NEW ALBUM FROM YOUR BOY MRNES
By: David Cain / Source: Discover Your True Unique Life Path (take the free test)
Everyone gets drilled with certain lessons in life. Sometimes it takes repeated demonstrations of a given law of life to really get it into your skull, and other times one powerful experience drives the point home once, forever. Here are 88 things I’ve discovered about life, the world, and its inhabitants by this point in my short time on earth.
1. You can’t change other people, and it’s rude to try.
2. It is a hundred times more difficult to burn calories than to refrain from consuming them in the first place.
3. If you’re talking to someone you don’t know well, you may be talking to someone who knows way more about whatever you’re talking about than you do.
4. The cheapest and most expensive models are usually both bad deals.
5. Everyone likes somebody who gets to the point quickly.
6. Bad moods will come and go your whole life, and trying to force them away makes them run deeper and last longer.
7. Children are remarkably honest creatures until we teach them not to be.
8. If everyone in the TV show you’re watching is good-looking, it’s not worth watching.
9. Yelling always makes things worse.
10. Whenever you’re worried about what others will think of you, you’re really just worried about what you’ll think of you.
11. Every problem you have is your responsibility, regardless of who caused it.
12. You never have to deal with more than one moment at a time.
13. If you never doubt your beliefs, then you’re wrong a lot.
14. Managing one’s wants is the most powerful skill a person can learn.
15. Nobody has it all figured out.
16. Cynicism is far too easy to be useful.
17. Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours.
18. Whenever you hate something, it hates you back: people, situations and inanimate objects alike.
19. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s works alone can teach you everything you need to know about living with grace and happiness.
20. People embellish everything, as a rule.
21. Anger reveals weakness of character, violence even moreso.
22. Humans cannot destroy the planet, but we can destroy its capacity to keep us alive. And we are.
23. When people are uncomfortable with the present moment, they fidget with their hands or their minds. Watch and see.
24. Those who complain the most, accomplish the least.
25. Putting something off makes it instantly harder and scarier.
26. Credit card debt devours souls.
27. Nobody knows more than a minuscule fraction of what’s going on in the world. It’s just way too big for any one person to know it well.
28. Most of what we see is only what we think about what we see.
29. A person who is unafraid to present a candid version of herself to the world is as rare as diamonds.
30. The most common addiction in the world is the draw of comfort. It wrecks dreams and breaks people.
31. If what you’re doing feels perfectly safe, there is probably a better course of action.
32. The greatest innovation in the history of humankind is language.
33. Blame is the favorite pastime of those who dislike responsibility.
34. Everyone you meet is better than you at something.
35. Proof is nothing but a collection of opinions that match your own.
36. Knowledge is belief, nothing more.
37. Indulging your desires is not self-love.
38. What makes human beings different from animals is that animals can be themselves with ease.
39. Self-examination is the only path out of misery.
40. Whoever you are, you will die. To know and understand that means you are alive.
41. Revenge is for the petty and irresponsible.
42. Getting truly organized can vastly improve anyone’s life.
43. Almost every cliché contains a truth so profound that people have been compelled to repeat it until it makes you roll your eyes. But the wisdom is still in there.
44. People cause suffering when they are suffering themselves. Alleviating their suffering will help them not hurt others.
45. High quality is worth any quantity, in possessions, friends and experiences.
46. The world would be a better place if everyone read National Geographic.
47. If you aren’t happy single, you won’t be happy in a relationship.
48. Even if it costs no money, nothing is free if it takes time.
49. Emotions exist to make us strongly biased towards or against something. This hinders as often as it helps.
50. Addiction is a much greater problem in society than it’s made out to be. It’s present in every person in various forms, but usually we call it something else.
51. “Gut feeling” is not just a euphemism. Tension in the abdomen speaks volumes about how you truly feel about something, beyond all arguments and rationales.
52. Posture and dress change profoundly how you feel about yourself and how others feel about you, like it or not.
53. Everyone thinks they’re an above average driver.
54. The urge to punish others has much more to do with venting frustration than correcting behavior.
55. By default, people think far too much.
56. If anything is worth splurging on, it’s a high-quality mattress. You’ll spend a third of your life using it.
57. There is nothing worse than having no friends.
58. To write a person off as worthless is an act of great violence.
59. Try as we might to be otherwise, we are all hypocrites.
60. Justice is a human invention which is in reality rarely achievable, but many will not hesitate to destroy lives demanding it.
