really about giving up rewards, it’s about deferring them until you can get something even better, usually a feeling of whole-ness or contentment. As such, it’s also great willpower training.

I’ll leave you with an analogy Peterson makes. The Lotus flower starts out at the very bottom of the lake, drenched in darkness. Inch by inch, it grows its way towards the surface, until, eventually, it breaks through and into the sunlight. I could sure think of worse ways to spend a life than to be a Lotus flower.

Written by Niklas Goeke 

networks

We live in an age of networks and networking. But that’s nothing new. From the invention of the printing press in fifteenth-century Europe to the Enlightenment and all the way up to the election of Donald Trump, technology-driven networks have spread radical new ideas, destabilized existing hierarchies and shaped the history of the world.

influence

Influence has been the go-to book for marketers since its release in 1984, which delivers six key principles behind human influence and explains them with countless practical examples.

The book outlines 6 powerful principles, which influence the way we make decisions. Cialdini calls them shortcuts, which, if triggered, make us jump to conclusions faster.

Therefore, our brains like to use them, even when they’re used against us, for example to trick us into buying something.

Here are my favorite 3 of the 6:

You can use the reciprocity bias to build up a massive good karma account.

The scarcity bias works, because we hate to miss opportunities.

Make a small commitment to trigger your consistency bias and reach your goal.

Even though the reciprocity bias is one of the foundational reasons why we’re alive, today it’s often used against us.

We always feel compelled to return a favor, and marketers know this

Go out of your way to help other people and you’ll naturally build up a massive good karma account. No tricks needed.

The fact that you get so angry at yourself for not buying those jeans last week when they were on sale, or got that delicious pizza before they ran out for the day, is the reason why the scarcity bias works.

We beat ourselves up a lot for missing opportunities, regret is a powerful feeling.

The scarcity bias is one of the most widely abused ones, so try to spot it wherever you can

A small commitment sure goes a long way, because it triggers your consistency bias.

Use mini commitments to jumpstart reaching your goals and then let the consistency bias take you the rest of the way.

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live Love

LIVE SMARTER

The Power of Love: 5 Atypical Reads On Relationships

Had enough of narratives that take a narrow view of love? Here are 5 books that might help you to think a little differently about relationships.

by Rosie Allabarton

Love is never simple, but you’d be forgiven if you’d been led to believe otherwise. Whether you’re starting a new relationship, trying to keep a seasoned one alive, or even deciding how to define how and who you love, there are obstacles at every step of the way.

In Helen Fisher’s unique and engrossing book about love, the author takes a look at how the experiences of being in love differ between cultures and in what ways this overwhelming, emotional, and deeply personal event is universal to us all. She discusses the science behind falling in love, and how the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin work in combination, increasing and decreasing when we fall for somebody. So, if you really want to know why you’re getting those butterflies in your tummy you’ll find your answer here

Christopher Ryan’s controversial read Sex At Dawn is an argument for the naturally promiscuous nature of men and women. Indeed, Ryan puts forward a compelling case for the downright incompatibility of monogamous relationships with our modern Western culture. Why does Ryan think it’s so unnatural? He cites the huge personal risks people take to commit adultery, how our ancestors would have had multiple partners at a time, and how casual sex between groups strengthens bonds. A fascinating book about sex and our relationship to it.

Jared Diamond discusses the “unusual” sexual behaviors of human beings when compared to other mammals. He explains how monogamy between men and women actually supports the furthering of our DNA, why a woman’s hidden ovulation means humans are happy to have sex at any time (and be less promiscuous) and how human males are more likely to stick around after the birth of a child (in contrast to other species) in doing so securing our position at the top of the food chain. Who said evolution wasn’t sexy

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big

What’s in it for me? Learn about the history and problems of economic concentration.

In recent decades, industrialized nations have witnessed the reemergence of an economic problem that once seemed like a thing of the past – the problem of economic concentration. This refers to the process by which industries become dominated by a smaller and smaller number of companies, which grow bigger and bigger, until just a handful of corporate giants reign supreme.

Today, the most visible giants are those of the tech industry, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. But those are just the tip of the iceberg. In the United States, for example, more than 75 percent of all industries have seen increasing economic concentration since the year 2000.

