Interpreter’s introductionSixteen behavioral scientists have extracted the wisdom we need to live fulfilling lives. By looking at their personal experiences from the lens of professional expertise, they offered us a variety of advice ranging from praising spontaneity to warning against falling into regret.Text of the articleAt the heart of wisdom is a paradox. We acknowledge that our self-perceptions of the world may be deeply flawed. This underlying bias in all of us is the same as what scientific methodologies have been designed to overcome. At the same time, we find that wisdom is a direct result of lived personal experiences. Our site has turned to senior behavioral scientists whose expertise includes both fields, in search of life lessons that do not overlook the aforementioned paradox. In this report, you will get a glimpse of the personality of each of the contributing scholars, but with it you will receive valuable advice, which will help you to enjoy a meaningful life.Shape your life
“If life sends you an invitation, accept it. Spontaneity is the best antidote to fear and routine.”
It gives life opportunities to live spontaneously. Spontaneity, in my opinion, is the appropriate way to address fear and routine, each of which is an important human tool, but we must not allow it to dominate. Fear and routine hold us back, and make us predictable. Spontaneity opens the door to creativity and happiness, and the unpredictability it brings is one of the reasons it is so successful.
But spontaneity does not mean impulsivity, as the latter reflects an overabundance of energy and poor judgment. Nor is it a synonym for randomness, as it is not random behavior in response to a call from the environment that corresponds to an internal tendency that is compatible with it. Spontaneity is welcoming a business opportunity with the goal of an experimental gain, without fear of the possibility of a lack of pleasant payoff.
Socialization and acculturation increase the interests of the group and society. They are concerned about our “good” and expected behavior. But spontaneity, according to a social perspective, is a nuisance. In contrast, the organism (you and I) has a sincere interest in discovering its own potential. There is no way to achieve this goal except through exploration and experimentation. The organism must seek experience, whatever it is, enjoy it as much as possible, and learn from it.
A spontaneous (but not impulsive or indiscriminate person) remains attentive to the interests of others, and to long-term dangers to their well-being. There is no relationship between spontaneity and irrational behavior. This is why so many of those past childhood fail to grasp the payoff that spontaneity promises. We can restore and nurture spontaneity in a few simple steps. Not only do you refrain from going the same road when you return home, but also be prepared to stop, tattoo the flowers, and talk to a stranger. You are ignorant of whether it is the good that will accrue to you from that, and your awareness of that is true knowledge.Never back down“Change requires full commitment.”
When I started skiing, in my mid-fourth decade, I was amazed by the quality of the instructions, at least at first. I am not an athlete, yet the group lessons raised me to what skiers call “middle plateau”. I am able to wind my way down through various paths, although I don’t do it aesthetically. But further progress was not easy. The coaches person my problem: They said I haven’t left the “backseat” yet. My weight was heavy on my back, which I carried up and down. I needed to deliver, to trust the skis, to let it snows.
Leaving the back seat became a central picture for me. I came to use the terms skiing during the intimacy discussion. As for recovering from depression , in my new book, Good, Normal, I touch on the skateboarding biography and what it takes to achieve balance. She used the patient’s model aimed at doing everything, to the fullest, immediately: “Quitting drugs, stop hanging out with men who do not care about her, waking up early, eating healthy foods, turning off the TV, practicing yoga, visiting church, and taking prescribed medication regularly, And speak honestly to me. “
Writing is another area that requires commitment. Editors put red lines under words they don’t like and circle long sentences. Simple changes are never enough. Rather, the matter needs to be faced with leniency in general, and embracing the approach of “killing dear ones” – a term attributed to several writers intended to abandon the inappropriate elements even if they are dear to you – willingly, which means the writer’s commitment to the entire project: the pace of events, the tone Sound, subtlety of meanings, and imaginary dream.
The results of any attempt at self-correcting will not be without fail. But trying to deal strictly with the whole project, not just this task, and facing fear and acceptance of loss, will inevitably benefit, and that is what we learned from skiing.Pay attention to this overriding curiosity
“You will feel deep satisfaction when you respond to your inner urge to explore.”
Remember that feeling, first day of the week: most others drag themselves to work. But we – the researchers – can’t wait to get started. Why do we do research? We are dominated by the topic of research and we want to know more about it, to fill in the clear gaps in our knowledge base. And when we get any chance to do some research, we work all day and night. Not because someone is forcing us into it, but simply because we want them.
