Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Quote of the day

“There are no limits. There are plateaus, and you must not stay there; you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you.”
(Bruce Lee)

Interesting quote, as i just started to train in the same martial art like Bruce Lee, Wing Chun, but even more fascinating that i find this quote through my memory training research. When they studied how to improve your memory retention, they find something that puzzle them, that after you improve your memory 10-20 times more in a short period of training (3-12 months), you reach a plateau. Galton and his colleagues believed that this is the upper limit of our innate abilities - an insurmountable wall that cannot be surpassed. But Ericsson (you know him, is the guy that discovered that you need 10.000 hours to master a skill that you do not have innate affinity with it) find something even more extraordinary after he studied ice skating champions. If you do only the moves that you excel at it, you will reach the plateau, but if you do the moves you have not yet mastered and constantly improve yourself, you will increase your skill again and again, without reaching any plateau. And it will not kill you, it will make you to go over the mastery level, to unique heights that were never achieved before. Think about this, next time you want to improve something.

Have a good night!


Monday, 28 March 2016

Lucid dreaming - a hobby for creative people

My last book about lucid dreaming is free this week on Kindle, for all my friends who are interested in this creative hobby.
It will help me a lot if you write a review after you read it.
Thank you!

Lucid Dreaming - a hobby for creative people

Sunday, 27 March 2016

How not to be kind - the A$$ theory

There are some researches that identified some of the barriers that prevent us to be kind and compassionate. I will just go through them and make a summary for you.

a) being busy - an experiment done at Princeton after a talk about the Good Samaritan and subjects being exposed to an individual who is looking to be suffering of cardiovascular problems - when they got enough time more than 60% stopped and helped, when they were even 2 minutes late, only 10% stopped and helped.

b) violent video games - regardless of the hypothesis that playing violent games increase your violent attitudes, the experimenters observed that playing violent video games regularly will reduce cooperative, kind tendencies.

c) meeting people from apparently different social groups than you - you are more inclined to help someone from the same social group.

d) if we feel that helping is not possible or we do not have the capacity, we will not help, due to the society conditioning of being efficient in what you do.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Extinction of the humanity and the age of independence

In one of his books, Darwin said that we became the top of the food chain, and we evolved as dominant species because we are compassionate and sympathetic as species. We care about others like us, and this made all the difference. Just to think about, our babies take the longest to reach the age of independence - 20-30 years on average until we are not depending of our parents. Most of the animals need one year to achieve the same result.

The problem is, as Sara Konrath research was showing, that empathy and compassion declined in the past 30 years. If we continue on this way, sooner or later we will become extinct as species. This is the beginning. And i will not even start with our leniency towards outsourcing our brain, using technology instead. We are now weaker than ever, even if we think we became stronger.

It is not a joke. It is a wake-up call.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Quote of the day

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

There is so much truth in this. We want to be the best, the one, the only expert in some field. But we will not have the expected results, while others who started after us reach our level and even surpass us very easily. Why? Should you ask, but the answer is exactly this. You are not defined by the level of your hopes and expectations, but by the level of your training. When people look at you, they see where you are now, not where you want to be. I hope you got the hint, and start to train harder, to get faster to the point where you expectations and your training level are the same.

Good luck!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Word of the day

Today's word of the day is:
askance  - a·skance  (ə-skăns′) also a·skant (ə-skănt′) adv.

1. With disapproval, suspicion, or distrust: "The area is so dirty that merchants report the tourists are looking askance" (Chris Black).

2. With a sideways glance; obliquely.

Related to:

Biology: Retina is a neural tissue containing photoreceptors, cons and rods. Rods are used for night vision, better in dim light, they are found in the sides of the retina, helping with peripheral vision. To see better in the night, you need to look at the objects askance. Also related to cons shaped photoreceptors and the improvement in speed reading.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Happiness tips and tricks

This is a 2 stages exercise.

Stage 1
Do one random act of kindness, no matter how large or small, every day for one month.

Stage 2
Do 7 random acts of kindness in one week, for one month, but all 7 in the same day.

In which stage do you think it is more fulfilling for you?

