Cognitive Bias Series: Taming the Elves in Our Brains

By Angela Noel

November 16, 2017

Certain four-letter words get a lot of attention. I won’t write them here because you already know what I’m talking about. These words have power. Some studies have shown that cussing actually tempers the pain response in the brain. Preliminary theories tell us swear words trigger a “fight” response, helping the body dull sensations of pain.

But I want to talk about a different four-letter word: bias. The word itself won’t lesson pain. Its power comes from describing a whole host of unconscious actions governing our responses to all kinds of sensations and experiences. Saying the word out loud won’t increase or decrease pain, but bias operating in our lives just might. Continue reading “Cognitive Bias Series: Taming the Elves in Our Brains”

Twin Posts: What Does it Mean to be “Enough?”

By Angela Noel

November 9, 2017

Writing, whether for my own blog or for others, offers both joy and challenge. I’ve particularly enjoyed guest posting lately. Sometimes my host has had a specific idea of what he or she wants, other times not. In all cases, I seek a universal theme–the thread that connect us all.

It just so happens that the guest posts I wrote for two awesome bloggers happened to both be published this week. And both explore a core aspect of how I now view and operate in the world: being enough.

Whether you’re more concerned with relationships or work, there’s something here for you. Continue reading “Twin Posts: What Does it Mean to be “Enough?””

A Love Letter: The Nature of Love

A Guest Post by Dave Driver

November 2, 2017

A young friend posited the following: “I know the ones we love are never things we own. And I know that love is something to be given freely, not to be expected. Finally, I know that all things change in time, especially human beings. It is for all these reasons I wonder why long-term relationships are to be pursued.”

I sent this in reply: Continue reading “A Love Letter: The Nature of Love”

Two Mathematics Concepts You Should be Thinking About

By Angela Noel

October 26, 2017

I have two favorite mathematics concepts. That sounds weird, I know. I’m a communications and writing major, an author and a blogger, but I’m also a collector of mental oddities. I find little scraps of interesting tidbits from all kinds of places and add them to the museum of my mind. The scraps can come from anywhere, a technical specification, high school algebra, Nietzsche, an ad on the radio, or a quote in a magazine. I pull them out to illustrate ideas, as either analogies or examples. Most of the time, they’re useful little tools, bringing context to complexity. Sometimes, they confuse people. I hate it when that happens.

Hopefully, this isn’t one of those times. Because these two concepts form so elegant a metaphor for life and human interactions, I can’t resist sharing them with you.

Mathphobes, please keep reading. I’m not about to amaze you with knowledge of multivariable calculus–mainly because I don’t know the first thing about it. These two little gems I learned in my first fifteen years, and you did too.

I’m guessing though, that many of us left these things buried where we hoped never to see them again: in the textbooks of our youth. But, maybe I can change your mind about their usefulness and application in daily life.  Continue reading “Two Mathematics Concepts You Should be Thinking About”

Five Essential Qualities of Everyday Leadership

By Angela Noel

October 16, 2107

Some bosses inspire fear, others devotion. The call to leadership asks for the best in a person, but does not always get it. Bosses make our lives better or worse with the simplest of inconsequential acts. A “good job” can mean the world. A well-placed critique can change a career. But a thoughtless comment will damage any relationship, never more so than when one person has the ability to terminate the other’s livelihood. Worse, a pattern of ego-driven blindness can turn a leader into an employee’s personal Satan. Continue reading “Five Essential Qualities of Everyday Leadership”

Why Participation Matters Much More Than Winning

By Angela Noel

October 12, 2017

I admit, I don’t really know who James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers is. But, he posted this in 2015 to rave reviews on Instagram: 

I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues

I’ve heard some version of this from many people. In fact, a reporter for For the Win by USA Today put up a poll at the end of his post about another athlete, Kobe Bryant, offering his opinion of his own children’s less-than-first-place wins. Of about 700 respondents so far, more than half feel participation trophies are “bad.”

But I heartily and totally disagree. And here’s why: RAGNAR.

Continue reading “Why Participation Matters Much More Than Winning”

Love Letter: Memories of the Grandadest of Grandads

A Guest Post by Hayley Beasley Dye

September 28, 2017

Becoming a grandfather is fairly easy, one just needs to have a child and for that child to also have a child. Lots of men become grandfathers, but becoming one is not the achievement that a man should be recognised for. No, being a good grandfather, is what a man should be commended on.

What qualifies a man as a good grandfather? Sure, being able to turn a blind eye when your grandchild has pilfered yet another Fox’s Glacier Mint from your tin that you kept hidden away, is definitely an essential quality, but making your grandchild feel your unconditional love is, as the kids say these days, “the one.” Continue reading “Love Letter: Memories of the Grandadest of Grandads”

Story Skeleton: The River Carries the Story

Guest Post: A Story Skeleton by Kathy Davis

September 28, 2017

I can watch the flow of water in a rocky, shallow river for hours at a time. Nothing particular occupies my mind; just the travel of water over the hills, valleys, and byways that comprise the river’s topography. The water goes carelessly over, around, and under the boulders and stones that determine its path. When it meets resistance it does not fight against it. Rather, it seeks the nearest and easiest course in its gravitational pull to reach its final level. Continue reading “Story Skeleton: The River Carries the Story”

What’s in a Name? Identity, Security, and a Pat-Down

by Angela Noel

September 21, 2017

Through a quirk of the online travel service at my work, my airline ticket was issued in my old name. A fact I did not discover nor suspect until I arrived at the airport and attempted to check in for my flight. When the ticket printed from the self-service kiosk, I stared at it for a full minute.

What to do? Continue reading “What’s in a Name? Identity, Security, and a Pat-Down”

Food, Conversation, Gardening, and Pepsi: A Love Letter for Grandma

A Love Letter by Erin Burton

September 14, 2017

She was tall (about 5’9″), thin, and always active. She loved going on walks, gardening, and picking wild berries. Her hair was always perfectly curled, her clothes always pressed with the most perfect creases, and her socks were always bright white (this still baffles me). But, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my grandma was the way she was always smiling, her cheeks always pink, and the warm hugs that flowed freely. Grandma was quite the woman. Continue reading “Food, Conversation, Gardening, and Pepsi: A Love Letter for Grandma”