The Friday Dose #94

830 FD Relax and Succeed - Be happyThis week you’ve got some cool life lessons from filmmaker David Lynch, an audio documentary on shame that explains a lot of why you feel what you feel, and we’ll finish with a look at an example of the ever-changing answer to the question, where are you from? We’ll start off with some film lessons that frankly apply to everyday life:

10 Lessons on Being an Artist by David Lynch

It’s a full hour but it’s worth it. You can stream it or download it. It’s an excellent program on shame and it’ll probably teach you a few things about yourself you’ll recognize but didn’t consciously know:

Shame on You – Living in a World of Social Media

And we’ll end on this video which really shows why people arguing over culture or geography really makes no sense. It does not matter what any of us is called it only matters what we do:

Next week we start our countdown of the top blogs of this year, so have yourself a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back with some really good material you may have missed. Take care everyone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health

People don’t make much sense. We worry about unlikely things and ignore very likely ones. We’re more focused on fangs than poison. We worry about plane crashes when our cars are fantastically more dangerous. People worry about their kids being abducted by a violent stranger and that’s about as likely as a lightning strike, and yet they’ll let them eat enough transfat to essentially guarantee adult heart trouble. This kind of blindness also has a 683 Relax and Succeed - You don't become a new version of yourselfmanifestation when it comes to our mental, emotional and spiritual health.

People will spend a lot of money on exercise equipment, gym memberships, work-out clothing and they will dedicate a lot of time to either buttressing their ego or increasing their physical health, or much more likely some ratio of each. People will pay more for organic foods, they will even spend considerable amounts on things like auto maintenance. They’ll do all that but they won’t consider investing in their own peace of mind. And I don’t just mean the money, more importantly I mean the time—as in dedicating a portion of their life to actually trying to develop their spirit along with their corporeal body.

Learning to be mentally healthier, more emotionally in control and spiritually more peaceful is all quite easy as long as the explanations and the actions that follow are clear enough. I’m very verby when I work. People are given specific things to do that make a difference. The ones that do it are 100% successful because if you do it you will be successful. The others do it during the course but get lazy. They don’t practice their mental health, emotional control or spirituality. But if you simply do it the results are immediate.

683 Relax and Succeed - I love you I really doDoing it is what proves that we’ve been paying attention to the wrong version of reality.  So we’re constantly pushing the wrong buttons and getting the wrong results. From this new perspective your former suffering becomes obvious and almost silly. You’re not even mad at yourself because you totally get why you couldn’t see it before. It’s so easy to do. It’s like the visual reference I make about logos in a previous blog. What you see depends on what you look for.

Even the facebook page, the Twitter and tumblr feeds, and the Pinterest pins are all designed to be very practical. The feeds are useful if you’re serious about developing yourself psychologically and spiritually—because in the end those things are all part of one thing anyway. To gain we must become more conscious. To become more conscious we must become more mindful. To become more mindful we must regularly use the real us to check in on the ego us to see what it’s doing. You have to be someone so don’t panic if your actions aren’t 100% productive. You can’t really do anything wrong. But once you’re looking out the windshield it’s a lot easier to steer to avoid unnecessary trouble.

683 Relax and Succeed - We can let the circumstancesThere will always be suffering in the world and once you understand reality well you’ll see why. It’s quite important to the very existence of the universe. But we still volunteer for way too much of it and it’s not that hard to fix that. But you have to be mindful. So if you’ll go to a gym, if you’ll jog or alter your diet in difficult in painful ways, then consider coming and reading 700 words for three minutes of your time every day. And actually check out the statuses or tweets and truly check in each day to see where your mind is at. Do that and it will become a healthy habit.

To succeed in any meaningful way you need to raise your consciousness. You need to raise it to the point where you’re fully aware that that is where you really live.

Here’s to you noticing yourself a really great day. 😉

peace. s

Influencing Children

Yesterday I covered the culture of fear that has been created by politics and the news media and how that affects parenting and the brain development of children. Today we’ll talk about how social media and advertising combine to create an entirely new set of forces that are 608 Relax and Succeed - You decide who you areshaping your children’s minds in ways that have never been seen before. Some of it is exciting and awesome. Some of it is troubling and dangerous.