However, it is not without harm. Scientists’ obsession with the topic of their research plays an important role, because prolonged thinking is the path to discovery. But that doesn’t make us good husbands and family members, or nice dinner guests. We’d rather spend the time in the lab or writing that paper, though we wouldn’t admit it.
Most scientists do not make the fortune. But most of them live in the West a reasonable life, despite some cruel moments, such as a grant that refuses, experiments that fail, or research results that one of them precedes you to publish. Generally speaking, we lead a very fulfilling life. We understand the drivers of musicians, artists and writers. They innovate, and we find out.Rotate if the world stops spinning“If no one is upset, then there is no doubt that you are wrong about something.”
I dedicate my life to understanding and promoting well-being in the world. And while I was studying multiple topics at the same time, it was easy for ideas to cross-pollinate together, and creativity was able to reach its peak.
Our brains are designed to create content, not to cling to what is there. Extracting information and depositing it in easy-to-retrieve documents is essential. On my own behalf, I keep an electronic copy of my diary on my computer, in addition to a real notebook in every corner of the house. I also enlist in outside support to perform tasks that require self-control, and I link daily activities with environmental stimuli. The automated routine improves my efficiency and opens the door to chance, despite the contradiction that we may perceive between them.
I have an endless list of failures in all areas of life. When I wanted to do postgraduate studies, during the first year, 16 out of 17 entities refused me to apply. (But the following year, I received a $ 30,000 grant). After the rejection, I stayed for several hours thinking about the responses I had received, to learn from them. When you do work with a real purpose, it is easier to recover from shocks.
When it comes to work, if no one is upset, you are definitely wrong about something. I search in the areas that no one turns to, which sometimes leads to creative contributions, and sometimes to dead ends. If you are spinning at a time when almost everyone stops spinning, you will annoy someone. This is the cost of the insurgency.Facing adversity
“Expect and accept what no one expects. Life cannot be expected.”
Expect what no one expects, and if that is not your way, and it is not possible to change it, then accept it. Fifteen years ago, something I hadn’t expected happened to me. What appeared to be an acute viral infection turned into a chronic disease. At the time, I was on the University of California Law School team, and I was active in my community. This sudden shift forced me to abandon my classroom and the outside world, in return for life inside my home, on my bed most of the time. I was angry over my own skin. It took me years to realize that the battle I waged against what could not be changed was adding psychological pain to my physical suffering.
This realization encouraged me to take a realistic look at the human condition, including the unpredictable nature of life, and the inability to control much of what was going on. Facing these facts directly was not easy, but – after all – it gave me freedom: my focus changed. Instead of focusing on the features of my previous life, the priority became what they are now, and that enabled me to build a new life. I began to develop self-compassion. Instead of using my mental energy to fight my new condition, I learned to speak kindly to myself, just as I was to speak to a loved one who needed comfort. That is how I can say, “It’s very difficult to avoid this large number of special occasions.”
When I started being kind to myself, something surprising happened. Not only did my mental anguish decrease, but I was able to see the opportunities available to me as well. From my bed, I began to study classical music. I started caring for bonsai shrubs indoors. I began writing about chronic pain and disease, trying to help those fighting similar battles. That gave my life a purpose again. Dowding’s book states, “That tree that cannot bend will be broken by the wind.” And I was able to cope with the storms of life without being broken, thanks to my expectation of what no one expected.Practice the art of quiet response
“The Zen philosophy helps balance the bad and the better.”
At a conference on culture and psychology 20 years ago, a Chinese specialist in cultural psychology told a story in which she sees a summary of the “Zen” philosophy of life. It helps if you have ever had an experience in which it seems to you that the worst of fates were yours.
There was a farmer, who woke up one morning and found an important wild horse on the ground, and he ended up on his farm. The farmer caught him, and his neighbors came to bless him with his surprising luck. For his part, the farmer merely shrugged his shoulders. The next day, his son tried to ride the horse and violently knocked him off his back to fall and break his leg in several places. The farmer’s neighbors came to support and cheer him up after this bad luck. So the farmer simply shrugged his shoulders. The next day, the army passed through the village to recruit all the youths, to go to war in a distant province. Because of the son’s injury, he escaped conscription. When the farmer’s neighbors came to congratulate him on his good fortune, he shrugged his shoulders again.
