Is It Really True? New Rules for the Game of Life Quiz ~ Motivate by Fear?

As promised, here is the first installment of our new monthly feature:

If this is the first time you’re playing along, you may want to read our initial explanation. You can find it here:
Is It Really True? Quiz Intro

Please remember that in this quiz there are no right or wrong answers. We simply want to stimulate dialogue in our community about some of our commonly held cultural beliefs. This quiz comes out of a practice we have of asking ourselves if the beliefs we hold as the “truth” are our own, or if we have just adopted them unquestioningly. We hope you enjoy playing along.

Here’s the first statement…

Fear of getting a ticket is the best way to stop people from speeding.

Do you agree or disagree?

Here’s what we came up with when we examined the statement.

Why would governments give tickets in order to stop people from speeding?

We believe that everything we say or do is to meet a need or experience something we value. And when we want something we come up with ideas for getting it–strategies such is giving tickets to people that don’t obey the speeding laws in order to stop people from speeding. Since cultures, societies, and governments are made up of people, we believe the same holds true at that level.

Keeping all this in mind, the first thing we want to do is get to the essence–the underlying values–hidden within any strategy.

What values are people trying to satisfy with this strategy?

We guess these might be the needs or values underlying the strategy of giving tickets to stop speeding:

  • safety–so less people are injured or die on the roads.
  • predictability–so you have greater confidence about what you can expect when you get on the road.
  • effectiveness–by establishing clear agreement about what is and is not unsafe.

Can you think of any other needs our values people may be trying to satisfy using this strategy?

Why this strategy?

Now the question becomes, why this strategy? In our experience, behind every strategy we choose there is a belief that guides the choice and our subsequent actions. So what’s the cultural belief that led the government to choose this strategy as opposed to any other?

Here’s a possible belief we came up with that might have led to adopting this strategy:

  • People need authorities who “know better” to set strong boundaries that will govern their actions.

Which may point to these even deeper underlying beliefs:

  • People can’t be trusted
  • People only care about themselves
  • People make bad decisions on their own

Can you think of any others beliefs that might lead to making laws that impose traffic fines as a way to prevent speeding?

Does this strategy work?

If your goal is to make people worry about getting a ticket, then we would say this strategy works. But if what you really want is safety, predictability and effectiveness then we think it’s probably not working very well.

Think about it. How often do you still see people speeding? How often do you speed yourself? Why is it that so many people continue to speed if there’s a law that tells you not to, and is enforced by the use of speeding tickets?

We’ve identified a number of reasons for this, but the one we’ve picked to explore here is the difference between intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.

We define the difference this way: being motivated from our internal values vs. being motivated from externally imposed consequences.

If you’ve been brought up in a typical world culture, then you are no stranger to externally imposed consequences. They start at a very young age. Early on, the authorities in your life teach you what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s bad, what’s appropriate and inappropriate.

And you probably quickly learned that you get punished for being wrong or bad and rewarded for being good or right.

So here’s another rule–don’t speed. Enforced using an externally imposed consequence–you’ll get a speeding ticket that will cost you a lot of money and a lot of time if you disobey.

What does this strategy accomplish?

Let’s recap:

  • There is a cultural belief: People can’t be trusted so authorities must tell them what to do.
  • The culture teaches using a system of punishment and rewards.
  • Government came up with this strategy of punishing people who break speeding laws by giving tickets that costs them both time and money.

But what do most people learn from this strategy–both now and when they were children? In our experience the lesson learned is:

Don’t Get Caught When You’re Breaking the Rules.

Given the number of people who still speed, it doesn’t appear that this strategy–or what people actually learn from it–satisfy the underlying desire for safety, predictability, or effectiveness.

What might satisfy these underlying values?

Now let’s contrast the use of extrinsic motivation with intrinsic motivation. What would it take to cultivate intrinsic motivation?

How would we motivate people to do things–such as obey agreed upon speed limits–simply because this was in harmony with their personally held values?

Let’s start with the underlying belief.

What if we were able to change our cultural belief from “people can’t be trusted,” to “people can be trusted to make decisions that are for the highest good of everyone involved” because they inherently care for, and want to contribute to others and themselves.

Where would this belief take us?

Would we change how teach our children?

Let’s see . . . If our underlying cultural belief was that “people can be trusted to make their own decisions,” then most likely we would want to support them in staying present to what’s most important to them–what they personally value.

And we would probably ensure that our children’s education included developing their emotional intelligence. This would support their ability to make decisions based on how their actions might benefit or impact themselves and those around them.

We would still want to do whatever we could to maintain safety, predictability, and effectiveness on our roads, but with this underlying cultural belief, what strategy might we come up with?

