Word-Of-the-Week #792: Forgiveness

October 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Forgiveness the act of not blaming or holding resentment against (someone or something).

How willing are you to forgive someone? Does it depend on who they are? Or what they did?

I received a calendar with daily inspirational messages from my dear sweet friend Carol at the beginning of the year and the message for the month of October is this week’s WOW.

It reads, “Every experience I have ever had has served as a stepping-stone for me, including any so-called mistakes, which have actually been very valuable to me. I shift my focus from blaming myself to loving myself for my willingness to learn and grow. This month I feel only gratitude for where I am in life, and for all of the rich wisdom I have acquired along the way.” 

Excerpted from Psychology Today writer Beverly Engel L.M.F.T. says this, “We hear a lot about the importance of forgiving those who have harmed us, but what about forgiving ourselves? Is that important as well? I believe that it is. 

When we harm someone it is normal and healthy to feel bad about it, to experience regret and to wish we could take it back or do something to make the person feel better. What isn’t healthy is to continually beat ourselves up for our offense and to determine that we are a bad person because of it. The first experience is generally thought of as guilt while the second is considered to be shame.  

Some have explained the difference between shame and guilt as follows: When we feel guilt, we feel bad about something we did or neglected to do. When we feel shame, we feel bad about who we are. When we feel guilty, we need to learn that it is okay to make mistakes. When we feel shame we need to learn that it is okay to be who we are. 

I believe that self-forgiveness is the most powerful step you can take to rid yourself of debilitating shame. This is particularly true for those who have been abused, but it applies to everyone. Self-forgiveness is not only recommended but absolutely essential if we wish to become emotionally healthy and have peace of mind. It goes like this: The more shame you heal, the more you will be able to see yourself more clearly—the good and the bad. You will be able to recognize and admit how you have harmed yourself and others. Your relationships with others will change and deepen. More importantly, your relationship with yourself will improve. 

If you have learned from your mistake, and do not wish to repeat it, then you no longer need to feel guilt or shame about it. Forgive yourself and let it go.”

This week’s focus is on self-forgiveness. How much shame or guilt do you carry from past mistakes? Have you learned from your mistakes?

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Word-Of-the-Week #791: Benevolence

October 3, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Benevolence an act of kindness.

How would you rate yourself on being caring and helpful? When was the last time you received a random act of kindness? How did it make you feel?

This week features excerpts from the LA Times article by Teresa Watanabe “The Science of Kindness” is a great follow up to last weeks. A friendly smile. A food pantry donation. Or, a remarkable act of Los Angeles benevolence — allowing a driver to cut in front of you.

Such acts of kindness have a self-serving upside, too, as science has conclusively shown they also make you healthier.

Now UCLA is poised to advance that science with the Wednesday launch of the world’s first interdisciplinary research institute on kindness, which will explore, for instance, how and why being nice to others reduces depression and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Research by UCLA scientists already has shown that mindfulness and kindness actually alter the behavior of genes, turning down those that promote inflammation, which can lead to heart disease or certain cancers, and turning up the activity of genes that protect against infections.

But the ultimate goal of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute is to spread kindness and promote a more humane world. “In the midst of current world politics, violence and strife, the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute seeks to be an antidote,” said Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA division of social sciences, which will house the venture.

Researchers agreed on an academic definition for kindness: an act that enhances the welfare of others as an end in itself. When it comes to kindness, the intention, rather than the outcome, is key. In other words, it’s the thought that counts, as the adage goes.

Kindness is complimenting someone to make them feel good, not to get what you want. It’s sending a donation to a charity even if the check gets lost in the mail. It’s contemplating a legitimate reason why a driver who cuts you off might be in a hurry.

“Cultivating kind thoughts increases the frequency of kind actions, and both the thoughts and the experience of engaging in the actions have positive effects on the well-being of the individual,” said Daniel Fessler, UCLA anthropology professor and the institute’s inaugural director.

Already, a range of UCLA researchers are studying the types of questions that will be the basis of the institute’s work, which will focus on three themes: the roots of kindness, how to promote it, and how to use it as a therapeutic intervention to improve mental and physical health.

Fessler said humans have come to dominate the globe, despite their relatively small size, because of their unparalleled ability to cooperate.

“As troubling as violence and cruelty are in our society, the actual level of positive cooperation is astounding at an evolutionary level,” he said. “Our species is a hyper-cooperative one. No other species is engaged in such a large level of cooperation among individuals who are not kin.”

But, he noted, humans also have a long history of violent inter-group conflict and cruelty. One researcher, UCLA sociologist Aliza Luft, is exploring cultural factors that not only promote cruelty but also lead some members of the dominant group to choose kindness instead — such as those “righteous Gentiles” who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi persecution and the Holocaust.

UCLA researchers also have shown that kindness can significantly ease depression and anxiety. Michelle Craske, a professor of psychology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has demonstrated that patients who received compassion training to cultivate joy, gratitude, loving-kindness and generosity, and engaged in kind acts — offering to help coworkers on projects, for instance — significantly reduced their depression. The improved mental health lasted throughout the six months researchers followed the patients, she said.

“My end goal is to have a broad platform to promote empathy and help people think about kindness,” Harris said. “It is, in terms of the perpetuation of our species and the ability to live with each other and nature, critically important.”

This week’s focus is on benevolence. When was the last time you expressed kindness for a complete stranger? How did it make you feel? How willing are you help a co-worker or friend with a project?

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Word-Of-the-Week #790: Health

September 26, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Health a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.

How important is having good health to you? What do you do for exercise? Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Do you have friends and family that you like to spend time with?

