***THIS ARTICLE IS FROM: http://experiencelife.com/article/walking-your-talk-the-path-of-personal-integrity/ WE AT DANCE WITH THE ELEPHANT DID NOT WRITE IT. WE ARE JUST SHARING IT!***
Walking Your Talk: The Path of Personal Integrity
Do you walk your talk? Say what you mean and mean what you say? Or does your language take you down roads you’re not willing to follow? Taking a closer look at how your words and deeds connect – or don’t – can help you see where you really stand.
How’s that New Years Resolution coming along? Were you able to stick to it? Are you still putting in the same kind of committed energy that you started with back in January? Or did you get off to a running start and then find yourself petering out six weeks later?
If you’re not where you wanted to be, you may be wondering why. There are lots of reasons why we run afoul of our intentions. Sometimes we make a too-ambitious plan we simply don’t have the skills or energy to execute. Sometimes we find ourselves facing emotional roadblocks that we don’t know how to get through, so we run out of steam. But often, the forward movement comes to a screeching halt because we simply don’t keep our word to ourselves. We make promises (“Tomorrow I’ll get up early and go to the gym”), and then break them (“Awww, it’s raining, I think I’ll stay in bed. I’ll go to the gym on my way home”) – often for reasons we don’t even understand. Which brings me to what might be an uncomfortable question: How good are you to your word?
Words are powerful forces of creation. They take our dreams and goals and put them out there for all the world to witness. Florence Scovel Shinn, a metaphysician of the 1920s, said, “There is always plenty on man’s pathway; but it can only be brought into manifestation through desire, faith or the spoken word.” Every time we speak, we create a road of some sort. The quality of that road, and how far it goes, will be directly related to the integrity of our word.
Speaking With Integrity
What exactly is integrity? According to the dictionary, integrity is “the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards, and the state of being complete, undivided, sound or undamaged.” Integrity, then, is having high principles and keeping those standards consistent throughout all the different parts of the self.
One of the first places integrity issues show up is in our language patterns. When we are “in integrity,” we speak from a place of wholeness. Our words match our actions. As Dr. Seuss put it, “We say what we mean and we mean what we say.” When we break from this pattern and say things we don’t really mean, we move “out of integrity.”
Can you identify someone in your life who uses language carelessly, who agrees to things readily but then never seems to be able to show up for his or her agreements? Do you know individuals who spend a lot of their time speaking about things they have no experience with – who have plenty of opinions but little real, applicable knowledge to back it up? Do you have friends who frequently gossip or who say disempowering things about themselves? These are some of the common ways that people deprive themselves of the potential power of speech.
Language is meant to power our dreams into physical reality. When we “spend” our language on half-baked ideas, or passionate views we may have heard about but have no direct experience with, when we use language destructively or we say things we don’t really mean, we lose personal power. Personal power comes from being in integrity and diminishes whenever our integrity is undermined. Unfortunately, very few of us are taught the skills of using language as an integrity-building force.
***THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE COMES FROM http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-28248286/where-does-innovation-come-from/ AND WAS NOT ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY THE DANCE WITH THE ELEPHANT TEAM - WE JUST WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH YOU!***
Where Does Innovation Come From?
STEVE TOBAK /
MONEYWATCH/ August 29, 2011, 9:00 AM
Innovation is definitely a hot topic these days, but the one thing that's fuzzy for most people is where does it actually come from?
I mean, what makes one guy innovative and another, well, just a regular guy? Before we get into that, let me explain a few things about innovation.
For one thing, it's not the same as invention, although folks often confuse the two. Invention is a unique discovery or finding; innovation is introducing something new.
That may sound like semantics, and maybe it is, but at least in my mind, there's one big difference: innovation can be an application of someone else's invention in a new and practical way.
Indeed, innovation isn't a supernatural event, a preordained occurrence that only happens to certain people. And great innovators don't go from zero-to-great in a heartbeat. More often than not, they stand on the shoulders of giants, see things a little bit differently, or benefit from timing, opportunity, or luck.
Steve Jobs didn't invent the GUI or the computer mouse, but when he saw them demonstrated, his mind was probably racing with practical applications.
