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Yasin B

@yasinb

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Literature helps us read the room

Are we frustrated of sympathetic with Hamlet's reluctance to avenge his father? When we read literature, we compare the main character's actions to what we'd do in a similar situation.

We develop social sensitivity as we practice our ability to take on another's point of view.

@yasinb

How literature — yes, literature — can help you better connect with others

ideas.ted.com

A study showed that participants who read literature had an increase in blood to the brain areas for processing language and in the regions that had nothing to do with processing language.

For example, if you read about running through a forest, your frontal lobe's motor cortex that coordinate the body's movement lights up in the same way as if you were actually running.

One study demonstrated that the empathy we feel for characters in a novel could make people less racist.

Even children can improve their opinions about stigmatised groups through reading, as proven in another study using the first Harry Potter book in Italy, a country where immigrants are often stigmatised.

Don't just read literature because it's good for you. Read because it's good.

Reading helps us feel, but it also helps us feel better. Books make us feel less isolated.

The Influence of the Moon

There are three ways as to how the moon can affect life on earth:

  • Time
  • Tide
  • Light

The moon has been embedded in many life cycles of many organisms. It has been there ever since the evolution has been taking place, even far longer than that.

How does the Moon affect life on Earth?

nhm.ac.uk

  • Sand Hoppers: These are crustaceans that have two compasses (sun compass in their brain, moon compass in their antennae) that help them stay buried during the day and forage at night.
  • Corals: The lunar timing helps corals in the Great Barrier Reef spawn, so significantly that the changes can be seen in space.
  • Barau's Petrel: These are endangered seabirds that use the moon and the length of the day to synchronize migrations.
The Moon and the tides

The tidal range is one of the most significant and observable effects the Moon has on Earth.

It has been shown in studies that the animals who habitat in coasts and seashores such as limpets, were found to be stronger than any man-made material ever made due to their remarkable adaptability to survive in ever-changing conditions.

There are organisms that have adapted to the fluctuating light levels that are being reflected by the Moon in which some rely on the moonlight to be able to navigate and procreate.

A great example for this is the Ephedra foeminea which is a plant that requires moonlight to produce sparkling droplets for it to be pollinated. Another is the dung beetles in which relies on the moonlight for navigation for safe travel.

Being Insanely Successful By Going Against The Norm
  • Success means different things to different people and is not always about bigger cars or the number of followers.
  • To achieve something extraordinary, you have to do something that no other people (or maybe just a few) are doing or willing to do.
  • Therefore, step-by-step systems on "how to be successful" are not going to help you achieve spectacular success.

Steps to Becoming Insanely Successful...or Whatever | Mark Manson

markmanson.net

The Narrative Fallacy makes us to see events as stories, with logical chains of cause and effect. When it comes to success, do not fall for the ‘narrative’ fallacy’ and think that great people became successful due to what happened to them, and if we emulate that, we will achieve the same result.

We need to do something extraordinary and exceptional to achieve great success, and that makes any successful person an exception, someone who did what few others were willing to do. Instead of googling for success, find what you want to do to change the world!

  • Very few of us went through childhood without getting any emotional scars.
  • Be it home or school, we suffered many problems when our impressionable mind wasn’t mature enough to handle them the way we can as an adult.
  • Our worldview becomes skewed, and we start to build upon the mutated version of the world around us, messing up with our lives.
  • Success by itself is not about money or fame or power, but our upbringing programs us to think about success in a certain way.

Our definitions of success are made up and largely motivated by our emotional dysfunctions. Most people work towards the formula of success, striving for money, prestige and power, running towards a goal that keeps getting farther away. They get super exhausted and may experience a breakdown when they realize that all this does not really mean anything.

When we realize that our emotional dysfunctions and pressures of society were our main motivators towards whatever we had been pursuing, we suddenly see the futility of it all and experience an existential crisisn(or a mid-life crisis) sometime in our 40s or 50s.

Being a good person, taking care of your loved ones, being trustworthy, positive and honest, don’t require much and makes even a simple existence an enjoyable one.

Life, as imperfect and unfair it may seem, is pretty good. Life has plenty of beautiful moments if our definition of success isn’t about accumulation of wealth or a drive towards more power, but to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life.

Having ‘breakout’ success is not an intentional goal.

Giving your life meaning and purpose, while being creatively engaged with the problems of the now, is an emotionally healthy definition of success.

Most scientific breakthroughs have been from people who questioned the status quo and assumptions which were the norm. The ‘outsiders’ with no fixed plan asked the right questions and did something that seemed small and unexpected, in the present moment.

“Manipulation is an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way. People who are trying to manipulate others are trying to control others.”

How to Tell If Someone Is Manipulating You-And What to Do About It

time.com

Manipulation Techniques
  • The ‘foot-in-the-door’ technique consists of making a small and reasonable request, which then leads into a larger request. The initial appeal we supposed to make you feel more comfortable and invested in cooperating.
  • The ‘door-in-the-face’ technique consists of making a big request, having it rejected, then making a smaller one. Following the larger request, the smaller appeal seems reasonable comparatively.
The Nightly Sunset Ritual
  • If the sunset only happened once in a thousand years, the whole world would pay attention.
  • If things happen daily, we take it for granted, something known as Hedonic Adaptation.
  • Having a ritual like watching the sunset every evening makes you realize what’s really beautiful and prized.

1 Nightly Ritual to Stay Ultra-Inspired - The Daily Mastery Podcast by Robin Sharma

open.spotify.com

Due to our survivalist instincts, our brains are not wired towards gratitude, and we have a negativity bias as a default.

Learn to cherish the beautiful moments and connect with nature, and your loved ones, rather than running towards external success, or buying new toys looking for false gratification.

