Word-Of-the-Week #880: Hubris

June 17, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Hubris unyielding arrogance.

Have you ever experienced a person who continually talks about how great they are? Do you know someone that appears to strut around with their chest puffed out as if to say, “Look at me, you should give me something for all I do?” Did you watch the 2020 election coverage? Anyone come to mind?

I love this word and so I am taking the liberty of rerunning this WOW from 2015. The first time I heard this word was when I lived in Chicago back in the ’80’s. Harold Washington, who was the mayor at that time, used this word often. I hardly ever see it in print; however, I saw it in an extensive article on human nature and genes in the San Diego Union.

Several weeks ago my WOW was pride. As it turns out, pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Surprised me! Researchers have surmised that pride is a universal trait. And one type of pride is described as hubristic. “It is more likely to occur when people attribute their success to something stable about themselves — like their ability –rather than their effort. It’s accompanied by feelings of egotism and arrogance, and people who experience it tend to be disagreeable, aggressive, hostile, narcissistic and prone to shame.”

“Hubristic pride may simply be the cheater’s version, allowing individuals to garner social esteem and reward without actually doing the work.” 

This quote made me think of all of the athletes who have been accused of using performance enhancing drugs. 

And Wikipedia writes this, “Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities.” 

This week’s focus is on hubris. How would you rate your “sense of pride?” Have you ever taken credit for another’s work? Do you know someone who is arrogant and egotistical most of the time? Are they someone that you like to spend time with?

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Word-Of-the-Week #879: Manifesting

June 10, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Manifesting – the practice of thinking aspirational thoughts with the purpose of making them real.

Do you believe in manifesting? Have you ever manifested an outcome for yourself, or tried to? Did it work?

This week features excerpts from Callie Holtermann’s article titled, “Do You Believe in Manifesting? Does this kind of positive thinking help you find hope in the face of uncertainty? Or is it just too unrealistic?

“Do you believe that it is possible to make good things happen for yourself simply by thinking about them? Have you ever tried?

If so, you are among the many members of Gen Z who practice manifesting, or “achieving material and psychic rewards through sheer force of mind.”

Do you think that this method of positive thinking is a helpful tool for coping with uncertainty, especially during the coronavirus pandemic? Or do you agree with some critics of the practice, who argue that it is an unrealistic fad embraced by misguided or entitled practitioners?

In “Manifesting, for the Rest of Us,” Ruth La Ferla writes about the manifesting trend among young people:

By the time he was 9, Jerome Lamaar had learned how to seize on his heart’s desire. “I was hoping to get my hands on the Power Ranger Flip Heads,” said Mr. Lamaar, a 35-year-old, Bronx-bred fashion designer. “I never told anyone, but I wanted these toys so bad. I sat in my room holding this scenario in my head of how I would feel when I got them.”

He had, in his New Age-tinctured phrase, “launched his dreams into the universe.” And, as he tells it, the universe heeded his call. “The very next day, my dad got me the Flip Heads,” he said. “That’s when I realized that there was something to this.”

He could not have named it at the time, but Mr. Lamaar says now that he was manifesting — achieving material and psychic rewards through sheer force of mind.

Part magical thinking, part struggle for agency at a time when it is in short supply, the practice he described, an eons-old variant of positive thinking — or at least the term that describes it — has re-entered the mainstream.

Manifesting sits alongside a smattering of belief systems — astrology, tarot, paganism and their metaphysical cousins — being resurrected by a youthful generation in the name of wellness. “For Gen Z in particular, it can be a form of self-soothing,” said Lucie Greene, a writer and trend forecaster in New York. “It’s a way to make sense of things in a moment where nothing makes sense.”

This born-again phenomenon is dismissed in some quarters as little more than a quarantine fad, “like bread baking, tie-dyeing or learning TikTok dances,” as Rebecca Jennings put it in a recent post on Vox. “Shut up I’m manifesting,” she said, “has become one of the defining memes of 2020.”

