Monday, February 28, 2011

I am an emotional creature: The secret life of girls around the world

By Eve Ensler

http://www.amazon.com/Am-Emotional-Creature-Secret-Around/dp/1400061040/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276033387&sr=1-1 

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This is the first book by Eve Ensler that I have read, and I am unfamiliar with anything she has produced previously; thus, in my review I have depended on others to judge the book.  I can say this about it: It is a short read and very provocative.  By provocative I simply mean that it makes you think — deeply.  It is full of poems, and some of them link together thoughts and ideas and words.

“The Compulsive Reader” from Big Rapids, MI, writes a terrific review of this book at Amazon.com.  I am quoting the entire review here because I agree with the insights shared — completely:

“I Am an Emotional Creature is, quite simply, a book of diverse monologues, told by young girls all around the world. Whether these girls' stories are familiar or foreign to you, they all are confronting the complex issue of defining oneself in a world full of contradictions, where girls are told they must be polite and pretty and perfect to fit in, yet are encouraged to be strong and independent and to dream big at the same time. Every girl's story is unique and equally jarring, from the simple confrontation of peer pressure in the average high school to tales of girls sold for sex miles and oceans away. This book is filled with girl stories: those forced to undergo unwanted plastic surgery, working in far-away factories making Barbies, pregnant girls, anorexic girls, and girls just talking. Each story is surprising and alive.

I Am an Emotional Creature is a hybrid in the style in which it is told. Though most of the monologues are straightforward prose, poems and scripts are sprinkled throughout these fictional stories, made even more realistic by the many "Girl Facts" interspersed throughout the book. Ensler captures the essence of being a girl and being human without being trite or even touching on clich├ęs, and the result is a bold, incisive, emotional, and achingly real testament to teen girls and their power and verve. This book will not only make you think, but also quite possibly change the way you think about teen girls today.”

The front flyleaf says this about the book: I Am an Emotional Creature is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, follow their dreams, and become the women they were always meant to be.”

From the back flyleaf, “About the Author”: Ensler “is an internationally best-selling author and an acclaimed playwright whose works for the stage include The Vagina Monologues, Necessary Targets, and The Good Body . . . Ensler is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to and violence against women and girls.  In the last decade, V-Day has raised more than $70 million for grassroots groups that work to end volence against women and girls around the world.”

Michael Dorenzo of Santa Cruz, California, wrote this on Amazon.com: “I ordered this book after listening to Ms. Engler's talk and performance of the piece, ‘I am an emotional creature" on TED Talks via You Tube. It was sent to me by one of my ‘girls’ on the east coast who works at Cornell University and who sent it to all her girls, both female and male. I quickly sent it to all of mine.

“I have mentored girls through my work at UCSC and in my community and family and it always brings me such joy to be around them...Hearing her perform the poem from which the book gets its name simply rocked my world. I couldn't wait to order the book.

“It addresses in the most direct way the girl in all of us...that most precious of resources that we tend to abandon, repress, abuse and disown in so many ways and in accordance with so many cultural directives. It is a beautiful articulation of the wild, creative, dangerous, indomitable feminine--both an affirmation and a call to action.

I'd like to give the book to all the girls I know.“


This book is available at Amazon.com: I am an emotional creature: The secret life of girls around the world

Friday, February 25, 2011

LAUGH . . . And Then Some

A senior citizen said to his eighty-year old buddy:
"So I hear you're getting married?"
"Yep!"
"Do I know her?"
"Nope!"
"This woman, is she good looking?"
"Not really."
"Is she a good cook?"
"Naw, she can't cook too well."
"Does she have lots of money?"
"Nope!  Poor as a church mouse."
"Well, then, is she good in bed?"
"I don't know."
"Why in the world do you want to marry her then?"
"Because she can still drive!"



Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet

From Day #184 in a complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Neuroplasticity: A way to look forward to a positive future

By Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I read and reviewed Sharon Begley’s book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain (Ballantine Books, 2007).  I gave it an outstanding review ---- five stars out of five.  Then I read and reviewed Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work  (Crown Business, 2010).  I gave it an outstanding review — five stars out of five.  What these two books have in common — and I’m sure there will be many more that discuss the topic — is neuroplasticity — the basis of and foundation for neurogenesis (brain growth).
    
At the web site MedicineNet, the definition of neuroplasticity is provided: “The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.”
    
There is an important second paragraph to the definition as well: “Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as "axonal sprouting" in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neural pathways to accomplish a needed function.”
    