61. Kids will usually understand exactly what you mean if you keep it to one or two short sentences.
62. Stuff that’s on sale usually has an annoying downside.
63. Casual swearing makes people sound dumb.
64. Words are immensely powerful. One cruel remark can wound someone for life.
65. It’s easy to make someone’s day just by being uncommonly pleasant to them.
66. Most of what children learn from their parents isn’t taught on purpose.
67. The secret ingredient is usually butter, in obscene amounts.
68. It is worth re-trying foods that you didn’t like at first.
69. Problems, when they arise, are rarely as painful as the experience of fearing them.
70. Nothing — ever — happens exactly like you pictured it.
71. North Americans are generally terrible at accepting compliments and offers of help.
72. There are not enough women in positions of power. The world has suffered from this deficit for a long time.
73. When you break promises to yourself, you feel terrible. When you make a habit of it, you begin to hate yourself.
74. A good nine out of ten bad things I’ve worried about never happened. A good nine out of ten bad things that did happen never occurred to me to worry about.
75. You can’t hide a bad mood from people who know you well, but you can always be polite.
76. Sometimes you have to remove certain people from your life, even if they’re family.
77. Anyone can be calmed in an instant by looking at the ocean or the stars.
78. There is no point finishing a book you aren’t enjoying. Life is too short for that. Swallow your pride and put it down for good, unfinished.
79. There is no correlation between the price of a brand of batteries and how long they last.
80. Breaking new ground only takes a small amount more effort than you’re used to giving.
81. Life is a solo trip, but you’ll have lots of visitors. Some of them are long-term, most aren’t.
82. One of the best things you can do for your kids is take them on road trips. I’m not a parent, but I was a kid once.
83. The fewer possessions you have, the more they do for you.
84. Einstein was wiser than he was intelligent, and he was a genius.
85. When you’re sick of your own life, that’s a good time to pick up a book.
86. Wishing things were different is a great way to torture yourself.
87. The ability to be happy is nothing other than the ability to come to terms with how things change.
88. Killing time is an atrocity. It’s priceless, and it never grows back.
A wonder device can see the soul of a dead man pass away… or at least that’s what the inventor claims.
A publication of the popular Russian tabloid Life.ru gives a dramatic account of the experiments of an inventor from St Petersburg, who has created a device able to see human aura.
Accompanied by pictures suspiciously reminiscent of a series of thermal images of a woman at different temperatures, the report claims they are made with a special “gas discharge camera” built by Konstantin Korotkov, a professor at the Research Institute of Physical Culture and State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics.The paper goes on to say that the device can register the circumstances of death, differentiating between a victim of a violent crime and a person who died quietly in bed. It also registers the changes in aura presumably made by a strong psychic working on somebody.Disregarding the glib comparison of the religious term “soul” with the new age “aura”, the claims – they can hardly even be expected to get support in peer-reviewed scientific papers in our opinion – prompted RT to take a little investigation into the wonder device.
The instrument, which was presented to us as something involved in the study of death, turned out to have been designed as a medical diagnosis tool. With about 15 years of development behind it, its inventor claims that it’s an affordable early-diagnosis tool, capable of identifying any disease, from an ulcer to a brain tumor, by scanning irregularities in an aura. Sort of a spiritual healer in metal and plastic, available to everyone for a small fee. No mystical stuff here – a patient can see his own aura on the computer screen, all thanks to the “gas discharge visualization” or GDV.
The spiffy name is actually modern application of a well-known phenomenon called Kirlian effect, named after Semyon and Valentina Kirlians, a Russian couple who greatly contributed to popularizing it back in 1960s. Kirlian experimented with photographing objects with high voltage applied to them.
The strong electric field causes faint corona discharges around the edges, which can even be seen with the naked eye. The visual appeal of the effect won the hearts of mystic-oriented people.
Starting with Kirlians themselves, many people claimed that the electrical phenomena was actually a way to visualize otherwise invisible auras of objects. Korotkov is one of these claimants. According to him, corona discharges around fingertips, which his GDV cameras cause, have information about one’s physical condition and this information can be used for diagnosis. The claim was never confirmed by clinical tests, but it didn’t prevent the device from becoming the cornerstone of a widespread business. With different models costing from $4,500 to $13,000, and official dealers all across Russia and abroad, the invention seems to generate enough cash for Korotkov to travel the world and promote his product.