The answer is: Stage 2, because doing all 7 random acts of kindness in same day it is perceived as an extra effort that will provide an immediate durable boost in your own happiness.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Researching enlightenment through neuroimaging studies

This is one of the few that we need to keep an eye on him, in the future. He is researching enlightenment and benefits resulting from this. His last book seems to check on most of the multi-secular spiritual traditions. 

Dr. Andrew Newberg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the Andrew Newberg University of Pennsylvania. He has published a variety of neuroimaging studies related to aging and dementia. He has also researched the neurophysiological correlates of meditation, prayer, and how brain function is associated with mystical and religious experiences.

One of his older interviews: Link here

I want a perfect life. What should i do?

It is very easy. In fact it is so easy that everyone knows it, but most of us are just afraid for the next step. Let's start with the obvious ones, what we eat, how we exercise. These two items are more than enough to change our life, if we choose to do it correctly.

What do you mean? I know what to do. It is my life. I am allowed to eat what i like. Excuses. All of those are just excuses. Do you? Are you? Come on. All you need is to summon all your self control, because it is your lack of restraint that got you in trouble, and change your bad habits with better ones. One year. That is all it takes.

Start with the food and drinks. So, to begin with, stop drinking fizzy drinks, change them with tea, cocoa, milk, or if you got unlimited will power, even with fresh natural juices from vegetables and fruits. Buy a juice extractor. And use it daily. You are too lazy to do it every day. Have a cup of herbal tea or cocoa. Even a cup of milk. Before you get asleep, the milk will help by providing tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, the happiness hormone. Food now, as you know very well, fast food is bad, microwave food is bad, overcooked food is bad, extreme food is bad (too salty, too spicy, too bland, etc). Eat well in the morning. Cook it yourself. Buy fine superior ingredients. Eat slow, at the table, far away from the TV or phone. When you eat, just eat. It is a single task, as opposed to the multitasking life that is aggressively promoted today.

Exercise. Exercise is great. You will reach an advanced age, without the ageing problems most of the people complain about. You don't need to become a world class runner. All you need to do is to find something you like and do it 3 times a week. Yoga, Tai chi, a martial art, swimming, doesn't matter, as long as it is a moderate effort at least, and you do it 3 times a week.

Do this for one year. And i bet that everything in your life will improve. In some way that you cannot imagine.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

How to become sexy in one easy step

Do you want to find an easy psychological trick to become sexy and attractive for the opposite sex?
The secret is here for you to use it. As much as you want. It is not a myth, and it is backed by solid research. Just read. Tell me later what happen to you in the next few months. I am really curious.

Have a nice day!

Did you know?

...that due to the hemispheric specialization, verbal stimuli presented to the right eye or right ear go straight to the left hemisphere, being processed faster?

Remember this when you read or listen something for your next exam or test! Conversely, visual-spatial tasks are processed faster by the right hemisphere (e.g. recognizing a face).

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Quote of the day

"If you want to be happy for an hour, have a nap,
if you want to be happy for a day, go fishing,
if you want to be happy for a month, get married,
if you want to be happy for an year, inherit a fortune,
if you want to be happy for a lifetime, help others."
(Chinese proverb)

Now we can see that first to are actions with immediate effect and fast hedonic adaptation. Third and forth are major life events, but the hedonic adaptation will still kick in after a while. (Added info: according to recent research, the happiness related to marriage period is about two years.). But the lifetime changing choice is kindness, and more exactly the kindness-happiness loop.

Let me explain more, it is about a research made by Sonia Liubomirsky, where in the phase one, people where asked to remember when they buy something nice for them, paying 20-100$, or when they spend the same amount of money for charity. In both cases they had an increase on overall happiness, but in the case of giving the increase was significantly higher. Now, in the second phase, they were given 20-50$ and asked to spend it on their own or to give in to someone in need. Same as in the phase one, the ones giving had a more significant increase in happiness, but a side effect emerged. The ones that remembered giving where more happy and more likely to spend the money helping others. It is like kindness make you more happy, and being happy make you more kind, in a kind of loop effect.

