Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No Complain

For quite a number of years I was working with a company called I Will Not Complain, promoting a philosophy that complaining was influencing lack of morale withing teams, organizations or any groups in general and was the opposite of solution-focused thinking. I loved the philosophy but as years were passing by I somehow found myself in a cloud of complains that was just getting heavier and heavier. Like a living curse people I was surrounded with were also complaining and lack of morale was obvious - within a year I decided to leave the company and look for the more positive environment.

Not once I wished I had some skills at that time to deal with complaining differently but nevertheless it was a great lesson and in some odd way probably instigated my professional journey (NLP & positive psychology).

Have you ever lived complain-free life?
Just as an experiment, try the following exercises and monitor how it impacts the quality of your life.

Refrain from complaining for 24hrs. Simply allow thoughts to come and go and if you catch yourself complaining simply start another 24hrs non-complaining shift.

For the next week do not gossip or accept others gossiping. If you catch yourself wanting to gossip just break the state, confuse yourself and say something else. If others start gossiping - ask them to stop since you are on the one week gossip-fasting or do anything else that may help you help them not gossip. If none of these work then just start from the beginning for the week of no gossiping.

For the next month don't criticize anybody who are your friends and family. Same rules apply.

For the next hour don't criticize yourself.
exercises by Michael Neill, www.geniuscatalyst.com

Yan Ayi - my no-complain role model
(and the hat clearly states: I Will Not Complain)
Copyright Dalida Turkovic 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Foolish Freedom

As part of MentorCoach program (www.mentorcoach.com) one of the suggested reading materials is book Changing for Good. James O. Prochaska and fellows Norcross and Diclemente have presented a revolutionary six-stage program for overcoming bad habits and moving your life positively forward. I am amazed with the simplicity of the stages (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, termination, maintenance) and how they apply to any issue - especially useful for dealing with addictions.

I am fascinated with a term foolish vs responsible freedom mentioned in the book.
First of all here is what Webster dictionary claims for freedom:


1. the state of being free from the control or power of another
autonomy, independence, liberty, self-government,
Related Words emancipation, enfranchisement, liberation, manumission, release
Antonyms dependence, subjection

the right to act or move freely
Synonyms authorization, free hand, latitude, license (or licence), run
Related Words
authority, mandate, power; rang
e, room, space

Although there is no adequate theory of personal freedom (yet) the presentation of foolish freedom in Apendix A caught my eye and I have been thinking a lot about it these days. First of all two experiments initiated the use of terminology 'foolish freedom': Calhoun studied wild mice and in his experiments he provided switches in the cages where wild mice were. In first experiment wild mice had an option between choosing the switch that gives
  1. bright light
  2. dim light or
  3. no light

Sensitive to light, wild mice would
each time choose dim light unless that was the choice experimenter made earlier. In that case wild mice would rebelliously go for either of other two options.

The second experiment also included a switch, this time the one that turns the wheel on (the only form of exercise wild mice had). Smart as they are (otherwise why bother with mice anyway) they quickly learned to turn the wheel on so they could happily run and supplement for the daily exercise unless experimenter turned the switch on first. Guess! In that case they would turn it off. And that is what foolish freedom is about.

In both of these experiments mice wanted the control over the outcome, they wanted to master the machine rather than being governed by the experimenter. As a parallel Prochaska mentions a story about Maria who had a tyrannical father who demanded to know every single detail of Maria's life, he was involved in choosing everything for her (clothes, friends, college). Maria got married later and at the age of 33 realized that she was controlling her husband in the same way - she chose what they ate, where they went, what they did. Freedom at any cost just for the sake of living it.

On the other side of the spectrum is responsible freedom - when you choose to change for the best of reasons, regardless of what you were conditioned to do, what you feel compelled to do, or what is most immediately gratifying to do.

Have you ever felt like a wild mice dealing with problems at your work or in private life?
Have you ever lived like in a cage surrounded with wild mice?
How can you take more responsibility for your personal freedom?

Buffaloes in Belgrade Zoo
Is Madagascar billboard triggering foolish freedom effect?
Copyright Dalida Turkovic 2005

Friday, November 02, 2007

Delayed Gratification

EQ Calendar - November
The month started with my dream of the red car (again!). By some silly coincidence the second dream of the red car resulted in a broken leg (not mine, but one of the participants of the Great Wall trek) so now I pay attention - red car: slow down...

Flipping the page on the EQ calendar I read about delayed gratification:

The ability to delay gratification - resist the temptation to take the immediate reward in order to secure the larger, optimal benefit- contributes the crucial ingredient in self-control. It is developed primarily through these two abilities: 1) being able to distract oneself (i.e., singing, reciting poetry, counting squares, etc); and 2) practicing abstract ideation (i.e., convincing the mind that chocolate is really edible dog poop). Finally, monitoring and reflecting on one's behavior is essential for long-term improvement in any specific area (i.e., losing one's temper, impulse purchasing, using put-downs, etc). These might include a daily review of goals, journal writing, or sharing with a friend. it would also include contemplation of the long-term advantages.

exercise: google "delayed gratification" on the net. spend 10-20 minutes immersed on one or more sites. share what you discovered with a friend/colleague.