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Travels in Malaysia

Another enjoyable day in Kuala Lumpur. Enjoy just cruising around at Asian pace, really relaxing. Not need to rush, everything you need is always just around the corner. Went for a massage which is not as easy as it may seem for a white Australian male. The issue is that they always want to fiddle regardless of instructions(sometimes that is the only profit they make- it could be their child’s school fees), then the masseur gets pissed off and you get a bad massage. Obviously if you go to expensive places this is not an issue but when you are watching your dollars it is a problem. If the other is your wan,t no judgement from me, but if you just want a bloody massage you have to choose carefully. Lessons learnt from past experience.Pick the ugliest old crone you can find, preferably with a nasty streak, unwilling to stop when the pain is getting too much, tears welling in your eyes. ‘It good for you,it good for you.” She hits every sensitive nerve in your body and always spends longer on the most painful parts. You need someone who has their mind on the job at hand, not the hand at job. There is no temptation when you are at your most vulnerable, as happens, just focus on the bad teeth if tempted. There is no enjoyment, just an hour and a half of torture. You are a wreck at the end, wishing for emotional support for the crisis you have gone through. Maybe you can ring lifeline while you are having the massage, cover all bases. Afterwards you feel wonderful, physically, emotionally…in a better state of mind- you can then get the other type of massage, if that is your want, no judgement from me. For me, I just hate being ripped off.

Huge tropical down pour this afternoon, perfect, cleanses everything. Love watching everyone running around in the rain, it is exciting- rain is joyful for any country boy growing up in drought stricken Western Queensland. Rain is always a celebration.

Cities like cats reveal themselves at night. Preparing and looking forward to another night out, drawing on the streets. Usually meet people when I sketch, so never really get lonely. It is like a second passport that gets you into places that you are not generally allowed, physically and personally. People like to see their place through different eyes, and then they usually like to tell you their stories. If it is not happening you just move onto another place until it does. A bad night is when you just come home with drawings, and that is pretty darn good too, there is always another day. Happy days.

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“All learning has an emotional base.”
— Plato

The ability to express and control our emotions is essential, but so is our ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. Imagine a world where you could not understand when a friend was feeling sad or when a co-worker was angry. Psychologists refer to this ability as emotional intelligence, and some experts even suggest that it can be more important than IQ. Learn more about exactly what emotional intelligence is, how it works, and how it is measured.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.

Since 1990, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional intelligence. In their influential article “Emotional Intelligence,” they defined emotional intelligence as, “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (1990).

The Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence

Salovey and Mayer proposed a model that identified four different factors of emotional intelligence: the perception of emotion, the ability reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion and the ability to manage emotions.

  1. Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to perceive them accurately. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such asbody language and facial expressions.
  2. Reasoning With Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.
  1. Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work; or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he’s been fighting with his wife.
  2. Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a crucial part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.

According to Salovey and Mayer, the four branches of their model are, “arranged from more basic psychological processes to higher, more psychologically integrated processes. For example, the lowest level branch concerns the (relatively) simple abilities of perceiving and expressing emotion. In contrast, the highest level branch concerns the conscious, reflective regulation of emotion” (1997).

A Brief History of Emotional Intelligence

  • 1930s – Edward Thorndike describes the concept of “social intelligence” as the ability to get along with other people.
  • 1940s – David Wechsler suggests that affective components of intelligence may be essential to success in life.
  • 1950s – Humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow describe how people can build emotional strength.
  • 1975 – Howard Gardner publishes The Shattered Mind, which introduces the concept ofmultiple intelligences.
  • 1985 – Wayne Payne introduces the term emotional intelligence in his doctoral dissertationentitled “A study of emotion: developing emotional intelligence; self-integration; relating to fear, pain and desire (theory, structure of reality, problem-solving, contraction/expansion, tuning in/coming out/letting go).”
  • 1987 – In an article published in Mensa Magazine, Keith Beasley uses the term “emotional quotient.” Some suggest that this is the first published use of the phrase, although Reuven Bar-On claims to have used the term in an unpublished version of his graduate thesis.
  • 1990 – Psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer publish their landmark article, “Emotional Intelligence,” in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality.
  • 1995 – The concept of emotional intelligence is popularized after publication of psychologist and New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

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“There is no such thing as an intuitive person tout court. Intuition is a domain-specific ability.”

