A few weeks ago someone asked me about the book that had most changed my life. A big question. One I couldn’t answer.
Until a cupla days ago.
I was pottering around my kitchen organising breakfast and thought when I went back to the same cupboard the second time - that this was not how Frank Gilbreth in Cheaper By The Dozen, would have done it. Not very efficient at all. Certainly not good use of time and motion. Then it hit me. A book I had read when I was a kid (probably 8 or 9), was still affecting me some 60 years later. On my birthday, no less.
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr, and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (1948) is the unforgettable (based on a) true story of the Gilbreth clan as told by two of its members.
Mother and Dad are world-renowned , helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace.
I obtained a copy and read it again. I can see why it entranced a nine year old. It has all the elements of rebellion, science, food, cars, gadgets, toys etc and except for the girls bit was an absolute must for a young bloke.
Saving Time and Unnecessary Repetitive Movements
But it was the making life more efficient by saving time and unnecessary repetitive movements that still has a hold on me today. I thought, while making my breakfast, that I should get the bread in the toaster before anything else as it takes the longest unless I overfill the jug for hot-water to make my coffee then that will take longer. And before that, when I go to the fridge to get the bread, I should get the coffee out at the same time. And on it went.
There is an efficient path for the whole process that, if followed, will result in a quicker and easier, more effective breakfast making procedure. That is unless you want eggs. Whole ‘nother ball of wax that.
Find the therbligs (Gilbreth backwards with a twist) units of motion or thought, eliminate them. You have a better mousetrap.
I can now answer the question, “What book has changed your life?”
I have read many books by self-help and motivational authors – the likes of Anthony Robbins, Dr Wayne Dyer, Jim Rohn, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peel even Rhonda Byrne, and MANY more
Not to mention Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson and other captains of industry as they give their take on success.
Then there are what I would call the “spin-offs”, the process management books, the ‘How To Do It Better Books’ and the more effective management styles - including TQM, Six Sigma, Scrum, Lean and Kanban. The Toyota Way and many more.
Firstly, one of the most common. This error is everywhere when people write.
Lay Lady Lay.
A few words from Face-book the other day, “ … instead of laying on the lounge I laid on the beach.”
The word lay is a verb that requires an object. You have to lay something or someone. Like an egg.
It has NOTHING to do with being supine on a bed or lounge. Used that way, it is an error.
Now he/she may have been talking about sex. ‘Cause that works. The verb lay can sometimes have an object that is understood, ie not actually stated but there nevertheless.
Because lay can also mean ‘have sex with’, the understood object would be ‘my partner’, or some-such variation thereof.
The sentence quoted above, if it read, “...instead of laying my friend Bill/Betty on the lounge; I laid him/her on the beach” then it would not be an error. My friend Bill/Betty and him/her – being the object(s). Strange, maybe, but grammatically accurate.
To help avoid this error, try this.
Write these words — “lie, lay, lain” (to recline);
then below them — “lay, laid, laid” (to place or put down).
We call this the Michiko Sato rule after the Japanese lady who invented it. A great and easy way to avoid this error.
Check this list each time you need to use one of these words. You will be amazed how it helps you get the grammar correct.
“She jumped off of the train.”
The compound preposition off of is generally regarded as informal and is best avoided in formal speech and writing. So not really an error? Perhaps.
What is a preposition? Prepositions are usually used in front of nouns (things) or pro
nouns and they show the relationship between the noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence.
The construction is “much inferior” to the form without the “of” according to Garner’s Modern American Usage (3d ed.).
There is nothing linguistically or grammatically wrong, it has been said with off of. It’s non-standard in some dialects (mainly American) and informal in most, so you should probably avoid it if you’re concerned about your writing seeming formal, or accurate from a grammar perspective. OK. Not an error, but to be avoided.
Cambridge Grammar notes that the combination “off” followed by an “of” phrase occurs only in American English.
The Oxford English Dictionary calls it “only colloq. (non-standard) and regional” in current use. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage says it’s “primarily a form used in speech”.
