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James Cooper

@jamesthecooper

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Rainbows And The Pilot's Glory

A pilot's glory is seen when you look down at a cloud or a blanket of fog, tight circles will appear around the antisolar point.

They, unlike rainbows, are the product of electromagnetic waves.

@jamesthecooper

If Rainbows Are Circular, Why Do We Only See Arches? | HowStuffWorks

science.howstuffworks.com

Antisolar Point

This is the point in the sky or on the earth that is precisely 180 degrees away from the sun from your vantage point.

The antisolar point is marked by the head of your shadow. Every rainbow is perfectly circular based on this exact position.

Degrees of Separation

Sun rays are a mixture of all the different colors that are visible within the light spectrum even though they look white. With this in mind, when a beam of sun ray enters a water droplet the component colors refract and exit the water at different angles.

Each ray has a different wavelength where the longest belongs to the red light while the shortest is the purples.

In 2016, Denmark was ranked as the happiest nation globally, even though it is dark for 16 hours a day in midwinter.

The annual World Happiness Report assesses criteria such as per capita income, life expectancy, people's freedom to make life decisions, generosity, social support, and government and business corruption.

How the happiest people on the planet keep smiling

sciencefocus.com

The Danes focus on the small things that really matter, such as quality time with friends and family, and enjoying the good things in life. Hygge (pronounced 'hooga') is translated as 'cosiness', but Danes argue it is more than that. It is togetherness and relaxation, an indulgence and a comfort.

Work is also a great way to beat gloominess. But how work is done, with whom, and in what circumstances can create or destroy happiness.

  • Researchers analysed the DNA of people around the world and found three genetic variants for happiness. Two of the variants are linked with differences in the symptoms of depression.
  • Another paper suggests that the DNA of people who regard themselves as happy is more likely to contain a specific gene variant.
  • Other research shows that national levels of happiness depend on how close we are genetically to the Danes.
Benjamin Franklin
"Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom."

There are three different types of happiness measures:

  1. How we experience positive emotions.
  2. How we experience negative emotions.
  3. Life evaluations (how happy we are with our lives as a whole.)

Brain scans show that volunteers who rated highly on happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus, involved in self-reflection and consciousness.

Why We Have Regret

We regret the decisions we make because we think we should have done something better but didn’t.

We regret these decisions, which are in the past and can’t be changed because we compare them to an ideal path that we think we should have taken.

Why We Have Regret - zen habits

zenhabits.net

We have a hard time not thinking about a bad choice because of how it conflicts with our self-identity.

Maybe we made a bad choice and this bad choice conflicts with our idea that we’re a good person. So the problem spins around and around, without resolution.

Let go of the ideals, and embrace reality.

  • The choice we made in the past is done, and we can’t change it. Some choices will be great, some won’t be perfect.
  • Making a bad choice isn’t in conflict with our realistic, not fixed self-identity. It’s a part of it.

This is a constant practice, but it helps us not constantly review past choices, but instead find satisfaction in what we’ve done and focus in what we’re doing now.

Life is progress, not perfection

It doesn't work like a check-list: You can't check each item off, get to be happy and old for a couple of decades, then you die. Problems don’t go away, they change and evolve. And accepting life's imperfection is hard because it forces us to accept that we have to live with things we don’t like.  

The Hidden Costs of Happiness

markmanson.net

Taking responsibility

Blaming the world for your problems is the easy way out. 

It gives you short-term relief, you lie in your imagined victimhood, but ultimately it implies that you are incapable of controlling your own fate. 

Mark Manson
t;You can only fix your own imperfections and not the imperfections of others. So you may as well get to work on them.&
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Bravery is not the absence of fear 🌪. It's feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important. 

Progress and happiness

In any venture, failure is required to make progress. Without failure, there is no progress and without progress, there is no happiness.  

The "I'll start tomorrow" trap

When there is a new habit to form or a new project to work on, the human tendency is to say, "I'll start tomorrow", or "I'll start on Monday."

We get a payoff when we delay important actions and promise that we will do it at some perfect time in the near future.

The 'Start from tomorrow' trap - PsychMechanics

psychmechanics.com

In nature, we see perfect beginnings and endings. The sun rise and sets. Trees shed their leaves in winter, and blossom in summer.

One thought payoff we get from delaying our work for a specific time is the idea that if we begin something perfectly, it will go perfectly and end perfectly. This is the main reason people make New Year's resolutions.

We play mind games to convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing, even though we know its not the right thing.

When we don't feel like doing something that we know we must do, the mind is quick to rationalize a delay by 'giving you permission' to start a habit or do the task at a later 'perfect' stage. However, when we become aware of what we're really doing, we can change our behaviour.