Again, it’s important to remember how different the world is than just a short time ago. A surfable smartphone didn’t exist until 1996 but due to capability and production limits they weren’t really in our consciousness until about 2001. Facebook was created in 2004, and Twitter in 2006 (even Google was just getting started in 1998), so at the time of this writing none of the people who’ve grown up with these influences are even adults yet so researchers can’t study the effects.

I heard a stat the other day that either this year or last year, 90% of the photos taken in history had been taken that year. That is a huge indicator of how incredibly important cameras have become. I have maybe 50 photos in total of me from a baby to age 25. Some friends whose parents were more technically motivated used cameras more often and they would have more, but it was expensive processing pictures back then very few people went crazy. But the fact that 90% of photos were taken last year shows how insanely different the numbers are today. A child will have more photos taken of them in a month than they would have had in a lifetime. And so that lens—that eye—becomes one of the eyes they understand they should pay attention to.

How this plays out is that if you’re talking to someone and you hold your camera up to take a photo, they’re quite likely to mug for you, or give you their best angle. So just the very appearance of a camera changes the social setting and people interrupt their human conversation for a machine-based ego-focused interaction. We all see this with text messages 608 Relax and Succeed - The most precious giftwhen we’re having lunch with a friend as well. It’s now common for people to not look at or pay attention to their tablemates for large percentages of their time at the table.

What this does is get the kids who are watching believing that phones are more important than people because that is exactly the behaviour everyone is actually modelling. So what I’m seeing now is kids who will choose to look at a camera lens or cell phone screen instead of looking at the people they’re with. So rather than learning how to socialize and read facial and body language cues, instead they learn how to look down and spend time in a place that exists only in their imagination—a place called cyberspace.

It’s very important for parents to remember that we all live where our consciousness is. So if you’re sitting on a beautiful beach alone thinking about how 10 years ago you were on this beach with a love you have since lost—despite all of the pleasures available on the beach today, the person will be sad because in their consciousness they are reliving 5 years ago and comparing it to today.

608 Relax and Succeed - We are living in a worldThe same is true for kids except they travel less in time and more in space. I walked to school with all of my neighbourhood friends. Kids today primarily get driven or take the bus so they can have friends that live two buses away. So they might be physically at home because their parents never let them go anywhere without some detailed plan, but in reality they’re meeting their friends in cyberspace. The important part about that is that if your kid can always meet their friends in cyberspace then, in a way, it’s like their friends are present for every single thing that happens in your house. Technology has changed society much more than people currently recognize.

Privacy for all intents and purposes no longer exists. By 16 every kid knows your email can be hacked, friends can choose to share photos they were never supposed to share, there’s revenge porn sites and robots are crawling through everything you write and post in an attempt to understand you well enough to help advertisers sell to you when you’re most vulnerable. There’s even video and audio systems that detect crying so that they can respond. Do we really want robots responding to crying?

I’m hardly anti-technology. I was the first person I knew with a digital watch, the first with a programmable calculator and both a video recorder and a video camera. I was the second person I knew to get a computer and I started a large BBS system before the internet even existed. So I’m pro-technology in many ways. But with all things we must weigh the advantages against the costs. And the costs of social media are almost as high as the costs of advertising.

608 Relax and Succeed - If you find yourself constantly tryingSo where politics and the news media lead new citizens to be unnecessarily afraid, advertising leads them to be insecure. Secure people don’t need a product to fix their insecurity. So when I was young everyone thought teeth should be teeth-coloured and so no one would have put harmful chemicals in our mouths to whiten them. But today kids will feel stressed if their teeth aren’t unnaturally white. Go backwards and my mother never knew mouthwash until she was older. And her mother never even knew tooth-brushing or that breath should smell “fresh” until she was ten years old because advertising had not created that insecurity yet. The entire tooth-brushing fresh breath movement emerged out of advertisers testing the idea of whether or not a fear could be created and leveraged into a product. Obviously it worked and now every kid has a huge list of things to feel insecure about.