The power and fruitfulness of intuition has had innumerable and celebrated champions — fromEinstein, Anne Lamott, and Steve Jobs to some of history’s greatest scientists and philosophers. But what, exactly, lies behind this amorphous phenomenon we call “intuition”? That’s precisely what CUNY philosophy professorMassimo Pigliucci explores in a chapter ofAnswers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life (public library).

First, Pigliucci offers a primer on what intuition is and isn’t, compared and contrasted with the history of understanding consciousness:

The word intuition comes from the Latin intuir, which appropriately means ‘knowledge from within.’ Until recently, intuition, like consciousness, was the sort of thing that self-respecting scientists stayed clear of, on penalty of being accused of engaging in New Age woo-woo rather than serious science. Heck, even most philosophers — who historically had been very happy to talk about consciousness, far ahead of the rise of neurobiology — found themselves with not much to say about intuition. However, these days cognitive scientists think of intuition as a set of nonconscious cognitive and affective processes; the outcome of these processes is often difficult to articulate and is not based on deliberate thinking, but it’s real and (sometimes) effective nonetheless. It was William James, the father of modern psychology, who first proposed the idea that cognition takes place in two different modes, and his insight anticipated modern so-called dual theories of cognition. Intuition works in an associative manner: it feels effortless (even though it does use a significant amount of brain power), and it’s fast. Rational thinking, on the contrary, is analytical, requires effort, and is slow. Why, then, would we ever want to use a system that makes us work hard and doesn’t deliver rapid results? Think of it this way: intuitions, contrary to much popular lore, are not infallible. Cognitive scientists treat them as quick first assessments of a given situation, as provisional hypotheses in need of further checking.

Citing recent research, Pigliucci presents an important debunking of the grab-bag term “intuition”:

One of the first things that modern research on intuition has clearly shown is that there is no such thing as an intuitive person tout court. Intuition is a domain-specific ability, so that people can be very intuitive about one thing (say, medical practice, or chess playing) and just as clueless as the average person about pretty much everything else. Moreover, intuitions get better with practice — especially with a lot of practice — because at bottom intuition is about the brain’s ability to pick up on certain recurring patterns; the more we are exposed to a particular domain of activity the more familiar we become with the relevant patterns (medical charts, positions of chess pieces), and the more and faster our brains generate heuristic solutions to the problem we happen to be facing within that domain.

Indeed, this notion of additive progress in developing intuition is the same concept known as “deliberate practice” in the development of any skill or “talent”. Pigliucci writes:

There is another aspect to the question of intuition versus conscious thinking that affects our quality of life, and that has to do with research showing how people get better at what they do or get stuck in it.


An ‘expert’ is someone who performs at a very high level in a given field, be it medicine, law, science, chess, tennis, or soccer. As it turns out, people become experts (or simply, much much better) at what they do when they use their intuition and conscious thinking in particular ways. Research on acquiring skills shows that, roughly speaking, and pretty much independently of whether we are talking about a physical activity or an intellectual one, people tend to go through three phases while they improve their performance. During the first phase, the beginner focuses her attention simply on understanding what it is that the task requires and on not making mistakes. In phase two, such conscious attention to the basics of the task is no longer needed, and the individual performs quasi-automatically and with reasonable proficiency. Then comes the difficult part. Most people get stuck in phase two: they can do whatever it is they set out to do decently, but stop short of the level of accomplishment that provides the self-gratification that makes one’s outlook significantly more positive or purchases the external validation that results in raises and promotions. Phase three often remains elusive because while the initial improvement was aided by switching control from conscious thought to intuition—as the task became automatic and faster—further improvement requires mindful attention to the areas where mistakes are still being made and intense focus to correct them. Referred to as ‘deliberate practice,’ this phase is quite distinct from mindless or playful practice.

