Tag Archives: child

Help your brain to not trip over it’s own survival mechanisms

Does thinking make you tired?

I wish that I could energize and focus myself by thinking and (relatedly) by reading. I wish I could set my mind to something and just GO but I find that focus and a state of wakefulness are kind of like trying to keep a spinning top from falling off the sides of a coffee table. You have to herd that mess.

Sddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

(See what I mean?!?! I’m writing late at night and while thinking about the impact of this last statement, I nodded off, fingers barely poised above the home row—except for the heavy ‘d’ finger.

I really did write this segment late at night, really was exhausted, and really did fall asleep in the process. But before I banished it to my Ridiculous bin, I wanted to share some good news with you. The good news is that working WITH the human brain and our physiology, instead of against it, is really worthwhile and will help us focus and reach our goals.

Here are some scientifically backed tips for getting more of your potential loosed.

  1.  Eliminate distractions. Our brain wants to follow distractions. Studies show that a distraction happens every 11 minutes throughout one’s day, while it takes one’s brain 25 minutes to ‘get over it’ and move on. Therefore, cutting ourselves off from certain distractions will pull out stops towards accomplishing our goal(s).
  2. Limit work sessions, especially creative ones. With very few exceptions, brainstorming sessions, creative writing workshops, and other productive increments should be limited to an hour. Beyond that, everyone keeps looking like adults but inside we start to naturally resemble pent up children that need to go run around the playground for a while. Therefore, build in mandatory breaks for yourself. If you need more time for a project/task, or if it just isn’t done yet, break it up into sections–taking advantage of…
  3. Chunks. I’m not kidding here–chunking–is a psychological term for how our brain groups things together in order to efficiently keep track of information. This is why we remember things better if grouped into threes. (E.g. phone numbers (555) 555-, “they always come in threes, don’t they?”) This is also useful for planning how to teach and share information: combine it with the fact that in a list of things people will remember the first and last items best, and you can greatly increase the chances they’ll retain some of it.
  4. Git ‘er dun. Okay, so this one isn’t scientifically steeped here. But it’s right up there with “Just Do It.” Simply finishing something–even if it is only one item out of many you want to complete, or if it is something very small–will give you an emotional and cognitive pat on the back. I saw this in action the most working with special-needs children and those with learning disabilities. When these kids are just floundering and on the brink of total shutdown, we quickly bring the finish line to them so that they are guaranteed to at least cross it. (We would try again later.)

Tutor: “Okay, Johnny, what’s 3 + 4?”
Johnny: “AAAAHHHHH!!!!!”–while flailing and writhing in pain.
Tutor: “Okay, Johnny, touch the circle. Good job! Go play!”

These little tips are sufficient to lighten up on  yourself and get tough with yourself simultaneously. Work with your biological inclinations, get serious about building and guarding an environment you’re most likely to succeed in, and then go for it.

😉

Simplicity in the eyes and ears of a child

This is one of my new favorite images.

With the ears of a child...

Eagerly taking in beauty

Not only because it contains some of my favorite people, but because of the memories I have attached to it. This is now a picture of who they really are and why I love them so much. Incidentally, this is my wife and son along with my sister on the left, listening to an acoustic guitar duo singing folk songs on a Laguna Beach street corner.

Let me share my memories with you.

After listening intently to the singer/musicians for a while, my son couldn’t resist anymore–he hopped down (as much as a 1-year-old can hop) and walked right up to them. He has always been enchanted with guitars, and the singer must of recognized it right away because he crouched down to let my son play his guitar.

A wild-looking, tatted beachcomber walked up and watched this for a moment. Smiling ear to ear, another onlooker said “I think he’s going to grow up to be a musician!” The tatted wanderer just kept smiling and said,

“He already is.”

At the right edge of the picture, you can barely see the waxing entrance of another beach-goer. She appears as if she has been here for years–decades. And many of those years have been unkind to her. She watched this scene with us for a while, until her smiles turned to tears. My wife came alongside her, in her tears also, and held her like a friend. She didn’t know what was happening in this woman’s heart. She didn’t need to–that’s the kind of person my wife is. Never before have I known someone who can peer into another soul so naturally.

The woman told us that this awestruck child was so beautiful and precious because it was evident he was loved so much…that he had a a precious mother who had given her son more in 10 minutes than she had received in her lifetime.

As we walk alongside hundreds of people every day who really know what quiet desperationis, take that extra moment to really look at someone. Dare yourself to see them as they are…and what they dream they could be. Remember that “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

Grief and panic are inevitable, but hopeful

Today made me really pause and reflect on those events in our lives in which nothing can prepare us or help us through–we just have to go on through it.

In my blog entry Blessing of fear, I talked about fear in fiction, fantasy, or play helped children grow to cope through dealing with real fear later on. But sometimes there is nothing that can prepare a child, no coaching to guide them, and no delayed gratification that can incentivize them. But you the adult know (hopefully, theoretically) that they will be okay and this can turn into something that can help them later on.

You’ve probably seen something like this in the form of a small child’s first real separation from mom and dad. That one kid on the first day of kindergarten that absolutely panics when mom drops him/her off, clinging to her pant leg–“NOOOOOO!!!”

It’s almost comical to everyone on the outside because they know better. But that child is being devastated before our eyes. He has no past experience to draw from; no confidence to take care of himself; no reason to think everything will be ok. In the end you just have to pry him off and turn your back on him–walk out and know it will work out.

You’ve probably seen adults go through it too. When they are abandoned by their partners, betrayed by friends or family, lose a child, find out they’re terminally ill…

“Experience is a brutal teacher. By you learn–my god, you learn.”
Lewis, Shadowlands

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