What’s your key to life? And would your 5 year old self agree?

“When I was 5 years old, my mom told me that happiness was the key to life.
When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I wrote down ‘happy’.
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment.
I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Wise words, likely from a Heart Life Lens™.

This came to me from my dear friend & colleague Dolly Hopkins.  While I can’t confirm the author, whoever wrote it knew what they were talking about.

~~TGIF- each Friday I rejig & re-post a blog entry from my www.life-lenses.com blog, which is about enhancing our perspective & worldview.~~


Tags: ,

Success is not always what you see (from one carrot to another)

This cartoon from Emotionz via my colleague Jules Andre-Brown, had me laughing out loud. It’s such a great illustration of the difference between a Carrot Life Lens™ & a Mountain Life Lens™.

Mountains may miss the depth of Carrot systems, while Carrots may miss the view from above that Mountains have.

Which view are you most comfortable with?

~~TGIF- each Friday I rejig & re-post a blog entry from my www.life-lenses.com blog, which is about enhancing our perspective & worldview.~~


Tags: ,

People in a hurry cannot think, cannot grow ~ Eric Hoffer

Lonely HammockCreative Commons License *Micky via Compfight

The superficiality of the American is the result of his hustling.  It needs leisure to think things out; it needs leisure to mature.  People in a hurry cannot think, cannot grow. ~ Eric Hoffer (American social writer, 1902 – 1983).

Words for a Go Life Lens™ to aspire to when they’re having a bad day.  A natural perspective for a Stop Life Lens™.

And you?  Done anything in a hammock lately?

~~TGIF- each Friday I rejig & re-post a blog entry from my www.life-lenses.com blog, which is about enhancing our perspective & worldview.~~


Tags: , , , ,

How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk

US Dialect mapping my map

I live in Kenya.  My kids go to school with kids from some 52 other countries.  A friend of mine, whose kid hangs out with mine, is from the state of Georgia.  When she sent me my first text with y’all in it, I laughed & was oddly excited & proud.

Thinking about those many times when I’m caught both trying to make myself understood in my home-away-from-home or to understand someone else (for example a native Swahili speaker), made me appreciate the following survey.

Caveat- this is a most U.S.-centric survey, but having said that it’s pretty darn fun.

Thanks to the NY Times survey, you answer 25 questions about how you pronounce words & what you call specific things.  It tallies your answers to give you a map that displays where (in the U.S.) speaks most & least like you.  My results are above.

Some of the answers are almost poetic.  Who knew somewhere in the U.S. people call it ‘the wolf is giving birth’ when it’s raining & sunny at the same time?US Dialect mapping2

Another interesting feature of the survey is you get your results to your last question immediately after you answer it.  See my example below.

US Dialect Mapping

More about the quiz:

Most of the questions used in this quiz are based on those in the Harvard Dialect Survey, a linguistics project begun in 2002 by Bert Vaux and Scott Golder. The original questions and results for that survey can be found on Dr. Vaux’s current website.

The data for the quiz and maps shown here come from over 350,000 survey responses collected from August to October 2013 by Josh Katz, a graphics editor for the New York Times who developed this quiz.

Truth be told, diversity comes in all shades, flavours & sounds.  And that’s a very good thing.

Thanks to my pal Sharon Bressler, who passed it onto me,


Tags: , , , , ,

Robotic hand beats you at your own game, every time

“A robotic hand designed by scientists at the University of Tokyo, Japan, will beat a person at rock-paper-scissors every single time, says The Daily Telegraph. “Rather than any magic or mathematical algorithm, the robotic hand in fact cheats its way to victory by ‘seeing’ which of the three hand-shapes its human rival is about to choose before making the form of rock, scissor or paper accordingly. Using advanced motion-sensing technology, the robot’s analysis is so quick as to be imperceptible to the human eye. ”

I couldn’t resist this one (as the name of my company is Rock.Paper.Scissors Inc.).

Cheating?  Magic?  Boring?  Best thing ever?

Depends on your perspective.

(Hmmm, wonder if robots have perspectives.)

~~TGIF- each Friday I rejig & re-post a blog entry from my www.life-lenses.com blog, which is about enhancing our perspective & worldview.~~


Tags: , , ,

Airplane Safety Talk a la Dr. Seuss

Photo Credit: B Rosen via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: B Rosen via Compfight cc

If you’ve ever been an airplane you’ll have, no doubt, sat through the requisite safety talk.   The one you’re supposed to pay attention to.  After all, what could be more important than knowing how to get out of the plane in an emergency?


Folks ignore the safety talk plenty.  Enter creative ways to get said folks to pay attention.

I heard this airline attendant on a flight a while back … Dr. Seuss style.

It made me laugh.  It also made me pay attention.

If only all learning & development could be so creative & have such impact.



Tags: , , ,

How can you get your hands dirty from the ground, without touching said ground?

Here’s a brain teaser for you.   Why, other than from an environmental perspective, would you need to be concerned about spitting or dropping garbage on the ground?

How would it be possible for you to get your hands dirty from things on the ground, without ever having your hands touch the ground?

Your answer depends on your perspective.

I saw this sign recently on a college campus & it gave me pause for thought.

If you get around by way of your feet, then this question might be puzzling.

If, however, you get around in a wheelchair, it makes complete sense.

Ahhh the illumination & inclusion that can come from a wide perspective.  And, the confusion & chaos that can be caused from a narrow one.

~~TGIF- each Friday I rejig & re-post a blog entry from my www.life-lenses.com blog, which is about enhancing our perspective & worldview.~~


Tags: ,

Why a Neuroscientist Lied to Her Kids – Mental Time Travel vis a vis Full Body Brain Memories

Photo Credit: Genista via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Genista via Compfight cc

The following article was originally published in the Washington Post & written by Dr. Kelly Lambert.  No link to the article is provided as the article has been taken down, but the previous link is to Dr. Lambert’s website.

As I look out the window to my sunny backyard & leafy avocado & banana trees, no one knows more than I that it ain’t Christmas.  However, as some parts of the world are still in a deep freeze & as I’m always a sucker for interesting neuroscience (aka how our gray matter works) I thought you might like a little time travel of your own…
I’ll never forget that December day 12 years ago, and the family holiday crisis I so narrowly averted. I had spent the morning at my office writing a neuroscience textbook, and was looking forward to returning home to spend some time with my 3- and 7-year-old daughters, Skylar and Lara. But the news I received from my husband as I walked through the door was devastating. The girls had been exploring in the attic — a space I’d thought was the perfect hiding place for Santa’s gifts. It was more than a week before Christmas and they had just seen their presents!

I’m not sure where it came from, but some maternal lobe in my brain immediately became activated, and I morphed into Santa’s legal counsel. “I was afraid this would happen!” I told the girls. I went on to explain that Santa had contacted all the parents whose kids were expecting bulky gifts that year and shared that he was having back problems. Mrs. Claus had insisted that Santa send some of those gifts ahead of time via U.P.S. so he wouldn’t be in so much pain delivering them on Christmas Eve.

But there was a condition to this agreement. I had to sign a contract stating that I would not, under any circumstances, let my children see the gifts before Santa had a chance to set them out on Christmas Eve. If the children saw the gifts, they would have to be sent back.

“NO! NO!” cried my girls. “We … we only saw a few of them. We don’t even remember them.”

I told them that I was probably going to get in legal trouble but I would send only a few back and keep those they hadn’t seen. After serious consultation, we all agreed this was a good plan. I took a deep breath and continued decorating the house.

In addition to being a mom, I am a behavioral neuroscientist, a professor and a generally serious-minded, reality-based person. So what in the world had I just done? Why did I invent this incredible story in a desperate bid to protect my daughters’ belief in Santa, instead of seizing it as a teachable moment to tell them the truth?

While it may seem that I had abandoned my scientific training, nothing could be further from the truth.

Although children are born with a full set of 86-billion brain cells, or neurons, the connections between these neurons are relatively sparse during these early years. As their brains develop — as more and more micro-thread extensions form between neurons, and neurochemicals zap across the tiny gaps — children slowly learn about the rules of the physical world, and the distinctions between fiction and nonfiction. Eventually, they learn that reindeer can’t fly, that Santa can’t visit every child’s home in one single night and, even if he could make such a trip, there’s no way he could eat all those cookies. Magical beliefs are pruned away as mature neural circuits reflecting real-world contingencies become solidified.

Because my holiday memories were consolidated at a time when my brain effortlessly conjured up images of flying reindeer, I still feel a bit of that Christmas magic when I encounter holiday sights, smells and sounds

Luckily, however, we don’t completely lose those old ways of thinking, because the brain appears to retain a mechanism for neural time travel. By this, I don’t simply mean that adults have warm memories of having believed in Santa Claus. Pascal Boyer, a professor of memory at Washington University in St. Louis, differentiates between what he refers to as episodic memories — the first time we sat on Santa’s knee or the year a blizzard knocked out the electricity — and mental time travel memories, or M.T.T. These come closer to re-experiencing a remembered event. Professor Boyer describes how neuroimaging evidence indicates that, when certain events are recalled — presumably after being triggered by familiar sights, smells or sounds — emotional brain areas are activated as well as visceral responses. You relive the feelings you experienced in the past. These recollections can be thought of as full body and brain memories.

This can be traumatic, as it is likely to be for people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Or it can be more mundane. Imagine that someone had a chili dog before riding a roller coaster and then got sick. For years, he may be overcome by nausea whenever he encounters a chili dog — even if he knows perfectly well it was the motion of the ride that made him ill. When the brain considers something to be important, it is difficult to extinguish its responses to conditioned memories. Thankfully, it can happen for happy memories as well.


Tags: , , , ,

The scale of the universe by Cary Huang (a practice playground for Mountains & Carrots)

A fun, interactive site, this website allows you to see, in multiple perspectives, the scale of the universe.

Don’t forget to scroll in & out to change your perspective & click to find out more about an object.

Scrolling out is like getting an automatic Mountain Life Lens™ perspective (the view from above), while zooming in gets you a focused Carrot Life Lens™ perspective.  For you Mountains what, in your life, can you zoom in on?  And for you Carrots, what in your life can you take the larger view of?

Yin & yang, peanut butter & jam, marshmallows & a campfire – Carrots & Mountains make lovely bedfellows.

~~TGIF- each Friday I rejig & re-post a blog entry from my www.life-lenses.com blog, which is about enhancing our perspective & worldview.~~


Tags: , ,

Breaking News: You’re not being oppressed when another group gains rights you’ve always had

Oppression Someecards

Best responses (never mind the added bonus it’s short & snappy) to the issue of so called ‘reverse discrimination.’

From Someecards.


Tags: , , ,