Self Improvement


Typically, the law tells us what we are prohibited from doing and what we are required to do. It is said that the law sets minimum standards of behavior while ethics sets maximum standards.

Ethics provides us with guides on what is the right thing to do in all aspects of life, while the law generally provides more specific rules so that societies and their institutions can be maintained. Ethics engages our thinking and also our feelings, including those of disgust and guilt.

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Self Improvement

Ethical behavior is not always best defined within the confines of the law.

Something may be legal but we may consider it unacceptable. And we may consider something right but it may not be legal. Many companies are facing a public backlash for not paying adequate tax in a number of jurisdictions. While this may not be an illegal activity, it is considered wrong and we are looking to the law to make sure it does not allow it.

Journaling can be a great tool to put the negative self-critic out of our minds and on paper.

The self-talk, when written down, morphs into self-compassion and is devoid of its power on us.

Our Troublesome Inner Voice

The infamous Imposter Syndrome, where we secretly believe that we are not worthy of our position, affects all kinds of people across all sectors, and mostly happens due to the fear of failure.

We are unable to recognize the inner voice that makes us feel like a fraudulent person. Our inner critic needs to be silenced and replaced with motivating and encouraging thoughts.

If we focus on what matters to us in the long run, and what impacts our career, we will find that the fear of failure or the ÔÇśinternal feeling of intellectual phoninessÔÇÖ is trivial.

Setting our eyes on long term goals and vision removes the temporary feelings of unworthiness.

Just like journaling, verbalizing your thoughts by confiding in a trusted aide or a close friend is cathartic.

They will repair your diminished mindset and self-doubt and put your confidence back on your face.

Intentional deep breathing is a sure-fire way to increase the oxygen levels inside you and to de-stress yourself.

Most people use a quarter of their lung capacity and only need to take a few long and slow breaths to feel better.

We often donÔÇÖt have high regard for ourselves, due to our upbringing or life experiences.

If we are not sure of ourselves, we can try to visualize what our idol would do in the same situation, and how the seemingly insurmountable problem would be managed by that person.

  • One solution is to tilt the playing field if your temporary motivation is strong enough, keeping in mind that there will be lots of little bumps.
  • An alternative can be to smooth the bumps by reducing friction to your goal.
  • Another is to block the easier routes to help you stay focused.
  • Better though is to design a new path for your goal that will flow where you want it to go. The person who gets in shape doing an activity they love (skiing, hiking) might not need so much motivation to get there.

Motivation is just a kind of system.

If you can understand the system, you can change it and use it to gain a better outcome.

How motivation works inside the brain

Our brains are parallel computing systems. Billions of neurons and trillions of synapses all fire independently. Yet, we can only take one action at a time. For example, we can't sit and jog at the same time.

The basal ganglia is situated in the brain's neocortex and receive inputs from many cortical regions, such as your frontal cortex (thinking, working memory) and motor cortex (physical actions). It controls which action to support based on which set of activities will lead to the best rewards. But the system is very short-sighted.

Motivation can be compared with water flowing downhill. Water will always flow in the path of least resistance. If there's a slight lip of land, the water will pool because it can't get over the hump.

Our motivations are similar. We want to be rich, fit, intelligent and successful, but the action to get there requires some effort (uphill). Our impulse is to procrastinate instead.

  • Jung worked with Eugen Bleuler, the doctor who invented the word "schizophrenia."
  • Jung developed the word association test of Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin.
  • Jung had an electric personality. At university, he gave public talks. Women flocked to him before and after each of his lectures. Then a woman became his patient and, so rumored, his lover.
  • Patients developing powerful feelings for their therapist was then new. Freud thought this transference was unhelpful. Later he thought it was the cornerstone of psychodynamic therapy.

At university, Jung proved to be a brilliant student, graduating in medicine and natural science.

His doctorate was on "the psychology and pathology of so-called occult phenomena." Here he laid the foundations for two key ideas:

  • The unconscious contains part-personalities, called complexes.
  • Most of the work of personality development is done at the unconscious level.
  • The Swiss psychologist was born in 1875 and died in 1961. His father was a village pastor. His mother was a strong figure though she seems to have had a split personality.
  • Jung's childhood was troubled and he developed a schizoid personality, becoming withdrawn and aloof. He thought he had two personalities and named them No. 1 and No. 2. Later he renamed his personalities ego and the self.
What Carl Jung is known for

Carl Jung introduced the theory of personality types. You have used some of Jung's ideas if you think of yourself as introvert or extrovert; if you have ever used the Myers-Briggs personality or spirituality test.

Two ideas central to his theory: the ego and the self.

John Storey (Cultural Studies Professor) offers six different definitions of popular culture. It is

  1. It is a culture that is widely favoured or liked.
  2. It is whatever is left after you substracted "high culture."
  3. It can be defined as commercial objects that are produced for mass consumption by non-discriminating consumers.
  4. It is folk culture and is created by the people (authentic) as opposed to commercial enterprises.
  5. It is partly imposed on by the dominant classes, but the subordinate classes decide what to keep or discard.
  6. The distinction between "authentic" and "commercial" is blurred.

The definitions of pop culture proposed by professor John Storey seem to change depending on the context. Since the 21st century, mass media has changed so much that it is difficult to establish how they function.

  • In 2000, "mass media" meant only print (newspapers), broadcast (television and radio) and cinema.
  • Today it accepts a variety of social media forms.
  • Popular culture today is mostly something established by niche users.
  • Social media means consumers are in direct contact with producers and are producers themselves.

In a way, popular culture is again expressing the simplest meaning: it is what many people like.

The origins of the rise of popular culture can be traced to the creation of the middle class in the Industrial Revolution. The working class moved away from farming life and into urban environments and began creating their own culture shared with their co-workers, as part of separating from their parents and bosses.

After WWII, innovations in mass media led to significant cultural and social changes in the west. Newly invented goods were marketed to different classes.

Popular Culture (or "Pop Culture")

The term "popular culture" - coined in the mid-19th century - refers to the traditional and material culture of a particular society.

In the modern West, pop culture refers to cultural products consumed by most of the society's population such as music, art, literature, fashion, dance, film, cyberculture, television, and radio.

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