So what’s supposedly wrong with off of? The main problem seems to be that the of is unnecessary. In the case above, why not use just off or perhaps from the train, for example? The “of” adds NOTHING to the exchange.
'Off of' has become idiomatic in the USA, although it has “faded into the past” in Britain.
I still think it’s non-standard, an error, in fact, and doesn’t belong in the best written English.
Conversation and informal writing? Not sure. Perhaps!
It has been said, that one day “off of” will undoubtedly be accepted as standard American English, but not yet. I hope not ever. I hate it.
But then I’m not American.
“I took the knife off her”
There are a couple of strings to this particular bow. Off is a preposition as defined above. It shows relationship between two things. Here the knife (noun) and her (pronoun – substituting for a female person).
As such the usage above is correct - on the surface.
However, off is usually considered an opposite (antonym) of on. Therefore if the knife is on (top of) the woman, off is the correct usage. But, as is probably the case, the knife is more likely in her hand or pocket or handbag. So “from” would be a better preposition to use. Even “away from”, but not “off”.
Then you have the ‘One Word One Meaning’ argument. If off means not on, it can’t mean anything else? But ...
This would seem to prevent anything from being ….. off topic, off in the distance, off like a shot, on and off, straight off, a little bit off etc. Quiet. I'm thinking!!
Once again (see above) this might be considered colloquial/regional American English.
It seems to me that where the preposition FROM could be used, then it should be. This will avoid all of the above discussion.
None of my sources suggest, on the other hand, that from and off are synonyms. (having the same meaning). Therefore if we are taking something away from a person, animal, object or place; then the preposition FROM should be used in all instances, unless one of the ‘things’ is actually on top of the other, and off is then appropriate.
I’m not even sure American English is a thing. I guess I hope not.
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle, and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at University in 1896, and published it in his first paper.
Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy at that time, was owned by 20% of the population. He developed the principle by observing that 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.
Mathematically, the 80/20 rule is roughly diagrammed by a Pareto distribution, (see below) and many natural phenomena have been shown empirically to exhibit such a distribution.
The sizes of human settlements (few cities, many hamlets/villages)
The values of oil reserves in oil fields (a few large fields, many small fields)
Sizes of sand particles
Sizes of meteorites
Numbers of species per genus
Areas burnt in forest fires
Severity of large losses for insurance businesses such as general liability, commercial, auto, and workers compensation.
In hydrology the Pareto distribution is applied to extreme events such as annually maximum one-day rainfalls and river discharges.
Rule of Thumb
While it is common to referred to as the "80/20" rule, under the assumption that, in all situations, 20% of causes determine 80% of problems, this ratio is merely a convenient rule of thumb and is not, nor should it be, considered an immutable law of nature.
More generally, the Pareto Principle is the observation (not law) that most things in life are not distributed evenly. It can mean all of the following things:
Not distributed evenly
20% of the input creates 80% of the result
20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue and often 80% problems as well
20% of software bugs cause 80% of the crashes
20% of software features cause 80% of the usage
And on and on…
Steps to identify important issues using 80/20 rule
Generate a table listing the issues and their frequency of occurrence as a percentage
Arrange the rows in decreasing order of importance of the issues (i.e. the most important one first)
Add a cumulative percentage column to the table, then plot the information
Plot (#1) a bar graph with items on x- and percent frequency on y-axis
Plot (#2) a curve with items on x- and cumulative percentage on y-axis
Next draw a horizontal dotted line at 80% from the y-axis to intersect the curve.
Then draw a vertical dotted line from the point of intersection to the x-axis. The vertical dotted line separates the important issues (on the left) and trivial ones (on the right)
Pareto distributions are often used in the cases when many different small independent factors contribute to a result.
Pareto Chart Example (Customer Complaints)
First find out how many customer complaints were received in each of, say, five categories.
Then take the largest category, let’s say in this case it is “documents”; break it down into, perhaps, six categories of document-related complaints, and show cumulative values.
