Word-Of-the-Week #1015: Portmanteau

January 18, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1015: Portmanteau 

Portmanteaua new word formed by joining two others and combining their meanings.

Do you love going out for brunch, staying at motels, or playing Pokémon? Have you ever wondered how they came up with the word Bollywood?

This week I thought I’d keep it light and share this word that I have only seen when I play the New York Times crossword puzzle. Excerpts are taken from the Reader’s Digest website.

“The new word draws meaning from the words it comes from, creating a word that’s clever and often slang-y—but not always!

Wouldn’t you know it, portmanteau is an autological word—a word that describes itself. That is, portmanteau is a portmanteau! It comes from the French words porter and manteau, meaning “to carry” and “cloak”/”coat,” respectively. Yes, neither of those have anything to do with words, but the primary, more literal definition of portmanteau is “a large trunk or suitcase.”

Biopic (biography + picture) – A biographical film (long ago we called movies “pictures”)

Bollywood (Bombay + Hollywood) – The Hindi film industry based in Mumbai.

Botox – This common cosmetic surgery’s name has an almost branded feel to it, but it’s just a portmanteau of botulinum toxin.

Brunch – Brunches have become such a big deal in our culture that it’s easy to forget what a simple, quintessential portmanteau word this is, born from breakfast and lunch.

Cosplay – A specific type of dress-up where people take on the persona of a fictional character, often for a big event like Comic-Con, cosplay comes from costume and role-play.

Electrocute – In an example of a word whose meaning has been diluted over time, electrocute comes from electricity and, yes, execute. It specifically denotes death by electric shock. While it’s come to be accepted as meaning just “injure,” too, going by the original intent of the word, if you experience a strong electric shock and you’re still alive afterward, you technically haven’t been electrocuted.

Motel – You might think that hotel and motel are just words for overnight lodging with arbitrary first letters. While hotel comes from the French hôtel, motel is a 20th-century portmanteau combining the existing hotel with motor. This was in response to the rise in cross-country highways and the need to accommodate roadside travelers.

Newscast – Nope, newscast is not a stand-alone word! It comes from news and broadcast, and first popped up around the late 1920s.

Pokémon – This massively successful video game franchise has a name that’s become ubiquitous, but its origin is delightfully quaint. It’s a combination of pocket and monster, hence how the Pokémon trainers are able to summon the creatures from pocket-sized Poké Balls.

Sitcom – situational comedy

Smog – Ooh, a one-syllable portmanteau! Smog refers to a thick, often pollutant-ridden smoky fog. Yup, smog is a combo of smoke and fog!

These are just a few but there are lots more portmanteaus to be discovered!!

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Word-Of-the-Week #1014: Learning

January 11, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1014: Learning 

Learningthe act of gaining knowledge.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed about the never-ending stream of information you are exposed to? Have you ever actively questioned information you have received?

This WOW by Steven Handel, “Be Careful of What You Let Enter Your Mind” was originally sent in January 2020 and I found it to be a great re-read since the last four years have been filled with lots of information we never knew about. Some true and some false.

“In today’s world, we are constantly being exposed to new information in the media, news, articles, blogs, books, TV, movies, or conversations we have with others.

In many ways, this abundance of information allows us to reach a new level of education that wasn’t before possible. However, it can also lead to a lot of misinformation which can distort our views and beliefs.

One recent study shows that exposure to misinformation can be very “sticky” in our minds. Even if we are told afterwards that something we learned isn’t true, that misinformation still influences our future choices.

This is especially true if the misinformation we consume conforms to our pre-existing beliefs or if it’s something we have very little outside knowledge about.

For these reasons and many more, it’s important that you are careful of what you let enter your mind.

One of my favorite quotes is: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

Due to a never-ending stream of new information and misinformation, we need to always be open to learning new things and adjusting our views in the face of this new evidence.

It’s really easy to find evidence for something that you agree with. It’s a lot harder to willingly seek information that could possibly prove you wrong. But this is often a necessary part of critical thinking.

