The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
– Mark Twain
Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
Change Is Possible
I do not believe I am being naive to believe that even though these kids seem to be products of an environment that promotes exclusion and cruelty towards those who are seen as other, and they have behaved in bullying behavior as a group, they can learn from this and become better people. I believe that they do not have to live in this same self-serving and other-harming way for the rest of their lives.
I agree that what they did was cruel. It was also probably against the law. And, we all agree that they went out of their way to exclude certain individuals from what should have been open to all students. I do not in any way defend their behavior.
Education and Rehabilitation
What I would like to see happen here is an effort to incorporate education and rehabilitation (in the area of emotional intelligence, awareness of the needs of others, and compassion) into any judgment or punishment that is handed down. Punishment without education (being punished without really understanding what they did wrong) will only lead the private-party students into more resentment and more of this kind of behavior.
Remorse, Reparation, Good Works
I am not giving them a pass for treating others in this way. I do, however, believe it is very easy to have a narrow view when everyone has the same point of view. I do not know for sure that learning about the world outside of Fulton, Mississippi would change things for these kids. But, I am guessing that many of them are good kids, and given the opportunity to learn from this, they could learn from this experience (from the fallout from their self-serving behavior), become more understanding of others, and regret this act of hurtful exclusion. This hurtful event, and the fallout that has followed, may be an opportunity for some of these kids to make changes that will enable them to grow personally and become people who oppose injustice and work for equality. I would like for that to be what comes from this situation: remorse, reparation, and good works in the future.
Seeing With New Eyes
I would like to see the good that can come, long term, if the private-prom kids see the world with new eyes, and learn to have open hearts and minds. I would like to see the private-prom kids have the opportunity to learn from this event and change from the inside out. They need to know that adult life is about working together, not about excluding people we do not like. They seem not to have learned that lesson from their parents. I would like to see them have the opportunity to learn it by experiencing the world outside of Fulton (by going to college and seeing a bigger view of the world). Itawamba Agricultural High School could also benefit from anti-bullying education.
The Larger Problem (Bullying and Exclusion)
The fact that the secret prom even happened is part of a larger situation of bullying and exclusion. Bullying is a big problem in high schools in this country. Itawamba is not the only place where kids are being treated cruelly. But, they have become the poster-child school for this week. I hope that when deciding what judgment to make against the students, the parents, and the school board, the judge will take the opportunity to put an anti-bullying program in place. The judge would do the town a favor by bringing in Barbara Coloroso (author of The Bully, The Bullied, and the Bystander).
Barbara Coloroso is an educator, an author, and a speaker. She works tirelessly to try to stop the epidemic of bullying in schools around this country. I went to one of her seminars several years ago. She is an amazing speaker, and she offers practical and life-changing methods for stopping bullying. She teaches that making something right, not simply punishment, is what will positively change the lives of everyone involved in bullying. In her seminar, she gives some remarkable examples of bad things high school students have done to other kids, and how they were made to set things right as their judge-ordered punishment.
Learning To Do What Is Right
It is truly amazing how life-changing it can be to learn to do right thing rather than to simply be punished. Punishment without education, punishment without making right the wrongs done, leads to why me?! thinking and resentment. Setting things right leads to changed hearts and changed lives. This situation may become a wound that does not heal, for those who were the bullies and those who were bullied. But, if handled well, it can become an opportunity for healing and personal growth if someone in charge makes wise decisions about what happens from here.
Medication vs. Meditation
Deb and Ed Shapiro have written a book promoting meditation as the ultimate high. The title is BE THE CHANGE – How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They said it, “helps us to understand how we can become free without drugs — a natural high without the hangover!”
Why Meditate? (Why Not Medicate?)
Here’s what Deb and Ed have to say about why meditation is best.
Five Reasons Why Meditation is the Best Natural High
1. Rather than adding toxins into our system, meditation is a way to clean out.
2. Meditation purifies our nervous system and mind in such a way that we see our present reality with greater clarity. Creativity is enhanced and solutions to difficulties arise so we can be with whatever is happening, rather than trying to hide from it.
3. The madness of the mind is likened to a drunken monkey bitten by a scorpion. With meditation, this begins to calm down and we can make friends and peace with our mind, so we can be free of the craziness.
4. Meditation opens our heart to love, joy and compassion, and there certainly isn’t anything as high as the power of love!
