Jul 282012
 
The following list of 20 characteristics was developed by psychologist Robert Hare and have been noted as defining criteria to identify a “certain 1% of the U.S. population.”One can use this list as a quick and informal identification guide if desired. Ideally, however, it will be more accurate if the individual and his/her acquaintances are interviewed. In this case, each item would be graded as:

0 – Does not apply
1 – Partial match or mixed information
2 – Reasonably good match

Interpersonal relationships

  • Glibness / superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/manipulative

Observable behavior

  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Emotionally shallow
  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Lifestyle

  • Need for stimulation / proneness to boredom
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Lack of realistic, long-term goals
  • Impulsiveness
  • Irresponsibility

Antisocial Behavior

  • Poor behavioral controls
  • Early behavioral problems
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Revocation of conditional release
  • Criminal versatility

Other items

  • Many short-term marital relationships
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior

Do you personally know someone in the 1% of the population who might score 25-30 out of a maximum of 40? If so, they might fit the “gold standard” PCL-R assessment for psychopathy. (They may be a “psychopath” – lacking empathy, prone to being self-serving and insensitive to the needs of others.) In other words, these are typically amoral people who lack, or are indifferent to, a concern for others.

The term “sociopath” is sometimes used interchangeably. The choice of term often depends on whether one thinks the cause is due to psychological/genetic/environmental factors or due to social factors.

IMPORTANT NOTE – Before I Go On

_This assessment can only be considered valid if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under controlled conditions._

 

Now that I have taken you here and teased you with a “1%” label, can you think of any other small cluster or class of individuals who seem to lack empathy and are prone to being self-serving and insensitive to the needs of others? These people don’t need to be overtly criminal. In fact, they may be very good at staying just on the safe side of the law. They may be very skilled at finding and using loopholes. They are capable of doing everything they can to get away with serving themselves and increasing their wealth and power. But, in the last analysis, they often don’t seem to care who they hurt in the process.

Addendum:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) does not list or define “psychopathy.” However, it does diagnose “Antisocial Personality Disorder” (ASPD) – based entirely on behavioral observations. ASPD is defined as a ‘…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.’ A diagnosis of ASPD requires only three out of the following seven specific factors to be present:

  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  • deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  • impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  • consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  • lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
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Jul 112012
 

Last week, I discussed the research of James W. Fowler, a Methodist minister, into the developmental stages of faith. Dr. Fowler built his ideas on the pattern of Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. This is also worth considering.

Dr. Kohlberg found that moral development was revealed by one’s attitudes toward justice and how one reasoned on, and resolved, moral dilemmas. Related research identified justice as a masculine orientation and added caring as the corresponding feminine. At each stage of development, our moral behavior becomes more responsible, nuanced, and predictable.

Young children (and some poorly-developed adults) judge the morality of an action by its immediate consequences. Snatching a cookie or running a stop sign are just fine so long as you are not caught and punished. The focus is on personal benefit without considering ethical standards. Obedience can only be enforced with the threat of punishment.

The next stage is able to consider the needs of others, but only to the point of  deciding how to get what one wants. This is the “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” attitude of moral relativity.

Adolescents usually begin to judge the morality of a situation according to the expectations of authorities within their culture. They are willing to comply obediently because they are convinced that “it is the right thing.” This rigid morality typically views things very strictly in terms of “black and white.” A “good boy” or “good girl” conforms to accepted social roles. Morality is usually judged by intent and how an action affects relationships.

Some people understand that social order requires voluntary compliance to the standards of their community. They accept that laws must be obeyed and personal sacrifices made because it is their duty. They will stop at all stop signs simply because it is the right thing to do and because it sets a good example for others.

As it becomes obvious that different cultures hold different expectations, laws become regarded as adjustable social contracts within each community. The most important consideration becomes an understanding of “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” The operation of an effective Democracy requires this understanding and acceptance of compromise as inevitable for the common good.

Eventually, moral reasoning stops being derived from others; it depends on an individual appreciation for ethical abstractions and universal principles. This is not the same as moral relativity. Each person becomes responsible for deciding that he or she cannot march neighbors into gas chambers, no matter what. If a law is unjust, there is an obligation to disobey it. There are fewer arguments about rights, but more empathetic consideration of what is right. This stage is still considered rare.