Conclusion: Be kind with others. Now, according to another experiment, when people where asked to do 5 random acts of kindness in one week, for 6 weeks, some did one every day for five day, some did all five of them on a set day, let's say Friday. Measured, the happiness was much higher at the people who did it on one day, than people who did it most of the days. The theory is that all five acts of random kindness will build a distinguishable experience of that day. When we are making an extra effort, we are gaining in extra happiness. Learn and apply this. You can have a happy life too!

Kind regards

Monday, 14 March 2016

Kindness for children 101

Do you want your kid to be happy, altruistic and kind?

In a very interesting study about the altruistic tendencies in children, as an answer to the question is kindness a trait we are born with or we learn, the children meet a monkey toy and the experimenter give them 8 treats, give one treat to the monkey, the child found a treat and give it to the monkey and choose to give one of his/her own treat to the monkey. The result showed that the biggest increase in happiness was when the child sacrifice one of own treats and give it to the monkey.

While other studies have suggested adults are happier giving to others than to themselves and that kids are motivated to help others spontaneously, this is the first study to suggest that altruism is intrinsically rewarding even to very young kids, and that it makes them happier to give than to receive.

These findings complement recent studies that have shown that giving kids rewards for their prosocial behavior may actually undermine kindness. One possible explanation for these somewhat counterintuitive findings is that, in order for children to grow up seeing themselves as kind and giving, it is important for them to feel that they do good because they want to, not because others expect them to.

Of course, this does not diminish the importance of a loving and kind environment, in which adults teach the importance of prosocial behavior, including by modelling that behavior themselves. It merely suggests that nature may have given us a happy head-start in the task of raising kind kids.

Full link here

Did you know?

...that being kind to others protect you from heart disease, twice better than aspirin?

According to a research made by Post and Neimark in 2007, being kind to others often also increase your life expectancy, make you less lonely, add benefits like stronger immune system, better overall health, fewer aches and pains and decrease the chance for depression.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Slow food

I never get tired to talk about this. In a modern era of being in a hurry every moment of your day, slow food is a luxury you think you cannot afford. But think again, because you need it. It will help you in many ways, some of them unknown to you. While fast food seems to be the easiest way, to eat something of our way to or after work, slow food is a totally opposite concept. To eat for the sake of it, to sit down, switch of your phone, think about what you gonna cook or order, anticipate the taste, the smell, and eat slowly, enjoying every mouthful. Do not let your mind wander, this is an exercise per se. Focus only on eating, and use all your five senses to enjoy this. First you can try with your favorite meals, then later use this method with every meal. Not only you will learn how to focus and not be easily distracted (skill that will help you in any given area of your life), but you will wait gladly and enjoy in anticipation a good food, you will solve a lot of stomach problems that are mostly related to stress and poor dieting habits, and you will even extend this to your whole day. As a method of staying in the present, to live now and here, it is easy to be done, because all of us have our preferred meals, and all of us need a break for past problems and future worries.

Good luck with it, if anything great happen because of this, please let me know,


Quote of the day

"The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at the time"
(Sir Robert Cecil)

We live in a society that promotes multi-tasking, we watch the news while eating, we play on our phone while working, we try to do much more in less time. There is even a discrimination theory in it (women are better at multi-tasking?). The problem is that we try to do many things at once, and we lose more time switching from one task to another, that to do the things. And in doing this, we often outsource our brain activity to our phone, tablets, watch or god knows what is the latest trend now. All of this because our mind it trained to be the perfect monkey, jumping from one branch of thoughts to another. The key to break this bad habit is focus, unrelenting focus on one single activity. What do you think?

See you soon,

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Terms and definitions needed when one study happiness

In order to understand better my following posts, i decided to start by defining few terms that i will use more frequently, and are close to each other.

Kindness - behavior that involve being friendly, generous or considerate;

Pro-social - term favored by scientists to refer to kindness;

Compassion - literally means "suffer together", it is a feeling that arises when you witness another's suffering and feel motivated to help relieve that suffering;

Empathy - ability to sense on imagine other people's emotions;

Sympathy - means "feel together", feeling close to other's emotions, but without the urge to help as in the case of compassion;

Pity - feeling sorry for someone's suffering, but the observer occupies a place of superiority and look down to the one suffering, while in the case of compassion they are equals.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Parenting with style: tips and tricks (3)

Punishment and efficiency in unlearning a bad habit

Punishment is not a very effective strategy when used on a child.