Not for diagnosis
Meanwhile, critics openly call the GDV “quackery”. Back in 2002, when the device drew the attention of the Russian media, RTR TV channel (now called Rossiya) did an investigation of their own, producing a 20-minute-long report. They revealed that, in the testing of a GDV scanner done in the Military Medical Academy, one of the strong-points trumpeted by the producer was actually its ability to kill bacteria on hands, which it successfully did. It was never used for diagnosis of any kind.
Another selling point – the testing of the device on Russian sportsmen – showed that readings of the device may vary slightly with the state of mind of the subjects. As it does with variations in the environment, like a change of air temperature or humidity.
In an interview given to a newspaper two years ago Korotkov said his invention was like a knife: it could be used for good or for bad purposes. Indeed, the beautiful Kirlian effect can be used for dubious intentions, or for inspiring works of art like those of photographer Robert Buelteman here.
By: Stephen Hawking / Source: Mail Online
All you need is a wormhole, the Large Hadron Collider or a rocket that goes really, really fast
Hello. My name is Stephen Hawking. Physicist, cosmologist and something of a dreamer. Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free. Free to explore the universe and ask the big questions, such as: is time travel possible? Can we open a portal to the past or find a shortcut to the future? Can we ultimately use the laws of nature to become masters of time itself?
Time travel was once considered scientific heresy. I used to avoid talking about it for fear of being labelled a crank. But these days I’m not so cautious. In fact, I’m more like the people who built Stonehenge. I’m obsessed by time. If I had a time machine I’d visit Marilyn Monroe in her prime or drop in on Galileo as he turned his telescope to the heavens. Perhaps I’d even travel to the end of the universe to find out how our whole cosmic story ends.
To see how this might be possible, we need to look at time as physicists do – at the fourth dimension. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Every attentive schoolchild knows that all physical objects, even me in my chair, exist in three dimensions. Everything has a width and a height and a length.
But there is another kind of length, a length in time. While a human may survive for 80 years, the stones at Stonehenge, for instance, have stood around for thousands of years. And the solar system will last for billions of years. Everything has a length in time as well as space. Travelling in time means travelling through this fourth dimension.
To see what that means, let’s imagine we’re doing a bit of normal, everyday car travel. Drive in a straight line and you’re travelling in one dimension. Turn right or left and you add the second dimension. Drive up or down a twisty mountain road and that adds height, so that’s travelling in all three dimensions. But how on Earth do we travel in time? How do we find a path through the fourth dimension?
Let’s indulge in a little science fiction for a moment. Time travel movies often feature a vast, energy-hungry machine. The machine creates a path through the fourth dimension, a tunnel through time. A time traveller, a brave, perhaps foolhardy individual, prepared for who knows what, steps into the time tunnel and emerges who knows when. The concept may be far-fetched, and the reality may be very different from this, but the idea itself is not so crazy.
Physicists have been thinking about tunnels in time too, but we come at it from a different angle. We wonder if portals to the past or the future could ever be possible within the laws of nature. As it turns out, we think they are. What’s more, we’ve even given them a name: wormholes. The truth is that wormholes are all around us, only they’re too small to see. Wormholes are very tiny. They occur in nooks and crannies in space and time. You might find it a tough concept, but stay with me.
Nothing is flat or solid. If you look closely enough at anything you’ll find holes and wrinkles in it. It’s a basic physical principle, and it even applies to time. Even something as smooth as a pool ball has tiny crevices, wrinkles and voids. Now it’s easy to show that this is true in the first three dimensions. But trust me, it’s also true of the fourth dimension. There are tiny crevices, wrinkles and voids in time. Down at the smallest of scales, smaller even than molecules, smaller than atoms, we get to a place called the quantum foam. This is where wormholes exist. Tiny tunnels or shortcuts through space and time constantly form, disappear, and reform within this quantum world. And they actually link two separate places and two different times.
Unfortunately, these real-life time tunnels are just a billion-trillion-trillionths of a centimetre across. Way too small for a human to pass through – but here’s where the notion of wormhole time machines is leading. Some scientists think it may be possible to capture a wormhole and enlarge it many trillions of times to make it big enough for a human or even a spaceship to enter.
Given enough power and advanced technology, perhaps a giant wormhole could even be constructed in space. I’m not saying it can be done, but if it could be, it would be a truly remarkable device. One end could be here near Earth, and the other far, far away, near some distant planet.
