Archive for October 2012

Men and Women do Not Live on Different Planets

Emerson Eggerichs, best-selling author of Love and Respect, asserts Women need love. Men need respect.  It’s as simple and as complicated as that.  The foundation for his platinum-level former book-of-the-year is a theorized gender difference he identified by posing this question.  If you were forced to choose one of the following, which would you prefer to endure…to be left alone and unloved in the world, or to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone? 

In his original sample of 400 males, 74% said that if they were forced to choose, they would prefer feeling alone and unloved rather than feeling disrespected and inadequate.  He collected data on a female sample and found that a comparable majority would rather feel disrespected and inadequate than alone and unloved.  Based on this data, Eggerichs concluded that a wife “needs love just as she needs air to breathe” and a husband “needs respect just as he needs air to breathe." 

The book begins to shape the argument that wives’ failure to show respect to their husbands is the reason that many marriages end in divorce.  As he explains, what we have missed is the husband's need for respect.  This book is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs—respect.  Later, he asserts, husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect.  Many wives fail to deliver. 

At times, I thought that Eggerichs might begin to see how disrespect is at the core of many marital problems for wives as well as for husbands.  For example, he says that a wife yearns to be honored, valued and prized as a precious equal and that wives fear being a doormat, and informs his male readers that a wife will feel esteemed when you are proud of her and all that she does and when you value her opinion in the grey areas as not wrong but just different and valid.  Why not just substitute the word “esteemed” with the word “respected?” In other words, the tendency to favor respect over love was equivalent in degree to the preference expressed among males that was used to launch a best-selling book predicated on what now seems to be an inaccurate assumption of a consistent gender difference. 

Of course, I’m not saying that all women would prefer to feel alone and unloved any more than I’m saying that all women would prefer to feel disrespected and inadequate.  Even though I would roundly criticize what I see as the sexist underpinnings of his book, I nonetheless feel that Eggerichs states some profound truths with great clarity.  He argues very persuasively that respect is a core, and absolutely necessary, element of a good marriage albeit more for males than for females, in his view and provides a number of compelling illustrations to show how a shift toward unconditional respect can give new life to a marriage. 

If he highlights a universal truth, then it is one that applies to both genders.  For example, his concept of “the crazy cycle” is the idea that without love from her husband, a wife reacts without respect, and that without respect from his wife, a husband reacts without love.  Instead of this formulation, I would suggest that the crazy-making pattern is that when one partner fails to meet the other partner’s deepest needs for both love and respect, the second partner will react defensively and fail to meet the first partner’s deepest needs for both love and respect in return. 

It may be easier to draw blanket conclusions about large groups of people, but a thoughtful approach requires assessing the unique character and qualities of each person and each close relationship.  Maybe men and women do not live on such different planets after all?


Critical Thinking Critical for Life Success

Last year Reebok was forced to refund $25 million to customers who purchased their EasyTone toning shoes after research published by the American Council on Exercise found that the toning shoes were no better than regular sneakers at toning muscles or burning calories.  The incredible popularity of the toning shoes even with no evidence of their effectiveness illustrates the need for critical thinking among consumers who face an onslaught of marketing campaigns that seek to persuade them to purchase things that are ‘good’ for them.  Consumers who can think critically about sensational product claims may have saved themselves the $100-$245 expense of purchasing these faux-fitness shoes.  Critical thinkers should also make better decisions about other aspects of life, for example, in the context of important financial, legal, medical, and interpersonal decisions. 

Over the last several decades, educators, employers, and organizations around the world have expressed concern about student preparedness for a 21st century world, e.g., Association of American Colleges and Universities; Bureau of Labor Statistics.  In response to these concerns an increased emphasis on the training of critical thinking skills has been incorporated into international education standards; European Higher Education Area; U.S. Department of Education. 

Critical thinking has been defined in many different ways, but experts generally agree that critical thinking involves an attempt to achieve a desired outcome by thinking rationally and in a goal-oriented fashion. Recently, Stanovich argued that critical thinking is what intelligence tests fail to adequately measure.  This idea echoes the general consensus among researchers that intelligence and critical thinking are separate constructs, but share at least one common attribute – they are difficult to adequately assess. 

