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Jenna Sanderson

@jenna94

Ireland

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Abraham Maslow
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

@jenna94

Choose Growth

blogs.scientificamerican.com

Abraham Maslow argued that all needs could be grouped into two main classes: deficiency and growth.

  • Deficiency needs are motivated by a lack of satisfaction, such as the lack of food, safety, affection, belonging, or self-esteem. The higher the need, the more we change reality to satisfy the most deficient needs.
  • Growth needs have a different sort of wisdom. Instead of being driven by fears and anxieties, it is more accepting and loving. It is asking, "What choices will lead me to greater integration and wholeness?" rather than "How can I defend myself?"

At a young age, when an expression of a need is disregarded as not as important as the needs of the caretaker, a child may get the message that they are not loved while they have this need.

This causes people to behave in a way they think they should feel, not how they really feel. As adults, they are always influenced by others' opinions and driven by their insecurities and fears of facing themselves.

To psychotherapist Carl Rogers, the loneliest state is not the loneliness of social relationships, but a separation from one's own experience. Rogers developed the notion of the "fully functioning person" that is characterized as:

  • Is open to all of the elements of their experience
  • Develops a trust in their own experiences
  • Is accepting of the locus of evaluation that is within themselves
  • Is learning to live their life by participating and discovering new aspects of themselves.

Goals are grouped into two main clusters:

  • Security Goals: Have well-respected opinions, have many fine things, be admired by others, be well-known to many, be financially successful, find a good, high-paying job.
  • Growth Goals: help those who need it, show affection to loved ones, feel much loved by intimates, be accepted for who I am, help improve the world, contribute something lasting.

When people are under conditions of freedom, they tend to move towards growth. The goal isn’t to become completely growth-oriented and despise security, but under freedom, the balance tips towards growth.

The G.R.A.C.E. Practice

The practice was created by a Buddhist teacher named Roshi Joan Halifax. Many people are adopting this practice because it helps us guide ourselves and support ourselves in any given situation.

Even the name itself invites the body and the mind to calm down and alleviate any stresses with the heart. Before practicing this method you must first find a comfortable position for your body and practice long deep breaths to soothe your mind.

  • Gathering Attention. It means to place your focus on a sound or an object where you're most comfortable at
  • Recalling Intention. This is to allow yourself to discover new ways to be resilient and engage in self-care.
  • Attuning to Self and Others. We need to check ourselves and to keep in mind that we are interconnected with others.
  • Considering What Would Serve. It means that self-care is not selfish.
  • Ethical Ending and Engagement. We should reflect on what we can do better moving forward.

The G.R.A.C.E. Practice: A Moment to Engage in Self-Care - Mindful

mindful.org

Ingredients for a happy life

After reviewing many studies that explored the science behind a happy life, a deceptively simple, yet reliable formula has been created for a joyful life.

Most of the ingredients to this recipe are very accessible. We know the joy of splashing in the summer rain; we have someone to support us in laughter and pain. It is possible that we are already leading a happy and meaningful life but are unaware of it.

A Recipe for a Happy Life

psychologytoday.com

  • Mindfulness is a valuable stress management mechanism. Practising mindfulness can lead to higher life satisfaction, greater self-esteem, and optimism.
  • Narrative. Listen to the stories of others and share your stories, too. See what you can learn from others' trials and victories.
  • Play. Ensure you make time for fun.

A happy life is full of positive emotions. In particular:

  1. Compassion. The Dalai Lama advises: "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
  2. Gratitude. Being grateful improves relationships, encourage happiness, resilience, and better physical health.
  3. Awe seems to help us move away from the daily details and view life in its entirety.

To nurture our social connections, we need cooperation, touch, and forgiveness.

  • Cooperation. There are many ways to cooperate, such as being kind, inclusive, and charitable. Help someone in need. Express appreciation.
  • Touch can activate the reward centres of the brain. It can build relationships, signal safety, and trust.
  • Forgiveness is possibly the most difficult. Forgiveness can improve our physical health, such as reduced anxiety and pain.
The science of (smart) luck

People find comfort in certainty. We form organisations; we structure our activities and strategies around the idea of certainty; we find satisfaction knowing that planning will bring fruition. But the unforeseen makes the greatest difference to our futures.

We look out for the unexpected every day - for example, when we use a pedestrian crossing, we still look out for the unexpected driver who might race through the red light. That awareness of the unexpected is at the core of understanding the science of smart luck that we can use to our benefit.

How to be lucky | Psyche Guides

psyche.co

  • Trigger - the moment when something unusual or unexpected happens.
  • Connect the dots - observe the trigger and link it to something seemingly unrelated, thus realising the potential valued within a unique event.
  • Sagacity and tenacity - the ability to follows through and create an unexpected positive outcome.

Many of the world's leading minds have developed a capacity to use the unexpected in a positive way.

You can develop a serendipity mindset in yourself. Serendipity is not a passive luck that just happens to you. It is an active process of seeing and connecting the dots. It is about seeing bridges where others see gaps, then taking the initiative to create smart luck.

It is vital to be open and alert to the unexpected.