Theoretically, a time tunnel or wormhole could do even more than take us to other planets. If both ends were in the same place, and separated by time instead of distance, a ship could fly in and come out still near Earth, but in the distant past. Maybe dinosaurs would witness the ship coming in for a landing.
The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. It reached 25,000mph. But to travel in time we’ll have to go more than 2,000 times faster
Now, I realise that thinking in four dimensions is not easy, and that wormholes are a tricky concept to wrap your head around, but hang in there. I’ve thought up a simple experiment that could reveal if human time travel through a wormhole is possible now, or even in the future. I like simple experiments, and champagne.
So I’ve combined two of my favourite things to see if time travel from the future to the past is possible.
Let’s imagine I’m throwing a party, a welcome reception for future time travellers. But there’s a twist. I’m not letting anyone know about it until after the party has happened. I’ve drawn up an invitation giving the exact coordinates in time and space. I am hoping copies of it, in one form or another, will be around for many thousands of years. Maybe one day someone living in the future will find the information on the invitation and use a wormhole time machine to come back to my party, proving that time travel will, one day, be possible.
In the meantime, my time traveller guests should be arriving any moment now. Five, four, three, two, one. But as I say this, no one has arrived. What a shame. I was hoping at least a future Miss Universe was going to step through the door. So why didn’t the experiment work? One of the reasons might be because of a well-known problem with time travel to the past, the problem of what we call paradoxes.
Paradoxes are fun to think about. The most famous one is usually called the Grandfather paradox. I have a new, simpler version I call the Mad Scientist paradox.
I don’t like the way scientists in movies are often described as mad, but in this case, it’s true. This chap is determined to create a paradox, even if it costs him his life. Imagine, somehow, he’s built a wormhole, a time tunnel that stretches just one minute into the past.
Through the wormhole, the scientist can see himself as he was one minute ago. But what if our scientist uses the wormhole to shoot his earlier self? He’s now dead. So who fired the shot? It’s a paradox. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s the sort of situation that gives cosmologists nightmares.
This kind of time machine would violate a fundamental rule that governs the entire universe – that causes happen before effects, and never the other way around. I believe things can’t make themselves impossible. If they could then there’d be nothing to stop the whole universe from descending into chaos. So I think something will always happen that prevents the paradox. Somehow there must be a reason why our scientist will never find himself in a situation where he could shoot himself. And in this case, I’m sorry to say, the wormhole itself is the problem.
In the end, I think a wormhole like this one can’t exist. And the reason for that is feedback. If you’ve ever been to a rock gig, you’ll probably recognise this screeching noise. It’s feedback. What causes it is simple. Sound enters the microphone. It’s transmitted along the wires, made louder by the amplifier, and comes out at the speakers. But if too much of the sound from the speakers goes back into the mic it goes around and around in a loop getting louder each time. If no one stops it, feedback can destroy the sound system.
The same thing will happen with a wormhole, only with radiation instead of sound. As soon as the wormhole expands, natural radiation will enter it, and end up in a loop. The feedback will become so strong it destroys the wormhole. So although tiny wormholes do exist, and it may be possible to inflate one some day, it won’t last long enough to be of use as a time machine. That’s the real reason no one could come back in time to my party.
Any kind of time travel to the past through wormholes or any other method is probably impossible, otherwise paradoxes would occur. So sadly, it looks like time travel to the past is never going to happen. A disappointment for dinosaur hunters and a relief for historians.
But the story’s not over yet. This doesn’t make all time travel impossible. I do believe in time travel. Time travel to the future. Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time’s current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at diff‑erent speeds in diff‑erent places and that is the key to travelling into the future. This idea was first proposed by Albert Einstein over 100 years ago. He realised that there should be places where time slows down, and others where time speeds up. He was absolutely right. And the proof is right above our heads. Up in space.
This is the Global Positioning System, or GPS. A network of satellites is in orbit around Earth. The satellites make satellite navigation possible. But they also reveal that time runs faster in space than it does down on Earth. Inside each spacecraft is a very precise clock. But despite being so accurate, they all gain around a third of a billionth of a second every day. The system has to correct for the drift, otherwise that tiny di‑fference would upset the whole system, causing every GPS device on Earth to go out by about six miles a day. You can just imagine the mayhem that that would cause.