Potential punishers - any consequences which might lead to a decrease in response. Some consequences can be a punisher for some people but not for others.

Side effects: aggression, frustration, avoidance learning, escape learning. The punishment may not decrease the behaviour, but teach the child to be aggressive or to go for an extra mile in order to avoid the punisher. Sometime punishment become even positive reinforcement.

Effective punishment should address to person actions, not to the person character. It should be related to the undesirable behaviour and it should consist of penalties or response cost (removal of reinforcer), rather than psychological or physical pain.

Did you know..

...that apparently there are two kind of empathy, one called affective empathy - the ability to sense other's people emotions, and one called cognitive empathy - the ability to imagine intellectually someone else emotions?

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Parenting with style: tips and tricks (2)

Shaping - when someone's comportment is reinforced for any response which move towards the desired behaviour.

Shaping is the best strategy to be used for potty training, giving the faster results, as opposed to punishment, negative or positive reinforcement.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Parenting with style: tips and tricks (1)

As i often find interesting stuff looking for my research, i decided to make small concise posts on my blog and see what others think about. Or maybe even practice a bit.

For today, i will talk about parenting style, secure relations and compassion.

Children in securely attached relations with their parents will show sympathetic behaviour as early as aged three and a half. Abusive parents who resort often to physical violence have less empathetic children.

We got two different parenting styles:
- One is by induction, engaging children in reasoning when they have done harm and prompting them to think about the consequences of their actions and how these actions have harmed others.
- The other is by power assertion, declaring what is good or wrong and resorting to physical punishment and/or strong emotional response of anger.

Children who learn by induction are more adjusted and more likely to help others.

Note: Parents also teach compassion by example.

Cross-group friendship

Wendy Berry  (2007) discovered that it is good for health to have egalitarian attitudes (to not have any prejudice, to treat and think to all people as equal). Cross-group friendship means to be exposed to other people from other groups and become friend with them. Elizabeth Page used what she called Art Aron "fast friend procedure" to study this phenomenon. Two people come together and start asking questions. They start with easy ones like "what is your favorite color?" and continue. After 45 minutes stress levels caused by inter-group interaction are going down and they can ask close intimate questions. More surprising it is that once the stress levels caused by inter-group interaction decrease, it will stay low, and even after 2-4 weeks, doing the same thing will be much easier. As a result, we will have a general increase of individual happiness, but also of humanity average happiness.

Penny for your thoughts?

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Quote of the day

"Every time i am close to master what i think it is my life mission, it changes, flourishing and becoming more complex, deeper and greater than i ever imagined."

No comment.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Legendary weapons in World of Warcraft,one trip to Bali, friendship and happiness

Just few words about friendship in relation with happiness and I am done. Not enough time today, getting ready to see the new Sasha Cohen Baron movie, called Grimsby. I am enjoying being back in my little town when I have friends being miserable in Bali.

  • According to some research, the number of close friends declined by 33% over past generation. (Not very funny, but most of my close friends at some point in time "unfriended" each other over items drop in World of Warcraft)
  • In 1971, a researcher called Trivers said that we start to trade and share resources with others whom we call friends.
  • Shelley Taylor point that tendencies toward friendship and connection activate oxytocin and counteract the responses at stress.
  • Friendship is associated with better health profiles.
  • In 1979, Berkman and Syme found that if you do not have a strong network of friends, you are 1.9 to 3.1 times more likely to die.
  • Nancy Adler and Kiko Claser discovered that rich patterns of friendship will result in less stress on daily basis and lower levels of cortisol.
In conclusion, friendship is not only good for happiness, but it is also beneficial to physical health and stress profiles. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Quote of the day

"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. "(Greg Anderson)

If you are in the search of happiness, this is one of the practical way to achieve it. Think about it. And apply it.

Quote of the day

“Asleep you can experience many hours whilst only a few waking moments have passed. This is why dreams are an ideal platform for training.”
(Wayne Gerard Trotman)

As i was talking from time to time about lucid dreaming as the best hobby ever, you can also use it for training, especially for an instrument or for anything than is greatly improved through practice. You will become a master at young age, a prodigy without even trying.

Good luck!