At the web site MemoryZine, the first paragraph of the essay, “Introduction to Neuroplasticity,” the administrator of the web site explains neuroplasticity in somewhat more detail: “The human brain is incredibly adaptive. Our mental capacity is astonishingly large, and our ability to process widely varied information and complex new experiences with relative ease can often be surprising. The brain’s ability to act and react in ever-changing ways is known, in the scientific community, as ‘neuroplasticity.’ This special characteristic allows the brain’s estimated 100 billion nerve cells, also called neurons (aka “gray matter”), to constantly lay down new pathways for neural communication and to rearrange existing ones throughout life, thereby aiding the processes of learning, memory, and adaptation through experience. Without the ability to make such functional changes, our brains would not be able to memorize a new fact or master a new skill, form a new memory or adjust to a new environment; we, as individuals, would not be able to recover from brain injuries or overcome cognitive disabilities. Because of the brain’s neuroplasticity, old dogs, so to speak, regularly learn new tricks of every conceivable kind.”
    
In the same essay just quoted, the administrator answers the question about how neuroplasticity works: “Neuroplasticity can work in two directions; it is responsible for deleting old connections as frequently as it enables the creation of new ones. Through this process, called “synaptic pruning,” connections that are inefficient or infrequently used are allowed to fade away, while neurons that are highly routed with information will be preserved, strengthened, made even more synaptically dense. Closely tied in with the pruning process, then, is our ability to learn and to remember. While each neuron acts independently, learning new skills may require large collections of neurons to be active simultaneously to process neural information; the more neurons activated, the better we learn.”
    
One of the most important questions regarding neuroplasticity is whether or not it lasts.  This same essay answers that question as well: “Groundbreaking new research suggests that, beyond modifying pathways and forming new ones between existing neurons, the human brain is even able to generate entirely new brain cells. While this neural regeneration was long believed to be impossible after age three or four, research now shows that new neurons can develop late into the life span, even into the golden years of age 70 and beyond. Thus, the old adage ‘use it or lose it’ is brought soundly home. If one’s brain is constantly challenged by and engaged with a variety of stimulations and new experiences, while also exposed regularly to that which it already knows, it is better able to retain its adaptive flexibility, regenerative capacity, and remarkable efficiency throughout life.”
    
If you read the above excerpts closely, you can easily see why neroplasticity is so important.  All of those advocates out there (including me!) who have suggested exercises and activities to keep the brain active and engaged are right on target.  It doesn’t matter what the activity is, the brain thrives and grows on new learning, and among all the things you can do, new learning occupies the top — first and foremost — position.  What else?  Engage in enrichment (self-imposed or by outside sources like teachers, lecturers, community organizers, etc.), seek variety, challenge, and decision-making opportunities.  Multi-task, plan, and problem-solve.  Do memory-enhancement and manual-dexterity exercises.  Maintain contacts with family members, friends, and others, because a social network contributes significantly.  And, don’t forget the physical exercise.  Physical exercise — an active life — contributes just as much to the brain (maybe even more!) as it does to the body.  
    
I know that you’ve heard it all before; however, there is a better context now (neuroplasticity) that should renew the spirit, regenerate the willpower, and reinvigorate the body.  And, in all of this renewal, regeneration, and reinvigoration, you will automatically be renovating, redeveloping, and rebuilding something even more important than your spirit, willpower, or body, you will be revitalizing your brain.  Now, that’s a powerful incentive!
- - - - - - - -
A powerful Google document, an article by Dominick M. Maino, O.D., M.Ed., titled, “Neuroplasticity: Teaching an Old Brain New Tricks,” discusses the advantages of neuroplasticity. The brief review/summary of the paper reads: “This paper provides an overview of neuroplasticity and demonstrates how optometrists can take advantage of this innate ability in adult patients.”

At the trademarked web site BrainsOnPurpose, there is a brief essay, “Neuroscience and conflict resolution,” by Stephanie West Allen, JD, in collaboration with Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD.  The subtitle of the essay is: “‘There's a great future in [neuroplasticity]. Think about it. Will you think about it?’” (July 8, 2007).  The authors write: “As these brain remodels take place, we have two choices. We can let them happen with our ‘self reduced to its bare minimum.’ Or we can awaken ‘our faculties,’ direct the changes, and turn neuroplasticity into self-directed neuroplasticity (a phrase coined by Jeff). When our brains are engaging in neuroplasticity without our knowledge, direction, or awareness, our brains are changing accidentally. When we are employing self-directed neuroplasticity, we are changing our brains on purpose.”  A great, brief, essay.
- - - - - - - -
Copyright February, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day #239 - Every day, do a better job.

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." --Anne Frank

Day #239 - Every day, do a better job.

SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of five motivational quotations for Day #239.
Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And Then Some News

Thursday's Essay Preview

I read and reviewed Sharon Begley’s book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain (Ballantine Books, 2007).  I gave it an outstanding review ---- five stars out of five.  Then I read and reviewed Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. (Crown Business, 2010).  I gave it an outstanding review — five stars out of five.  What these two books have in common — and I’m sure there will be many more that discuss the topic — is neuroplasticity — the basis of and foundation for neurogenesis (brain growth).


