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jerryking : sense_of_proportion   11

Is ancient philosophy the future? - The Globe and Mail
DONALD ROBERTSON
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

* Stoic philosophy, of which Marcus Aurelius was history’s most famous proponent, taught its followers not to waste time on diversions that don’t actually improve their character.
* Ryan Holiday and Steven Hanselman’s The Daily Stoic.
* Stoicism offers rational solutions to human problems but it is especially effective in troubled times. Its offer is attractive: It doesn’t matter how crazy the world is, how “bad” others are, you can always keep your cool and flourish.
* Stoicism.....carefully distinguishes between things that are under our control and things that are not. We should learn to take more responsibility for things we do and to be less disturbed by events that happen to us.....Serenity Prayer.....“God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
* it’s not things that upset us but rather our judgments about them. ...modern cognitive therapy... teaches us to become more aware of the role our thinking, or cognition, can play in shaping our emotions.
* Stoic acceptance does not mean passivity....The ancient Stoics sought to reconcile emotional calm with deliberate action for the common welfare of mankind.
* remain committed to improving the world around us without having to become distressed when things fall short of our expectations.
adversity  beyond_one's_control  books  emotional_mastery  metacognition  mindfulness  personal_control  philosophy  Romans  Ryan_Holiday  sense_of_control  sense_of_proportion  span_of_control  Stoics 
april 2019 by jerryking
Rules for Modern Living From the Ancient Stoics -
May 25, 2017 | WSJ | By Massimo Pigliucci.

Stoicism is practical and humane, and it has plenty to teach us. The philosophy may have been developed around 300 B.C. by Zeno of Cyprus, but it is increasingly relevant today, as evidenced by the popularity of events such as Stoicon, an international conference set to hold its fourth annual gathering in Toronto this October.

The Stoics had centuries to think deeply about how to live, and they developed a potent set of exercises to help us navigate our existence, appreciating the good while handling the bad. These techniques have stood the test of time over two millennia. Here are five of my favorites.

(1) Learn to separate what is and isn’t in your power. This lets you approach everything with equanimity and tranquility of mind. ...Understand and internalize the difference, and you will be happier with your efforts, regardless of the outcome.

(2) Contemplate the broader picture. Looking from time to time at what the Stoics called “the view from above” will help you to put things in perspective and sometimes even let you laugh away troubles that are not worth worrying about. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius made a note of this in his famous personal diary, “The Meditations”: “Altogether the interval is small between birth and death; and consider with how much trouble, and in company with what sort of people and in what a feeble body, this interval is laboriously passed.”

(3) Think in advance about challenges you may face during the day. A prepared mind may make all the difference between success and disaster.

(4) Be mindful of the here and now (i.e. living in the moment). The past is no longer under your control: Let it go. The future will come eventually, but the best way to prepare for it is to act where and when you are most effective—right here, right now.

(5) Before going to bed, write in a personal philosophical diary. This exercise will help you to learn from your experiences—and forgive yourself for your mistakes.

Stoicism was meant to be a practical philosophy. It isn’t about suppressing emotions or stalking through life with a stiff upper lip. It is about adjusting your responses to what happens, enduring what must be endured and enjoying what can be enjoyed.
Stoics  philosophy  Romans  journaling  self-discipline  mindfulness  span_of_control  mybestlife  preparation  beforemath  sense_of_proportion  the_big_picture  anticipating  contextual  forward_looking  foresight  GTD  perspectives  affirmations  beyond_one's_control  chance  living_in_the_moment  Greek  personal_control 
june 2017 by jerryking
David McCullough’s History Lessons
April 14, 2017 | WSJ | By Alexandra Wolfe.

David McCullough thinks that the country isn’t in such bad shape. It’s all relative, says the 83-year-old historian and author of such books as the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies “Truman” (1992) and “John Adams” (2001). He points to the Civil War, for instance, when the country lost 2% of its population—that would be more than six million people today—or the flu pandemic of 1918, when more than 500,000 Americans died. “Imagine that on the nightly news,” he says.

