The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth that men prefer not to hear.
A few years ago, a friend told me these very useful questions that help when trying to make a decision:
What will happen if you do X?
What won’t happen if you do X?
What will happen if you don’t do X?
What won’t happen if you don’t do X?
Thinking about these questions lets me clarify my thinking and sort out the consequences of chosing one option over another; and helps me move out of the ‘Arrghh, do I really have to make a decision, can’t someone else do it, why do I have to be a grown-up’ cycle, that can immobilize an otherwise rational and competent adult. (This does happen to other people – it’s not just me, right?)
His mother had often said, When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. She had emphasized the corollary of this axiom even more vehemently: when you desired a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.
Lois McMaster Bujold, “Memory”, 1996
See a larger version here
I think this was produced for use in schools. I like the layout, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who could do with the occasional reminder of how and why to be healthy.
From the Rev. Sydney Smith to Lady Georgiana Morpeth, 16 February 1820
Dear Lady Georgiana,
…Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have done – so I feel for you.
1st – Live as well as you dare.
2nd – Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75° or 80°.
3rd – Amusing books.
4th – Short views of human life not further than dinner or tea.
5th – Be as busy as you can.
6th – See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.
7th – And of those acquaintances who amuse you.
8th – Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely – they are always worse for dignified concealment.
9th – Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.
10th – Compare your lot with that of other people.
11th – Don’t expect too much from human life – a sorry business at the best.
12th – Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy sentimental people, and everything likely to excite feeling or emotion not ending in active benevolence.
I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe, and someone said I was a snake, I’d think, no, actually I’m a giraffe.
Some excerpts from a very interesting article in the NY Times:
Most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent. On the contrary. People who do things badly are usually supremely confident of their abilities — more confident, in fact, than people who do things well.
One reason that the ignorant also tend to be the blissfully self-assured, the researchers believe, is that the skills required for competence often are the same skills necessary to recognize competence.
This deficiency in “self-monitoring skills” helps explain the tendency of the humor-impaired to persist in telling jokes that are not funny, of day traders to repeatedly jump into the market — and repeatedly lose out — and of the politically clueless to continue holding forth at dinner parties on the fine points of campaign strategy.
The most able subjects in the study were likely to underestimate their own competence. The researchers attributed this to the fact that, in the absence of information about how others were doing, highly competent subjects assumed that others were performing as well as they were.
When high scoring subjects were asked to “grade” the grammar tests of their peers, however, they quickly revised their evaluations of their own performance. In contrast, the self-assessments of those who scored badly themselves were unaffected by the experience of grading others; some subjects even further inflated their estimates of their own abilities.
Click here to read the entire article.
Five Rules For Life is a blog where:
People from all walks share what they believe are the most important rules to follow for a happy, successful, and fulfilling life.
Here are five rules that I really liked:
This too shall pass.
When I was younger, the intensity of my emotions colored my perception of everything, and it seemed as if my experience of the moment was a permanent state. Now I realize that every mood, every situation – everything – comes and goes, ebbs and flows. So, I try to ride the waves of life, and enjoy still waters when things settle.
- Ruth Powers
Use good manners.
Kindness goes a long way in both work and social life. In most cases good manners will get you want you want while making others feel that they’re being respected.
- Leigh Anne Bartlett
It is not easy to give up something. But there are just things in life that we need to let go of. It it makes you feel bad, if it hurts, if it’s unfair, if it’s against your principles, if you hate it, if it’s wrong – find the courage to walk away from it. It will be hard but you have to at least try. Remember that you always have a choice on what stays and goes in your life.
- Tere Arigo
Take time for quiet and space, every day.
Take time to process what is going on in your life, in your mind, in your heart, and in your soul. Use the quiet to feel peace and to receive inspiration and thought. Use the space to center yourself again and to discover that you can be alone and still “enjoy the company that you keep”. If you can enjoy being alone with yourself, others will enjoy being with you too!
- Cindy Dugan Walker
Don’t hang around with negative people.
It is hard enough controlling what we think without constant exposure to outside, negative influences. If you are hanging around with people who do nothing but complain about how bad everything is – their marriage, their job, their life – you will eventually think the same things regardless of how positive you are.
Negativity begets negativity. Surround yourself with positive people instead.
- David Blank