Friday, April 25, 2008

It starts with the coining of a new word - kluge, which rhymes with huge. It's ...
“a clumsy or inelegant — yet surprisingly effective — solution to a problem.” Something you probably do all the time; I know I do.
As an EQ coach and student of the human brain, I found the book review by Annie Murphy Paul interesting.
Marcus is a prof of psychology at New York Univ. and director of the NYU Infant Language Learning Center.
Marcus says that kluge is a good description of the human body.
Writes Paul:

Take the spine. It would make more sense, and spare us much Advil, if we had
four cross-braced columns of vertebrae instead of a single vulnerable one. Or the retina: it faces the back of the head rather than the front, burdening us with a blind spot where a clump of wiring gets in the way. We’re a collection of patches and fixes, held together with the biological equivalent of duct tape — the handiwork not of an intelligent designer but of the rough-and-ready processes of evolution.

Here I might add that it's good to remember we evolved from a creature on four legs, and hanging limbs off a spine like that made sense. When my back got to hurting when I was pregnant, my good ole country doctor told me to get down on all fours and give my spine a little relief. Are these bits of advice "homey" and "silly." Um, not at all. It helped and, after the fact, made sense.

Murphy adds:

Evolution “kluges” its solutions because it has only the crudest tools at its disposal: genetic mutations and millions of years. Natural selection can select only from what genetic accidents have made available, and the features it chooses may remain in place not because they are optimal, Marcus writes, but “because evolution just didn’t find a better way.”
Neuroscience tells us of the triune brain - one brain on top of another, on top of another, progressing upwards from the reptilian brain, which evolved a LONG time ago, and thus will always be the strongest. Envisioning the brain this way helps to explain the conflicts we all have - it's one brain wanting one thing, and another, wanting another.

Paul faults the author for such 'obvious-ities' as: "Whenever possible, don’t make important decisions when you are tired or have other things on your mind.” I would add here what my psychology professor told me in grad school -- that EVERYTHING is "obvious" once it's een pointed out. It's just that we are "the fish in the water." Sometimes we MISS the most OBVIOUS things.

But so much about emotional intelligence is common sense, which has NEVER been common, and still isn't.

In fact I bet there's someone reading this who makes a note-to-self -- don't make important decision when you are tired!

I would add an even more obvious adage, that we miss over and over again -- Don't talk or deal with things when you are angry. And down here in south Texas, don't deal with things when you're too HOT, is another one. When the reptilian brain takes over, we can't think, and that's when we do a lot of harm.

In fact I'm coaching a man who said the other day, "I've learned to say 'I'm going to end this meeting now before we both say something we regret.'"

There's nothing wrong with a time out.

Keeping your mouth shut is sometimes a good policy. I'm a DATING COACH, and I often have to remind new-daters that one needn't, in fact shouldn't, tell everything right away, especially the bumps and warts and so forth. And don't talk negatively about your ex, or how 'awful' dating is. Those kinds of comments seem to beg the question that you are (1) unhappy; (2) in therapy; (3) both!
How about "don't tickle a gorilla." Learn to notice what's going on with the OTHER person, so you don't "walk into the blade of a fan."
For coaching, email me at . Let me help you get what you want!

Add to My Yahoo!

US Elections, Emotional Intelligence and Greek Drama

EQ applications?

Why is emotional expression so important? It means, basically, having words for thing.

Now, let’s take the current election. There’s a FEEL to it that most of us try to grasp, try to find words for.

I lament the passing of the Classic Education – you know, liberal arts, great literature, music, Verdi operas and Shakespeare’s plays – because at some point in each of our lives, there is going to come a time when you are going to need a vocabular that only the classics, history and myths can supply for you.

This is why all lovers are poets, and also, all mothers whose sons die young are poets.

In his article, “Yes, it’s politically incorrect but race matters,” Anatole Kaletsky reminds us of some facts – that there is nothing new under the sun, that we can at times find ourselves in our own Greek tragedy.” (This article is entitled "Yes, it's politically incorrect, but race matters.")

What does this mean – Greek tragedy? Kaletsky continues,

“The 2008 US election has all the makings of a Greek tragedy, in which noble heroes and heroines are forced to follow a course to catastrophe, divinely preordained as punishment for sins and blkunders committed by their forefathers in the dim and distant past. In acting out their ineluctable doom, the eloquent protaganists do not just destroy themselves but also their cities, their nations and even their entire civilisations.”
Strong words … but if you’ve ever found yourself caught in a 'Greek drama', you know the “ineluctable feeling.” There’s a force to it, a drag force. There's no other word for it ... and that's what we're after here. You may have to go THROUGH it, but it's 10x as bad if you can't describe it.