This Washington Post article by Marisa Iati, “HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?” states new research findings on living longer.“In the tug-of-war between the world views of cheery optimists and dour pessimists, the happy people just got a big boost. Those who see the glass as half full, according to a new study, live longer. 

Pessimists, of course, might have suspected this all along — but now there’s actual research behind it. 

Boston-area scientists found the most optimistic people live an average of 11 to 15 percent longer than their more pessimistic peers. Women who are optimists are also 50 percent more likely to live at least to age 85, while male optimists are 70 percent more likely to live that long, said Lewina Lee, the lead researcher and a psychiatry professor at Boston University’ School of Medicine. 

“In previous studies, researchers have found that more optimistic people tend to have lower risk of chronic diseases and premature death,” Lee said. “Our study took it one step further.” 

Optimists generally expect good things to happen in the future and feel like they can control important outcomes. They tend to stay positive and put the best spin on whatever comes their way. 

Not a natural optimist? There’s good news: The mind-set is about 25 percent hereditary, Lee said, meaning people have some control over their level of good thoughts. She said cognitive behavioral therapy and imagining a future in which your goals have been reached are examples of ways that people can become more optimistic. 

To conduct their research, Lee and the other scientists compared results from two independently conducted studies — one that followed nearly 70,000 women for a decade and another that followed about 1,400 men for 30 years. People self-reported their optimism on questionnaires by ranking themselves on statements including “In uncertain times, I usually expect the best” or “I’m always optimistic about my future.” 

The conclusion that optimistic people tend to live longer holds true regardless of other factors, including socioeconomic status, body mass index, social integration and alcohol use, Lee said. The findings were published Aug. 26 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

The study leaves one question unanswered: Why are optimists likely to live longer? Although it’s unclear, the researchers believe optimists may be better at regulating stressors and bouncing back from upsetting events. Optimists also generally have healthier habits, like exercising more and smoking less. 

Scientists already knew that optimism can give people the self-efficacy to reach difficult goals, protect their health in high-stress times, strengthen their romantic relationships, improve their eating habits and ease their job searches. Now — and this would be hardly a surprise to optimists — researchers know happy people are more likely to do these things into old age.”

This week’s focus is on your health. How optimistic are you about your future? How good are you at bouncing back from upsetting events? Would you change your lifestyle if you knew you would live longer?

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Word-Of-the-Week #789: Failure

September 19, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Failure a person or thing that is unsuccessful or disappointing.

Do you see failure as a negative? Have you ever turned a failure into a success by learning from your mistake? Would you find it embarrassing to share your failures publicly?

This seemed like the perfect follow up to last week’s WOW so I am taking the liberty of re-running it. LA Times article written by Nita Lelyveld titled, “A boss’ convincing fails pitch.” She writes, What if you were asked to write your failures on a wall, in indelible ink, for everyone to see? Would you make a confession? Would you bare your soul? What if the person doing the asking was your boss?

Jeff Stibel, chief executive of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., likes to keep his Malibu headquarters hopping. He came up with the Failure Wall one night late in 2010 when he was having a glass of wine with his wife. They were toasting a business success. Stibel said he found failure more fruitful.  

He said, “I love celebrating successes – we do it all the time – but personally they do nothing. I can never tell whether it was lucky, whether it was the right time, whether it was an accident. But when I fail, I always know why I failed and I usually don’t make that mistake twice.”

He started his Failure Wall late one night with the help of his assistant. They started by stenciling quotations from famous people on a white 15’ X 10’wall. “Then, with a permanent Sharpie, Stibel scrawled what he deemed a personal failure: He’d waited too long to start having kids. Others soon followed.” 

All disclosures are signed. That’s part of the idea. To grow from mistakes, you have to own them.  

This week’s focus is on fruitful failure. How would it feel to keep track of your failures like you do your successes? Could you openly bare your soul to your boss? Have you ever had a positive experience as a result of a failure?

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Word-Of-the-Week #788: Successful

September 12, 2019 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #788: Successful 

Successfulhaving achieved wealth or desired visions and planned goals.

Do you consider yourself to be a successful person? Do you know anyone that you consider successful? Is it because they have great wealth? What great achievements have you made?

Would you agree that Warren Buffet is successful? He certainly has made lots of money and to be one of his investors requires loads of money. He is the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Class A shares of their stock sold for $99,200 as of December 31, 2009, making them the highest-priced shares on the New York Stock Exchange, in part because they have never had a stock split and never paid a dividend.

This week’s word comes from long time friend and subscriber Sandra who responded to the WOW on Achievement by asking, “More importantly lately the question is, what is success?” This comes from my archives over eight years ago and is still relative today.

Success As An Iceberg by Chad Dorman

Last week Buffett hosted an exclusive two-hour retreat for 160 students from eight universities. Can you imagine how exciting it would be to be one of the selected students? What questions would you want to ask Warren? Do you think all he would talk about is the economy, finances, and business?

A SD Tribune article by Pat Flynn, quoted what Buffett thought were three of the biggest ways to be successful. First he said, “Recognize the good qualities you see in other people and adopt them for yourself.” Second, “He emphasized that doing what you like is the most important thing.” And third he said, “If you want to be successful, be the type of person other people want to work with.”

I was so impressed by what he told the students! I have always believed that money in and of itself does not make one successful. I also think we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the achievements we have made. Would you agree?

FUN-fact – Today Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares are selling for $315,000 a share!

This week focus on Warren’s three keys to success. What good qualities do you see in others that you could adopt? Are you doing what you like? How easy is it for to attract and keep quality people in your business and personal life?

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