If all complaints cause equal distress to the customer, working on eliminating document-related complaints would have the most impact, and of those, working on quality certificates should be most fruitful.
Draw a horizontal dotted line at 80% from the y-axis to intersect the curve.
Then draw a vertical dotted line from the point of intersection to the x-axis. The vertical dotted line separates the important causes (on the left) and trivial causes (on the right)
That means, in this example, quality certificate error, quality certificate missing and invoice error, (in that order) are what need to be worked on – the rest can be safely ignored.
Simple and effective.
Yaro Starak says
It really doesn’t matter what numbers you apply, the important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs.
Life Isn’t Fair
What does it mean when we said above that “things aren’t distributed evenly”? The key point is that each unit of work (or time) doesn’t contribute the same amount.
In a perfect world, every employee would contribute the same amount, (red line in the graph below) every issue would be equally important, every feature would be equally loved by users. Planning would be so easy.
But that isn’t always the case:
The 80/20 rule observes that most things have an unequal distribution. Out of 5 things, perhaps 1 will be “cool”. That cool thing/idea/person will result in the majority of the impact of the group (the green line). We’d like life to be like the red line, where every piece contributes equally, but that doesn’t always happen.
Of course, this ratio can change. It could be 80/20, 90/10, or 90/20 (the numbers don’t have to add to 100!).
The key point is that most things are not 1/1, where each unit of “input” (effort, time, labour) contributes exactly the same amount of output.
The idea is to realise that you can focus your effort on the 20% that makes a difference, instead of the 80% that doesn’t add much.
In economics terms, there is diminishing marginal benefit. This is related to the law of diminishing returns: it means each additional hour of effort, each extra worker, is adding less “oomph” to the final result. By the end, you are spending lots of time on the minor details. Huge benefit right there.
Decision Making and The Pareto Principle
Think about 'diminishing marginal benefit'. Obviously building a bridge requires 100% of the construction to be completed, or else we don’t have a safe, working river crossing, but decisions, about almost anything in life, can be made using the 80/20 rule.
Look at the second graph, above, and come at it from the opposite direction, ie the right hand side moving left, you notice that at the 80 percentile of effort (bottom X axis) you will have achieved approx 96% of the result. (Take a line up to the green curve). A result in decision-making terms might be the level of certainty that the decision is correct.
Consider that effort is ‘researching if a decision is right or wrong’, then after we have 80% of the info - we are good to go. The last 20% of effort will only give you 4% more certainty. Why waste that effort?
A perfect reason for procrastinating just bit the dust. We DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING before making a decision. So stop messing about, make that decision and get on with it.
The Pareto graph suggests, in fact, that at 50% of the effort/research/info you are likely to have a 90% result/certainty. Hmmm.
Stop. That’s Dangerous.
Yes, I can hear you. How do you know if you have reached 80%? Well you don’t. Not really. Just as you don’t know if you reach 100% of the required info.
Truth is – you never will. It’s all relative. A moving feast. We wrack our brains, ask experts, ask customers, do tests and experiments, contemplate our navel, but once the info gathering process appears to be slowing down, that is probably the 80% mark.
It’s a guess. You can keep guessing, or get on with doing stuff.
Decision Making Made Simple
Get as much info as is reasonably easily obtained (remember, you don’t need to know everything – 80% is more than enough)
Then ask yourself 2 questions about your impending decision.
Knowing all that, what’s the worst that could happen? The very worst case scenario?
Can I live with that? Yes/No.
If yes. Just do it. Use the 5 second rule. But that’s another topic altogether.
But, if no. You need to go right back to the beginning. Perhaps even think about if this is something you need to do, or decide. Or whatever.
Consequently, it really is that simple. Decision making on steroids. The 80/20 rule rocks.
I find that making lists is a fine old way to procrastinate. The dad joke of the century is: “I will put off procrastinating until tomorrow.”
