Self Improvement


Roman law - the basis for law codes of most countries

Roman law of ancient Rome has affected the development of law in most Western civilisation and parts of the East.

It is the foundation for law codes of most countries of continental Europe (civil law) and derivative systems elsewhere.

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Self Improvement

The Romans divided their law into written and unwritten law. 

  • Written law (jus scriptum) means laws gathered from legislation and laws based on a written source.
  • Unwritten law (jus non scriptum) means custom.
  • Civil law (jus civile) developed during the Roman republic (753-31 BCE). The law was based on custom or legislation and applied only to Roman citizens. Foreigners had no rights unless they were protected by some treaty between their state and Rome.

  • By the mid 3rd century BCE, international law (jus gentium) was formed by the Romans and applied to themselves and foreigners. This law was developed by the magistrates and governors who were responsible for administering justice where foreigners were involved.
  1. The first consisted of leges or enactments of one of the assemblies of the whole Roman people.
  2. The dicta (edicts) or proclamations were issued by a superior magistrate (praetor) on judicial matters.
  3. The senatus consulta were resolutions of the Roman senate. They carried no legislative force during the republic but could be given power by the magistrates' edicts.
  4. The constitutiones principum were expressions of the legislative power of the emperor. 
  5. The responsa prudentium were answers to legal questions by leaned lawyers.

Deprivation Curiosity is when we have a gap in a certain type of information that makes us restless, and in an urgent need for the same. It is focused on the destination.

Example: We see an actor and cannot remember his name, and feel restless and anxious as the name is on the tip of our tongue. Later when we google and find the answer, we feel relieved, as we are no longer deprived of that information.

Interest Curiosity is when we are having a pleasurable interest in knowledge. It is focused on the journey or the path.

Example: Diving into the internet for enjoyment and learning a lot of new stuff, feeling satisfied and content.


Curiosity is a natural phenomenon that helps people move into new experiences, tapping their inherent powers of wonder and inquisitiveness. Curiosity is an ideal positive state of openness and engagement, no matter what our culture or background is.

Curiosity can help us heal our anxiety if utilized in a particular manner.

  1. Sit, lie or stand in a quiet, comfortable place.
  2. Recall your recent anxiety experience where you went through a habitual loop.
  3. Check your body sensations.
  4. See what exactly you feel and name the sensation, like tense, or restless.
  5. Find out from where in the body this feeling is originating.
  6. Get curious and inquisitive about this sensation, observing with ease.
  7. Chant a mantra or just be mindful and aware.

Created by American psychologist Marsha Linehan, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is used for treating personality disorders whose symptoms include chronic emotional dysregulation and suicidal thoughts.

DBT provides people with the four skill sets to manage their emotions:

  1. Core Mindfulness: Living in the present moment.
  2. Distress Tolerance: Handling crises effectively.
  3. Emotional Regulation: Managing emotions in a healthy way.
  4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Managing relationships effectively.

For those of us struggling with intense emotions, we can try an exercise for practising non-judgemental behaviour:

Repeat a certain statement like ‘I am lazy’ or ‘I am sad’ and see how it feels emotionally. Notice that after constant repetition, a particular emotion arises in us and we experience a reaction. Now practice a similar repetition but be non-judgemental in the process, not adding fuel to the emotion.

After a few weeks, our awareness towards judging our emotions increases, helping us manage our emotions more effectively.

Biosocial Theory states that some people have higher levels of emotional sensitivity, and react strongly to events and situations. They also remain in emotional pain for a longer time, having intense feelings like anger, sadness, shame or anxiety.

Often children are pervasively invalidated, routinely getting the information fed in their heads that they are somehow inferior and worthless.

  1. Do a forward bend posture trying to touch your toe and take a slow, deep breath for a minute.
  2. Focussed breathing, especially deep, paced exhaling activates our parasympathetic nervous system and makes us calmer and relaxed.
  3. Ensure your exhales are longer than your inhales.

There are three basic modes of thinking that we operate on:

  1. The reasonable mind is logical and factual.
  2. The emotional mind is unreasonable and is controlled by emotions and feelings.
  3. The wise mind is the combination of our reasoning and emotions.

Combining our mind and heart balances our perspective and helps us understand the value of our reasoning and our emotions, without neglecting any one of them.

When we try to manage and cope up with our emotions by redirecting, deflecting or changing our thoughts, we attempt to emotionally regulate ourselves, but if we are too overwhelmed, we cannot effectively regulate our emotions. We then experience emotional dysregulation, something that happens in moments of acute distress.

Emotional dysregulation happening too often results in depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harming, eating disorders and substance abuse.

Emotions are not good or bad, they are just emotions. One can validate the emotions and accept them. A good way is to write down on a piece of paper what all you feel and then reflect on the same.

Whatever the urge is when we feel angry, depressed, or sad, try to do the opposite of that, doing the reverse of what the urge is telling us to do. One should not suppress their emotions but healthily channelize them.

What We Do When We Struggle Emotionally

We all have experienced strong emotional reactions in our lives when our mind is overwhelmed and in turmoil. We struggle to manage our feelings and usually don’t know what to do with them.

