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Being a Friend

Updated May 22, 2020

We are all pretty frayed nowadays and part of it is being cooped up for a long time in a relatively small space with people we love. Or at least we used to love them before this tour of submarine duty together. What do I mean by submarine duty? Robert A. Heinlein, my favorite sci-fi novelist, who had been a U.S. naval intelligence officer himself, wrote in one of his novels about life on spaceships, that it was a well known phenomenon for people crowded together in a sub for weeks on end, started to notice repetitive behaviors of the other crewmates, and at first it merely grated on their nerves, and eventually could turn into one crewmember attacking another one physically.

When someone frustrates you or otherwise pulls you out of your good mood, what do you do? Play the blame game?

Next time, consider first how you played along with the event and therefore that both of you contributed to the bad mood. This perspective will get you more quickly to the levers you can pull to work on that relationship effectively.

open up possibility - Bil Harvey

Open Mind, Open Heart

Resist the temptation to demonize the other person. Realize they got to where they are through a series of events that were perhaps unfortunate and be glad the events in your life left you with more visibility, perspective and perhaps less closed-mindedness. Be open to all possibilities including that your behavior was the instigator for the events that frustrated you.

Resist also the temptation to teach other people — that is not what they want. If they want your advice, they’ll ask for it. What they want the most from you is simply and truly to be their friend. So what does that mean?

  • Warm, good feelings (love) — from the heart;
  • Be honest — in a way that helps not hurts;
  • Let them know you want them to succeed — even if they succeed ahead of you;
  • Share fairly with them;
  • Encourage them;
  • Help them see the brighter side if they’re stuck in the downside. People want to be in a good mood — bring yours and they will join you — that is leadership.
  • Brainstorm with them to creatively explore options that might lead to more success than their current route.

Being a friend is the optimal foundation of any relationship, including relationships with co-workers and relatives. It helps allow the Zone to happen for you, your friends, and sometimes among whole teams of people. And the best way to carry out a long-term plan to create more positive relationships is as a friend, not as an adversary or a distant party.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-04-21 09:39:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What Is Your Summum Bonum?

Updated May 15th, 2020

We all have a bit more flextime than we are used to now in the stay-at-home world, and that inevitably leads to more reflection than we normally get to do. It’s a silver lining to the dark cloud of the pandemic. Having the natural will, energy, and opportunity to be self-reflective and philosophical is one of the greatest gifts in the world. Aristotle famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Philosophy (the word means “the love of knowing”) gets a harsh rap nowadays from at least one of our most televised and otherwise charming scientists. Personally, I still find philosophy to be relevant in today’s scientific world, and invite you to philosophize yourself now that we are all in this situation together yet apart. Philosophy is a way of thinking clear-headedly about things, and reaches into dark crevices ahead of the data science accumulates, seeing things where science has grown blind spots not intrinsic to the scientific method, and in fact contrary to the openminded spirit of the philosophy of science.

As a philosophy major I learned to say “The Highest Good” in Latin: Summum Bonum, but long before, even as a toddler, I had begun thinking about the same subject, vaguely noting that my inarticulate intuition could not accept anything I was told as an absolute, even from those two beloved gods Ned and Sandy (my parents). Without innate acceptance of authority as absolute, I was required to develop my own ideas.

Live in line with your higher good.

Before receiving my degree I had developed my own “philosophy”, ideas that had jumbled natively in my mind before formal study. When I contemplated Summum Bonum, I decided to choose aesthetics as my touchstone to determine what for me would be The Highest Good. “With or without God, what did I intuit/feel/decide to be the most beautiful way to handle each moment? And which would be a more beautiful universe — the one with or without God?”  That’s how I decided which hypotheses I would base my life upon.

This was my rational mind at work, yet my intuition was really leading my thought process. My definition of intuition is the ability to sense what is going on, to make connections and put things together, sometimes leaping wildly across intervening logical steps. Sometimes someone asks me why I did something and it takes a while to provide an adequate answer because I was driven by my intuition more than pure rational reasoning. In Jung’s four functions of consciousness (thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition), I’m an intuitionist, among other “-ists”.

Being a pragmatist at heart, The Highest Good to me is the best conscious approach to any situation, which I see as love — omnidirectional, unconditional, and nonattached love*. Such love creates the greatest long-term happiness for the greatest number, which I find to be the most philosophically beautiful approach.

What is The Highest Good to you?

Best to all,

Bill

*Nonattached love means accepting the losability of the things one is fond of, and thus being free from addictive dependence upon the objects of our affection.

