Monday, June 26, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 1

The June 11, 2017 edition of the New York Times had the following articles on their front page: “Shrinking Turf, Wider , Reach: The Isis Plan;” “Liberals Fighting for Their Faith;” “Drug Trade Rises In the Dark Corners of the Internet;” “Strings Take to Venezuela Streets After Violinist Is Killed at Protest;” and Political Feud Eclipses Warning On Russia: They Will Be Back.” How was that for a glimpse or snapshot in today’s chaotic world? If you ask me, these are just a few of the dangers that exist in our world. Our world, it’s a scary place. Moreover, what does this say about the nature of man; and how can man cope with these man-made uncertainties? Sigmund Freud, developed a psychoanalytic theory of man. Freud depicted man as having an irrational nature, driven by his biological drives or instincts. He also wrote about hysteria, psychopathology, and, another psychic elements or illness developed within man while within in a troubled society. Following Freud was Henry A. Murray. Murray’s model illustrated a number of man’s needs. According to Murray, the majority of these secondary or psychogenic needs were largely determined from within, as a result of something within the person rather than something coming from the environment. He added that there are mechanisms that will either facilitate or impede the efforts of the individual’s efforts to reach a given goal. Man, therefore, may or may not have the means or the ability to satisfy his need strivings. Turning to man’s emotional state, or feelings, Paul Ekman studied the following: happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust. Notice that these primary feelings have a skewed ratio of negative or painful feelings to positive or good feelings. Per these learned men, man has an inner difficulty functioning within an unforgiven society. Religion was developed in part to help men cope with his troubled existence. Catholicism, for example suggested that man was unlikely to find peace and comfort here on earth, but would find relief from his internal life, in this life depending upon how he lived, acted, treated other people, etc. He might find relief from his current difficulties in the next world. Do not forget about the early games when men fought and slayed other men in the Coliseum for the entertainment of the witnessing crowd. Today we have more civilized examples of diversions to help the masses. These escapes are found in football, boxing, and caged fighting. This too is entertainment and is an escape from day to day reality To Be Continued

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 4

In summary, Kevin Durant makes millions of dollars playing NBA basketball. When listening to him, he stated that he left the Thunder to play for the Warriors for the pursuit of winning the championship period. Also in Oakland, we have another team called the Oakland Raiders. Their motto is the “Commitment to Excellence.” Professional sports has it right, in that it is not about a transitory or intermittent feeling of happiness. Effectance, achievement, mastery, competition and submitting to pain or abasement are primary needs that motivate behavior. Feelings come and go like the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Hedonism can lead to unsatisfactory and self-defeating behaviors resulting in a non-fulfilling life -- drug use, gambling addictions, sexual promiscuity etc. . Mastery leads to goalsetting, expectancies and planning for the future which is paramount for a self-fulfilling and meaningful existence. PS Tony and I completed on Father’s Day, the Burton Creek half marathon trail run near Tahoe City, at Lake Tahoe. We’re still practicing. I haven’t mastered running just yet. I’m still working at it. However, I came in first in my age division 75 through 79 and Tony came in second in his age division 65 through 69. Do I accept the fact that at some point I’m going to be injured? Yes! Do I know when or where it will happen? No, all I know is that from my running history, that either an overuse injury, or an Achilles, or sciatica discomfort, a meniscus surgery, etc. will happen as it has happened in the past. One can argue whether or not Effectance, achievement or mastery are psychological needs. They might be biologically-based, learned or combination of the two. One cannot argue, however, that they are not motives that drive behavior. As NFL great Ed Budde said, “Keep moving.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 3

Turning to the present, another example of mastery motivation was illustrated by the Golden State Warriors with their victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. Last year, Cleveland beat Golden State in seven games. I remembered seeing one interview with the series most valuable player {MVP} Kevin Durant. That interview got my attention and subsequent thinking. In that interview Kevin, with his mother, commented on the memory he experienced when he was about eight years old. He wanted to be a basketball champion. He was also asked whether he would now take time off from his basketball. No, he replied. He planned to return to his home in Virginia and play basketball with his friends. In other words, for the past 20 years or so, Kevin Durant practiced his basketball, in an attempt to attain mastery. Has he yet mastered it? No, he still practices, and talked about making himself a better player. What was once play has become his profession? It still remains play. However, it is play with a purpose. His mastery and achievement drive have become his passion and illustrate that competing in basketball at the professional level gives his life meaning. Did he accept his basketball injury this past season? Yes! Did he receive criticism when he left the Oklahoma Thunder last season to play for the Warriors this past season? Yes! To be continued

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 2

Then we reach school age, where we learn the 3Rs and develop the potential for interpersonal relations, master electronic devices, and other play activities like, sports. Take Fritz Seyferth as an example. When Fritz was in the primary grades, he had a learning disability, which made his school academic life miserable. The school wanted to hold him back, and he didn’t want to attend school. His mother Corrie would have none of that. After many meetings, Fritz was allowed to remain at the same grade level with the other kids. Fortunately, for Fritz, he was a large boy for his age, and he had terrific well-coordinated motor skills. He could kick and throw the ball farther than any of the other kids, and thus he became a popular leader in the class, regardless of his academic difficulties. Fritz was a walk on for the University of Michigan football team in 1968. He worked very hard and competitive Fritz mastered the fullback position for Coach Bo Schembechler. In fact, as a junior, playing against the University of Minnesota for the little Brown Jug, Fritz scored four touchdowns in that game and in fact gave the credit to All-American tackle Dan Dierdorf for his devastating blocking and opening up holes for him to run through . By the way, Fritz attained a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University Michigan and an MBA conferred by the University of Connecticut. One will find Fritz today, in Ann Arbor, consulting with CEOs and COO’s that hope to improve their focus, goalsetting and interpersonal relationships. Yes, the key here is mastery, abasement and achievement. To learn more, about life story, and Fritz’s ability to accept injury, criticism, errors, to seek and enjoy pain, and punishment, I refer the reader to Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. To be continued

