Updated: September 16th, 2017
Last article published
I wasn’t taught to mock LGBT’s. I just observed the shortcuts other people used to achieve acceptance and popularity. How I un-learned bigotry, and why.
Upcoming articles in progress
These will (probably) be published in this order. Some are working titles. I put them on this list once I’ve started outlining.
- Saying No and Meaning It
- Rules, Results, and Happiness
- Aging, Health and Mortality
What I’m thinking and doing
I’m working on my mega article on how to say “no.” It’s causing me to think about the disconnect between people’s words and their actions.
All too often, people agree to do things that they don’t want to do; they say “yes” when they really want to say “no.” There are many reasons for this and I explore them all in the article.
However, it seems to me that the foundational reason is that some (most) people don’t have a strong enough purpose to their lives. Their lives don’t have an overarching goal that causes them to prioritize their own activities over the activities of others, no matter how much social pressure is applied.
It’s as if they subconciously reach the conclusion over and over again that another person’s agenda is more important than their own agenda. Thus, their agenda is constantly set aside.
This is a subtle form of the well-known concept that peoples’ actions – not their words – reveal their true intentions.
I read this once in the comment section of an advice column:
In economics, it’s called “revealed preference.” If you want to know what people really want, focus on what they do, not what they say. Leading to this joke: Two economists are walking down the street and they see an expensive sports car. Economist 1: “I’ve always wanted a Ferrari.” Economist 2: “Clearly not.”
Perhaps only funny to an economist, but applicable to our tendency to say “yes” when we really want to say “no.”
Other things on my plate:
Still working through a massive update to my wife’s teaching website.
I’ve finally gotten the dynamic product catalog to work properly on Facebook and am now tweaking and monitoring ad campaigns. Still migrating hundreds of videos from one host to another with the help of my virtual assistant. I’m starting the process of revising my internal linking structure, with several more tasks lined up after that. The internet never rests and competitive forces compel webmasters constantly engage in the struggle to remain relevant to the Google algorithm.
Final outdoor activities before winter
Went on what is likely our final paddling trip last weekend at Bead Lake, Washington.
Upping my fishing game
My goal is to be one of those people who catch fish every time they go out. I know that “a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work” blah blah blah but I call bullshit on that. Fun for an OCD-ish person is tweaking stuff until it’s perfect. I recently started a permanent worm box so I don’t have to stress about buying worms each time (there are no worm sources near me) or wandering around with a flashlight after dark collecting nightcrawlers, an activity at which I suck.
Working out less
(In contrast to working out more, which was last month’s update.)
Five days a week was too much, and I ended up over-trained and had to take a full week off. Three days a week seems to be good compromise that is working well for me.
Continuing my experiment on lowering my cholesterol without prescription drugs
I never worried too much about my high-ish cholesterol until my coronary calcium score when from zero to 40. The increased (but recently reduced) exercise schedule is part of this, as is a renewed focus on avoiding starches, as is taking plant sterols and fiber at every meal. I’ll find out next month if my regimen is working.
A random image from my life
This is the fishing boat all rigged up. Kinda ugly, for sure. Customized, but not nearly as much as some people who use these WaveWalk kayaks do. Pre-back surgery, my back killed every time I used a regular kayak. So I sold it and got this thing. I’d probably be OK in a regular kayak now, but I like the ability to bring along a lot of stuff and get to it easily. It’s way slower than my wife’s Eddyline (what I used to have) but we aren’t racing, so not a big deal.
A random piece of writing, either a reject that didn’t end up fitting or ideas for a coming piece. This month, I’m sharing rejects from my “no” article.
It’s counterintuitive, but one of the most effective methods for binding a person to you – in certain circumstances – is to ask them to do you a favor. This usually only works if the asker holds a position of some authority over the askee.
My wife has used this technique extensively in her elementary classroom. As the only adult in the room, kids naturally look up to their teacher as the authority figure, similar to the way they view their parents. A request from the authority figure for a personal favor is an extremely effective way to acknowledge a child and communicate that she is meaningful to you and to subtly compliment them at the same time.
For child who is taller than average and overweight:
“Hey, Thomas, could you please push that heavy science experiment box out into the hall for the janitor for me?”
This validates to Thomas that his size is a benefit, not a social handicap in Mrs. Weigle’s room.
For a child who is shy and often in the background:
“Jasmine, I’m so disorganized today! Could you please gather up all the lesson items and pencils I spread around the classroom and put them on my desk?”
This raises Jasmine’s esteem in the eyes of her peers because the teacher thinks she has a valuable attribute (organization).
This method is much more effective than just saying, “Thomas, you are so strong.” Or, “Jasmine, you’re always so organized.”
The reciprocity instinct is so strong in humans that we can’t stop ourselves from feeling obligated even when we know for certain we are being manipulated.
The religious cult the Hare Krishna figured this out during the 70’s and 80’s and made gobs and gobs of money from travelers at airports. After initially failing to gather donations, they hit on the perfect ploy: hand a flower to a person first, then ask for money.
Once a mark had been given a gift, the compulsion to reciprocate (with money) became overpowering for many people. It’s the same reason that corporate vendors give gifts to purchasing managers and why salespeople hand out free samples.
Plain and simple: It works because it’s wired into humans to reciprocate.
An image from an upcoming article
What I’m reading
I finished Red Rising, a science fiction series by Pierce Brown. I started The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey since the show was good. Hopefully I’ll catch up to were the show is before a new season comes out.
If anyone has recommendations for great authors who focus on either hard SF or compelling space opera in the vein of Iain M. Banks, please let me know.
How about you?
What’s going on? Do you have a comment about any of this? If so, use my contact form. Happy to hear from you!
Until next time…remember: Think about it. A lot. Then do something.