It’s awful, of course, but it is also helpful to know the words for it. For instance, watching the kid down the hall who seems to want his job, and yet be, at the same time, determined to get fired. And all this flying beneath his own radar screen.

I created a Mythology course just for this sort of thing. One should not be, for instance, Prometheus, without knowing it; but then of course you might want to behave differently, and therefore change the outcome.

There is always free will, of course. Feelings change. They also needn’t dictate behaviors. Why would you base any decision on a "fleeting feeling"? (One of the chapters in my course, actually, is called "A Permanent Reminder of a Temporary Feeling," from the J. Buffet song. (How is that different from intuition? Take THE EQ COURSE and find out.) Part of the joy of developing your emotional intelligence is understanding, finally, that you are not your feelings, and that you always have options.

Unless you’re in a Greek drama of course, under the pen of Sophocles. (Bear in mind also that if you aren’t mindful, you can well be playing a part in someone ELSE’S Greek drama.)

I do a lot of DATING COACHING. I nearly always have a client who is embroiled in their lover's DRAMA, just playing a part without being aware of what's going on. You should also be aware of this in dating someone newly divorced, for instance, or someone who hasn't resolved stuff from the past. You will find yourself in a 'drama' - where you are mistaken for a pst wife, a past girl-friend, even a parent!)

Are you? Study emotional intelligence and learn more.
eMail me at .
Ask about THE EQ Course, The MYTHS course, personal coaching, and DATING COACHING.

Add to My Yahoo!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Opera Prompters, Life Coaches & Emotional Intelligence

BTW, what's an opera prompter?? And what's that got to do with emotional intelligence?
by Susan Dunn, M.A., Personal Life & Dating Coach

5 hours you’re standing on-stage, often not singing yourself, but still required to be present. How do you keep from drifting off? Soprano Christine Brewer, soprano with the San Francisco Opera, admitted, in a Wall Street Journal article by Thomas S. Burton, entitled “It’s Not Over (Yet) for Those Who Cue Divas,” that in a recent 5-hour performance of Wagner’s TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, it happened to her. She drifted off, and Jonathan Kuhner saved her life.

Jonathan Kuhner … Philip Eisenberg … know these names? Philip Eisenberg’s name appears on the SF opera program as “Philip Eisenberg, Assistant for Artists, Emeritus. What do these gentleman do? They’re PROMPTERS for operas, and, according to one source, there are fewer than 10 prompters working full-time in U. S. companies these days.

Are they needed?

Well according to Baritone Nathan Gunn, “They always get the biggest applause at cast parties.” One can imagine how many lives and careers they have saved. Don’t you wish you had one?? Well now you can ... but read on.

Gunn pointed out that if you see a singer standing longer than they should at front-center stage, it’s probably because they’re lost and looking to the prompter to lead them back.

Or looking for confidence. A recent article described James Johnson, 68-year-old prompter, descending into the prompter’s box (it doesn’t even have a real name!) minutes before the beginning of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” where, as the orchestra of the Chicago Lyric Opera began, he kept the beat with his hands, said the first word of many lines, and [exuded] confidence so the singers stayed calm.”

Many of the prompters are ‘of an age’ – many operas must be known (and remember, each has ‘so many words’), and many languages (those ‘many words’ are not always in the singer’s native tongue). They also have to have a lot of emotional intelligence. Opera singers say they can also serve as “your voice of reason and practicality,” when the conductor speaks in that foreign language they do, i.e., “sing like an obelisk,” or “you’re making a sound that’s domelike. I want a parabola.” The opera stars look to the prompters to interpret.

Don’t you wish you had one at work, when your boss says “prioritize according to the functionality,” or “I don’t care, just make sure you choose the RIGHT place.” (This is what personal life coaches do – help you interpret.)

Or don’t you wish you had one to guide you through your role as leading man or romantic heoine in your own romantic drama? Someone to help you keep the beat (how often to call her, how often to see her), to interpret the silence (why doesn’t he call?), or to translate the foreign-speak (“What does a woman mean when she says…?”) This is what personal life coaches do.
Back to those opera prompters, I guess since the orchestra sits between you and me in the audience, and the singers on stage, we do not hear, for instance, when the beat gets ragged and the prompter pounds on the floor of the box to make the beat more pronounced to the singers. Or when, according to a Wall Street Journal article about prompters, Christine Brewer lost her way, started singing the role of another, and the prompter leaned out of the box and yelled, “Stop singing.”