The problem doesn’t lie with the clocks. They run fast because time itself runs faster in space than it does down below. And the reason for this extraordinary e‑ffect is the mass of the Earth. Einstein realised that matter drags on time and slows it down like the slow part of a river. The heavier the object, the more it drags on time. And this startling reality is what opens the door to the possibility of time travel to the future.
Right in the centre of the Milky Way, 26,000 light years from us, lies the heaviest object in the galaxy. It is a supermassive black hole containing the mass of four million suns crushed down into a single point by its own gravity. The closer you get to the black hole, the stronger the gravity. Get really close and not even light can escape. A black hole like this one has a dramatic e‑ffect on time, slowing it down far more than anything else in the galaxy. That makes it a natural time machine.
I like to imagine how a spaceship might be able to take advantage of this phenomenon, by orbiting it. If a space agency were controlling the mission from Earth they’d observe that each full orbit took 16 minutes. But for the brave people on board, close to this massive object, time would be slowed down. And here the e‑ffect would be far more extreme than the gravitational pull of Earth. The crew’s time would be slowed down by half. For every 16-minute orbit, they’d only experience eight minutes of time.
Around and around they’d go, experiencing just half the time of everyone far away from the black hole. The ship and its crew would be travelling through time. Imagine they circled the black hole for five of their years. Ten years would pass elsewhere. When they got home, everyone on Earth would have aged five years more than they had.
So a supermassive black hole is a time machine. But of course, it’s not exactly practical. It has advantages over wormholes in that it doesn’t provoke paradoxes. Plus it won’t destroy itself in a flash of feedback. But it’s pretty dangerous. It’s a long way away and it doesn’t even take us very far into the future. Fortunately there is another way to travel in time. And this represents our last and best hope of building a real time machine.
You just have to travel very, very fast. Much faster even than the speed required to avoid being sucked into a black hole. This is due to another strange fact about the universe. There’s a cosmic speed limit, 186,000 miles per second, also known as the speed of light. Nothing can exceed that speed. It’s one of the best established principles in science. Believe it or not, travelling at near the speed of light transports you to the future.
To explain why, let’s dream up a science-fiction transportation system. Imagine a track that goes right around Earth, a track for a superfast train. We’re going to use this imaginary train to get as close as possible to the speed of light and see how it becomes a time machine. On board are passengers with a one-way ticket to the future. The train begins to accelerate, faster and faster. Soon it’s circling the Earth over and over again.
To approach the speed of light means circling the Earth pretty fast. Seven times a second. But no matter how much power the train has, it can never quite reach the speed of light, since the laws of physics forbid it. Instead, let’s say it gets close, just shy of that ultimate speed. Now something extraordinary happens. Time starts flowing slowly on board relative to the rest of the world, just like near the black hole, only more so. Everything on the train is in slow motion.
This happens to protect the speed limit, and it’s not hard to see why. Imagine a child running forwards up the train. Her forward speed is added to the speed of the train, so couldn’t she break the speed limit simply by accident? The answer is no. The laws of nature prevent the possibility by slowing down time onboard.
Now she can’t run fast enough to break the limit. Time will always slow down just enough to protect the speed limit. And from that fact comes the possibility of travelling many years into the future.
Imagine that the train left the station on January 1, 2050. It circles Earth over and over again for 100 years before finally coming to a halt on New Year’s Day, 2150. The passengers will have only lived one week because time is slowed down that much inside the train. When they got out they’d find a very diff‑erent world from the one they’d left. In one week they’d have travelled 100 years into the future. Of course, building a train that could reach such a speed is quite impossible. But we have built something very like the train at the world’s largest particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
Deep underground, in a circular tunnel 16 miles long, is a stream of trillions of tiny particles. When the power is turned on they accelerate from zero to 60,000mph in a fraction of a second. Increase the power and the particles go faster and faster, until they’re whizzing around the tunnel 11,000 times a second, which is almost the speed of light. But just like the train, they never quite reach that ultimate speed. They can only get to 99.99 per cent of the limit. When that happens, they too start to travel in time. We know this because of some extremely short-lived particles, called pi-mesons. Ordinarily, they disintegrate after just 25 billionths of a second. But when they are accelerated to near-light speed they last 30 times longer.
It really is that simple. If we want to travel into the future, we just need to go fast. Really fast. And I think the only way we’re ever likely to do that is by going into space. The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. It reached 25,000mph. But to travel in time we’ll have to go more than 2,000 times faster. And to do that we’d need a much bigger ship, a truly enormous machine. The ship would have to be big enough to carry a huge amount of fuel, enough to accelerate it to nearly the speed of light. Getting to just beneath the cosmic speed limit would require six whole years at full power.