Happiness or Effectance Part 2

Then we reach school age, where we learn the 3Rs and develop the potential for interpersonal relations, master electronic devices, and other play activities like, sports. Take Fritz Seyferth as an example. When Fritz was in the primary grades, he had a learning disability, which made his school academic life miserable. The school wanted to hold him back, and he didn’t want to attend school. His mother Corrie would have none of that. After many meetings, Fritz was allowed to remain at the same grade level with the other kids. Fortunately, for Fritz, he was a large boy for his age, and he had terrific well-coordinated motor skills. He could kick and throw the ball farther than any of the other kids, and thus he became a popular leader in the class, regardless of his academic difficulties. Fritz was a walk on for the University of Michigan football team in 1968. He worked very hard and competitive Fritz mastered the fullback position for Coach Bo Schembechler. In fact, as a junior, playing against the University of Minnesota for the little Brown Jug, Fritz scored four touchdowns in that game and in fact gave the credit to All-American tackle Dan Dierdorf for his devastating blocking and opening up holes for him to run through . By the way, Fritz attained a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University Michigan and an MBA conferred by the University of Connecticut. One will find Fritz today, in Ann Arbor, consulting with CEOs and COO’s that hope to improve their focus, goalsetting and interpersonal relationships. Yes, the key here is mastery, abasement and achievement. To learn more, about life story, and Fritz’s ability to accept injury, criticism, errors, to seek and enjoy pain, and punishment, I refer the reader to Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. To be continued

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 1

Once upon a time, a student of Socrates named Aristippus of Cyerene maintained that pleasure was the highest good. The idea that pleasure and happiness were the most important and most significant goal of human life, was called hedonism. In that belief system, the person seeked to maximize pleasure and minimize, eliminate or avoid pain. Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence wrote “that all men are created equal … among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I take issue with the pursuit of happiness. Per psychology, happiness is just one of the feelings that we experience. Not only that, it’s transitory. In other words, it comes and goes. It’s only an emotional state, and not a long-lasting mood. Other significant emotions include sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, and contempt. Notice the majority are negative emotions, although important for our survival. Let’s turn back to happiness. There are a number of assessments that attempt to measure the feeling of happiness. On the test, individuals are asked to characterize themselves in the moment; for the past few days; for the past week; for the past few weeks; and for the past year. In my opinion, the various tools are primitive and unreliable and inaccurate since most people have difficulty labeling their feelings accurately. Recently, individuals have claimed they were happy when they made at least $75,000 per year. After that numerical amount, however the happiness scale did not move very much as far as their happiness was considered. Other findings from Happiness Research are summarized as follows: 1. You control about half your happiness level 2. Lottery winnings create only temporary, short-term happiness. 3. Relationships are key factor in long-term happiness 4. Focus on experiences, not stuff. Moreover, to understand more about happiness attend the University of California at Berkeley, and attend a class on the Science of Happiness. Perhaps Jefferson was barrowing an idea from the Greeks when he wrote about the pursuit of happiness. Unknown to Jefferson at that time were more modern and relevant aspects of human motivation. For example, let’s take a look at the idea of Effectance Motivation described and labeled as such by R. W. White. According to White, the development of competence is an important attribute of personality. Moreover, it is linked and associated with other motives, such as curiosity, mastery and achievement. Nothing may be more important than the ability to navigate the environment as we begin our lifespan. We learn to use our hands to eat, grab and hold onto things. We learn to navigate by crawling, walking, skipping, and running. The development of our gross motor skills are very important as we’ll see later. By the time we reach preschool, we are likely scribbling, drawing, increasing language, reading, and perhaps even writing. Mastery is so very important and necessary in our ability to master our world. To be continued

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 4

In conclusion, not many in our population want to believe the foods that we eat and the hazardous pesticides related to production of such are severely toxic to our health. Pesticides are used indiscriminately in the growing of our food. Take arsenic for example, used in the planting of rice, apples, etc. Although even if discontinued, the poisons of arsenic remain in some form in the soil for about 80 years. Dow Chemical’s CEO salary was $19.4 million in 2016. And then, some form of sugar, sodium, etc. are mixed with a variety or combination of chemicals resulting in what we call food. The CEO of Pepsi made 25.2 million in 2016. Some say that we have the best food production in the world. Just ask any CEO in the industry. The food and pharmaceutical industries played a part in the creation of diet innovations; diet pills; gyms, spas, personal trainers, aerobic events, apps, etc. to reduce or hold in abeyance the number of calories ingested. In the battle within the pleasure centers of our brain, our addictions to sugar, salt, etc. usually win out for a variety of psychological reasons. It’s simply not calories in and calories out. Different individuals can consume the same number of calories with different results. We have different metabolic rates that also play a role. Counting calories is not the sole answer. And then we have this insurance system that also plays its part in the man-made epidemic. They influence and place limits on the amount of revenue that doctors, hospitals earn during their treatment. These insurance giants enhance their profits by their creative and ingenious use of restricting coverage. The CEO of Aetna made $18.7 million in 2016. Some say that we have the best health care system in the world. Just ask any CEO in the industry .Source, May 28, 2017 The New York Times. Some say that freedom, democracy and capitalism are the best systems in the world. Yet, don’t forget that we have the highest rate of cardiac disease and obesity on the planet, but our life expectancy numbers are not going up, but are actually decreasing. Remember, the ingestion of food affects everything that goes on in our body. And greed within our economic system, allows these conglomerates to feed everyone in our country, regardless of the price.