The WSJ article hastens to laud Ms. Brewer’s voice … why are we so hesitant to acknowledge that needing assistance about certain things does not negate other skills? Of course you’re tops in the field of law, but that’s a lot different from courting the woman of your dreams? Of maybe you’re Wife and Mother of the Year, but your career sure could use some coaching.

Prompters are like coaches, because they prepare the singers beforehand, as well as guiding them during. “The prompter’s job,” says Burton, in the WSJ, “combines the skills of a conductor, musicologist and linguist, with an unusual ability to listen to the orchestra, keep time with the hands and deliver the singers’ lines a moment before the downbeat.”

Kuhner describes it as “juggling.” That’s often how I feel as a coach – maintaining the beat for the client’s juggling act!

“Operas just have so many words,” said soprano Susan Graham, in praise of the prompters, who are making a comeback. “I’m a big lover of prompters,” she said.

Need it be said that in Italy, where they originated, they’ve continued all along, but opera houses in the U. S. are bringing them back after a lapse.

Wouldn’t you like to have a prompter when you’re stage-center, whether it be in dating, career, parenting or retirement? That’s what coaching is all about: preparing you beforehand, and making it easier during, for a professional and successful outcome. It’s someone to teach you the lines “when there are so many words,” to interpret the words of others, prompt you and prepare you so you are self-assured, and stick with you until your Perfect Performance is completed and the applause is ringing in your ears. Also I might add, and this will make you laugh -- to tell you when to stop singing!

A personal life coach can also greatly increase your productivity. Caruso wouldn’t have thought of performing without a prompter, and because of this, he typically did one opera one night in one town, and another opera the next night in another town.

Consider, for instance, if you are seriously looking for a lifetime partner on online dating sites. How on earth do you keep track of it all, and how do you know what to do when with each contender … kind of like a 5-hour Wagnerian opera isn’t it? Thank heavens for prompters, and thank heavens for coaches. I know I have greatly increased the success-capacity of many clients, and together we have pulled off some “bravo” and “encore” performances.

“My coach is someone to come back to and check in with along the way,” says one of my clients. “Susan eliminates a lot of static for me so I can concentrate on my game.”

In fact, pretty similar to WSJ’s description of a prompter as “…a safety net and a friendly face, allowing performers to concentrate more…” adding, “They help keep complex and loud passages together.”

For coaching, email me at . Dating coaching a specialty.

Add to My Yahoo!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Supreme Court and Death Penalty

How do you make a decision? By the rules, but your intuition and experience? What constitutes "good judgement." What if you have to enforce something you personally think is wrong? We face these situations in our lives. If you face one of these as a Supreme Court Justice, how you feel and how you make the decision can have massive consequences for many people.

From "Courting Disaster" by Jonah Goldberg:

The court ruled that the state of Kentucky may continue to use lethal
injections when administering the death penalty. But that's not what's shocking. Nor was it surprising that for the first time Justice John Paul Stevens admitted he thinks the death penalty is unconstitutional.

What is staggering, or at least should be, is that Stevens freely
admits that he no longer considers "objective evidence" or even the plain text of the Constitution determinative of what is or isn't constitutional: "I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty" is unconstitutional.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in a blistering response, justifiably exclaimed
that, "Purer expression cannot be found of the principle of rule by judicial fiat."

It sounds like Stevens has decided it is "just plain wrong" ... and yet his job is to enforce the constitution. Send me your thoughts on this one - .

Add to My Yahoo!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mother's Day,a very emotional occasion

"Where Are All the Mother's Day Articles?"
by Susan Dunn

I went looking for Mother's Day articles for my blog and ezines. I write my own stuff, but I wanted to see what the temperature would be this year. As I perused the article warehouses, I found there wasn’t much, and what there was, was defensive.

One site I scanned had poetry submitted by readers. The titles? "Mom, Give Me My Baby Back," "So Much to Forgive," and "I Know I Was Difficult to Raise." Young women seemed to want their mothers to back off, while men were characteristically silent. If there's one subject both sacred and profane, it's a grown man and his mother.