The initial acceleration would be gentle because the ship would be so big and heavy. But gradually it would pick up speed and soon would be covering massive distances. In one week it would have reached the outer planets. After two years it would reach half-light speed and be far outside our solar system. Two years later it would be travelling at 90 per cent of the speed of light. Around 30 trillion miles away from Earth, and four years after launch, the ship would begin to travel in time. For every hour of time on the ship, two would pass on Earth. A similar situation to the spaceship that orbited the massive black hole.
After another two years of full thrust the ship would reach its top speed, 99 per cent of the speed of light. At this speed, a single day on board is a whole year of Earth time. Our ship would be truly flying into the future.
The slowing of time has another benefit. It means we could, in theory, travel extraordinary distances within one lifetime. A trip to the edge of the galaxy would take just 80 years. But the real wonder of our journey is that it reveals just how strange the universe is. It’s a universe where time runs at different rates in different places. Where tiny wormholes exist all around us. And where, ultimately, we might use our understanding of physics to become true voyagers through the fourth dimension.
Source: The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
“Since belief is all important, it behooves you to guard your thoughts; and as your beliefs will be shaped to a very great extent by the things you observe and think about, it is important that you should command your attention.
And here the will comes into use; for it is by your will that you determine upon what things your attention shall be fixed.
If you want to become rich, you must not make a study of poverty.
Things are not brought into being by thinking about their opposites. Health is never to be attained by studying disease and thinking about disease; righteousness is not to be promoted by studying sin and thinking about sin; and no one ever got rich by studying poverty and thinking about poverty.
Medicine as a science of disease has increased disease; religion as a science of sin has promoted sin, and economics as a study of poverty will fill the world Do not talk about poverty; do not investigate it, or concern yourself with it.
Never mind what its causes are; you have nothing to do with them. What concerns you is the cure.”
“Do not spend your time in charitable work, or charity movements; all charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate.
I do not say that you should be hard hearted or unkind, and refuse to hear the cry of need; but you must not try to eradicate poverty in any of the conventional ways. Put poverty behind you, and put all that pertains to it behind you, and “make good.”
And you cannot hold the mental image which is to make you rich if you fill your mind with pictures of poverty.
Do not read books or papers which give circumstantial accounts of the wretchedness of the tenement dwellers, of the horrors of child labor, and so on. Do not read anything which fills your mind with gloomy images of want and suffering.
You cannot help the poor in the least by knowing about these things; and the wide-spread knowledge of them does not tend at all to do away with poverty.”
“What tends to do away with poverty is not the getting of pictures of poverty into your mind, but getting pictures of wealth into the minds of the poor.
You are not deserting the poor in their misery when you refuse to allow your mind to be filled with pictures of that misery.
Poverty can be done away with, not by increasing the number of well to do people who think about poverty, but by increasing the number of poor people who purpose with faith to get rich.”
The poor do not need charity; they need inspiration.
Charity only sends them a loaf of bread to keep them alive in their wretchedness, or gives them an entertainment to make them forget for an hour or two; but inspiration will cause them to rise out of their misery.
If you want to help the poor, demonstrate to them that they can become rich; prove it by getting rich yourself.
People must be taught to become rich by creation, not by competition. Every man who becomes rich by competition throws down behind him the ladder by which he rises, and keeps others down; but every man who gets rich by creation opens a way for thousands to follow him, and inspires them to do so.
You are not showing hardness of heart or an unfeeling disposition when you refuse to pity poverty, see poverty, read about poverty, or think or talk about it, or to listen to those who do talk about it.
Use your will power to keep your mind OFF the subject of poverty, and to keep it fixed with faith and purpose ON the vision of what you want.”
I’ve been inspired by recent news stories of children who are working to make a difference in the world, committed to projects much bigger than themselves. There’s Malala Yousufzai, the young advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan; Craig Kielburger, who advocates for the abolishment of child labor; and Ryan Hreljac, who raises money to build wells in developing countries. The list goes on and on.
But there’s a flip side to these stories. Research suggests that some young people in the United States are actually becoming more self-absorbed and less connected to others.
A recent study that examined the empathy levels of almost 14,000 university students between 1979 and 2009 found that students have become dramatically less empathic over the years, particularly since 2000.
