Category Archives: Newsletter

FatherSon

CONNECTION BEFORE CORRECTION

FatherSon

When I first started teaching, almost 20 years ago, one of the “pearls of wisdom” that many new teachers heard was to never let the children see you smile before the holiday break. The intent, I’m sure, was to convey the importance of setting consistent and predictable limits with children, and establishing your roles as the adult in the classroom. This makes sense, as many new young teachers attempt to win children over by being their friend rather than their teacher. However, both approaches are incomplete. One lacks warmth and the other lacks firmness.

Decades of research in teaching and parenting styles have revealed that children thrive when the adults in their lives are both warm and firm at the same time. As a matter of fact, in direct contradiction to the advice I was given as a new teacher, children need a sense of connection with the adults in their lives before correction can be truly effective, long-term.

Recently, I asked my oldest son to get his younger brothers and sisters for dinner. I had just finished making some macaroni and cheese, and had it ready for the children at the kitchen counter/bar. In a few minutes, my son was back downstairs and engaged in something other than eating the macaroni and cheese; and his brothers and sister were still upstairs. My instinct was to reprimand him, or guilt him into getting his siblings so they could eat and appreciate all my hard work. However, what I did was to approach him and give him a big hug, tell him how much I loved him, and then asked kindly, with a smile, where his siblings were. His response was, “Oh, they didn’t come down, let me go get them.” And he did.

Why does this work? In simple terms, children (and adults) do better when they feel better. They do worse when the feel worse, or are under stress. One school of thought tells us that people will be motivated to do better when they experience the consequences for their actions (meaning negative consequences). However, what we have learned from recent brain research is something very different. When people are under stress (angry, afraid, upset, frustrated, etc.), they are functioning from the right brain and limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for regulating memory and emotion. However, reasoning, using logic, or learning a life lesson happens on the other side of the brain, and the use of the per-frontal cortex is needed for such activity. So, in order for children to learn from their mistakes, they need to be using the left side of their brain. Here’s the rub: the left side of the brain doesn’t work well until the right side is is calmed down. And, one of the primary ways for the right brain to calm down is through a sense of connection, especially if the connection is non-verbal (the left side of the brain is responsible for verbal processing). The non-verbal connection can come from a knowing and loving smile, a hug, or warm eye contact. After the connection, the left brain and pre-frontal cortex begin firing on all cylinders and children can then process what your guidance and correction.

When I gave my son a hug, it helped both him and me. I was reminded, too, of how much I loved him and how important he is to me. He was able to feel a sense of connection, and his left brain was able to process my message to him. In this instance, I was able to simply give him a gentle reminder through a question, and he was able to absorb the subtle cue, and make his own decision, keeping his dignity in-tact. Now, I will freely admit, that in the moment, not all of this information was running through my mind. I simply used or took a principle that I knew to be effective for my son and for me, and I employed it in order to get the kids to the table and to maintain peace in my relationship with my son.

This principle of connecting before correcting can be used in many ways. With older children, it may take the form of a conversation where a parent sits down with their child and asks them questions to truly understand where their child or adolescent is really coming from, truly seeking to understand their point of view. Of course, this means starting by putting aside the adults agenda, so it is critical that the adult is calm and open themselves before engaging in this conversation. Many adults find that after such a conversation, both the adult and the child have a deeper sense of connection with one another. The adult has a better understanding of the child’s perspective (even if that perspective is not completely accurate, as may be the case with teens), and the child feels understood – and isn’t that what most older children and teens really want! When this has occurred, real problem solving can take place.

With younger children, a key element to developing connection is the adults physical approach to the child. Adults are sometimes 4 to 5 times the size of a young child. That size difference can be intimidating, especially if the adult has an angry or frustrated expression. Intimidation might get short term results, but long-term this only invites rebellion or submission. So, crouching down, giving a hug, and letting a young child know how much you love them before you correct them is key to being effective long-term, and will help them learn the important life-lessons that parents, who have the wisdom, teach.

Photo Credit:  Brookie

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50,000 Mentors (What I’ve learned about life from the humble honeybee)

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Let me preface this article by stating that it is not meant to represent a political, emotional or agricultural/food agenda. It is merely meant as an observation of life and what we can learn from the social functioning of another species.

I’ve been working with mentors the past several years — about 50,000 of them…well actually more like 100,000. My mentors are small but have much to teach and I’ve been doing my best to pay attention to the learning experience. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a beekeeper and my little mentors are of the species apis mellifera or the European Honeybee.

The honeybee has a long history. Ancestors of the honeybee have been around for 50 million years. The honeybee, in its current form, has been around for 30 million years. In comparison, we modern humans, members of the genus Homo, have been on this planet for a mere 1.9-2.4 million years. This indicates that the bees, with the wisdom they have garnered over time, have a few things to teach us… if we take the time to pay attention. Wisdom lies in the details. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned and continue to learn from the bees and leave for you the questions arise about us, as humans, in contrast.

Honeybees, like humans, are social creatures. Honeybees work together and communicate in a variety of ways using dance, pheromones and other behaviors to interact with each other. Honeybees however, work together to benefit of the common mission, which is to support and sustain the future of the hive. Bees collaborate to allow a colony of 10-50-100,000 individuals to function as a superorganism. Taking on different roles as they mature, bees work together to, nurture their young, maintain a constant temperature in the hive that is conducive to a healthy environment for growth, organize the hive in efficiently by utilizing resources where and when they are needed. Bees cooperate to help the organism survive and thrive. In winter, cluster, shiver to stay warm and rotate position from the outside of the cluster to the interior.