History gives us a sense of proportion, he says: “It’s an antidote to a lot of unfortunately human trends like self-importance and self-pity.”.....see history “as an aid to navigation in such troubled, uncertain times,”.....[McCullough] thought back to something that the playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder had said while a fellow at Yale during Mr. McCullough’s undergraduate days. When Wilder heard a good story and wished to see it on the stage, he wrote the play himself. When he wanted to read a book about an interesting event, he wrote it himself.....Even today, Mr. McCullough doesn’t use a computer for research or writing. He still goes to libraries and archives to find primary sources and writes on a typewriter. ...History, he adds, is “often boiled down to statistics and dates and quotations that make it extremely boring.” The key to generating interest, he says, is for professors and teachers to frame history as stories about people.
archives  authors  biographies  Civil_War  contextual  David_McCullough  DIY  flu_outbreaks  Harry_Truman  historians  history  John_Adams  libraries  self-importance  self-pity  sense_of_proportion  storytelling  Pulitzer_Prize 
april 2017 by jerryking
A ‘war on terrorism’? No thanks. There are smarter ways to meet the threat - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Feb. 07 2015

What do terrorists want? ....They want us to react to them, and above all to overreact....Using the language of war dignifies their delusions and elevates their crimes. Better to meet and defeat them on our country’s preferred turf: old-fashioned police work, patient intelligence gathering, meticulous legal proceedings and the fairest of trials. We know how to do this....Over the past few weeks, the Prime Minister has seemed intent on riling people up and making the most of the terrorist threat. He has exaggerated the danger of ISIS and its connection to possible terrorism in Canada. That’s wrong. At a time like this, the PM should be the chief minister in charge of deflating hyperbole, putting things in perspective – and reminding Canadians that we must continue as we always have, on guard but free.
terrorism  Stephen_Harper  overreaction  ISIS  Canada  Canadian  lone_wolves  editorials  sense_of_proportion  the_big_picture  home_grown  self-radicalization  strengths  security_&_intelligence  perspectives 
february 2015 by jerryking
Ladies, it’s time to age gratefully - The Globe and Mail
HEATHER SANDERS
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Aug. 26 2014,

my message to my girlfriends in their 20s: You are beautiful. You have that glow of youth that is the envy of those decades older. You may look in the mirror and see imaginary “flaws,” but you are perfect, you are young. Enjoy it to the fullest and don’t give it a second thought. Nurture your soul and spirit, and be that beautiful woman from the inside out.

To my older women friends: You’ve come this far, building a life, a home, a family and friends. They don’t give a flying care that you weigh a few extra pounds, that your eyes crinkle when you smile (they find it endearing), that in those old photos you wore a size 6 that barely covered your bum. Those times are done. We don’t need you to be thin and pretty: We need you to be our good friends and mentors on this journey. The real beauty of you right now is the friendship and good times you share with us.

And to my fortysomething self: Suck it up, buttercup. You’re not 20 any more and you’re not 50 yet.

Women need to learn to be happy with themselves at any age. Use the potions and creams if you want, but get exercise and use sunscreen, too. Don’t put such importance on the fleeting physicality of life. As my 73-year-old mother would say, “Enjoy every good day.” Invest your energy in the important things – learning and experiences that keep the mind young. Be thankful you had a chance to be young and pretty.

Remember you are still a work in progress – at the end of the day, at the end of this life, it’s what you did that mattered, not how you looked doing it.
aging  women  gratitude  grace  sense_of_proportion  friendships  exercise  fitness  personal_accomplishments  mybestlife  superficiality  ephemeral  inside_out 
august 2014 by jerryking
Why Should We Care?
January 10, 2008 | WSJ.com | By PHILIPPE DE MONTEBELLO.

We all know art and art museums are important. But when it comes to articulating our reasons for this belief, we find it very difficult. We'd love to simply say, like our children, "Just because." When we try to be more specific, we end up with something rather abstract, such as: They are the repositories of precious objects and relics, the places where they are preserved, studied and displayed, which means that museums can be defined quite literally and succinctly, as the memory of mankind...The fact is, in the rooms of our museums are preserved things that are far more than just pretty pictures. These works of art, embodying and expressing with graphic force the deepest aspirations of a time and place, are direct, primary evidence for the study and understanding of mankind.... if we find our identity through works of art, then we have to identify them correctly, and works of art are not easy to decipher. They don't come with installation kits, lists of ingredients, and certificates of origin. In order to determine the time and place of their genesis, we have to ask of them: Who made them, where, when and why?