In one experiment, two people were chosen. The one saw themselves as 'lucky,' the other as 'unlucky.' Both participants were taking separate trips to a coffee shop. On the pavement was a £5 note, and inside sat someone posing as a successful businessman.

  • The 'lucky' person picked up the £5 and struck up a conversation with the businessman.
  • The 'unlucky' person failed to notice the money or talk to the businessman.

This experiment shows that your mindset, and how you think about the possibility, can affect your ability to find opportunities in the moment.

Preparation is the main factor for creating smart luck. It is mostly about removing the mental and physical barriers to serendipity. These include overloaded schedules, pointless meetings, and inefficiencies throughout your day.

An unprepared mind often discards unusual encounters and misses the opportunities for smart luck. Preparation is about developing the ability to employ the positive coincidences that come up in life.

Our habits and preconceptions can prevent us from spotting serendipity. Three major biases stand in the way:

  • Underestimating the unexpected. Once we start to accept that the unexpected happens all the time (bad and good) can we begin to view it as a potential benefit or opportunity rather than a threat.
  • Hindsight bias. When we construct stories of past events, we often think there was a linear trajectory, but it was probably a squiggly path. If you habitually remake the many unexpected events, you'll miss the importance of the unpredictable parts.
  • Functional fixedness. When we use a tool, we're so accustomed to its usual specific function that we're often unable to see its usefulness in other contexts. Similarly, people familiar with specific problem-solving strategies are unlikely to devise simpler or better ones.

Beginners can set a timer for two minutes, then list in two columns the parts of your day that led to positive outcomes and parts that did not. Examine what parts worked really well, and what was inefficient, stressful or unfulfilling.

You might notice patterns that stand out for good or bad. Sometimes, it's the smaller things that deplete your energy and alertness.

  • You might discover patterns that stand out from your journaling that is cluttering your life. Consider why it doesn't work well. What was the underlying assumption that you based your decision on? What could you do instead?
  • Another part is to clean up the small things so that they no longer take up space in your life. Pay the bills where you can, go to the dentist, plan your meals so that it no longer take up headspace.

Serendipity often requires an incubation period. Some efforts result in an immediate spark, while others are like planting seeds that will produce fruit in the future.

Respect your time. Diarise this time like you would a business meeting. Give yourself space to manage your focus, interests and creative energies.

There are simple tools that can further help you exploit serendipity.

  • The serendipity hook strategy. Whenever you meet someone new, cast a few hooks: Find out about hobbies, vocation, current interests, creating space for common ground and shared passions.
  • Try reframing mistakes or challenges as opportunities.
The importance of motivation

Research shows that more than 50% of American workers feel disengaged at their jobs.

Research also shows that motivation is very important to feel engaged. Motivation predicts career success better than intelligence, ability, or salary.

3 Proven Rituals That Will Make You Motivated - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

bakadesuyo.com

We find motivation when something is meaningful. Meaning is much bigger than the enjoyment of a moment. It can include something we don't like. Soldiers risk being killed every day to serve their country. New parents handle poop daily for years.

Meaningful things give us purpose. This means doing something that serves a larger cause than yourself or, at least, making a contribution in your own world.

When a task you have to do doesn't seem meaningful, reframe your experience. You may not always be able to change what you have to do but you can change how you view it. When you look at it in light of how it helps others, you'll often find motivation.

You're not "filling out boring paperwork, you're helping people get the insurance that could save their life. You're not slaving over a hot stove, you're showing your family how much you love them.

When we feel connected to what we're doing and make it our own, we're much more motivated. Having sovereignty over what we do, when we do it, how we do it, where we do it, and who we do it with, serves as a powerful motivator.

When you're handed a task at the office, you can make small tweaks to customize what you have to do. It creates a motivating feeling when you can do it your way.

Very often, when we look at a task, we take the outside view by forgetting about the emotional component. And that's how something we may actually enjoy becomes a chore.

  • The inside view requires you to focus on the middle of the task that you know you usually enjoy, not on starting the task.
  • In tasks where the inside view is worse than the outside, think about the feeling of accomplishment you'll have after it's done.
Introversion is not defined by what it is not

Academics often define introversion by what it is not: extroversion. What everyday introverts think about introversion is not really factored in.

As early as 1980, this problem was identified when a study found that the scientific and common-sense definitions of introversion were not the same.

Apparently There Are 4 Kinds of Introversion

thecut.com

Introverts tend to turn inward rather than outward, but beyond that, it is more complex. There are four types of introverts:

  • Social. The preference for solitude or socializing with small groups instead of large ones. It is not the same as shyness.
  • Thinking introversion. They don't share the aversion to social events. They do tend to be introspective, thoughtful, and self-reflective.
  • Anxious introverts seek solitude because they feel awkward or self-conscious. They tend to ruminate on the things that might or could go terribly wrong.
  • Restrained or reserved introverts prefer to think before they speak or act. They might take a while to get going.

Many introverts are a mix of all four types.

