Saturday, 31 October 2020

A Front Row Life

How often do you perform acts of kindness to strangers without expecting anything in return? If you're like most people, it's not that often. Yet, when you do so, you probably feel really good about yourself. And the better you feel, the more likely you are to repeat the action. Thus, focusing on helping others can be a great way to lift your emotional state and increase your motivation. Small acts of kindness can not only make you feel good, but they can also change someone's life. Even a tiny act of kindness such as a simple smile can change someone else's life. John Wang, the founder of One Kindness--a movement that inspires people to perform acts of kindness--gave a real-life example of how a single act of kindness can change someone's life. What will you do to stand out from the crowd? Choose from one of the following assignments: Tell the Truth George earned a tremendous amount of courage by telling the truth. In his mid-twenties George had a serious gambling problem. While working for a bank, he secretly stole money to support this habit. After six months he had embezzled several thousand dollars. Years later, when he was in recovery for his gambling addiction, George decided to tell the truth as part of making amends for his past. He made an appointment with the bank manager, explained his past behavior, and offered to arrange a way to pay back all of the money. The bank manager was stunned by his admission of truth and, after several conversations with other bank officials, explained to George that not only had the stolen money been written off, the statute of limitations had passed. As we humans evolved, we developed neocortical structures in the brain that allow for high-level thought processes: consciousness, self-awareness, language, logic, and rationality. Yet we also have older brain structures, such as the limbic system, that we share with birds and reptiles.

The result of having a hybrid brain is that social cognition is governed by two systems of thinking: a rational and controlled way of thinking--the cognitive system--and an unconscious, intuitive, and automatic way of thinking--the experiential system (Epstein, 1994; Kahneman, 2011; Sloman, 1996). Depending on the individual and the circumstances, a person's thought and action can be produced primarily by one system or the other. The rise and fall of facilitated communication as a treatment for autism provides an example. Cognitive system A conscious, rational, and controlled system of thinking. Experiential system A person intending to take his own life left a note on his desk, which said, Today, I'm gonna go walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. If one person smiles at me along the way, I will not jump. Sadly, nobody smiled at the man that day. As you can see from this example, you never know how a simple act of kindness can impact upon the lives of other people. Also, as you look for ways to help others, you will stop being overly focused on yourself and your own problems. There are millions of people in the world who could benefit from your help. And there are always people in far worse situations than yours. Alleviating other people's suffering--and your own--can bring you a deep sense of fulfillment and give added meaning to your life. Acts of kindness include: Sending a thank you message, They would not be pressing any charges. While George was relieved and empowered by telling the truth, he knew he wasn't finished.

He decided to make regular donations to a local charity until he had contributed the exact amount of money he had taken from the bank. As you learned in article three, sometimes telling the truth means standing up for yourself. This can be a very powerful way to build your courage muscles. Is there someone you need to be honest with? If so, feel free to include this person as an assignment below. Otherwise, choose one of these: Early in her career Hannah worked as an executive assistant to a business owner in her hometown. As his assistant she managed his office as well as his personal affairs. An unconscious, intuitive, and automatic system of thinking. The Strange Case of Facilitated Communication In the fall of 1991, Mark and Laura Storch were informed that their 14-year-old daughter, Jenny, had accused her father of repeated sexual abuse that her mother had ignored. Their daughter was promptly removed from their home while her parents spent the next 10 months fighting the charges, which turned out to be false (Berger, 1994). Her stunned parents were not only shocked by the specific allegations, they were dumbfounded because their daughter was severely autistic and had little ability to communicate with others verbally. With no ability to share whatever thoughts she had, how had her teachers and aides tapped into Jenny's inner world? Jenny had apparently told of a history of abuse by using a technique known as facilitated communication, which allows individuals with severe forms of autism to spell out their internal thoughts with the help of an assistant. The assistant, called the facilitator, steadies the autistic person's arm to allow the individual to hunt and peck at letter keys. When first introduced in the United States in the early 1990s, facilitated communication seemed a revolutionary way to unlock the inner world of loved ones who could not otherwise communicate their thoughts. Facilitated communication quickly aroused skepticism, however, as children such as Jenny began sharing horrific stories of sexual abuse (Gorman, 1999). Helping a stranger, Sending resources to help someone achieve their goal,

Smiling at someone, Giving a genuine compliment, Offering words of encouragement, Sending a small gift, Giving money to a cause you care about, and Teaching something for free. So, who could you help today? Do one thing for someone and expect nothing in return and see how it makes you feel. The first Christmas that they worked together Hannah received a substantial holiday bonus in the form of a check. The second year, however, she received a small gift--a basket of candy. Hannah had worked even harder during her second year and had counted on receiving another monetary bonus. When she and I spoke she said she was shocked and insulted by the gift. I explained that in order to honor her self-esteem and maintain her self-respect, Hannah needed to be bold and tell her boss how she felt. Rather than sit with the anger over the holidays, I encouraged her to pick up the phone and call him right away. She agreed, and with knees shaking she told her boss exactly how she felt. To her boss's credit, ten minutes later he was at her door with an apology and a check. What bold action will you take? Face a Physical Fear When the scientific community investigated the technique, study after study suggested that the thoughts being typed out were not those of the autistic child but rather were those of the facilitator. In one experiment, two autistic middle schoolers were shown pictures of common objects and asked to type out what they saw (Vazquez, 1994).

The experimenter could not see the pictures on the cards, and in half the trials, the facilitator was also prevented from seeing the cards. But in the other half of trials, the facilitator could see what was shown to the child. When their facilitator knew what the card depicted, both children typed out correct answers on all 10 of the trials. However, when the picture was shown only to the children and not to their facilitator, one child was unable to identify any of the pictures correctly, and the other got only 2 out of 10 correct. On the basis of this kind of evidence, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution in 1994 denouncing the validity of facilitated communication. The rise and fall of this controversial technique was fraught with heartache and dashed hopes. But it also illuminated something rather interesting about human psychology. In practically all of the cases where communicated messages were deemed written by the facilitator and not the child, the facilitators adamantly and fervently believed that they had not and could not have constructed the thoughts that had been typed out on paper. As Martin Luther King Jr. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. Exercise: perform an act of kindness Do one act of kindness today and expect nothing in return. Completion builds momentum. Because it reduces the number of open loops running through the back of your mind. Remember, an object in motion stays in motion. Learning a new sport or physical activity can be a great way to expand your comfort zone. When my client Jonathan finally learned to Rollerblade he was surprised at how easy it was.

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