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-04-07 12:59:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Moving Beyond Fear to Happiness

updated May 8th, 2020

The worldwide calamity has increased our tendency to live in fear. Fear is like an alarm clock, designed to alert us to make apt decisions soon. We don’t let the alarm keep ringing in the morning when it wakes us up, and the best reaction to fear is to focus objectively on what we can do. Fear is always linked to attachment, something we are afraid of losing, such as our lives, our loved ones, our livelihood, our lifestyle. But the real question is What action can we take that is the heroic and best response to the current moment? With the right self-observational techniques you can edge into a state of ultimate competency in meeting each moment, what scientists call the Flow state and athletes call the Zone – where you want to be at all times, but most especially in the present crisis. One way to achieve happiness in the present moment is to let it all go, assume that the worst will happen, but picture yourself standing strong and smiling through the worst that can happen. Distraction is always a problem but much moreso today when we are always crowded together at home (if we’re lucky to not be alone). This post delves into practical ways you can take yourself in hand and use your strengths to enjoy every second of life, otherwise what’s the point of wanting to live?

The two biggest blocks to the Zone/Flow state are distraction and attachment.

Release Attachment - Let it go. - Bill Harvey

Attachment is also the only block to happiness, joy, delight, fun, ananda (or bliss, from Hinduism and Buddhism) — the natural built-in target state for all of us.

Attachment blocks happiness because one is fearful of losing the things one associates with happiness and tacitly assumes are requirements for happiness. When we are attached, we are also angry at whatever is suspected or known to threaten or take away those precious happiness-causing things.

“I am really attached to Pippin” (one of my cats) is a true statement for me because I love her. To experience love is not necessarily to be attached, though. To avoid confusion and getting lost in wordplay about whether attachment is a good or bad thing (because the word “attachment” is associated with the word “love”), I am using the term attachment to mean the inability to separate love from attachment and the resulting anger/fear syndrome.

The difference comes from the importance we give to keeping the “things” that give us happiness. If we truly appreciate the joy that has been created by our loves, joy that has been creating other good things through spontaneous Flow state creativity (which emerges naturally from joy and from love) it is still possible to not worry about losing any of those “things”. In fact, when we are in that state of not fearing loss, we are truly free.

A Process for Releasing Attachment

A powerful contemplation technique offered in Mind Magic (download free PDF here) involves burning out one’s attachments by intensely envisioning and feeling the loss of each separate thing one is attached to. This requires setting aside alone time, without a sense of time pressure. It requires immersion, concentration, patience as you go over the same material again and again. It’s probably best to focus on one object of your attachment at a time.

Give your imagination free reign like in a daydream. Imagine and see yourself go through the experience of the moment you lose something you are deeply attached to and visualize how it might happen. See it vividly from the inside, the way you experience life. Feel the feelings. Watch yourself in the daydream, the things you say in that situation, and the way you say them, and how the other person responds if the particular attachment involves another person. Let yourself actually feel the loss as if it is really happening.

Each time you go over the same imagined loss experience, you give the situation a more intelligent response. In your later iterations of the exercise, you will start to act like the hero you are in the daydream of the loss. You will begin to feel differently about yourself from that moment on — more confident, more self-respectful, more courageous, in fact less prone to fear and anger.

Through this process, you realize you are no longer attached to a particular outcome because you now know how you will respond if what you had feared ever happens.

Release attachments. Let them go. Happiness is the off-the-scale self-evidently best state one can experience in the emotional dimension.

 

Alone Space VideosWatch short videos on cultivating Alone Space Contemplation.

 

Happiness to all,

Bill

P.S. It can take some time for you to feel the effects of this technique internally, due to the interconnections among various ego circuits in your head. Be patient and persevere. And be happy. smiley

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-03-31 11:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Mindfulness

Updated May 1st, 2020

image by Erin Buonocore

In last week’s post we talked about how distracted we have become, and in conclusion we mentioned Mindfulness as one way we can counter the distractions of modern life. Therefore in this post we shall investigate the nature of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/ emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent Mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-03-24 12:35:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How Did We Become So Distracted?

Updated April 24, 2020

Although we are staying home now, and the amount of overstimulation we receive from our environment is therefore considerably lessened, with the screens in our home and the audio and (if we’re lucky) other people and pets that are with us, there’s still an awfully lot going on and coming in through our senses.

We live at a discontinuous point in history.

Most of us know that the human race started evolving from primates, coming down out of trees over 1,000,000 years ago, but it’s only been the last 200,000 years that we’ve been homo sapiens.

We’ve written things down for only 6,000 years out of those million years so we have no written record of what went on before those roughly 6,000 years.

Key Survival Characteristic

My hypothesis as a social scientist is that in the last 6,000 years, written language changed the way we use our minds.

It actually started with the cave paintings, some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, using symbolism — we started to be able to look at abstract symbols to represent things like animals that we were going to be hunting.

When we moved to written language, we could see the language — the granular bits of information. Pictures don’t have chunks to them like words do.