5. Meditation gets us high on life. It enables us to enjoy life to it’s fullest, to enjoy breathing, walking, a sunset, and the simple beauty of being alive!
Read the Whole Article
Another Comment-to-Post Transition
In my usual way, I left a comment on someone else’s blog, and now I’m posting it here as a post. How slack is that? 😉
Posting A Comment On One Of Gretchen Rubin’s Posts
I must like what this woman has to say. I’m posting about her posts yet again! Well, I do think we have a lot to do with our own happiness, and she posts about happiness. So, hmmm. Maybe there is something there to like?
I Don’t Think We Can Control Everything
I don’t think everything can be ‘cured’ by the the right kind of thinking, but I do think that sometimes we can change ourselves (our brain chemistry?) by what we think (for better or for worse). Some things are just too big to change completely, but I think we can always take little steps in a positive direction.
Don’t Hold Me To It
I don’t believe we can fix everything in our brains, just like we can’t fix everything in our bodies. But, I do think we can go through the motions and take steps that just might trigger a cascade of positive events. I really do believe that.
What About Job Loss?
Well, what about it? I’ve lost my job before. And, I’ve been through a takeover, an outsourcing, a cross-country move to stay with the company, a spin-off, and a reduction-in-force. I’ve certainly lived the life of anxiety related to work. There are plenty of reasons to be anxious when it comes to employment, or lack of. So, there’s no preaching here.
There’s A Silver Lining?
For me, there has been a silver lining each time something bad has happened. And, what I don’t know is if it was there because I chose to view it in a certain way, or if it was there just because it was there. I do think there is something to the idea that how we see our lives and our experiences actually influences how we experience our lives and our experiences. Is that confusing?
Here’s What I Said On Gretchen’s Newest Post
Hi Gretchen, I’m sure I’ll be posting this list on my blog dhconcerts .wordpress .com. And, I plan to send it now to a dear friend whose job was rudely taken away after years of dedicated service (and, huge gains made to the company because of him). I’ve been through unwanted changes in employment a few times, too, with words like takeover, outsourcing, spin-off, reduction-in-force.
The good thing I learned (through unexpected changes in employment) is that an unexpected bad thing almost always presents an opportunity for a new start that I was too timid to attempt on my own. It’s even happened with physical situations, like an injury ending one direction I was taking, and the new post-injury direction working out even better than the original plan.
I like to think that every bad thing I encounter leads me to the next good (and even better) situation in my life. It really has turned out that way for me. So, it’s how I live now. It works well for me. It helps me keep a perspective of curiosity and hopeful anticipation rather than anxiety and fear for the future.
Here’s What Gretchen Said In Her Post
Well, this isn’t all she said, but it’s her list of ‘happiness tips’ for today.
1. Get enough sleep.
2. Get some exercise.
3. Stay connected to other people.
4. Cultivate an atmosphere of growth in some area of your life.
5. Help someone else.
6. Clear some clutter.
7. Be wary of “treating” yourself.
8. Distract yourself.
9. Remind yourself of what you have.
I Should Write A Book
I should do a lot of things. Writing a book is right up there with cleaning out my car and preparing a lunch to take to work tomorrow. I rarely make much progress. I like to write. I like to have food for lunch. I like to ride in a clean car. What I do better than anything is procrastinate. (sigh)
Jackson and Greene Made It Happen
Whatever else these two men had on their ‘to do’ lists, they managed to put writing this book at the top of their list for the required amount of time. Now, they have an article on Huffington Post based on the book.
I Agree With Some of What They Say
I don’t know how practical or possible it is for people to be their own bosses, but I do know that when you work for another person or company you give up much of your autonomy. You do what you are required to do in your job. You answer to the ones who write your paycheck. This reality has its good points and its bad points. I believe in having a good work ethic and doing your job well. But, that is not what “The 50th Law” is about. It is about working for yourself and controlling your own life.
Master of Your Own Fate
The 50th Law addresses why you need to be the master of your own fate. I’m sure I could spend a few hours reading it and nodding my head. I have not had the courage or confidence to strike out on my own and be my own boss. I have only imagined that world, and I have not imagined it enough to make it a reality. But, the reality is that most of us stay in work where we work for others, because of the ‘security’ it provides.