But it’s true. If we can find a way, anyway, to allow some event, or task, to control us to the extent that we put it off for another day, we think we have won! Lists work, don’t they? Every time. We can even convince ourselves that it’s OK. It’s work. We are moving towards our goals, are we not? That’s a win? Surely?
NO it’s not!!! We have LOST. Bigtime.
The way forward
Today I found a way through this maze.
It all starts with Mark Forster. He has created the mother of all hi-tech processes which ANY of us can use. He calls it The Autofocus System.
A bound notebook (25 – 35 lines) more than 35 lines on a page seems to circumvent the snapshot - 1 page at a time - mental gymnastics that to help the system work.
And a pen or pencil. That’s it. That’s as hi-tech as it gets. Yep. I lied.
It’s a rolling list. And one of the many beautiful things about this, is that you use it as a means to follow the ‘a little and often’ approach.
Kind of related to the ideas of Jeff Olsenet alia in the magnificent book ‘The Slight Edge.’ Do look it up. You will be very surprised how it helps with life. It is subtitled (for good reasons) ‘Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness’. No - don’t judge. Just give it a look.
I will not go into much detail about the autofocus system here, because Mr Forster has a fabulous description of what it is and how to use it on his blog.
However, I will say this.
Make a list – put anything and everything on it. Emails, reading, even exercise. Like brainstorming in a workshop. No editing. Just dump it all down. One item per line.
Read it through once, quickly. And I mean quickly. (Just the one current page.) Mental imprinting. No thinking at this point. That’s cheating.
Read through the whole list once again, slowly, until something jumps out at you.
DO that one thing. Here’s the kicker – only as long as you want to. Minutes, hours, days. No guilt.
Cross it off. If you didn’t finish all of it, write a new entry at the end of the list, (usually the next page), altered to identify what still needs to be done.
Rinse and repeat.
If you have gone over the page slowly again or returned to a previous page and nothing jumps, on the first pass then dismiss all unfinished items on that page. (highlight them in yellow – do NOT re-enter them).
The last week or so I have examined in a little detail the reality or not of an energy force within or extending around each of us. This force or energy field is present in many religious and spiritual beliefs and even makes an appearance in martial arts.
But there are a lot of naysayers out there who say that it is not proved, not scientific, not even possible, but what really is the truth?
There are so many instances in the world where it can be shown that we are affected by external things and most of these cannot be explained. They just are. Perhaps this is an energy transfer or a flow of some spiritual 'juice' between living entities. Or maybe some form of mind melding?
Today I learned about the opposite of the placebo effect. The nocebo effect. A nocebo is an inert substance or form of therapy that creates harmful effects in a patient. It is the adverse reaction experienced by a patient who receives such a therapy. Generically it is when a person experiences harmful, unpleasant, or undesirable side effects after a placebo medical treatment. These effects are not chemically generated and are only due to a person's negative belief or expectation that the fake treatment or drug will produce bad side effects.
Nocebo effects have been known to be either psychological or physiological.
Some evidence suggests that the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity are caused by the nocebo effect.
Mind Over Matter
As noted above these nocebo effects are not actually real. They are not chemically induced – they are generated in the mind of a patient and manifest themselves as physical or psychological symptoms.
This would seem to be a case of 'mind over matter', which according to Wikipedia is a phrase that has been used in several contexts such as mind-centric spiritual doctrines, parapsychology and philosophy.
Émile Coué (26 February 1857 – 2 July 1926 - a French psychologist and pharmacist who introduced a popular method of psychotherapy and self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion) taught that some disease can be cured by positive thinking or auto suggestion. He pointed out that mind over matter is limited however, as it had not been demonstrated that one could regrow a lost limb simply by believing it subconsciously.
Changing negative disease-inducing thoughts to positive healing thoughts is compatible with science and falls within the modern spheres of Psychology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Note that this is according to my sources (see above) COMPATIBLE WITH SCIENCE. So the Power Of Positive Thinking is scientific, but an energy or perhaps force field surrounding a living entity is not?