Howard Schultz didn't invent coffee, espresso, or cappuccino, but he has certainly been an innovator in bringing all that to the masses through Starbucks.
McDonald's was the fast-food innovator, but I seriously doubt there are any real inventions under the golden arches.
Bill Gates didn't invent the PC operating system and he certainly didn't come up with the idea of licensing technology, but his business model - combining the two - made Microsoft one of the most valuable and powerful companies in the world.
Having spent my entire career working with entrepreneurs and innovators in the high-tech industry, these are the 10 characteristics and methodologies that I think define innovative people:
Where Does Innovation Come From?
Standing on the shoulders of giants. Contrary to popular belief, innovation is often far more evolutionary than revolution, more practical and crafty than breakthrough invention. Most of the time you're repurposing somebody else's idea.
Left brain - right brain balance. The whole left brain - right brain thing is a myth, but metaphorically speaking, I think innovation often springs from a combination of inspirational thought (right brain) and practical need (left brain). They say necessity is the mother of invention; it's probably more true of innovation.
Belief that you're special. Many, if not most, innovative people have this sort of childish belief that they're special, destined for great things. The thought of doing something new and different - changing the world, as it were - can be daunting. Unless you truly believe it's your destiny, you'll probably be too scared to even try.
Questioning conventional wisdom, the status quo. If you even mention how things are doneor should be done to a true-blue entrepreneur or innovator, it's like nails screeching on a chalkboard.
Vision. Oftentimes, people just have a vision of how they think something should be. It's really that simple. But they're also driven to see it through, as in the next bullet ...
Driven by the need to prove something. Innovative people are definitely on a mission to prove something to somebody and half the time I don't even think they know who.
Problem solving. If you're not a problem solver, you're probably not going to come up with anything that anybody will find useful. Control freaks are natural problem solvers - they can barely walk down the street without seeing all sorts of things that can be done better.
Passion. Without passion and genuinely loving and caring about what you do, you simply won't have the resilience and stickwithitness to see innovation of any magnitude through. It's never just an idea - you have to actually do stuff with it.
Focused brainpower. Athletes will tell you success is all about focus: you can't hit a 100 mph fastball or catch a 30 yard pass with defenders all up in your face without it. It's the same with innovation. Ironically, people who appear to be all over the map with ADD-like symptoms can have rare moments of clarity when it all comes together.
Work stamina. There's loads of talk these days about working smarter, not harder, taking more breaks, etc. While I'm a big believer in not killing yourself with work, if you don't enjoy working and work stamina isn't in your blood, you're not likely to innovate a thing.
“The biggest myth about dreams is that they are frivolous manifestations reflecting basic occurrences of our daily experiences,” said Chicago psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber.
But dreams are actually an important part of self-discovery. (More on that later.) Below are a few fascinating facts and findings about dreams.
1. People with disabilities dream as though they don’t have them.
The following is an excerpt from a person who participated in a dream study:
“I was supposed to and wanted to sing in the choir. I see a stage on which some singers, male and female, are standing… I am asked if I want to sing with them. ‘Me?’ I ask, ‘I don’t know if I am good enough.’ And already I am standing on the stage with the choir. In the front row, I see my mother, she is smiling at me… It is a nice feeling to be on stage and able to chant.”
What’s particularly curious about this dream is that the dreamer was born deaf and doesn’t speak. Recently, two studies published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition have found that people with disabilities still dream as though their impairments don’t exist.
One of the studies explored the dream diaries of 14 people with impairments (four born with paraplegia and 10 born deaf who can’t speak). Thirty-six able-bodied individuals served as controls. August 2011’s New Scientist featured the research, stating that findings showed that:
About 80 percent of the dream narratives of the deaf participants gave no indication of their impairment: many spoke in their dreams, while others could hear and understand spoken language. The dream reports of the people born paralyzed revealed something similar: they often walked, ran or swam, none of which they had ever done in their waking lives.
Even more interesting, the article states that: “…there was no difference between the number of such bodily movements in the dream reports of the people with paraplegia and in those of the deaf and able-bodied subjects.”
The second study found similar results. Researchers looked at the dream reports of 15 people who were either born with paraplegia or had it later in life (because of a spinal-cord injury). They also included 15 able-bodied controls. Their reports revealed that 14 of the participants with paraplegia had dreams that they were physically active. And they dreamed about walking just as often as the able-bodied participants.
One of the researchers, Ursula Voss at Germany’s University of Bonn, believes that “dreams are tapping into representations of limbs and movements that exist in the brain and which are independent of our waking reality,” she told the New Scientist. She and researcher Alan Hobson at Harvard Medical School speculate that the key is genetics. According to the magazine:
The pair say the recent dream studies suggest that our brain has the genetically determined ability to generate experiences that mimic life, including fully functioning limbs and senses, and that people who are born deaf or paralysed are likely tapping into these parts of the brain when they dream about things they cannot do while awake.
Edited by Michael Igioh, Puddy, Maluniu, Krystle and 13 others
Be specific about your dream. The first thing you need to do is to be specific about your dream, at least the one you want to work on now, the way to be very specific about your dreams is to write them in your dream journal
Turn your dream into a burning desire. You will need to turn your dream into a burning desire in your heart. A strong will to achieve your dreams boosts self-confidence and will aid you in pulling through some of the worst stages of life. The way to turn your dream into a burning desire is to believe that your dream is achievable and that you can achieve it.
Once it has become a burning desire you are no longer to refer to it as a dream, because the very nature of a dream gives the impression that it is not real.
When I was young, I had no patience. I wanted everything, and I wanted it now. No wonder, then, that I found myself with over $20,000 in credit-card debt just a few years out of college. I was spending to obtain a lifestyle that I wouldn’t be able to afford until I was older. Much older.
I’m not the only one with this problem. Many young adults graduate from college or leave home, and suddenly find themselves in reduced circumstances. They’re used to the standard of living they enjoyed at home with their parents. Rather than wait until they can afford similar luxuries, they buy them on credit. They forget that their parents had to work twenty or thirty years to be able to afford the things they have.
This impatience is costly. It leads to debt, and it starts a cycle of excessive consumption and lifestyle inflation.
The power of patience I’m entering middle age now, and so are most of my friends. As we get older, an interesting thing has happened. Suddenly, we’re able to afford the things we used to want so badly. Sometimes we buy them; sometimes we don’t.
It’s fun to watch the choices people make. I see folks who were willing to live in cheap apartments for a decade or more now buying houses. But they’re paying cash for the entire thing instead of carrying a mortgage. Their patience has paid off.
I’m seeing people who have toiled for years at tough jobs finally getting big breaks. Others quietly saved and invested while everyone around them was spending (or abandoning the stock market); they’re now poised to retire early — if they want to.
Not all who wait reap the rewards, of course, but many do. Patience doesn’t guarantee success, but it dramatically increases the odds. Here are just a few of the ways patience can help you achieve your financial goals:
Patience lets your money grow. The longer you hold onto your money, the more you have of it. But more than that, time is the magic ingredient in the power of compounding, which lets your pool of money expand every year.
Patience teaches you discipline. When I first learned to use the 30-day rule, it revolutionized my shopping habits. Instead of buying what I wanted now, I waited 30 days. Most of the time, I realized I could live without whatever seemed so urgent. But even when I did end up buying what was on the list, I felt better about my decision. Why? Because I’d exercised discipline. Patience helps prevent mistakes.
Patience allows you to seize opportunities. If you’re willing to wait instead of buying today, you’re able to spend time comparison shopping or looking for free and cheap alternatives. If you’re in no rush, you can even practice predatory shopping — waiting for bargains and extreme markdowns that let you save big bucks.
Patience lets you discover what’s important. As you age, your values change. If you’re willing to wait, you learn what truly matters to you. Patience helps you practice conscious spending.
Patience keeps you sane. Patience means opting out of the relentless drive for the new. It means not caring about fashion. It means not giving in to fads and trends. It means buyinglast year’s model — and keeping it until it dies. Because you don’t have to worry aboutkeeping up with the Joneses, you quietly live a contented life.
Patience leads to wealth and happiness. (It leads to each independently, not as a package.) But it can be tough to practice patience if you’re plugged into television, radio, and the internet. Our society doesn’t believe in patience. Our society is all about Now.
The Culture of Now We live in a Culture of Now. We’re constantly bombarded by messages trying to convince us to buy now, to spend now, to have what we want this very moment. Nobody preaches patience. Nobody explains that the cost of Now is a loss of your future. (That is, it’s generally more expensive — in time and money — to buy something now than it is to wait until you can afford it. For more on this, see our recent discussion of the time-value of moneyand last fall’s article aboutPresent Me and Future Me.)
But if you can learn to be patient, the world opens up to you.
I’m not talking about waiting until you’re 80 to enjoy life — I want to enjoy life today — I’m talking about taking things as they come in their proper time. Relish the moment you’re in, and accept it for what it is. If you’re 25 and burdened with student loans, accept that. Set a goal, make a plan to meet that goal, and then work hard to achieve it. Be patient along the way. You will get out of debt, you will buy a house, you will save enough for retirement. But you’re not going to do all of that today. It’ll take time, which is something you have plenty of.
Edited by Flickety, Lillian May, Krystle, Eric and 10 others
Why develop compassion in your life? Well, there are scientific studies that suggest there are physical benefits to practicing compassion. But there are other benefits as well, and these are emotional and spiritual. The main benefit is that it helps you to be more happy, and brings others around you to be more happy. If we agree that it is a common aim of each of us to strive to be happy, then compassion is one of the main tools for achieving that happiness. It is therefore of utmost importance that we cultivate compassion in our lives and practice compassion every day.
How do we do that? This guide contains 7 different practices that you can try out and perhaps incorporate into your every day life.
1. Develop a morning ritual. Greet each morning with a ritual. Try this one, suggested by the Dalai Lama: “Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” Then, when you’ve done this, try one of the practices below.
Scientists have had a rough year. The leaked “Climategate” e-mails painted researchers as censorious. The mild H1N1 flu outbreak led to charges that health officials exaggerated the danger to help Big Pharma sell more drugs. And Harvard University investigators found shocking holes in a star professor’s data. As policy decisions on climate, energy, health and technology loom large, it’s important to ask: How badly have recent events shaken people’s faith in science? Does the public still trust scientists?
To find out, Scientific American partnered with our sister publication, Nature, the international journal of science, to poll readers online. More than 21,000 people responded via the Web sites of Nature and of Scientific American and its international editions. As expected, it was a supportive and science-literate crowd—19 percent identified themselves as Ph.Ds. But attitudes differed widely depending on particular issues—climate, evolution, technology—and on whether respondents live in the U.S., Europe or Asia.
How Much Do People Trust What Scientists Say? We asked respondents to rank how much they trusted various groups of people on a scale of 1 (strongly distrust) to 5 (strongly trust). Scientists came out on top by a healthy margin. When we asked how much people trust what scientists say on a topic-by-topic basis, only three topics (including, surprisingly, evolution) garnered a stronger vote of confidence than scientists did as a whole.
When Science Meets Politics: A Tale of Three Nations
Should scientists get involved in politics? Readers differ widely depending on where they are from. Germany, whose top politician has a doctorate in quantum chemistry, seems to approve of scientists playing a big role in politics. Not so in China. Even though most leaders are engineers, Chinese respondents were much less keen than their German or U.S. counterparts to see scientists in political life.
Build Labs, Not Guns
More than 70 percent of respondents agreed that in tough economic times, science funding should be spared. When asked what should be cut instead, defense spending was the overwhelming pick.
Technology can lead to unintended consequences. We asked readers what technological efforts need to be reined in—or at least closely monitored. Surprisingly, more respondents were concerned about nuclear power than artificial life, stem cellsor genetically modified crops.