In these blinks, we’ll look at how and why this problem first emerged in the late nineteenth century, subsided in the early to mid-twentieth century and then reemerged in the late twentieth century. While taking this whirlwind tour of economic, political and legal history, we’ll also look at the troubling consequences of economic concentration, as well as some possible solutions.

Along the way, you’ll learn

the counterintuitive arguments in favor of monopolies;

the compelling arguments against monopolies; and

the important figures and movements who made those arguments.

The story of economic concentration began in the Gilded Age – the period of American history that ran roughly from the 1870s to 1900. In recounting this story, we will focus primarily on developments in the US, which exemplified the trends that were unfolding in industrialized economies all over the world.

At this time, the overall trend could be described as economic concentration on steroids. During the Gilded Age, the industrialized economies became tremendously concentrated, as one company after another merged into larger and larger corporations. These were called trusts. Between 1895 and 1904, about 2,274 American manufacturing companies consolidated into just 157 trusts.

Many of those trusts became dominant players within their particular industries. Out of the 93 major consolidations of the era, 72 of the resulting trusts captured market shares of more than 40 percent, and 42 of them reached more than 70 percent.  

Beyond those heights, the most dominant of the dominant trusts became monopolists. A monopolist is a company that has gained almost total control over an entire industry – a condition that is called a monopoly. The word “monopolist” can also refer to the leaders of those monopolistic companies.

However, the most successful monopolist of them all was the banker JP Morgan, who achieved monopolies in a range of industries. These included the Northern Securities Company (a railroad trust), the International Mercantile Marine Co. (a shipping trust), AT&T (a telecommunications trust) and US Steel, a steel trust that he formed by fusing together hundreds of steel companies and then buying out his chief rival, the Carnegie Steel Company, in 1901.

Together, Morgan, Carnegie and Rockefeller became the main proponents of the pro-monopoly trust movement

Traditionally, competition has been viewed as one of the cornerstones of capitalism. It forces companies to continuously strive to raise the quality and lower the prices of their products and services. If they succeed in doing so, they can take their rivals’ customers. If they fail, they may lose their market share. Thus, they must innovate to survive and thrive – and everyone benefits as a result. Or at least that’s how the traditional thinking about competition goes – but monopolies run directly counter to that thinking. After all, by definition, monopolies eliminate competition.

But the monopolists of the Gilded Age were unapologetic in their opposition to this idea. Instead, they believed that monopolies were a superior form of economic organization, which would usher in the next stage in the evolution of capitalism. Advocates of this view became collectively known as the trust movement.   

Far from viewing competition favorably, the trust movement’s members blamed it for the economic turmoil that had shaken the industrialized economies of the 1890s. Too much competition had led to prices falling too fast and too low, which had bankrupted hundreds of companies, they claimed.

To them, competition was a form of chaos. It meant distributing the market for a product or service between many small companies. These companies then fought against each other in a never-ending struggle for survival at each other’s expense. The result was constant turbulence.

That’s because larger companies can achieve economies of scale – meaning they can reap the cost-saving benefits of mass production.

These benefits follow from the fact that production costs tend to go down when producing on a large scale. For example, it’s cheaper to build an additional car on an assembly line than in a neighborhood garage. By creating a more efficient, stable and orderly version of capitalism, the trust movement viewed itself as heralding a new dawn for humanity

When companies compete over a market, there are winners and losers. Some companies win greater shares of the market, while others lose their shares and are put out of business or swallowed up in mergers or buyouts. Either way, competition results in fewer competitors commanding larger percentages of the market.

Eventually, this process leads to a single, gargantuan company emerging as the supreme winner and establishing a monopoly. From this perspective, a monopoly can be seen as both the logical conclusion and just reward of capitalist competition. The trust movement argued that by winning out over their competitors, the monopolists had proven themselves to be the most capable, effective and resilient companies in their respective markets.

hands-off approach to the market is called laissez-faire economics. In advocating for this, the trust movement argued against nearly all forms of governmental intrusion into the economy on behalf of the public. Motivated by the social Darwinistic principle of letting the weak perish, the trust movement even fought against child labor bans and working-hour limits.