© 2012, David Satterlee

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Jun 072011
 

See a series of four videos below. This is an inspiring hoot!

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theatre in Austin, Texas, USA, has a no-texting policy. They evicted one patron who called back and left an irate and profane voice message.

I applaud the Drafthouse for exposing the poor behavior, language, diction, and syntax  displayed by this (former) customer — while standing unabashedly firm instead of curling up and whimpering “please don’t yell at me.”

[ The first video contains profanity.]

Continue reading »

Mar 072011
 

 

Political candidates and other public persons need to make the best of every opportunity to present themselves. They need to make sure that each appearance shows their best side. I have found that preparation and presentation reinforce each other. Mastery enables an air of confidence, while projecting confidence sets the stage for mastery.

Continue reading »

Oct 262010
 

The Question of Human Behavior

by David Satterlee

Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction

“The stream of causation from past to future runs through our present choices.” —David G. Myers, 2002

Individuals and groups have shown an astonishing capacity for both great good and great evil. World War II produced unprecedented levels of national violence. Individuals who risked themselves to help others escape from certain extermination are our modern heroes. Caretakers of the gravely disabled sacrifice large parts of their own lives in service to others. We honor those able to demonstrate a common levels of virtues such as compassion, commitment, and self-control.

Continue reading »

Sep 252010
 

Self Improvement – Getting it Done

Commit to goals – visualize the results

What do you want to achieve? Knowing your destination is a crucial step in getting there.

Written goals are best; they have real power. The act of committing your goals to paper forces you to clarify and refine them. Until you write it down, a goal is just a wish or a hope. Commit.

Identifying goals actually reduces stress. Psychiatrists have discovered that helping their patients to establish personal goals is the most effective way to help them cope with problems. Establishing clear goals puts you in charge of your life.

A fixed goal, something that you can see clearly in your mind’s eye, increases motivation; you can take the measure of your progress towards that goal. And, as you progress, anticipate the satisfaction of its completion.

“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lively apparition to reveal it to the other’s eyes as mine see it.”
-Michelangelo

“A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness.”
-Zadok Rabinowitz

Set priorities

What is the most important thing to do next? If you haven’t figured out what is most important, I’ll bet that you’ll do something relatively unimportant or nothing at all.

You may have success with a to-do list revised each morning. When something new comes up, evaluate against your list of most important tasks. You will get more done just by knowing what is most important. It focuses your attention and stimulates your energy. A common mistake is to confuse urgent matters with truly vital ones. You should look for things that have the largest payoff and focus on them first.

You can evaluate your priority-setting by keeping a detailed record of how you spend your time for a week. What did you do and how long did it take? Also think carefully about what your personal responsibilities are and write this down separately. At the end of the week, compare your lists and decide if you are spending your time effectively. Make adjustments.

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
-Andrew Jackson
[Don’t stop deliberating too soon. I take exception to some of President Jackson’s decisions. ed.]

Just don’t do it

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
-C. Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law, (1958)

Parkinson wasn’t being funny; he was dead-on serious. You’ve seen it happen. A perfectly reasonable job gets blown out of all proportion. It might be your fault or maybe the decision just had to be run back past a committee which decided to form a sub-committee for further investigation.

If the task will produce a valuable return and it is straight-forward and clear, just do it. On the other hand, tasks that can’t be nailed down and done right away often grow into evil dragons. Ignore evil dragons. Walk away from them and refuse to pay them any attention. They will disappear and quit bothering you if ignore them.

It really is amazing how many really urgent (but actually trivial) things can simply be ignored without the world coming to an end. How wonderfully liberating!

Success ain’t easy

If you want to succeed at something truly worthwhile, be prepared for the struggle. Many have given up families, property and security in their homelands to pursue opportunity elsewhere. Many poor and disadvantaged have committed to making sacrifices to create desired changes in their circumstances. The world’s classic stories involve the struggle to overcome intimidating obstacles.