Thursday's Essay Excerpt

I know that you’ve heard it all before; however, there is a better context now (neuroplasticity) that should renew the spirit, regenerate the willpower, and reinvigorate the body.  And, in all of this renewal, regeneration, and reinvigoration, you will automatically be renovating, redeveloping, and rebuilding something even more important than your spirit, willpower, or body, you will be revitalizing your brain.  Now, that’s a powerful incentive!


And Then Some News

Monday, February 21, 2011

Old is the New Young: Erickson's Secrets to Healthy Living

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D. 


There are a number of things that make this book an excellent choice.  First, it is expertly written.  Being direct and to the point, it talks directly to readers as if the authors are in the same room, and the writing style is comfortable, relaxed, and engaging.

The second thing that makes this book an excellent choice is that sections are short so that it can be read in brief moments when you don’t have the time for a long, involved, and committed read.

The third thing that makes this book an excellent choice is the brief, interesting, and human-interest vignettes that are set apart in sections that are gray in color.  These segments are always relevant to the material and useful.

The fourth thing that makes this book an excellent choice is the practical, specific advice.  Throughout the book there are tips, suggestions, questions, quizzes, activities, and scales for rating yourself.  It offers so many opportunities for readers to engage in self-assessment.

The fifth thing that makes this book an excellent choice is the topics covered.  Topics include your health, keeping your body young, keeping your mind young, engaging socially, financial advice, and your retirement vision.

The sixth thing that makes this book an excellent choice is all the additional resources the authors provide at the back of the book.  Twenty-two pages of this 241-page book are devoted (in two appendices) to resources.  (Their bibliography is ten pages long.)

Overall, I am impressed with what the authors have put together here, and I highly recommend this book.


Friday, February 18, 2011

LAUGH . . . And Then Some

What do you get from a pampered cow?  Spoiled milk.


What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?  Frostbite.


What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?  A nervous wreck.


What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup?  Anyone can roast beef.



Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet

From Day #180 in a complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Relationship luck takes hard work

Thousands of couples had their weddings on July 7, 2007, because they believed that date would result in wedded bliss—“lucky sevens” they thought. But, what effect does luck have on relationships?

For this essay I depend on the research of Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire who studied “luck” for more than ten years. I have avoided using quotation marks, however, I depend on his article, “The loser’s guide to getting lucky” (sponsored on the Web by BBC News) for the information in this essay.


Based on his monitoring of their lives, interviews he conducted, and experiments, Wiseman discovered that the thoughts and behavior of individuals is responsible for much of their good and bad fortune. For example, based on an experiment he conducted, he found that lucky people notice and respond to more opportunities than unlucky people. Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and it is their anxiety that disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. They will go to a party intent on finding the perfect partner and miss opportunities to make good friends, or they will search through a newspaper determined to find a certain kind of job advertisement and miss other types of jobs.


Because lucky people tend to be more relaxed and open, they see what is there rather than just what they are looking for. This can have enormous benefits in relationships simply because of synergy—the combined effect of two people that produces results different from those that occur when acting alone. It is just such effects that are often unprecedented, frequently unpredictable, generally variable, and yet—for relationships—exceptional and unique. Lucky people, according to the research Wiseman conducted, are skilled at creating and noticing just such chance opportunities. It should be clear that it isn’t luck that comes from outside the relationship—like getting married on a special date—it is luck that occurs because one partner or the other possesses characteristics that favor luck—it’s their thoughts and behaviors.


But what about people who tend to be unlucky? Is there any help for them? The answer Wiseman gives offers hope. When he asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person—spotting chance opportunities, listening to their intuition, expecting to be lucky, and being more resilient to bad luck—80% of the volunteers became happier, more satisfied with their lives, and, most important of all, they were luckier—and all this, just one month later.


There are four tips, according to Wiseman, for becoming lucky, and all four can be applied to relationships.


First, listen to your gut instincts. Wiseman says they are normally right. It’s a matter of trusting your intuition. In a relationship, begin by believing that the chemistry that brought the two of you together is correct. Because you feel your gut reaction to this person is accurate, use that as a foundation. For example, believe that this person has every intention of making this relationship work, and they are willing to grow and change along with you. Trust them. Don’t doubt them. Allow this positive foundation to eliminate all indecision, suspicion, insecurity, uncertainty, vacillation, and hesitancy.


Second, be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine. In today’s world so many people rush hectically around, strive to get work done, complete errands, and fill their time by running here and there. You need to slow down and notice what is happening around you. Because you know you have found the love of your life—no doubts, no vacillation (see the first tip, above)—you need to practice paying attention to what is right in front of you. If you pay attention you will not only be surprised by the experiences, contacts, events, happenings, and adventures you will encounter, but you will be able to take advantage of the people and things that will help keep your relationship stimulating, fresh, and alive.