Its practitioners, in contrast, view it as a coping mechanism, a legitimate alternative that organized religion or psychotherapy may not always provide. The “law of attraction,” a belief that your experiences have a direct correlation to your thoughts, is one aspect of Princess Asata Louden’s spiritual practice. Others include journaling and meditation, which Ms. Louden, a 24-year-old dancer and graduate student at U.C.L.A., likes to perform by candlelight or near an open window.

“I also communicate with my ancestors and spirit guides,” Ms. Louden said, rituals that make her feel “divinely protected and guided.”

“Manifesting has gotten me through all of this pandemic stuff,” said Ms. Louden, who goes by the stage name Sygga. She is not religious but takes on faith “that we have this power to manipulate energy.”

The author notes that manifesting has entered the mainstream alongside practices like astrology and tarot as part of a wellness trend driven by social media. Which of these practices have you encountered, and how do you feel about them? Why do you think these practices are gaining popularity among teenagers online? Why do you think they are making a resurgence now?

If manifesting is not for you, are there other methods of self-reflection and self-care that you enjoy? Do you exercise, journal or engage in meditation or therapy? Religion or spirituality? What role do these practices play in your life?”

Well, I personally believe “What you think about, you bring about.” I have been setting intentions (which feels the same as manifesting) for over the past 30 years. They must be clearly stated and in present tense. One thing to be very careful about is thinking and talking about what you don’t want. You could just end up manifesting more of it!

This week’s focus is on manifesting. Is it realistic? Do you think that manifesting discourages people from doing the hard work necessary to accomplish most goals? Might the process of identifying and reflecting upon your goals be valuable, even if doing so does not guarantee that they will come true?

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Word-Of-the-Week #878: Optimistic

June 3, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Optimistic – expecting the best outcome and seeing the best in all things.

Are you generally feeling more optimistic about your life? Do you expect the best outcome and see the best in all things?

This week longtime friend and subscriber Joe had this to say about last weeks WOW Savor. He wrote,

“Hope does spring eternal in our lives, and more so this year because we are slowly but surely coming out of our cocoons and sprouting wings.

Being cooped up for so long, we all want to just get out of the house and be around people. Having that human connection, when most of the time we have been texting, tweeting or emailing is something we want and need.

As I have said in previous posts, just sitting in the backyard and reading I take in all the nature around me. The sparrows and robins looking for worms in the yard. The squirrels looking for nuts and apples, the kids playing out in the park just outside of our yard. The dog next door yowling for attention. All of these things are so basic, but yet so evocative at this time of year.

All of it makes us think about how small we are in the face of mother nature. The fact that I can sit and enjoy all of this simply makes my day.

Stepping back to appreciate those simple things has helped time stand still for me. Before the pandemic we always had to be somewhere at a certain time. But since then, time has slowed down and we have been able to take our time with life and those around us.

Now that we can finally get out and about, we can give those hugs because most of us are now inoculated. And pretty soon, we can ditch the masks completely.

While it has taken some time to get back to a sense of normalcy, we have learned to appreciate the little things – and each other – that much more.

Susan, I am savoring every day.”

This week’s focus is on being optimistic! Are you feeling like your life is getting back to normal? Did you know that this particular expression “hope springs eternal” was coined by the poet Alexander Pope in An Essay on Man (1732), “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” and very quickly became proverbial? It is human nature to keep on hoping against all odds!

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Word-Of-the-Week #877: Savor

May 27, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Savor – to appreciate fully; enjoy or relish.

Are you feeling hope is on the horizon? Can you find the enjoyment of the simple things in life?

This week contains excerpts from the UT article by A.C. Shilton, “The daily practice of happiness: Many are filled with joy this spring as the world slowly returns to normal. Here’s how to prolong that feeling.”

“The birds are chirping, a warm breeze is blowing, and some of your friends are getting vaccinated. After a year of anxiety and stress, many of us are rediscovering what optimism feels like. And the good news about an increase in available vaccines could not come at a more joyous time.

Spring is the season of optimism. With it comes more natural light and warm weather, both great mood boosters, and some of our most hopeful religious holidays: Easter, Passover, the Hindu festival of Holi, and Nowruz, the Persian new year that celebrates springtime and renewal.

