4 years, and 11 months. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes: be afraid of NOT LEARNING from your mistakes.

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The Importance of Dumb Mistakes in College

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Not so much afterward, when I got driven downtown in handcuffs for spray-painting “Corporate Deathburgers” across a McDonald’s.

I earned myself a long night in jail for my lack of judgment. But my family and friends — and perhaps most important, my college, the University of Michigan — never learned about the episode (until now). Because in 1985, a college student could get a little self-righteous, make a bad decision, face consequences and then go home, having learned a “valuable lesson.”

These days I work as the senior communications officer at another college, where I spend a healthy fraction of my time dealing with students who’ve made mistakes of their own. I recognize myself in them: intellectually adventurous, skeptical, newly aware of life’s injustices. They’re also different from me in many ways: less Grateful Dead and Dead Kennedys, much more technology.

That’s the important bit. Because for all of the supposed liberating power of their digital devices, they might as well be wearing ankle monitors. Technological connectedness has made it much harder for them to make mistakes and learn from them.

Today’s students live their lives so publicly — through the technology we provide them without training — that much simpler errors than mine earn them the wrath of the entire internet.

 

Usually, the outrage is over things they say, for example a campus newspaper editorial that grapples with balancing free speech and appropriate behavior. That’s a quandary that has occupied American legal theorists since the founding of the country. It’s certainly one any young citizen should think through.

But last year, when Wellesley’s student paper ran an editorial wrestling with this same idea — and advocating limits on hate speech — it was widely read and criticized in the media as if it were enormously consequential.

Were the authors’ arguments entirely mature and well reasoned? No. But students deserve the chance to try out ideas. When they do, sometimes they’re going to botch it — sometimes spectacularly. And that’s why we have learning spaces.

Thirty years ago, college students could have tried out radical ideas about limiting free speech in print. The results might have been simplistic or doctrinaire. But readership would have been largely restricted to campus, and the paper would have been in circulation for only a day or two.

In this climate, there is little room for students to experiment and screw up. We seem to expect them to arrive at school fully formed. When they let us down by being just what they are — young humans — we shame them.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I demand better of you because I want you to be better.  I do that because I care.  You are my sons.

Don’t mistake the lack of constructive criticism and the lack of expectations from others as love.  It simply means they don’t care enough to invest their time in you to help you grow and become better.  False friends often exhibit such behaviors.  They heap praise on you when things are going well, but abandon you when things get difficult.  Don’t waste your time with the likes of them.

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You have but one life to live, so I want you to embrace it!  Dare to try new things.  Be bold in your efforts, not timid.  If you are going to try, why not do it with gusto?  Mistakes will be made.  But, who cares?  So long as you have thought through the consequences of your actions, no one is hurt, and there are no lasting adverse effects from the mistake, then embrace the lesson learned from that mistake.  That’s how you grow and expand your horizons!!!!

Timid, fearful, and inferior people often tell you to stick to what is known, tried, and true.  But, if no one explores beyond the confines of existing life and knowledge, where would human beings, as a species, be?  There would be no new discovery.  There would be no expansion of territory.  There would only be staleness and death as we deplete known resources from over-use, over-populate the small territory into which we were born, degrade the land from over-use and over-population, etc.

No, don’t heed the nay-sayers.  Hear them and thank them for their counsel, but determine for yourself the wisdom of a certain course of action.

Be you.  Be the best you.  Dare to try new things and to experience the beautiful things in life.

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All my loves, always,

Dad

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4 years, 10 months, and 6 days. The Internet is but a tool. Use it! Don’t let it use you!

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The Movement of #MeToo

How a hashtag got its power

About 10 years ago, after I’d graduated college but when I was still waitressing full-time, I attended an empowerment seminar. It was the kind of nebulous weekend-long event sold as helping people discover their dreams and unburden themselves from past trauma through honesty exercises and the encouragement to “be present.” But there was one moment I’ve never forgotten. The group leader, a man in his 40s, asked anyone in the room of 200 or so people who’d been sexually or physically abused to raise their hands. Six or seven hands tentatively went up. The leader instructed us to close our eyes, and asked the question again. Then he told us to open our eyes. Almost every hand in the room was raised.

For a long time, most women defined their own sexual harassment and assault in this way: as something unspoken, something private, something to be ashamed of acknowledging. Silence, although understandable, has its cost. A decade ago, I couldn’t have conceived of the fact that so many women had experienced sexual coercion or intimidation; now, I’d be surprised if I could find a single one who hadn’t. On Sunday afternoon, the actress Alyssa Milano used her Twitter account to encourage women who’d been sexually harassed or assaulted to tweet the words #MeToo. In the last 24 hours, a spokesperson from Twitter confirmed, the hashtag had been tweeted nearly half a million times.