The answers to these questions are anything but obvious, because very few artistic traditions are pure -- that is, uninflected by outside influences. So, confronted with a work of art, we must be sure of its origin....The art museum then plays a key and beneficial role in teaching us humility, in making us recognize that other, very different yet totally valid civilizations have existed and do exist right alongside our own..in attempting to answer the question "why should we care?" I'd like to suggest a final, more broadly significant lesson. It is mankind's awe-inspiring ability, time and again, to surpass itself. What this means is that no matter how bleak the times we may live in, we cannot wholly despair of the human condition.
museums  art  value_propositions  provenance  artifacts  sublime  sense_of_proportion  galleries  art_galleries  humility  inspiration  interpretation  sense-making  Philippe_de_Montebello  the_human_condition 
august 2012 by jerryking
The Generous Marriage
December 8, 2011 | NYT | By TARA PARKER-POPE.

The role of generosity is becoming better understood...Generosity is defined as “the virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely and abundantly” — like simply making them coffee in the morning — and researchers quizzed men and women on how often they behaved generously toward their partners. How often did they express affection? How willing were they to forgive? [Brains, Beauty, Breeding + Generosity/ (graciousness = of good cheer/humour, forgiveness, and an ability to maintain a sense of proportion )]
relationships  marriage  Tara_Parker-Pope  intimacy  parenting  Communicating_&_Connecting  grace  serving_others  romantic_love  generosity  sense_of_proportion 
december 2011 by jerryking
A guide to shaking off the doom and gloom
Nov. 9, 2011 | The Financial Times p10.|Luke Johnson
*Study history:
*Avoid the news
*Spend time with the young:
*Remain rational:
*Avoid pessimists:
*Read the stoics:
*Admit mistakes and move on:
*Keep busy:
*Get fit:
*Focus on small wins:
*Ignore events over which you have no control:
*Concentrate on your micro economy
*Laugh: psychologists know that humour is healthy.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
History gives us a sense of proportion, he says: “It’s an antidote to a lot of unfortunately human trends like self-importance and self-pity.”.....see history “as an aid to navigation in such troubled, uncertain times,”.....[David McCullough]
Luke_Johnson  economic_downturn  bouncing_back  resilience  small_wins  reading  history  affirmations  humour  fitness  exercise  personal_economy  Stoics  sense_of_proportion  quick_wins 
november 2011 by jerryking
Behind all successes are a series of failures
Mar 31, 2010 | Financial Times. pg. 18 | Luke Johnson. while
improvement is essential, it pays to keep blame in proportion. Chance
plays a huge role in life, so do not torture yourself unnecessarily in
the wake of a mistake. And by the same token, try to avoid making so
many excuses that you sound as if you're in denial. Honestly analyse the
reasons why things did not go your way, and then move on.
ProQuest  Luke_Johnson  resilience  bouncing_back  failure  setbacks  sense_of_proportion  luck  chance  contingency  self-analysis  blaming_fingerpointing 
april 2010 by jerryking
"The Hidden River of Knowledge"
May 21, 2007 | New York Times | Commencement address by David Brooks.

In short, things are about to change big time. And one of my messages today is that you know that uncertainty you feel today? It never goes away. The question is, do you know how to make uncertainty your friend?....here's one other thing I've noticed that separates the really great people from the merely famous ones. They talk to dead people.

Merely famous people have pictures of themselves on the wall. Really great people have pictures of dead people on the wall, and on their desks. It's one of the first things I look for when I go into somebody's office...And they talk about these dead people....
The dead were alive to them, and looking over their shoulder....The Greeks used to say we suffer our way to wisdom...Success is not something that we do or that happens to us. Success is something that happens through us....We inherit, starting even before we are born, a great river of knowledge, a great flow from many ages and many sources. The information that comes from millions of years ago, we call brain chemistry. The information that comes from hundreds of thousands of years ago from our hunter and gatherer ancestors we call genes. The information that was handed down thousands of years ago we call religion. The information passed along hundreds of years ago we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago we call family. The information you absorbed over the past few years at Wake Forest we call education....We exist as creatures within this hidden river of knowledge the way a trout exists in a stream or a river. We are formed by the river. It is the medium in which we live and the guide about how to live.