In addition, narcissism, which correlates negatively with empathy, is on the rise amongst university-aged students. Narcissists, by definition, are extremely self-focused and tend to see other people in terms of their usefulness rather than true friendship—not exactly a recipe for empathy.
What’s more, a 2006 survey showed that 81 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds think getting rich is an important goal, and 64 percent think it’s the most important goal. Sadly, only 30 percent believe that helping others in need is important.
While these studies focused on university students and young adults, the findings suggest that somewhere in their earlier development, they weren’t cultivating the skills needed to connect with others.
So how can teachers help students avoid the joyless path of self-absorption and instead cultivate a life in which they feel part of something larger than themselves—one of the keys to a meaningful life?
There are, of course, many strong programs that have been designed to help students develop empathy and positive relationships.
But new research suggests another way: awe.
Very little is known about the experience of awe; however, several new studies, many conducted by the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner, have shown awe to be a potentially powerful positive emotion that might just help our students develop empathy.
Here’s how it works:
When we see a grand vista in nature such as Victoria Falls, or experience an inspiring work of art such as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” or Michelangelo’s Pieta, or ponder the phenomenal inner strength of a great soul like Gandhi who non-violently led India to independence, we often feel two things: 1) a sense of vastness that gives us 2) a new perspective on the world and our place in it. This is awe.
Dacher’s lab has found that awe makes us feel very small and like we’re in the presence of something greater than ourselves. We also may lose awareness of our “self” and feel more connected to the world around us.
Imagine the potential of this life-changing emotion for students—and, in particular, for our hyper-self-focused teens! Since adolescence is a crucial period for identity-formation, some researchers have suggested that adolescence is a particularly important time to experience awe—it could help them see themselves as deeply connected to the world around them, not the center of it. Inducing the uplifting experience of awe could also be a positive way to keep narcissism in check.
While scientists haven’t yet examined if this temporary loss of self-focus directly impacts empathy levels, they do know that awe makes people feel less impatient and more inclined to volunteer their time to help others—strong evidence that it makes them feel more connected and committed to something bigger than themselves.
So can teachers actually create awe-inducing experiences for their students?
Absolutely! In an experiment to see if awe could be elicited, Dacher and his team had one group of university students look at a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and another group look down a long hallway. On a follow-up survey, the only difference between the groups was that members of the T-Rex group felt like they were part of a larger whole—a defining feature of awe.
It’s probably not too difficult to imagine something that might induce awe in teens, or kids of any age; I’ve named a few examples above. Stories of exceptional modern-day figures such as Nelson Mandela (consider his ability to forgive) or pictures of the universe such as the birth of a star may be engaging and effective—especially if you find the subject matter to be awe-inspiring. Many teachers already bring content like this into the classroom, and this research on awe validates that approach and suggests it should be tried with more frequency and focus.
Here are two important points to remember if you want to expose your students to awe-filled experiences:
1) Not all students will get it. Dacher has found that some people are more prone to awe than others—usually the ones who are comfortable changing how they see the world. So, if you’ve got some students who seem immovable, don’t fret. If nothing else, they’re still learning about “awesome” art, music, nature, and people.
2) Help students process what they’ve experienced. Awe requires what psychologist Jean Piaget called “accommodation”—the process of changing our mental models to incorporate something to which we’ve recently been exposed. Discussing and writing about experiences of awe will help students understand and process at a deeper level what they’ve just felt.
Awe is not a term heard very often in schools, but its potential is vast. Think of the enthusiasm and wonder and joy that awe-filled experiences could bring to our students—experiences that could not only help them out of the narcissistic funk of adolescence, but also put them on a path to a life lived in compassionate connection with others. Awesome!
This article is printed here with permission. It originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Based at UC Berkeley, the GGSC studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.
You may know Mark Twain for some of his very popular books like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He was a writer and also a humorist, satirist and lecturer.
Twain is known for his many – and often funny – quotes. What you may not know is that Twain is quite a philosopher of life himself.
Here are some of his top tips for living a good life:
1. Approve of yourself.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
If you don’t approve of yourself, of your behaviour and actions then you’ll probably walk around most of the day with a sort of uncomfortable feeling. If you, on the other hand, approve of yourself then you tend to become relaxed and gain inner freedom to do more of what you really want.
This can, in a related way, be a big obstacle in personal growth. You may have all the right tools to grow in some way but you feel an inner resistance. You can’t get there.
