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Posts Tagged ‘success’

Happy Father’s Day

The story of Rick and Dick Hoyt is one of the greatest love stories of all time, as the Host on NBC put it, “its the story of a Father who climbs mountains and goes to the end of the Earth and back to give his son a better life, a life that transcends the limitations of his body.” Rick has celebral palsy, caused by loss of oxygen to his brain at birth because his umbillical cord was  wrapped around his neck.

Rick & Dick compete together in marathons and triathalons.  To date Team Hoyt have run over 950 races including some 60 marathons and triathlon competing in 6 iron mans, the ultimate test of strength and endurance.  Dick carries him in a special seat up front as they bike, pulls him in a special boat as they swim, and pushes him in a special wheelchair as they run.  The Hoyt’s motto is “you can” and they’ve made so many believe anything is possible.

The doctors told Rick and Judy Hoyt that their son would never be able to walk or talk.   They said forget Rick put him away in an institution he’s going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life.  But Rick and Judy said “no we’re not going to put Rick away, we’re going to bring him home and bring him up like any other child.”

While in high school Rick learned about a five mile charity run for a paralyzed teenager and he told his Dad “I have to do something for him, I have to let him know that life goes on”, for Dick this was a call to action as a Father.  Rick told his Dad “when I’m out running I feel like my disability disappears”  and that was all Dick needed to hear.

When asked what one thing Rick wished he could give his father, his reply was “The thing I’d most like is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once.”

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Lines That Divide US

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  These words, spoken by Aristotle, are too often ignored and the price we pay is high .  When street gangs substitute for families and schoolyard insults end in stabbings it is a sure sign of a lack of empathy.  Being able to empathize is a crucial ability that forms part of Emotional Quotient (EQ) and matters immensely in terms of how we do in life.  Empathy has to do with knowing another person’s feelings, feeling what that person feels and responding compassionately to another’s distress.

Empathy acts as a buffer to cruelty and is a quality known to be lacking in child molesters and psychopaths.  Empathy is also known to lead to acts of altruism which is known to activate emotions that are vital to the maintaining of good health.

Schools that develop emotional literacy programs, designed to help children learn to manage anger, frustration, and loneliness see lunch time fights, for example, decrease from two or three a day to almost none.

How much happier would we be, how much more successful as individuals and civil as a society, if we were more alert to the importance of Emotional Quotient?

Aristotle also wrote: “Anyone can become angry, that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and the right way — this is not easy.”

The good news is that empathy is an innate quality that can be shaped by experience.  The greater your ability to empathize the greater your EQ.

Adriano

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Helper’s High

There is no shortage of studies that show that happier people live longer.  They are also less likely to suffer heart attacks, strokes and pain from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.  It is also well documented that people who express positive emotions come down with fewer colds and flus after being exposed to the virus than those who express negative emotions like anger sadness or stress.  So how can we get “happy” and stay there?

In their book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks and Peggy Payne talk about the “helper’s high,” a feeling of exhilaration and a burst of energy similar to that experienced after intense exercise, followed by a period of calmness and serenity.

For the book, Luks studied over 3,000 Americans involved in volunteer services to find that these do-gooders reported a helper’s high that lasted several weeks and improved other aspects of their lives. They also report that the euphoric sensation returned when they remembered the action of helping others.

The benefits of charity go beyond improving sensations and emotions.  Of the group Luks studied for his book, 90% reported that volunteering acted as an antidote to stress, chronic pain, and even insomnia.

Another study found that members of volunteer organizations lived longer and experienced better health. The volunteers experienced noteworthy decreases in levels of blood pressure, stomach acid and cholesterol counts. Harvard University in a similar study dubbed the “Mother Teresa effect” showed 132 students a film about Mother Teresa’s work among the Calcutta’s poor, and than measured the level of Immunoglobin A, present in the saliva.  The test revealed increased levels of immunoglobin A which is the body’s first defense against the common cold virus – all after simply witnessing somebody else involved in charity work.

These studies show how important acts of altruism are in boosting a sense of well-being and maintaining good health.  It also shows why we should never pass up a chance to deliver a thank you note to someone who has been especially kind or helpful but never properly appreciated, or why it would pay to be there for someone even though it is not convenient.  But perhaps most importantly it also supports the dictum that the surest way to happiness is to lose yourself in a cause greater than yourself.

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Does Social Networking help us live longer?

