Self Improvement


Aspasia of Miletus (400 BCE)
  • Famously known for being Perciles' mistress and the woman behind his speech during the beginning of the Peloponnesian War;
  • Remembered for her captivating beauty and mind in Classical Athens;
  • Played verbal roles in at least three dialogues: Plato's Menexenus, and the Aspasia dialogues by Aeschines and Antisthenes; and 
  • Socrates claimed Aspasia to be his teacher where he learned how to construct persuasive speeches.



Self Improvement

  • A highly esteemed political intellectual in the ancient world;
  • She was a priestess at Delphi who provided many opportunities for in-depth philosophical conversations; and
  • She was included in Plutarch's works in the prefaces of On the Bravery of Women and On Isis and Osiris where they have invigorating conversations on topics such as death, virtue, and religious history.
Thecla (1st century CE)
  • Lived her life as a teacher that had an illustrious career;
  • She appeared on the scene in the Acts of Paul and Thecla; and 
  • Despite the speculations that Thecla may have never actually existed, she has inspired many women to pursue a life of philosophy.
Sosipatra (4th century CE)
  • A respected and successful teacher in the Neoplatonic tradition;
  • She interpreted difficult texts and mediated with divine knowledge;
  • She was mentioned in Eunapios' biography where it was claimed that Sisopatra was famous and that many students preferred her inspiring teaching; and
  • Sisopatra was the wife of Eustathius and they had a content family life
Hypatia of Alexandria (355-415 CE)
  • Famously known for her brutally dramatic death at the hands of the Christian mob;
  • She was a Neoplatonic teacher who was admired for her mathematical and astronomical works;
  • She exchanged information with her student, the Christian bishop Synesius, about obscure mathematical instruments and philosophy; and
  • Edited her father Theon's astronomical commentary which was later acknowledged at publication.
Macrina The Younger (330-379 CE)
  • She was the eldest in a family of ten who was influential and well-educated from Cappadocia;
  • She had a wide knowledge and understanding of philosophy, scripture, and the physical sciences;
  • Through her sharp mind, strong will, and devout soul, she transformed her ancestral estate into a successful community of ascetics of both sexes; and
  • She was commemorated by her brother through a biography, Life of Macrina, and philosophical dialogue, On the Soul and Resurrection, which talked about death.
Our mental image

Our self-image help determine how we react to the daily ups and downs of life. If we think of ourselves as valued, other people will also notice that quality.

Think about how you would describe yourself to a stranger. Would you point to your keen sense of humour or good physical features? Or would you refer to your supposed "trouble areas?" Your answer mostly depends on your mental image of yourself.

A healthy state of mind leads to a positive self-image. It encourages balanced relationships and sound decision-making skills.

  • A healthy mind should be nurtured along with a healthy body as they affect each other. Keeping our bodies healthy through proper diet and exercise will improve how we feel physically and increase our quality of life.
  • Other ways that create our self-image is our personal experiences, relationships, choices and attitudes.

People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) see something very wrong every time they look in the mirror. It could be any perceived flaw, such as a large nose or hips. They may obsess over their imperfections and may suffer from depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and other psychological problems.

Although only a small portion of the population is affected by BDD, many people are dissatisfied with their bodies.

We receive messages from media, friends, and family that shape our body image. Adolescents and teens are the most susceptible to a negative body image. Women are more likely to have a negative body image. Men in Western countries feel they must become more muscular to attract females.

On the other hand, women with a healthy body image and self-image report more confidence, heightened optimism, self-esteem and strong relationships.

  • One-third of Americans are incredibly stressed out. Research showed finances and work were the top stressors, leading to increased health problems, bad relationships and reduced productivity. Forty-one per cent of stressed people notice a negative impact on their self-image. A positive self-image can help people manage work-related stress loads.
  • Relationships throughout life affect how we see ourselves and measure our self-worth. Messages we receive from parents and caregivers can reinforce a positive image of self or tear us down.
  • Be honest with yourself. Everyone has hang-ups and baggage.
  • Speak to a counsellor, psychologist or good friend to better understand how you view yourself.
  • Learn to acknowledge and appreciate your assets and evaluate your weaknesses.
  • Take proper physical care. Get adequate sleep and exercise to help balance the chemicals and hormones in your body.
Most important art movements
  • Medieval art
  • Renaissance 1300–1600
  • Baroque 1600–1730
  • Rococo 1720–1780
  • Neoclassicism 1750–1830
  • Romanticism 1780–1880
  • Impressionism 1860–1890
  • Post-impressionism 1886–1905
  • Expressionism 1905–1930
  • Cubism 1907–1914
  • Futurism 1910–1930
  • Art Deco 1909–1939
  • Abstract Expressionism 1940s
  • Contemporary art 1946 — present

We all come to art history from some perspective. From this perspective, we are likely to build our mental map of how individual artists and styles of art fit together. When we want to place an artist on the art timeline, we should keep in mind that generalisations are useful only up to a point.

For example, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky would fit into the movement known as Expressionism (1905-1930). But, his work took on different forms as he associated with various artists in other European cities.

After placing the art you are viewing on a timeline, the next step is to build up a sense of time and place that is specific to the artwork and artist.

  • Did the artists have friends or contemporaries that may have influenced the style of the work?
  • Did the artist have a teacher?
  • Did the artist write about their work?
  • What materials were available to the artist?
  • Was the artist male or female?
  • Might race or other specifics of the artists' identity play a role?
  • Did the artwork get shown in public? What were the reactions of the first viewers?

The way we interact and understand art is dependent on how the narrative of art history has been produced.