Most men struggle for years trying to manage the women in their lives: the mother, the wife, the daughter. He loves them all, and cannot please them all. In fact pleasing one will often displease the other. It takes EQ and maturity to maneuver this land-mined territory, to appreciate the plenty, and dole out his attention with confidence. The place of the mother? He loved her first and has loved her the longest. More true today than ever before, with the divorce rate at 50%, and the fact that daughters often alienate from their father when he remarries. "Blood is thicker than water," my middle-aged client told me, as he faced losing not just his wife, but her family, and all their in-common friends as well. "My mother told me that," he said. Then he added, "But who ever listens to your mother."

As the proverb goes, "When you die, your sister's tears will dry as time goes on, your widow's tears will end in another's arms , but your mother will mourn you until the day she dies."

But how yuchy. How unmanly. Well, that, too, needs to be worked out.

There were some sentimental poems of praise, but they read phoney. "You were always there when I needed you"? No one can ever be that. That's simply not possible. "You will always be my mom"? Yes, in the grand sense. No, in the other sense, at least for those of us who don't try and steal our grown children's babies and lives. But, yes, the feeling will always be there, packed away in the place where we put the deep feelings we had, have, for relationships the nature of which has changed. My little boys are somewhere with their father, my ex, with my own mom and dad, now deceased, and a few others.

The silence is both sacred and profane. The love too great to write about, and the anger too uncomfortable to think about. Let's use a child-like word - "hate." Well, you can't hate your mother, that's all there is to it. That we spent a fair portion of our childhood being thwarted by her, as it seems to us as children, and therefore quite angry with her, is something we certainly wouldn't want to talk about on Mother's Day, but which will certainly come to mind, so we are silent.

We all harbor within that shrieking, finger pointing School M'arm who visited in our home at times, ready to crack us across the knuckles with a ruler, or worse. She took away whatever we wanted and loved - the kitten, staying up late, the "inappropriate" boyfriend, the spandex mini, THE FREEDOM.

To confuse things, our home was also visited by the Angel of Mercy, by Kwan Yin, the goddess of compassion, the One Who Comforts. Yes. She comforted us, the hardest thing on this earth to come by.

We seek it later in drugs, alcohol, strangers in the night, therapists, counselors, and ministers, as well as in prescription medication, yoga, mystical experiences, running, massage, and music.

That anxious, scratchy feeling we live with, which is a combination of physiological reaction, emotions and thoughts we call stress, is harder to assuage as we age, and we live in a society that's particularly opposed to the idea of a need for soothing. We would rather sweep it under the rug, endure our heart attacks and keep going.

It's as if we thought if someone took a 15 minute break during the day and sat in a rocking chair with a headset on, listening to Rachmaninoff, well, next thing you know, they'd be sucking their thumb and crying, or, worse, would never return to work.

Other cultures build more time into the day for soothing, like a long lunch hour, where everyone goes home for a visit with loved ones, a good meal, a nap, who knows what. Few of us in the US will ever know. One term being used these days is "cocooning," which is nice, because it doesn't raise alarm that we're all infants inside and likely to crumble at the slightest mention of that fact. Having recently moved to a new city, a big metropolis, I’ve noted that the large skyscrapers have a masseuse on-site – for the whole deal, or just a “chair massage,” with charges by the minute. I see this service being used.

It isn't "infantile" to react physiologically to stress by wanting to get the heck out of there. Like every other living creature, we like to feel good, and things, and others, and deadlines, and crabby people, and nasty tones of voice, and worries plague us and make us feel otherwise.

We want to feel smooth, with no negative emotions. We want out nerves and emotions soothed, comforted, smoothed out. Where is Kwan Yin when we need her most?

Mothers have it easy, because to comfort an infant is pure reflex, and feels just as good to the mom as to the infant. After that, once the infant is perambulatory, it is never so easy again, but every infant remembers, and every mother as well, and hopefully we learn a little emotional intelligence of our own.

So we get rid of that school m'arm finally, and take off on our own, and find a partner and set up our own home, and we don't miss the school m'arm, not at all, but the angel of mercy? What an ache. The partner can't quite get it right. He reaches out when you want to be left alone. She talks when you want silent understanding. He tries to hug you when your nerves are on edge. She won't let you get physical when that's the only thing that would help.

Mom would've known exactly what to do. Or so we think, in retrospect.