One relatively new test of critical thinking ability, the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment moves beyond the limitations of previous multiple-choice tests by combining both open-ended and multiple-choice questions, and by assessing thinking in relation to daily, easy-to-relate-to situations.  It is a standardized instrument that consists of 25 everyday scenarios that respondents analyze and critique.  The scenarios involve thinking in various life domains including health, education, work, and social policy. The test is also coded for a variety of thinking skills, including (a) verbal reasoning skills, (b) argument analysis skills, (c) hypothesis testing skills, (d) likelihood and uncertainty judgment skills, and (e) decision making and problem solving skills. 

A number of studies have established the reliability and validity of the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment using a variety of methodologies, e.g., correlational, pretest-posttest experimental designs, with respondents that vary widely in education level, e.g., high school students, community college students, state university students, private liberal arts students, graduate students, community adults and with participants from numerous countries, e.g., China, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, United States, Vietnam, etc.  Consistent with other assessments of critical thinking, much of validity evidence for the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment is based on the prediction of academic achievement scores, e.g., grades, standardized test scores. However, critical thinking skills should predict more than academic outcomes.  We make 100s of decisions each day that are likely to be influenced by our critical thinking ability. At the very least, we would expect critical thinkers to avoid certain negative life outcomes. 

A series of recent studies have examined the relationship between critical thinking and real-world outcomes of critical thinking using an adapted version of an inventory of life events created by de Bruin, Parker, and Fischhoff.  This self-report inventory measures negative life outcomes from many domains, e.g., interpersonal, business, financial that vary in severity from mildly negative, e.g., paying late fees for a movie rental to severely negative, e.g., foreclosure on a home.  The recent studies by Butler and colleagues sought to expand the validity of the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment cross-nationally and to determine whether Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment scores predicted real-world outcomes of critical thinking. 

The findings were clear in both the United States and the Republic of Ireland, those with higher critical thinking scores reported fewer negative life events than those with lower critical thinking scores.  While this is bad news for people with lower critical thinking scores, the good news is that that critical thinking can be improved through instruction.  Future research could explore the causal link between critical thinking and real-world outcomes of critical thinking, with special emphasis on the role of education and behavioral outcomes. 

In a world that is more complex and technical with each passing day, thinking critically about the information we consume is of the utmost importance. The evidence suggests that critical thinking scores can predict real-world outcomes and thus we need to appreciate that critical thinking is more than simply the new buzz word in education.  Critical thinking is critical for life success.  The good news is that there is a plethora of evidence that critical thinking skills can be taught and learned – critically important news coming at a critical time in history.

Can You Blow My Whistle Baby

Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby (ohh baby ohh baby poooo)
Let me know
Girl I'm gonna show you how to do it
And we start real slow
You just put your lips together
And you come real close
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Here we go

I'm betting you like bebop
And I'm betting you love creep mode
And I'm betting you like girls that give love to girls
And stroke your little ego
I bet you're guilty your honor
But that's how we live in my genre
When I hell I pay the rottweiler
There's only one flo, and one rida
I'm a damn shame
Order more champagne, pull a damn hamstring
Tryna put it on ya
Bet your lips spin back around corner
Slow it down baby take a little longer

Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Let me know
Girl I'm gonna show you how to do it
And we start real slow
You just put your lips together
And you come real close
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Here we go

Whistle baby, whistle baby,
Whistle baby, whistle baby
It's like everywhere I go
My whistle ready to blow
Shorty don't leave a note
She can get any by the low
Permission not approved
It's okay, it's under control
Show me soprano, cause girl you can handle
Baby we start snagging, you come in part clothes
Girl I'm losing wing, my bucatti the same road
Show me your perfect pitch,
You got it my banjo
Talented with your lips, like you blew out candles
So amusing, now you can make a whistle with the music
Hope you ain't got no issue, you can do it
Give me the perfect picture, never lose it

Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Let me know
Girl I'm gonna show you how to do it
And we start real slow
You just put your lips together
And you come real close
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Here we go

Whistle baby, whistle baby,
Whistle baby, whistle baby

Go girl you can work it
Let me see your whistle while you work it
I'mma lay it back, don't stop it
Cause I love it how you drop it, drop it, drop it, on me
Now, shorty let that whistle blow
Yeah, baby let that whistle blow

Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Let me know
Girl I'm gonna show you how to do it
And we start real slow
You just put your lips together
And you come real close
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Here we go

Whistle baby, whistle baby,
Whistle baby, whistle baby

Posted October 31, 2012 by dranilj1 in Science and Universe

Follow this Advice

Whenever you find yourself capable of following this advice, follow it, and you will never be in misery.  You can avoid the hell of life.  Remember one thing, if you want to do any bad thing, postpone it for tomorrow; and if you want to do something good, do it immediately — because postponement is a way of not doing. And bad has not to be done, and good has to be done. For example, if somebody insults you and you feel angry, enraged, tell him that you will come after twenty-four hours and answer him.