The lesson, of course, is not to overreact to good or evil that affects you. If your boyfriend dumps you, or you lose your job, is that an impossible bad thing? Do you really want to stay where no one wants you? Perhaps you will find a relationship or job that is more suitable for you. But when you find a great new relationship or job, avoid thinking that all of your problems are gone. Every relationship carries a cost, and so does every job.Stop worrying right away
Not only is anxiety useless, it poisons the present as well.
(Carl Andrew Polymer)
Confession: I am a worried high-end personality. Give me some mental emptiness, and I will not find the slightest bother in filling it with fears large and small. But I learned an easy lesson for me to achieve a spiritual state free of any anxiety (at least for a while). Over the past ten years, I have interviewed hundreds of elderly people about the advice they would like to pass on to younger people. One question I always asked was, “What can young people do to avoid regret in their later years?”
I was expecting to hear about huge things like infidelity or shady deals. I did not expect adults to give us this advice: Stop worrying. Whenever an old man sits down to think about his life, I hear a different version of “I wish I had taken less time worrying,” or “I feel remorse over my anxiety over everything.” Undoubtedly, many of them, from their position, at this late age, feel that if they were given the opportunity to change their previous actions, they would want to reclaim all the time they spent poisoning their reality with useless contemplations of the future.
Older adults don’t see a problem with planning. But what they want us to stop doing is the repeated, pointless thinking about what cannot be changed. Life, from their perspective, is much shorter than wasting it worrying about things we have no control over. Mary, who is over 80, explained this point, “I knew that the company was going to lay off a number of workers, so I spoiled the next three months with anxiety, despite my inability to do anything about it.” I was silent a little, “From this position, I wish I was able to regain these three months.”
Now, as I start to plunge into the goofy well of troubles big and small, I think of elders’ advice. I imagine 1500 grandfathers and grandmothers shouting at me, “Anxiety wastes your precious life, stop worrying.” Now, I sometimes succeed in stopping the stressful anxiety. As long as you can, so can anyone else.Don’t give up for a moment on your sense of humor
“In your battle with the ugliness of life, the blink takes you from the position of the victim to the position of the victor.”
Keep your sense of humor present at all times. Because practicing humor can lead to recovery, recovery and salvation. You can turn the worst moments into the funniest stories. Humor allows you to regain your spiritual serenity after periods of drama, betrayal, loss, and fear. It is a recycling of feelings in their best form. When an event turns into a story, it is no longer just something that struck you. You become the master. And if you reduce it to a specific point, humor can be the tool you triumph over the event that is trying to eliminate you, whatever it is.Hold the reins of time .. Use it and you can
“Every moment is the right moment for everything.”
On April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King delivered what is known as the “Mountain Summit” sermon at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. Little did I know that King’s letter transgressed civil rights, to which he offered the next day the greatest sacrifice possible.
James Crookes, my co-worker and philosopher at Bishop’s University in Quebec, uses the “mountaintop” sermon to differentiate between two ways of thinking about time: Aristotle’s view of the ancient Greek concept of “kronos” (abstract time, as a process or sequence), and “keros” (the right moment) Moment of calamity or opportunity) as explained by the philosopher Heidegger. This difference has an effect on the way we live life. When we think about time in an abstract way, every moment seems to us the same as its counterpart, well. This perspective allows us to play the magic game of procrastination, where the anticipated future relieves the anxiety of the present, so we defer the intention to act until tomorrow.
Keros does not speak to time abstractly, but rather to its embodiment in our life. We can see this in the case of the alcoholic, who finally stands up after years of denial at a meeting with Alcoholics Narcotics Anonymous, looks back at her past, seeing the consequences of her actions face to face. Or in the initiative of a middle-aged man who decides to subject himself to an exercise program and a healthy diet, after years of neglecting these matters.
