Monthly Archives: March 2014

There’s socially awkward, and then there’s creepy. It’s an important difference.

I was recently turned onto a blog called Dr. Nerdlove. That latest article (at least as I write this) is titled “Socially Awkward Isn’t An Excuse”. I think this is a fantastic article for anyone who isn’t so great with the social skills. It may help your self-awareness and learning to better moderate your behaviour and interactions.

Believe me, I was one heck of a socially awkward duck as a teenager (I have some seriously embarrassing stories I could tell). It took me 6 months just to build up the courage to talk to a girl I thought was cute (this is not an exaggeration, I swear). I would start classes in September, get a crush on a classmate, and if I was *lucky*, I’d manage to say more than “Hi” to her by April. In fact, I asked out one of my best friends when I was in college, and I was so awkward about it that she had no idea that I was asking her out. I told her later and she was like “you asked me out? when?!“. In her defense, “I’d like to hang out with you more often” is definitely not the same thing as “I like you romantically and would like to go on a date with you”.

As guys, I think we are given the impression by TV and movies (and the often sleazy and creeptastic “Pick Up Artist” movement) that men have to be direct and aggressive (and not take no for an answer, and be really degrading), but when you honestly don’t know what to say or how to say it, it’s easy to make some really epic screw-ups. I have chased countless women away and got really frustrated, until I just forced myself to slow the heck down, and try to be honest (and a little bit of humility can go a long way!). It was definitely hard at first, and I wasn’t sure if it would work. As my friend Heather puts it “make a clear statement of intent, giving them the ability to easily opt out”. Oh, and don’t freak out or be deflated if they say no!

Anyway, this article basically sums it up like this:

Here’s the thing about the socially awkward: they don’t want to trip over people’s boundaries. You can almost always track the exact moment they realize that they’ve done something wrong by the way they desperately try to backtrack, apologize and generally try to reassure the other person that they didn’t mean to and they’re so embarrassed and are kind of freaking out and, and, and…

You know what you don’t see? You don’t see them justifying their behavior. Or turning it around and making it about the person whose boundaries they just blew past.  They don’t rely on social pressure – either through making a scene or through other people justifying their actions for them – to make the other person submit to their demands. They don’t argue that the other person is obligated to forgive him, to give him a second chance or otherwise pretend that the awkwardness just didn’t happen. Creepers and predators rely on other people insisting that their social awkwardness is a mistake because it gives them cover. When the “socially awkward” exception is in play, other people are less likely to call him out on his creepy behavior .2 It becomes a way of isolating somebody from potential allies and tricking others – people who might otherwise object to his bad behavior and assist his target – into being complicit in his actions. The Awkward Exemption teaches other people to tolerate, even expect creepy behavior… and to forgive it because hey, “he means well.” It gives the creeper cover and allows him to continue being part of the community; he’s not “Johnny the creepy predator”, he’s “Johnny the decent guy, a little weird sometimes but harmless.”

Basically – genuinely awkward people are genuinely sorry when they realize they screwed up. Creepers are not, they will try to justify their behaviour and hide behind a fake excuse. They may be a little bit awkward too, but they’re certainly not trying to fix that.

The article goes on to basically say “hey, some people are genuinely awkward, it’s a thing, but it’s a thing you can work on and improve, and you should try”. And that’s absolutely true. I’m living proof!

On a related note – The difference between introversion and shyness.

Know your enemy, more importantly know who isn’t your enemy

I just read a really solid article about feminism and the so called “counter-movement” the “Men’s Rights Movement”. The article is by Anne Theriault, on HuffPo, and is titled “Why the Men’s Rights Movement Is Garbage”. I think that title is harsher than it needs to be, but nevertheless.

The Men’s Rights Movement purports to be the male version of feminism, or “feminism for men”, but what a lot of the men in the movement fail to realize and understand, is that despite its name, Feminism is actually already fighting in favour of both men and women. This is something I literally have struggled to understand for years, and only finally “got it” recently. I was never a supporter of the men’s movement, because I generally don’t like anyone who seems really angry and negative, which a lot of people in that movement seem to be.

Here is perhaps the crux of the article:

MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) believe that feminists are to blame for basically everything that’s wrong with their lives. The Men’s Rights Movement is a reactionary movement created specifically to counter feminism, and most (if not all) of their time and resources go towards silencing and marginalizing women.

