Life Equations: Control + Expectations = Disappointment

I recently started reading Chip Conley’s book – “Emotional Equations“. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/30383779] The book was Chip’s way of bringing some meaning back into his life after a period of emotional upheaval. It was his way of making sense of things that were happening for no apparent reason and, by writing it, he helped others do the same. One of my favorite equations in the book is this: DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING What does this mean? Well, basically, the less meaning you give to your bad life experiences, the more you will suffer. Perhaps you’ll wonder how in the world are we to attribute meaning to the death of someone dear, or the loss of an important relationship, or the loss of a job, financial status or whatever other misfortune may come into our lives. Things just happen, right? Bad luck! Well, things are a bit more complicated than that, and there’s good news in this. We have the power to decide what an experience has meant for us, what it has taught us, in what ways it makes us a better person. We have the resources to look at our situation from a different point of view, finding the opportunities in the bleakest of times. But in order to do that, we first have to believe it is possible. Starting from Chip’s philosophy about emotions and the sometimes surprising ways they arrange themselves into equations that influence our state of mind, I’ve come to believe that life itself can sometimes be organized into what I call “irrational equations” that can help us make sense of our experiences, better understand our own thought patterns and ultimately lead happier, more fulfilled lives.  I have offer you several equations as food for thought. I’ve run into these in different moments of my life and realized that, once I’ve understood how they work, I’ve been able to change the way I live for the better. I’ll write several posts around this topic – this is only the first...

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What Are Your Values? What Is Your Mission Statement?

Mar 17, 11 What Are Your Values? What Is Your Mission Statement?

Posted by in Mindfulness, Thoughts/Ideas

There is an exercise that we use in life and executive coaching that I’ve always found extremely valuable and think might be worth sharing with you all. Take 10 quiet minutes to think about 3 things: 1. What are you really good at and love to do? List all things that come to mind, anything that you know you are really good at and enjoy doing, hobbies included. If you are a good cook, put that on the list, if you’re a good listener, put that on too. When you run out of ideas, give yourself an extra minute before going to the next topic – that minute might bring on some new insight. 2. Whom do you admire? Make a list of all the people who mean something special to you, whom you admire for one reason or another. They could be family, friends, but also people whom you’ve never met, but still look up to. 3. Why do you admire those people? Try to think of the reasons you admire each person on list number 2. Make a paralel list of the qualities and behaviors you admire in the people you look up to. You should, by now, have three lists in front of you. Take a look at them, try to take a mental step back and see the big picture. Don’t worry if none emerges right away. It will, after you’ve given it enough time and thought. There is always some sort of subtle connection, some theme that unifies all the things you really enjoy doing and are good at, the people you admire and the reasons you admire them. After this inner interogation you should be able to create a short statement that truly represents you and what you stand for and also you should be able to list the things you truly value and that guide your choices in life. You should also understand better why you feel so bad in those moments when circumstances force you to...

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Can the Brain Explain Your Mind? by Colin McGinn | The New York Review of Books

Mar 04, 11 Can the Brain Explain Your Mind? by Colin McGinn | The New York Review of Books

Posted by in Books, Neuroscience

Can the Brain Explain Your Mind? by Colin McGinn | The New York Review of Books. Colin McGinn makes an excellent review of V.S. Ramachandran’s book – The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. Here is an excerpt of his review in The New York Review of Books. I hope it will convince you that neurology is truly fascinating and worthwhile for us, non-scientists too, since it opens a gate into the amazing workings of our own minds. “Is studying the brain a good way to understand the mind? Does psychology stand to brain anatomy as physiology stands to body anatomy? In the case of the body, physiological functions—walking, breathing, digesting, reproducing, and so on—are closely mapped onto discrete bodily organs, and it would be misguided to study such functions independently of the bodily anatomy that implements them. If you want to understand what walking is, you should take a look at the legs, since walking is what legs do. Is it likewise true that if you want to understand thinking you should look at the parts of the brain responsible for thinking? Is thinking what the brain does in the way that walking is what the body does? V.S. Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, thinks the answer is definitely yes. He is a brain psychologist: he scrutinizes the underlying anatomy of the brain to understand the manifest process of the mind. He approvingly quotes Freud’s remark “Anatomy is destiny”—only he means brain anatomy, not the anatomy of the rest of the...

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