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Monthly Archives: June 2013



Chinese proverb. It says, "Study till old...

Chinese proverb. It says, “Study till old, live till old, and there is still three-tenths studying left to do.” Meaning that no matter how old you are, there is still more studying left to do (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

perseverancePerseverance breeds possibilities. Possibilities make themselves visible when we are optimistic about doing something.  Self-confidence breeds success.  Developing solutions to problems can become our constant mod us operandi if we think positively.  Thinking something is hopeless blocks our thoughts and cripples our creativity.  Being judgmental, especially of one’s own self and one’s abilities, can be self-defeating.  Is the first thing you say to yourself when faced with a problem or decision, “I can’t.”  Stops you in your tracks doesn’t it and you immediately give up trying to do something about the problem.   Also at a certain point when you get older, you are often told that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  Perseverance is the key and we now know the brain can and does make new connections as we learn something new no matter what our age.  This is called neuroplasticity.

Perseverance is also necessary when seeking help.  I have come to rely on others who I think know more than I do about somethings like computers and technological devices or who, I think, have more mechanical abilities and even those who I think are physically less challenged than I.  They’re taller and stronger.  Sometimes, however, I still must rely more on myself.  For example, when it comes to computers, I have done two things:  When I do rely on others for help, I review my problem areas and compose questions whose answers I hope will help me get the answers I need to do what I do.  That way I can help myself to some extent and better use the help I get.  Or I try to figure it out by myself with the aid of any material I can find which will explain what I need to have explained at my level.  Even though I feel at times that the time I have spent “trying” to do some things has been useless, I have found that I did acquire some basic knowledge that helps me to understand and use the information I do get if any from other sources.  Learning is a complex process and to achieve it you must persevere.

Sometimes people do not appear to have to persevere at something to master it. Somethings appear to come naturally to others without perseverance, but that is often so because they want you to think that when actually it took blood, sweat, and tears.

For example, after I had finished my graduate schooling, I had to take a comprehensive exam in my area of study in order to be licensed by the state.  This required perseverance.  It was very strictly regulated and offered infrequently in a distant city.  I remember my former boss told me that he had taken it and passed it without studying for it.  I studied anyway for several months as I had been out of school for a couple of years and needed to refresh my memory about important concepts and applicable research studies.  The exam was very difficult and I would not have passed it if I had not persevered and done all the studying I had.  I now think my former boss was setting me up to fail by saying what he did.  I doubt whether he had passed it without studying or that maybe even if he had passed it at all.

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Greetings New Users

Greetings new users.  I appreciate you very much.  It is nice to know I have an audience out there to write for.  Love, JoyLThank You

Become A Problem Solver

Become a problem solver, a solution generator like the little engine that could repeating to himself over and over, “I think I can; I think I can.”  Our brains live up to our expectations of them.  If we think that we are dumber than a box of rocks then we will be dumber than a box of rocks.  My first words, when given a problem to solve, were often, “I can’t,” or worse yet, “I’ll try”.  You can try to do something forever and never succeed.  With enough work and a different attitude, you can master many things that you think that you can’t master.  Someone was talking about scuba diving today and what a marvelous experience that was.  You know what my first thought was that I am not a good swimmer.  That would be my first hurdle, the swimming and treading water requirements you must pass before before you even get to go into the beginner’s program.  But you know, I could master that and go on to have the fun and enjoyment that people get out of scuba diving.  I am lucky in other areas.  For example, I am not afraid of public speaking or writing.  But my lack of self-confidence got in the way of my considering scuba diving.


Swimming (Photo credit: Luther College Photos)

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Children Are Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

A smiling baby lying in a soft cot (furniture).

A smiling baby lying in a soft cot (furniture). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You can always learn something new.  As you might know, I am teaching a child psychology class this summer.  What I am reading is reinforcing what I already knew.  Children are busy little beavers from birth and they come equipped with amazing hardware which enables them to perceive and understand their environment.

