Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Change Your Action Change Your Attitude

Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
-William James

A Russian Physiologist while studying digestion in dogs accidently noticed associativequestionre of learning. Dogs normally salivate upon seeing the food but he found a strange thing that dogs started to salivatn seeing the peophysiologicalusually fed them. Any object or event that dogs learned to associate with food would trigger the same response. To confirm associative learning, he conducted additional experiments. Among one of these was to ring a bell before feeding the dogs. After continuation of procedure for many days he rang the bell without presenting the food and found that the dogs salivated in the same way as if food was there. He was Ivan Petrovich Pavlov who received Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1904.

Our actions are associated with our feelings in the same way. They constitute a self sustaining system. They form a vicious circle in which feelings incite action and actions reaffirm those feelings. We, at any moment, are the cumulative effect of our actions. Our actions shape ourselves to a great extent.

The way we interact with others shapes our opinion of ourselves. What we do influences people's opinions of us; and from their reactions to our behavior we draw some part of our opinion of ourselves. A braggart antagonizes people, causing them to withdraw from him. From their reactions he comes to feel that he is adequate and that people are impossible to impress. Believing himself unnoticed and unheard, he invents stories of accomplishments even grandeur than he has talked in the past — a tactic which antagonizes people further, provoking reactions that in the end make him less desirable. His bragging is, by its influence on other people, producing an eventual change in his own attitudes toward himself.

The other way our action influences us is through our pre-suppositions. When one escapes from school to watch a movie and sees his neighbor standing outside the theater. And, the neighbor visits his house to meet his father in the evening. Would he able to meet his eyes with the neighbor? If not, then one thing is certain that his own behavior has influenced his perception of his neighbor. The neighbor may not even have seen him.

Our actions, whatever they are, mold our perceptions in someway. One thing is crystal clear that we are responsible for good or bad whatever we are at present. Whether we like it or not, everything that is happening at this moment is result of the choices made in the past. Unfortunately, a lot of people make choices unconsciously and therefore, don't think they are choices and yet they are. If I were to insult you, you'd most likely make the choice of being offended. If I were to pay you a complement, you'd most likely make the choice of being pleased or flattered. But think about it: it's still a choice.

Let me tell you about an experiment conducted by B. F. Skinner. He put a rat in his specially designed Skinner box fitted with light bulbs and a lever. The rat was subjected to unpleasant electric shocks through the floor of the box. As out of discomfort the rat moved about the box and accidentally knocked the lever which ceased the electric shocks. The rat quickly learned to go straight to the lever encountering occasional electric shocks a few times. The rat observed that bulbs were lighted just before the electric shock came on and also learned to avoid the electric shocks by pressing the lever when the lights came on. 

We learn in the same way as the rat in the experiment. We are born in chaos. We use trial and error. We find a pattern of attitudes that are acceptable, either because they please us or mitigate our fear in someway. We allowed those attitudes to motivate us. We widen the sweep of our activities, many of which reinstate this set of attitudes and lock them and we continue enlarging on our behavior. Though, we are infinite choice makers but have become bundles of conditioned reflexes that are constantly being triggered by people and circumstances into predictable outcomes of behavior.

We are hard-wired to think negatively at first instance to avoid potential dangers. Imagine, we're early Homo sapiens dwelling in caves. It is the dead of night and we're comfortable in our warm cave, asleep with our family. Suddenly, we hear an ominous noise outside the cave entrance. What do we do? Can we ignore this noise and sleep normally? No, we're mentally predisposed to take the negative view to defend ourselves from attack and possible death.

As it is said that excess of anything is bad; so, is the case with pessimism. In extreme cases, we give our negative thoughts the domineering power and they manifest in negative ways. The Law of Attraction says that we attract into our life whatever we think about.  Our dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest. Our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by means with which no man is familiar, these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, and the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts. Our every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind.

Now, the question is what to do then? The answer is very simple: Change the thoughts. But, as easy it sounds, it isn't that easy. We don't have direct control over our thoughts. But we can change our thoughts by changing our action which is under our direct control. Recent researches show that by changing our action in really pretty easy and simple ways for a short span of time, we are able to change our state of mind from docile to powerful through physiological changes in our body.