After making a decision, reconciling with it, and unifying the past and the future in the present moment: there is no place for sleight of hand here. King was aware of the danger awaiting him while speaking at Mason Temple, but – as he said – simply “We’ll go ahead!” The moment was right. My father, who is now 87 years old, who is aware of the timeliness of life, gave me this advice recently, “Take advantage of it while you are able to.” There is no abstract concept of time in this, it is only time that we have. Every moment is a moment when the past and the present are at stake; Every moment is the defining moment, the right moment. “Pay attention to the opportunities that will punch yourself one day for missing you
“Time travel can enrich your life now.”
Reading psychology papers on regret has helped me realize many transcendental moments in my life. Studies by Tom Gilovitch and colleagues show a wide difference between what older people regret and what younger people regret. Young people often regret embarrassing behavior or the actions that caused them problems. Like cheating on exams, or trying to date someone they like has been rejected.
In contrast, older adults who spend their eighth or ninth decade regret the most things they did not do. Such as not learning to swing dance, or not changing the field of specialization when possible. When young people tend to avoid potential risks and failures, believing that this will spare them remorse for any bad outcomes, they miss opportunities that they will regret not taking advantage of them when they are old. It is beneficial for younger adults to develop the mental capacity for time travel. Imagine yourself at an advanced age, thinking carefully about your elapsed years. Think about the experiences most likely your old copy of you will regret not having. Hence, make sure to gain these experiences while you are still young enough to do them.
In my fourth decade, I realized that I would regret not learning to play the saxophone. Lessons began, hoping to become a good performer within ten years. After 15 years, I became a musician in a band, and had a lot of transcendent experiences that I would never have had had I not known what people would later regret.Pay attention to the further picture
“Those who we aspire to be like are the ones who shape our current identities.”
(Susan Krause Whitburn)
At some point, you will create a narrative of your past life and present it to your future version, perhaps at forty-five or at fifty. What story will you tell about yourself then? Would you wish you had postponed having children, then never had children, would you feel that your life is missing an important thing, when your peers have fun with the grandchildren?
Our idea of the person we hope to be partly shapes our current identity. And with attention to this future perspective, especially when faced with big decisions, the self that you wanted may be the same self that you achieved.Respect your future self
“Setbacks are not a good enough reason for losing your faith in yourself.”
When you look at the past, you will find that most of your life has deviated in some way from what you planned. Random events have some effect on your life. And it is never without setbacks. You need to accept this fact: When it comes to your future, anything can happen. So, don’t give yourself up easily and be aware that failure is part of the rules of the game.
Always expect that you will be able to succeed in the future, regardless of what happened in the past. And allow your future self (the person you will be) to enjoy some of the benefits of doubt. Overcoming failure and a true belief in oneself is a winning combination that always wins.
In teaching college students, who are usually not good at handling failure, I have found that my story can be very instructive. I started my school years at the University of Connecticut in a careless spirit, a sixth-ranked university in partying nationwide, a center I felt obligated to preserve. I’ve got my share of failure. But I realized at some point that this was not the reason I came to this university for, so I bore down on books. Then I graduated with a very good GPA, which was sufficient to open some closed doors for me.
Here I am now armed with my PhD, chair of a large academic department, I have an amazing team of research students, and we publish our work periodically. I am also preparing to publish my seventh book. Even so, I can recall massive failures that outnumber successes, such as jobs I didn’t get (still waiting for the call, Harvard), research projects that failed to achieve their goal, and grant applications turned down. My branches have really bore fruit in the soil of failure. Expect failure, learn its lessons, laugh at it, and go ahead anyway.Take advantage of the experience .. Don’t just look, notice everything
“When it comes to understanding, words don’t matter.”
When Fidel Castro took over rule of Cuba in 1959, my family sought asylum and fled the country. We were not immigrants, we always wanted to return. It was our good fortune for the United States to receive us as exiles. For me, the kid, my ignorance of English was a hindrance of course, but it was also a blessing, as it taught me to observe.
Not only consideration, but also observation. How do people talk? What are the distances that separate them? What do I need to do to make and keep friends? Who loves me? Who should be careful? Anyone avoid it? How do I turn an enemy into a friend? What distance should be maintained during the conversation? What pitch is loud a nuisance? What should I do when I do not understand the rules of basketball, volleyball, football or tennis? Who should I hang out with and who should I avoid? When they sing “Mary and the Little Lamb”, what do I do? I don’t know Mary, or the purpose of the song. I had a lot of curiosity, and a lot of questions.
