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Maryadonna

@maryadonna

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Dune: The Origin
  • In the late 50s, Frank Herbert, a freelance writer, was roaming the desert landscapes of Florence, Oregon, researching sand dunes.
  • His classic Dune got rejected by about 20 publishing houses, and soon after getting published by a magazine company, built up a huge fan base in the coming two decades.
  • Fifty years later, it is considered the greatest novel of the science fiction genre.

@maryadonna

Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world

theguardian.com

The story of Dune is set in the far future, with a vast, hostile desert being the hotbed of the action. The beautiful story is filled with treachery, tragedy and an addictive drug everyone wants: Spice.

The writer borrowed heavily from Islamic culture, and created meaty characters, along with the protagonist, Paul, being a man of destiny.

  • The book became the greatest science fiction novels of all time and sold millions of copies.
  • Dune’s official Hollywood debut happened in 1984, but it was a cheesy movie (with Sting in a codpiece) that was ridiculed. The grander, epic-scale movie was planned but never got made.
  • The story of Dune was then repackaged by George Lucas, creating a movie everyone knows about: Star Wars.
  • The book series continued even after Frank Herbert's death in 1986, with 13 more books getting produced apart from his earlier sequel works.
Aristotle's Practical Wisdom

The foundation of practical wisdom is derived from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. It deals with the question: How best shall we live?

To live well is to act well. To act well is the ability to do the right thing at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason. To do that, we need discernment and the will to do so.

Aristotle's Wise Action: Practical Wisdom

psychologytoday.com

To merely have practical intelligence and skill can run the risk of what Aristotle called "cleverness" or "shrewdness" - the ability to accomplish one's goals regardless of the rightness or consequences of those goals themselves.

Aristotle suggests that having the right character puts one on a much better footing. To know the intention of an action is to know its real aim. To act rightly, we need to know the right ends we aim for, the motivation to want those ends (i.e. moral will), and the means to accomplish them (i.e., character virtues). This is practical wisdom.

For social institutions, like the family, the community, businesses, hospitals, governmental organisations, etc., their true aim must be known to function well.

Unhinged from its larger purpose can lead them astray. For example, politicians that vie for power rather than service, doctors working for money rather than humans, news outlets sensationalising for rating instead of objective reporting, etc.

One avenue for practical wisdom's application is in system changers. This comes back to Aristotle's original vision for legislators and politicians, whose primary obligation was to structure organisations and their practices to encourage others to learn to act wisely.

Practical wisdom cannot be learned in the narrow sense of learning as reading books or listening to lectures. It is embedded within the actual practices of a given role or vocation and can only be learned through hands-on, lived practice.

Handling A Bad Mood
  • It is normal to experience a bad mood occasionally, when feelings of anger, frustration, anxiousness, or being let down take control over our normal behaviour.
  • Emotional short cuts, hacks and quick fixes are limited and temporary in their effectiveness, and it is better to practice acceptance and self-compassion, along with a willingness to go through the feelings.
  • The 3 Ms of handling bad moods are:: Move, Make and Meet.

To Quickly Shake Off a Bad Mood, Remember the 3 Ms | Nick Wignall

nickwignall.com

Physical activity and exercise can get rid of lethargy and irritability, and help with serious issues like chronic anxiety and depression.

What’s really great is that you don’t need an hour to improve your mood. Even a stroll in the park or a few pushups can dispel your grogginess, boosting positive feelings in your brain.

Creating something beautiful is a great way to boost your mood. We all are makers and creators, and making stuff is a powerful way to feel good.

Cooking food, fixing something, decluttering your desk, or painting bottles can help pep you up.

On a basic level, human beings are born to connect. We can form complex relationships to build, coordinate, and take advantage of interpersonal connections.

Individualism and independence have led to isolation, which results in amplifying our suffering. Connecting with others in any way possible can help boost our mood.

  1. Encoding - the stage when the brain consciously acknowledges information based on our senses. When we attach meaning or factual knowledge to any of this sensory input, that's called semantic encoding which makes us retain memories longer.
  2. Storage - it is when information is stored in different areas of the brain, thanks to the neurons that connect every time we perceive information.
  3. Recall - when our brain "replays" or revisits our memory even though it is not as exact as the first one.