That part is true, or partly true. I generally knew what my sons needed. I might not be able to supply it at the time for various reasons, ranging from being busy with something else crucial, to not being there at all, to sensing they would fight my ministrations as "infantilizing," but I knew. Perhaps more importantly, I cared. I would have soothed and comforted them if I could have, and/or if they would have let me. I saw they were upset and I cared. Sometimes you can go days without having that happen in your adult life.

Of all relationships, the mother one is the most complex, because it's the most primitive. We knew when we entered this world we could not survive without her. Therefore it mattered a lot what she did.

I hope your mom was "good enough," that she got it right most of the time, and you knew she cared. Most of us, once we have kids of our own, get a big "ah hah" about the whole thing. I remember standing in the kitchen one day with the 6 year old screaming for help with some toy, and the infant just screaming, and their father screaming in his own way for something else, thinking, "Oh. Now I see. That must've been going on that time my mom forgot to pick me up at school."

Actually we work on this into adulthood. At one point my mother said, "I knew you were hurting, but there was nothing I could do." One day, in respect to my own grown child, I grew into an understanding of that as well. I had felt abandoned by my mother, and knew my son was going to feel abandoned by me. However, she did care, she listened, and she knew, in her wisdom, that anything more she might do would be moving in and taking over my life, which neither one of us would ever forgive. Now it was going the other way.

My mom and I, we had our good times and our bad. My feelings about her will always be ambivalent, and strongly so. That's how most of us feel about our moms. But I feel about her very deeply, beyond words.

That's why there's so little written about it. It's too important.

So go ahead and celebrate Mother's Day with all your various feelings, just like the rest of us, acknowledging what is rarely written – that it’s probably the most emotional ‘occasion’ on the year’s calendar. My son will be coming over at noon to take me out for lunch. I'm really glad he's coming. I just hope he chooses a decent restaurant, not one of those …


For coaching, or coach training and certification, email me at .

Add to My Yahoo!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Testosterone, Emotions and the Stock Market

Very interesting article in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Science Journali CALLED "Testosterone May Fuel Stock-Market Success or Make Traders Tipsy."

Quoting from the article, som EQ-type tidbits:

  • ...scientists exploored how the natural chemistry of fear, confidence and exhiliration can influence financial choices in ways that defy logic ...
  • "We want to know how the endocrine system and the brain work together to produce financial behavior."
  • from MIT financial economist Andrew Lo - "We need to understand that physiological aspects of brain behavior really impact financial decisions."
  • To all surface appearances, "the experienced traders were quiet and poker-faced, in control," said Dr. Coates, a former Wall Street trader. "In fact, underneath their cool exteriors, their endocrine systems [emotions] were on fire. It is almost as if they had learned not only to control these hormones but also to harness them."

This is almost a definition of emotional intelligence -- i.e., learning to control/manage your emotions but, more importantly, to HARNESS them.

Want to learn how? Take THE EQ COURSE. Special retro prices until the emotional economy calms down. :-) email me at for more information, or visit and then email for special price.

We learn better when we learn together.

Add to My Yahoo!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Check this out - written by a UK gent and his Netherlands partner.

From the article:

In business networking emotional intelligence is an important element also. The sensitive handling of questions and conversational leads is a great way to establish trust and help find areas of common ground, whilst not being seen as pushy or interfering. A good way to develop emotional intelligence is to practise the pregnant pause. This is not as stupid as it seems. A deliberate pause stops you from jumping in too soon and it also helps with listening skills because it forces you to think about what has been said and actually answer it in a measured way. All in all emotional intelligence is a powerful asset to nurture.

PS -- The BEST way to develop your EQ is with coaching and THE EQ COURSE! And ... because of what Brian mentions (above), introverts can make some of the best "networkers."

Add to My Yahoo!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dating Coach

Remember, I'll be talking about the movie FRIENDS WITH MONEY on this Tuesday at 12 noon CST. Tune in and join the discussion. We learn best when we learn together.

And ... speaking of marriages and assumptions ...

From a dating site, this guy is a psychiatrist (divorced).

Q: What have you learned from your past relationships.

A: You have to devote time and energy to the relationship. Many
times the relationship or the family should be treated as if it was a
"job." It actually is the most important one. Despite common delieve
[sic], it is not a place to express or satisfy childhood needs.

Whoa! I'm not sure I agree fully with that statement. Email me and tell me what YOU think about this - .

Add to My Yahoo!

What a Stroke is Like

In this video, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor talks about different functions of the brain and also shows a real brain and how the division are between the right and left hemispheres. She had the misfortune of suffering a stroke on the left side, and talks about what it was like.

email me at for coaching, Internet courses, and the popular EQ Alive! program.