Every effort each bee engages in each day of its life directly circles back to, in some way, answer the question, “What are you doing today to sustain the health and longevity of the hive?”

Bees give back and promote the sustainability of others. Bees support the growth of plants in their work to collect pollen and nectar – by pollinating plants to ensure robust production. Bee’s pollination services directly impact the food supply of the planet. As humans, we should appreciate the fact that one-third of our food production relies directly on the pollination services of bees.

Bees make use of available resources. Honeybees are one of the few, if not only creature, that does not destroy or kill anything in order to survive.

Young bees have a mechanism in their bodies to make wax from nectar. It takes eight pounds of sugar or nectar to create one pound of wax, so beeswax is extremely valuable. They will re-use and re-build comb, if necessary. Bees also collect nectar to make honey which they use as a food supply. The life’s work of one bee equals 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. Bees collect pollen to make “bee bread”. Bee bread is pollen combined with honey and an enzymatic solution excreted from glands near the bee’s mouth which ferments to break down the shell of the pollen and form one of the most efficient food supplies on the planet. Bees also collect resin from trees to use as propolis. Propolis, a resin, contains the following properties: it seals cracks in a hive, it is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer.

Propolis is one of the elements bees utilize in their form of socialized medicine. Bees also groom each other, removing mites (which suck blood and induce disease) and help to maintain individual health. Bees also allow the queen to “rest” two times during the year. During this time the bees “clean” the hive by creating an environment that is inhospitable to mites.

Bees share resources with other species. Bees work side by side with other pollinators such as bumble bees and other native bees to share resources. Even as a human works a garden, bees will passively continue to forage, taking only what it needs.

Bees promote from within. Newly hatched bees immediately clean, groom, feed the queen. Nurse bees feed and care for young. Other bees make wax, build comb, accept food from foragers, pack comb with honey and pollen. Older bees guard the entrance of the hive, forage for food, water and medicine, and scout for new home during swarm activity.

Bees are democratic. Decision making is accomplished by consensus. This is evidenced during the swarm process. Once the swarm leaves the hive and clusters on a branch or other structure, the older forager bees take on the role of scout bees to find a new home. They return and dance distance, desirability and direction of the new home. Other bees check out the locations danced for and return to “cast their vote” for the best location. A decision is reached and the bees, leave, en mass for their new home.

Bees eliminate what doesn’t work. In their efforts to maintain a healthy environment, they remove and discard sick eggs, their dead, mites, ants, wax moth, as well as small foreign objects a beekeeper might leave in the hive. If a mouse enters the hive during the winter, it is killed by the bees surrounding it, vibrating their bodies, thereby raising the heat around the mouse until it dies. Since the mouse is too large for the bees to remove, they surround the mouse with propolis so that it is sterile and its rotting corpse cannot negatively impact the health of the colony.

Bees are prudent in a show of force. They have a built in mechanism that insures this – a honeybee knows she will sacrifice her life when she chooses to use her stinger.

Any bee, with proper care, feeding and attention, can become queen. If the queen becomes infertile or ill or aged and needs to be replaced, any female egg, between one and three days old, can be reared to become queen. The difference between a queen bee and a worker bee hinges on the quality of nutrition provided.

Bees replicate what is successful. In spring, a strong over-wintered colony that has the proven genetics to survive seasonal weather extremes, local available food sources and other environmental forces build up their numbers. Half of the colony and the existing queen then swarm to form a second successful colony. The remaining bees are left with queen cells, which will hatch, mate and continue the original colony’s life cycle.

Along with the lessons discussed, as a beekeeper I’ve also learned to respect the small things, appreciate the wisdom of others, be mindful in my actions, be patient, inclusive, and attentive to change. When I open a hive I always have a plan, work my plan, and know I may need to be flexible and willing to change my plan if the bees inform me today is not a good day to work the hive. If the bees are cranky, it may be that they have lost their queen, the weather is about to change, their young have been disrupted or threatened in some way (by raccoons or skunks or bears). I follow-up on my plan and take notes about what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that every winter is different. I’ve also learned it is not always important to “see the queen”. What is important is to know the signs of a healthy and vibrant colony and to do my part to sustain the health and longevity of the hive.

I’m the founder and president of a small beekeeping association that serves four counties in the Central Sierra foothills of California. What I’ve learned from other beekeepers is this:

We humans tend to be presumptuous and possessive. Rather than accepting the role and responsibility of being a steward for bees, we beekeepers talk about “my bees”, when, in reality honeybees cannot be domesticated as pets.

When taking classes, we learn at a different rate or not at all based on our background, experiences and the filters we put in place to acquiring wisdom.

We often make decisions or develop emotional opinions based on incomplete information without considering the impact of those decisions. Well-meaning, but misguided reporters often write articles that contain incomplete or incorrect information. Others write articles pushing a particular political, emotional or biased agenda. It is our responsibility to research and learn before jumping on any bandwagon that promotes misguided activities or promulgates misinformation.

