I am usually reading a few books at once. And what seems to happen recently is that two books that I pick up share similar ideas, which in turn jumps out at me as I am seeing the same message from two different authors.
I am reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck where he says about the 1960s, “Many researchers and policymakers at the time came to believe that raising a population’s self-esteem could lead to some tangible social benefits: lower crime, better academic records, greater employment, lower budget deficits. As a result, beginning in the next decade, the 1970s, self-esteem practices began to be taught to parents, emphasized by therapists, politicians, and teachers, and instituted into educational policy. Grade inflation, for example, was implemented to make low-achieving kids feel better about their lack of achievement. Participation awards and bogus trophies were invented for any number of mundane and expected activities.”
Self-esteem became the answer. Continue reading
I’m reading The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary by Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. In it he writes, “Most of us feel proud of our achievements at first. When we learned to walk as toddlers, or successfully put multicoloured plastic rings on a post in size order, most of us felt pretty good about ourselves — and enjoyed showing off to anyone willing to watch. Remember how it felt to be able to catch a ball, ride a bike, or go to the store alone? How about graduating from grade school, high school or college? Having your first girlfriend or boyfriend? Getting a job or a driver’s license? Or perhaps getting married, renting an apartment, owning a car, buying a house, or having a child? Most of us work hard for these milestones and feel buoyed up when we reach them. Continue reading
As the new year dawned, I was reminded once again of the clean slate, the blank page, and the importance of stories.
Stories help us decide where to live, what schools our children attend, what meals to make, what restaurants to try, what books to read, what countries to visit, what jobs to take, where to change our tires, cut our hair or exercise our body.
We learn through stories. We communicate with stories. We are inspired by stories.
The poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”