I wonder. Do these fit together in some way?
Dr. Konstantin Korotkov
A Russian scientist Dr. Konstantin Korotkov is trying to convince people they can change the world simply by using their own energy. He claims that thinking in a certain way can have a positive or negative effect on the surrounding environment.
“We are developing the idea that our consciousness is part of the material world and that with our consciousness we can directly influence our world,” said Dr. Konstantin Korotkov.
He is more well known for his investigations using Electrophotonics, which is based on Gas Discharge Visualization technique (GDV), and is a breakthrough beyond Kirlian photography (mentioned in a previous article. Put link here.) for direct, real-time viewing of the human energy fields. This new technology allows one to capture by a special camera the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy emanating to and from an individual, plants, liquids, powders, inanimate objects and translate this into a computerized model.
“We are developing the idea that our consciousness is part of the material world and that with our consciousness we can directly influence our world,” said Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, professor of physics at St. Petersburg State Technical University. “To bridge our understanding of the unseen world of energy, scientific experiments are being carried out using a technique called bioelectrophotography.”
The assumption is that we are constantly emitting energy. Bioelectrophotography aims to capture these energy fields seen as a light around the body — or what some people would call your aura.
Effects of the human mind, thoughts and energy on our surrounding environment
Dr. Korotkov is not the only one studying the effects of the human mind, thoughts and energy on our surrounding environment. The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Laboratory has also been trying to wrap their heads around the subject and have concluded that the mind does in fact have a subtle capacity to influence the output of devices known as Random Event Generators (REGs).
A project that initially started when a student was curious to study the effects of the human mind and intention on the surrounding environment, turned into a rigorous testing lab where Dr. Robert Jahn and his lab assistant spent many hours experimenting to determine whether or not the mind has an effect on our physical world. Jahn and his assistant were able to determine that the human minds interactions with the machines demonstrated a relationship that was not physical in nature. The mind was able to effect and change outcomes of the machine in ways that were beyond explainable. In essence, consciousness was having an effect over the physical world.
This all suggests that”
There is an energy field around all things living and inanimate
It is quite probably electromagnetic in nature
It can perhaps be measured and photographed
iI is often referred to as an aura
We can harness this and use it from our minds to influence stuff outside in the real world
We can possibly detect and react to this field (aura) of another person if we are properly trained and
It can possibly be used in healing.
Next time we will have a bit of a look at some ideas utilising this energy field, if you like, including some from the following suggestions:
Reiki, White Light Healing, the Vedic code of science, Accu-pressure, Accu-puncture, Aromatherapy, Colour Therapy, Qigong, Shiatsu, Feldenkrais Method and possibly others.
We will also look at the concept of 'universal energy', chakras perhaps? And see if we can figure out a model linking this aura or energy force field, our minds and the physical world.
To start, these three terms refer to the different kinds of timing used in dealing with an attacker in budo training. The timing of the response to an attack in generally, aikido and they came from O-Sensei Ueshiba Morihei, Founder of Aikido.
The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Keep this in mind for a little later.
Go No Sen; Sen No Sen; SenSen No Sen
O-Sensai says “In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.”
O-Sensai goes on to say, “If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.”
This is often interpreted to mean that correct victory is winning over your own self or ego.
Reaching this state of selflessness, is the way to swift victory (not only in martial contexts but also in life itself).
A quick summary:
Go no sen - After the attack. Block and counter
Sen no sen - Attack the attack. Be faster than your opponent
Sensen no sen - Take initiative. Attack before the attack.
Let's look at these terms in a bit more detail.
The Japanese character for ”sen” can also be read as “saki.” It means “before”. But in the terms go no sen, sen no sen and sensen no sen, it is an abbreviation of sorts for the word “sente” meaning initiative or lead. The “te” in sente means hand, so sente directly translates as “before hand.”
Go no sen
Go means “after. So, a combatant takes the initiative in a situation after the opponent has already started an attack. In other words, once an opponent starts to attack, the defending combatant performs this technique. After the before hand.
