Chasing After Flow

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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Quote of the Week

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not why ships are built.

Listen to the woman and keep that instinct to provide advice in check

Optimism to the Extreme

I’m a huge fan of optimism, positive psychology, and the overall looking on the bright side of things. So much so that this is my lockscreen image on my iPad:

The glass is always full

 

But then I came across this quote which has the same basic theme but is much cleverer:

The glass is only half full until you pour its contents into a smaller glass.

“Location Boxing”

I came across an article from Lifehacker about a concept called “location boxing.” It refers to changing your physical location (home, work, coffee shop, etc.) according to the task at hand so your brain in more attuned with the environment. An example from the article was the author only responding to email from a nearby cafe and then ignoring them once at the office. This way he was better able to focus on what he did at each location. Compartmentalizing in a sense.

I remember other similar examples from college. In my Cognitive Psychology class the professor discussed how studying for tests can be more effective if you’re able to study where you’ll actually be taking the test. This way, as you review and learn (hopefully) the material, that knowledge is being associated with the physical environment you’re in on some level in the brain. This way when taking the test, your brain can more easily retrieve the needed information from environmental triggers.

This concept also applies to why its advised to not do anything in your bed apart from sleeping. So no eating, no reading, and definitely no TV. This way your body isn’t confused when you lay down at night and its easier to fall asleep.

Here’s a link to the original article from Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/try-location-boxing-to-get-your-brain-to-switch-gears-486199905?

The Many Faces of Influence

the-many-faces-of-influence

I came across this infographic not too long ago and it was definitely share-worthy. Original source: Traaker (@traackr): http://traackr.com/blog/tag/infographic/.

Quote of the Week

Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Workplace Firewall

The firewall at my work is so weird. It does something funky with how it accepts cookies that leads to unpredictable behavior across different sites. I know its the firewall and not the browser because I experience the same issue with Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. I know enough to configure the settings on each browser but nothing does the trick.

Here are some of the problems I’ve come across with some hoops I have to jump:

  • WordPress.com: will log me in but will tell me that I’m not logged in. I can’t access my reader or dashboard. Occasionally it will give me setting before realizing what it did and then lock me out. If I go to someone else’s page though, it have my header bar at the top and it will allow to follow someone.

  • Blogger: will not let me log in if I go straight to the blogger website. If I log into my gmail first though, and then click on Blogger from the menu at the top, then I get in no problem.

  • Tumblr: completely blocked.

  • LinkedIn: cannot log in or access anything.

  • Facebook: will tell me it was unable to log me in, but then I can access limited uses if I jump directly to a page.*

  • Twitter: no issue unless I need to allow a third party permission and then that’s 50/50.**

  • Hootsuite: cannot log in.

  • Amazon.com: will let me log in, but have to input password often because it forgets that I’m logged in.

  • Pinterest: will technically log me in (I can see my avatar) and I can see pins, but I cannot like or pin anything.

  • New York Times: I cannot read a single article from them.

*I rarely, if ever use Facebook at work.

**I always use twitter at work. I like to justify it by saying I follow business/psychology related accounts.

The New “Xbox One”

So the next generation Xbox was announced yesterday, called “Xbox One.” Its name is a little confusing, since, well, this is the 3rd generation console and the 4th model design. I think its code name during development, “Durango,” is better than what they ended up with and that’s saying something because even Durango is a stupid name for a console.xbox-one-619x348

Name aside, there are also some other troubling things I read about Microsoft’s next generation video game console. For example, its design. The thing is a big black boxy piece of ugliness. It looks plain and boring. Many have compared it’s look to a VCR. I think someone dropped the ball on that one because if its being compared to a piece of technology that was around in the 1980’s is not a good thing.

It was also announced that due to the type of processors it would have, the Xbox One would not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games. I would have hoped that Microsoft could have figured out a way around this because this is a huge drawback. But no worries, approximately half of original Xbox games should be compatible via emulation with hopefully only some hiccups (please note the sarcasm here).

Before you think it couldn’t get any worse, the Xbox One will also have a built-in system to prevent t wide sale of used games. Per my understanding, once a game is purchased the Xbox One will require you to download the game to the console’s hard drive. If someone else tries to load that game to the console from that disc, they would be required pay an unspecified fee (in addition to however much they purchased it for at the store). It is also rumored that once you sell that game and someone else pays to load it to their system, your copy is removed.

I should note that I’m not mentioning any of the advantages of the Xbox One, and I’m not going to. These shortcomings are too great and outweigh any advancements it makes. For me, I’ll stick with my Xbox 360 and skip this generation Xbox or wait until Microsoft fixes these drawbacks.

Are You Damaging Your Kids’ Self-Esteem?

You’re a Pimp
Your doorbell rings and there are your parents, all crouched down and ready for a big hug from their very own pint-sized flesh and blood. But your kid doesn’t rush over. Perhaps she’s busy playing. Or maybe she needs some time to warm up to them. For whatever reason, she’s not feeling it.

And you can’t help but wish she was. Can’t she give them something? They’ve come a long way and a cuddle would mean so much. Feeling the pressure, you whisper to your daughter, “Go give Grandma and Grandpa a hug and kiss!”