#MeToo wasn’t just mushrooming on Twitter—when I checked Facebook Monday morning, my feed was filled with friends and acquaintances acknowledging publicly that they, too, had experienced harassment or assault. Some shared their stories, some simply posted the hashtag to add their voices to the fray. And it wasn’t just women: Men also spoke up about their experiences with assault. Actors including Anna Paquin, Debra Messing, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, and Evan Rachel Wood joined in. The writer Alexis Benveniste used it to remind people that the messages they were seeing were only the tip of the iceberg. For every woman stating her own experiences out loud, there were likely just as many choosing not to do so.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/10/the-movement-of-metoo/542979/ (emphasis added)

 

 

The Most Downvoted Comment in Reddit History Is the Perfect Example of How Not to Respond to Customer Complaints

Video game company EA Sports responds to gamer complaints in an overly-corporate and disingenuous way…and its new game, Star Wars Battlefront II, pays the price.

One of the features of the soon to be released Star Wars-based video game Battlefront II is an in-game economy that allows players to earn credits to unlock items within the game.

The game is a single-person campaign that takes place after the Return of the Jedi film. The online multiplayer mode lets you battle as a soldier for either the Empire or the rebels, earning perks like better weapons or boosts along the way…

…Plus, playable characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

And therein lies the problem. Imagine you just spent $60 to buy the game–and then you find out that you have to spend tens of hours actually playing the game in order to earn the right to use the most popular characters.

Or if you don’t want to put in that kind of time, you have to spend even more money to unlock them.

To many gamers, that’s like buying a car and then finding out you need to pay extra to get a steering wheel. And since many will play the online version, that economy creates a pay-to-play dynamic where players who spend money can gain a greater advantage by gaining access to better weapons and perks more quickly.

According to estimates made by early users, players who aren’t willing to spend more money on a $60 game would need to spend 40 hours of grinding to unlock playable characters like Chewbacca and Palpatine, and 60 hours–each–to unlock Luke or Darth Vader.

But what if you’re a highly skilled player? Doesn’t matter: One person determined that in its current state, Battlefront II gives out credits based on time spent playing and not on skill. That means no matter how good you are…you would still have to grind. A lot.

So naturally gamers complained.

And here’s how EA responded on the gaming r/subreddit, the ninth most popular subreddit with over 17 million subscribers:

With well over 600,000 downvotes, that comment is now the most downvoted comment in Reddit history by a substantial margin….

Following the backlash, EA announced changes to how it incentivizes players to unlock key content within the game. In a statement posted on EA’s website, John Wasilczyk said the company will reduce the number of credits required to unlock classic saga heroes by 75 percent.

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-most-downvoted-comment-in-reddit-history-is-perfect-example-of-how-not-to-respond-to-customer-complaints.html (emphasis added)

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

The internet is a powerful tool.  Use it wisely, and it can change the world.  For example, it is giving a voice to women who have long been preyed upon by the powerful and ugly (inside and/or out).

But, remember that it is also a tool for those with bad intentions.  These include people, on one end of the spectrum, who want you to waste time and money on whatever they are selling — this includes “free” sites and games where the site gets money from advertisers as you while away precious moments of your lives and lose your health to the sedentary lifestyle they inspire.  On the other end of the spectrum lies the nastier netizens who hack laptop cameras and microphones to get nude photos or compromising information to blackmail users, who download viruses onto laptops to steal users’ bank and credit card account information, who hack power stations and damns to endanger the lives of people, etc.

How hackers can switch on your webcam and control your computer

A malicious virus known as Remote Administration Tools (RATs) can be used by hackers to switch on your webcam and control the machine without your knowledge. Andrew McMillen reports.

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/how-hackers-can-switch-on-your-webcam-and-control-your-computer-20130328-2gvwv.html

Bank Hackers Steal Millions via Malware

Russian Hackers Shut Down Ukraine’s Power Grid

http://www.newsweek.com/russian-hackers-shut-ukraine-power-grid-415751

As with all things in life, it is your responsibility to use the item wisely, and to take control of it and not let it take control of you.  Think.  Be purposeful in your actions.  If you need to unwind for a bit and watching YouTube or playing video games helps you unwind, then, by all means, do that.  But, control yourself and the tool.  Limit your use of it.

Don’t let it take over your lives.  Video game addiction is a problem.  In addition to all the bad physical things that results from you spending hours in front of a TV (muscle weakness, poor eyesight, poor cardio-vascular health, etc.), your social skills and life would also suffer.

Gaming ‘addict’ who played Xbox 16 hours a day sought counselling after struggling to talk to real people

James Callis sought help when he struggled to connect with real people and missed out on university

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gaming-addict-who-played-xbox-11470536

 

Man Dies From Blood Clot After Marathon Gaming

The family of a 20-year-old British man who died as a result of a blood clot that formed after playing video games for up to 12 hours a day is speaking out about the health risks obsessive gaming can pose.