Happiness

Happiness and satisfaction are subjective concepts – while for some of us monetary benefits can be equated with job satisfaction, some might strive for recognition of their hard-work and lose motivation on failing to achieve so.

No matter what the standards are, being content with our careers is crucial for maintaining the ‘work-life’ balance.

Tips on How to be Happy at Work

positivepsychologyprogram.com

In a fundamental sense, workplace happiness comes when:

  • We enjoy doing the tasks assigned to us
  • We feel right about the people we are working with
  • We are happy with the financial benefits we get from the job
  • We have the scope of improving our existing skills
  • We feel respected and acknowledged at work
Importance Of Happiness At Work

Happy employees are compulsory for a growing business.

A study on organizational success revealed that employees who feel happy in the workplace are 65% more energetic than employees who don’t. They are two times more productive and are more likely to sustain their jobs over a long period of time.

  • Happiness at work can spread like fire
  • Happiness Builds Positivity
  • Happiness Reduces Stress
  • Happiness at Work means a Healthy Life
  • Happiness at Work Increases Likeability
  • Workplace autonomy and the freedom to decide
  • Task variations and scope for creative ideas
  • Task significance
  • Recognition for work
  • Task difficulty
  • Professional skills and specialization
  • Social support within the workplace
  • Feedback from superiors
  • Environmental conditions at work
  • Business management and networking channels.
Finding Real Happiness at Work
  1. Declutter your Workplace
  2. Mindfulness
  3. Exercise, in any form
  4. Engage in Feedback Mechanisms
  5. Reflect on One Task at a Time
  6. Help a Colleague
  7. Choose your Responses Wisely. Practice mindfulness, gratitude, and effective communication.
  8. Value yourself
  9. Start Your Day on a Good Note. Take some moments each morning to collect your thoughts and plan your day ahead.
  10. Adjust your Schedules. Prolonged working hours without breaks can take a toll on the brain and bring us down, thereby making way for unproductivity and distress.
Motivation is a muscle that we need to build

Motivation does not happen to us. It is a muscle that we need to build. After an inspirational talk, we might feel motivated for a while but will fall back to our old routines.

What is lacking is a behaviour to put our knowledge in motion. In the beginning, we will hardly notice any progress. With practice and repetition, our brains will create patterns of learning. Eventually, the tasks that required a lot of effort will become effortless.

Simple Yet Useful Tips To Push Your Motivation Flywheel

hackernoon.com

Knowing what keeps you back is as valuable as determining how to get started.

  • What are the bottlenecks to get you started?
  • What can cause you to stop once you start?
  • How do you know what to do once you get started?
  • What if you're not capable of achieving your goals?
  • How would you know if you're making progress?
  • Even if you don't feel like it, take control by starting today.
  • Shift your mental energy from thinking to doing.
  • Believe there's no better day to start than today.
  • Set a micro goal for today without worrying about tomorrow.
  • Commit to taking one small step.
  • Tell yourself that when you gain momentum, the task will become easier.

Whether you desire to invest in daily reading, work out in the gym, eat healthily or anything else, the second step is to give momentum to the motivation flywheel by scheduling it.

Do not prioritize what is on your schedule. Instead, ensure that you schedule your priorities.

Set simple routines to help you get started without much effort. For example, for a writing goal, set up your table with a bottle of water and read what you wrote the previous day.

The cue will set you in motion and help build the momentum to continue.

Input without output can demotivate us, making us question our choices and re-evaluate our strategies.

Reach out to friends, family, colleagues and share where you are, what you desire, and seek advice on how to move forward. Join groups and networks with similar interests and learn from people who have done this before.

We can learn from our own experience and find ways to improve. Repeat the following questions to yourself over time.

  • What did I achieve today, and how can I better it?
  • What should I continue doing, what should I stop, and what new activities should I add?
  • What are my fears?
  • What are my strengths?
  • Do my strategy and tactics work or do I need to re-evaluate my choices?
  • Are my choices aligned with my principles and values?
  • What do my close friends and family feel about it?

With time, you will notice a transformation in how you approach new goals.

Change in uncertain times

During times of uncertainty, we usually prefer to keep the status quo. We focus on our most urgent decisions: how to be safe and healthy, how to keep our bosses happy, or, if we’ve lost a job, how to find a new one as quickly as possible. This makes it difficult to find the time, motivation, and mental energy to think about longer-term questions.

But there is no such thing as total predictability and despite the challenges that extended periods of uncertainty present, those periods also offer unparalleled opportunities for strategic planning.