This is where we start getting into very unknown territory. We’re not raised to pay attention to our internal values, or whether the consequences of our actions are in harmony with our values. Instead, we are constantly being distracted by external authority telling us what to do–and by the threat of consequences if we don’t obey.

So where this would go and how it would turn out is anyone’s guess.

But imagine being raised in a culture where your caring, kind and competent nature was valued and nurtured. Where your ability to reason and come up with successful, satisfying choices for everyone concerned was respected.

Imagine that your education, both at home and in school, had focused heavily on supporting you in making your own decisions, with respect for your internal guidance. And it supported this through teaching, conversation and experiences designed to help nurture these abilities.

Now imagine, as a society we have decided that limiting speed really will support achieving the goal of keeping our roads safe, predictable, and effective. What strategy might you use to achieve the greatest possible compliance with these speed limits?

What occurs to you?

That’s our thinking on the subject. Please let us know what occurs to you about any or all of this in the comment field below.

We look forward to reading your response.

With great trust and respect for your ability to choose wisely,

Beth and Neill

PS Please remember to sign up for the RSS feed to make sure you are alerted to our next installment of: Is It Really True?


Self Discovery – Ask Yourself, “Is It Really True?”

Everything Old Is New Again

Have you ever noticed how everything seems to cycle back into popularity. Bellbottoms, guys with long hair, tie-dyed shirts–they all seem to be coming back in full force. We read somewhere that it takes about 40 years for things to get recycled back into popularity.

We’ve decided not to wait 40 years to bring back The Full Cup Test, an exercise that we used in our seminars awhile ago. We named this based on an old Zen story that goes something like this:

“Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), was visited by a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overflowing,” said the university professor, “no more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in replied, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

It’s Hard To Receive When Your Cup’s Already Full

We just love what this story teaches and we strive to keep emptying our own cups so we’re able to continue learning new things. One way we do this is to think of the tea as a metaphor for the cultural beliefs that fill our minds. This tea comes in many varieties for us: beliefs about what life means, who we are, how we should act, and many others. These beliefs motivate our actions and dictate the direction we will take on our life’s journey.

Because of this, we often ask this question: Are the beliefs that I hold as the “truth” my own beliefs–ones that are truly in harmony with my personal values–or are they beliefs that were handed down from past generations and I have just adopted them unquestioningly?

Question Authority

As we start to question, we are able to empty our cups, which allows us to taste new and more satisfying varieties of tea. We believe this is essential for our continued learning and growth, and for us to evolve into the highest expressions of ourselves.

We also believe that our deepest discoveries emerge in relationship with others. Since we connect with others through language, the most powerful interactions happen through dialogue: sharing our stories, discoveries, and ideas.

To support this evolution in our community, we’re bringing back a modified version of The Full Cup Test. Our aim is to use this as a fun way to stimulate conversation that promotes self discovery. This time we are calling it:
Is It Really True? ~ New Rules For The Game Of Life Quiz

There are no right or wrong answers. Our goal is to stimulate dialogue about some of our commonly held cultural beliefs. The point is to ask yourself these questions and comment on what you discover:

  • Do I believe this statement?
  • What cultural belief is this statement based on?
  • Is this belief in harmony with my personal values?
  • Does it support me living consciously and in harmony with what I value most?

In the next few days we will be posting the first installment of this monthly quiz. So sign up for our RSS feed and look for the title, “Is It Really True?” Then drop by and start playing this game of self discovery by seeing if you agree or disagree with the first statement.


Self Improvement – Why Bother?

If You Value Your Time – Take Time for What You Value

Does the question ever cross your mind as you run through your very busy days, “How could I possibly bother spending the time trying to improve myself when I’ve got so much to do?”

Does it seem as if your life is so full of just trying to get things done that the ideas of acquiring , enhancing your , or implementing a new seems almost impossible? And yet, is there also a gnawing question that lingers in your mind, “Is this all there is?” “Am I missing out on something even with all these things on my to-do list?”

If any of this sounds familiar, then the next time you’re confronted with the hectic pace of daily life, take a moment and find the time to “bother” with your . Gaining a clearer understanding of ourselves always adds value to our lives and can also increase our sense of significance and purpose in those daily activities.

Finding meaning in our lives starts when we begin investigating who we are and what is going on around us. We are the only one that can say for certain what is deeply important to us, so if we get so very busy that we don’t take the time to stop and look at our life, it may fill up with things that don’t give us the kinds of joy and meaning we truly want.

Is Your Cup Overflowing?

Here’s an old that speaks to the truth of this:

A university teacher visited Nan-in, a Japanese master. The professor was interested in learning about the Zen philosophy. Nan-in served the professor tea. He poured tea in the professor’s cup until it was full. But he kept on pouring.

The professor watched the tea overflow his cup until he could no longer stop himself. “My cup is overflowing,” he said, “no more will go in!”