U.S. vs. Europe
Europeans and Americans differ sharply in their attitudes toward technology. Higher proportions of respondents from Europe worry about nuclear power and genetically modified crops than those from the U.S. (In this grouping, Europe includes Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, but not Britain, where opinion is more closely aligned with that of the U.S.) In both Europe and the U.S., nanotechnology seems to be a great unknown. Europeans also expressed a mistrust of what scientists have to say about flu pandemics.
Suspicion Over the Flu On June 11, 2009, the Geneva-based World Health Organization declared the H1N1 flu outbreak a pandemic, confirming what virologists already knew—that the flu virus had spread throughout the world. Governments called up billions of dollars’ worth of vaccines and antiretroviral drugs, a medical arsenal that stood ready to combat a virus that, thankfully, turned out to be mild.
A year later two European studies charged that the WHO’s decision-making process was tainted by conflicts of interest. In 2004 a WHO committee recommended that governments stockpile antiretroviral drugs in times of pandemic; the scientists on that committee were later found to have ties to drug companies. The WHO has refused to identify the scientists who sat on last year’s committee that recommended the pandemic declaration, leading to suspicions that they might have ties to industry as well.
The controversy got a lot of press in Europe—the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, declared: “The pandemic that never was: Drug firms ‘encouraged world health body to exaggerate swine flu threat’”; the controversy in the U.S. garnered little mention.
The brouhaha seems to have influenced opinion markedly in Europe. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. respondents in our survey trusted what scientists say about flu pandemics; in Europe, only 31 percent felt the same way. The figures represented the largest split between the U.S. and Europe on any issue in the poll.
Climate Denial on the Decline
Numerous polls show a decline in the percentage of Americans who believe humans affect climate, but our survey suggests the nation is not among the worst deniers. (Those are France, Japan and Australia.) Attitudes, however, may be shifting the other way. Among those respondents who have changed their opinions in the past year, three times more said they are more certain than less certain that humans are changing the climate.
If you were in the Iowa City area on May 12, you may have been the recipient of what you thought was a random act of kindness.
friends Michelle Rodenburg and Tonya Dusold spent the day plugging
expired meters, handing out gift cards, leaving quarters in candy
machines and buying ice cream for strangers in North Liberty, Coralville
and Iowa City.
The 30 acts of kindness were to celebrate their 30th birthdays. It was, Dusold says, the best way to welcome a new decade.
“We had a blast,” she laughs as she recalls tossing a bag of quarters in a basket at a laundromat.
plan was to place the quarters in someone’s laundry basket, but the
questioning looks they received prompted them to toss the bag in a
basket when no one was looking, Dusold said.
“We were laughing so hard when we got to my car, I had to stop driving until I calmed down,” she says.
The left “kindness cards” to accompany their good deeds.
“Please enjoy this random act of kindness,” the cards read. “Now it’s your turn to pay it forward.”
“pay it forward” means to reciprocate a good deed by doing something
nice for someone else. The concept has been around for decades, but
found new life after Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel, “Pay it Forward,” was
made into a movie starring Kevin Spacey.
The University of Iowa’s
Students Today Leaders Forever organization embraces the practice each
spring with students traveling to various cities to complete public
service activities during their week away.
Last year, 30 UI
students participated in the Pay It Forward Tour. They painted a YMCA in
St. Louis, helped clean up and spray paint tiger and lion enclosures at
a Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, Ark., and cleaned a history museum
in Trinidad, Colo.
“To work at each and every service project for
simply three or four hours seemed like such a small task, but when we
met all of the people who ran the facilities, their gratitude for our
time we spent there was immense,” says Megan Sempkowski, a UI junior
from Worth, Ill.
Dusold, who lives in Ankeny, has been on the
receiving end of acts of kindness, be it a free cup of coffee or
quarters in the carwash.
“It’s kind of a nice little gift that makes your whole day,” she says.
Each contributed $75 to the project, which purchased $5 gift cards to Starbucks, Fareway and Target.
wasn’t the amount that struck people, but the gesture itself,” says
Rodenburg, who lives in North Liberty. “You forget how sometimes even
the most simple things mean more than some grand gesture.”
pair cut in line at the movie theater, purchasing tickets for the senior
couple behind them. The woman asked what they were doing. Her response
after they explained was complete joy.