They do things like starting the Don’t Be That Girl campaign, a campaign that accuses women of making false rape reports. They attend feminist events in order to bully and intimidate women, they flood online feminist spaces with threatening messages, and they regularly use smear campaigns and scare tactics to make the women who don’t back down afraid for their physical safety. They do literally nothing to actually resolve the problems that they claim to care about, and instead do everything they can to discredit the feminist movement.

See, the problem with the Men’s Rights Movement is that they are not doing anything concrete to resolve any of the above issues. They are not raising money to open shelters for homeless or abused men. They are not starting up suicide hotlines for men. They are not lobbying for safer workplaces or gun control.

Instead, they are crying about feminism, pooh-poohing the idea of patriarchy and generally making the world a sadder, scarier, less safe place to live in. In fact, I would argue that their stupid antics are actually a detriment to the causes that they claim to espouse, because they’re creating an association between actual real issues that men face and their disgusting buffoonery.

I think this is pretty accurate, based on what I have seen. The article is rather long but has a lot of good information and insight so I highly recommend reading it.

To help illustrate how they are missing the point and how feminism is actually trying to help them, there is another fantastic article called “Feminism is Optimism” that says:

“The truth is—despite stereotypes that paint feminists as forever negative—doing feminist work requires boundless optimism. It means believing that people have the ability to be better, that culture can change, and maybe even that people who hate can learn to love.” To be a feminist in the truest sense of the word means that you believe that not only can we, as a society, do better, but that we will do better. To be a feminist means that you believe that men are capable of so much more than society tells them that they are; that they are more than animals who can’t control their impulses and more than just the expectations that pressures of masculinity box them into. To be a feminist means that you believe that you have the power to enact positive change on the world. To be a feminist means that you believe that people are inherently good, and when shown that there is another way, they will choose the more just one.

So, when men’s rights activists are observably more hostile, negative and violent, and this passage is observably accurate (yes there are angry feminists who aren’t so positive, but they are a minority), I think I’m on the right team.

Laci Green deftly explains why Sexual Objectivication is bonkers and needs to stop

I know I’ve been posting a lot of social commentary/critique stuff lately, but it’s something I do think about a lot and I believe it’s really important to not shy away from things that make us uncomfortable if we can actually do something about them. There’s no denying our society has lots of issues that could be improved considerably, and this is one of the biggest ones. Laci (on her YouTube Channel “Sex +”) does such a great job of explaining the issue, providing several examples to nail the case closed, and tell you what can be done about it.

So, I’ll let Laci talk. (ps – semi-NSFW and NSFKids)

Update – I did the transcript afterall!

This is an object [a pair of scissors]. Objects exists to do something for ME, while I, Laci, cutter of paper, am the subject. Subjects act, while objects are acted upon.

Now I know you’re thinking “Crazy Laci, what’s this got to do with sexuality?!”.

And the answer is… everything!

So I’ve been wanting to make a video on this topic forever, because I think that it is a HUGE hinderance to a truly equal, healthy, sex positive society, and that’s really all I want in life.

Drumroll please… sexual objectification.

Sexual objectification is defined as:
“The viewing of people solely as de-personalized objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities and desires/plans of their own”

In less fancy speak, it’s where someone is treated as… basically a thing to have sex with.

Women are very often portrayed as pretty things to look at, something to try to have sex with. Turn on almost any sit-com on TV and you’re going to see this normalized.
We’re so heavily exposed to this imagery that scientists have found that both men AND women see women’s bodies as a mish-mash of sexual body parts, while we see men as whole people.

Hot, right? Uh-uh, not really. I actually think it’s pretty messed up.

Speaking of hot though, often objectification is confused with thinking that a woman is hot, but objectification is not the same as being sexual or being sexually attracted to someone. That’s a natural part of life, right?

But what is not natural and is very much manufactured, is constantly portraying women as sex objects for male pleasure.

Objectification is women’s magazines being littered with all of the things that men don’t like. Objectification is being cat-called and harassed just for walking down the street. It’s “save the boobies!” and “don’t let cancer steal second base!” as breast cancer campaign slogans, it’s shitty commercial after shitty commercial using women’s bodies to sell everything from A to Z.

Close-ups on her ass, her lips, her breasts, to sell… beer, cologne, jeans, jewellery, sometimes it’s even hard to tell what they’re selling.

Objectification is the pre-occupation with trans women’s genitals, and defining her in terms of her sex parts. It’s being bombarded with sexy cleavage in every magazine ever while being told that breastfeeding is obscene.