There was one notable exception to the social Darwinists’ resistance to government intervention. Some of them supported campaigns for government-led eugenics programs, taking the idea of letting the weak and poor perish one step furthe

However, when a company gets too big it starts suffering from diseconomies of scale – its operations become less efficient as it gets bigger.

That’s because the bigger a company gets, the more complex it becomes. It needs more employees, which means more managers and more complicated hierarchies. On top of that, bigger companies are less adaptable to changes in the market. With more moving parts, corporate behemoths are simply less nimble than smaller companies. If becoming an economic giant comes with such disadvantages, why would a company want to become one in the first place? Well, there are also advantages to becoming so big. Unfortunately, they come at the expense of everyone else.

The bigger and stronger a company gets, the more power it has over workers and consumers. After all, it’s hard for workers to reject the working conditions imposed on them if there are no other companies in the industry that they can turn to for employment

big companies create barriers to entry into their markets. If there’s a scarce resource or type of infrastructure that companies must access to compete, the big company can take control of it.

For example, Rockefeller convinced railroads to guarantee him a special discounted rate for shipping his oil. He also made them charge higher rates to his competitors. With the threat of those rates, he forced his competitors to let him buy them out at favorable prices.

He also artificially lowered his prices to the point where no other company could compete. He could do this only because he had enough capital to subsidize the prices. This allowed him to temporarily sell at a loss until his rivals went out of business, at which point he could dramatically increase prices.

In order to carry out their more dubious schemes, the big companies of the Gilded Age needed the government to turn a blind eye – or, even better, lend a helping hand. To that end, they used their economic clout to exert influence over the government.

For example, when pipelines started replacing railroads as the way to transport oil, Rockefeller convinced the government to withhold the permits that would-be competitors needed to build oil pipelines in many areas. And when they did manage to build pipelines, he worked to bankrupt them and then buy them out by using tactics like overpaying for crude oil in certain markets, while artificially lowering its prices in others.

For instance, an oligopoly might lobby the government with aligned interests in mind, rather than continuously striving to put each other out of business. The rewards of doing this can be enormous, as the contemporary US pharmaceutical industry amply demonstrates.

In 2013, the pharmaceutical industry spent $116 million on lobbying Congress to prohibit the federal insurance program Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices when purchasing medicine. That’s a lot of money – but it’s pocket change compared to the payoff, an estimated $90 billion per year in additional revenue

The fewer companies there are, and the more their interests are aligned, the easier it is for them to cooperate.

That helps to explain why oligopolistic and monopolistic companies have so much power compared to ordinary citizens. It’s not just their money and resources; it’s also the basic mathematics of the organization involved. It’s much easier to organize an oligopoly of three like-minded companies than a nation of millions of diverse citizen

Increased economic concentration led to civil unrest starting around the 1880s and extending to the 1900s. Workers went on strike, an Anti-Monopoly Party was formed and the populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan ran for president three times. Meanwhile, over in Europe, there were socialist, communist and anarchist movements afoot, portending the possibility of even greater unrest and revolution if things didn’t change.

Within this context, the first anti-monopoly law – more commonly referred to as an antitrust law – was passed: the Sherman Act of 1890. The law strongly condemned monopolies, declaring the formation of them a felony and banning trusts or any other combination of companies that was “in restraint of trade.”

After McKinley was assassinated in 1901, however, Theodore Roosevelt took office, and things began to change. Roosevelt saw monopolies as a threat to democracy for two reasons. First, they had too much power and influence. They represented a form of private power that rivaled and was on the verge of overwhelming the public power of the state. Second, they were giving rise to an economic situation in which people were miserable and desperate, which might lead them to join their European counterparts in looking for more extreme solutions, like a communist revolution.

Hence, aiming at giants such as JP Morgan’s Northern Securities Company and Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, Roosevelt’s administration filed 45 antitrust lawsuits in total

In 1911, Standard Oil was broken into 34 separate companies, some of which remain some of the most powerful companies in the US today, such as Exxon, Mobil and Chevron

That exception was the Great Depression, particularly around the early 1930s. During that time, Congress suspended antitrust laws, hoping this would help jumpstart the economy.

