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468 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - The Backlash Against P... · 0 replies · +1 points

I read the Huffington Post's article, and the Time magazine article it drew from, as well as this piece which quoted liberally from MLK's most famous speech.

First of all, the psychological study dealt with the efficacy of therapeutic techniques, namely, cognitive restructuring. So, for a therapist to tell a DEPRESSED person to merely "think happy thoughts" has the paradoxical effect of worsening some patients' outlook or condition. According to the article, it highlights their lack of happiness or causes them to feel they've failed in yet another arena (i.e. failing at happiness itself) - and, yes, I've paraphrased liberally here.

However, to use the findings of this narrowly focused study to deride and dismiss all positive thinking techniques or the essence of the concept seems to me a logical leap that is too perilous to make (with the hope of your argument surviving the fall, that is). If anything, the critics quoted in the above article essentially insinuate that to maintain a positive focus in the face of adversity - or ever, for that matter - is nothing more than delusional and counterproductive.

Due to misunderstanding the crux of the positive thinkers' message, their critics have purported to criticize only to end up echoing the same key message: that ACTION is crucial. The power of positive thinking lies in the ability to first conceive of something - anything - better than the current state of affairs, and then moment-to-moment to strive towards achieving it. Placing talk of "positive energy vibrations" aside for a moment, it readily apparent that to conceive of something is itself an ACT - thinking is an act of the mind. Any reasonable person would agree that mere "hoping" or "wishing" is ineffective, but what is referred to by proponents of positive thought is more akin to strategizing, planning, and continually steeling oneself to maintain tenacious adherence to one's greater goals. Thus, those on both sides of this supposed "debate" actually are in agreement that action is required for success in any endeavor - not mere thinking.

Now, is negative thinking any better? What would become of us if we all focused on making the world a worse place? Pessimism and cynicism may make for good comedy, but otherwise, do the anti-positive thinking constituency truly believe that complaint and criticism are going to get us anywhere? Without a constructive (aka positive) bent, criticism and complaint and other forms of negativity are truly bankrupt strategies for improving the world or leading happier, healthier, more successful (etc) lives. You don't have to call it positive thinking if it sounds too trendy or New Agey or cheesy for you, but chances are, if you're successful, you are already doing it. And if not, now might be a good time to set a trajectory towards a brighter future.

495 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - 5 Movies That Will Cha... · 0 replies · +2 points

Star Trek? It was OK at best. Rehashed version of the same old stuff they've been pumping out for 30-40 years.

495 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - This Is What Happens A... · 2 replies · +1 points

Part II of my comment:

Effects on my life - a few anecdotes:

1. Taking the Bar Exam. Unlike the vast majority of test-takers, I was completely devoid of nervousness before and during the test. I just flowed right through it. After it was over, I did not worry for so much a second about how I did. I won't find out if I passed for another 3 weeks, but regardless, I am at peace with myself, my performance, and my effort. I easily engaged many fellow test-takers in conversation and had a good time.

2. Getting pulled over. I got pulled over at a random checkpoint. My fiancee and I took a quick run to Walgreens to buy some household item and the store is so close that for some reason I didn't even grab my wallet (which contains my driver's license). On previous occasions when I've been stopped in my vehicle my entire mood instantly changed - a disgusting combination of anger and despair would set in, my heart would pound, and I would string together about a dozen obscenities into one mega-nasty compound word. Not so on this evening. My demeanor and more importantly my inner state was UNPHASED! I was not mad, angry, or upset whatsoever. So, what was I then? Calm, relaxed, and completely normal. And what ended up happening? The computer database malfunctioned and told the officer that I was 99 years old, and because of that and some sense of compassion towards me, perhaps, I was allowed to go the remaining two blocks home without so much as a written warning. My fiancee INSTANTLY credited the Philosopher's Notes as we were celebrating our good fortune. I guess that means that the effects were not only felt but were outwardly observable, too! I've shared about 10 Notes that I thought she's particularly like, and...she did like them and I can observe her stronger, happier tendencies too (and that's on a LOW DOSE hehe)!