We move in harmony with the attacker, but it is the attacker that is taking the initiative in the attack and we are mirroring his or her movements.
Sen no sen
Sen no sen means before the attack. Sen no sen implies that you become aware of an opponent's intention of attacking and right at the time when he is starting this attack, you step in and stop it. To continue the thought before – this is before the before hand.
Sensen No Sen
This term consists of a repetition of the term sen. So this refers to the timing before sen no sen. It is the case of initiating a movement intended to lead the attacker’s spirit as well as to draw forth an actual attack, in order to utilize this attack for a defensive technique. And the thought here becomes – before before the before hand.
What does it mean to us and how does this energy force stuff fit in?
I guess where I am going with this is the fact that martial arts students are taught that there is no attack, only defence. And they are in addition taught to either figure out when this attack has begun, or to realise that an attack is imminent, to know what form that attack is likely to take and to lead the attacker forwards into a defense strategy that has already been crystalised in the brain of the defendant.
Sounds like an energy force to me. And a very clever harnessing of said force for the purposes of good.
I have before heard of martial arts opponents being 'knocked' to the ground without ever being touched. That surely is a force to be reckoned with.
Remember what we said about Budo training – The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Eckhardt Tolle has a lot to say about this in his book “The New Earth”.
Martial arts and 'THE FORCE' in Star Wars seem to have a lot in common. Leaves me to wonder how such a thing can so quickly be debunked as pseudoscience.
Your Own Examples
Perhaps you can think of examples from your own lives where there has been some indication of an energy or life force that is inexplicable by your basic laws of science, but nevertheless has happened to you or those close to you. I'd love to hear about them.
I have written about energy and force fields and stuff like that. But do they actually exist? Or are they just figments of the imaginations of film-makers, old Asian mystics and martial arts masters?
Well, I'm glad you asked.
There has been much research on these topics. Let's have a look at Auras for example.
Perhaps we can start with Wikipedia.
“An aura is a supposed field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object like the halo or aureola in religious art. The depiction of such an aura often connotes a person of particular power or holiness. It is said that all objects and all living things manifest such an aura. Often it is held to be perceptible, whether spontaneously or with practice: such perception is at times linked with the third eye of Indian spirituality. Various writers associate various personality traits with the colors of different layers of the aura. It has also been described as a map of the thoughts and feelings surrounding a person.” Wikipedia
Hmmm? That sounds a bit like some of the stuff we discussed in a previous article.
However Wikipedia goes on to say: “Attempts to prove the existence of auras scientifically have repeatedly met with failure; for example people are unable to see auras in the dark, and auras have never been successfully used to identify people when their identifying features are otherwise obscured in controlled tests.”
OK. So does Kirlian photography link into this in any way?
“Kirlian believed that images created by Kirlian photography might depict a conjectural energy field, or aura, thought, by some, to surround living things. Kirlian and his wife were convinced that their images showed a life force or energy field that reflected the physical and emotional states of their living subjects.”
Again with the life force.
But then, also from Wikipedia:
“Scientists such as Beverly Rubik have explored the idea of a human biofield using Kirlian photography research, attempting to explain the Chinese discipline of Qigong. Qigong teaches that there is a vitalistic energy called qi (or chi) that permeates all living things. The idea of qi as its own sort of field, not simply a creature's electromagnetic field, has been mostly disregarded by the scientific community.”
We have already talked a little about this qi. Seems we need to go deeper. The initial idea behind these pieces I have been writing was to be more of an entertaining rather than educational kind of thing, but we must follow the story.
It would seem, then that qi, ki, auras, kirlian photography and all the other forms of life energy have been characterised as pseudoscience along with any number of other paranormal events, hoaxes and conspiracy theories.
But this, I feel, rather glib debunking of any and all energy forces related to human life, needs further discussion. So why not join me again soon and let's have a further, deeper look at this with particular emphasis, in the next issue, on martial arts and the concept of Sen no sen, Sen Sen no sen, Go no sen. #CareerChangeStrategies
As a follow-up from the helping others post of the other day, I thought I'd have a look at this whole scenario from a helicopter viewpoint.