Given the importance of networked knowledge and “associative indexing” inmaking sense of information, it is unsurprising that “structured knowledge” is what sets the expert apart from the amateur:

There are a variety of reasons, but two are especially important: one needs to develop the ability to anticipateproblems, and this in turn is often the result not just of knowledge of a given field but of structured knowledge. … Not only is there a difference between naive and expert knowledge, but there is more than one way to acquire expert knowledge, guided not just by the intrinsic properties of the system but also by the particular kinds of interest that different individuals have in that system.


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Muhammad Ali


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Ware ware  Chito ryu karate-do o shugyo suru mono wa

Tsuneni bushido seishin o wasurezu

Wa to nin o motte nashi

Soshite tsutomereba kanarazu tassu

We who study Chito-ryu karate-do

Must never forget the spirit of the samurai

With peace, perseverance and hard work

We are sure to reach our goals

At the core of the Chito-Ryu philosophy is the ‘Showa’, a poem recited at the end of every classes by teacher and students. Originally written in Japanese, it is difficult to accurately translate to English as many  Japanese words do not have a direct translation.  To understand the concepts of the Showa is essential to the study of Chito-Ryu Karate.  As simple as the ‘Showa’ appears, it is a life long study, considered and applied to every aspect of life.

Wa Nin
The original meaning of “Wa” is to respond to the hearts of others by softening one’s own heart and bringing it in line with the feelings of others. Softening is this case means to become peaceful or in other words to become harmonious. Furthermore, the two energies of Yin and Yang are naturally adjusted and one can develop friendly relationships with others which smoothly prepares the way for harmony.”Wa” is seeking a peaceful heart.

The Chinese character “Nin” is composed of the two Chinese characters, “sword” and “heart”, which means to grasp the meaning of perseverance with one’s heart. Nintai also contains the strict aspects of patient endurance, forgiveness and to admit or to allow.”Nin no ichiji ni tsukiru no mon.” The most important thing in order to carry out life’s many tasks is to engrave this one word, “Wa Nin”, in one’s heart. As Rohonchu stated, “

“Wa Nin is a strong spirit with a heart of forgiveness and patient endurance that is necessary in order to find a heart of peace”.

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“We are all familiar with cautionary tales of people so consumed by their passions that they lose their social standing, meaningful relationships, and—ultimately—their mind. Their professional and social lives fall apart as obsession grips their every waking hour, crowding everything else out. It’s no wonder people fear passion.

To say passion becomes obsession is to make a distinction of degree. It implies that obsession is a more passionate form of passion—too much of a good thing. However, I’m now convinced that passion and obsession do not vary in degree, but in kind. In fact, in many ways they are opposite.

What makes this distinction confusing is that passion and obsession exhibit very similar behaviors.

Both passion and obsession are generated within and manifest in outward action or pursuit, which can provide purpose and direction. Passions and obsessions are powerful motivators to take risks, to make sacrifices and step outside of conventional norms to achieve what we desire. Most importantly, passion and obsession burn within us irrespective of extrinsic encouragement or rewards. This can lead to what traditional institutions perceive to be subversive or rebellious behavior, driving passionate and obsessive people to the edges of organizations and society.

It is on the edge that the crucial distinctions between passion and obsession become clear.

Pulled to the edge versus pushed to the edge

The first significant difference between passion and obsession is the role free will plays in each disposition: passionate people fight their way willingly to the edge to find places where they can pursue their passions more freely, while obsessive people (at best) passively drift there or (at worst) are exiled there.

The degree to which free will plays a role in determining who winds up on the edge,will greatly determine their capacity to succeed in this challenging environment.

Sense of self: Achieving potential versus compensating for inadequacy

Passionate people find edges exciting because they have a rooted sense of self.

Creators have a strong and meaningful sense of identity—defined not by what they consume (which has little or false expressive potential) but by what they make (total self-expression).

When I say that they have a “rooted sense of self,” however, I don’t mean to imply that their identity is fixed. On the contrary, as creators, passionate people are invested in constant personal, professional and creative growth. They want to develop and diversify their talents in order to keep their creations innovative and their passion dynamic, sustainable and alive.

Through the challenge of creation, and the innovative disposition demanded by the ever-shifting edge, passionate people expand their personal boundaries, helping them to more effectively achieve their potential. In other words: passion gives us the energy and motivation to work hard—and joyfully.

