Richard Wiseman is a Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. He has given keynote addresses to The Royal Society, The Swiss Economic Forum, Google, and Amazon.
The magazine Scientific American described him as“…the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologist in the world today”.
I have found it very impressive so far, basically, it’s all about Psychology but he has explained things in far more simpler way than that of Daniel Goleman. I actually have read 2 books of Daniel Goleman and I find this one much simpler than those twos. And don’t even get me started on the book “Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud because reading that book was pretty much reading Operating Systems by Galvin.
Napoleon, the Third Emperor of France and nephew of the great Napoleon, boasted that in spite of all his royal duties he could remember the name of every person he met. How to Win Friends and Influence People
A person’s name is the single most beautiful word for him in the universe. And it’s true for everyone but seldom we realize it and often we forget people’s name whom we meet on every other day. We think it’s not important, we think it doesn’t matter, but we are wrong in that.
Remember how happy you become when the teacher remembered your name in your school days, remember how awesome you felt at that time. Do you remember how you talked about that incident with your friends and family when the professor made it obvious that he remembered you by name?
In spite of reading this book several times, I still find it very difficult to remember people’s names and I still am bad at it but I am improving nevertheless.
I am more than halfway through the book “Origins” by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith. The starting was pretty amazing and pushed me to read further and further. Then after a couple of chapters, it became insanely technical and it seemed that I would not be able to even complete the book. But I kept reading in spite of getting nothing out of it. I have done the same thing with my textbooks in my college days hoping that I would get it eventually.
This time with this book after some chapters things started to become interesting and currently, I am reading planet formations, stories of how nebulas were discovered, how the moons were made etc meaning I am finally enjoying it now.
When I first heard about Quasars and Blazars, the brightest thing in the universe I was on my toes to know more about them. I was extremely excited to start this book after watching this video(link here). And finally, Neil has uncovered their existence in the book. It was awesome, it was beautiful, it felt like I was there.
I was dying to test the famous Marshmallow Experiment which I encountered in most of the books I have read, most recently I read it in the beginning of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.
Basically in this test a child is given a choice that if he will have one Marshmallow right away or he would wait for another 10 minutes and have two instead. This experiment measures the child’s ability to store two thoughts at the same time. It measures if the child is able to hold his emotions and wait, which is also called Delayed Gratification. Children who had resisted not to eat the Marshmallow, in the beginning, are the ones who worked harder in the later part of their lives. Children who have shown signs of Delayed Gratification have been more successful than the ones who didn’t.
I have no idea what I would have chosen if given such a choice but I conducted this experiment on my cousin today and he showed signs of Delayed Gratification. I am quite happy with the result.
I knew it intuitively but knowing it scientifically has given me a whole lot of confidence in knowing and believing that a person’s nature can be changed.
Long back when I absolutely knew nothing I believed that a person’s nature is permanent. In my hometown many of my elders used to say, “A person’s nature and signature don’t change”, well they still believe this to be true and they can not be more wrong about it.
The brain is plastic meaning it can always learn, it is only up to us to make a conscious effort to learn and by learning anything can be changed. Be it learning a new language, learning how to play guitar, or changing his innate nature.
In the book “Emotional Intelligence” the author Daniel Goleman has shared various ways to counter negative mental states and one of them is running. Dopamine(a chemical inside the brain) plays an important role in feeling good. There are several ways one can feel good and one of them is running.
Daniel Goleman shared that while running can be a great tool for secretion of dopamine and hence feeling good if the person skips it he would feel low. For last 2 days, I have skipped it and most certainly I am not feeling good about it. In fact, I feel that I have done something wrong.
If you feel low justRun.! And you will feel much better.
In the book “Emotional Intelligence” Daniel Goleman shared an incident of Vietnam war when a group of six monks walked straight towards the line of fire without looking left or right amidst an open fire. They were so calm and quiet that soldiers fighting in that location couldn’t understand their behavior and they just stopped fighting.
One of the soldier recalls the incident.
It was really strange, because nobody shot at ’em. And after they walked over the berm, suddenly all the fight was out of me. It just didn’t feel like I wanted to do this anymore, at least not that day. It must have been that way for everybody, because everybody quit. We just stopped fighting.
David Busch, Vietnam veteran
If something as intense as war can be over by literally doing nothing but walking in silence, we should pause for a moment and think carefully of what impact we can make by carefully placing our emotions in right place at the right time. Becoming angry in response to anger is trivial and it fuels anger itself and since it’s contagious it spreads like every other emotion. Try spreading the feeling of gratitude, try spreading happiness for a change and trust me like every other emotion they’ll spread too.
Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
Becoming angry is an innate human nature. A lot have already been said throughout history on how to control it and that is why it makes so much sense to study it scientifically.
In the book “Emotional Intelligence”, the author Daniel Goleman explains this in much more detail. Most of the time the Amygdalaalso called the lizard brain is responsible for actions that we take during those moments of anger. You see, anger is only an emotion and to respond or react to it is a choice that we make.
It’s difficult to make that choice if we are immersed in it and by that I mean the neural hijacking. In the moment of anger or any other strong emotion, the Amygdala takes control of the brain from Prefrontal cortex also called the thinking brain(it’s difficult to explain why it does so but in the book Daniel explains it in detail) and we call this whole phenomenon not thinking straight. Knowing is the first part of solving a problem which is the reason why I like reading these books.
Today I started reading another book and this one is by Sigmund Freud. It is one of the first few books which he wrote in his early days called “Interpretation of Dreams”. It is a research-based book consisting of references from various other authors who had worked in this field.
What drove me to read this book?
Every book which consists of psychological facts and examples refer something from Sigmund Freud and I have got references of Sigmund Freud in every other book I read and it raised my curiosity to the point that I really wanted to read something directly from him.
I only have finished a couple of chapters though and to tell you the truth the experience is very different from reading modern days books. The writing style is far more formal and direct than today’s books. Let’s see how the rest of book goes, I will share my learning from the book in subsequent posts.
In my previous post, I mentioned that we should plan our day prior to the day I and write down the goals for next day before going to sleep. There is a reason why the author of the book “How to Master Your Time”, Brian Tracy suggested writing down the goals specifically before going to sleep.
The thing which we do last before going to sleep has a profound impact on our lives. Too bad that most of us watch movies (I do that too although try not to) before going to bed and that precious time goes in vain. The reason is that our subconscious mind gets active when we are asleep, the subconscious mind is the one responsible for everything which happens after we go to sleep(more on that later).
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Tony Robbins
When planning the day before going to sleep the subconscious finds the shortest path possible to reach those goals. If you have no idea what conscious and subconscious mind is capable of doing and you want to know more about it, there are plenty of books already written on the subject and they are amazing. I also have written learning from some books in my previous posts (click here to read).