apel: (attention)
I liked Duff McDuffy's entry called How to Remain Equanimous in a Difficult Situation. It is based on physiology -- how our bodies react when we feel stressed. No woo-woo, just science and experience.

Based on my own experience, I would add two things.

1. In step 1, when you relax your facial muscles, make sure you also close your mouth. Closing your mouth has many, many advantages. Here are a few:
  • You lose less water by breathing through your nose. In dry environments that can be a life or death decision.
  • You don't get a dry mouth, so if you need to say something, you'll actually be able to speak right away.
  • By not babbling you do not distract yourself from your feelings and/or thoughts.
  • By not babbling, you do not distract other people who may be in a better position than you to fix the problem.
  • By not babbling, you appear cool. Appearing cool not only gives you higher status and makes people pay attention when you do actually say something. In many cases, appearing cool and alert is all it takes to fail a criminal's victim interview.
2. To Duff's point #4, I would add that in many cases simply to watch the situation unfold and remain aware of your surroundings, as well as your own process, is what it takes to "win" in an incident.

Granted, there are situations in which swift action is required to stay alive. Sitting in a car that's about to plunge into a lake, is one example. But there are many more situations that are improved by simply doing nothing and paying attention. It also has the added bonus that it drives jerks crazy when you don't react to their BS by bouncing off the walls. :-)


Aug. 28th, 2007 09:18 pm
apel: (attention)
Through the convoluted tubes of the intarweb I discovered [livejournal.com profile] loltheorists today. My favourite entries so far are the Magritte LOLcat and the double LOLram.

It inspired me to the following slightly awkward attempt:
Abraham Maslow: My hierarchy, let me show you it
apel: (cute)
As expected Metaquotes had a ball with the passing of Jerry Falwell. One nugget was this, presumably fictional, IM conversation.

A coworker drew my attention to Salon's interview with Tinky-Winky sparked by the same occasion.

People think loftier thoughts in rooms with high ceilings according to a University of Minnesota study.

Photo of a red squirrel with snowflakes on the adorable little head.

A Flash banner for HP lets you arrange flowers in a vase.

California Bunny photo. Daily Animals is highly recommended if you like photos of California wildlife. This one was taken near Fremont.
apel: (star_thoth)
RAW died in his home in Monterey, CA, today at 4.50, local time.

I remain for ever grateful for the way his books blew away the cobwebs in my heart and mind. Thanks also to [livejournal.com profile] cdybedahl for recommending him to me and lending me some of RAW's books.

"'Tis an ill wind that blows no mind" Malaclypse the Younger
apel: (California)
I don't usually remember much of my dreams but lately there's been a theme: I'm living off-planet. In one I was living on a space ship that was cruising the galaxy. I think I was some sort of roving usability specialist who touched down on various planets to solve their usability problems. In another I lived on a space station. Not sure what I did in that dream, except that somebody who looked a lot like the delectable Mark Harmon was my boyfriend.

Umm, yeah, what could these dreams possibly mean? I'm stumped. Really I am.
apel: (Lucius)
Kathy Sierra over on Passionate Users has a long but wellgrounded entry about how being around negative people affects you. It's something I've really noticed in my personal life after moving from California to the UK. It's a good thing the effect is reversible.

The comments were interesting too but mostly because it was so easy to see who understood Kathy's points and who didn't.
apel: (goodMorning)
In his blog, dilbert.blog (syndicated as [livejournal.com profile] dilbert_blog), Scott Adams theorises about what causes some people to be successful at losing weight and staying thin while others fail. His theory is that: "People organize their lives to get their minimum required units of pleasure. While individuals vary in terms of how many units of pleasure they need, everyone is striving to reach their personal minimum."

applying the pleasure unit theory )
apel: (star_thoth)
I feel boring. The stuff I've done today isn't exciting in any way. Originally the plan was to watch something nice this evening. Bride and Prejudice or the first episode of Firefly, for instance. But I guess I got carried away with the responsible-adult activities. Paying the phone bill, going out with the trash and stuff like that. Well, actually yesterday the plan for today was to watch Harry Potter with [livejournal.com profile] puneets. But what with the sinuses bothering me I wasn't up for it. That was a good decision from a health point of view but not a fun one to make. My sinuses are still bothering me a bit. It's time for me to rinse them again.

The only thing that was even remotely exciting today was reading some of [livejournal.com profile] ozarque's stories about her life. They start here. She's been through some interesting things, if you take "interesting" in the Chinese curse meaning. And she can write. I put her book Peacetalk 101 in my Amazon basket.

Fascinating too how some people in the comments grok the situation and others don't. At first I thought it would be the people who had had significant interaction with foreign cultures who'd understand it. But it's not that simple. It seems to more be a case of if you have ever felt like everybody else knew the rules and you now have sufficient metacognitive skills to understand the motivations behind the behaviour of those who did understand the rules. There's of course also an element of wanting to understand other people's motivations. It's a lot easier to be self righteously angry on behalf of a friend if you don't try to understand how the people who have hurt your friend think. I'm not judging that lack of want. In fact I do the exact same quite a lot myself. It's a way of expressing sympathy. Sometimes it's the only way that's accepted.

Anyway, I've also ordered some herbal tinctures. While doing so I realised that my herbalist's mark-up must be at least 100%. Presumably she buys at wholesale prices, which are lower than the retail prices I buy at. On the other hand, I no nothing about the difference in quality. I guess we'll see how well my experiment with mixing my own works out.
apel: (sunset)
This article by Justin Kruger and David Dunning from the Department of Psychology at Cornell University published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (December 1999 Vol. 77, No. 6) describes a series of studies designed to find out if and why incompetent individuals often have an over-inflated sense of their own accomplishments.

It's interesting in several ways. For one thing it explains the humbling effect that education has on people. For another, it explains why some people think they're the bees knees despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda, from whom I got the link, suggests that this phenomenon is at play in ex-FEMA director Michael Brown's decision to start a private disaster recovery consultancy.

The authors' central claim is "that less competent individuals overestimate their abilities because they lack the metacognitive skills to recognize the error of their own decisions." In the first three studies described in the article, they tested abilities in humour, logic and English grammar and asked the subjects to assess their own abilities and test scores. The conclusion from all three tests was that people who scored in the lowest quartile grossly overestimated their scores and abilities, while those in the highest underestimated themselves somewhat, relatively to their peers.

The third study had a second phase in which subjects from the bottom and top quartiles were asked to come back for another task later. At this later test, they were given a few tests to grade. The tests reflected the range of skill levels found in the original test and the subjects were told this. After they had graded the tests, they were again asked for a self-assessment. The bottom quartile did not significantly alter their self-assessment but those who scored very well, did. They revised their own relative score upwards, making it much more correct. The authors felt that this correction shows that the top scorers had previously fallen prey to the so called false consensus effect. The false consensus effect means that high achievers think that everybody knows what they know, so they think they are closer to average than they really are.

In the fourth, and final, study the subjects were given a simple test of logic. Half the group was then given a short training pack designed to improve their logical reasoning, while the other half got a time-filling task. Subjects in the lowest quartile significantly improved the accuracy of their self-assessment after the training pack, while those who had done the time-filling task got worse. Subjects in the top quartile had underestimated themselves. Those who received the training pack reassessed their relative performance upwards, thus correcting it.
apel: (Default)
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