It has been exactly one year since I posted the NVC 201 article where I presented a list of ways one can use Non-Violent Communication more effectively. Twelve months later and I have a whole new list. A good time to review one’s New Year’s resolution list too. 😉
The Moon scenes in the picture are from two popular Hollywood movies. The lower one is from the movie “Joe Versus the Volcano” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and the second one is from the classic “Lawrence of Arabia”.
My OCD with geometry and astronomy made me unable to ignore the fact that the Moon was “frowning” in both scenes. When shooting movies, it is usually easier to add a Moon into a starry night scene rather than to wait for it to come out and align itself perfectly for the screenshot. It made me think about how careful the CGI team were (or not) with their implementation of the positioning of the Moon when the producers asked them to provide them with a night scene and the crescent Moon in it. Is it possible the CGI team would have just placed the Moon in the shot without thinking about which way it would be facing? I think they very likely they did.
This article examines our understanding of how humans bond emotionally, romantically and sexually. Most of the data in this article are estimates and guesses. I leave the actual data gathering part to the experts, and the development of the overall conversation to all of us.
Humans seem to be wired to (autonomously and simultaneously) bond with each other in three different ways: purely sexually, romantically and by forming long term emotional partnerships. For more information on these brain circuits, check out Helen Fisher’s TED talk:
With that in mind, let us look at the way humans are attracted to each other, and in what numbers. Continue reading →
Have you ever met someone who has a perfect pitch? It is pretty cool. I once asked a friend who had perfect pitch if he could tell me what note a street building ventilation system was producing. He listened for a minute and said: “Just below Bb.” I loaded my tuner app to check and sure enough he was spot on.
In reality, most people can’t do this. Instead, they have relative pitch, which means that when they hear a certain note they can then determine other notes relative to that one. One can develop this relative pitch more through practice and listening, yet even then, if you play someone a note and ask what note it is, they will still at most make a rough guess whether it is in the bass, mid or treble range.
Throughout the years I myself have learned to hear how certain note intervals, chords and chord progressions sound and how notes relate to each other, but if you played me a note I still wouldn’t know what note it actually is. In fact, I perceive music more visually than through hearing which makes it even harder for me to “hear it”. I visualize scales and calculate and count relationships between notes.
I first heard about the work-desk treadmill back in 2008 from John Medina’s “Brain Rules” book. In a nutshell, moving and exercise improves the way our brain works and we get better work done if we are physically moving while we are working. It has been six months since I’ve actually made this idea a reality. A good friend had emailed me at the beginning of the year saying that he was planning on putting this together himself.
I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to wait another five years knowing about this amazing vision and not implement it. So I organized myself, planned it and built it. Since then, I have been walking at least five miles a day while working alone. In the past, I would have gone for exercise between work, now I sit to rest in between doing work! This has been hands down, one of the best investments I have ever made. And it doesn’t have to be a large investment at all if you are a bit resourceful. Believe it or not, this set-up cost me less than $150 in total!
A friend sent me a link about a research where people camped in nature for a week and discovered that their sleep patterns synched with the rising and setting of the Sun. Having accepted myself as a natural night owl, I promptly dismissed this research in my mind and didn’t finish reading the article. I’d read research in the past about chronotypes and other articles, talks and books (Medina – Brain Rules) that explained that small percentage of people are natural night owls and I had accepted this belief.
Regardless of whether this new article would in reality conflict with my previous beliefs, I was so glad have caught myself dismissing this new info purely because it didn’t “resonate with me”. This happens all the time to all of us. And most of the time we are not even aware of it and we end up going along with some belief that is not only incorrect, but can sometimes even be harmful to us. Yet we take ourselves seriously about what we know. Here’s the thing: all humans have are beliefs. It’s just a matter of how close our beliefs and understandings come to what is really going on out there. Surrounded by an ocean of online information and “popularity contests” through social networks, we are bombarded with information. Most people barely have time in their busy lives to finish reading a blog like this, let alone put the time into the subject matter and check out in detail any reference links. Even if they did, would they know how to tell apart a trusting source from an untrusting one or to discern well framed reasonings from ones that are flooded with hard to spot logical fallacies?
A couple of months ago I wrote an article where I explored my first hands-on experience with a man passing a sexist comment and my conversation the day after with some women that were affected by it. I mainly explored what might be going on for the person passing on the sexist comment, and now, to close the loop, I’d like to explore what might be going on for the person on the receiving end of the sexist comment. My intention with creating the full picture of the situation is to support everyone in connecting in a challenging situation like this. It is usually an unpleasant experience for everyone when communication breakdown in these circumstances happens.
Up until last summer I actually did not know what the expression “sexist” meant. We were in a group discussing music, and one female participant said that she loved seeing more and more teenage girls involved in music, as it’s a male dominated world. As she thanked the teenagers who were there for coming, a male friend who was there added, “yah, and you girls are hot too!” At the time I didn’t make much of it.
The next day, a female friend approached me and said, “can you believe the nerve on that person, so sexist!” I was a bit surprised, “ah really? That was sexist?” She was taken aback by my response and said, “of course it was.” As I curiously asked, “what really is sexism?”, she got tense, assumed a position, her voice raised, “you really want to bring on this topic!? Are you sure you want to do this!?” Unguardedly, I replied, “totally, I would love to know what sexism is”.
How many times have you seen a debate, where you loved and praised the person you supported and were annoyed by and scorned the person that you were not supporting? This is because debates are by definition constructed to produce this result. The point of a debate is for each side to use any means to persuade the other side until one prevails with a “superior context”, rather than to find understanding or even common ground in one another’s viewpoints.
Debates are about winning an argument, rather than creating mutual agreement, even if the agreement is at least: to agree to disagree. If someone listens to understand the other side, it’s in order to find ways to argue against it.
Ken Robinson delivered one of my favorite TED talks to date. His simple message explains how important it is to cultivate creativity within us and our children and also how important it is to recognize our natural aptitudes that give us full meaning and then pursue them. I am also impressed by how naturally he draws in his audience with humor and then switches back to important matters.
His points explore shortfalls of the western educational system and how it affects and suppresses people’s creativity, their ability to grow, change, see things anew and not take things they are used to for granted. Overall, he suggests a revolution in our education, not just a reformation but a transformation and it’s exciting that so many people are getting on board with this vision! Ken’s work reminds me of the writings of Alexadner S. Neil I had read many years ago, about a self-governed school called Summerhill, which he’d started at the beginning of the last century in Suffolk, England. Visions toward the betterment of our education had sparked my interest and passion ever since then.