3. Commitments to important things I am passionate about: Meditation is now a non-negotiable part of my daily life, as is my healthy diet, as is my passionate NEED for self-expression through music, as is my passionate NEED to contribute my gifts to society. Also, I have not missed so much as a single workout one month into my program, and have at least 150 days of regimented workouts (P90X followed by "INSANITY") ahead of me that I will not miss no matter where in the world I am.

One last thing, there is a perfect correlation between the PDF and the MP3 versions of the Notes - Brian's voice comes through his writing and his presentation of content is equally digestible via audio. The first ten Notes or so I read. I found it amazingly effective however to listen to Notes on MP3 during walks, workouts, or even just while doing the dishes. If I ever missed a phrase, I just rewound, but I found the audio to be a perfect substitute to reading with no loss in the quality or the richness of expression. If anything, the little Brian-isms (like "rockin' it" or "that's hot" came across better in audio format than in written). Anyway you slice it, I loved the first 50-some Notes and am eager to continue listening to these and RE-listening to these Notes in the future. I also plan to go back and the written exercises prior to starting my journal to really get my thoughts down and implement the teachings in these Notes. And yes, I still absolutely intend to pay for these Notes as soon as I get my first paycheck - I didn't/won't forget! Jah Bless

495 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - This Is What Happens A... · 3 replies · +1 points

OK - since the PN Challenge started, I've done several things. I've completed a 116-page Master's Thesis ; I've studied for and taken the Florida Bar Exam; and I've been on a quest to find gainful employement the past month. In the past month alone, I've lost 15lbs on a strict (South Beach) diet and a 6-days-a-week exercise regimen (P90X). I've also participated in James Twyman's "Oneness Experiment," I began keeping a journal and I read or listened to at least 50 of Brian's Philosopher's Notes (OK OK, I listened to a few extras so sue me!). Oh, almost forgot - I'm now one week into doing Holosync meditations. I've also begun rigorously practicing my guitar and am actively expanding my creativity in songwriting.

Off the top of my head the following big ideas come to mind - it's too hard to pick just one or two favorites:

1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don't take it personally
3. Do your best
4. Live a life of integrity (Covey et. al.)
5. Follow the path with heart
6. Don't be a second-rate version of someone else - be the best version of yourself
7. The 80/20 principle - focus on the rewarding 20%
8. Life is a series of sprints - not a marathon that makes you wither away (paraphrased from Full Engagement)
9. 40% of your emotions are due to cognitive patterns - i.e. choose your thoughts and reactions wisely!
10. YES, AND!
11. Life is the act of balancing/Zorba the Buddha
12. "Shoulding" on yourself - yuck! (Tony Robbins)
13. Spiritual constipation and the importance of PRACTICE/IMPLEMENTATION (a la Beckwith)
14. Don't Compete - CREATE (Science of Getting Rich)
15. Kaizen, baby steps, and the importance of the moment-to-moment commitment to being a positive, creative force in the Universe.
16. Avoiding the DDT, and embracing Empowered Living (Power of TED)
17-1001. Sorry - these are just the ones that popped into my head in no particular order, but there are hundreds of others, and I loved them all.

505 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - Ask And It Is Given by... · 1 reply · +1 points

Well, I've got good news and bad news...

Good news: Birdswill not swoop at you for recalling Hitchcock.

Bad news: Pounds will not leave your body by operation of magic.

Why? Because that's just your mental VOICE. Thinking the WORDS "I am wiggling my toes" doesn't cause your toes to move, does it? And that's your own body! Why, then, would you be able to control other living creatures who have their own agendas like getting up early to catch the first worm and stuff like that? Also, I PROMISE I am not being hard on you - this stuff is true for the same reason that Stephen Hawkings can't mentally manifest an able body; a midget can't manifest a normal height body. I mean, they want these things BADLY to the very core of their existence. They want it so bad they can taste it - but it's not in the cards, you know?

The law of attraction is described in a way that makes it sound like magic. But people read INTENT as "WISH." If you wish something - that's like saying the words "I am slim/I wish to be slim." Where's the intent? The words won't exclude you from the laws of physics that dictate that you must be in a caloric deficit to lose fat. So, staying with what you want, Deanne. I want a more athletic physique, too but typing this sentence only burned .002 calories. Actualizing this by counting my calories and devising a workout plan, and sticking to it - that's actually intent.