Though nowhere near digital yet, we started to get into granular chunk thinking as soon as we got into written language.

This development marked the beginning of a revolution in the way we use our minds, and this has been accelerating for the last 6,000 years.

We started inventing things — first tools, then weapons and then media — and all of those things have contributed to the fact that we now every day are subjected to a deluge of stimuli that exceeds our ability to answer all the questions arising in our mind second-to-second.

We get into a habit of just sweeping things aside. “I’m never gonna answer all this stuff. I won’t try to answer all this stuff. I won’t even try to answer the basic question of what is life, what is the meaning of all this, what is my purpose? It’s just too many questions. I can’t answer them.” I call this condition Acceleritis™.

We see things like increasing ADD and ADHD and we see people who are supposed to be running big countries acting like high-school kids and not getting anything done.

This deluge of stimuli all the time is not good for any of us. In the face of the hugely distracting environment of Acceleritis, we are being distracted from Flow state, which I believe is our natural state and which occurred a lot more before 6,000 years ago.

This is why I consider psychotechnology, which prepares people with techniques to stay focused through complexity, to be so important. No matter who we are, the quality of our life depends upon our effectiveness in meeting challenges, whether as a parent, an executive, an athlete or a world leader.

Shutting out distractions

Most all of the techniques I use to increase focus and creativity are included in my book, MIND MAGIC, and I also share them here in this blog space — techniques like mindfulness, meditation, self-awareness and letting go of attachment. Learning to become the observer more often and not getting caught up or reeled in by all of these distractions, we can find greater clarity and reach Flow state more often. Learning to stay focused in an ever increasingly distracting world, we can ultimately increase our creativity and improve our decision making.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com.

Originally posted 2015-03-10 12:24:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Win/Win Principle

Updated April 17, 2020

As we are cloistered now, it’s a perfect time for reconsidering everything. As I sit outside watching the river flow by, my mind relaxes and goes to unexpected places. I watch it fly… and I muse at what it chooses to remember right now, things from the distant past… why those things, I wonder. Today it muses:

So many writers have impressed me with at least one thing, if not everything, they have written. Shakespeare, William James, Robert A. Heinlein, the list goes on. One writer whose real life as a British secret agent caused him to create a bizarre false identity by which most of the public knows him, Aleister Crowley for example in Liber Aleph makes the point that there are no rules, just principles to balance in every given situation. Yet just a few principles come closest to being rules that they should probably be applied in virtually every circumstance. Pondering this, it occurs to me that Win/Win is such an important principle it comes near the top of the list if not at the very top.

Your View of Reality

The intention and actuality of only making agreements that will benefit all parties is the essence of the Win/Win principle. It ideally permeates to the minutest level of each almost invisible tacit agreement going on every second of our social interactions. In my cosmology we are all holograms of the One Consciousness or more precisely facets of the one Conscious Hologram, so it follows logically that we would do unto others as we would do unto a reflection of our very own self. This is truly enlightened self-interest. It is then the most palpable form of omnidirectional unconditional love. Even in a humanistic materialistic worldview such as some of my best friends have, the Win/Win principle follows logically from their chosen noble stance. My lifetime favorite writer F. Scott Fitzgerald notes in The Beautiful and Damned that such a stance is even more meaningful if it is taken with no moral imperative to do so.

Maintaining the Win/Win intention is not always easy. It’s hardest perhaps when we believe we have a score to settle with someone. We want them to lose so they learn a lesson and they stop behaving the way they are. Take for example two Win/Lose players I met years ago. Mr. Z humiliated Ms. Y in front of others. I had a feeling and said to another onlooker later, “She is going to find a way to get even someday.” Sometime later there followed an unrelated Lose/Lose lawsuit, set in motion by a quiet remark from Ms. Y to her boss, which ended with both Ms. Y and Mr. Z being negatively affected.

The Biblical directive, “Let vengeance be mine”, gives us permission to not carry the burden of corrective punishment, absolving us from that task and enabling us to continue to act for the ultimate Win/Win even with folks who have harmed us. More good is ultimately achieved by this strategy than by any other. We benefit more long-term and often short-term, even when dealing with the most recalcitrant adversary. It comes down, as so many things do, to searching for a more creative solution. We then make it possible to achieve a Win/Win outcome even when up against a Win/Lose “opponent”.

It is a glorious fact of existence that each of us is a far more powerful player on the stage of this world than we ever suspect based on appearances. Words or even facial expressions can escalate things disproportionately. Win/Win as a deep-seated attitude in all situations is not only the best way to “win” — achieving the most benefit for all and therefore doing the most good in the world — it is also the best protection against forgetting our own principles even in a careless or tired moment.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog  In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com.

Originally posted 2015-03-03 11:31:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter