My Secret – not a copyright infringement

I’m going to let you in on a secret, mine even. It’s not often that people get the deep scoop you know. There are those that blab their secrets to everyone and I do have a blog so I may qualify as one. Just to set the record straight, though, I usually don’t tell a lot of my personal life. Facebook and Twitter aren’t filled with my personal details. I rarely post pictures of my meals. I don’t date a lot so I guess you won’t see many pictures of the guys I’ve dated. My cat, well she’s fairly photogenic, but she’s not much of a secret.

The bulldog‘s grip

I have this thing that I do. It’s a switch inside my head that once it’s turned on I have a difficult time turning off. Maybe you have it too. It’s like a bulldog’s grip. You know what it’s like when you’re trying to remember the name of your third-grade teacher, and it’s on the edge of your memory. Yeah, that feeling. Now if you can do something to get to it, as in the case of remembering the actor that played in Vikings, not the main star, but the one who was in the first season and you can’t remember which episode. Do you bother searching? I would. That’s my secret. I would search. Through episodes, Imdb, Google or wherever I needed to search. You don’t call this a secret? Maybe you say I’m sick or I need drugs. Well, you may be right. I say that this skill could come in handy. It did when I was in school. I’d stay up and finish my homework late into the night. I think they call it cramming now.

Can’t let go, don’t hold back

I also learned something new because of this sickness-secret. It’s freed me from my hesitation in my writing. I’ve been doing the NaNoWriMo and I’m a bit behind so I’m cramming aggressively. While cramming, I searched and listened to some helpful pointers and realized I had been restraining myself as I wrote. It isn’t enough to tell yourself to write freely. It’s like saying Be Happy to a sad person. I had to find a way past it. So I did. I wrote a worthless scene as suggested, purely for word count, a monolog. You know what? It was awesome. It worked. The difference in my word count was incredible. The ease that I’m now writing my story has improved. And the important part of the whole thing is that I can feel the bulldog grip. I want to finish this thing!


Memory Slips and Edits

Our mind does a funny thing to us. It slips. It edits. If there’s an association you’re missing it will fill it in for you. It has its own filing system. You would think that we would file things in an ordinary way, maybe alphanumeric or some easy way to retrieve this information that seems important, like the name of street you drive down hundreds of times. I was trying to remember the a street name recently. It actually wasn’t one I drive, but it was one block over from my usual street. I could picture it because I was wanting to tell someone the story about the gorgeous girl I saw being photographed downtown in front of the blue door. She was tall, the girl, not the door.

Street names Sheridan vs Cincinnati

The only named street that kept coming to mind was Sheridan and I knew the name was wrong and I’m banging my head trying to think of the right name, doing word associations, knowing my memory has played a trick on me. It’s the one block over trick. Sheridan is one block over from the street where I live. My mind thought it was a good substitute I guess. I wasn’t getting anywhere so I gave up and waited until I could get home and look it up because Google would not fail me!

Keeping Order

By now most of us realize our memories aren’t card cataloged and ordered by color coding. My memory reminds me more of a game of charades with hand gestures than any type of organizational system. I got home and looked up the name of the street, Cincinnati. Well Duh. One street over from Detroit.  Now I wonder if the door was really blue.

If you feel like geeking out, Steven Kotler sent this out in his email list this week, The Real Neuroscience of Creativity.  It’s not about memory storage, but it has some interesting info regarding creativity and how we use our brain.


What If – Repost

If I could ask you to do one thing, I would ask you to watch, Living On One Dollar. It’s available on Netflix and goes well with this post.  And now for the re-post–

What If

What if we changed our culture? What if we no longer applauded great wealth at any cost? What if we applauded generosity, compassion, and forgiveness? Yes, it’s easy for me to say these things since I’m not wealthy, but I’m not alone in saying them.

Malcolm is targeting the systems we’ve built, the truths we hold so dear and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we can produce some more heroes. – Seth Godin in review of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book.

From ABC news –

Hugh Evans presenting the Global Poverty Project
Hugh Evans presenting the Global Poverty Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the age of 14, Hugh Evans spent a night with cockroaches crawling all over him. That experience turned out to be life-changing for Evans, now 30. Far removed from his comfortable home in Australia, he traveled to the Philippines with an aid organization that set him up with a host family. Their home was in Smokey Mountain, a teeming slum in Manila. A boy in the family, Sonny Boy, was the same age as Evans. The disparity between their lives struck him hard.

In some circles we have improved. But there are enough sub-pockets in our culture that keep the generosity movement bogged down. We are a generous nation and so are people all over the world. You can see groups which care about cleaning up oil spills, those concerned about animal endangerment, and many are helping provide clean water for those in need. But we need to start at the bottom, at the base of society. Our desires. Our ambitions. Our vision of ourselves. There is a level of crud and corrosion that we must clean or we will all drown. We envy and want great wealth because we are afraid. I am afraid. If I don’t get that job, that bonus, that raise, that particular car, I’m afraid I will starve. I will perish. I will not exist anymore. I feel jealous, unloved and abandoned. Over an iPhone that I didn’t get. It’s ridiculous. My whole mindset needs rearranged. I live in a rich country. So rich that I have never missed a meal because of lack. Others around me live the same and yet we feel poor because we don’t have cable television. Or internet. Or whatever latest gadget that someone else has.

There’s an experiment going on all across the world now, or I should say it’s a conversation. It’s called by a variety of names, but in essence it’s living at the poverty level for days or months, voluntarily.

The next post in the continuing frugal gastronomy series features a pair of schoolteacher-writers who gave themselves the toughest of all restrictions: All their food had to cost no more than $1 per day per person. Amazingly, if they invited guests over to eat, the guests’ food had to be covered by the $1 allotment. You’d have to really like the guest, I suppose.

Once again, I’ll repeat: Eating on a budget is not a contest; it’s a conversation.

Read more:

And the most famous instance is probably Ben Affleck and his challenge from April 29 through May 3, 2013.  Could you eat for $1.50 a day?

The challenge is simple: Agree to spend no more than $1.50 on your daily grub from April 29 to May 3. That figure represents “the accepted global figure used to define extreme poverty,” according to The Global Poverty Project, which created the challenge. – Live Below The Line

Some advice from Joe Vigil:

  • Practice abundance by giving back
  • Improve personal relationships
  • Show integrity to your value system
  • Eat like a poor person

What can you do?

Get involved.

To help other countries:

  • Micro financing – or others like it.
  • Help with clean water

Help your local homeless shelter or food pantry. If you don’t know if one exists in your town call your town council or a YMCA.

Help to change attitudes one person at a time. Start small. Show them how changing one life makes a difference. Immigrants and the homeless aren’t nameless or faceless. They are people. They are you and me. They hurt. They dream. They cry. They smile.


Power Up!

Life is a lot like rock climbing or cliff hanging. You know where you want to go but the most immediate need is the next foothold. The next hand grip. You are in the moment of living. Not dying. Hopefully you’ve prepared for this. Even down to the tiniest details, since it’s usually the details that get us. Your clothes, your gear, your metabolism. This is not the time to have a wardrobe malfunction.

It’s true we seek comfort in gurus, psychics and charismatic leaders, but mostly we want someone who can show us the way we should live. Someone who has climbed before us. But like the person who has a terminal illness, no one experience is like another. If you knew you were dying, you might find great joy in meeting one last time with family and friends. Those long talks near the end may strengthen your friendships and make life full of color that you never knew existed. Exquisite love and sunshine. There are others though that won’t go down peacefully. Verbal assaults fly from them as they angrily accuse others of not caring or understanding. Sobs filled with anger and resentment pushes those around them far away. Or at least to the next room only to peek in occasionally. I’ve known both. I’ve also known those young people that never experienced their first kiss. It leaves you wondering about your own life and how short it all seems.

I watched a Ted Talk recently, which I’ll post below. Jane McGonigal talks about her concussion and how she was required to stay in bed for three months. With depression overwhelming her, she had to remind herself how to live. So she made it into a game. She learned to defeat suicidal thoughts and hopelessness. She found allies from friends and family and created power ups with positive thoughts and things that made her smile. She suggests 4 quests that make us resilient. So let’s use her techniques to get ready for our life. You know that difficult days will happen. It’s life. What else is there to expect?

There are four strengths you need to work on. She gives us four quests.

Quest 1. “Stand up and take three steps, or make your hands into fists and raise them over your head for 5 seconds. Worth +1 physical resilience. It turns out the best thing you can do for physical health is not sit still. (The whole audience raises their arms, and she notes some who did both: “Overachievers, I like that.”)

Quest 2. “Snap your fingers 50 times, or count backward from 100 by sevens.” That’s worth +1 mental resilience, which gives more focus and willpower. The research shows that those are both like muscles, and get better the more they’re exercised.

Quest 3. “If you’re inside, find a window and look out of it, or if you’re outside, find a window and look in. Or think of a baby [your favorite animal] and do a Google or YouTube search for it.” This gives +1 emotional resilience. She suggests you try to experience three positive emotions for every one negative — that improves your ability to respond to any challenge.

Quest 4. “Shake someone’s hand for 6 seconds or send someone a quick text, e-mail, thanking them.” That gives +1 social resilience. A great way to increase social resilience is gratitude. (By this point, the audience is incredibly loose and happy. It seems to be working.)

McGonigal has one last bit of science. “People who regularly boost all four kinds of resilience live 10 years longer than everyone else.” That’s where she gets the seven minutes she’s just granted us.

I took the above excerpt from TED Blog and you can read the entire thing if you are interested or just watch the video.