To succeed in any difficult endeavor we need to overcome fear and reach deep within ourselves for courage and determination. You may not be in favorable circumstances but there is always something more that you can try to improve your situation. Have realistic expectations. It takes about 7-10 years of persistent practice to truly master any art, craft, sport or business.

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.”
-Sidney Smith

“Do what you can with what you have, where you are.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
-Anais Nin

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say “no.” Your hard work can be a labor of love.

“Go the extra mile”

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. “Business ethics” become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially “if they are not of our own.”

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as “sharp” as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

“Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it.”
-Marcus Aurelius

“Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)”
-Tacitus

Dare to dream

Walt Disney’s Cinderella sings: “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” Would it have been better for Cinderella to have never seen the castle? Would she have been happier never knowing anything but the cinders?

Most times we are so limited by what we think is practical that we don’t see what is possible. Look up for a moment from the ground directly in front of you and see the world of possibilities all around you! You don’t have to be daring to dream of improving your situation. In fact, if you never visualize a desired future, you cannot start to make it happen.

Some people actually do live happily every after. Why shouldn’t you?

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
-Joseph Campbell

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
-Thomas Jefferson

Set outrageous goals

Miracles happen. Outrageous challenges have a special mystique and have the potential to generate unusual excitement.

  • Impress yourself with dramatic results.
  • Amaze your friends.
  • Pump up your determination to do the unusual.
  • Focus on a single goal.
  • Keep that goal constantly in front of you.
  • Put up signs and stickers everywhere to remind yourself.
  • Infect everyone with your enthusiasm.

“Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.”
-Helen Keller

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
-Goethe

Preparation + Opportunity = Advancement

If you aren’t prepared, you probably won’t even notice opportunities when they happen. In fact, preparation seems to have a way of CREATING opportunities. Without preparation, you are not in a position to take advantage of opportunities even if you recognize them.

Opportunities ARE available. Some have to be created. Others will wander by when you least expect them. They may not wait around for you. You may have to already have your resources (and willingness to commit them) ready. Then, when the right opportunity comes, just reach out and grasp it. This boldness to advance seems to create a momentum toward success.

“Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
-W.H. Murray, Member of the Second Himalayan Expedition

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say “no.” Your hard work can be a labor of love.

“Go the extra mile”

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. “Business ethics” become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially “if they are not of our own.”

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as “sharp” as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

“Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it.”
-Marcus Aurelius

“Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)”
-Tacitus

Keep on keeping on

Some people just seem to have trouble with everything they try. When things don’t seem to be working out fast enough, they give up and try something else. The problem is that by not sticking persistently to any one thing, they consistently discard their efforts by moving on too soon.

Jonas, a National Manager, explained his formula for success. “Keep on keeping on. The world will make room for the man who knows where he is going.” He explained: “If I could give the reason for our success, I could do it with just a couple of words: consistent persistence. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. There’s no formula to guarantee success in a few months’ time. You have to keep with it. We’re very excited about our business, and that helps others get excited.”

“There’s no substitute for hard work.”
-Thomas Edison

“Do not turn back when you are just at the goal.”
-Syrus

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Sep 242010
 

Self Improvement – Getting it Done

Commit to goals – visualize the results

What do you want to achieve? Knowing your destination is a crucial step in getting there.

Written goals are best; they have real power. The act of committing your goals to paper forces you to clarify and refine them. Until you write it down, a goal is just a wish or a hope. Commit.

Identifying goals actually reduces stress. Psychiatrists have discovered that helping their patients to establish personal goals is the most effective way to help them cope with problems. Establishing clear goals puts you in charge of your life.

A fixed goal, something that you can see clearly in your mind’s eye, increases motivation; you can take the measure of your progress towards that goal. And, as you progress, anticipate the satisfaction of its completion.

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lively apparition to reveal it to the other’s eyes as mine see it."
-Michelangelo

"A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness."
-Zadok Rabinowitz

Set priorities

What is the most important thing to do next? If you haven’t figured out what is most important, I’ll bet that you’ll do something relatively unimportant or nothing at all.