OK. Let's start with Star Wars. I don't want it to be said that I have dissed the movies; considered them to be not real; so not considered them at all. In fact movies are as real as anything else in our world.
Map Is Not The Territory
In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) we say: “The Map is Not The Territory”. By this we mean literally that if you were to draw a map – you should understand that it is only a representation of the reality of the terrain. A picture. A rendition, a translation in two dimensions of the real hills and valleys that exist in nature. It is a best effort to show what this particular piece of nature actually looks like according to the maker of the map. A second map-maker may not see it all (especially where exact measurements are not available) in the same way as the first . And as nature changes the map stays the same. So neither map would be real. They are all just impressions. So is the so-called REALITY of our lives. It is filtered through our senses first; and our brain second. If we are sad - reality may seem less colourful. If we are happy, well .
Movies Are Reality
Hell, where did all that come from? What I was trying to say before I was rudely interrupted, is: movies are reality. As much as anything else. Our lives are just a movie created by our minds. Wow!
Shakespeare said something similar in Hamlet Act II Scene II “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Therefore what is this force of which they speak. Remember? Star Wars? Stay with the program here.
According to Wookiepedia The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. Itis a metaphysical, spiritual, binding, and ubiquitous power.
I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so. (Apologies to The Vapours for their 'one hit wonder') And when I do I come across the concept of ki. The word means air; atmosphere; flavor; heart; mind; spirit; feelings; humor; an intention; mind; will. The concept – which actually originates in the Chinese culture - is all about the human “emotional state”, about “energy”. ki is variously translated as energy, mind-power, spirit and cosmic breath, and is now most commonly associated with martial arts.
I like Chinese. (The literary references abound. This one from Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album.) So let's look at that.
In traditional Chinese culture, qì or ch'i forms part of any living thing. Qi literally translates as "breath", "air", or "gas", and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow”. Wikipedia
And even more.
Energy In Other Belief Systems
Prana in the Hindu religion, pneuma in ancient Greece, mana in Hawaiian culture, lüng in Tibetan Buddhism, ruah in Hebrew culture, and vital energy in Western philosophy all say the same thing. Some elements of qi can be understood in the term “energy” when used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric forms of spirituality and alternative medicine. Wikipedia
All these apparently mean energy. All seem to have a basis in the concept of a flow of energy, of a kind of force, of something about you, or any human being, that you can feel.
Sounds like ZEN to me. Funny you should say that. ki was originally taught as a concept by Zen monks.
As noted in the book by Boyé Lafayette De Mente, “Japan’s Cultural Code Words”, Asians, particularly practitioners of Zen in China and Japan, have long held that there is a force that infuses the cosmos and all things in it, including human beings, and that this force can be developed and directed toward specific tasks and targets. An energy field around us all?
OK. Excellent. But what about auras and kirlian photography? Are these fish of a different kettle? More later. #CareerChangeStrategies
Some of you may have been aware of my eye problems recently.
I have been afflicted over the last few months with cataracts in both eyes. While it started along with glaucoma some long time ago it became rampant from April this year (2015). Such that I have grave difficulty seeing much detail at all.
I manage, I am not blind. It is sometimes hard and often very frustrating, but it is not a disaster.
Which brings me to the point of all this.
Help when needed
The other day while I was recharging my public transport card at an automatic machine on the station, all was well until I needed to use the credit card bit. I couldn't read the instructions. I shielded the light, moved my nose to almost touch the machine, and swayed from side to side in an attempt to make the view clearer. All to no avail. After some time the woman behind me asked if I needed help. I did. I said so and told her I couldn’t read the screen. She said it is asking for an account type. I remember the middle button on the top row was for savings, that worked. “Now.” she said, “It is asking for a PIN.” The keypad was big enough for me to see and execute this, but anyway I remembered the pattern of the numbers. She then told me it was asking for a receipt and said the button on the left is no. All done, I moved out of the way and she was able to do her own business.