In another study, it was found that the negative effects of misinformation can be diminished if we are critical of what we consume while we are consuming it.

It’s important that you don’t just absorb information passively, but that you actively question everything you let enter your mind.

Whenever you find yourself learning something new, ask yourself:

  • How true is this?
  • What is the source of these claims?
  • What evidence do they have to support these views?
  • What evidence might go against supporting these views?
  • Do these views seem logical and rational?
  • What are other possible views that may be a better alternative?
  • Where can I do more research?

In a healthy and functioning mind, beliefs need to be flexible and open to change. We rarely have all the facts and evidence, so when we learn new things we have to be able to adapt.

Everything you let enter your mind can shape your consciousness and beliefs in some way, often times without us even realizing it. By taking a little more caution in what you let enter your mind, you can take greater control of how your consciousness is shaped.

Of course, you can’t monitor everything that enters your mind 24/7 – that would be impractical and a bit paranoid. At the same time, it may do you some good to cut certain things out of your life to minimize their negative influence on you.

At the end of the day, just pay a little more attention to what you let enter your mind and how it may be influencing you.”

This week’s focus is about learning. Are you open to receiving new information? Have you ever gotten misinformation? Are you open to learning new things and adjusting your views if they aren’t the same as your pre-existing beliefs?

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Word-Of-the-Week #1013: Intention

January 4, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1013: Intention 

Intentiona course of action that one intends to follow.

Is the life you’re living satisfying and fulfilling? Is there any part you would like to change? Are your personal and business relationships as harmonious as you would like?

We are starting a brand-new year and there will be lots of talk about making New Year’s resolutions. In one study, only around 12% of people who make New Year’s resolutions felt that they were successful in achieving their goals. I’m re-sharing one of the best pieces of advice I got from Steve Strauss, author of STEVE’S 3-MINUTE COACHING on Intention.

“Occasionally you hear, ‘I’ve set an intention.’ Or, ‘I have a powerful intention.’ Or, ‘My intention is strong.’ Or even, ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ In this light intentions sound like something you do, actions on your part. There’s another view.

Intentions simply are. They are to be discovered, not set, played with, not labored over. Intentions serve you rather than the other way around. If this is so, what sort of shift might you make? And why would you? 

Where do intentions come from? They come from a soft, gentle, quiet place. They come from your life purpose, your journey, the why-you’re-here place. 

Can you make an intention up and then work at it really hard? Sure. But that’s probably based on some unmet need, a perceived ‘missing’ in your life, or some other feeling of not having enough. You’re using an intention to try to accomplish something which may not even be related to what your life is really about. Visit with some old people to learn the wisdom of this. They tell stories of efforting toward what turned out to be empty outcomes. 

A real intention is much cleaner than that. And simpler. Intentions come from your future, the unfoldment of your journey. Intentions pull you toward them. Intentions encourage. 

Useful goals, desires, and objectives each probably have an embedded intention. Discover the intention within and let it guide.

Coaching Point: Have you yet learned to listen to the soft voice of your intentions?”

Copyright 2024 Steve Straus. All rights reserved

I don’t know about you but the first week of the New Year feels crazy busy for me. While I am not complaining it reminds me that when I am fully prepared ahead of time it makes for a lot less stress and more FUN! So that is one on my intentions for 2024. Along with only having kind, loving and joyful people in my life!

This week is about creating an intention. Do you know what your life purpose is? What course of action do you intend to follow to make that happen? The clearer and more specific you are regarding an intention makes it that much easier to achieve!

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Word-Of-the-Week #1012: Joy

December 28, 2023 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1012: Joy 

Joya deep feeling of happiness or contentment.

Do you know that feeling joy is strongly associated with subjective well-being, which is essential for human flourishing? When was the last time you felt connected, or reunited with something or someone that’s really important to you?