It’s school dress codes for girls that are designed to not distract boys, because her knees, her shoulders are SO sexualized that a *tank-top* is being inappropriate.

Objectification is the *thousands* of comments on my TouTube channel where men talk about my breasts, my body, and leave graphic sexual comments about me.

It’s the flood of movies and TV shows where men of ALL different body types, date women of ONE body type. It’s women’s bodies used as sexy background accessories in music videos.

Objectification is the idea that men and women simply cannot be friends because men could never see a woman as anything BUT sexual.

It’s regular halloween costumes for boys, and sexed-up versions, only sexed-up versions, for girls. Do you see where I’m going with this? See what I’m saying?

Seeing women as sex objects is a part of our cultural subconscious, we do it and we live in it and we aren’t even aware of how bizarre it actually is.

In a sane world (that we do not live in), everyone would be mostly subjects and occasionally objects. Now, this is actually the status quo for men right now. This is not the status quo for women.

96% of sexually objectifying imagery is of women’s bodies. This pattern reveals one hell of a message about gender. That men are mostly sexual subjects, and women are mostly sexual objects. That inequality is the reason why this picture (objectified woman in a tiger like pose) looks common place while this picture (exact same one with a male instead of a female) looks kind of awkward.

In this kind of culture, men are granted more sexual power than women, which leads us to see the world through men’s eyes. We learn that male sexuality is active, that they’re “visual creatures”, and that the objectification of women in their life, using women for sex, is both normal and praise-worthy. Hell, it might even be funny and charming.

Secondly, we don’t require that men look a particular way to be taken seriously. The cultural narrative looks at men as whole people, which leads to mostly men’s stories being told, 80% of political offices being occupied by men, men holding the highest ranks in virtually every industry in the world.

Thirdly, since women’s bodies are subject to constant, frivilous criticism, girls learn quickly to self-objectify. The APA reports that self-objectification results in lower cognitive and motor functioning, increased sexual dysfunction, and body shame. They found that self-objectification is directly related to women pursuing less careers in STEM fields.

It’s also a major contributor to mental health issues like eating disorders and depression which disproportionately affect young women. And to go all the way into the shadows, sexual objectification contributes to a culture where sexual violence isn’t taken seriously. It tells us that male power over women is normal and sexual equality is something that most people don’t even understand. Men are sexually aggressive while women are sexually submissive. That men should want, and women should want to be wanted by men. You know, she should take that harassment as a compliment, she asked for it. He can’t help himself. He can’t be raped.

We. All. Deserve. Better. Because this, this is some bullshit!

Everyone should be pissed that this is so “normal”! Are you pissed? I’m pissed.

Let’s change it.

First step – gotta be aware of it. And cue the microchanges.

This is pretty simple to do actually, stop evaluating women on how they look, and treating them like sex objects. Treat women, like people. If you already do that, YAY!

Then it’s time to speak up when you see companies and media doing this, and let them know it’s not OK, support people who are speaking out, and become a giant cyclone of change that is unstoppable.

Wil Wheaton gives the best advice you’ll ever need if you’re a nerd

At Denver comic con, a young girl in the audience asks Wil Wheaton:
“When you were a kid, were you called a nerd, and if so, how did you deal with it?”.

Wil’s answer is just perfect. Transcript:

When I was a little boy, I was called a nerd all the time. Because I didn’t like sports, I loved to read, I liked math and science, I thought school was really cool, and um,

It hurt a lot. Because it’s never okay when a person makes fun of you for something like you didn’t choose. You know, we don’t choose to be nerds. We can’t help it that we like these things, and we shouldn’t apologize for liking these things.

I wish that I could tell you that there’s a really easy way to just not care. But the truth is it hurts. But here’s the thing you might be able to understand. As a matter of fact I’m confident you’ll be able to understand, because you asked this question.

Brief interjection – I love that he corrected himself there, as he realized he had just said something that was undermining the self confidence of a child and he didn’t want to do that, bravo!

When a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you, that has nothing to do with you. It’s not about what you said. It’s not about what you did. It’s not about what you love. It’s about them feeling bad about themselves.

They feel sad. They don’t get positive attention from their parents. They don’t feel as smart as you. They don’t understand the things that you understand.

Maybe one of their parents is really pushing them to be a cheerleader or a baseball player, or an engineer, or something that they just don’t want to do. So they take that out on you, because they can’t go be mean to the person who is actually hurting them.