Advertisers need you to think the jeans you bought last year aren’t good enough for this year. Same with your hair style and your shoes and your purse and your car. There is always a new way to be acceptable or impressive to others. There’s always something new to buy. But do you see what this is telling the brain? The brain is being told that the person is not okay being who they are they must be someone else in order to be accepted, which in other terms means that the love they receive is conditional. It is based on their alignment with what advertisers have deemed acceptable rather than being loved just for who you are right from birth. The idea that you have to add to or change yourself before you are worthy is as unfortunate as it is dangerous.

608 Relax and Succeed - If a mother values herselfYou don’t need different jeans or a different hair colour. You don’t need different music or to like different movies. You just need to love yourself. Because you’re parenting when you’re living. Just like those kids watch smart phone screens because you do, they also worry about their hair and weight because you do. So if you really want to parent in an amazing way that will strengthen and support your kids to be all they can be, then stop worrying about the bad things that might happen or the judgments they might face, and instead focus on realizing the natural greatness that lives within yourself, because that will teach your children to look for that strength and capability within themselves. And that’s all they need to do. Because it’s always there waiting.

Your kids live in a sea of other people telling them who they should be. Be the one person who stands out for not telling them who it would be good or positive or healthy to become, and instead just ask them who they would most like to become and then help them do that. Because if Michelangelo’s father had had his way his son would have been a bricklayer and we wouldn’t have the incredible Statue of David. So don’t get in the way of your kid’s David. Don’t help frighten them into being small and worried. The world is too awesome for that and it will only be made more awesome by the contributions of you and your children.

Thank you.

peace. s

FOMO

It’s a relatively new acronym. We didn’t need an acronym before because this fear was so rare. You might experience it a couple or few times a year, whereas now you can experience it many times in an hour. Most social networking has inadvertently become primarily about activating that fear: the fear of missing out.

100 years ago you might have felt this if you had to leave for university knowing that your brother was coming back from the war, or that the horse and carriage that you were riding on couldn’t hope to make it home in time for your sister’s birth. But today you can experience this feeling minute by minute just by watching social media. You can be told about all of the amazing places you aren’t seeing, or the amazing meals you’ll never cook. You’ll see the exercise results you’ll never achieve, you’ll see the parties and events 594 Relax and Succeed - We waste so many daysand concerts you didn’t go to, the clothes you can’t afford—you’ll see all the choices you didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t make.

The point is, you’ll be able to compare. It’s like internet dating: it’s easy to think of a relationship as disposable if you know there are websites with literal lists of other potential choices. But of course Barry Schwartz has studied choice (Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice) and what we learned was that more choice simply translates to more chances for you to be wrong and disappointed. So despite what retailers tell you, more choice does not make you happier it makes you sadder. And the same goes for choices regarding what to do with your most precious commodity, time. Too much choice can freeze us with confusion. Brains aren’t wired up to be able to track the myriad of choices and decisions that need to be made each and every day in today’s world.

So how does this translate to life? Here’s how a lot of 1st world people’s lives go today: starting around lunch or after work, people start watching the various emails and newsfeeds on their phones to help them decide what to choose to do that night or on the weekend. Of course, they might have already committed to an event two weeks ago via social networking, but the very nature of social networking means that even if something is scheduled, you’ll still compare it to what options have shown up since you made the “commitment.” The problem is that these choices just keep scrolling by much like our life will if we’re not careful. Because what a lot of people are telling me today is that they’ll get home and waffle between choices until it’s somewhere between 9:00 and 11:00pm and then they feel it’s too late to start 594 Relax and Succeed - Exist to be happyanything and so they end up doing nothing. Ironically social networking has inadvertently made everyone far less social.