We don’t pay attention to the effects our actions might cause. On a beekeeping level, sometimes the actions we choose to execute can set back or kill a hive.

New beekeepers need active participatory mentors. Well-intentioned newbees kill hives. It happens. The guidance and wisdom an experienced mentor can provide will advance the knowledge of a new beekeeper exponentially.

Nature and the honeybee will survive despite our misguided efforts.

On a more positive note…
Wouldn’t it be nice to have the product of your life’s work be something as sweet as honey?
…as sustaining as bee bread?
…as valuable as beeswax?
…as beneficial as propolis?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know the outcome of your life’s work provides value to your colony and to other species?

I believe that no matter what damage we inflict on the planet, bees will continue to find a way to survive another 50 million years. Maybe, if we pay attention, are mindful, attentive, have a plan, can cooperate in a democratic fashion, eliminate what doesn’t work, be prudent in a show of force, make good use of and share resources; we can, together, support the future health and growth of our colony of human beings on this planet.

Lorinda ForrestLorinda Forrest is President and Founder of the Sierra Foothill Beekeepers Association. She is a business start-up consultant and works with community colleges in the California Central Valley and Mother Lode to help improve small business and entrepreneurial studies programs so that college students are prepared to meet the needs of business or begin their own enterprise. As a beekeeper, she considers herself a steward for bees. Lorinda also gardens, enjoys fly fishing, skiing, cycling and hiking. She lives in Sonora, California.

Bees Image Credit:  vastateparksstaff

ChristineHornerheadshot02

16 Tips to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

ChristineHornerheadshot02As a plastic surgeon, I witnessed the horrors of breast cancer almost everyday while caring for my breast reconstruction patients. In 1994, this disease became too personal when it claimed the life of my own mother. I vowed to go after her killer. My goal was to see if this disease could be prevented. I searched the collection of medical research to determine what caused cancer to start growing and threw fuel on its flames. I discovered thousands of studies that pointed out exactly why we have a breast cancer epidemic. These studies revealed that breast, prostate and colon cancers are similar tumors and our diet and lifestyle play the most important role in most cases.

The recently released third-edition of my award-winning book, Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner’s Program to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer, describes every natural approach scientifically shown to help drastically lower a woman’s risk of developing this disease. For women who have breast cancer, these approaches increase the likelihood that they will live a long healthy life.

This information is really for everyone, because everything that influences the risk of breast cancer also influences the risk of most other chronic diseases. Therefore if you follow the recommendations, your likelihood of developing any chronic disease will be low and your chances of experiencing robust health will be high.

Here are a few tips:

Tip #1: Eat fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables every day—especially cruciferous vegetables.

These plants—particularly those in the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale)–are filled with a variety nutrients, vitamins, and plant chemicals that act as powerful natural medicines against breast cancer.

Tip #2: Eat organic whole grains every day.

Whole grains are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, fiber, and lignans.

Tip #3: Avoid all health-destroying fats. Consume health-promoting fats every day.

Saturated animal fats, trans fats, partially hydrogenated fats, and hydrogenated fats fuel breast cancer, whereas healthy fats—especially omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds—offer protection.

Tip #4: Eat 2–3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day.

Flaxseeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acid, are high in fiber, and contain one hundred times more cancer-fighting lignans than any other known edible plant.

Tip #5: Eat mushrooms or a supplement.

Medicinal mushrooms, such as Maitake or AHCC, stimulate the immune system, stop tumor growth, cause tumors to shrink, and prevent them from spreading areas of the body.

Tip #6: Drink green tea every day or take it as a supplement.

Women who drink green tea have a much lower risk of breast cancer—and if they get breast cancer, their chances of surviving are much greater.

Tip #7: Consume turmeric every day.

Turmeric, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, is considered the #1 anticancer spice.

Tip #8: Eat at least one clove of garlic several times a week.

Garlic is extremely high in antioxidants and selenium, boosts the immune system, lessens the formation of carcinogens in the breast, prevents toxins from damaging our DNA, and stops breast tumors from growing and dividing.

Tip #9: Avoid red meat

Woman who eat the most red meat have an 88 to 330 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

Tip #10: Avoid refined sugar—instead use a natural sweetener such as Stevia.

Sugar is cancer’s favorite food. The more of it you eat, the faster cancer will grow.

Tip #11: Keep your body-fat low.

Fat cells manufacture estrogen, notably after menopause. That’s why obesity is thought to be responsible for 20 to 30 percent of all post-menopausal breast cancers.

Tip #12: Rarely, if ever, drink alcohol.

Even half a glass of alcohol a day increases your risk of breast cancer; so it’s best to avoid this dangerous beverage completely.

Tip #13: Keep your home as toxin-free as possible.

Toxins are everywhere. Assume that everything is toxic unless labeled otherwise and choose a nontoxic solution instead.

Tip #14: Once or twice a year, purify your body for one to two weeks.

Detoxing works! Just one five-day series of the Ayurvedic purification procedures known as panchakarma has been shown to decrease toxins by half.

Tip #15: Go to bed by 10:00 P.M. and rise before 6:00 A.M.

Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is a powerful antioxidant that arrests and deters breast cancer. Your body will not produce enough melatonin to be protective if you stay up past 10:00 P.M.

Tip #16: Embrace thirty minutes of aerobic activity every day.