Can social networking sites like facebook and myspace actually help us live longer?  Facebook claims to have over 400 Million active users and that the average user has 130 friends.   As of yet, no studies have examined a direct connection between online social networking and physical health but there are decades of research demonstrating links between social support and health.

“The more connected you are with other people the healthier you will be both physically and emotionally.  The less connected you are the less meaningful your life”.  This from a study by C. Norman Shealy, M.D. and Carolyn Myss, Ph.D.,  they found that love and being loved is a factor in improving the immune system, adding to life expectancy and creating overall happiness.  Their research shows that even bad habits like smoking and overeating have less of an impact on those who are relationally connected and have a loving support system.

Another study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ran for 10 years and was done on the older population of South Australia.  It also found that people who keep up with their BFFs have longer life expectancies.

In the study researchers collected the names of men and women over age 70 from electoral rolls and recruited 1,477 to be in the study. Using surveys and questionnaires, they asked participants to rate the quality of their relationships with their children, other relatives, friends, and confidants and how frequently participants had contact with those individuals. To control for other potential contributors to premature death, researchers also asked about their health problems and other lifestyle factors (smoking, drinking, or depression, for instance). After 10 years, roughly 40 percent of the original participants were still living. The authors found that those who remained were more likely in their survey responses to have reported having friends and confidants than did the individuals who had subsequently died.

Being social and having deep connectedness with other people is what we we are made for and its an indispensable condition for human flourishing.  Although simply having a rolodex full on names or thousands of friends on your Facebook profile won’t guarantee you a longer life, the evidence certainly seems to be clear that as human beings we are hardwired to connect with others and that those who master the skill of cultivating great friendships will live the most rewarding and fulfilling lives.

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Win the Race – Scott Goodfellow Style

All of life is like a race, with ups and downs and all,

all you have to do to win the race is get up each time you fall.

Quit, give up, you’re beaten they still shout in your face,

but a stronger voice inside you says: Get Up and Win the Race!

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Death of a Giant!

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, “Common Sense,” who has been with us for many years.  No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.  He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

– knowing when to come in out of the rain;

– the early bird gets the worm;

– life isn’t always fair; and

– maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.  Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot.  She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, “Truth” and “Trust,” by his wife, “Discretion,” by his daughter, “Responsibility,” and by his son, “Reason.”

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers – “I Know My Rights,” “I Want It Now,” “Someone Else Is To Blame,” and “I’m A Victim.”

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The Dark Triad – Part 1 Intro

Skip to: Part 2 Narcissist –       Part 3 Machiavellian –        Part 4 Psychopath


Name Tag Dark Triad-1

As discussed in an earlier post, what makes life worth living comes down to feelings of well-being through happiness and sense of fulfillment.  And that this happiness and fulfillment can best come through a life of rich and rewarding relationships.  On that note, also in a previous post, we discussed the four human temperaments, also known as personality types, as a tool to understanding ourselves and learning to get along with others.  In this 4 part series we look at personality types of a different kind, specifically personality types which people would generally define as undesirable.  Psychologists have dubbed these  personality traits as “The Dark Triad”.  The Dark Triad consists of three personality deficiencies Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy.

Narcissists are driven by one motive: dreams of glory.  Narcissists flourish when they are facing a difficult challenge, they shine when performance under stress counts the most.  However they have little capacity for empathy and the more impaired a person’s ability to consider others, the less healthy their narcissism.

For the Machiavellian the ends justify the means, no matter what human pain he may cause.  They tend to be cynically calculating and arrogant, readily behaving in ways that undermine trust and cooperation.

The hallmarks of the Psychopath’s behavior are deceit and reckless disregard for others.  The Psychopath also lacks empathy and are completely indifferent to the emotional pain others may suffer because of his actions.

To varying degrees, all three personality types entail a dark, interpersonally destructive character with tendencies toward grandiosity, emotional callousness, manipulation and dominance. Psychopaths and Machiavellians have high self- esteem, and are charming and fun but psychopaths are also impulsive and cunning. Narcissists are grandiose and have high self esteem, and may also be intellectually gifted.

A common theme that underlies The Dark Triad is a preoccupation with dominance and power.  The problem with this preoccupation with power is that it suppresses the development of empathy.  When empathy is not practiced, it diminishes.  We are designed this way because assertion of dominance often necessitates overt or covert aggression.  Can we be aggressive towards someone we have empathy for?  Of course not, thus the most loving people are the least aggressive and the least domineering.

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