Children are fearfully and wonderfully made.  They are not just passive receptacles of stimuli.  They are programed to take it in in a certain way and then use it to form an amazing 3-D, multi-sensory model.  It forms their conception of what the world is like.  From this, they proceed to make assumptions about how things are and they use these assumptions to draw conclusions about what will happen in their environment.  This will lead to developing concepts like depth perception and object permanence.

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Control Freaks, My Way Or The Highway

control freakDo you have problems around the issue of control? Do you live with a control freak or are you a control freak?  Indirectly you may be one if you let everybody else take control.  Are you flexible?  Do you want to reduce stress?  In order to get a task done, do you usually have to compromise?  Do you run upon people who you can’t count on even if they are a lot of fun to be with and they take control that way?  Does someone who throws a lot of  (you think unnecessary) paperwork at you and who demands that you follow numerous rules and regulations as well drive you crazy?

Do you stay in control by letting other people take control?  Do you ever think that you will get to a win-win solution for both yourself and the other person or persons involved?  Traumatic, isn’t it?  Have you ever felt like you were a doormat?  Everybody steps on you and then wipes their dirty feet on you?  Ready to quit working with these types of people and start over somewhere else where people aren’t like this?  With control freaks, it is my way or the highway.

I am a modified control freak when I need to get a task done and it is my duty, job, or responsibility or all three.  I once was put by myself in charge of three wards in the lunch room in an insane asylum while the other aides took a lunch break.  I stuck it out even though I got slapped in the face by a disorderly resident while I was on my own.  I always say, “The buck stops here,” like Harry Truman.  Being a mother or babysitting is also a situation where I have to maintain control especially concerning the safety of the child or children I am in charge of.  Sometimes in situations somebody has to take control and that person is you.  You may have never wanted the position, but somebody has to do it.

Everybody has to take a position on the control issue different from the one they are comfortable with sometime.  Maybe you should practice being less of a control freak or more of a control freak.  I know this takes you out of your comfort zone but the most growth usually occurs when you do that.  You may surprise yourself.


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The Mirror Of Life

life-is-a-mirror-1024x682(pp_w649_h432)What we encounter in the mirror of life is important for our personal development.  Things come into our lives to reflect different parts of ourselves that we often can not see otherwise.

The mirror of life does not reflect the same things to different people.  Psychological studies have shown that when people who witness the same scene are asked to recall what they saw, they will recall different things depending on who they are and what they are interested in.  Picture a murder scene in a mansion.  Besides the family of the murder victim, there are three witnesses.  An interior decorator remembers the abominable decor and what horrible taste the murder victim had who owned the mansion, a mechanical engineer remembers how hot it was in the room and that the air conditioning system must not have been working and that the body would decompose rapidly, and a psychologist might have noted that the members of the murder victim’s family who were present were not very upset.  Different things struck the attention of each witness and it effected what they remembered and/or found significant.

life is a mirrorThe mirror of life just does not only reflect our interests in life, but also presents certain things for us to see and experience.  Some religious or spiritual people feel that certain people and certain things show up in our life for a reason.  For example, a person who is not comfortable being around people with developmental disabilities might find themselves having a child or grandchild with Down syndrome.  Other people who are sensitive to certain kinds of slights are more likely to interpret or misinterpret what might seem to another person just to be a harmless remark.  An extreme form of this is paranoia.

The judgments that you pass about a given situation or certain person may tell more about you than it does about the situation or the person that you make a comment on.  Psychologically a person or persons who find overweight people disgusting may be hiding the fact that they have an eating disorder and are secretly scared that they might become overweight themselves.  On the one hand, what you comment on in a given situation presented to you by the mirror of life might reveal more about you than you would like.  On the other hand, you can use this information to understand yourself better and possibly even make changes in the way you do and see things.