This advice transforms whole life.  Although, I was too young, only nine years old, I tried it just out of curiosity.  Some boy would insult me or would hurt me or would say something nasty, and I would remember my old dying grandfather and I would tell the boy, 'I will have to wait; I have promised an old man. After twenty-four hours I will answer you.

It always happened that either I would come to conclude that he was right, that whatsoever he had said looked nasty but it was true about me…. He was saying, 'You are a thief,' and that is true, I am a thief. He was saying, 'You are insincere,' and that is true — I am insincere.  He pointed out something true about me.  He brought up a true facet of my being which was not clear to me. He made me more conscious about myself.  I am immensely grateful.  After twenty-four hours' thinking, I would come to conclude that, that man or that boy is absolutely wrong.  It has nothing to do with me.  Then there is no point in answering; I would not go back to the boy.  If something is utterly wrong, why become enraged? This is a big world, millions of people are there; you cannot go answering everybody, otherwise your whole life will be wasted. And there is no need either.

This is half of the story.  If you can postpone the bad for tomorrow you will be able to do the good immediately. And you will never repent — because if you do bad immediately, you will repent tomorrow; if you do good today you will never repent, there is no question of repentance. This is a simple secret of transforming the hell that you live in into a lotus paradise.

Find out whether truth was only talk or there were a few people who had known it.  One thing is certain, whatsoever you decide, you would risk all for it.  You would not look back, you would never escape even if you had to lose life, would lose life.  A thousand and one things can happen – people are accident-prone. But if you have very great decisiveness, if you have decided then nothing was going to deter you.  I was almost killed three times; the only thing that saved me was my mission, that I had to go back, and I pulled out of death.  It needed great inner power.  Gather knowledge from all over the world.

Posted October 31, 2012 by dranilj1 in BODY_MIND_HEART_SPIRIT, COGNITION

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My Idea of an Ideal Life

    There is a problem with the way most of us see the world.  We want to be average.  It’s ingrained in to us that it’s bad to deviate from the norm.  Who really wants to be normal though?  Is it your goal in life to be completely normal, to get a white collar office job, move to the suburbs, and buy a lot of stuff you don’t need? It’s certainly not my idea of an ideal life, and I don’t think it’s anyone else’s either, it’s just the only model that’s available to us, so we go along with it because no one ever offers us a different path through life. 

    I would like to tell you about a different path.  When you think about this, it makes a lot of sense. Finding out everything there is to know about the average person is of little benefit to anyone.  Finding out about exceptional people though, that’s something that we could all really benefit from.  So how do exceptional, successful people differ from the average person? Here’s how: 

    Exceptional people are stubbornly persistent, and continue to strive for their goals and work diligently through everything that life can throw at them.  They are creators.  They listen, ask a lot of questions, and connect a lot of dots together to come up with big ideas.  They contribute meaningful things to the world around them.  If you think about it, all the most admired people throughout history contributed something of immense value to the human race.  They are focused.  They love what they do and they don’t have time for distractions and cheap entertainment.  They are passionate about their work and their lives.  They would gladly do what they do for free, and many do just that.  The ironic thing is that when you’re passionate about something, it’s often the case that someone will start trying to pay you to do it.  Exceptional people practice, a lot.  Most people who dominate their field, whether their field is chess, swimming, or writing, practice hard for about 10 years before they achieve that level of success.  Above all, exceptional people are not afraid to be unique, and they’re not afraid to fail.  They question conventional rules and put little stock in what everyone else is doing.  Put simply, they trust themselves. 

    First, make peace with the fact that you won’t ever be average again.  Commit mentally to a mindset of uniqueness and fearlessness, and become comfortable with the fact that you will inevitably stand out from the crowd, to some people in a positive way, and others in a negative way.  The next thing to do is to start taking action.  Most people want to know how to take action.  They think sure, those are all the qualities of exceptional people, but how do I get there from where I am?  The answer is simple, you just start. Don’t over think it, don’t plan out every little detail because plans change, just start taking action now.  You probably know what the first step is; you just have a million little reasons not to take it.  So instead of worrying needlessly, just throw all the little reasons out and start. Now!