5 Strategies for Reinventing Your Career in Uncertain Times

hbr.org

If you want a new job during uncertain times, consider planning not just for the most likely scenarios but also for one in which you’re unemployed for twice as long as you expect, or in which your partner also is unemployed.

These scenarios are difficult to think about, but deciding how you would handle them, and setting triggers for action can help ensure that you don’t find yourself in a more dreadful situation later on, such as having to sell your home or move in with relatives.

Challenge the assumptions you are making about yourself and think about different ways you could leverage your skills and fulfill your passions.

  • Think about your most vivid difficult moments and about the skills or creative adaptations you drew on to meet them.
  • Think about the moments when you were at your best. The patterns you discover can serve as clues.
  • To understand what you value, think about how you spend your free time.
  • This will help you move past the paralysis of uncertainty. If your tasks feel intimidating, break them down into small manageable steps.
  • If you’re not sure what to prioritize, start with something that will bring you benefits no matter what, like brushing up your CV or updating your social media profile.
  • Consider these questions: “What small move could I make today that would bring me joy?” or “What could I accomplish if I gave myself a week?”

When thinking about an uncertain future, don't just think about acquiring new skills or making new connections. Planning for uncertainty is also about making strategic choices concerning what to leave behind.

It is difficult to give up things in which you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and energy. And you can get nostalgic about the past, especially when facing uncertainty in the present. But moving forward means knowing what is no longer serving you and giving yourself the space to pursue something new.

Abstract Art: Many Shades And Hues

Visually different from figurative art, abstract art came in the early 20th century and used colours, lines, forms and shapes to create unseen compositions, with little or faint relation with the outside world.

It expanded upon the artist’s freedom of expression, imagination, inner turmoil, spirituality and spontaneity.

Many Different Views of Abstract Art by Artists Past and Present - Manhattan Arts

manhattanarts.com

Many historians and artists throughout the century have had contradictory opinions and beliefs about abstract art.

Some people find abstract art the true original expressions, and figurative art being a mere imitation of reality. Others call it a hidden reality, where traces of figurative art are removed and ‘abstracted’ to stoke the imagination.

Pablo Picasso
"“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterwards, you can remove all traces of reality.”"

Abstract art is like an ignition key, cranking up our own inner world of imagination and unlimited possibilities. The image in abstract art is bait. The real magic is in the feeling the overall work of art produces out of the onlooker.

The formless forms of abstract art create inner sounds that evoke sensations and make the person enter the realm of the transcendental.

Abstract art is a no-art art that does not have any rules.

The abstraction is a freeing concept that allows the artist to tap into their intuition, innovativeness and even inner darkness to spill out what is felt inside, creating multi-dimensional magic on canvas.

Nature in some ways is abstract, and a merging of art with nature puts the power of the elements, the sun, water, earth, moon, air and light into the ethereal paintings of imaginary new worlds and metaphorical concepts.

The spontaneousness of abstract art makes the entire process a journey of self-discovery, where the artist does not know where the brush and canvas will take him.

The structure and openness of abstract art are conducive to unexpected twists, turns and tangents, transmogrifying the content into a moving, speaking piece of work.

Figurative art and conventional photography have a limitation of simply imitating or reproducing on canvas what is already existing in reality, and thus is constrained to an extent.

Abstract art is powerful as it transcends the limits of thought and provides unlimited possibilities to explore the many dimensions of human emotions, with each artist using a unique, visual language of lines and colour.

Daydreaming about goals

It is natural to daydream about the things we want - how wonderful it would be if you learned a new language or wrote a novel. But, merely visualising a brighter future won't make it more likely.

Research shows that we should make pragmatic plans to accomplish our goals. To prevent our good intentions from remaining wishful thinking, we should compare our vision with our current circumstance, identify the obstacles, and find the best way to overcome them.

The strategy that turns daydreams into reality

bbc.com

It is speculated that people confuse daydreams for reality. The warm emotions from the fantasies lead them to feel as if they'd already met their goals. It results in not putting in the hard work needed for success.

Positive thinking on its own could be counter-productive. Research shows that dieters who fantasized about weight loss are less likely to lose weight. Students who dream of academic success tend to get worse grades than those who don't.

Mental contrasting is engaging in a positive fantasy, followed by thinking about the obstacles that might stop you from achieving that goal.

Mental contrasting is a versatile and valuable tool. It is particularly effective when it is combined with implementation intentions ("if-then" plans).

If you would like to try mental contrasting yourself, remember the acronym 'WOOP.'

  • Consider your Wish
  • Imagine the Outcome
  • Identify the Obstacle
  • Then make a Plan

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