This results in the emotions getting stuck inside us, manifesting in mental or physical problems.

We do not give our emotions any thought, and move through them mechanically, making them the masters of our behaviour. Anyone can push the wrong buttons and trigger us in a few seconds.

We need to be aware of our emotions and feelings by asking ourselves the following:

  1. What triggered the intense feelings?
  2. What were our initial thoughts?
  3. What bodily reaction happened automatically?
  4. What urges were coming from inside?
  5. What was the action taken?

Once these questions are asked, we can identify the exact emotion we are going through.

This involves breaking down abilities into component skills, being clear about what subskill we're working to improve, giving full concentration to a high level of challenge outside our comfort zone, just beyond what we can currently do, using frequent feedback with repetition and adjustments, and ideally engaging the guidance of a skilled coach, because activities designed for improvement are domain-specific, and great teachers and coaches know what those activities are and can also give us expert feedback. 

The learning zone is when our goal is to improve. Then we do activities designed for improvement, concentrating on what we haven't mastered yet, which means we have to expect to make mistakes, knowing that we will learn from them.

That is very different from what we do when we're in our performance zone, which is when our goal is to do something as best as we can, to execute. Then we concentrate on what we have already mastered and we try to minimize mistakes.

The learning zone of Demosthenes

Demosthenes, the greatest orator in ancient Greece, did activities designed for improvement.

  • He studied a lot: law, philosophy, and great speeches and acting.
  • To get rid of the habit of involuntarily lifting his shoulder, he practiced his speeches in front of a mirror, with a sword suspended from the ceiling so that if he raised his shoulder, it would hurt.
  • To speak more clearly despite a lisp, he went through his speeches with stones in his mouth.
  • He built an underground room where he could practice without interruptions, but since courts at the time were very noisy, he also practiced by the ocean, projecting his voice above the roar of the waves.
How to spend more time in the learning zone
  • Nurture the growth mindset: Believe and understand that you can improve.
  • You must want to improve at that particular skill. There has to be a purpose you care about because it takes time and effort.
  • Know how to improve, what you can do to improve, through deliberate practice.
  • Be in a low-stakes situation, because if mistakes are to be expected, then the consequence of making them must not be catastrophic, or even very significant.
Why we don't improve despite our hard work

The most effective people and teams go through life deliberately alternating between two zones: the learning zone and the performance zone.

The performance zone maximizes our immediate performance, while the learning zone maximizes our growth and our future performance. The reason many of us don't improve much despite our hard work is that we tend to spend almost all of our time in the performance zone. This hinders our growth, and ironically, over the long term, also our performance.

We spend so much time in the performance zone because most of the time our environments often are, unnecessarily, high stakes. But there are still things we can do about it:

  • We can create low-stakes islands in an otherwise high-stakes sea.
  • We can execute and perform as we're expected, but then reflect on what we could do better next time.
  • We can lead and lower the stakes for others by sharing what we want to get better at, by asking questions about what we don't know, by asking for feedback and by sharing our mistakes and what we've learned from them.
Eduardo Briceño

"Real confidence is about modeling ongoing learning."

Fossils reveal that some of the more advanced dinosaurs had feathers or featherlike body covering.

  • Archaeopteryx was considered the first bird but probably couldn't fly far.
  • Pterosaurs - extinct flying reptiles - were not dinosaurs although they were close relatives of dinosaurs. They had hollow bones, relatively large brains and eyes, and skin flaps extended along their arms.

Ornithischians include horned and frilled Triceratops, spiked Stegosaurus and armoured Ankylosaurus.

They often lived in herds and were prey to the larger species of dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 175 million years

Dinosaurs first appeared between 247 and 240 million years ago. An extinction event wiped them out 65,5 million years ago, except for the avian dinosaurs.

Scientists think the extinction was likely because of an asteroid impact, chemicals from erupting volcanoes, climate change and other factors.

In 2017, a study suggested that this hip-oriented classification was incorrect.

Theropods are likely related to the ornithischian dinosaurs. The theropods and Ornithischia form a newly identified group known as Ornithoscelida. If this is correct, it may explain why both theropods and Ornithischia have feathers, while other dinosaurs don't.

Well-known dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus rex, Deinonychus and Velociraptor fall into this order. Saurischians are divided into two groups.

  • Sauropods are four-legged herbivores. They had long heads, long necks and long tails. Leaf-eating Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus fall into this family.
  • Theropods are two-legged carnivores. There are some of the most fearsome dinosaurs, including Allosaurus and T. rex.

In 1842, palaeontologist Richard Owen coined the term dinosaur. The Greek deinos means "terrible," and sauros means "lizard" or "reptile."

Based on the structure of the hipbones, dinosaurs are classified into two orders:

  • Saurischians. These "reptile-hipped" dinosaurs have a pelvis that points forward. They are often long-necked, have large and sharp teeth, long second fingers, and a first finger that point away from the rest of the fingers.
  • Ornithischians are beaked herbivores and milder.

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