10 Tips To Really Enjoy Vacations
  1. You’re more likely to relax if you take more frequent vacations/year and dial down the expectations on each one.
  2. Family visits are more likely to result in a feeling of exhaustion. Prioritize your top 10 relationships for the year and find ways to interact with them year-round. 
  3. Getting more adventure on your daily life will take the pressure from your vacations to be adventurous making it more relaxing. 
  4. Spending some time outdoors reminds us how small and insignificant most of our problems are.
  5.  A staycation – a vacation from work without the travel - will help with regulating your sleeping schedule.
  6. If you’re traveling don’t hop from place to place, instead try to immerse yourself in them more. 
  7. Plan in transitions. Leave home later and come home early, to ease back into your routine over the weekend. 
  8. Nearly all deadlines are arbitrary. Map out what needs to be done on your return and extend the deadlines around your holiday instead of trying to meet them all before you leave.
  9. Don’t over-plan and over-extend your vacations. 
  10. Find the time and space prior to it to focus on work without interruption so you can fulfill your workaholic needs and not feel like you left too much unfinished.

The Workaholic's Vacation: 10 Tips to Really Relax - Everyday Bright

everydaybright.com

Adopting a new profession

Any time there's a crisis, it can spark self-evaluation. We can wonder where we are in our life and career. Are we doing things that feel fulfilling and challenge us?

Whether you've been unsatisfied in your career path or your job seems risky at the moment, this might be a time to map out a future that is satisfying and potentially financially rewarding.

How to Switch Careers Even if You Think It's Impossible

money.com

  • Reflection. Take time to pinpoint what your values are in your career: What skills and strengths do you have? What do you still want to grow? And what feels like the right move?
  • Research. Align your vision with research. Google what companies and industries make sense. Learn whether you need to go back to school, and if so, what programs would be best suited.

If finding a new job sounds overwhelming, think practically about how you can insert yourself into an area where you might seem like an outsider.

Knowing how your specific experience translates is key. Knowing the fine details of the job, what it requires, and the company will help you to find a way in. Showing examples of learned new skills proves you're really passionate about that role and will grow into it. Employers find that exciting.

It is good to dip your feet in before the big switch. It doesn't hurt to do a side hustle while performing a full-time job. For example, if you're dreaming of becoming an interior designer, ask friends if they know someone looking for help redoing a room.

Networking is easier than ever. Email listservs and specialized Facebook groups can offer a relatively simple foot in the door for particular industries.

Instead of "fake it until you make it," it's better to believe in yourself and your capability. No employer expects you to have 100% of the qualifications.

Don't lie about your proficiency and then get in over your head. Expect to find the job more challenging at first. If you're not hearing back from employers or not nailing the interviews, reach out and ask for feedback. Ask people in that industry to read your resume.

Our Worldview Is Disrupted

Due to the highly unpredictable and uncertain nature of certain events, our opinion about the world has turned largely subjective and detached from reality, because reality itself has become elusive and hard to grasp.

Our mental projections and division of thoughts are creating unique representations about our world which have become our own truth.

Cultural Intelligence: Understand What Shapes Opinions

psychologytoday.com

  • Our belief systems are constructed by our teachers, parents, TV, the internet (mainly social media) and books.
  • Collective thought is considered more powerful than an individual thought.
  • The society is not a singular, objective reality, but a series of different ‘movies’ created inside everyone's head.

Cultural Intelligence requires us to be open-minded to alternatives, and not be too attached to our belief systems, assumptions and what all we have learned over the years.

One has to understand that everything is fluid, and it is not necessary that we are always right and the other person is always wrong. We have to be concerned with meaning, not with opinions about who is right.

Mental Toughness Traits

Professional athletes have five common traits, which make them mentally tough:

  1. Ego strength
  2. Level-headedness
  3. Stress tolerance
  4. Thoroughness
  5. Energy/persistence

5 Personality Traits That Make You Mentally Tough - Darius Foroux

dariusforoux.com

Ego, generally considered an enemy, surprisingly can also be defined as a measure to handle setbacks, criticism and rejection.

When our ego-strength is embraced and utilized positively, we genuinely believe in ourselves no matter what the circumstances. No rejection, loss or failure can destroy our will to keep going.

Mental toughness is about keeping calm and level-headed while in situations that can make one emotional or make one’s heart pound.

It is almost like a superpower if you are composed and ‘cool’ instead of giving a knee-jerk, emotional reaction.

Any high-stakes situation tests our ability to deal with negative consequences in case of failure. If there is a huge risk involved and your decision or action can make or break the situation, there is an added stress that can paralyse you, in a critical time.

Stoicism and mindfulness help us understand and avoid fear and undue worry, not letting the negative emotions cripple us.

Apart from time, which is limited, the biggest resource we have is our energy. It is our ability to perform and sustain activity over a period of time. From learning a skill to writing a book, everything requires energy and persistence. One also has to be resilient and consistent.

Managing one’s energy simply becomes our most important daily responsibility.

While perfectionism is the enemy of efficiency in this fast-paced world, doing your job thoroughly is a trait of being tough mentally.

What makes it special is that it is all more difficult where there are distractions, choices, alternatives and deadlines looming around us all the time.

No Pain No Gain

To practice mental toughness the best way is to dive into action, challenging yourself, and becoming a better, more complete individual, letting go of fear, doubt and anxiety, all of which suck our energy.

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