Add to My Yahoo!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

SPEAKING ON A CRUISE is a wonderful way to travel for less (or free), to meet potential clients, and to combine some things you love. I don't know about you, but I love public speaking and I love to spread the word about my field. Dating, emotional intelligence, transitions (retirement for one), and other self growth and enhancement topics.
I have spoken many times for several cruise lines. One of the things I cover in my ebook, Speak on Cruise & Travel the World for Free is the hidden resources for finding the opportunities. In the vast majority of cases, you do not get booked through the cruise lines themselves. I've spoken on many cruises for several different cruise lines, so I can show you the ropes.
Another thing that's important to know is how to manage your presentation in a situation where you can't just run to Kinkos for more copies! What to bring and how to pack are important to the success of your presentation. What DO you do when you may have 200 listeners, or 20, or even 2. A seasoned professional, I give you lots of tips about this. I also cover the Number One Rule about speaking for cruise lines. Violate this and you won't be asked back!
My ebook will tell you all about it. How to do it, the hidden sources, how it differs from speaking on land, what to bring, and what to watch out for. eMail me for more information .
If you're pressed for time and don't get your best information through books, I offer a one-hour phone consultation for just $50. Then you're in charge and ask the questions. Very time effective because you don't waste time on things you already know.

Add to My Yahoo!

What's YOUR Favorite Booik?

Some surprises and some not-surprises in the Reuters Life survey on the most popular book in America.

As long as I've been around, the #1 has been the Bible - and it still is.

But there's lots to ponder in the other results. Here's a few tidbits. For the full report, go here.

  • #2 for men is J. R. R. Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings" while for women, it's Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind"

  • For 18- to 31-year-olds it was J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, while 32- to 43-year-olds named Stephen King's "The Stand" and Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons."

  • "Gone With the Wind" was number two in the southern and midwestern United States while easterners chose "The Lord of the Rings" and westerners opted for "The Stand."

  • Whites and Hispanics picked "Gone With the Wind" as their second-favorite book after the Bible, while African-Americans preferred "Angels and Demons."

What do you make of this? Share your thoughts with me at . None of those mentioned would have been my second choice. How about you? Let's hear some other favorites.

Add to My Yahoo!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Absolut lack of emotional intelligence?

Confounding us all at this time is the series of ads being put out by Absolut. This one ran in Mexico. Share your thoughts on the EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE of this ad campaign, i.e., What WERE they thinking?

And of course the parodies are coming out.

Absolut's response can be found on their blog, from no less than the VP of Corporate Communications. Among his comments:

The In An Absolut World advertising campaign invites consumers to visualize a world that appeals to them -- one they feel may be more idealized or one that may be a bit "fantastic." As such, the campaign will elicit varying opinions and points of view. We have a variety of executions running in countries worldwide, and each is germane to that country and that population.

This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues. Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal.

Add to My Yahoo!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Look of Shame - Spitzer


An incredible study of nonverbal behavior. Notice even the 'uniforms' down to the pearls, and the lapels pins.

DON'T MISS INNER LIGHT RADIO - I'll be on air discussing the EQ ramifications of "Friends with Money" on April 15th at 1:00 p.m. CST. Call in and say "hi". For more information go to or . Call in and join in the discussion. We learn best when we learn together. And wait till you hear DERILENE MC CLOUD, the mastermind of this series. I'm really looking forward to this experience, and encourage you to join us.

The Look of Shame ... Or is it the Look of Guilt?
In a law firm where I consulted, when someone made a mistake, they or the others would say "the walk of shame." Meant to kind of lighten the situation. Granted "shaming and blaming" is not suitable behavior for an office - but that's why I was there. That having been said, there are times when one should should feel shame and/or guilt.

Shaming phrases, for instance, are, "You should have known better," and "How could you do something so stupid?" They are designed to make the person feel shame.

Is this the look of shame - or guilt? And what's the difference between the two?
In our language, there is no clearcut distinction better "shame" and "guilt." Cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict describes shame as "a violation of cultural or social values" while feelings of guilt "arise from violations of internal values."

In their book, "Facing Shame," Fossum and Mason state "While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one's actions, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person."

As we grow from childhood into adulthood, and become better able to judge our own actions, guilt becomes the conscience former. Although, in general, guilt guides adult consciences, intrinsic shame is often present in adults too.