You may have success with a to-do list revised each morning. When something new comes up, evaluate against your list of most important tasks. You will get more done just by knowing what is most important. It focuses your attention and stimulates your energy. A common mistake is to confuse urgent matters with truly vital ones. You should look for things that have the largest payoff and focus on them first.

You can evaluate your priority-setting by keeping a detailed record of how you spend your time for a week. What did you do and how long did it take? Also think carefully about what your personal responsibilities are and write this down separately. At the end of the week, compare your lists and decide if you are spending your time effectively. Make adjustments.

"Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in."
-Andrew Jackson
[Don’t stop deliberating too soon. I take exception to some of President Jackson’s decisions. ed.]

Just don’t do it

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."
-C. Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law, (1958)

Parkinson wasn’t being funny; he was dead-on serious. You’ve seen it happen. A perfectly reasonable job gets blown out of all proportion. It might be your fault or maybe the decision just had to be run back past a committee which decided to form a sub-committee for further investigation.

If the task will produce a valuable return and it is straight-forward and clear, just do it. On the other hand, tasks that can’t be nailed down and done right away often grow into evil dragons. Ignore evil dragons. Walk away from them and refuse to pay them any attention. They will disappear and quit bothering you if ignore them.

It really is amazing how many really urgent (but actually trivial) things can simply be ignored without the world coming to an end. How wonderfully liberating!

Success ain’t easy

If you want to succeed at something truly worthwhile, be prepared for the struggle. Many have given up families, property and security in their homelands to pursue opportunity elsewhere. Many poor and disadvantaged have committed to making sacrifices to create desired changes in their circumstances. The world’s classic stories involve the struggle to overcome intimidating obstacles.

To succeed in any difficult endeavor we need to overcome fear and reach deep within ourselves for courage and determination. You may not be in favorable circumstances but there is always something more that you can try to improve your situation. Have realistic expectations. It takes about 7-10 years of persistent practice to truly master any art, craft, sport or business.

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can."
-Sidney Smith

"Do what you can with what you have, where you are."
-Theodore Roosevelt

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage."
-Anais Nin

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say "no." Your hard work can be a labor of love.

"Go the extra mile"

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. "Business ethics" become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially "if they are not of our own."

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as "sharp" as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

"Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it."
-Marcus Aurelius

"Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)"
-Tacitus

Dare to dream

Walt Disney’s Cinderella sings: "A dream is a wish your heart makes." Would it have been better for Cinderella to have never seen the castle? Would she have been happier never knowing anything but the cinders?

Most times we are so limited by what we think is practical that we don’t see what is possible. Look up for a moment from the ground directly in front of you and see the world of possibilities all around you! You don’t have to be daring to dream of improving your situation. In fact, if you never visualize a desired future, you cannot start to make it happen.

Some people actually do live happily every after. Why shouldn’t you?

"If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living."
-Joseph Campbell

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
-Thomas Jefferson

Set outrageous goals

Miracles happen. Outrageous challenges have a special mystique and have the potential to generate unusual excitement.

  • Impress yourself with dramatic results.
  • Amaze your friends.
  • Pump up your determination to do the unusual.
  • Focus on a single goal.
  • Keep that goal constantly in front of you.
  • Put up signs and stickers everywhere to remind yourself.
  • Infect everyone with your enthusiasm.

"Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing."
-Helen Keller

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
-Goethe

Preparation + Opportunity = Advancement

If you aren’t prepared, you probably won’t even notice opportunities when they happen. In fact, preparation seems to have a way of CREATING opportunities. Without preparation, you are not in a position to take advantage of opportunities even if you recognize them.

Opportunities ARE available. Some have to be created. Others will wander by when you least expect them. They may not wait around for you. You may have to already have your resources (and willingness to commit them) ready. Then, when the right opportunity comes, just reach out and grasp it. This boldness to advance seems to create a momentum toward success.

"Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way."
-W.H. Murray, Member of the Second Himalayan Expedition

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say "no." Your hard work can be a labor of love.

"Go the extra mile"

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. "Business ethics" become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially "if they are not of our own."

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as "sharp" as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

"Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it."
-Marcus Aurelius

"Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)"
-Tacitus

Keep on keeping on

Some people just seem to have trouble with everything they try. When things don’t seem to be working out fast enough, they give up and try something else. The problem is that by not sticking persistently to any one thing, they consistently discard their efforts by moving on too soon.