When I consider the drive of passionate creatives, I’m reminded of this observation by Ortega y Gasset:

The most radical division that is possible to make of humanity is that which splits it into two classes of creatures: those who make great demands of themselves, piling up difficulties and duties; and those who demand nothing special of themselves, but for whom to live is to be every moment what they already are; without imposing on themselves any effort toward perfection; mere buoys that float on the waves….The few individuals we have come across who are capable of a spontaneous and joyous effort stand out isolated….These are the select men, the noble ones, the only ones who are active and not merely reactive, for whom life is a perpetual striving.

It requires a passionate person to generate the strength and enthusiasm to apply the effort needed to achieve and create, which requires they “make great demands of themselves.” Whatever the subject of passion and creation, it is the capacity to direct that energy into actions that reinforce personal growth, which makes the passionate people thrive on the edge.

An obsessive person is what Gasset would call a “buoy on the water.” Obsessives have a very weak sense of identity because they displace their sense of self into the very object of their obsession (this becomes a strange form of self-obsession, which is why obsessive tendencies are frequently associated with narcissism). Obsession, far from the joyful effort and striving inspired by passion, is a strategy of escape. In conflating their identity with an object of fascination, obsessives are not only able to forget their inner-self, they are able to insulate from the challenging world around them.

The obsessive person’s focus is narrow because they are less interested in complex growth than singular direction. Obsessive personalities may be driven to create, but the inner growth needed to be a sustained creator is undermined by their lack of determination to grow as people. As a result, rather than realizing their potential, they are concerned with finding a way to stay focused and compensate for inadequacy.

Breadth of focus: Narrow objects versus broad subjects

It’s not an accident that we speak of an “object of obsession,” but the “subject of passion.” That’s because obsession tends towards highly specific focal points or goals, whereas passion is oriented toward networked, diversified spaces. Objects of obsession are often quite narrow, for example using a specific photo editing tool, developing enhancements to a specific product or developing new art around a specific pop culture character or icon.

Subjects of passion, on the other hand, are broad, for example involving digital photography, innovating within a broader category of technology or experimenting with a certain genre of pop culture. Given this broader focus, passionate people thrive on knowledge flows to stimulate innovation, achievement and growth. The subjects of passion invite and even demand connections with others who share the passion.

Relationships: Expanding versus contracting

Because passionate people are driven to create as a way to grow and achieve their potential, they are constantly seeking out others who share their passion in a quest for collaboration, friction and inspiration.  Because they have a strong sense of self, passionate people are well-equipped to form relationships.  They present themselves in ways that invite trust – they have little time for pretense and they are willing to express vulnerability and need in order to receive the help they need in achieving their own potential.  Because they are passionate, they are willing to share their own knowledge and experience when they encounter someone sharing their passion. They are also intensely curious, seeking to understand the other passionate people they encounter in order to better see where and how they can collaborate to get better faster.

In contrast, obsessive people hide behind their objects of obsession.  The objects are what are important, not others or even themselves. As a result, obsessive people are hard to get to know and trust – they share little of themselves and they exhibit minimal interest or curiosity regarding the needs or feelings of others. One of the hallmarks of obsessive people is that they tend to talk endlessly and often repetitively about the same thing, rarely inviting commentary or reaction from others, and ultimately pushing others away with their obsessive rants.

The key difference between passion and obsession is fundamentally social: passion helps build relationships and obsession inhibits them. This becomes a key marker to differentiate between passion and obsession: is the person developing richer and broader relationships or is the person undermining existing relationships and finding it difficult to form new relationships?

A final note: Passion and neurosis

Passion creates options while obsession closes options.  Passion reaches outward while obsession pulls inward. Passion positions us to pursue the opportunities created by the Big Shift while obsession makes us oblivious to the expanding opportunities around us.

Lionel Trilling does an admirable job of addressing this issue in his essay, “Art and Neurosis.” Crudely put, Trilling argues that all of us have “issues,” and it is only because great men and women are visible to the public that theirs are on display, creating the illusion that they have more than most of us (this, of course, rests on the second myth that there is such a thing as “normal people” without problems).