But if you’re expecting your happiness to skyrocket the moment we finish off this pandemic once and for all, think again.

Yes, receiving your vaccine shot, daydreaming about intimate dinner parties or those first hugs with grandchildren may give you a jolt of joy, but euphoria, unfortunately, tends to be fleeting.

Blame “hedonic adaptation,” said Rhea Owens, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, who conducts research on positive psychology interventions in counseling practices. When good (or bad) things happen, we feel an initial surge or dip in our overall happiness levels. Hedonic adaptation means that, over time, we settle back into wherever we were happiness-wise before that good or bad event happened. Even if the good thing — like getting your dream job — is continuing.

To maintain those positive feelings, you are going to need to work on it a bit.

Thank evolution.

“Our brains developed biologically for survival, not happiness,” said Sanjay Kumar, director of contemplative practices and well-being at the Fish Interfaith Center at Chapman University in Orange. The human mind, he added, “prioritizes negative experiences to be remembered more strongly than positive ones, as a way for us to anticipate potential threats in our environment.”

While that’s good for evolution, excessive worry isn’t anyone’s idea of a happy state of mind. 

Ultimately, happiness is more of a daily practice than anything else, Kumar said. Which is why getting your coronavirus shot may make you happy for a moment but won’t bring you long term happiness. The good news is that researchers have found steps that will (and no needles are required). Even better: These strategies work perfectly in a moment like this — when hope is on the horizon, but the path toward it isn’t clear.

  • Savor this — and everything

Your first-time hugging friends in a year is going to be so sweet, you’ll undoubtedly savor every moment of it. But there is joy in everyday things, too. Spring seems especially full of good moments for savoring — like finding the shell of a just hatched robin’s egg, spying a chorus of daffodils in a local yard or just feeling the sun of a spring day on bare arms. Even the mundane things — like watching yet another youth soccer game — can feel special if you take a moment to remember the not-so-distant past when so much of our lives was put on hold.

Owens recommends simply taking the time whenever something good happens — no matter how small — to really acknowledge it.”

This week’s focus is on being able to savor everything! Are you fully appreciating your life and surroundings? Can you focus on your positive thoughts and overcome the negative ones? Can you find joy even in the mundane?

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Word-Of-the-Week #876: Equanimity

May 20, 2021 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #876: Equanimity 

Equanimity a stable, calm state of the emotions. 

Are you able to stay calm during times of high stress? Do you take the ups and downs of life in stride rather than getting inundated by them?

Once again, Steve Straus, author of STEVE’S 3-MINUTE COACHING, sent a very thought provoking piece.

Great Question: Equanimity?

(Great questions lead to great answers; weak questions, weak ones.)

“What has to happen for me to experience equanimity?”

Coaching Point: First, what is equanimity and why should you care?

Dictionaries variously define equanimity as a sense of peace, calmness, emotional stability, evenness of mind, and a state of maintained composure. They usually speak of it as being a quality of mind during times of high stress. All true enough.

From a Coaching perspective – at least in my practice – it is a foundational component of a life well-lived. The waves of life come and go and a person who experiences equanimity easily rides them rather than gets inundated by them. This applies to the good times as well as the stressful. Each moment has a “we’ll see” nature to it.

A person who knows equanimity experiences life fully, ups and downs, without taking it personally. They are engaged without wasting energy trying to give meaning to every little thing. (They don’t throw things at the TV news broadcast!) Nor do they think they finally matter when something wonderful happens in their life. They take life in stride.

Equanimity is a grounding in what really matters (matters to each person individually, their journey, their values) rather than the transient energies of flood and drought, feast and famine, abundance and lack.

It is so worthwhile to do the inner work to achieve the experience of equanimity regularly and deeply. And achieving equanimity is about doing individual inner work, discovering and resolving the deep-seated conditioning in the mind which judges, grades, ranks, and scores. It’s not about trying to change the world ‘out there,’ it’s the world ‘in here.’

When did you last have a moment of equanimity? Do you want to expand the experience? Do you believe it’s possible?

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This week’s focus is on equanimity. Are you able to not take everything that happens to you personally?  Have you spent time thinking about what really matters to you?

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