“Like this tea cup,” Nan-in replied, “you are full of your own ideas and opinions. How can you learn about Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

To learn anything new, you need some room for it in what you already know. With life’s crazy pace, every once and awhile it’s important to invest the time, energy and attention to let in new ideas and awareness.

That was Zen – This is Now

You can begin emptying your cup by examining what you believe and what you value.

  • Do some things just seem “right or wrong”, “good or bad”, or “appropriate or inappropriate”?
  • Are you easily able to recognize which are motivating your actions?
  • Do you know the values that are reflected in your ?
  • Are you able to recognize when your are not accurately reflecting your ?

Unless you occasionally take the time to consciously empty your cup of beliefs that do not fit with your , it will fill up with various cultural beliefs that come to you from the outside, which become the unconscious motivations influencing the choices you make and how you live your life.

As you empty your cup, you begin to make room in your life for the question, “Are the beliefs I hold as the truth really my own beliefs?”

Another question to ask is, “Did I knowingly choose these beliefs as my own or did I simply take them on without question?”

You answer these questions by exploring whether your beliefs support what you really value, or if they are just beliefs you learned simply because they have been part of our culture for hundreds or thousands of years.

Bother to Be – Continue to Ask – and Be Willing to Listen

To understand more about how might be influencing you, look at the principles you live by and rules you follow. Or consider all those little adages you were told growing up such as, life is hard, it’s a dog eat dog world, only the strong survive, etc.

Explore these for yourself. Ask, “Do I truly believe these?”  Do these principles, rules or sayings really support me in living the life I desire, one that is a reflection of what I truly value?

Here are a set of questions you can ask yourself as you go through your day that will help you figure this out for yourself:

  • What do I really desire in this area of my life?
  • What would I like to experience right here and right now?
  • What motivates the action I’m about to take?
  • Is what I’m about to do going to get me the results I really want?
  • Is what I’m doing now really what want to do?

Take pause and remember that in the process of questioning, there are no hard and fast rules, no good or bad answer, no right or wrong beliefs. The purpose is to begin taking time for your and , to experience the fact that this is worth “bothering” with.

An Empty Cup Allows Room to Grow

We trust that as you uncover your own , start developing empowering new beliefs that reflect those values, and begin taking actions that are in alignment with them, your discomfort or dissatisfaction with the hectic pace of life with begin to diminish.

You’ll start clearly recognizing which of your daily activities reflect what you value and experience an increased sense of significance and purpose in these. You’ll also start easily pruning away the clutter in your life as you get more clarity about what is important you and what is not.

As your life becomes more meaningful, taking the time for will not only be worth bothering with, you will welcome it because you know you have plenty of room for it in your cup!

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When Evolution and Rap Collide

Baba Brinkman evolving rapping to where no rapper has gone before…

Here is a great article on the same topic by Olivia Judson we thought you’d also enjoy.

By OLIVIA JUDSON

The lights go down. The room fills with music — a pulsating hip-hop rhythm. And then, over the music, you hear the voice of Richard Dawkins reading a passage from “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin: “Whoever is led to believe that species are mutable will do good service by conscientiously expressing his conviction. For only thus can the load of prejudice by which this subject is overwhelmed be removed.”

So begins one of the most astonishing, and brilliant, lectures on evolution I’ve ever seen: “The Rap Guide to Evolution,” by Baba Brinkman.

Read the rest of the article here: Darwin Got It Going On

And Here’s a Selection of Baba Brinkman’s Music (on CBC Radio)

Thoughts?

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Making Your Needs Matter: the Path Toward a More Balanced Life

Balancing Your Needs with the Needs of OthersA Balanced Life

Are you one of those people who constantly put your own needs at the bottom of the priority list? Do always seem to be more important than your own? Though many of us try to put others first, but neglecting to address is not good for us or those we are trying to serve.

Can you really get ahead in your , your , or take care of your to family and friends if you don’t take care of your own needs?

Impossible!

Be mindful of getting overly caught up in endless busywork and constantly attending to the needs of others. You need to take care of yourself too, which includes sleeping well, eating properly, exercising, relaxing, and making sure that you maintain a in your life.

If you’ve been neglecting yourself lately, now is the time to make some changes that will bring more , , and into your life. To do this you must first identify exactly what is most important to you, figure out which of these things may be missing, and then focus your attention on bringing more of that into your life.

Once you move past the constant frenzy of taking care of the needs of others, you will start to find yourself on the path to .

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” ~ Henry David

When we focus our attention on satisfying our own needs, we cannot help but grow. Living a allows us to be more creative, more successful, and enjoy a life that is full of what we love. Having all of our needs met makes us much more effective in meeting others’ needs too.


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