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Things You Are Not To Talk About

not.talkThings you are not to talk about keep you in a prison of silence.  There are things you don’t share with others.  It can be a burden to carry these things alone and to whose advantage is this?  Probably it was to the advantage of the person who taught you not to talk about these things.  Yes, they probably told you that they were telling you this for your own good.   If fact, they may have implied that they and only they can tolerate you and even they don’t want to hear certain things from you.  These are things  which you will not talk about if you want to be loved and accepted by them.

When it comes to abuse, it is the things you are taught not to talk about that keep you, if you are the abuse victim, from stopping the abuse.  Abusers often use this ploy to get you (the one who is being abused)  to believe that others will reject or punish you if you talk about the abuse and that the abusers can cause harm to you or your family if you talk about the abuse.  There is no way to know if this will happen or not if you don’t tell somebody.

Take a moment and make a list of things that you are not to talk about.  It will tell you a lot about you and the people who influenced your life.  Low self-esteem is fostered by the idea that you really are a failure and/or a bad person and if someone else found this out, they would reject you.  This is one of the most important aspects of therapy being able to tell another person anything without losing their support.

embarassingquestionsI am not talking to you about this in order to make you a compulsive truth teller.  I believe that you have a right to choose what information that you will share with others.  There are people out there that will ask you some very embarrassing questions and for information about you that you don’t need to share with them; but who are you protecting and why?  Are there people in your life that you can and should share this information with?  Is it causing you more stress to keep this information to yourself than it would to be to finally get it off your chest?


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Impossible Dreams?

SuspensionofdisbeliefAre there impossible dreams?  What do you think?  Almost everything starts as a dream, a dream of something we might like to be true.  Bringing up hypnosis again,  hypnosis can change a person’s perception of what is possible and the impossible can happen.  For example, a person can have surgery without anesthesia.

English: Brain on hypnosis

English: Brain on hypnosis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What about what seem to be the impossible dreams of other people?  How often do we reject another person’s reality as impossible?  What if we accept it first and wait to reject it later when we have examined the proposition?  Take it a step further.  What if we believed that if another person thought something was possible, it would be possible?  Take “peace on earth”.  How quickly do you reject that idea as impossible?  How quickly could it be accomplished if people accepted the idea?  There are studies where people concentrated on such ideas, visualized them, and prayed about them and things like crime in that area were reduced.

We often are controlled by others when we accept the idea that something can’t be done.  They tell us we have impossible dreams.  How often has it rained on your parade when someone convinced you that something you wanted to do couldn’t be done?  You started out with a smile on your face and wound up with it turned upside down.  People who feel powerless often try to become powerful by controlling other people’s lives when they can not control their own lives.   Just think how all that enthusiasm that gets quashed could be used to accomplish something.

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The Cost of Living Affects People Unfairly

Money cash

Money cash (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

empty pockets

The percentage of their income that many people are paying for the cost of living in this economy is unbelievable.  Have you ever considered the gap between the cost of things in our economy and the ability of many people to pay for them?  The gap is getting bigger and bigger between what one group of people consider a reasonable amount of money for something and what another group of people can hardly imagine paying for something.

Because of how the cost of living effects them, more and more people are cinching their belts, doing without, and buying things on the cheap, or recycling somebody else’s trash.  This is the new group of poor which is being  being created by the number of qualified people who can’t get a job and the retires who find that their social security check, pension fund, and/or savings have shrunk in terms of what costs they can expect them to cover.  For example, paying $600 a month for house and car insurance may not seem like a lot when you are making $50,000 to $75,000 a year; but it seems impossible when you are on a fixed income of $10,000, $15,000, or even $20,000 a year.  Yes, there are people on social security who are getting less than $900 a month.