The Science of Memory: Top 10 Proven Techniques to Remember More and Learn Faster

zapier.com

  • Get a good night's sleep or take a power nap after learning something new, to help retain and retrieve memories better. Sleep deprivation and acquisition of too much information will not help you save those memories.
  • Get moving, to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood in your brain and to trigger neuron growth and new connections in the brain - critical for memory.
  • Improve your diet. Fats from food can build up the brain, resulting to poor blood flow.
Mnemonics

Any system or device designed to aid memory:

  • patterns of letters or words (common mnemonics)
  • ideas (memory palace)
  • associations (chunking)
  • Make new connections that are visual (and perhaps outrageous): Turn the sound of names into a visual representation and anchor it to a physical picture of whatever you want to remember; Animate the images to easily remember them; Engage as many of your senses as possible.
  • Write notes or lectures down instead of typing them, to activate your brain and senses. Creating mind maps could also help you remember.
  • Use spaced repetition, from short to long time spaces when recalling/reviewing an information.
  • Share what you're learning, so you can prepare and organize your knowledge, and improve your understanding.
  • Acronyms/Expression Mnemonics are sets of letters or words that correspond to certain words or meaning.
  • Music Mnemonics are catchy songs or jingles that help you to remember long string of words or letters.
  • Rhyming Mnemonics refer to the rhymes of the end of every line that create a song-like pattern.
  • The Rhyming Peg System: In this system, for each number, you memorize an image of a word that rhymes with it. That image provides a "hook" or "peg" for things you want to remember, especially in order.

With the memory palace technique, you associate a location you're familiar with—such as your apartment, the block you grew up on, or the route you take to work or school—with the items you're trying to remember. It works because you're visually pegging (or "placing") representations of what you want to remember in places you already have strong memories of.

... refers to the grouping of information into smaller sets, to easily remember them based on the patterns or organization each segments form.

Techziety

Technology + Anxiety = Techziety

  • As time passes by, technology has been evolving continuously and many among the older generation are experiencing anxiety with technology.
  • We have turned to social media apps to connect with our friends and family and due to certain situations, even businesses and learning have all turned online using Zoom, Facebook, and other variants, thus began the Virtual Revolution.

Pros:

  1. Having a flexible work schedule
  2. Huge reduction in commuting time
  3. The evolvement of solutions to communication challenges

Cons:

  1. Deterioration of human connection
  2. Decreased attention span
  3. The expenses and functionality of gadgets within the budget range

With the upsurge of the virtual world, we tend to often worry whether we'll be able to connect to the meeting, gadget malfunction, or if you will be able to integrate the message you want to send through a virtual meeting.

If you're experiencing this, try these:

  1. Have a back up plan ready. If you have a presentation, print out your report or send everyone a copy in advance;
  2. Invest in technology, it will be worth it;
  3. Allow yourself to rest; and
  4. Remember that it's not the end of the world.
The Habit Dip

While pursuing a new habit, or eradicating an old one, we often experience a dip in motivation, focus and energy. This is due to many factors, like loss of motivation due to any internal or external difficulty, or getting sidetracked by life.

A habit dip is a temporary fall and can be a learning experience if we endure it.

The Habit Dip : zen habits

zenhabits.net

The habit dip and other dips in motivation teach us the following:

  • Facing our difficulties, and not avoiding them.
  • Self-encouragement.
  • Letting of the false beliefs and ideals that make us discouraged.
  • Dealing with frustration and fear.
  • Self-nourishment.
  • Self-compassion.
  • Avoiding the usual excuses for quitting.
  • Avoiding self-pity or self-concern when things get hard.

Anyone who has overcome the habit dip (like a marathon runner) will testify that the feelings of discouragement and boredom are temporary. Like everything else, these temporary feelings are waypoints and not endpoints.

  • One has to come with a learning mindset, bringing genuine interest, encouragement and curiosity, letting go of the old beliefs and ideals.
  • One can bring mindfulness and awareness into each body sensation, and the minds many discouragements.
  • A continuous learning experience can make one embrace the difficult areas.
Loneliness Around The Holidays

Right after Thanksgiving, the sights and sounds around us morph into a familiar holiday cheer, with twinkling lights, christmas carols and classics on TV channels. It can be the best feeling in the world, but also can be an oppressive feeling for some, who are so lonely that they feel ‘mocked’ by the ongoing holiday splurge going around, with family get togethers and gifts.