Collaboration and Team Work vs Independence and Self-Reliance
In times like these, when so many people are unable to find work, there is no real job security. Maybe this is a good time for a book like this which encourages us all to look within and depend on our own ingenuity. It’s a little difficult for me, because I’m currently working with the ‘team player’ and ‘collaboration’ way of thinking and working. So, I don’t know that this book fits my life at this time. But, for those who need that extra nudge to find the inner strength and confidence that would enable them to be their own boss, here are a few lines from the article about the book.
Excerpts from the Article about “The 50th Law”
When you work for others, you are at their mercy. They own your work; they own you. Your creative spirit is squashed. What keeps you in such positions is a fear of having to sink or swim on your own. Instead you should have a greater fear of what will happen to you if you remain dependent on others for power.
You came into this life with the only real possessions that ever matter — your body, the time that you have to live, your energy, the thoughts and ideas unique to you, and your autonomy. But over the years you tend to give all of this away. You spend years working for others — they own you during that period.
Before it is too late, you must reassess your entire concept of ownership. It is not about possessing things or money or titles. True ownership can only come from within.
Think of it this way: dependency is a habit that is so easy to acquire. We live in a culture that offers you all kinds of crutches — experts to turn to, drugs to cure any psychological unease, mild pleasures to help pass or kill time, jobs to keep you just above water. It is hard to resist. But once you give in, it is a like prison you enter that you cannot ever leave. You continually look outward for help and this severely limits your options and maneuverability.
Before it is too late, you must move in the opposite direction. You cannot get this requisite inner strength from books or a guru or pills of any kind. It can only come from you. It is a kind of exercise you must practice on a daily basis — weaning yourself from dependencies, listening less to others’ voices and more to your own, cultivating new skills.
Do Heavy Clouds and Cold Weather Keep You From Feeling Happy?
Is winter happy for you or gloomy? Do gray skies bring you down? This post isn’t actually about depression or SAD (seasonal affective disorder). It’s another post about Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project”. It sounds like she had a good time working on this project, and she has a series of articles and a book to show for it, too! (I quote from one of her articles below.)
More From Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project
Posted: December 29, 2009 09:24 AM by Gretchen Rubin
In my new book The Happiness Project I describe the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier — from Aristotle to Thoreau to Seligman to Oprah. Here on the Huffington Post, I’ve recounted some of my adventures and conclusions in pursuit of happiness.
I’m describing my happiness project, but of course, the point of The Happiness Project is to encourage you to start your own happiness project. I’ve heard from many readers who have tried my suggestions themselves — such as keeping a daily one-sentence journal, making their bed, or joining a group — to happy effect.
In fact, as I used myself as guinea pig to test various theories about how to be happier, I discovered several things that surprised me. The most effective ways to pursue happiness were sometimes counter-intuitive.
1. Do buy happiness. (Money can’t buy happiness, but spent wisely, it can buy things that contribute mightily to happiness. Some of the best things in life aren’t free. To be happy, we need to feel loved, secure, good at what we do, and have a sense of control. Money doesn’t automatically fill these requirements, of course, but it sure can help.)
2. Don’t get organized. (before organizing, get rid of things that don’t work or you don’t need. The most important tool in my clutter-clearing arsenal turned out to be trash-bags. Here are 27 bonus tips for keeping your house in order… Conquering clutter is a happiness booster because for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.)
3. Do let the sun go down on my anger. (Studies show: the notion of “anger catharsis” is nonsense. Venting anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings; not expressing anger often allows them to dissipate.)
4. Don’t insist on “the best.” (from Voltaire: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.)
5. Do embrace the fun of failure. (people who try new things are happier)
6. Don’t practice “random acts of kindness.” (be sure it helps the other person, too)
7. Do “fake it till you feel it.” (it really does help)
Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project–an account of the year she spent test-driving every conceivable principle about how to be happy.
Another Mind-Body Health Post
For many of the January posts, I looked back through links to articles and pulled out articles about self-help or feeling good. It’s the time of year when people try to start over, start a new habit, get it right this time. It’s also the time of year when certain parts of the country are cold and gray, and dark moods sometimes follow.
Seven Ways to Stay Emotionally Well
So, for today, I’m linking to yet another self-help post. This one is called 7 Ways To Stay Out 0f The Psych Ward. Here’s what the author suggests.
1. Keep a consistent rhythm
2. Don’t be a cooking frog
3. Team up
4. Squeeze in some downtime
5. Know your triggers
6. Preserve your willpower
Read the Article7 Ways To Stay Out 0f The Psych Ward