Many costs of living keep going up and up and we expect people to be able to pay them.  Costs to farm and raise a crop or a herd of beef, dairy cows, etc. are jaw dropping.  The profit margin keeps getting smaller and smaller.  Big business handles this by raising their prices and expecting somebody to pay them.  How have we come to accept this as normal?  I can tell you why people are buying imports from China, they can’t afford anything else.  Quality goods that have a longer useful life and home repair, maintenance, and appliance upkeep are unaffordable.  We have learned to skimp on things where we can (like using the dollar menu at the drive-through) and to do without things (that many people now consider a necessity) like a cell phone or inter-net access.

How did we get into this mess?  How did we come to accept the increasing inequality of the ability to pay the cost of living in our society?  We expect the little people of this country to pay the same big prices for some things that in reality only the disappearing middle (or upper class) can afford.  As Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.”  Where has the American Dream gone?  We thought this was ancient history, a time when royalty expected non royalty to pay starvation tax rates so royalty could live a gracious life style while wearing a blindfold when it came to seeing how this was achieved.  Power versus love.  Materialism.  People whom we have given authority to make decisions that are in our best interest are not doing it.  I would rather have a stove that works than pay for some government agency‘s meeting at a resort, wouldn’t you?  The Little Red Hen story also applies here too.

How have we come to accept this, this inequality of the ability of the citizens to pay the costs of living in our country?  Do you think that most of us should pay exorbitant prices for gasoline, medical insurance, and prescriptions and get by on little or nothing in the rest of our lives?  What is scary is that this may have been planned and controlled by the powerful and the wealthy in this country to be this way and we (like they thought we would) have come to accept this without protesting.  I know I have.

Once I made enough money to cover the cost of living and have a little left over; but now I don’t When it comes to eating out, I usually don’t.  For example, spending around ten dollars, tip and all for lunch is the max and is reserved for special occasions.  It is something that I do very infrequently.   When I am in town, I usually just get a drink and I am very selective about where I buy that.  I spend very very little money on clothes and as far as updating any rooms in my home like I see on HGTV, it ain’t gonna happen.  Lots of things don’t match, show a lot of wear, and are an eye sore.  I think my car would almost qualify as an antique.

For other things which are part of the cost of living, I pay what the economy demands.  This includes insurance premiums, utilities, gas, household supplies, but not food.  We have what we can afford that will stretch, not what we want.  When it comes to meat, we are very frugal; and we still cringe at the going rate for things like chicken wings and hamburger (but pay it anyway).  For a lot of things, we don’t have much choice, either pay what they ask or do without.  What happened to competition?


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Suspending Judgment

Suspensionofdisbelief suspendingjudgmentSuspending Judgment is necessary if you are going to explore uncharted territory.  Being ready to change your mind if necessary about some things is also important when learning about new things.  It is usually more comfortable to hang on to old beliefs and to “integrate” new findings into them; but you can not usually just do this and at the same time really master the new material.  Be ready to suspend judgment and change your mind about something if it is required in order to understand something new.

Suspending judgment is one giant step towards allowing yourself to experience something new.  Many of us are experienced at making quick judgments and snap decisions.  Doing this effectively shuts us off from exploring the unfamiliar with an open mind.  Recently I experienced eating something that was not a sandwich or a piece of fried chicken with my hands instead of with silverware.  I hesitated.  Silly wasn’t it.  How you eat your food is a matter of habit and it changes with the customs of the people with whom you are having a meal.  I could have spoiled a nice social occasion by being more concerned about how I was eating something than with whom I was eating.

Suspending judgment leads to thinking out of the box.  Brain storming works best when people concentrate on coming up with ideas rather than on prematurely eliminating them by initially passing judgment on them.  Juries are asked to do this when trying someone accused of a crime.  They are asked to suspend making a judgment until all the evidence is in.  Lawyers in picking a jury often have trouble finding people who haven’t already done this based on what they have heard about the case before the trial.  To be open-minded and to suspend judgment is often the best initial approach to any situation.  It is often very embarrassing to find out that you have misjudged someone or something when there is new information revealed that you were not aware of initially.

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