What You Need to Succeed Here

July 7, 2009 at 5:04 AM | Posted in General, Psychological Wellness | Leave a comment
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I really want you to get something out of reading my posts.  I’m here to help you improve your lifestyle, or at least to introduce new things that you might like to try.  Even if you don’t need improvement, you should know that trying new things and being open to new ideas keeps your mind young and your life interesting.  Here’s a list of what you’ll need to derive benefits from my blog.

1. Open Mind

I’ve said this already, but if you are going to get anything from my posts, please come in with an open mind.  You don’t need to accept anything I say, but a well-developed mind has the ability to entertain thoughts it does not necessarily agree with.  Understand that while I welcome intelligent comments and debate, close-minded flaming is not acceptable.

I’m a firm advocate of the internet in general.  You can google “how to ________” and get results for just about ANYTHING!  Example: “how to have an open mind.”  You’ll actually get a step-by-step process for having an open mind.  Since you probably won’t do it, here’s a list of the things you should keep in mind:

– Understand that no one is 100% correct (pathological cases excepted).  You may have some truth and I may have some truth but, chances are, the real truth lies somewhere in between.

– Listen!  There is a difference between listening and hearing (or in our case, comprehending and skimming/reading).  If you are listening, you are actively thinking about the things you are being told.  You can digest information readily when you are listening.  If you are simply hearing, you are not registering what you are told, or you are simply mindlessly reading it back.  Please, actively engage your brain.  It is all to your benefit.

– Have a desire to learn.  This is something that a lot of people lose over the years, but a passion and a desire to learn go very well together.  People who have both and put them to use usually end up at the front of their field.  I am a teacher at heart, and my goal is to introduce someone to new facts.  It won’t work unless you are willing and ready to be exposed to something new.  Furthermore, if you disagree with someone, it helps to have solid research to back up your position.  I try not to dive into topics I haven’t done adequate, legitimate research in.  It is always wise to know what you are talking about before saying something, right?

– Try new things.  New food, new places to hang out, something new in your daily lifestyle or even a new culture are examples.  Even meeting new people will help you have an open mind.  A lot of us are open to listening to new music.  Our opinions and beliefs come from our personal experiences in our lives.  If someone did a study on one person and claimed that some result were true about them and therefore must be true about everyone, would you believe it?  Of course not!  It’s the same thing with opinions, believe it or not.  If you aren’t a very experienced, well-rounded person and you’ve developed a close-minded opinion about something based on one or two experiences, chances are a lot of people aren’t going to take you seriously.

These kinds of exercises are good for anything, really.  Keeping an open mind is CRITICAL to your ability to actively think and assess a situation fairly.  We all know that the American federal government is really disfunctional, right (right?)?  Well, maybe you disagree, but I feel like we aren’t getting much done at that level and that the things we DO see passed aren’t exactly the most productive solutions (in fact they’re usually pretty far from it).  If you’ve ever watched a debate or a congressional meeting, I wonder if you noticed how close-minded those politicians were.  Most of them don’t know how to be open to other ideas.  You don’t want to end up like that, do you?

Anyways, onwards.

2. A desire to learn and basic internet use ability.

If you’ve read any of my rants, you probably know that I’m huge on internet use for education.  Sure, sure there are problems.  Lies can be propagated on the internet just as easily as truths.  Let’s consider that for a moment though.  Where CAN’T lies be propagated?  Just because a book is published doesn’t mean it isn’t full of lies or half-truths.  And all kinds of research gets published that doesn’t deserve to be.  You know it as well as I do.  And, contrary to popular belief, not just ANYONE can put something on the internet.  Ok, fine, there are limits to that statement.  Sure, you could get a blog and start talking about anything you wanted.  But do you know how to create a legitimate webpage using HTML, PHP or some other form of rather computer-savvy coding?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t.  It takes some time and effort to learn PHP, and editing wikipedia isn’t so easy these days.

And another thing on the veracity of statements on the net: with SO many people on the internet, it’s a lot harder to lie these days.  In fact, there are so many watchdogs on the internet that they catch lies in OTHER places and expose them here.  Want proof?  Here are a few good examples.  I had some beer in the fridge that had just gone past its expiration date.  I wondered if it was still good, so I did what I always do when I’m not sure: ask the internet.  As it turns out, expiration dates on beer are a marketing ploy: make it expire and people will buy more faster, right?  Well, it works pretty well if you aren’t on your toes.  The general consensus was that the beer was bad if it smelled and/or tasted bad, otherwise it was fine.  I opened the beer and drank it, no problems, no sickness, no adverse consequences.  That’s a win.

Here’s another great example.  I was wondering (had been watching CSI, a good part of trash television now available to the American public) if the myth about undigested red meat was true.  You know, by the time the average American is 50 he or she has 4+ pounds of undigested red meat in his or her colon.  That sounded suspicious, but seeing it on CSI, where the characters are portrayed as arrogant, pretentious, highly educated crime solvers made me wonder.  As it turns out, a person would experience extreme intestinal pain and anal bleeding with just ONE pound of impacted bowels (a.k.a. undigested whatever).  So, it’s physically impossible to have 4+ pounds of red meat in your intestines.  Well, glad we got that cleared up.  Wait, you’re skeptical: what were the sources?  Several documented cases of impacted bowel patients were available as medical reports to back up the claims.  So, if you still don’t believe it, don’t let me stop you from looking it up yourself.

So, hopefully I’ve convinced you that the internet is actually one of the most trustworthy sources of information we have.  Of course, with controversial topics like global warming, religion or economics and politics, you should ALWAYS be suspicious of the source of your information.  But who really has a reason to lie about things like brushing your teeth, massaging your muscles or telling you how to avoid cancer?  The take-home lesson here is that you should be using the internet already to do research, and if you aren’t, you’re wasting a valuable resource.

So that about does it for this post.  I guess I’ll post it to general and to psychological wellness.  Truthfully, keeping an open mind, having critical thinking skills and keeping the desire to learn alive are all things that keep you young in mind and spirit.  In today’s world, where new information is being discovered literally daily, it is absolutely necessary to survive.  You should cultivate your ability to absorb new information and put it to use, and keep in mind that sometimes doing so requires writing over old, outdated information.

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