Fantastic insight!

So, when a person is cruel to you like that, I know that this is hard, but honestly the kind, and best reaction, is to pity them. And don’t let them make you feel bad because you love a thing.

Interjection #2 – I get what Wil is saying here, and he’s basically on point, but I take issue with his use of the word “pity”, you should never pity someone, because it’s technically a sign of disrespect. It means they aren’t worth your time, attention or respect. This is pretty much the only flaw in his speech, in my opinion, and a fairly minor one, all considered.

Maybe find out what they love? And talk about how they love it. I bet you find out that a person who loves tetherball, loves tetherball exactly the same way that you love Doctor Who. But you just love different things.

And I will tell you this, it will absolutely get better as you get older. I know it’s really hard when you’re in school and you’re surrounded by the same 400 people every day that pick on you and make you feel bad about yourself. But there’s 50,000 people here this weekend who went through the exact the same thing, and we’re all doing really well.

Don’t you ever let a person make you feel bad because you love something they decided is only for nerds.

You’re loving things for you.

Comedian Aamer Rahman explains why “Reverse Racism” isn’t a thing

Australian Comedian Aamer Rahman has a fantastic bit, which I think clearly highlights what a lot of people don’t get about racism and other forms of systematic discrimination and oppression. Some white people will complain when a black comedian tells jokes about white people, or when minorities are chosen for jobs or other rewards over a white person. They call this “reverse racism”. Aamer explains with great comedic effect, why this is not accurate:

Transcript:

A lot of white people don’t like my comedy.
A lot of white people say this to me:

“Hey Aamer, hey! You get on stage, you make your jokes about white people, you say white people this, white people that. What if I did something like that, huh? What if I got on stage and I say “yeah, black people are like this, muslims are like that”. You’d probably call me a racist, wouldn’t you?”

And I say…

*long inhale*

Yeah, you should never do that, that’s bad for your health.

[laughter]

And they’re like “well YOU do that Aamer, you do that! You get on stage, you make your jokes about white people! Don’t you think that’s a kind of racism?

Don’t you think that’s… *dum dum dum*… Reverse Racism?”

[laughter]

I say no, I don’t think that’s reverse racism. Not because I think reverse racism doesn’t exist. If you ask some black people they will tell you flat out, there is no such thing as reverse racism, and I don’t agree with that.

I think there *is* such a thing as reverse racism. And I could be a reverse racist if I wanted to. All I would need would be a time machine.

And what I would do is I would get in my time machine, to back before Europe colonized the world, right? And I’d convince the leaders of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America, to invade and colonize Europe. Just occupy them, steal their land and resources… Set up some kind of.. I don’t know.. trans-Asian slave trade, where we exported white people to work on giant rice plantations in China. Just ruin Europe over the course of a couple of centuries, so that all their descendents would want to migrate out and live in the places where black and brown people come from.

Of course, in that time I’d make sure I set up systems, that privilege black and brown people at every conceivable social, political and economic opportunity, and white people would never have any hope of real self-determination.

And every couple of decades, make up some fake war, as an excuse to go bomb them back to the stone age, and say it’s for their own good because their culture is inferior.

Just for kicks, subject white people to coloured people’s standard of beauty so they would end up hating the colour of their own skin, eyes and hair.

If, after hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years of that, I got on stage at a comedy show and said “Hey! what’s the deal with white people? Why can’t they dance?”…

THAT, would be reverse racism.

Additionally, from PolicyMic.com:

“Rahman hits the nail on the head. Without getting too sociological, people who cry “reverse racism” need to realize that racism – as in, actual racism – requires a power dynamic in order to work. According to Tim Wise, racial jokes and slurs toward white folks are less potent because whites hold institutional power over everyone else. This is true throughout history. And since people of color hold little sway in defining the terms of white existence, it’s abundantly clear that racial slurs and jokes directed at whites are no more than that: slurs and jokes. They carry little weight, because there’s no actual power behind them.”

On a similar note, and by another non-white comedian, Hari Kondabolu has several really good bits on this topic and related ones. For instance, here is a clip from YouTube titled “My English Relationship” (which is a metaphor for the above):

And a bit called “Ethnic Comedy”:

This all originally stemmed from me being involved in a debate about whether Louis CK doing jokes using the N word and “faggot” was more acceptable because he does generally much sharper and smarter social critiques, but this article points out how he has admitted often he just uses these words because he likes to, not because he’s actually examining them in any real way.