So, the thought is "I want to be healthy and fit." The intent requires actual actions to be taken. Moment by moment you intend to eat healthy, you go to the gym for an hour and each second you are there you use to the utmost. Heck you intend it so much, you flex your buns while you're sitting at your computer at work - 10,000 times a day! Silly example, I know. That's why to make it crystal clear the Hicks suggest 22 practices, and our esteemed summarizer Brian, highlights for us the practice of segmenting - which is what this all boils down to. What is segmenting? It's breaking something into bite-sized goals, and a heck of a lot of consistent, hard work.

This idea of things coming passively, out of thin air, without effort. It just misses the point. You need to INTEND it, by LIVING it. Thinking the words is a necessary first step, but you've only manifested a thought at that point, and what you want to manifest is a life. Bill Gates didn't manifest 50 billion dollars by wishing for it to fall out of the sky, right? He dropped out of Harvard to pursue his plan to create something he conceived, and he's battled for almost 30 years now to ensure that his operating system is the leading one in the world. He didn't wish for money or play the lottery - he lived it and worked at it every single day. Some lady you want to look like, genetic disposition aside, she worked hard and ate well to achieve that. The law of attraction, unfortunately is not a magic spell or even a short cut. It's more of a reminder to stay focused and harness your spiritual energy to obtain what you want and shape your reality. Hopefully this was remotely helpful or eye-opening.

505 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - Ask And It Is Given by... · 0 replies · +1 points

Correction: The note does vaguely allude to collectively manifesting by reference to the "source." It would be nice, however, if they or the Note explicitly stated collectivity rather than leaving it as an inference to drawn as I have.

505 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - Ask And It Is Given by... · 1 reply · +2 points

I gotta say - this really IS the best take on the Law of Attraction that I've seen to date. The Secret, to me, seems to portray it unrealistically (but that's OK because they're trying to introduce the concept and want to appeal to people's sensibilities). If you reflect on it and experiment with it yourself for a while, you'll gain a deeper tacit understanding of how it works.

A visionary thrives at all times. An intrinsically happy person bounces back after great tragedies, while others are at the mercy of their circumstances. Yes. Absolutely true in my experience. No matter what my situation, I rarely worry or get in a bad mood.

I like the message behind the Fuel Guage: If you feel bad, don't exacerbate it with more negative thoughts (Oh, woe is me! Why is misfortune my mistress in this cold dark world! Boo hoo! Am I evil? Undeserving?) - NO! You're fine, don't beat yourself up when you're already a bit down! Don't be so judgmental towards yourself. What's the point in that? You WANT to feel even worse? No - you WANT to be happy. So, the greatest use of the law of attraction (which could easily be attributed to psychological explanations, too, but whatever) is that thinking Happier, makes you Happier. Hence, expressing gratitude is such an automatic pick-me-up. That's the most applicable part of this message to one's daily life.

The other MEGA takeaway about this Law that I feel is always overlooked (even here) is: Yes, this idea can help you individually. But the TRUE Secret is that it must be used COLLECTIVELY. Rather than each of us egotistically thinking "MONEY FOR ME! NOW!!!" What we need is, say, a billion of us (for starters) thinking "PEACE ON EARTH NOW!" or "Let's all respect Nature, Now!" "Raise up the downtrodden Now - Cure the Sick!" etc. etc. Right? OK then my friends!

Finally, back to small fry individual-level application: Here's another energy -related analogy for the Law - perhaps this demystifies it a bit, but oh well. Imagine your Soul, for a moment, as this wonderful electrical power station - a generator. Every moment that passes, you're pumping out megawatts of raw power. If nothing is plugged in, though, that energy is gone forever. But if you plug in, say, all the equipment necessary for a spectacular display - like all the lights in Vegas, with a huge Pink Floyd rock concert and the most extreme laser light show of all time - you have the power to do that. So, in other words, this is really about harnessing your intrinsic power. That's what I like about this book/Note: moment by moment you INTEND something. That is, it's not passive. It's not just "Money, I want money, now." That'd be like mentally saying "Lights, flashing, Pink Floyd playing." What happens? Nada. Rather, you take the intention - you tap into your power - EVERY waking moment and make stuff happen! The law of attraction and hard work are not mutually exclusive concepts. Thus, for whatever you want to obtain and achieve, the idea of segmenting is important because that's the execution phase of the plan.