Third, spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well. Dwell on the positive. When you spend some time every day thinking of the good things about your relationship partner, your relationship, and yourself—even when these things are small or silly (like something you said that made the other person feel good, or an e-mail message that brought the two of you closer together, or your weird sense of humor)—it is these things that are associated with being happy. When you are happy, you are relaxed and attractive to others. You reflect a smiling, warm confidence that supplies the glue that holds relationships together.


Fourth, visualize yourself being lucky. Luck can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your relationship success depends upon communication, intimacy, relating, compromise, negotiation, and understanding. Since both sexes are equally able to perform the tasks required to make the relationship work, neither has to depend on the other for these abilities. If you believe you have the ability, your actions will not only be positive, but they will reveal that you actually have the ability to make your relationship work.


So, for those who chose to marry on July 7, 2007 (or on any other date thought to be lucky), because it had the potential of bringing them triple the amount of luck for wedded bliss, I leave them the following suggestions. Let your luck motivate you to pay attention and plan carefully. First, pay attention to everything around you so you can take advantage of all opportunities to make life better for your relationship and your relationship partner. Second, plan not just for today but for years ahead. Plan to make time for yourself, for your partner, and to enhance your relationship. Save money every week to assure financial security. Because there is always an element of chance in life, you need to capitalize on that chance to make life more rewarding, challenging, and exciting. If luck is truly the confluence of preparation and opportunity, then it is easy not just to understand but to support what Thomas Jefferson said: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have it.

_____________________________________________________________________

At the web site, divine caroline, at , the essay is entitled, “You Make Your Own Relationship Luck.” This is a fascinating, personal, and insightful story about personal responsibility that can be summed up in this quotation from the essay, “Women need to stop marginalizing themselves to the status of ‘other woman’ or ‘mistreated woman’ and avoid these ‘pretend relationships’ where the guy makes us think that we’re in a relationship by throwing us just enough crumbs to keep us hooked.” Basically, in relationships, each partner is responsible for making his or her own luck.


At iVilliage.co.uk the essay, “25 Tips for Relationship Success,” by Susan Quilliam at the web site offers wonderful, practical, specific advice about what it takes to make relationships work. This essay is very worthwhile
_____________________________________________________________________

Copyright February, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing L.L. C.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day #238 - Be gentle with yourself

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom

"Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.  --Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
 

Day #238 - Be gentle with yourself.
SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of five motivational quotations for Day #238.
Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thursday Essay Preview -"Lucky Sevens" and Relationships

Thursday's Essay Preview
Thousands of couples got married on July 7, 2007, because they believed that date would result in wedded bliss—“lucky sevens” they thought.  But, what effect does luck have on relationships?
For this essay I depend on the research of Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire who studied “luck” for more than ten years.  I have avoided using quotation marks, however, I depend on his article, “The loser’s guide to getting lucky” (sponsored on the Web by BBC News) for the information in this essay.

Thursday's Essay Excerpt
So, for those who chose to marry on July 7, 2007, because it had the potential of bringing them triple the amount of luck for wedded bliss, I leave them the following suggestions.  Let your luck motivate you to pay attention and plan carefully.  First, pay attention to everything around you so you can take advantage of all opportunities to make life better for your relationship and your relationship partner.  Second, plan not just for today but for years ahead.  Plan to make time for yourself, for your partner, and to enhance your relationship.  Save money every week to assure financial security.  Because there is always an element of chance in life, you need to capitalize on that chance to make life more rewarding, challenging, and  exciting.  If luck is truly the confluence of preparation and opportunity, then it is easy not just to understand but to support what Thomas Jefferson said: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have it.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

You say more than you think: A 7-day plan for using the new body language to get what you want

Book Review by Richad L. Weaver II, PhD.

You say more than you think: A 7-day plan for using the new body language to get what you want

I have been reading and writing about nonverbal communication since 1971 (39 years ago!) since the publication of Julius Fast’s popular book, Body Language — which was truly a novelty at the time.  Having written many chapters — and numerous updates — on the subject since the publication of my first college textbook, Speech/Communication (Van Nostrand, 1974), Julius Fast’s book was always considered by academics as a “hack job” by an unqualified writer.

This entire book of 216 pages has only 20 sources (pp. 215-216).  The subject, nonverbal communication, has been studied intensely in the academic world for well over 25 years, and there are thousands of available resources.  Not one of her sources comes out of the speech-communication discipline, and several come from Psychology Today and one from the Calgary Herald.

I found the pictures interesting but not particularly helpful.  For those not familiar with the nonverbal communication literature and not particularly observant of all the nonverbal communication that occurs around them, they may well find information here that is new or insightful.  I found, for the most part, the information to be common sense.

The portions of the book I found most interesting were the stories the authors tell, the insights gained from all the training Janine Driver has engaged in, and the many interpretations of nonverbal cues they offer.  She is the founder and president of the Body Language Institute, and she has — according to the blurb on the inside back flyleaf — “trained thousands of law enforcement officers to decipher fact from fiction using the body language interpretation methods she writes about.”

Another enjoyable feature of this entertaining book (please consider it entertainment only!) is the sassy approach the authors take toward many of the topics discussed.  It makes the writing fun: “If you don’t want to give off a passive-aggressive vibe—bump up that one-handed broadside display a notch and move to the more confident two-handed Superman pose” (p. 122).

To reveal (somewhat) the level of writing in this book, here is a quotation: “Align your belly button to your teen’s, and you’ll be on the path of open, respectful, and powerful communication” (p. 71).

Please don’t think that the advice in the book is wrong or even that because it lacks any evidential base that it is inconsequential, that is not my point.  My point is that so much of the interpretation of nonverbal communication cues and gestures is based on the context or based on the personalities of those involved, that interpretation can be substantially off base.  The 7 myths the authors discuss in Chapter 1, “The New Body Language: What I’ll Tell You That Other Experts Won’t,” are useful; however, the title of the chapter suggests that Driver is truly an expert (she is not), and it reveals the unmitigated, bold, self-assurance that should make every reader question the authors’ authority and credibility.   If you know this as you approach the book, it will help you take what the authors say as one interpretation, or one approach, or one way of looking at nonverbal communication.  As I have said, as an entertaining read, this book is a winner.

Friday, February 11, 2011

LAUGH . . . And Then Some

When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past).

For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, "And all girls." 

As this soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this at the end, my curiosity got the best of me, and I asked her, "Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?"

Her response, "Because we always finish our prayers by saying, "All Men"!

Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet

From Day #179 in a complete manuscript  compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Relationship compatibility = Partner versatility

My wife and I took a seminar some time ago that used Wilson Learning materials, and one of the conclusions after learning about various social styles and determining our own, was that one of the key predictors of relationship success was versatility or a relationship partner’s ability to change and be variable. The more rigid or inflexible a partner was, the less likely a relationship will survive. In my mind, having a marriage that has lasted more than forty years, this appeared to be common sense. I, as it turns out, am less versatile than my wife; however, she scored as extremely versatile, and it is revealed daily at a variety of different points in our relationship.

What this doesn’t mean, and this needs to be pointed out, is that versatility is the single or only important ingredient. Untrue. Compatibility still counts. There are so many elements or factors that collide when two people form a relationship that it is impossible to predict which will become the demon element(s) and which will reinforce peace and harmony. That is why versatility is so important; it allows adjustment to devilish irritants.


Look, briefly, at what writers on the Internet have said about compatibility and in some cases, what they selected as the most important components when it comes to relationship compatibility. When you examine the components, you will quickly see that when there is agreement on major issues, topics, or ideas, relationships are more likely to be successful. No doubt about this. Look at the comments and the components.


“True compatibility doesn't have rigid lines,” writes Leon Scott Baxter, at AllExperts.com, in a response to a reader’s question under the heading, “How to strengthen your relationship,” about the meaning of compatibility. “All it means is that two people can fit well together, like pieces of a puzzle. You don't have to force the pieces to fit. You may need to use a little bit of wiggling, but really the pieces belong together. Sometimes the pieces look similar, sometimes they are totally different.” With respect to Baxter’s response, it becomes a partner’s level of versatility that determines wiggleability.


At essortment, in an essay on “Relationship: Marriage built on compatibility,” the author writes, “In a marriage you must know your own needs, plus the needs of your mate. If one is not satisfied a strain will be felt in the marriage. It is impossible to like everything your mate does, however too many different interests and tastes will weaken the bond. Those contemplating marriage need to have a two-way communication. Important matters such as whom will handle the money, where the couple will live, and what type of discipline will be used for children should be discussed prior to marriage. Couples have a tendency to wait until after marriage to talk about these matters and find themselves disagreeing.” Waiting until after marriage, too, makes exercising versatility more troublesome and difficult.


At the Online Dating Magazine, in his column, “Office hours with Dr. Jim,” Dr.James Houran, writes: “romantic partners showing strong similarity in age, political, and religious attitudes; moderate similarity in education, general intelligence, and values; and little or no similarity in personality characteristics [are more likely to have strong relationships.]” He ends his essay with the following comment, “The bottom line is that relationships are held together over time because of compatibility, not chemistry, passion, love style, sex type or dating persona. Compatibility is a psychological concept, not an inherently hard-wired and unconscious phenomenon between two people that stems from uncontrollable chemical reactions in the brain. “


Sandra Fisher writes in her essay, “Compatibility in Relationships,” at her website, Graphic Insight , that the following are important ingredients in compatibility: 1) Emotional responsiveness. 2) Physical energy. 3) Intensity of feeling. 4) Self-esteem. 5) Social attitude, and 6) Manner of handling conflict. “The way you behave in an argument reveals a great deal about your personality,” writes Fisher. “This is a big test for compatibility. If for example you regularly remain silent and introverted while your partner rants and raves — it could spell trouble for the long-term health of your relationship,” she says.


Once you and your partner come as close as possible on important components of compatibility, then it depends on your versatility — your flexibility and willingness to adjust. Improving versatility reduces tension in relationships and enables people to focus efficiently on daily tasks and the work to be done. Partners who remain versatile, flexible, and nimble will benefit their relationship. This versatility helps them resolve problems — even though clear-cut answers may be impossible to find. Effective partners know how to handle uncertainty by drawing on their experience and the experience of their partner. They are able to notice and analyze important issues in complex matters, track down answers, and resolve issues in mutually compatible and satisfying ways.


In an essay entitled, “Versatile Leadership,” by Dr. Michael Leimbach, vice president of research and design for Wilson Learning Worldwide, concludes his essay by saying, “Employees don’t leave companies; they leave managers! . . .Versatility is the key. . . . A manager who is sensitive to the style of his or her employees, and takes steps to adjust his or her behavior to meet the needs of employees, will communicate more clearly and establish a more trusting relationship.” It is that adjustment feature that becomes important in versatility — whether in business or in relationships.


A partner in a relationship is little different than a manager in this case. Versatility is the key. It is, indeed, versatility that helps partners understand each other, experience less frustration with poor and stressful communication, communicate more effectively and persuasively, and increase their relationship effectiveness.


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At SearchYourLove, a case is developed for promoting similarity between partners as the key to compatibility. The author says, “Incompatibility remains the strongest factor contributing to breakups. Psychologists have discovered that there are certain types of incompatible relationships that are doomed to fail from the start. We call these Incompatible Relationships.” Five types are discussed. Then the author examines three types of compatible relationships and ends the essay saying, “What does it mean to be compatible? Well, similarities between people make life together much simpler. Being together involves compromise, and people can reach these compromises more easily when they share common values and inter ests. Sure, sometimes opposites can attract, but for a stable relationship bet on similarity.”


Krista Bloom, at Ezine@rticles, in an essay entitled, “The Compatibility Factor in Relationships - Seven Signs That You Are Right for Each Other (Or Wrong),” mentions: 1) personality, 2) communication, 3) friends and family, 4) health and nutrition, 5) financial, 6) educational, and 7) intimate compatibility. Bloom concludes saying, “If you are in the dating and selection process, it is much more effective to choose a compatible partner now than it is to "fix" something that is "broken" later. Don't be afraid to let go if things are not working out. Sometimes love really is just not enough. Don't worry, there are millions of singles in the world to choose from, and you can find one that is compatible with you!”

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Copyright February 2011 by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day #236 - Direct your imagination in positive directions.

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom

"If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it." --Jesse Jackson

Day #236 - Direct your imagination in positive directions.

SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of four motivational quotations for Day #236.
Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And Then Some News - Thursday Essay Preview

Thursday's Essay Preview

My wife and I took a seminar some time ago that used Wilson Learning materials, and one of the conclusions after learning about various social styles and determining our own, was that one of the key predictors of relationship success was versatility or a relationship partner’s ability to change and be variable.  The more rigid or inflexible a partner was, the less likely a relationship will survive.  In my mind, having a marriage that has lasted more than forty years, this appeared to be common sense.  I, as it turns out, am less versatile than my wife; however, she scored as extremely versatile, and it is revealed daily at a variety of different points in our relationship.

Thursday's Essay Excerpt

Once you and your partner come as close as possible on important components of compatibility, then it depends on your versatility — your flexibility and willingness to adjust.  Improving versatility reduces tension in relationships and enables people to focus efficiently on daily tasks and the work to be done.  Partners who remain versatile, flexible, and nimble will benefit their relationship. This versatility helps them resolve problems — even though clear-cut answers may be impossible to find.  Effective partners know how to handle uncertainty by drawing on their experience and the experience of their partner. They are able to notice and analyze important issues in complex matters, track down answers, and resolve issues in mutually compatible and satisfying ways.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Theodor SEUSS Geisel (Lives and Legacies)

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.


From the English Department, Dartmouth University, website : “Donald Pease, professor of English, Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities, Chair of the Dartmouth Liberal Studies Program and winner of the 1981 Distinguished Teaching Award at Dartmouth, is an authority on nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature and literary theory. In the summer of 1986 he brought the School of Criticism and Theory to Dartmouth.  In 1996 he founded the Dartmouth Institute in American Studies and in 1997 he has also served as Academic Director of the Alumni College program.”

Despite his outstanding credentials, this is not an academic book.  It is a readable, factual, well-documented, thorough, and highly interesting book.

