I received an e-mail today from Tom O’Connor. In it, he mentions research by Shawn Achor, a researcher of happiness. Mr. Achor says that, to be happy, we need only do the following five things every day:
- Write down three things you’re grateful for
- Write about one positive experience you had over the last twenty-four hours
- Do some form of exercise
- Do one “random act of kindness” for someone else
I wonder if it’s really so simple. Let’s find out.
Charlie Badenhop. That’s who. New York City. That’s where.
If you haven’t heard of him until now, it may be because he lives in Japan. He rarely gets back to the US. I hadn’t heard of him before my friend Joel Elfman told me about some bodywork training he’d done with Charlie. Couldn’t speak highly enough of him.
This past year, I got to meet him myself. He was a guest trainer at the Master Practitioner training offered by Doug O’Brien and Jonathan Altfeld in Vermont. He was truly amazing. It’s tough to put into words.
Go experience him firsthand. Read more about it and sign up for his rare US training in Seishindo.
Back in 2008, I thought I’d try an experiment with keeping a calendar of NLP trainings.
Today, I trashed it. Consider the experiment to have failed.
I had to break some bad news to some people today, and it reminded me that I hadn’t posted it here. I think I should fix that now.
My old Internet friend, the Gentle Giant of NLP, Quentin Grady, died over a year ago, on June 7, 2010, after a long and valiant struggle with cancer.
For you who knew him, there’s nothing I can say that could inspire you to appreciate him more than you already do. You know he was an amazing man.
For those who didn’t know him… I grieve your loss as much as I do my own. You could read over 1200 of Quentin’s Usenet posts from alt.psychology.nlp if you wanted to get a feel for who and what he was.
If this is the first you’ve heard of Quentin’s death, I’m sorry to have waited so long to pass it on.
Visit Quentin’s Memorial Web site and leave a comment.
Dr. Jack Schafer is a psychologist and a retired Special Agent for the FBI. He specializes in what he calls “narrative analysis,” which entails examining the other-than-conscious motivations people have for choosing a particular word or phrase in a given context. He trains peace officers and others in this skill for interviewing suspects. He’s started to teach Just Plain Folks like you and me, though, and he’s taken a blogging spot (Let Their Words Do the Talking) on Psychology Today.
Every article I’ve read there has been awesome in its usefulness. (Cops aren’t big on theory. Theory can get you shot!) What got my attention, though, was his five-part series called “The Poor Man’s Polygraph:”
Short, to the point, extremely useful, easy to learn and implement. Go check it out!
Santa has a blog. It’s awesome.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about an article I read on President Bill Clinton’s charisma and someone’s attempt to model a bit of it. I also mentioned that I’d be playing with it. I thought I’d update here.
According to the original article, there are three things Bill Clinton does that make people feel as if a “reality distortion field” has wrapped around them:
- Eye contact;
- Judicious manipulation of interpersonal space; and
- Focused attention.
I’m pretty good at the second one, though there are a couple of aspects of it that I could improve. It isn’t so much the actual space, but the way the other person perceives it. There are things one can do to make interpersonal space seem smaller or larger without actually moving toward or away from the other person. I think that’s an interesting idea. I’ll play with that last.
The third one? I’m horrible at it. Nearly 25 years of security and Emergency Medical Services work have required me to habitually cast my attentiveness as wide as I can. It looks like I’m easily distracted, especially in unfamiliar places. I’m really not, but there’s no way someone talking to me can tell that. I’ll play with that next.
What I’m playing with now is eye contact. I’ve always been really bad with it. When I lock eyes with someone, I get the same feeling I get when I look into someone’s living room window. Sure, if the curtains are open, you can’t help but notice it in passing, But to really look? It feels invasive to me. Like I’m violating someone’s privacy.
Irrational, I know. I’m hoping to find someone who can offer me a better way to think about what I’m doing. In the meantime, I’ve been doing it anyway. Looking into people’s eyes and keeping it.
Two things have surprised me.
The way other people respond to it is a surprise. Most of them genuinely don’t mind, and some of the rest really seem to appreciate it. Those who (apparently) feel like I do simply look away quickly, but they don’t seem offended.
Many of the first group suddenly find me a better conversationalist. Not that I say anything. They do a lot more talking to me. I guess if I appear fascinated, they must assume they’re fascinating… which does make sense. A number of people have found it difficult to go on about their business. One deliciously beautiful woman actually accused me of preventing her from leaving.
The other surprise was my own internal responses. Absolutely nothing bad has happened, and sometimes I feel surprised at that. On occasion, when I lock eyes with someone and they look away quickly, I feel a small, but primal, sense of power that I’m not at all happy about in retrospect. With many, I really am a better listener; I want to listen, I actually crave it. And the most unusual response of all: one particularly blue pair of eyes actually fascinated me… and I mean that in the original sense of the word: “to cast a spell which renders one unable to move.” I have studied hypnosis long enough to be able to break that “spell,” but for the few seconds that I was there, I went meta to it and wondered how something like that could happen to a grown man.
I learned, as well, that there are times when I need to not make or hold eye contact.
In a restaurant, for example, no matter which staff member I looked at, they stopped what they were doing and asked what they could do for me. I was actually interrupting them without meaning to. Not polite.
I spoke with the CEO of the hospital for which I work a couple of days ago, and I intentionally did not lock eyes with him. I won’t tell you the circumstances (no, I wasn’t in trouble; far from it) but somehow I felt it wasn’t appropriate at the time. He’s the type of guy that I could connect with that way if the context were different, though.
Tonight, I made eye contact with a co-worker, and I quickly broke it. I believed that if I held it, he’d ask me what the heck I was doing. I didn’t feel like explaining because I was ready to go home. You know how it is.
It’s been interesting and pleasant so far, and I think it’ll continue to be.
If you have a good, strong belief that allows you to make and hold eye contact comfortably, would you mind sharing it with me in the comments? I’d appreciate it.
Bill’s, not Hillary’s. Um… obviously.
I wasn’t a fan of Bill. But there’s something to the fact that I feel comfortable calling him “Bill” in my own mind. I don’t think of any other President by their first name. His personal power is undeniable. And Michael Ellsberg has been studying it:
“I have a friend who has always despised Bill Clinton,” a person at a cocktail party told me during the time I was writing my book [...]. “Yet, somehow my friend found himself at a function that Bill Clinton was attending. And, within the swirl of the crowd, he was introduced to Clinton.”
“In that moment, face-to-face, all of my friend’s personal animosity towards Clinton disappeared, in one instant,” my new acquaintance at the party continued. “As they were shaking hands, Clinton…”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a charismatic guy; I’ve actually taught myself to not be, though I didn’t realize I have been doing so. Ellsberg’s three-step model looks like it’d be very powerful to me. I’m going to play with it.
Note: I searched for a while for a candid image of Bill Clinton looking at the camera. I found only one, and it was unflattering. Isn’t that weird?
Those of us with a fascination for the “P” in “NLP” may be delighted to learn that Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs has been updated to reflect the past 50-ish years of research.
The research team – which included Vladas Griskevicius of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Mark Schaller of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver – restructured the famous pyramid after observing how psychological processes radically change in response to evolutionarily fundamental motives, such as self-protection, mating or status concerns.
The bottom four levels of the new pyramid are highly compatible with Maslow’s, but big changes are at the top. Perhaps the most controversial modification is that self-actualization no longer appears on the pyramid at all.
What do you think? Will you stop striving for self-actualization just because a group of psychologists says you no longer need it? Does the new pyramid make more sense?