Jonas, a National Manager, explained his formula for success. "Keep on keeping on. The world will make room for the man who knows where he is going." He explained: "If I could give the reason for our success, I could do it with just a couple of words: consistent persistence. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. There’s no formula to guarantee success in a few months’ time. You have to keep with it. We’re very excited about our business, and that helps others get excited."

"There’s no substitute for hard work."
-Thomas Edison

"Do not turn back when you are just at the goal."
-Syrus

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Jan 262010
 

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 3

In 2000, Barbara Fredrickson won the $100,000 Templeton Positive Psychology Prize. Her winning paper, “claims that positive emotions have a grand purpose into evolution. The bride and are abiding intellectual, physical, and social resources, building up reserves we can draw upon when a threat or opportunity presents itself.”

In one experiment, the subject is given gifts, amused, and exposed to positive words. The subject is more likely to respond creatively. In another experiment, the subject is asked to identify related words. The subject is more likely to respond quickly if they have been “jollied up.” In another experiment of four year olds, the happiness environment improved their ability to learn.

Earlier psychological experimenters such as C. S. Pierce, equated cheerfulness with a lack of trouble or lack cognitive capacity to acknowledge and address troubles. In another experiment, depressed people were “sadder but wiser” in their ability to judge their level of control.

Depressed vs. Happy Thinking Skills

There’s also experimental evidence that depressed people are more realistic and accurate judges of their abilities. Less-happy people have more accurate memories of both good and bad events; they are “evenhanded in assessing success and failure.”

All of this evidence might seem to make a case for the benefits of depression. However, Lisa Aspenwell demonstrated situations in which happy people had an edge over more-unhappy individuals in certain types of life situations. An integrated conclusion is: “a positive mood jolts us into an entirely different way of thinking from a negative mood.

Less happy people tend to be more skeptical and able to respond with critical thinking. Their benefit it is the ability to “focus on what is wrong and then eliminate it.”

It seems reasonable to conclude that happy people tend to rely on positive past experiences and maybe better act repeating their previous behavior. Less distracted by a defensive stance, they are better able to be creative, tolerant, constructed, generous, and defensive, and lateral.”

Building Physical Resources

Positive emotions promote play, which is important to creative processes such as the building of physical resources such as increased muscle and cardiovascular capacity. People with predominantly positive emotions can to enjoy better health and greater longevity.

Happiness is associated with increased productivity and worker income. (This may reflect their ability to interact better with others.)(one might ask if a less-happy affect facilitates concentration problem solving.)

In some experiments, happier people are better able to tolerate adversity such as holding their hands in ice water. Also, a happier general disposition makes it easier for people to overcome the effects of temporary fear or sadness.

Building Social Resources

Strong bonds of affection and attachment between people are facilitated by a positive disposition. They are better able to express their positive feelings and others are more likely to respond positively to them. The happiest of the happy are much more likely to have a “rich and fulfilling social life” and spend the least time alone. They are also more likely to display empathy and be altruistic.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line seems obvious: extroverts are more likely to form relationships outside of themselves, attracting friends. A happy disposition is of special benefit in win-win situations where creativity may win the day. It is about growth. The less-happy disposition is of special benefit in win-lose situations where grim determination may win the day. It is about slaying dragons.

Jan 242010
 

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 3

We are endowed with access to powerful and insistent emotional states. They arise from the deepest and most primitive areas of our brain. They include more than fight or flight survival instincts to take decisive action to kill or conserve; they include the capacity for happiness. Happiness must serve an important, fundamental purpose.

Negative emotions include fear, sadness, discussed, repulsion, hatred and anger. They are especially important in win-lose situations, where the loser may be oneself. Effective responses to negative emotions affect survival and would reasonably be an important part of natural selection. The likelihood that a person will present predominantly negative or positive emotions it is, in fact strongly affected by genetic inheritance.