But after the Great Depression and World War II, the US government returned to its trust-busting ways with renewed fervor. Part of that was because they’d seen what those monopolies could do if left unchecked, as had happened in imperial Japan, fascist Italy and Nazi Germany leading up to and during the war

It was a matter of avoiding the dangers of fascism and communism, and it was pursued with renewed vigor. In 1950, Congress passed the Anti-Merger Act (also known as the Celler-Kefauver Act), enabling the government to prevent, control or even reverse mergers that might lead to monopolies. This way, it could nip monopolies in the bud, rather than waiting for them to grow

Created by JP Morgan, the telecommunications corporation AT&T was the largest company in the world in 1974, and it had been a monopoly for six decades. In fact, by the 1970s, it wasn’t just monopolist – it was a “super monopolist,” controlling six or seven monopolies at once. These were in industries such as local telephone service, long-distance telephone service, physical telephones and telephone accessories.Under President Nixon, the Justice Department initiated antitrust lawsuits against the company in 1974. By the early 1980s, the company was broken up into seven separate regional telephone companies.

Bork was a legal scholar who studied law at the University of Chicago, which became a hotbed of conservative economic, political and legal thought from the 1950s onward. Bork became one of the institution’s main legal thinkers in the 1960s, especially with the publication of his landmark 1966 paper, “Legislative Intent and the Policy of the Sherman Act.”

The paper basically argued for an extremely narrow interpretation of the Sherman Act. Rather than broadly aimed at monopolies and their pernicious effects on a macroeconomic, political and societal level, it claimed that the act was targeted at one thing and one thing alone – consumer welfare. The paper proposed a simple litmus test for whether a monopolistic company ran afoul of the Sherman Act – did it raise consumer prices? If not, there was no reason to break up the company.

Lawyers and judges liked Bork’s interpretation of the Sherman Act because of the simplicity and its apparent scientific rigorousness. They no longer had to deal with politically thorny, philosophically complex issues like the tensions between public and private power. Instead, they could just focus on narrow, quantifiable matters like prices

In the 1990s, the Clinton Administration initiated a major antitrust suit against Microsoft, but it proved to be the last hurrah of the trust movement’s legacy.

Winding through the court system, the suit against Microsoft seemed to be heading toward a big breakup – but before it could get there, George Bush was elected president, and the Justice Department decided to settle the suit.

thus

In the 2000s, the eight parts into which AT&T had been split reformed into two giants, Verizon and AT&T. The latter then bought the cable and satellite television providers DirecTV and TimeWarner, growing even bigger

Airlines were allowed to merge until there were just three major companies, which have worked together to shrink seat sizes, introduce new fees and make record profits.

From 2005 to 2017, the international pharmaceutical market has gone from about 60 companies to ten. In the US, monopoly pricing has allowed companies to raise the prices of drugs by as high as 6,000 percent

Well, the merger of Anheuser-Busch, InBev and SABMiller has resulted in a conglomerate that controls 2,000 brands of beer, including Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, accounting for 70 percent of beer sales in the US.  

Meanwhile, if you go online or buy a technology product, you’re confronted with one giant company after another – Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Apple – the list goes on and on. In becoming as big as they are today, many of these companies swallowed up their competitors, while the government just stood by and watched. For example, Facebook bought up WhatsApp and Instagram, while Google acquired YouTube.

Instead of a consumer welfare litmus test, the government can institute a “protection of competition test.” The aim here is to broadly encourage and preserve competitive markets, rather than narrowly focus on prices.

Well, if left unchecked, the private power of concentrated industries may overwhelm the public power of democratic governments. What’s needed, therefore, is a return to the tradition of trust-busting.

Economic concentration arose with the trust movement of the late nineteenth century, receded with the antitrust movement of the early twentieth century and returned with the demise of the antitrust movement’s legacy in the late twentieth century. This is a troubling development because monopolies and oligopolies have pernicious effects on the economy and society at large. The government should, therefore, return to its former tradition of trust-busting in order to safeguard democracy from the dangers of concentrate

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