I’m not here to say comedians shouldn’t be able to make jokes, but I do think some comedians (particularly white ones) don’t truly realize the power they wield and if they did realize, they would choose not to make some of those jokes anymore, even though no one is actively stopping them. No one is stopping me from using the N word, I simply understand why I have absolutely no good reason to ever use it, so I don’t. I’m adding more and more words to my “do not say” list for the same rationale. Political Correctness, I am starting to see, isn’t about censorship so much as it’s about respect for marginalized and oppressed people. It’s helping to combat stigma and shame around things that people shouldn’t be ashamed of in the first place (ie things beyond their control or things they didn’t choose). Choosing to use respectful words and terminology is merely a sign of human decency, kindness and respect.

Another example I was made aware of not that long ago, is the order of words. For instance, you should say “a person with mental illness”, rather than “a mentally ill person”. This puts their humanity first, which it always should be. If you suddenly fell ill or were injured, would you rather be called a crippled person or a person with a disability? The former comes across more like “You’re crippled!”, the latter is more like “you’re still a person who has been injured”. Something to keep in mind.

See also:
“Explaining White Privilege to a Poor White Person”
“Privilege, Oppression and “Being Nice”
“Four Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege”

And this video:

One step closer to knowing what it’s like to be someone else

The phrase “walk a mile in their shoes” has gotten a lot of traction (badum-tish!) over the years, but now some student researchers have found a way to use the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Technology to partially simulate being someone else. “A Crazy Oculus Rift Hack Lets Men and Women Swap Bodies”.

BeAnotherLab, an interdisciplinary group of students at the University Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona, has relied on an early version of Oculus Rift as part of an on-going research project called “The Machine To Be Another.” The concept is just what the name suggests. An early experiment let participants experience the creative process through someone else’s eyes, in real time. The latest undertaking is even wackier. It lets men and women swap bodies. (Note: The video below contains nudity.)

Here’s how it works. Each subject is outfitted with an Oculus Rift headset. Those are supplied with video streams from point-of-view cameras attached to the other person’s rig. The participants are instructed to mimic each other’s movements, wordlessly dictating the action in tandem like kids playing with a Ouija board.

The effect, says Philippe Bertrand, a Digital Arts student and co-founder of the group, is profound. “Deep inside you know it’s not your body, but you feel like it is.”

I watched the videos, and I guess without actually experiencing it first hand, it doesn’t look to me like it would effectively trick my brain. One video features a man with a very hairy body and a woman with a hairless body. As the main runs his hand over his hairy chest, he sees the woman run her hand over her hairless chest from the same point of view. Maybe the brain is better at tricking itself than I realize, but watching that I can’t imagine just feeling like I have really hairy breasts.

But hey, it’s a step towards a future where a more fully plugged in, inside-out experience may be possible.

Makers – Women Who Make America

Just stumbled upon the website for MAKERS, which features many videos of women who have “broken the glass ceiling”. The first one I watched was of Gloria Steinam, but as I poke around on the site more, there are several that sound very interesting. I’ll be adding this to the Resources page as well, but wanted to do a quick formal post about it.

MAKERS.com is a dynamic digital platform showcasing thousands of compelling stories – both known and unknown – from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow. This historic video initiative was founded by Dyllan McGee and developed by AOL and PBS. Executive Producers are Dyllan McGee, Betsy West, and Peter Kunhardt.

MAKERS: Women Who Make America is an ongoing initiative that aims to be the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled. MAKERS are selected on an ongoing basis by our team using guidelines set by our board of advisors.This process ensures that the make-up of the library of stories includes women from all walks of life with diverse experiences, perspectives and incredible stories.

Women in the ‘Groundbreakers’ category were chosen by the production team based on criteria defined by a team of advisors and include women who are firsts in their fields, visionary role models or frontline activists who sparked, and some who opposed, change for women.

You might be a scanner if…

Heh, I am preparing a presentation to touch on this, but there’s a great post over on Puttylike “You Know You’re a Multipotentialite when…“, about the trials of a scanner.