This week features excerpts from Washington Post writer Richard Sima, Want to feel happier? Try snacking on joy. Learning to find the joy in mundane experiences is a way to cultivate a more meaningful life. I ran this last year and updated it by adding “My Joy Jar” experience. 

“Here’s an antidote to an ever-stressful, busy and uncertain world. Try finding and savoring little bites of joy in your day. I call them “joy” snacks. 

By mindfully tuning into the pleasant, nice and sometimes routine experiences of every day, we can transform an otherwise mundane moment into something more meaningful and even joyful. 

Lunch with a co-worker. Walking the dog. Texting with a friend. Watching a favorite show. Eating a favorite meal. Calling your mom. Just hanging out. 

New research shows that finding and savoring these nuggets of joy can be a way of consistently cultivating a good, meaningful life. 

Understanding the science of joy 

Surprisingly, joy has been relatively neglected by scholars. 

But recent research suggests that joy is a distinct positive emotion for “when we feel connected, or reunited with something or someone that’s really important to us,” said Philip Watkins, psychologist who studies joy, gratitude and happiness at Eastern Washington University. 

Big events like weddings or reunions are well-known smorgasbords for joy. But smaller bites of joy in everyday life matter, too, and are easier to attain if we don’t overlook them. 

Previous research has shown we derive meaning in life from three key factors — feeling like our life makes sense, having a purpose driven by goals we care about and feeling like our lives matter. 

A February study published in Nature Human Behavior involving more than 3,000 participants across multiple experiments reported that valuing one’s life experiences, or experiential appreciation, is another potent way of making life feel more meaningful.

There is also joy to be had when you take the time to reconnect with the person that is always with you: yourself.” 

In September I took a trip to Chicago (where I lived in the 1980’s) with my niece. We had such a great time and when I got home, I was filled with so much joy! And I thought to myself, My Joy Jar is full!

So, this year my holiday gift to my special friends was a Joy Jar that I made. The concept is to fill it with experiences or thoughts that make you feel happy and joyful. It can be something little or something profound. Hopefully, you find at least one thing per day that makes you happy, write it down and put it into the jar. After a month, a few months, a year, or whenever you are feeling down and need a pick me up, pull out a note and read it and remember how it made you feel happy and joyful.

This week’s focus is on feeling joy. Do you feel that your life makes sense and that it matters? Does your life feel purpose driven by goals you care about? Have you taken time to reconnect with yourself? How would it feel to find and savor little bites of joy in your day?

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Word-Of-the-Week #1011: Time

December 21, 2023 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1011: Time 

Time – what seems to go faster the older you get and what we wish we had more of sometimes.

How well do you manage your time? Do you show up for work or social events on time? Do you feel like you always need more time to finish projects?

This word came to mind as a lot of holiday shoppers wait until the last possible moment to do their shopping. It seems as though the majority of American’s have a tendency to put off doing things until they have no other option.

People living in the Midwest & East, and those sending gifts to those areas are in for a big disappointment as the weather and overloaded systems at both UPS and FedEx have caused major delays in the past. Even parts of the West and South have been affected. Lots of gifts never make it for Christmas. That would a BIG bummer if I had kids!

One of the things that I have diligently worked on over the past 20 years is being on time. I always think I have MORE time than I do or that a project will take less time than it does. Anybody else like me? Knowing that, I now “pad my time.” If I think it will take and hour I plan on two. Plus, I even set my clocks ahead by 5 minutes. Waiting until the last minute makes me feel more stressed out which isn’t any FUN at all!

Then there’s my dear sweet husband who I have titled, “Mr. DIN” Do It Now. He is always ahead of the game. He doesn’t like putting anything off until the last minute. He’s all packed a week before we go on vacation. At times it’s a bit of a challenge for me. But I would take that behavior over procrastination any day of the week! And now I even pretend I am leaving the day before vacations so that I am all ready.

This week’s focus is time and how you feel about it. Are you habitually late? Does that cause problems at home or at work? Are you always on time and waiting for others? How does that make you feel? What could you do to better manage your time?

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