For example, art flourished during the Renaissance. One of the main sources about artists of this time comes from the book 'Lives of the Artists', written by Italian Giorgio Vasari during the 16th-century. Vasari draws a similarity between the passage of time and the artistic achievement of Italian artists. In writing about his fellow countrymen, Vasari wanted to promote the Italian Renaissance to the elevated position of high-achievement in all of art history.

The idea that art is about progress is appealing to historians because it gives a simple linear-narrative framework. But this view tends to be exclusive in that it views Western art as the main story of art history without considering Islamic art, Turkish art, Japanese art, or West Africa's art.

Vasari was an Italian living in Florence and interested in how the art around him was made. We should remember that all art history is tilted with a bias towards the storytelling.

The High-Anxiety Personality Trait

Neuroticism, a personality trait that includes high-anxiety, makes a person move towards psychological themes that are associated with it.

The anxiousness inside the person attracts them to anxiety-inducing movies full of insanity, death, mental illnesses, or supernatural elements.

  • Human beings, right from childhood are predisposed to pay attention to threats, making it hold our attention.
  • Threat takes hold of our visual attention, cognition, memory, learning, and our words and actions.
  • Someone already feeling anxious will get ‘sucked’ into the plot of a horror movie easily.
  • The purpose of the inevitable ‘monster’ in any horror movie is to induce this anxiety and fear among the audience.

The horror movie experience gives us a chance to control our anxiety, as we can always cover our eyes, mute the audio, or turn the lights on. If we want more anxiety, we can do the opposite.

Feeling scary for a fictional story can be less consequential and even therapeutic.

Once the movie plot has hooked the audience, the roller-coaster ride can feel good, and one can ‘get in the groove’. Screaming or gasping in horror, imagining the terror of the story that one is indulged in, is the reason why many people find reprieve in horror movies.

Horror movies also act as a training simulation for real-world scenarios, making us better prepared for an apocalyptic situation, for instance.

The Compound Effect


The Compound Effect is the principle of gathering huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. Small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.

Everything in your life exists because you first made a choice about something. Choice is at the center of all success and failure. It is what we choose that makes the biggest difference.

Too often we sleepwalk through our choices. We default to choices that our society and culture tells us we should do. And it's not big choices, but ones that you think don't matter or count for much that derail us.

  • 95 percent of everything we feel, think, do, and achieve is a result of a learned habit.
  • With enough practice and repetition, any behavior, good or bad, becomes automatic over time.
  • That means that even though we developed most of our habits unconsciously (by modeling our parents, responding to environmental or cultural associations, or creating coping mechanisms), we can consciously decide to change them.
  • The habits you indulge in could be compounding your life into a repeated disaster.
Become Aware Of Your Choices

Repeated choices become habits. The first step toward change is awareness and the best way to become aware is to measure.

  • Track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve.
  • Start off with an easy tempo. Just track one habit for one week.
  • Pick the habit that has the greatest control over you; that’s where you’ll start.
  • Once you start tracking your life, your attention will be focused on the smallest things you’re doing right, as well as the smallest things you’re doing wrong.
  • Identify your triggers: Look at your list of bad habits. Figure out the “who,” the “what,” the “where,” and the “when” underlying each bad behavior.
  • Clean the house. Get rid of whatever enables your bad habits.
  • Look again at your list of bad habits. How can you alter them so that they’re not as harmful? Can you replace them with healthier habits or drop-kick them altogether?
  • Ease in. For some of your old habits, it may be more effective to take small steps to ease into unwinding them.
  • Or jump in. We are all different and some researchers have found that it can be paradoxically easier for people to make lifestyle changes if they change a great many bad habits at once.
  • Set yourself up to succeed. Any new habit has to work inside your life and lifestyle.
  • Think addition, not subtraction. Think what you can choose to “add in” so you can enrich your life experience.
  • Go for a Public Display of Accountability. Once you put it out there on the public record, you knows that you'll be held responsible for any action.
  • Find a success buddy .There are few things as powerful as two people locked arm and arm marching toward the same goal.
  • Competition & camaraderie. There’s nothing like a friendly contest to whet your competitive spirit and immerse yourself in a new habit with a bang.
  • Celebrate. There should be a time to celebrate, to enjoy some of the fruits of your victories along the way.
  • Input (what you feed your mind)
  • Associations (the people with whom you spend time)
  • Environment (your surroundings).
Momentum Is Huge
  • Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.
  • The hardest part of momentum is the beginning. But once you get moving you can keep going very easily.
  • With momentum, you can continue succeeding with less work. It's easy to keep things running once you have momentum.
  • The most motivating choices are ones that align with your “why” and your purpose.
  • You need a deep why for doing stuff. With a why that is meaningful enough, you will do almost anything.
  • The access point to your why-power is through your core values, which define both who you are and what you stand for.
  • Your core values are your internal compass. They act as the filter through which you run all of life’s requests, requests, and temptations, making sure they’re leading you toward your intended destination.
  • Getting your core values defined and adjusted is one of the most important steps in redirecting your life toward your own definition of success.
  • Decision-making is also easier when you are certain of your core values.
  • When you define your goals, you give your brain something new to look for and focus on.
  • Top people have very clear goals. They know who they are and they know what they want. They write it down and they make plans for its accomplishment. Unsuccessful people carry their goals around in their head like marbles rattling around in a can.
  • Make a list of your most important goals. Go for whole-life success: balance in all the aspects of life that are important to you: business, finances, health and well-being, spirituality, family and relationships, and lifestyle.

Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) + Action (doing something about it) = Luck

Learning Vs Studying

Learning leads to knowledge. Studying a topic means you are invested in it.

The world already has tons of knowledge. You don't need to learn more. What you need is to study, to practice, and to take action on the knowledge you have.

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