What you may be bumping into there are success barriers. You are putting up barriers in your own mind of what you may or may not deserve. Or barriers that tell you what you are capable of. They might tell you that you aren’t really that kind of person that could this thing that you’re attempting.
Or if you make some headway in the direction you want to go you may start to sabotage for yourself. To keep yourself in a place that is familiar for you.
So you need give yourself approval and allow yourself to be who you want to be. Not look for the approval from others. But from yourself. To dissolve that inner barrier or let go of that self-sabotaging tendency. This is no easy task and it can take time.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
So many limitations are mostly in our minds. We may for instance think that people will disapprove because we are too tall, too old or balding. But these things mostly matter when you think they matter. Because you become self-conscious and worried about what people may think.
And people pick up on that and may react in negative ways. Or you may interpret anything they do as a negative reaction because you are so fearful of a bad reaction and so focused inward on yourself.
If you, on the other hand, don’t mind then people tend to not mind that much either. And if you don’t mind then you won’t let that part of yourself become a self-imposed roadblock in your life.
It is, for instance, seldom too late to do what you want to do.
3. Lighten up and have some fun.
“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
Humor and laughter are amazing tools. They can turn any serious situation into something to laugh about. They can lighten the mood just about anywhere.
And a lighter mood is often a better space to work in because now your body and mind isn’t filled to the brim with negative emotions. When you are more light-hearted and relaxed then the solution to a situation is often easier to both come up with and implement. Have a look at Lighten Up! for more on this topic.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Anger is most of the time pretty pointless. It can cause situations to get out of hand. And from a selfish perspective it often more hurtful for the one being angry then the person s/he’s angry at.
So even if you feel angry at someone for days recognize that you are mostly just hurting yourself. The other person may not even be aware that you are angry at him or her. So either talking to the person and resolving the conflict or letting go of anger as quickly as possible are pretty good tips to make your life more pleasurable.
5. Release yourself from entitlement.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing.It was here first.”
When you are young your mom and dad may give a lot of things. As you grow older you may have a sort of entitlement. You may feel like the world should just give you what you want or that it owes you something.
This belief can cause a lot of anger and frustration in your life. Because the world may not give you what expect it to. On the other hand, this can be liberating too. You realize that it is up to you to shape your own life and for you to work towards what you want. You are not a kid anymore, waiting for your parents or the world to give you something.
You are in the driver’s seat now. And you can go pretty much wherever you want.
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
I think this has quite a bit of relevance to self-improvement.
If you start to change or do something different than you usually do then people may react in different ways. Some may be happy for you. Some may be indifferent. Some may be puzzled or react in negative and discouraging ways.
Much of these reactions are probably not so much about you but about the person who said it and his/her life. How they feel about themselves is coming through in the words they use and judgements they make.
And that’s OK. I think it’s pretty likely that they won’t react as negatively as you may imagine. Or they will probably at least go back to focusing on their own challenges pretty soon.
So what other people may say and think and letting that hold you back is probably just fantasy and barrier you build in your mind.
You may find that when you finally cross that inner threshold you created then people around you may not shun you or go chasing after you with pitchforks. They might just go: “OK”.
7. Keep your focus steadily on what you want.
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”
What you focus your mind on greatly determines how things play out. You can focus on your problems and dwell in suffering and a victim mentality. Or you can focus on the positive in situation, what you can learn from that situation or just focus your mind on something entirely else.
It may be “normal” to dwell on problems and swim around in a sea of negativity. But that is a choice. And a thought habit. You may reflexively start to dwell on problems instead of refocusing your mind on something more useful. But you can also start to build a habit of learning to gain more and more control of where you put your focus.
8. Don’t focus so much on making yourself feel good.
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
This may be a bit of a counter-intuitive tip. But as I wrote yesterday, one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to make someone else feel good or to help them in some way.
This is a great way to look at things to create an upward spiral of positivity and exchange of value between people. You help someone and both of you feel good. The person you helped feels inclined to give you a hand later on since people tend to want to reciprocate. And so the both of you are feeling good and helping each other.
Those positive feelings are contagious to other people and so you may end up making them feel good too. And the help you received from your friend may inspire you to go and help another friend. And so the upward spiral grows and continues.
9. Do what you want to do.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Awesome quote. And I really don’t have much to add to that one. Well, maybe to write it down and keep it as a daily reminder – on your fridge or bathroom door – of what you can actually do with your life.