Regular moderate exercise lowers your risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Those who enjoy a rigorous routine can have up to and 80% reduction!

About the Author: Christine Horner, MD is a board certified and nationally recognized surgeon, author, professional speaker and relentless champion for women’s health. She spearheaded legislation in the 1990s mandating that insurance companies pay for breast reconstruction following mastectomy. She is the author of, Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr Christine Horner’s Program to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer, winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award “Best book of 2006 for health/medicine/nutrition.” For more information visit www.drchristinehorner.com

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AN INTERESTING MISTAKE

screens-amagillIn our house we limit screen time to weekends when the children are allowed to watch one movie per weekend day. If you limit screen time in your house, you may have a child like mine who will go to any lengths to get just a few minutes in front of a screen, even if it means breaking the house ground rules. We use a logical consequence when one of the children sneak screen time, and that consequence is “If you abuse it you lose it.” The child who sneaks it will lose screen time on one of the weekend days. We joke that my oldest son has forfeited more screen time than he has actually experienced because of his proclivity to smuggle electronic devices into his room for his personal, unauthorized, viewing pleasure.

Recently, my oldest son was caught with my wife’s Kindle in his room. She went looking for it and found it under his covers. (You may ask, how did she know to look in his bed? In our home, his room is the second place you would look after looking in the place you thought you’d left it.) So, accordingly, he lost a day of screen time for the upcoming weekend. And just like I did when I was his age, he tested the limits, and smuggled screen time again, not too long afterward.

Fast forward, three weeks later: my son hasn’t watched a movie since the initial Kindle incident because of continued smuggling. Then his birthday arrived, and I was feeling sorry for him because he couldn’t watch a movie with his brothers. I knew what to do – I should hold the limits firmly, even if it was his birthday. But, I caved and let him watch the move as a “birthday treat”.

Almost immediately I began to regret my decision. My son responded to my act of mercy by pushing the limits around screen time even more; trying to watch things that he wasn’t allowed to, taking control of the programming from his brothers, etc. I wanted to be angry, but I knew what was happening. My son, like all children, want to know that the adults in his life will be consistent and do what we say we’re going to do much more than they want to watch television. My son was saying, in his own way, that he preferred the limits. And I know, that limits are meant to be tested, otherwise how would we know where they really are.

Shortly after his birthday, my son asked me if he could have his screen time back, even though he had three more weekend days of screen time to forgo. My response to him was, “What would I be teaching you by eliminating the consequence for your choices?” He thought for a moment and said, “Good point.” Inside I laughed knowingly. Children are our best teachers.

Louis CK, one of my favorite comics, was on the Conan O’Brien Show recently. During his interview he began talking about parenting, which is part of his schtick. Sardonically, yet prophetically, he mused that his job was not to make his children happy. He said, “I’m not raising children. I’m raising the grown-ups they’re going to be.”

As I began to reflect on this discussion, I thought about my decision to remove the no screen time consequences for my son’s birthday. I made a mistake – one that I learned from, but a mistake nonetheless. I asked myself the same question that I asked him. What was I teaching him be removing that consequence? In attempting to make him happy by rescuing him, I was actually setting him up for disappointment and dependence upon me for his happiness. When do I want him to learn that he can be happy despite his circumstances, and that he can accept responsibility for his actions and learn to make better decisions by himself?

So, on this Thanksgiving of 2013, I am grateful for my children and for lessons that they continue to teach me, as I continue on the road to becoming a better parent.

Photo Credit:  AMagill

November Lead

Kolbe Technology and EQ – Making a Difference

November Lead

In June of 1992, Kathy Kolbe inscribed a message to me in her book “The Conative Connection”. It said “To Art, thanks for having a belief in individual talents. It’s a joy to know you.” Kathy Kolbe. Actually, the reverse is more accurate. It is has been a pleasure to get to know this dynamic and inspiring woman of science. She and her organization have taken a small family owned business into a world-wide entity that is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people.

Exactly what is her claim to fame? It is her fascination and belief that conation has a lot to do with how comfortable we proceed through a day. Conation n. Conation is the area of one’s active mentality that has to do with desire, volition, and striving. The related conatus is the resulting effort or striving itself, or the natural tendency or force in one’s mental makeup that produces an effort. Conative is the term in psychology that describes anything to do with conation. Scottish philosopher William Hamilton (1788-1856) considered conation to be one of the three divisions of the mind.

Kathy Kolbe has a presentation piece entitled “Three Parts of the Mind Summary” whereby the three are illustrated.

Cognitive – IQ, Skills, Reason, Knowledge, Experience, Thought, Education, & Training

Affective – Desires, Motivation, Attitudes, Preferences, Emotions, Values, & Beliefs

Conative – Drive, Instinct, Necessity, Mental Energy, Innate Force, & Talents

There is also an Action Mode descriptive that describes 4 of of striving instincts.

Fact Finder – which is our best way of gathering and sharing information

Follow Thru – which is our best way of arranging and designing

Quick Star – which is our best way of dealing with risk and uncertainty

Implementor – which is our best way of handling space and tangibles

Within each column is a further descriptive which depicts how we would act within it.

