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The official blog of familyWORKZ™

October 11, 2009

Upsetting the Apple Cart

Filed under: General psychology — admin @ 9:08 am

What if:

Frogs, in fact, do NOT rest peacefully in lukewarm water waiting to be boiled.

Or, fish do NOT rot from the head down.

Or, low-hanging fruit should NOT be picked first.

And, what if the best playing fields are NOT level.

If these truisms are tipped over and end up being false, does the world change?

Lesson: When your life becomes overrun by stuff, try taking your apple cart and tip it over. Then, pick up one of the apples and heave it as far as you can. See what happens. Check out how it feels. See if you make a new memory.

Memories, after all, is what life is all about.

August 4, 2009

Tough Times, Tough People & Tough Issues

Filed under: General psychology — Tags: — admin @ 3:24 pm

Being tough on issues and tender on people is tricky stuff. Learning how to have a difficult conversation with an otherwise reasonable person or having an otherwise reasonable conversation with a difficult person requires the willingness to “get out of our minds” and begin thinking about the situation in a way not previously considered.

If we stay in our usual minds, the problem doesn’t go away. In fact, more often than not, things get worse. Why? Because our default way of dealing with problems, likely emboldened by evolutionary thrust, is to make the other person the problem rather than making the problem the problem.

If you needed to think twice about this last thought, then you likely had a moment when you were out of your mind. This is not bad place to be. In fact, it is where we do most of our best learning. Unfortunately, when our minds already have made up their minds, then they close down, no longer being interested in learning anything new. Who knew?

When you strike tough times with a tough person involving a tough issue, dare yourself to have a second thought instead of remaining hyper-focused on the first thought that came to your mind.

July 2, 2009

Moral Muscle Building

Filed under: General psychology — Tags: — admin @ 9:38 am

A useful moral muscle-building exercise is to try to depart from cliché and move closer to your truth by considering the truth held by others. By doing so, it is argued, we begin to unfold the spellbinding layers that surround our intuitive or reactive sense of what is the truth, which, in turn, nudges us away from our charming and well-cloaked secret weapon – self-deception.

It is said that the truth cannot lie, but if it could, I have no doubt it would lie somewhere near the midpoint between one person’s truth and the other person’s truth. In this way, truth is unlike alcohol and is NOT best served or consumed in moderation. So, if one’s instinctive truth cannot be fully trusted and the other person’s truth is similarly equivocal, then where does the truth lie? While this debate is heated and has been discussed over millenniums by minds much greater than my own, I would like to believe that the key is to find distance from judgment by becoming more open-minded and more willing to learn from a situation as opposed to becoming critical, complaining, and comparing. This is most efficiently accomplished by blending your truth with the truth of the other person and identifying the common ground.

June 29, 2009

The Day I Stopped Chasing My Tail & Began Listening to It

Filed under: General psychology — Tags: — admin @ 2:49 pm

When did I become myself? Under the umbrella of radical behaviorism (the experimental analysis of behavior that purports that all behavior is determined and not free) it is accepted that the organism becomes a person as it acquires a repertoire of behavior that are under the contingencies of reinforcement (reward and punishment; both positive and negative). Consequently, if believed, it follows that I have yet to become myself. More accurately, evidently, I persist in the habit of becoming myself. Another way of looking at this prismatic reality is that this organism uniquely called “myself,” is forever grateful to the combination of its genetic endowment (fueled by contingencies of survival), the material environment (selected by contingencies of reinforcement), and the social & cultural environment. In this way, I become myself due to the various factors that are pushed my way or into which I bump.

Turning the prism slightly to shed a more colorful light on this subject, which for me continues to fade in and out without increasing clarity, results in my understanding that radical behaviorism is flat out NOT interested in embracing a causal explanation of publicly observable behavior. Instead, an explanation for what constitutes “myself” boils down to the functional relation, or the contingency, between behavior and its controlling variables.

At the risk of hanging myself too far out on the metaphorical ledge, as long as I remain stubborn with the notion that “I am becoming myself” (‘an initiating doer, actor, or causer of behavior’), the radical behaviorist would insist that I forever will be chasing my self-ingratiating tail. Alternatively, I noticed that by craning my head around in the direction of my tail, sometimes, not often, I hear a voice whispering…”selection by consequences.” Or, is it saying, “consequences by selection?” The voice is hushed and the interpretation is difficult.

I think this phenomenon is much like teaching an old dog a new trick “accidentally on purpose.”

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