No One Sure Answer

To create successful marketing strategies, it is essential to be familiar with consumers’ cognitive structures.  We are presented with methods to analyze dimensionality of cognitive structures descriptively and micro-econometrically.  An indicator for measuring cognitive structure dimensionality including weighted links is applied. To test the methodology, effects of sociodemographics on dimensionality are analyzed regarding a chosen food product.  Results show that consumers’ age and education determine whether cognitive structures are more or less complex, whereas gender has no effect on the dimensionality of cognitive structures. To offer tailored marketing strategies based on dimensionality, emotional marketing strategies should be applied to reach customers with less complex cognitive structures.  For consumers with more complex cognitive structures, marketers might focus on providing more detailed, information-based promotion. 

To be successful in the market, a company’s challenge is to develop a useful understanding of consumers’ behavior in general and, more specifically, to identify consumers’ product knowledge. Companies have to place their products in consumers’ knowledge set, that is, they have to successfully place positive associations related to their products in consumers’ memory.  Consumers’ product knowledge is represented in memory as cognitive structures that are relationships of associations.  These associations might be units of product information such as brand, packaging, price, and so on.  They significantly influence a consumer’s overt motor, e.g., purchase of products and internal mental, e.g., product perception and evaluation; behavior.  From consumers’ point of view, product associations help to process information and provide purchase motivation.  Cognitive structures organize their information about products in a way that this information can be used in the future to determine which product attributes and characteristics will be more satisfying.  Consumers’ cognitive structures of knowledge in memory and associations are key factors, perhaps the most important aspect, in developing a useful understanding of consumer behavior. 

So far in the literature, several studies have addressed this topic.  For example Henderson, Iacobucci, and Calder discussed cognitive structures in marketing research regarding branding effects and strategy detection.  More recently, brand association networks to investigate brand equity was used.  But, although cognitive structures have been shown to be a valuable tool for companies to assess branding effects and marketing strategies, critical components have been overlooked.  Although consumers’ cognitive structures for products, brands, and other targets have been uncovered and qualified, the dimensionality of cognitive structures has only been discussed theoretically. Also, previous studies have not considered the underlying question of what exactly determines these structures. Understanding not only the factors constituting consumers’ product association but also dimensionality of cognitive structures is critical for being able to implement strategies that specifically and efficiently target consumers. This is because the dimension of these structures, that is, the complexity of consumers’ cognitive structures is important particularly with regard to information processing. It is assumed that the more complex consumers’ cognitive structures are, the higher the level of involvement. Involvement refers to the level of perceived personal relevance or interest evoked by a stimulus, which the consumer links to enduring or situation-specific goals.  The consequences of a high involvement are an extended information search, processing, and decision making.  This in turn influences the promotional strategies chosen by companies, e.g., emotional strategies for low-involved customers and information-based strategies for high-involved customers. 

To assess and qualify marketing-related cognitive structures and associations, appropriate tools and methodologies are needed.  Against this background, the aim is to analyze the determinants of cognitive structures, more specifically determinants of the dimensionality of cognitive structures using descriptive techniques and econometric modeling according to the given data structure.  By using a count data model, we can appropriately control for the nature of the data while assessing the impact of individual-specific characteristics that drive the dimensionality. My assumption is that a count data model in combination with the methodology of concept mapping is appropriate to investigate determinants of dimensionality of cognitive structures. In this regard, researchers elicited cognitive structures applying the qualitative method of concept mapping. 

To demonstrate the dimensionality of cognitive structures descriptively, they provided an econometric determination of the dimensionality of cognitive structures.  They applied an indicator of cognitive dimensionality by means of a weighted dependant variable and they performed the method to different products to test for consistency.  It is possible to analyze the dimensionality of cognitive structures in a descriptive and econometric way.  They also showed that the applied indicator gives significant results in the econometric analysis and that the procedure is consistent over different products. 