The Stages of Change
  1. Precontemplation: Not ready. Not now.
  2. Contemplation: Maybe soon — thinking about it.
  3. Preparation: Ready, taking small steps.
  4. Action: Doing the healthy behavior.
  5. Maintenance: Keeping on.
  6. Termination: Change fully integrated. Not going back.

The Stages of Change

experiencelife.com

Hoarding: A Short-Term Buzz

We like to accumulate stuff as we believe it makes us (or others) happier, though it is just a short-term feeling. Most of us do not realize the fickleness and subjectivity of the value of the hoarded object. The flipside to this is that hoarders collect a lot of ‘junk’ and live with a lot of stuff they don’t really need.

Real contentment and satisfaction don't come from collecting things, but from the time we spend with our loved ones, the great relationships we have, or even a new place that we visit.

Many of us have a little bit of hoarder inside us - here’s what to do |

ideas.ted.com

  1. Don’t beat around the bush for the real reason that an object is bought: It brings joy.
  2. Don’t think you can get rid of everything overnight, becoming a minimalist.
  3. Try to follow the ‘Use It Or Lose It’ philosophy. If you don’t lose what you don’t need, you end up losing your time, money, space, relationships and opportunities.
  1. Start clearing out your garage, closets and other spaces in instalments, like for 15 to 20 minutes per day, five days a week.
  2. Try not to be too serious, or you end up having a family feud due to the chaos or disagreements over what to keep and what to let go.
  3. Donate as much as you can.
  4. Only keep those old photographs which are of people you remember by name.
Transition is difficult

Transition, even the completely voluntary, can be a source of intense suffering because it involves adapting to new situations and changing your self-conception.

If we understand transitions, we can control our tendency to fight against them. We can turn major life changes into a source of meaning and transcendence.

The Clocklike Regularity of Major Life Changes

theatlantic.com

Transition is also called liminality by psychologists - a state where you are neither in the state you left nor entirely in your new state. This in-between state creates an identity crisis, even in good transitions.

But they are really a predictable and integral part of life and happen regularly. Author Bruce Feiler interviewed hundreds of people and found that a major life change happens, on average, every 12 to 18 months. Even huge collective transitions such as the pandemic occur with regularity.

In hindsight, even the unwanted transitions are usually seen to have been a success.

Research shows that we tend to see past events as net positives over time. Even the most challenging transitions have some positive fruit. It may just take some time to see it.

When we don't resist challenging transitions, we learn how to cope with subsequent life changes. We gain a sense of meaning that makes the rest of life seem more stable.

Those who benefit and learn the most from them are those who accept them and lean into them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Not in his goals but in his transitions man is great."
Philosophy of life

A philosophy of life means a mental framework for understanding how the world works and how you fit into it. It would include how you decide what is good and bad, what you mean with "success" and "purpose," whether there is a God, etc.

You may feel that you could summarize your philosophy of life with labels such as Libertarian, Feminist, Liberal, Conservative, Buddhist, Christian, Entrepreneur, and others. But our actual philosophies of life are more complex and not so quickly contained.

What is your philosophy of life?

medium.com

  • The True North Group: You have a compass for life and know which direction is the correct way. When asked about your philosophy of life, you could explain it immediately and concisely.
  • The Dusty Compass Group: You have a compass for directing your life, but you don't always know how to use it. You may have a loosely organized philosophy but may not use it to filter and direct your experience.
  • The Inbox Group: You may not have a compass. Life may be about something, but you don't know. Your approach is to deal with life the way you manage email: You are just directing your attention to whatever lands in your inbox.

The difference between the members of these three groups is internal. You won't be able to spot them instantly.

In general, it is better to live as a member of the True North group, provided you remain humble, curious, and open to the possibility you may be wrong.

If you are in the Dusty Compass Group or the Inbox Group, a brush of near-death has a way of improving your philosophy of life. You may be jolted into living on purpose and make it count. In the face of mortality, we think hard about what matters. But, as the weeks and months pass, you may drift back to distraction. Without the vivid orienting direction of a clear philosophy of life, it becomes easy to do whatever's easiest instead of living the way you'd want your obituaries to read.

That's why reflecting every now and again on the reality of death is a good thing to do to make the most of the reality of life.

Social-emotional learning

Schools are supposed to be able to adjust to their students' needs and requirements throughout the year.

Especially in times of crisis, the technique called social-emotional learning is a must that schools have to integrate into their teaching system: acknowledge the experiences that students have gone through during the particularly difficult time and help them deal with the different needs that this period has resulted in.

Can A Crisis Push Schools in a Positive Direction?

greatergood.berkeley.edu

While going through a crisis of any kind can be challenging for most of us, one category that for sure feels the change is represented by the teaching staff worldwide.

When asked to teach their subject via Zoom or applications alike, teachers have to change their way of presenting the topic, make them seem more interesting and, what is even more important, to make the class more interactive; this can eventually lead to sadness, anxiety and fear even for the most experienced teachers.

If there is one thing that teachers should be particularly good at, this has to be mentoring their students.

By doing so, not only do they guide an individual's self-development throughout his or her school years, but they also emphasize the idea of human interaction, which should actually be the basis for most of our successful actions.

While the traditional teaching system model involves lots of material to learn and to be tested afterward, times of crisis have recently proven that school can happen without all this.

Maybe the best example regarding how a school can work without testing and while giving more autonomy to teachers is in Finland, which happens to have impressive results in what children's reading and maths skills are concerned.

There is one thing most schools have failed to understand: while encouraging students to learn in order to get high marks will lead to them achieving this purpose, it will surely not end up with them feeling motivated to learn on their own or discover any kind of pleasure in studying.

On the other hand, times of crisis might actually make everybody realize that more academic freedom on both teachers' and students' side as well as more interactive activities might actually lead to students being more engaged in studying and teachers more pleased with their job.

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