Of course what you’re seeing on social networking isn’t what’s actually going on. Because most people aren’t really telling you what’s really going on. There’s no more ego-based world that social networking. Most people are just struggling to post lives that look as impressive as their friends’ appear to be. And so all unflattering but honest photos are untagged and any remaining photos will all be from what you perceive as your good side so we essentially get to see the same photo over and over and over. Plus any unflattering remarks or statements are deleted or edited or blocked. All weakness is hidden unless we actually want people to feel sorry for us, in which case the feeds will be subconscious solicitations for sympathy masquerading as love. But that’s the last resort, so most of what we’re seeing are social lies that are attempting to position people for Andy Warhol’s famous 15 minutes of fame, albeit often only within our own social circle.

Social networking can be very useful and I’m happy to use it effectively to achieve positive ends. But if I didn’t have to be on it I wouldn’t. Not because I’m against it, but because I would have so much living to get done that I wouldn’t have the time. You see this with people that live in the mountains. They often can’t get cell phone access and so their kids grow up largely without phones being their primary source of information. The world is their source of information and entertainment and enjoyment. So when they are exposed to technology it all just seems like lame approximations of life rather than life itself. To a kid from the mountains most city kids look like the people in the pods in the movie The Matrix. They’re not really alive, they’ve just been convinced they are by what they’re seeing. The truly interesting people are actually out doing interesting, exciting and expansive things in the real world not the virtual one. They don’t share and forward videos of lions doing cool things. They get on a plane, fly to 594 Relax and Succeed - Plunge boldly into the thickAfrica and they go see some actual lions. And half the time they don’t take a camera with them to prove to you their ego’s winning. It’s quite a difference from a life spent scrolling on a phone.

Don’t sit at home watching your options/life scroll by in some news feed. Don’t sit in a coffee shop looking at your phone or you won’t see the attractive, appealing person who’s trying to get your attention. And remember that life was meant to be lived. It’s not a show. It’s not a performance. You’re not supposed to be lauded for your wardrobe or hair or cinematography—your life is not a production. You are simply supposed to live. But to do that, you have to stop spending so much time watching life looking for the best thing possible, and instead get out into the world and just simply do the best thing available in the moment you’re in. That leads to an awesome life. So just make life a verb and the rest will be fine.

Now of course all of this is deeply ironic because you are likely reading this via some news feed on your phone or computer. But again, nothing is good or bad, it’s merely how we use something and then what are the consequences? So make your use of technology more conscious. Actually ask yourself if you’re using it like an addict uses substances to avoid dealing with life, or if you’re really using it to improve yourself or to make active, conscious and life-affirming decisions about what to actually do with this incredibly brief experience we have with life itself. Because as anyone on their death bed will tell you, time is the most valuable thing you have and so how you spend it should always be at the forefront of your mind.

Don’t waffle over choice. Choose and make that choice a verb. Whatever else you might do in that same time is irrelevant as long as you enjoy or get some reward from what you did choose to do. And that is always possible and it’s entirely up to you.

Thank you for your time. Have yourself a wonderful day.

peace. s

The Call of Your Life

194 Relax and Succeed - Man had always assumedYou have to get serious about your spiritual development and health. And by serious I don’t mean work hard at it, I mean start enjoying the act of living. Get serious about life itself. You already vainly wrestle the layer of language around you that creates your ego. Don’t add another layer with technology. Don’t get lost inside of it and lose track of what your life truly is.

You can have experiences in life, or you can be present for experiences. You can sit and involve yourself in a concert, or you can invest yourself in recording it with your phone. Because where you are is where your consciousness is focused. So focus it with intention. Focus it with the intention to manifest rewarding experiences. But to accept the universe’s rewards you must first open your arms by setting down your distractions. It is possible to focus on a fly buzzing about in a beautiful cathedral filled with the music of a talented choir.

The world is changing. You can feel the strange undertow that technology has created. If we’re not careful, the medium will shape the user into a creature unequipped to actually have rewarding human relationships.

Don’t spend your time like this. This is a very, very good short film by Charlene deGuzman. It says a lot in only a couple of minutes and it is definitely worth your time. And just think of the irony if you watch it on your phone. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend paying lots of attention to the people around you. 😉

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.