Fact Finder – 1 to 3 like to Simplify, 4 to 6 like to Explain, & 7 to 10 like to Specify

Follow Thru – 1 to 3 like to Adapt, 4 to 6 like to Maintain, and 7 to 10 like to Systematize

Quick Start – 1 to 3 like to Stabilize, 4 to 6 like to Modify, and 7 to 10 like to Improvise

Implementor – 1 to 3 like to Imagine, 4 to 6 like to Restore, and 7 to 10 like to Build

In language we can all relate to, this means the following:

Folks who have a score of 1 to 3 in any category WON’T, those with a score of 4 to 6 are WILLING, and those with a score of 7 to 10 WILL.

My Kolbe A Index or my MO (modus operendi) is 4 5 7 4 . What this means to me is that I am most comfortable when I am allowed to use my MO the way my natural striving instinct leads me. With a modest amount of Fact Finder, I am most comfortable when someone else does the math or research as I am more than happy to edit the details someone else has crafted. With my Follow Thru just a smidgen higher, I am most comfortable when I can coordinate the schedules someone else has designed in sequential order. With my high Quick Start score I am most comfortable when I can ad lib, create slogans, and initiate innovation. And with my modest score in Implementor, I am most comfortable when I can reproduce models that others build.

The Damariscotta Montessori School in Newcastle Maine just had all of their Head Teachers and Assistant Teachers complete their Kolbe A Indexes and after putting all of the scores up on a white board, the group could see for themselves where their strengths and opportunities were. It also opened up a chance for them to recognize how they each felt comfortable solving problems, clearing hurdles, attaining goals THEIR WAY. As long as the students were supported, the teachers were free to be themselves in offering that support. Were there similarities? Yes, but there were stark differences as well and with the Kolbe A to A Index, they can now see for themselves how to talk to each other when their Kolbe A Indexes were similar or different.

This is just the beginning as the Kolbe Corp also offers a Kolbe B Index which allows the taker to see how they perceive their job, a Kolbe C Index, which is competed by a supervisor when it is important to know how they see the job. And a Kolbe “Right Fit” which allows for assistance when assessing the person that is in the position or when a new person is needed for an existing or newly created position.

Having an entity that is building infrastructure replete with EQ training and with the Kolbe technology supporting that initiative is an amazing one / two combination.

Next month we will have a guest author writing about her newly reengineered book entitled Waking the Warrior Goddess. Her name is Dr. Christine Horner. Look for her book on newsstands beginning in November and catch a glimpse of it here in early December.

My best and call if you wish,

Art

Photo Credit:  Andrew Fysh

business-baby-theUMF

Should EQ be Taught to Children?

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Perceptions are learned from watching and observing others. They are not inherited and we do not come pre-wired with automatic perceptions. That’s why when we are told to believe something and the teller behaves differently, we learn what we see not what we hear. As leaders of families or units of followers in large organizations or the leaders of significant portions of the organization, if not the leader of the whole organization, we are the star of the show. Everyone can be influenced by our behavior.

The Big Three ———- Denial, Doubt, & Acceptance

In the past we have made the case that paradigm shifts do not come easy. Galileo was branded a heretic for suggesting that the world was not the center of the universe. With the aid of his invention of the telescope, he made his case that the sun was the center of the universe and the scream of denial from the scientists in the early 1600’s was huge. How dare he challenge what had been known throughout what I call the “knowledge world” at the time. What hubris!! When they challenged Galileo he simply pulled out his evidence and he erased any doubt that he was incorrect. The scientists and esteemed teachers and intellectuals tucked their tails between their legs and accepted the new paradigm. Within short order, the new paradigm was in place and the world moved on with this new learning. As an aside, here we are 300 years later and the heavens are being explored to greater and greater depths. Will it be our time to discover that the sun is not the center of the universe? Maybe.

Albert Einstein brought a paradigm shift to the attention of his esteemed professor in 1905 and the indignation shown was just as you might expect. Who was this “student” to challenge what had been taught for 50 years? Go to Google and look up Luminiferous Ether to get the whole story. Well, Einstein had heard all he needed in a previous class and so he went to his lab and discovered on his own that there was no such thing as Luminiferous Ether. When he presented his evidence, the doubt ebbed and acceptance flowed in. There was no more teaching this oddball reason for light being in a vacuum when you attach positive and negative electrodes to the opposite ends.

In the 1980’s, John Mayer at the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey at Yale conspired to discover the impact that emotions had when communicating information and why some people seemed more capable of absorbing the exchange of information. In the mid 1990’s, Daniel Goleman wrote his legendary book Emotional intelligence. I have the book and it has been on my bookshelf for almost 20 years. I never got past chapter 1. However, in 1999, thanks to my then SVP, Mike Woodward, I read Goleman’s new book “Working with Emotional intelligence” from cover to cover in three days and I have been through it at least a dozen times since then. So here comes a new paradigm for the world to experience but unlike the instantaneous impact that Galileo and Einstein had on the world, Mindfulness and EQ until recently has been more subtly making an impact.

In the past two years, there has been an accelerated trajectory of the principles behind Mindfulness and EQ. Earlier this year, CNBC hosted a number of people in a half hour round table before the markets opened and the theme was the aforementioned topic. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, and Mike Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, both spoke of the efforts in their workplace they were employing to support their people. Last Thursday and Friday they both were featured at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in NYC where an audience of about 200 heard the same message, but with more details. Using Malcolm Gladwell’s term “Outliers”, they were stunning in their belief that this is where our resources need to be focused. This is where the investment needs to be made to take us to the next level of productivity. Eleven-hour days are crushing our people and there is no more physical capacity left. Fatigue, sleep deprivation, and burn-out can no longer carry the load.