Positive feelings encourage us to approach an object or develop a situation. But, negative and positive emotions are much more complex than the stimulus attraction and avoidance processes of bacteria. Until recently, psychologists have generally ignored positive emotions. They were interpreted as secondary effects of situations and behaviors. They are, in fact, as important to our survival behavior as fear.

Jan 152010
 

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 2

APA

Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA) for 1998.

Veterans Administration Act of 1946

The Veterans Administration Act of 1946 was created for the practical purpose of helping returning veterans of World War II. This shifted the emphasis of the field from academic research on learning, behavior, and motivation toward more practical applications. At that time, “no mental illness was treatable. For not a single disorder did any treatment work better than no treatment at all.”

NIMH

The National Institute Of Mental Health was created in 1947, and focused on the interests of its many psychiatrists, primarily psychiatric pathology. But

Learned helplessness

In 1968, Martin Seligman worked on “learned helplessness.” His findings “challenged the central axioms of my field.” He determined that learned helplessness closely resembled “unipolar depression” in both observable characteristics and brain chemistry.

Pessimists

Pessimists tend to believe that their problems are “permanent, pervasive, and personal. Pessimists are more likely to become depressed when they meet with problems. They perform more poorly at their jobs, have more health problems, and shorter lives.

Optimists

Optimist tend to believe that their problems are “surmountable, articulate to a single problem, and resulting from temporary circumstances or other people.”

Nikki story

Martin Seligman tells the story of an important realization triggered by his five-year-old daughter, Nikki. While weeding in his garden, he yelled at Nikki for disturbing him. She responded: “Daddy, do you remember before my fifth birthday? From when I was three until when I was five, I was a whiner. I whined every day. On my fifth birthday, I decided I wasn’t going to whine anymore. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And if I can stop whining, you can stop being such a grouch.”

Jan 122010
 

Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction

“Change” reflects our ability to adjust typical patterns of behavior. The way we think about the ability of ourselves and others to change affects how we think about and judge behavior. Entity theorists believe that our characteristics change very little. They are more willing to make generalized character judgments based on fewer observed behaviors. Incremental theorists believe that we are more able to make desired changes. They are more willing to seek opportunities for and apply themselves toward personal development. An incrementalist would certainly be more likely to make an effort to change.

One’s attitude toward the human potential for change is reflected in the relative importance of ability vs. effort in achieving success or demonstrating intelligence. Albert Einstein sounds like an incrementalist when he is quoted as saying “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” If one believes that their characteristics are fixed, they may interpret poor performance on a task means that they are stupid, worthless, or a complete loser. Others are able to interpret failure as the mark of effort and see the need to intensify or redirect their efforts. One path leads to pessimism, learned helplessness, and self-reinforcing failure. The other path leads to optimism, sustained effort, preparation to seize opportunities, and self-reinforcing experience with success.

While positive attitudes and hard work do not guarantee success, they clearly promote it. Lucky breaks , social support, health, and even genetic gifts are important facilitators for many people who are admired as “successful.” The book “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell makes a fascinating study of opportunistic success. Nonetheless, cultivated attitudes and habits about the potential for change creates an environment that rewards effort toward desired change.

“Parents and teachers can also teach students to relish a challenge. Doing easy tasks is often a waste of time. The fun comes in confronting something difficult and finding strategies that work. Finally, adults should help children value learning more than grades. Too often kids rely on grades to prove their worth. Sure, grades are important. But they are not as significant as learning.” (p. 10)

Jan 122010
 

Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction

“Choice” reflects our freedom to strive for self-determination. We all have the experience of considering options, choosing a behavior, and experiencing the consequences. The American culture is structured around the concept of freedom. We cherish the concept, nurture the capacity, and defend the right to make choices. We are more likely to sign petitions if someone has tried to coerce us into not doing so. Like Romeo and Juliet, we may become more passionate about an option that we feel is being denied to us. The concept of “reverse psychology” depends upon related principles.

Autonomy, acting with a sense of true choice, may be considered a “fundamental human need.” A sense of autonomy increases or interest in and commitment to the things we do. Conversely, restricting choice decreases our interest in an activity. Our sense of autonomy, our human freedom of choice, increases are commitment, ability to achieve, and level of satisfaction.