But as soon as those words come out of your mouth : BOOM! You’re guilty of prostituting your kid to perform acts of affection to satisfy your parents’ desires. Make no mistake about it: You’re the pimp. Your parents are the johns. And the currency you’re using is the single most powerful in the world: parental love and approval. Just because the affection isn’t sexual doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with it. Each and every time your child performs an act of “love” at your behest, her innate drive to genuinely express love takes a pummeling.

You’ve also set her up to believe it’s her responsibility to use her body to satisfy another’s desire, regardless of how she feels about it. So even if you’ve explained to her a million times that she has the right to say “no,” your actions, particularly when ingrained at an early age, speak much louder than words.

Physical affection when not given freely is wrong. Full stop.

My recommendation: Stop asking for a kiss goodbye. Stop asking where your hug is. Be loveable and your kids will want to love you – in the way they want to, when they want to.

The above is a selection from an article my wife came across the other day and wanted me to read it. She was taken aback by the advice that was given. So I read the article and I was also taken aback.

The article is featured on babble.com and is written by Jennifer Lehr/Schlosberg. It covers three items of advice she provides to parents based on observations she has made that could negatively affect the self-esteem of the child. After reading the article I went to her website to see what were her qualifications for making such assertions since none of them hold any weight with me. She does have a masters degree, but it appears to be a Masters of Fine Arts degree that does not specify her concentration. Ms. Lehr’s work is listed as interior design and she has written a book about sex advice.

Given this, I will consider her post to be her opinion on a blog and not professional advice. My opinion on this blog is much the same. Currently, that opinion is her post is bupkus and should not be heeded. That’s my opinion. But I also have a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in counseling, and am a licensed and certified counselor who has facilitated parenting classes. I would be extremely reluctant in that capacity to espouse any of the views expressed in that post and would not devalue the level of parenting of any mother or father who did the things that she mentioned.

My wife and I recently watched the movie "Parental Guidance" with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. Great movie and a great comedy. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. Apart from some bias from being set in Atlanta, we both loved the movie because Crystal’s and Midler’s characters are grandparents who clash with their daughter on parenting styles and we agree with the former. Sometimes a little tough love is needed. I won’t ruin the movie or go on a diatribe about the merits of tough love, but its great and is a must-see.

That being said, feel free to check out the full article in question by Ms. Lehr. It can be found here.

Traveling with Strangers

MARTA N3 (North Avenue) station

MARTA N3 (North Avenue) station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I work in downtown Atlanta and take public transit (MARTA) to work everyday. It’s a straight shot for me on the train so I don’t have to switch lines or anything like that. Very convenient and cost-effective (I fill my car up with gas once per month). I also enjoy listening to podcasts or music while I travel. Another thing I like are my fellow routine passengers. These are the people I see everyday and yet I know nothing about them.

I never speak to them nor will I. I don’t want to start something with them and then feel committed to doing so again in the future. There seems to be an unwritten rule of public transit that you don’t talk to anyone unless you already know them or need help with something. But I like to think that even though none of us have ever spoken a word to each other, I still know them and they know me.

There’s this one guy who I think is business professor at one of the colleges nearby. He’s always dressed nice, carries a bag that a business school logo on it, and he’s always marking papers or reading business magazines. I like this guy. He seems very polite and takes his time getting off the train to allow others to go first. He also walks the stairs instead of the escalator which is a herculean task to do everyday.*

I remember the first time he didn’t get off at our stop and stayed on the train. I wanted to ask him if he knew what station he was at but realized he might have something else to do that day. The experience shook my core though. It was at that moment that I realized I had a connection with this people and I had slowly been trying to piece together their stories.

English: Trailer title shot for Alfred Hitchco...

English: Trailer title shot for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 Strangers on a Train. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some other strangers I travel with frequently:

  • Clean-cut Mexican Guy: This is a short little guy who is always clean-shaven, has his hair trimmed, and very well put together. Judging by his outfits, I think he’s in cleaning services but at one of the nicer places in town. He never sits down even if there are plenty of seats. FYI: I know he’s Mexican because I speak Spanish and recognized his accent.
  • Mustache Guy: He’s a newer person. He gets on the train before me and gets off 2 stops before me. Don’t know much about him yet except he likes to read and always wears a plain white undershirt. He shaved his thick red mustache today so I’ll have to come up with a new name for him.
  • Prima Donna: She is this prissy looking girl who’s on the train once or twice per week. She comes off as conceited and hoity-toity. I don’t like her very much but she adds to the dynamic.
  • Vanilla Guy: He’s this plain, old average Joe. There is nothing inherently distinctive about him. He justs blends in and looks boring. He gets on and off at the same stop as me. His favorite flavor of ice-cream is probably vanilla, hence his name. I bet in reality he’s like this rock star adventurer who loves a good adrenaline rush.
  • Old Make-up Lady: She’s this older lady who gets on one stop after me and gets off two before me. She doesn’t have a long trip on the train but she uses that time to put on her make-up. She seems nice and is still attractive for her age (I peg her around 55-60).

As I travel each day with them I like to think we grow closer. As I write this I wonder what it is they think of me? Who am I to them? Am I the good-looking guy with nice shirts or the creepy guy who’s always playing FreeCell on his phone? For all I know they’ve never even noticed me or I’m the plain Vanilla Guy.

*To give you an idea how many stairs we’re talking about, I just stood on the escalator one day instead of walking up it and timed how long it would take: 1 minute 42 seconds.