I learned to rely on an international language, a language I had met in Cuba before: body language. I knew I could count on non-spoken messages, whatever people were saying. You quickly realize who loves you, who is not bothered by your presence, and who does not love you and may cause you harm, and the last information is the most important. You realize who you can lighten your load with, and who you should beware of because he does not like new children, or perhaps he does not like this foreigner who does not speak English.
I started noticing and cataloging what people are feeling, what occupies their minds, what they intend to do, and what they desire, and unspoken messages were my path to it, from an early age. This allowed me to deal with my new American reality, and help my parents. Later in my career, he also helped me as a special agent of the FBI (a job mainly of people watching).Lived experience is a good teacher
“There is only one way to learn parenting.”
Creating something from nothing, going from A to B, is refreshing, unfamiliar and difficult to achieve. As for myself, parenting, in the sense of learning how to take care of my child, was almost a new creation. Boer Richards Almanac once reported, “Experience remains an expensive school, but fools learn only in it.” And since I was a person who spent most of his life trying to collect wisdom from the minds and words of others, I felt from the first day of the birth of my child that I was a lost idiot.
At first, the baby seemed to need his mother, and I didn’t know how to communicate with him. But my wife was spending an insane number of hours in the hospital, where she works as a resident. It was then that I took paternity leave, which allowed me to spend two years with my child, most of which were spent face-to-face activities that brought us together. And slowly, slowly, we found our way. And it remains to this day his refuge whenever he needs help or comfort. We have a strong relationship, built over these long hours. He may not remember these times when he grows up, but I will always appreciate him for taking me from A to Z and helping me become a father.
I did not understand my father until after I became a father, especially my mother’s constant insistence on considering me a child and telling me what to do. When a parent looks at his child after he has grown up, a ribbon of times saturated with emotions passes before his eyes, seeing all these years and memories that are gone.We overestimate comfort
Prioritizing feelings may prevent you from achieving huge achievements.
Not long ago, I asked an assistant teacher to give a lecture. She replied, “But I do not feel comfortable speaking in front of a large crowd.” At first, I was dumbfounded. What is this girl doing on a career path that often leads to a teaching job? Then I remembered: She belongs to a generation raised to elevate feelings and pay attention to the warning signals that life sends.
The source of these ideas was good intentions, as were many others. But the idea has changed until it became a warning about anything that might disturb a person’s comfort. This is a counterproductive, and sometimes dangerous, concept. We cannot be immune from every risk or challenge. If that happened, we would never learn anything. The best way to come to terms with something, and to master it as well, is to do it, even with severe phobias. During my graduate studies, academic journals rejecting my papers was damaging my psyche. This seemed to me proof of my mistake in choosing the major. I thought that wouldn’t happen when I “managed my tools”. And here I am today, after publishing more than one hundred and twenty papers, my papers are still often rejected on the first attempt. But that no longer damages my psyche, and if I feel uncomfortable receiving the rejection, of course. Nor did I feel at ease writing my first book. I found this a pain.
However, had the papers passed the review stage without rejection, they would have emerged in a lesser quality. Had I decided to stop writing the book, or not start it in the first place, I would have felt more comfortable at this time, but I would have lost the opportunities that it provided me. If you feel comfortable, you are not learning. Lack of comfort is not a reason to reject an opportunity, but a reason to seize it.Set possible goals
“We never get past our need to step up the game.”
Those of us who have studied psychology as a major, are more likely to refrain from applying its lessons in practice. I admit my guilt, although I stopped at some point from hypocrisy. First, it applied research findings on setting personal and professional life goals, to overcome my habitual satisfaction with all that is reasonably good. Set clear, measurable, realistic, and time-bound goals. So I decided – for example – to reach a position at some age, and set the tasks necessary to achieve it.
Cognitive psychology has also been used to treat insomnia. Instead of lying on the bed with a mind ruminating over the past, I got up to continue working until I was tired. My belief in needing eight continuous hours of sleep was a big part of the problem.
To curb my social anxiety, I committed to the combination of cognitive strategies and communication skills that I teach. Such as the best ways to express and control emotions, how to engage in short conversations, active listening, and others. By virtue of my specialty, I was closely related and better informed about psychology topics. But it is available to anyone, to understand and apply.