To relate this back to yesterday's reading: Having the thought - the ultimate end you want - and taking the first real step, perhaps out onto a limb to actually get it. That's the BIG LEAP. But, intregrating and stabilization - that's segmenting and working at it day by day, moment by moment. And back further into the distant past, day 1's reading by Ruiz where Brian mentions arete and kaizen - that's this, too. Same ideas by different names. Thus, people who don't believe in the law of attraction can do all the same things. Whether or not the "metaphysics work" doesn't necessarily matter that much - it's one description of the same phenomenon.

505 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - Ask And It Is Given by... · 0 replies · +2 points

Oh, As a Man Thinketh, by the way, provides a much more "realistic" version of how this works and I'm pretty sure Brian has Noted it, too.

505 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - The Big Leap By Gay He... · 3 replies · +3 points

There a nice momentum building with this reading which was very feel-good and inspirational. Saw common themes emerge from previous days' Notes - for example a similar spin on the concept of worrying. Where Covey invokes "integrity" (presumably to your own ideals), Hendricks also suggests we leap there, and in the same vein Ruiz told us to do our best, always and be impeccable with our words which implies integrity and the keeping of commitments. Slight departure too though: Taking a BIG Leap is a bit different than the arete stressed in the first reading, although perhaps the authors are reconciled when you take the integration and stabilization into consideration since these relate to your day-to-day work beyond the epiphany moment. Pardon me if that all just sounded like rambling, nonsensical pontification - it probably was. On the other hand, seeing all the connections makes me realize why the Notes are formatted with the "corroborating" comments of other respected authors - it's irresistible to draw connections and parallels when we're all drawn independently to similar conclusions.

Most importantly:
1. Whereas I was teetering on the brink in relation to my "conundrum" on day two (Covey) and wondering which path to take - I felt this morning's reading really gave me the decisive push onto the way more precarious path less traveled. Yes, I'm going to pursue my dream to finally become a male stripper! (hehe just seeing if anyone is actually reading this!)
2. This Note and perhaps this author (though it's a bit tricky to tell from the Note) has a decidedly positive message framed in a positive way. As opposed to a positive message couched in terms of "do this to avoid certain failure/disaster." There are warning components to his message, but overall he is less bombastic on this front. Therefore this is the most "cheerful" Note to date, in my humble opinion.
3. Finally, a technical/marketing/feedback-oriented comment - I felt this note stayed more on point with the author than the others (as opposed to digressing into lots of other authors). This, to me, reads more cleanly because otherwise I find myself trying to keep track of who said what and a great Abraham Lincoln quote overshadows the featured author (not saying it did, per se, but you see what I'm driving at hopefully).

505 weeks ago @ FinerMinds - How To Stop Worrying A... · 0 replies · +1 points

Hey all,

Well worrying isn't my issue at all - I rarely ever worry about anything really (and when I do it's something pretty major or pressing and it passes quickly - within a few hours perhaps). I suppose, I do what this author suggests "naturally" or at least have come to similar conclusions on my own. This Note reminds me of countless conversations I am constantly having with friends about telling them to relax and stop worrying etc. Actually, I find it quite rare to come across a self-help or philosophy-oriented idea I had not previously conceived of independently. I find this to be reassuring (though perhaps a bit dull at times). Even when I do come across a new idea, it's usually not a fresh Big Idea, it's a nuance or a minor subpoint or analogy the author has made. I am hoping that this tour accelerated tour through many influential books exposes me to a few that really blow me away. Nevertheless, I enjoy the content and the reminders, and there's always something I want to apply to my "today." I did enjoy the Note and the quotes, as I have been. I spotted a typo: "they're" where it was supposed to be "their." :)