These are the first two paragraphs of his biography, published at the website, “Dr. Suess National Memorial : “Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as the beloved Dr. Seuss, was born in 1904 on Howard Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. Ted's father, Theodor Robert, and grandfather were brewmasters in the city. His mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel, often soothed her children to sleep by "chanting" rhymes remembered from her youth. Ted credited his mother with both his ability and desire to create the rhymes for which he became so well known.

Although the Geisels enjoyed great financial success for many years, the onset of World War I and Prohibition presented both financial and social challenges for the German immigrants. Nonetheless, the family persevered and again prospered, providing Ted and his sister, Marnie, with happy childhoods.”

The only review of the book posted on Amazon.com when I wrote my review, is this 5-star one by  A. Nazaryan, who nicely sums up all that I have to say about the book: “Highly readable, deeply informative, this is a lively take on the life of our most famous children's author. Much less academic - or heavy - than previous works on Seuss, it covers both his life and work while unraveling aspects of his life readers probably don't know much about: his relationship with his mother (who gave him the name Seuss), his rowdy days at Dartmouth, his work for the New Yorker, his first wife's suicide and, of course, how he came up with some of the most memorable characters in all of literature.”

The book is fantastic, the additional illustrations are a terrific addition, and I highly recommend this book.


 

Friday, February 4, 2011

LAUGH . . . And Then Some

Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming:
          1. Whenever you're wrong, admit it.
          2. Whenever you're right, shut up.
                                        --Patrick Murray

"There's a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking.  It's called marriage."
                                          --Sam Kinison

Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet

From Day #178 in a complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don’t let the shine rub off

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
 
As I write these words (at the end of the first week of February), over one-third of those who made a New Year’s resolution have already broken them.  According to John C. Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, six months after January 1st, 46% of those who make them will not have fulfilled them, and FranklinCovey, based on a poll of 15,000 customers, claims that 80% of those making resolutions will break them.  So, how long does it take for the shine of a new resolution to rub off?
    
Whether you want to spend more time with family and friends, become more fit, tame your bulge, quit smoking, enjoy life more, quit drinking, get out of debt or save more, learn something new, help others, or get organized (the top ten New Year’s resolutions according to General Nutrition Centers and Quicken), you need to realize that each of these requires a lifestyle change—that is, the formation of a new habit.  How long does it take for the shine of the desire for such a change rub off?  At PsychCentral the answer is less than 66 days.  Why 66 days?  Because that’s how long it takes for a new habit to take hold, and most people are not that patient or committed.
    
Sixty-six days!  These are not days made up of hopes, dreams, and desires—although these can help drive action.  These are not days of laziness and leisure.  Rather, these are days of knowing precisely what you want, making a list of the benefits of your new habit, committing yourself to the new habit, setting goals and rewarding yourself for accomplishing them, starting slowly then making the goals larger as you adapt to the habit.  This is intense, focused, ongoing effort—and that’s why most people are not good at keeping up the shine.
    
The most popular (and lucrative) time to sell gym memberships and exercise equipment is during the early weeks of January—while the shine is bright.  Check out the advertisements, and note the deals offered on various kinds of exercise equipment during January.  
    
If you want a practical example close to home, notice how long it takes after purchasing a new car, new tool, or other piece of equipment for you to stop keeping it as clean as you did just after purchase.  How long did it take for the shine to rub off?  
    
People in general are not very good at keeping up the shine—the desire for change, the enthusiasm for a new purchase, or the eagerness to maintain an impression—and it doesn’t just apply to resolutions.
    
Most would agree, for example, that the time during courting when the shine is the brightest is the infatuation stage.  How long before the infatuation stage ends?  “Psychologists say 3 to 18 months. They contend that after 18 months, if things go well, it develops into a less intense, but richer 'companionate love'”—or it doesn’t.  When the intensity and fervency of infatuation ends, often the “real person” is revealed.  That is, the hair comes down, and the traits and characteristics hidden—in many cases purposely—by the obsession of infatuation, become more obvious—“true colors” exposed; the shine rubbed off!  When the shine is no longer there, sometimes instead of the romance moving forward, as the infatuation stage was designed to bring forth, the romance fades, and the relationship dissolves.
    
How about “shine” in the area of medicine?  From the web site JSTOR, at a site called “Patient Information,” Ruth Merkatz and Mary Pat Conig have an essay entitled, “Helping America Take Its Medicine.”  They begin their essay by citing a study completed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Researchers there discovered that between 30% and 50% of Americans do not follow their drug regimens properly.  The researchers note as well, that 10% of all hospital admissions result from inadequate compliance.   Why is it that even in the matter of one’s health, when a pill regimen is prescribed by a medical doctor, patients let the shine rub off?
    
