Stay Off Santa’s Naughty List

In my country, people practice a pretend belief in Santa Claus.  This mythical person delivers gifts to well-behaved children.  Naughty children, in theory, receive nothing.  

The definition of good vs. bad is fuzzy.  It is subjectively determined by parents in each household.  

In practice, however, poor children receive less, regardless of behavior.  Bounteous gifts are given by parents who are wealthy (or are divorced and trying to win affection, in competion with ex-spouses).


As adults, I wonder how we can stay off Santa’s “naughty list.”  How can we be better?  These are four common sins we can stop committing:

1.  Be less busy.  We need to put down phones, turn off televisions, and listen to silence.  Creativity requires quiet time.

2.  Stop using the Law of Small Numbers to make decisions.  Humans tend to make hasty generalizations based on small sample sizes.  We generalize about a race of people based on a single example.  And everyone knows someone who had a mean father, so we hate all men and publicly engage in gender shaming of boys.  Potential entrepreneurs often plan businesses based on what a group of friends might want to buy, and they fail.  

3.  Eat better.  To improve brain function, we should eat less meat and more vegetables (and no dairy).  Almost everyone should eat less sugar. 

4.  Be more humble.  Learning begins with humility, because only teachable people learn.  


That is my list for the new year.  Have a great year of continuous self-improvement.  What sins are you working to avoid?

My Former Life as a Secret Agent

I have never told anyone this.
When I was 9 years old, I experienced a stressful event which caused me to partially withdraw from society.  I built around me a cocoon of imagination.  My whole life was fake.
I imagined I was a secret agent.
For some reason, my country needed a small boy with no athletic ability and no skills to save them.   Enemy soldiers had infiltrated our land, and I–only I–could stop them.
Sometimes soldiers entered my classroom to seize me.  After winning a gun battle across desks, I would escape.  I jumped out the window to draw off any remaining enemies, to keep my classmates safe.
I lived to fight another day.  (Spoiler alert: because I am typing this now, you know I did not die)
The Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler called this Compensatory Fantasy.  We all have weaknesses.  But instead of overcoming them, some people retreat into fantasy.

I am concerned about the current wave of superhero films.  They can be fun for most people. But for some people, the films provide escape from creating a life.  So can video games.

My plea: don’t spend too much effort in building a game avatar or an imaginary persona.   Instead, build your own real-life skills.
Once you have found your passion, invest in becoming expert at that passion.

:::  Be fierce. Be kind. Be knowledge-hungry.   :::

Blogging takes me more time

When I was 12 years old, I had been taking piano lessons for six years.  I was still playing at an early intermediate level.  My parents, finally wearied of nagging me to practice each day.  They allowed me to quit.  “He must have other strengths,” they said.
Why did I make no progress?  Many years later I learned the reason.  I wasn’t lazy.  I wasn’t stupid.  I had a learning disability which prevented me from gaining traction.
Today I cannot play the piano.  I wasted six years.
But it was not a waste.  I learned about myself.  And I can still read music when I sing.

Also, I have ADHD.  Severe ADHD.  And a few other brain issues.  So writing a blog post sounds like this:

“Today’s topic—-what should I eat for lunch?——the topic is important—-—maybe a sandwich——-so, as I was starting to say——peanut butter or humus——-What is today’s weather———I’m going to try this later.  Wait. . . humus on a sandwich?”

The process takes a long time.

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Should I eat blueberries as brain food?

Not a big problem.  To create, everyone must spend more time and energy than expected.  I might take a little longer than some people, but I am able to overcome my disabilities and eventually create.  I might I have other strengths which enhance the finished product.

ADHD people are like David Banner and the Incredible Hulk.  You know you have a superpower, but you cannot rely on when it will be available.  You might need your creative abilities during a brainstorming session or when sitting down to design.  But the Hulk might stay dormant.  The late that night, when it is time to sleep, creativity forces explode. 

Do you have weaknesses that must be overcome before you can create?  Feel free to share with me.  One strategy: focus on building your strengths first.

 


What are you trying to learn?  What are your struggles?  What issues would you like me to address?  How exactly can I help you?  I would like to hear from you.  Either leave a comment, or confidentially contact me at Brock@BrockStout.org.

What’s the most important thing you can learn?

Hot air balloon over landscape of Bagan, Myanmar.

I have been studying human performance for a very long time.  I hold a PhD in human capital development.  This blog’s purpose is to encourage you to teach yourself to be successful.  Various topics are covered.  But what is the most important thing you can teach yourself?

That thing is a different thing for each person.  What is yours?

Please message me.  I will research topics for you.


:::  Be fierce. Be kind. Be knowledge-hungry.   :::

How to Die Slower

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Spanish Flu epidemic.  The scourge killed 675,000 Americans, over 1.5% of the population. If the same percentage were killed by an epidemic today, the death count would reach almost 5 million people.  Some countries experienced even higher mortality rates.  The total global death count from the epidemic was between 20 million and 200 million.  That is a horrific number.

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1. But I have question.  How do we not have a better grasp of the numbers than that?  The number of fatalities was at least 20 million, but might have been TEN TIMES  that?

Maybe some countries did not accurately count.  Maybe some deaths were attributed to other causes, or some from other causes attributed to the epidemic.

One thing we do know is that—in the U.S.—news of the epidemic was suppressed.  The news was officially censored.  Voters were unhappy about the death count from the Great War.  And the government feared public morale could turn more negative as the death count from Spanish Flu rose.  So they hid the truth.

2. Here is my main question: what if people had heard about the news via Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat: would they be less likely to die, because they would take precautions to avoid exposure?  Imagine the same proportion of the world died today.

Or, would they be more likely to die because the news dragged them down with negative feelings?  The Law of Attraction indicates we attract what we fear:  if we focus on disease, we are more likely to attract disease.

Should I (1) worry about global catastrophe, or (2) ignore it and focus on what I can influence?

I vote for option #2.


What you focus on appears as your reality.  Earl Nightingale told us that many years ago.  Many others have wlso said it.

If you want wealth, think about money.  If you want to be poor, think about the money you lack.  If you want unhealthy relationships, think about the times you have been hurt. And if you want to he healthy, don’t think about disease.

A few years ago, I wanted to travel more, but lacked sufficient funds.  I kept the travel desire in my mind.  I didn’t think about the needed funds, only about the travel desire. Over the following two years, I traveled to 11 countries for free.  I met amazing people and learned about other ways of thinking.  The experience completely changed my life.


I am not a fan of goals.  I think they are old fashioned, restrict flexibility, and detract from the basic requirements of success.  But they do give us the opportunity to attract the desires of our hearts.  I believe Nightingale, so I focus my mind on what I want.


:::   Be fierce.  Be kind.  Be knowledge-hungry.   :::