Facing up to shameful behavior in public (and I'm sure this is defined culturally - what's "shameful") is especially difficult.

Take a look at the faces of these people. How do these men look? Look especially at the mouths. Hard to describe - but we know it when we see it. The eyes tell a lot too. Often people will shut their eyes while clamping their mouths tightly as well.

The general impression is - I don't want to do this and I hope it will be over with soon.

To learn more, take the EQ Course ...

Add to My Yahoo!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Look At Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature

Perhaps you've read or heard about the article, "Ten Politically Incorrect Truths about Human Nature" (Psychology Today, Alan S. Miller, PhD., and Satoshi Kanazawa, Ph.D.)
Some of the things listed are not surprising - that men are physically attracted to blond Barbie-types, humans are naturally polygamous, most suicide bombers are Muslim, men become less competitive with age, and politicians do things like Clinton did.

Others many of us will not have heard of -- offsets of the Trivers-Willard theory -- wealthy couples with higher status have more sons. People with at least one son are less likely to divorce. And beautiful people are more likely to have daughters - 56% v. 48%. (One has to wonder if that is statistically significant. Seems to me to be hovering awful close to chance.)

Interesting too is the proposition that if a woman's being harassed in the workplace, she's being treated equally, at last. (Oh thank heavens, at last I can be abused like a man?)

But wait. Isn't this the ten politically incorrect truths about our ANIMAL nature? And haven't we spent most of our time on earth trying to rise above our animal natures? Trying to get beyond the talon principle, nature red in tooth and claw, climb up out of the slime and stand on two legs?

These are instincts from the reptilian brain, which was programmed eons ago and which we still share with - um - reptiles. They are polygamous, yes. Their instincts are uncomplicated: "Can I eat it, will it eat me, can I copulate with it?"

One politically incorrect behavior not mentioned because it's so REALLY politically incorrect, is that we, as individuals, would like to kill someone in order to get what we want. These may be truths about our animal nature, but many people manage to get to a higher level. Some men find a courageous, loving brunette who may even be middle-aged and marry her and remain faithful. Some men avoid becoming a suicide bomber even if in a country which encourages this. They refuse, or they emigrate to a country more favorable to the good life. Not all politicians behave like Clinton did, or Spitzer, even if they could "get away with it." There are CEOs who treat the men who work for them with respect.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, after all, is using your thinking brain. Some individuals continue being creative and productive well past the age when Gates and McCartney quit, because the drive is not at the animal level, it's coming from higher up. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SAPIENS IN HOMO SAPIENS?

We have a limbic brain (why we do not eat our children when we're hungry, like reptiles do), and a neocortex - which allows us not just to think, but to think about thinking. Therefore, we can note that we have an animal instinct operating (big deal) and choose not to act on it (that would be stupid). It isn't a command, these "instincts". Unless you aren't linked to your limbic brain and neocortex, that is. If our "human" nature is anything, it is the "homo sapiens" - we're the ones who can think. That means we have choices.

This list of "human nature" is implicitly hooked in to the selfish gene theory, which is, after all, selfish. This is the "it's all about me" side of human nature, amped up. But no less than Pope John Paul II has apologized for acts of "human nature" that were wrong, such as the missionary abuses against indigenous peoples of the South Pacific, and the persecution of Galileo Galilei, a case of workplace harassment if you will.

Killing people may be part of our animal nature, but caring for and about other people is part of our human nature. I thought we left Freud's drive theory (sex and aggression) behind us in the last century. There is just as strong a drive to bond, nurture and protect, which of course would be included in the Politically Correct Truths list, but it goes beyond that. Human nature isn't just about you and procreating your genes at the expense of others. Some of the things Miller and Kanazawa mention may be part of our nature. They may be politically incorrect. But in some cases acting on them is just plain wrong. And that's why you got a limbic brain and neocortex to go along with that reptilian brain. So you'd know this and feel this!

Want to learn more? Take THE EQ COURSE. You will find it fascinating and enlightening. Email me for more information,, and for coaching. It's the best investment in your future you can make. See more at .

Add to My Yahoo!

Eliot Spitzer and decision making

From today's mailbag -

Eliot Spitzer Thought Flow Chart:

Actually not a bad flow chart about decision making, especially when it concerns impulses from the reptilian brain.

For personal coaching, and the EQ Course (about emotions and how the brain works and how to make good decisions email me at .

Add to My Yahoo!