But far from being inundated with neurosis or “issues,” what sets these great men and women apart is their ability to transform shortcomings into strengths, or compensate for them by excelling in other areas.

Trilling cites a short essay by Charles Lamb, called “The Sanity of True Genius.” Lamb points out that what we call genius or excellence, “manifests itself in the admirable balance of all the faculties,” while unhealthy psychological behavior (in Lamb’s words, “madness”) is characterized by the “disproportionate straining or excess of any one of them.”

Lamb goes on to point out that those who can’t master their inner demons,

do not create, which implies shaping and consistency. Their imaginations are not active — for to be active is to call something into act and form — but passive, as men in sick dreams.

Agreeing with this, Trilling concludes,

Of the artist we must say that whatever elements of neurosis he has in common with his fellow mortals, the one part of him that is healthy, by any conceivable definition of health, is that which gives him the power to conceive, to plan, to work, and to bring his work to a conclusion (“Art and Neurosis, ”The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent, p. 103).

Obsession confines while passion liberates.

To cultivate passion, to channel its energy into self-determination, inter-personal connections and regenerative curiosity, and finally to find the balance needed to sustain creativity on the edge, is much more than health—it is happiness. ”


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“I was fortunate to have the perfect incubator for learning to love criticism. At 19 I started hopping cargo ships to help pay my way through college. Life on shipboard was all new to me, as it had been for my shipmates when they got their start, only in many of their cases they had to worry about Japanese torpedoes and German Stuka dive-bombers in addition to acquiring nautical skills.

These were tough, gruff old guys, and yet the pressures of life cramped together on shipboard tend to make them exquisitely deferential. Criticisms would start with a preamble such as, “Look, it’s not my place to tell you how to do your work, but you might find that job goes easier if…”

Furthermore, the offer of criticism was an unmistakable sign that someone who had two or three decades of experience was taking an interest in you despite your two or three days, weeks or months of experience. They didn’t waste their vocal cords on the clueless. Criticism was a sign they felt you worthy of joining the fraternity of old sea dogs!

I moved from that genteel world to working in academe with its utter lack of manners and deference. Criticisms were often peevish, haughty or, worst of all, delivered in front of others with the intent to make you look bad. But I had been well schooled by men who’d been fished from the frigid Barents Sea or hauled oil-covered out of the Coral Sea. The good manners they’d taught me stood as the most devastating comeback to ill-intended critiques.

By the time I got to retail, my partner and I actively cultivated an atmosphere in which people felt okay to criticize us. We figured for every person who will say something, at least ten more are thinking it but unwilling to say it. Learning what your customers really think is priceless.

In short, criticism is a gift and should be honored as such with attentiveness and thankfulness, even follow-up questions to make sure you get it. Where it is not intended constructively, responding with politeness still represents the surest way to deter future attacks.

Some elaboration:

Even when criticism is off the mark, it remains a gift; it allows you to understand how another thinks you are going about things wrong. And there is palpable power in opening yourself fully to it. There is also the opportunity for discovery.

For example, I’m making dinner and the female member of the couple we’ve invited wanders into my kitchen and bluntly announces I’m preparing my vegetables incorrectly. I know I am not, and I could tell her that or I could just toss her from my kitchen. Instead, I hand her the knife and invite her to show me how to do it properly.

She raises the knife and slices straight down, which I know is wrong. But she explains, “The rocking motion you are using is appropriate for a chef’s knife, but this is a nikiri vegetable knife. It is designed for a straight-down slice.” [Hmmm… I never knew that. I just assumed the same principles apply.]

After slicing the eggplant, she continues, “Now take each slice and lightly score each side every quarter of an inch or so. That will help the salting reduce the bitterness.” [Bonus info!] Turns out she was a professional caterer.

The point is to be open and not defensive. Don’t even try to deflect. Invite more details, and make every attempt to make the person feel good about offering you a critique. Even if the critique is pointedly personal, open up to it. Even if you decide the advice offered was completely off-base, leave the person feeling okay for having imparted it. It’s not a world-changer of a technique, but it is a self-changer. (Inc.com)

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