Other times when “maintaining a shine” is important would be in employment interviews, meeting people for the first time who you know you’ll be meeting again, establishing new contacts in a community or neighborhood, as a salesperson who is looking for repeat business, and anytime, obviously, when a long-term relationship of some kind is important.  There is always a difference, of course, between a private and a public persona, but this—maintaining a shine----goes well beyond that.  It has to do with sustaining a good impression, the newness of a recently purchased product, or even the kind of change as resolutions are designed to bring about.
    
Because maintaining a shine presents a unique situation for each person, universal guidelines for sustaining “shine” are difficult to offer, but there are a number of suggestions that can be made.  There is no reason that anyone needs to let the shine rub off in any situation—if that is what they really want.
    
First, you must avoid former behaviors and keep up new behaviors. If you can do this, even in the short term, you will become more assured that you will be able to continue the change.

If you are trying to maintain a new behavior, you must look for ways to avoid temptation. Replace old habits with more positive actions, and be certain to reward yourself when you successfully avoid relapses. If you do lapse, don’t be hard on yourself or give up.  Remind yourself that it was just a minor setback.  Relapses are common and are part of the process of making significant, long-term changes.
    
The best way you have to maintain the shine is to engage in frequent self-monitoring.  How badly do you really want to do it?  If your commitment is genuine, then spend the time necessary to check on your progress, keep an eye on your emotions, and reinforce your intention, purpose, and goals.
    
At the Time/CNN web site, Maia Szalavitz, in her essay, “How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions: Advice from the Experts,” writes: “ . . . recognize that willpower is like a muscle — it gets stronger with appropriate use but ultimately weakens if overloaded” . . .  set “short-term goals that are moderately difficult, realistic, concrete and measurable” . . . start “at a level that is challenging but not overwhelming [to] provide a sense of achievement and success — which can give you the drive to take on bigger challenges.”  That is, not only do you not need to let the shine rub off, but you can polish it to an even higher level of shine!
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At the Time/CNN web site Maia Szalavitz, in her essay, “How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions: Advice from the Experts,” offers a number of valuable suggestions.  Szalavitz ends her essay saying, “Rather than obsessing about what you shouldn't be doing, think about things you should, experts say. The distraction will help you curb bad habits. "Focus on your higher goals and positive activities, things that both sustain you and fill your life," says Peele. If you regularly engage in meaningful activities that give you pleasure — whether it's visiting friends, picking up a hobby, taking a class or doing volunteer work (one of the most overlooked sources of personal joy and meaning is helping others) — you'll simply have less time to crave or engage in the behavior that you want to reduce.”

At the Mahalo web site , there are five specific suggestions for “How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions,” that are practical and worthwhile.
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Copyright February, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing LLC.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day #235 - Never stop looking for a purpose in life.

SMOERs: Words of Wisdom

"Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness.  It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." --Helen Keller

Day #235 - Never stop looking for a purpose in life.

SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits.  This is one of five motivational quotations for Day #235.
Free 30-Day sample: smoers.com

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Site-stripe Updates and Richard L. Weaver II Thursday Essay Preview

And Then Some Publishing and ANTworkstudio Updates

This week the yellow site-stripe was updated.

What is that you ask?

Atop all of our blogs and many websites there is a yellow band that includes links to more books, videos, blogs... And Then Some!

Upon visiting the pages that include the site-stripe, the popular opinion was the site-stripe was too demonstrative and felt as if you were to navigate the current website using this feature. Confused? Most people were and that wasn't the point.

Our goal was for you to visit our many websites, videos, and blogs in the And Then Some Publishing and ANTworkstudio world using the yellow site-stripe. We weren't supposed to create confusion.

We hope we've fixed the issue. Use the new yellow site-stripe links and see more books, videos, baby books...  you guessed it... And Then Some!

Let us know what you think of our yellow site-stripe atop this page. Did you find something interesting? We hope you did! 

It's always fun to start off with a joke:  Laugh... And Then Some

Thursday's Essay Preview
 As I write these words (at the end of the first week of February), over one-third of those who made a New Year’s resolution have already broken them.  According to John C. Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, six months after January 1st, 46% of those who make them will not have fulfilled them, and FranklinCovey, based on a poll of 15,000 customers, claims that 80% of those making resolutions will break them.  So, how long does it take for the shine of a new resolution to rub off?

Thursday's Essay Excerpt
At the Time/CNN web site, Maia Szalavitz, in her essay, “How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions: Advice from the Experts,” writes: “ . . . recognize that willpower is like a muscle — it gets stronger with appropriate use but ultimately weakens if overloaded” . . .  set “short-term goals that are moderately difficult, realistic, concrete and measurable” . . . start “at a level that is challenging but not overwhelming [to] provide a sense of achievement and success — which can give you the drive to take on bigger challenges.”  That is, not only do you not need to let the shine rub off, but you can polish it to an even higher level of shine!