The findings are useful for effective marketing strategies regarding consumer groups with differently complex, that is dimensional, cognitive structures.  For example, certain education showing a positive effect on dimensionality may lead to the conclusion that informative rather than persuasive communication strategies are appropriate to reach customers with higher education levels.  Moving beyond merely uncovering consumer cognitive structure dimensionality and toward understanding the respective determinants is critical for consumer behavior researchers as well as marketers and product developers.

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Be Resilient and Successful

Positive thinking is so firmly enshrined in our culture that knocking it is a little like attacking motherhood or apple pie.  Many persons swear by positive thinking and quite a few have been helped by it. Nevertheless, it is not a very effective tool and can be downright harmful in some cases.  There are much better ways to get the benefits that positive thinking allegedly provides.  Perhaps the statement that best exemplifies positive thinking is "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade." It seems so self-evident that this is a good thing that we never question the wisdom of the adage.  But it does not take a whole lot of digging to unearth the flaws in this reasoning. 

First, did fate really hand you a lemon or was this merely your initial, unthinking response? Second, is a lemon really a bad thing, something that you would rather not have, but now that you do have it you will somehow salvage something by making lemonade? Finally, it is quite stressful to be handed a lemon until such time as you figure out how to make lemonade.  Do you really have to go through this phase? 

No matter what happens to us in life we tend to think of it as "good" or "bad". Most of us tend to use the "bad" label three to ten times as often as the "good" label.  When we say something is bad, the odds grow overwhelming that we will experience it as such and that is when we need positive thinking.  We have been given something bad, a real lemon, and we better scramble and make some lemonade out of it and salvage something out of this "bad" situation. 

Now think back on your own life.  Can you recall instances of something that you initially thought was a bad thing that turned out to be not so bad after all or perhaps even a spectacularly good thing? Like the time you just missed a train and had to wait a whole hour for the next one and it was horrible except that your neighbor also missed it so you talked for the first time and a beautiful friendship developed.  You will find many instances in your life, some of them very significant such as the job you desperately wanted but didn't get only to find that a much better one came by and you would not have been able to accept it if not for the earlier rejection. 

Now let us propose something radical and revolutionary.  Let us propose that, no matter what happens to you, you do not stick a bad thing label on it; no matter what.  You are fired from your job, your mortgage lender sends you a foreclosure notice and your spouse files for divorce or whatever. This seems so far-fetched as to be laughable. Of course these are horrible tragedies and terrible things to happen. Or are they? Is it possible, just possible, that you have been conditioned to think of these happenings as unspeakable tragedies and hence experience them as such? 

Viktor Frankl in his book Man's Search for Meaning narrates the tale of the beautiful girl of privilege who was grateful to be in a concentration camp because she was able to connect with a spiritual side of her that she never knew existed.  Observations like this led Frankl into his life's work of determining why, when faced with extreme adversity, some persons positively flourish while others disintegrate.  Those who rise so triumphantly never label what they go through as bad and lament over it, they simply take it as a given as if they were a civil engineer surveying the landscape through which a road is to be built.  In this view, a swamp is not a bad thing.  It is merely something that has to be addressed in the construction plan. 

If you never label something as bad, then you don't need positive thinking and all of the stress associated with getting something bad and experiencing it as such till you figure out how to make lemonade out of it simply goes away.  That is the huge pebble in the positive thinking shoe. This is bad, really bad is a lemon.  But somehow I will make some lemonade out of it and then perhaps it won't be so bad.  First you think its bad and then you think you will somehow make it less bad and there is a strong undercurrent that you are playing games and kidding yourself.  Some people succeed, many don't. Those who don't are devastated that the model they were trying so hard to build caved in on them.  That's why positive thinking can sometimes be harmful. 

Can you actually go through life without labeling what happens to you as good or bad? Sure you can.  You have to train yourself to do this.  You have been conditioned to think of things as bad or good.  You can de-condition yourself.  It is neither easy nor fast but it is possible. 

Let us say you break your leg. There is stuff you have to do like go to an orthopedist and get it set and go to therapy when the cast comes off.  But all the rest of the stuff you pick up like: Why did this have to happen to me?  Bad things always come my way.  I am in such pain.  Who will hold the world up now that I am disabled? is simply baggage.  You don't have to pick up this load and the only reason you do is because you were never told that you didn't have to. 

I am telling you now. Don't pick up that useless burden.  Don't label what happens to you as bad.  Then you won't need positive thinking and much of the stress in your life will simply disappear. Poof! Just like that.

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