The holiday times are cheery but stressful, and can be a harrowing experience for those who already struggle with loneliness or depression.

Coping With Loneliness Around The Holidays

estherperel.com

Much of the childhood holiday magic we remember was a sacrifice for most adults who wanted the time to be special for kids. True holiday spirit is a mix of pleasure, sacrifice and pain, a mix of emotions where our own sense of joy is hardly felt.

The holidays amplify the loneliness and sacrifice, due to the pandemic, global remoteness, joblessness, personal loss and the many unspoken feelings that become evident at this time.

  1. Call up your friends, or do virtual meetings.
  2. Adopt a dog.
  3. Start gardening.
  4. Cook with friends on a Facetime/Zoom call.
  5. Join virtual communities of your interest.
  6. Volunteer.
  7. Go to a nursing home and interact if possible.
  8. Join a virtual exercise session.
  • Wake up early, preferably after a good sleep.
  • Make your bed in the morning.
  • Exercise for at least one hour, or even just basic breathing exercises.
  • Go out for a walk in the sun.
  • Have a light and healthy breakfast.
  • Be decisive, compassionate and focused.
  • Meditate.
  • Say ‘I love you’ to your family members, near and far.
  • Be grateful.
  • Don’t use your smartphone or iPad before bed.
  • Eat chocolate.
  • Take warm showers.
  • Wear warm socks.
  • Laugh as hard as you can.
  • Read the comics.
  • Play your favourite Christmas movies.
  • Try new recipes.
  • Look at old pictures and read old letters.
  • Write down whatever is good in your life.
  • Listen to music.
  • Paint, sew and design stuff.
Almost all writing is influenced by other people’s work

Even if some writers avoid reading when they’re writing a book because they’re afraid of being influenced by other people’s work, finding your unique voice is most times the result of borrowing ingredients from other people and coming up with your recipes.

10 Daily Habits and Mindsets That Helped me Write 4 Books

medium.com

Gratitude promotes wellbeing

Gratitude, the feeling of being thankful, is known to increase wellbeing, with studies showing that it:

  • Protects from stress and depression
  • Makes relationships more fulfilling
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Increases mental toughness
  • Decreases worry
  • Improves the self-image

Is gratitude the secret of happiness? I spent a month finding out

theguardian.com

Gratitude branding
Gratitude has been repackaged and sold by personalities like Oprah, Arianna Huffington and Richard Branson who are touting the benefits of feeling grateful as a universal remedy for everything.
Society and gratitude

Gratitude is a natural feeling humans are equipped with, and the problem arises when there is more of ingratitude in society.

To have the capacity to feel gratitude, you must be able to receive and accept something helpful or good from another person. It helps if this is something you see happening around you from infancy, so you can learn how it works.

Ingratitude

Many people do not have the capacity to feel gratitude easily as they have only seen neglect, abuse, and deprivation their entire lives.

To feel gratitude, you need to actually receive something good and helpful from someone, so that the emotion naturally arises.

The genetic aspect of happiness

Research found that socioeconomic status, educational attainment, marital status account for only 3% of the variance in well-being. Personality-related genetic influences determine up to 65% of our happiness.

Researchers have identified the genetic factors that influence our happiness. These mechanisms impact our self-control, a sense of purpose, agency, drive for personal growth, and how we manage our social relationships.

Genetics of happiness: does happiness really depend upon ourselves?

nesslabs.com

Numerous studies show that external life circumstances have a small impact on our long-term happiness.

Other research shows that happiness is very high immediately after a major positive event, but will return to the level it was in a month or two. This stable level of happiness is called your happiness set point.

Your happiness set point is not fixed. It's more a soft baseline that your happiness will hover around for the majority of your life.

Resilience research proposes that your resilience is mostly your ability to keep your happiness at the set point while going through difficult experiences.

  • Maintain good relationships with close family members, friends, and others.
  • Learn to manage crises instead of seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems.
  • Accept circumstances that cannot be changed.
  • Develop realistic goals and move towards them.
  • Decision-making. Take deliberate actions in adverse situations.
  • Look for opportunities of growth and self-discovery after a negative event.
  • Self-perception. Develop self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Maintain a long-term perspective. Look at the stressful event in a broader context.
  • Maintain optimism.
  • Take care of your health - your mind and body, exercising regularly, and paying attention to your own needs.

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