What this meant to me is that we must all be aware, when offering to help someone having an issue, when such help is required.
I think it is much more than just visually observing a person and how they are acting. I believe it is a result of linking up with the energy that is present in us all. The Chinese call it Chi or qi, it is Ki in Japanese and many other languages have words to express this concept which is often regarded as an active part of every living thing, figuratively: “material energy", "life force", or "energy flow". Elements of the qi concept can also be found in Western popular culture, for example "The Force" in Star Wars.
The more we become aware of ourselves and others as manifestations of energy flow, the better we well get at living this thing we call life.
It's there for us all to pick up. The so called lower forms of animal life can sense it immediately. A dog, for example, knows when you are frightened.
I will talk more about this in later posts, but I understand more now how it feels to be helped when you need it and to be left to sort it out yourself when you can. If a person in a wheelchair has a wheel stuck between the platform and a train carriage, or is being pursued by an angry orang-utan then they may need your help; otherwise they are quite possibly OK.
If we open up as human beings to feel or accept or even just understand these energy fields or life flows within us we will begin to serve ourselves and others at a much higher level. #CareerChangeStrategies
I have to write this. In some way I hope that the woman who is the subject of this doesn’t see it as she will be mortified, but then again, she deserves to know that this is being written about.
I met this lovely woman Idlay (pronounced eye di lay) on Friday Sept 25th when I was in Sydney for the Anthony Robbins Seminar. I know almost nothing else about her, as I hardly saw her again during the 4 days I was in Sydney. I know she was a crew member because it said so on her T-Shirt.
I was standing at the booth where they were selling DVD's and other paraphernalia related to the seminar topics. A woman was asking questions about a set of DVD's but was undecided.
Idlay turned up out of the blue and began talking to the undecided person as if she had know here for years, She was just wonderful. The conversation went back and forward like old friends. Our prospective buyer – let's call her Liz as it will be easier – finally decided that she could use the DVD's and that they might make a difference to her life. Liz had decided to buy.
But. And it was a big but. The total investment was quite some dollars more than Liz had at her disposal.
Without batting an eyelid, Idlay said, “I'll pay half for you.”
Now to say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement, but Liz just burst into tears. Not loud sobbing, she was a classy lady, but the tears were there and her immediate reaction was, “NO! I can't let you do that.”
But Idlay had already scurried off to get her credit card to facilitate this transaction.
Remember these two had only met about 10 mins ago. They were virtually strangers.
On her return Idlay and Liz had further deep and heavy discussions about the efficacy of this DVD course and after a fair bit of teary protestation, then counter offers, the transaction was completed. Idlay had paid half of the investment for a DVD set she would never see. for a woman she had only just met.
If I had not been there I would have called this as one of the most unlikely happenings ever. And I would have thought it a sad and unfortunate bad taste joke.
Not a Joke
But no. It happened. How can we have people randomly shoot and kill other human beings for no apparent reason, and Idlay open the purse of human kindness in such a manner? Again for no reason that I could see other than we just do this for people we love and that love can extend to strangers in need. It just does not make sense that these two diametrically opposed reactions can come form the same human race. .
This is a shining example of the good we can encounter everywhere in our lives. It is there we just do not all that often get the chance to see it in action.
I know the universal law of reciprocity works. I trust our friend Idlay will reap in abundance for her totally selfless act on this day, for a stranger she deemed to be in need.
I found out a little later that Idlay had looked at a personal-care product for herself at a fraction of the price she paid for the DVD's, earlier in the day and had decided not to spend that amount of money on herself.
I, of course, don’t understand the motivation for these actions as they occurred on this day, but I applaud Idlay for giving, and Liz for receiving (for those who receive serve as well) and know both these fabulous women have met for a reason and theirs and our world is so much richer for this circumstance. I am also very glad I was there to witness it for myself. Thank You Idlay.