The great people I've seen talking to the dead do so because they want to connect with the highest and most inspiring parts of the river. When people make mistakes, often it is not because they are evil. It's because they don't have an ideal to live up to.

These great people also talk to the dead because they want a voice from outside their selves....the best people I've met don't feel that smart or that special. They have powerful jobs, but they don't feel powerful. They don't feel like architects building these great projects from scratch. They feel instead like river boat captains negotiating the currents around them.

They want to step outside their egotism and understand the river of events. They want to feel how people in the past have negotiated its channels. They want other voices in their heads so they can possess the ultimate power, which is the power of facing unpleasant truths.

Finally, I think they talk to the dead because they want to widen their time horizons....Think hard about who you marry. It's the most important decision you will ever make. Devote yourself to your kids. Nothing else is guaranteed to make you happy. The only thing I'd add is, create a posse of dead people. Create an entourage of heroes. Put their pictures on your wall, and keep them in your mind.

They will remind you of your place in the hidden river of wisdom. They'll serve as models. They'll give you an honest perspective on how you're doing. They'll remind you that your blessings don't come from you but from those who came before you.
advice  affirmations  ancestry  blog  brain_chemistry  career  cognitive_skills  commencement  culture  cultural_transmission  David_Brooks  education  family  genes  Greek  hidden  happiness  heroes  humility  hunter-gatherers  ideas  inspiration  Managing_Your_Career  marriage  perspectives  role_models  sense_of_proportion  speeches  success  suffering  the_counsel_of_the_dead  time_horizons  transcendental  uncertainty  Wake_Forest  wide-framing  wisdom 
november 2009 by jerryking
If at First You Don't Succeed, You're in Excellent Company - WSJ.com
April 29, 2008 WSJ article by Melinda Beck about
"self-efficacy" that allows some people to rebound from defeats and go
onto greatness while others throw int he towel.

Self-efficacy differs from self-esteem in that it's a judgment of specific capabilities rather than a general feeling of self-worth. "It's easy to have high self-esteem -- just aim low," says Prof. Bandura, who is still teaching at Stanford at age 82. On the other hand, he notes, there are people with high self-efficacy who "drive themselves hard but have low self-esteem because their performance always falls short of their high standards."

Still, such people succeed because they believe that persistent effort will let them succeed. In fact, if success comes too easily, some people never master the ability to learn from criticism. "People need to learn how to manage failure so it's informational and not demoralizing,".....In technology, rejection is the rule rather than the exception, Prof. Bandura says. He points out that one of the original Warner Brothers said of sound films, "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were rebuffed by Atari Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. when they tried to sell an early Apple computer. And sometimes genius itself needs time. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries before he invented the light bulb. ("I didn't fail 1,000 times," he told a reporter. "The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.")...Where does such determination come from? In some cases it's inborn optimism -- akin to the kind of resilience that enables some children to emerge unscathed from extreme poverty, tragedy or abuse. Self-efficacy can also be acquired by mastering a task; by modeling the behavior of others who have succeeded; and from what Prof. Bandura calls "verbal persuasion" -- getting effective encouragement that is tied to achievement, rather than empty praise..... "You can develop a resilient mindset at any age," says Robert Brooks, a Harvard Medical School psychologist who has studied resilience for decades. One key, he says, is to avoid self-defeating assumptions. If you are fired or dumped by a girlfriend, don't magnify the rejection and assume you'll never get another job or another date. (Maintaining perspective can be tough in the face of sweeping criticism, though. A teacher said of young G.K. Chesteron, who went on to become a renowned British author, that if his head were opened "we should not find any brain but only a lump of white fat.")

And don't allow a rejection to derail your dreams. "One of the greatest impediments to life is the fear of humiliation," says Prof. Brooks, who says he's worked with people who have spent the last 30 years of their lives not taking any risks or challenges because they are afraid of making mistakes.
resilience  optimism  inspiration  risk-taking  bouncing_back  Melinda_Beck  perseverance  self-efficacy  self-esteem  self-worth  persistence  humiliation  rejections  sense_of_proportion  personal_standards  affirmations  grit  Thomas_Edison  self-defeating 
january 2009 by jerryking

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