  1. You read the “interests” section of your Puttytribe profile and realize it’s completely out of date, even though you only updated it a few months ago.
  2. When scanning new puttypeeps’ “interests” sections, you find at least one new interest you want to pursue.
  3. You notice that you have at least five different styles of handwriting and numerous signatures which you choose from according to the “hat” you are wearing – the cursive artist, the big bubbly-worded socialite, the serious tiny print when you mean business, etc. – and you realize that most people only have one style of handwriting.
  4. You’ve got so many tasks/things to accomplish and so little time.
  5. You check out the “groups” section of the Puttytribe and have a meltdown when you realise that you want to join 95% of the groups. Where will you find the time for that? Will you ever get out of there? (The mental-tape kicks – “narrow my interests, narrow my interests.”)
  6. You dip into an old hobby and five minutes later you’ve planned out a whole business/career based on it.
  7. Most of your friends only know one tiny part of all the things you do/are interested in.
  8. You’re just barely getting started with a new career and, while you still enjoy it (and know you still have a lot to learn), you’re also planning out your second and third career in advanced.
  9. Every time you go to concert, art gallery, etc., you say to yourself “I want to be able to do that!” and start strategizing ways to learn.
  10. You get pangs of regret when seeing something you used to do and think “I could be doing that at that level now had I just stayed with it!”. And then realizing that you’re a lot more useful in the grand scheme of things because you know so much!
  11. Somebody asks you “so how’s that knitting going?” and you realize you got bored of that weeks ago, have moved onto calligraphy now and no one has a clue.
  12. Someone comments on how you always seem to have a business idea for everything under the sun.
  13. You see a thread like this and instantly think “we could sell prints of things like this!”
  14. You check this discussion looking for an update more often than you’d like to admit.
  15. You never got a tattoo because you’re unable to settle on a single meaningful image to be stuck with for life.
  16. Your friends give you weird looks when they check out your holiday reading. They have the latest blockbusters and you have one of the latest biz-think books, Italian grammar exercises, a WordPress guide, and your camera instructions printed off – and you take them all down to the poolside.
  17. You’re in the middle of at least twenty different books and discover a new one that you simply *must* dig into.
  18. You get so excited by a new musical instrument that you’ve just discovered and absolutely must own it now, so that you can learn how to play it even though you still haven’t totally learned how to play the last ones you got.
  19. You write about your weirdest mash up of interests which are no longer your main interests.
  20. You are laughing so hard while reading this thread.
  21. You try to sign up for that art class you really want to take, but the schedule clashes with your salsa lessons, your fencing classes, and your day job!
  22. Before going to a cocktail party, you try to decide which answer to use when someone asks “what do you do?”
  23. You have a hard time packing for your vacation because there’s not enough space for your hiking boots, your dance shoes, your drawing materials, and your climbing gear.

I score roughly 19 out of 23 on this list. I’d probably add “constantly send yourself emails on the go for reminders of various ideas you had or things you have to remember to do or look into”.

Also worth reading is “Lessons from Polymath Interviews” on Discovering Your Awesome.

Did you know you might be breathing wrong, among other things?

I know, I know, you’re thinking “as long as I’m breathing and not dying, I’m doing something right! Technically yes, but science can over-analyze almost anything and tell you how to do it better.

Like breathing. A friend turned me onto an article on Selfication.com called “How to Breathe Properly – A (Surprisingly Important) Complete Guide”.

The article covers the downsides of breathing less effectively, how you should be breathing, and how to adjust your breathing habits. This is one of those articles where I want to quote the entire thing, but that’s not fair to the author, so go check out the article yourself.

Also, check out this cracked.com article – “7 Basic Things You Won’t Believe You’re Doing All Wrong”, including pooping, bathing, breathing, sleeping, having babies, brushing your teeth, and sitting.

Do you have a Fixed or Growth Mindset?

Cool article from BrainPickings, “Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Up Our Lives”, it features both a graphic (which is too big to share here legibly), and an explanation:

fixed mindset presumes that our mental ability, character, and creative skills are constant givens that can’t be altered in any significant way. Additionally, success is confirmed by that innate intelligence, which is actually an evaluation of how those givens correlate to an equally fixed standard. Moreover, evading failure at all cost and striving to succeed no matter what turn into a way to maintain the belief of being smart or at least skilled.

On the other hand, a growth mindset flourishes on challenges and views failure not as a proof of being poor mentally or of lacking aptitude but as an encouraging starting point for growth and for enhancing our potential. A great deal of our behavior, the way we see success and failure, both in a professional and a personal context, and finally our capability to be happy springs from these two mindsets which we manifest in the earliest stages of our life.

It’s a long, but fantastic article that really helps highlight each mindset to help you determine which one you have, and make a case for trying to be more growth oriented.