“If we always do what we have always done we will get what we have always got” I believe is attributable to Stephen Covey and it is “wake-up” time for our entity leaders to recognize that there is no more capacity in the tank.

Can EQ be taught in schools?

Here is a link to a NY Times article entitled “Reading, Writing, and Emotional Intelligence” that happened to come out on the Sunday after the Wisdom 2.0 conference. It makes a compelling case that EQ needs to be incorporated into our school systems and that where this has been done, significant progress is being made.

If you are a parent or grandparent, please read this from start to finish, as it may alter your paradigm as to why this work is so desperately needed.

What Mayer, Salovey, Goleman, et al have demonstrated is that unlike IQ – which is mostly maxed out by the time we are in our teens – EQ is something we can increase whenever we wish. Short on Self-Awareness, it can be expanded. Short on Social Skills, such as the teacher in the above article, it can be refined. Is Stress Management an issue for you?  Tai Chi, Yoga, and a myriad of other skills can be learned to give your heart the break it needs to provide you with a hale and hardy old age.

A New Paradigm Shift?

Well, hang onto your hats because we have a new one for everyone to gasp at. Before we spread the news that emerged last week, ask yourself this question: What do you know about DNA? I asked that question to a number of executives at Ameriprise Financial Services on September 19th and they responded in the same manner. DNA is unique to us individually.

According to Alexander Urban, a geneticist at Stanford University, this may not be the case, and that, in fact, many of us have multiple genomes. It appears that the whispers heard a few years ago that this may be true are now fact. Here we go again. We are faced with another opportunity to see denial, doubt and ultimately acceptance in play. It seems that those of us solidly planted in the idea that stability, routine, and “the same old, same old” will just have to get used to the pace of change being thrust upon us at a faster and faster pace. Bummer!!

My best, and keep us in mind when you consider expanding your EQ.

Art

Photo Credit:  the UMF

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Are Our Hearts Intelligent? Can We Learn from Baseball?

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One of the fundamental connection’s we make in our EQ Not IQ: Basics Presentations is that our minds influence our brains and subsequently our hearts. To illustrate how this can be either harmful or helpful, we made up a silly dialogue between the mind and the brain. In essence, the mind is focused on a specific situation. Maybe it is meeting another deadline after a long string of previous deadlines. That would not be uncommon in this fast paced world we live in today. So, in the dialogue between the mind and the brain, the mind says something like this: “Hey, get things revved up so that we can get some adrenalin into our system.” Of course, to make this occur the heart has to be a willing contributor, as that’s the pumping station that gets the needed ingredients where they need to be. On cue, the process is completed and the messaging element called cortisol triggers the production of adrenalin and glucocorticoid and we get revved up to meet the deadline. Unfortunately, this process which has been around for 10,000 years causes some damage to the heart if repeated over and over again with little relief. Once that starts to happen the heart starts to have a part in the dialogue. It starts muttering that it cannot keep up this pace. In simple terms, it needs more space between the jolts of cortisol it is experiencing. Finally, the occasional muttering turns into more consistent muttering and then finally in an attempt to get the brain to influence the mind to change the pattern it says “If you do not slow down this pace I am going on strike;” and, “If I go on strike the whole show is going to come to a close.”

Well, we know what he heart is implying. Keep up this chronic stress parade and this bandleader is checking out. That checking out is significant if you smoke. If you do not smoke you will probably survive the heart attack but you may be compromised physically thereafter. And if you are lucky to get back to work, because you are so special, you will get a job without any stress. Bzzzz. Wrong answer!!

In their book “The HeartMath Solution”, the authors, Doc Childre & Howard Martin make a compelling case that our hearts are quite intelligent in their own right.

We’ve all been told, at one time or another, to follow our hearts. And it sounds like a great idea, in principle. But the problem is that actually following our hearts —and loving people, including ourselves — is much easier said than done. Over the past 20 years, scientists have discovered new information about the heart that makes us realize it’s far more complex than we’d ever imagined. We now have scientific evidence that the heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives. Instead of simply pumping blood, it directs and aligns many systems in the body so that they can function in harmony with one another. And although the heart is in constant communication with the brain, we now know that it makes many of its own decisions.

Unknowing of their work, our silly story seems to make sense.

Here is another view that you may find fascinating, and if you are a baseball fan it will resonate with you rather quickly. When college pitchers finish their seasons (a lot shorter than professional seasons), they usually pitch anywhere between 120 to 140 innings. Once they make it into the professional level, they are gradually stretched further and further making stops at 150 to 175 innings and then hopefully to the 200 level. In listening to a sports program on WFAN recently, I heard two hosts discussing the stress that pitching 200+ innings per year has on pitchers, and that in just over a handful of years they have noticed the effectiveness of the pitchers decreasing as they maintained this lofty goal. In theorizing the impact on the pitchers career and ultimately the team, they suggested that both would benefit from a “managed” pitching load that required fewer innings and thus more reserves for a longer career.

Regular working people do not have the same playing field that professional baseball players have, but nonetheless, the work we do has an impact on the people we serve. Our customers or clients depend on us 52 weeks out of the playing year. The stress that this puts on us is challenging. And it is different than just 100 years ago when hunting and gathering was the norm for the majority of the world. The stress levels were lower substantially, and what stress did exist, was partially neutralized by the physical exertion that was normal for the work at hand. A great cortisol remedy to be sure. Today, physical exercise has to be scheduled and it can easily be sidestepped because of the stress of another deadline that has to be reached.

So, what is the remedy and who really benefits from a different approach? Well according to our friends at HeartMath, their Cut-Thru Worksheet process was able to reduce cortisol by 23% and they also had an increase of DHEA by 100%. Here is the definition of DHEA:

DHEA is an essential hormone produced by the adrenal glands and known as the “vitality hormone” because of its anti-aging properties. As the body’s natural antagonist of the glucocorticoid hormones – a family that includes cortisol – DHEA reverses many of the unfavorable physiological effects of excessive stress. It’s the precursor of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, and its varied functions include stimulation of the immune system, lowering of cholesterol, levels, and promotion of bone and muscle deposition. Low DHEA levels have been reported in patients of many major diseases.

Step 5 of their remedy asks us to “soak and relax any disturbed or perplexing feelings in the compassion of the heart – dissolving the significance a little at a time. Remember it’s not the problem that causes energy drain as much as the significance you assign to the problem.”

Clearly this EQ stuff helps us individually, but let’s consider who else benefits from you being more mindful. Your family members might be at the top of the list as they are the ones you are going to work to support. Then there are your work colleagues who have a more cheerful ally to emulate. And then there are those who serve us every day at the gas station or the restaurant – they too might enjoy a little more face-to-face gratitude from you for what they do for you. Lastly, how about that total stranger whom you help out of the blue? Their life could be forever changed because of your incidental acknowledgement that they exist.

Enjoy September and call if you wish,

Art

Photo Credit:  theseanster93
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It is hammock time!!!

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August will be a rest month for our lead article and positive discipline articles. Check back in early September for our efforts to share cutting edge research in the field of EQ, the rapidly growing awareness of the brain and how we can use it to our advantage, and for those raising children, more on how to use positive discipline to assist them in that growth.

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A Tragic Story – With a Positive Ending

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This is not going to be an easy read. At the onset it will be uncomfortable and disconcerting. In countless ways it contradicts everything we believe in as we define the words family, dignity and respect.

On June 06, 2013, the New York Times published an article entitled “Therapy for Victims of Sexual Violence Shows Promise in Congo”, by Denise Grady. The author summarized a body of research presented in the New England Journal of Medicine the day before that featured the work of two psychologists. The lead author was Judith K. Bass who is an assistant professor in the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins and she was assisted by Debra Kaysen who is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Here are some startling facts that initiated the research: In the Congo, after two decades of civil war, this African nation is labeled as the rape capital of the world by the United Nations.

“Hundreds of thousands of Congolese females, from toddlers to grandmothers – possibly as many as two million, according to one study – have been raped by rebel fighters or government troops.”

In my judgment, the NY Times article goes into more detail than is necessary to illustrate these horrors and I am extremely confident you will feel the same way should you choose to read it. In providing support to these women, what added an extra measure of complexity to the work of the research team was that some of the women were not able to read or write.

So what was the breakthrough treatment that made a huge difference in the lives of these women?

It is called cognitive processing therapy. And they were able to teach it to local health workers who had a high school educations or less. It is a technique used in the US to successfully treat rape victims and others with post-traumatic stress. In essence, “it involves teaching people to think rationally about the troubled thoughts, feelings and beliefs that can linger after an attack.” True with most research projects, including the one we did for over 8 years, there were two choices for the participants. One group was offered individual sessions and the other group was offered an individual session followed by group sessions.

“The women’s symptoms were assessed and graded three times: before the treatment program, when it ended, and six months afterward.”

The outcome was heart-warming. Women who had felt that they were responsible for the violence because they left a window open, or wore their clothing inappropriately, or somehow made contact with the attacker were taught to not blame themselves. They were encouraged to challenge these thoughts to determine their accuracy and validity. Once that thinking started to take place they realized there was little or no evidence to support the blame they had reaped upon themselves. 65% of the women who chose group therapy completed all three assessments and 52% who chose the individual method also completed all three. The improvement from those choosing group therapy was amazing. Only 9% of this group experienced anxiety whereas 42% who chose individual support still experienced anxiety.

One of the women in the project initially showed up unwashed in tattered clothing and her hair in a matted mess. Her rape had occurred two years previously and she had experienced rejection by her husband and in-laws. After only a few sessions she began grooming herself and wearing clean clothing and her family had begun to treat her better. “She began to shine, and they could see past the woman who was raped, who didn’t comb her hair, the one whose fault it was for being raped.”

Psychologist Mario Martinez, in his Mind Body Spirit tapes calls the process we go though as Blinding Loops. We see something or have an experience and draw a conclusion. That becomes a belief and when a thought or experience occurs that is similar to that belief, the brain is at the ready with its prerecorded response. And thus the loop goes on and on and on unless we have a skill to change that prerecorded response.

In our EQ Not IQ: Mastery™ Program, we use this understanding to build new neuropathways so that there is an opportunity to address the challenges that create anxiety & stress. We call the challenges cognitive distortions and with our patented process that moves through 5 ½ months of effort, we teach our participants skills to make the changes that reduce stress and improve efficiencies and productivity. The “group therapy” element that you read above and is more detailed in the Times article, is represented in our TEAM conference calls. Not only do the participants have Individual Coaching sessions with our coaches, there are three times where the group has a chance to discuss openly their challenges and successes in dealing with those challenges. Two are conducted via conference calls and one is represented by a Reunion Dinner at the conclusion of the 5 ½ month program.

Mindfulness and EQ is growing across boardrooms from coast to coast. In February we attended a Wisdom 2.0 conference in SF. There were over 1700 people there and key note speakers such as Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post, Peter Ford, CEO of Ford Motor Company, spoke eloquently about this movement. A month later, on CNBC, three corporate leaders, the most notable of which was the CEO of The Hartford Insurance company, spoke about the need for this movement throughout his organization.

Whether you lead an organization of thousands or a small family-owned business such as a financial planning practice a great way to introduce your followers to this knowledge is to use our EQ Not IQ: Basics presentation. All of the details and more can be found on our website.

My best and call if you wish,

Art

 

Photo Credit:  babasteve

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Carrots & Chocolate

By Art DeLorenzo

Many of you remember the left brain/right brain configuration. The right is the “commitment” side, while the left is the competence side. The former is more emotionally oriented, more artistically inclined and thus makes decisions around things such as making a commitment. The latter is the analytical and calculating side of the brain which helps us understand what is necessary to make a commitment. The right can become a bit dramatic while the left likes being tough and calculating. What resource do we have to help us decide which way to lean? It is the prefrontal cortex, that place just behind your forehead that has to navigate the pull from the right and the left, and which hopefully steers us in the appropriate direction more frequently than not.

In the March 5th Health Special section of the NY Times, Jeffrey Kluger wrote an article entitled ‘The Science of Building Will Power.’  In it he explains the challenge that these two lobes have on a regular basis and how they are trumped by our most “decadent appetites for drinking, gambling, eating, smoking, shopping, sloth, and sex.”  What is it that “upper brain” has as a resource to combat these “lower brain” drives? Willpower.

Previously we spoke about intention in a similar way. When we intend to do something the brain goes on a holding pattern to see if our action to move ahead or not gives it a clue as to what we really mean. In either case a neuropathway will be started, which says we will act. From there the action keeps layering the new habit until we can depend on it. We are then released to be creative thinkers while we utilize our new habit. That’s why we are less likely to be creative when first learning a skill and more creative when we have mastered it. Our brain is super focused on building that skill. Once we have it we can hit cruise control.

Our brain is very fickle when it is getting ready to try something new. We now know what is going to happen if we act, but what happens when we don’t act?  The neuropathway does not get built and the new habit remains nothing more than a good intention. But there is more. If on a reasonably regular basis we choose to act, the brain gets into the habit of prepping itself for action when a new intention surfaces. Alternatively, if on a reasonably regular basis we choose not to act on a new intention, the brain gets into the habit of not prepping itself for action, as there is not much of a track record to rely upon. NY Times reporter Charles Duhigg, in his book The Power of Habit, states that “40% of the actions we perform each day are the product not of deliberate action but of habit.”

When it comes to games of chance it is amusing to watch the brain in action. In his book Your Money & Your Brain, Jason Zweig describes the upper and lower brain using the term reflective for the upper and reflexive for the lower. He cites an experiment by psychologist Paul Andreassen, who set up an artificial stock market game. One group had the chance to see the level of stock prices and another only the differences in stock prices.

“Depending on how much the stocks fluctuated, investors who focused on price levels earned between five and ten times higher profits than those who paid no attention to price changes. That’s because the investors who fixated on price changes traded too much, trying to shave profits off of interim fluctuations, while those who paid attention to price levels were more content to hold on for the long haul.”

What is the secret? Demand that these two work together. Whether it is “upper” and “lower” or “reflexive” and “reflective,” willpower-intention will be your support mechanism.

As this article is being written, the Mega Millions jackpot has surpassed $500,000,000. California’s “SuperLotto Plus” published odds as 41,416,353 to 1. If the same or similar mathematics applies to Mega Millions, the logical mind says there is little chance I can win, but the how it might “feel” is a powerful rebuttal, especially if you have previously won a game of chance. Carnival barkers are thrilled when someone knocks over the trio of metal milk bottles off of the small stool. They know that those watching the big stuffed puppy dog being hauled away will inevitably be lured into trying, and that there is a good chance that person who won will circle back and have another go at it. I’d bet that if we interviewed that winner beforehand and asked her if she could knock the bottles off, she would readily admit there was not much likelihood.

So what about chocolate and carrots? Ayelet Fishback, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, ran an interesting study. She offered her subjects two bowls, one filled with carrots and one with chocolates, side by side. People ate more carrots than chocolate. However, when she mixed them together, people took more chocolate. “That the two foods touch seems to cause some of the magical goodness to rub off on the chocolate.” This “halo effect” is the same mental error that occurs when we eat the fries after a big workout at the gym. “It is not logical” says the left side of the brain. The right brain, encouraged by the “lower” brain, says “you will feel good” eating them.

Photo by flickr user Kirti Poddar.