Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Childhood Programming

As I was working on my latest manuscript “I Chose Hope—and that Made the Difference,” it became clear that my journey toward discoveryto viewing my life in color rather than in black and whitereally began when I decided to go back in memory and recall and identify to the best of my ability what I’d heard and had been told during childhood: what I’d heard people say about me and what individuals had directly said to me (verbally or nonverbally) about who I was or was not, what I was or was not capable of doing, what I could or could not pursue in terms of options, and whether I would likely be successful or unsuccessful. Metaphorically, “start reading the script that was handed to me at birth (if not before). What I uncovered was a bit disconcerting because it became clear that for whatever reason, I had “believed” what I had heard and had been told. I had internalized their words to represent genuine and absolute truth—rather than perceiving that what they thought was only their brain’s opinion based on their own learning and life experience. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Choose Close Friends Carefully


In life it is critically important to select your friends carefully for any number of reasons. Studies have shown that you become the average of the four or five people with whom you spent the most time. Studies have also shown that within a period of two or three years, you have an increased risk for picking up the behavioral patterns of those same individuals. This is especially true in relations to smoking, eating, obesity, exercising, and happiness, etc.. Take obesity, for example. Researchers have discovered that people whose close friends were obese were fifty-seven percent more likely to become obese, as well—and obesity is associated with more than 50 diseases including dementia. This doesn’t mean that you “will” mimic their behaviors but that it is more likely that this will happen—you have an increased risk.” Part of this susceptibility may be due to mirror neurons in your pre-frontal cortex ‘firing’ as you watch other do a behavior. Part is likely due to the conversations you have with those friends and what you hear them say to themselves and to others.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Aphorisms, 13

  • This too shall pass; it might pass like a kidney stone but it will pass
  • Life takes you to unexpected places—love brings you home
  • To those who know they are loved, a kind word is a morsel; to those who are love-starved, a kind word is a banquet
  • Love is all around you but you may miss it unless you open your heart and look for it
  • Help your brain enjoy the rewards of driving its own vehicle: your brain
  • It’s far easier to be rude to words on a screen than rude to a face—either way you can’t take them back
  • Play ‘till the end—miracles still happen

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Crafting Affirmations

“But I do not know what words to use!” is a comment I sometimes hear. As far as I know, there is no encyclopedia of “perfect affirmations.” By staying aware of what you tell yourself and listening to the style used by others when giving directions, it becomes easier and easier to recognize effective versus ineffective styles. I ask myself, “Do the words create a one-step picture or do they create a two-step picture that requires the brain to change the first picture into something else?” I was discussing Dr. Wegner’s work with a group of college freshman and said, “Don’t think about the white bear.” One of those college brains said, “Okay that tells me what not to do. What do you want me to do?” Another brain said, “Think about a brown bear.” The first brain asked, “Is that what you want me to think about? A brown bear?” It was such a clear example of unclear instructions.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Brain Susceptibility

Your brain is susceptible to what others say about you and may even record that (along with what you say to and about yourself) in the same place in the brain—so it is important to protect your brain (insofar as it is possible to do so) from negative input. Children are less able to do that. Consequently it is critical to evaluate what you were told about yourself and what you heard others say about yourself—or you may be risk for believing them. What they said was only their brain’s opinion but if you believed them if could derail your success or even influence you not to do something that your brain could be very good at doing. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Three Caveats


Your brain can only do what it thinks it can do—and you are the one who tells it what it can do.

Your brain believes what you tell it and then does everything it can to make what you are saying to and about yourself happen.


If you think you can or you think you can’tyou’re right.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pygmalion Effect

Admittedly studies of the Pygmalion effect are difficult to conduct because they must be done in an unnatural and controlled environment which is not ‘real life,’ as some put it. Nevertheless, study results have shown a positive correlation between leader expectation and follower performance. Researchers have argued that the perceptions a leader has of a follower can cause the Pygmalion effect. That a leader's expectations are influenced by their perception of the situation or the followers themselves. And it is possible that perception and expectation may even be found in a similar part in the brain. Anecdotally, many report observing the Pygmalion effect in personal and professional relationships, in homes, schools, and in the workplace. [Whiteley, P., Sy, T., & Johnson, S. (2012). "Leaders' conceptions of followers: Implications for naturally occurring pygmalion effects". The Leadership Quarterly, 23(5), 822–834. doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2012.03.006] More tomorrow.