“She told us that she and a friend started the ‘Pay It Forward’ curriculum for the State of New Jersey schools,” Dusold says.
“She was just over the moon, so excited to see people doing it,” Rodenburg adds.
friends don’t know if all their acts of kindness resulted in someone
paying it forward, but they hope some people found inspiration in their
“It’s just so simple,” Rodenburg says. “When I first told
my husband about it, he said it was a great idea, but that we should be
doing something like this all the time. It really makes a difference.
You have no idea what kind of impact a kind gesture will have.”
Ready to pay it forward? Here are some ideas:
Leave a copy of a book you’ve read in a restaurant or coffee shop for someone to enjoy.
Bring treats to an office — your office, your child’s school or your dentist’s.
Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
Compliment a stranger.
Pay for someone’s coffee.
Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru.
Leave quarters in the machine at the carwash.
Visiting a foreign country? Give what’s left of your currency to someone who lives there.
Let someone cut in front of you at the store.
Offer your letter carrier something to drink.
Shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk.
Stock up on cheap umbrellas. Pass them out the next time it rains.
Donate coloring books and crayons to a hospital’s pediatric ward.
Write letters of appreciation to groups who are helping the community.
Take flowers to a hospital and give them to someone who hasn’t had any visitors.
Open the phone book, pick a name, and send them something anonymously.
It’s long been said that laughter is contagious, and now, it turns out, so is happiness.
Happiness is not an individual but a collective phenomenon, according to a new study released online Thursday in the British Medical Journal.
The study, which followed almost 5,000 people over 20 years, found that happiness can spread through three degrees of separation within social networks, meaning that the happiness of your friend, your friend’s friend, and even your friend’s friend’s friend can infect you with a good mood.
“Happiness not only spreads from person to person but also from person to person to person,” said political scientist James H. Fowler ’92, a professor at the University of California, San Diego and one of the paper’s authors.
The study suggests that the happiest people are those at the center of a social network, Fowler said, comparing this contagion of emotions to catching a sexually transmitted infection.
“For example, in a network of sexual partners, if you have many partners and your partners have many partners, you are more susceptible to catching an STD.” Similarly, Fowler said the most connected people have a greater likelihood of “catching happiness.”
Happily, the study suggests that sadness is not as easily transferred through social networks.
“Unhappiness spreads, but it doesn’t spread quite as much nor does it spread quite as consistently as happiness,” said Harvard Medical School professor Nicholas A. Christakis, who is a co-author of the paper.
Harvard psychology professor Daniel T. Gilbert, a expert on happiness, called the new paper “stunning” in an e-mailed statement.
“We’ve known for some time that social relationships are the best predictor of human happiness, and this paper shows that the effect is much more powerful than anyone realized,” Gilbert said. “It is truly amazing to discover that when you replace the word ‘child’ with ‘best friend’s neighbor’s uncle,’ the sentence is still true.”
But some scholars remain skeptical about whether the new findings are accurate. Another recent study in the BMJ cautions that Christakis and Fowler’s happiness study may be skewed.
“Our study certainly does not refute their happiness paper, but it just suggests some caution that if you don’t take care to control for other factors, that you might be finding contagion where none exists,” said Jason M. Fletcher, a professor of public health at Yale.
Fletcher co-authored a study suggesting that perceived network effects could be erroneous. Using the same statistical methods as the happiness study, his study found that characteristics like acne, headaches, and height are contagious among adolescents, indicating that the methods used in the happiness study can produce spurious results.
Fletcher and his co-author, B. Cohen-Cole ’95, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, suggested that the happiness study could be biased because happy people are often friends and that their good moods are not necessarily influenced by each other.
“Friends select people to be their friends based on similar characteristics,” said Fletcher, “and potentially happy people choose to be friends with other happy people.”
He added that friends are often exposed to the same environment, including similar levels of crime, risk, and weather, and that those external variables could influence happiness more than a friend’s mood.
In light of these criticisms, both research groups plan to continue probing into the field of happiness with future studies.
“The whole point of science is that you want to capture a great idea but then retain healthy skepticism,” Fowler said.