It is found that in both human and non-human primates, expansive, open postures reflect high power, whereas contractive, closed postures reflect low power. Not only do these postures reflect power, they also produce it; in contrast to adopting low power poses, adopting high power poses increases explicit and implicit feelings of power and dominance, risk-taking behavior, action orientation, pain tolerance, and testosterone (the dominance hormone), while reducing stress, anxiety, and cortisol (the stress hormone). High testosterone means more confidence and low cortisol means less stress. High testosterone and low cortisol, a hormone profile that is characteristic of high-status and effective leaders and is induced by power posing, is associated with reduced stress, increased sense of personal control, and increased engagement and performance in competitive tasks.

In an experiment conducted by Amy Cuddy and her team, it is found that 2 minutes of high power pose increases testosterone level significantly and drops cortisol level while 2 minutes of lower power pose does the opposite

Thus, we can conclude that motion can be a precursor of emotion and attitude of a person can be changed by changing his physical action. A person can't act devoted for a long time without feeling devoted.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Luck Factor: How To Get Lucky

He worked by day
And toiled by night.
He gave up play
And some delight.
Dry books he read,
New things to learn.
And forged ahead,
Success to earn.
He plodded on with
Faith and pluck;
And when he won,
People called him lucky.

Most of the times, these lines are interpreted as obsession of work. Edison said “When a man really Desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.” When Edison said this, he didn’t mean to become obsessed with work — a workaholic. He simply meant to tighten one’s waist belt and wait for the opportunity. His emphasis was on preparation. In the words of Lombardi, “Everyone has a will to win but very few have the will to preparation to win.”

David J Schwartz in his book ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ wrote “Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s good luck. You'll find not luck but preparation, planning and success-producing thinking preceded his good fortune."

In order to accomplish anything in the Universe, one has to relinquish one’s attachment to it. The moment one relinquish one’s attachment to the result and concentrate only on preparation, one will have that one Desires. If a person is so dedicated that he doesn't divert his attention even for result, there is no doubt that he is going to succeed in his endeavor.

Attachment is based on fear and insecurity — fear of loosing. This divides one’s mind and steals some part of it to focus on thoughts of result instead of preparation. Work with divided-mind wouldn’t result in divided results but ends in no results. It is the conscious mind that knows how to fulfill every need and consciousness comes from being fully present in the moment.

The search for security is an illusion. The solution to this dilemma lies in the wisdom of uncertainty. Uncertainty is the ground of pure creativity and freedom. The unknown is the field of all possibilities, ever fresh, ever new, always opens to the creation of new manifestations. One characteristic of the field of all possibilities is infinite correlation. The field can orchestrate infinity of spacetime events to bring about the outcome that is intended. Between points A and B, there are infinite possibilities. With uncertainty factored in, one might change direction in any moment if one finds a higher ideal or something more exciting. One is also less likely to force solutions on problems, which enables one to stay alert to opportunities.

There lived a boy who was sent to buy two pastries. He was told that they would cost 6 bucks. He went to bakery and asked for two pastries. The bakery owner asked five bucks for the pastries but he started arguing that he was told that they would cost 6 and he would pay only 6 bucks. The owner understood his problem and said with a smile that 5 is lesser than 6. The boy finally realized his mistake, paid 5 bucks and took the pastries. This happens to most of the people who choose to force solution and miss higher opportunities.

The state of alertness — one’s preparedness in the present, in the field of uncertainty allows one to seize the opportunity. It is contained in every problem of life. Opportunity has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity. One can look at every problem one has in one’s life as an opportunity for some greater benefit.

I heard a story of a man who had a horse. One day his horse went somewhere and didn't return. The man went sad and thought himself unlucky. After three months all of a sudden his horse with some other 30 horses returned. He thought himself lucky. While riding on his horse the man fell down and got severely injured. At the same time war broke out with neighbouring countries and the king wanted every healthy individual to join army and fight for the country. The man due to severe injuries could not join the army and survived because his country was defeated and all the army men were brutually massacred. Now I give up to you to decide whether he is lucky or unlucky?

One can stay alert to opportunities by being grounded in the wisdom of uncertainty. When one’s preparedness meets opportunity, the solution will spontaneously appear. Luck is nothing but preparedness and opportunity coming together.

Edwin C Barnes wanted a partnership with Edison. Two difficulties stood in his way. He did not know Edison, and he did not have enough money to pay his railroad fare to his destination. These difficulties were sufficient to have discouraged the majority from making any attempt and declared themselves as unlucky. Luckily, he didn’t belong to the majority and decided to travel on a freight train rather than be defeated. He presented himself at Edison’s laboratory, and announced he had come to go into business with the inventor. But, he did not get his partnership with Edison on his first interview. He did get a chance to work in the Edison offices, at a very nominal wage, doing work that was unimportant to Edison, but most important to Barnes, because it gave him an opportunity to display his merchandise where his intended partner could see it. Months went by. Apparently nothing happened to bring the coveted goal which Barnes had set up in his mind. But something important was happening in Barnes’ mind. He was conscious of what’s going around him and was prepared for the moment. Then, one day, Edison had just perfected a new office device, known as, the Edison Dictating Machine. His salesmen were not enthusiastic over the machine. They did not believe it could be sold without great effort. Barnes saw his opportunity. He knew he could sell the Edison Dictating Machine. He suggested this to Edison, and promptly got his chance. He did sell the machine. In fact, he sold it so successfully that Edison gave him a contract to distribute and market it all over the nation.

Dr. Richard Wiseman, a noted psychologist and author of the book, Luck Factor, did extensive research over a period of 10 years in finding factors for good or bad luck. In one of his experiments he gave lucky and unlucky person a newspaper asked them to find out how many photos were inside. On average, unlucky people spent about 2 minutes on this exercise while lucky people spent seconds because on the paper’s second page — in big type — was the message “Stop counting: There are 43 photos in this newspaper.” Lucky people tended to spot the message. Unlucky ones didn’t. He put second one halfway through the paper: “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people missed it. He deduced from the experiment that unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they’re too busy looking for something else. Lucky people see what is there rather than just what they’re looking for.

Luck is all about positive believing and attitude. In an experiment on learning to be lucky, one unlucky subject said that after adjusting her attitude — expecting good fortune — not dwelling on negative — her bad luck has vanished. One day, she went shopping and found a dress she liked. But she didn’t buy it and when she returned to the store in a week, it was gone. Instead of slinking away disappointed, she looked around and found a better dress — for a less. Events like this made her a much happier person.

Purna was a disciple of Buddha who wanted to go on a pilgrimage taking the Buddha's message. Buddha asked, "Where are you going?" He said, "None of your sannyasins have gone to Sukha yet, I will go there." Buddha said, "It would be good if you don't go there. The people of that area are dangerous, this is why no one has gone. If they insult you what will happen to you?" Purna replied, "If they insult me then I will consider myself Lucky that they didn't beat me, they only insulted me." Buddha said, "And if they beat you what will happen to you Purna?" Purna replied, "I will consider myself Lucky that they didn't kill me, they only beat me." Buddha said, "One more question, if they kill you what will happen to you as you are dying?" Purna replied, "What else could happen? These are such good people that they have released me from living in this body in which I might have committed some mistake. Now no mistake is possible. They have released me from living in this body where my foot may have gone on wrong paths, anything could happen, I could stray off. They have liberated me from this body. I will die filled with kindness for them. I will die full of gratitude for them." Buddha said, "Then you go. Go anywhere. Wherever you go, you will find your HAPPINESS, because now you cannot see any MISERY."

Andrew Solomon for his book about "How family manages to deal with various kinds of challenges or unusual offspring" interviewed many mothers. One mother he interviewed had been raped as an adolescent and had a child following that rape which had thrown away her career plans and damaged all of her emotional relationships. But, when he met her, she was 50. He asked her “Do you often think about the man who raped you? She said “I used to think about him with anger but now with pity.” Andrew exclaimed pity! He thought she meant pity because the culprit was so unevolved as to have done this terrible thing. He asked “Pity?” And, she said “Yes, because he has a beautiful daughter and two beautiful grandchildren and he doesn’t know that and I do. So, as it turns out, I’m The LUCKY One.”

In order to be Lucky, don’t be judgmental. If you can’t be non-judgmental, try to see the positive part of an incidence. If you also can’t able to see positive side, try to imagine things worse than this and feel happy that it didn’t happen in real.