David Staniforth told The Sun that his son, Chris, spent most of his days playing the online game Halo and was accepted into a game design program at Leicester University.

“He lived for his Xbox. I never dreamed he was in any danger,” Staniforth said.

The young man died in May from a deep vein thrombosis, the coroner told The Sun. The night before he died, his father told the BBC he was probably up all night on his computer.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/extreme-gamer-dies-pulmonary-embolism/story?id=14212015

 

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Those that spend more than four hours a day looking at a screen are particularly vulnerable to mental illnesses, according to the study

Children who spend large amounts of time glued to a computer risk developing mental health problems such as loneliness, depression and anxiety, government health advisers have warned.

In a hard-hitting paper, Public Health England, which advises the NHS and government, makes a clear link between the overuse of the internet and social networking sites and lower self-esteem.

Those that spend more than four hours a day looking at a screen are particularly vulnerable to mental illnesses, the report says.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/the-internet-can-be-bad-for-children-s-mental-health-9381551.html

Learn to use technology for good, my sons.  Don’t let it use you and lead you down dark paths that don’t serve you.

As always, put away electronic devices.  Limit them to no more than two hours.  Go outside. Take a walk.  Play in the park.  Enjoy nature.  Hang out with your neighbors and friends.  Be real.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 9 months, and 23 days. Embrace who you are! You are beautiful inside and out. Ignore idiots who say otherwise.

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27 Asian Leading Men Who Deserve More Airtime

Asian actors don’t often get starring roles in Hollywood, but these guys — American and otherwise — prove they’re leading men too.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mattortile/asian-leading-men-who-deserve-more-airtime?utm_term=.kh76aeev2v#.asewAOO606

 

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13 Asians On Identity And The Struggle Of Loving Their Eyes

“I used to use Scotch tape to make my eyes bigger. Then I said, ‘Hey, this is your face. This is how you look.’”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/asian-american-eyes-photos_us_59f79448e4b0aec1467a3270.

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Let’s face it.  There will always be stupid, ignorant, and racist people.  You can find them in every corner of the world.  As with all life forms, there are those who/which are more evolved and higher functioning, then there are the weaker and lower functioning ones.  You see it in dogs, termites, plants, etc.  They simply exist.

But, their existence doesn’t define you.  You are who you are.  You can no more change who you are than a tiger can change its stripes.  Yes, you can make cosmetic changes (e.g., dye the coat of the tiger), but that doesn’t a tiger into something other than a tiger.  Likewise, putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a pig.

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Embrace who you are.  You are Vietnamese-Americans, and you come from good stock.  Your great-great-great grandfather was the first Secretary of Treasury for the country.  Your great-great-great uncle was Vietnam’s representative to the French Parliament.  Your great grandfather was a doctor.  Both of your grandfathers were accomplished and learned men.  More than half a dozen of your aunts and uncles on my side of the family hold a doctorate or graduate degree from some of the top programs in the U.S.  Collectively, we have spent tens of thousands of hours saving or improving the lives of orphans, refugees, victims of domestic violence, the homeless, the elderly, the poor, and the disenfranchised.

Like my siblings, I hold a doctorate and matriculated at some of the top schools in the U.S.  Like my father, mother, and siblings, I have spent thousands of hours volunteering to help — and working to improve policies relating to — the poor, the homeless, the disenfranchised, and the hard-working members of society.  Federal employment and immigration laws in the U.S., for example, bear my imprints from my years working for and with the U.S. Congress.  In addition, among other things, I have helped those abused by their governments find new lives in countries of asylum, fed the poor, prevented the homeless from freezing to death on cold winter nights, protected victims of domestic abuse, and helped build homes for the disenfranchised.  (My only regret is that I didn’t engage you boys in these activities when I was with you, thinking you were too young.  You are never too young to help others.)

Hold your heads high.  You come from good stock and have nothing to be ashamed of.

Life can throw us curve balls, but the truth eventually prevails.  Recall how I fought the Enron of Healthcare for five years (both from within and without) to stop them from cheating and harming the sick and dying?  They lied, cheated, and stole from the sick and dying, but government regulators ultimately validated everything I said about those scums and more.  The truth will prevail this time as well.

Remember, what people say and do is a reflection of THEM … not you!  Stupid and ignorant people make stupid and ignorant remarks because they are stupid and ignorant.  That’s their problem, not yours.  Why should you make it your problem?  Don’t ever do that.  Remember, you have control only over yourself, and no one else.  Let others own their problems.

Be proud of who you are.  Be you, but be the best you.  Strive to improve yourself every day, and ignore the less evolved and lower functioning.  Why bother with them?  You are not responsible for teaching them.  If they ask for your help, then, by all means, help them if you want.  But, if they insist on being stupid and ignorant, let them.  If they fight for their limitations, let them keep it.

I am always proud of you, my sons.

All my love, always

Dad

4 years, 9 months, and 21 days. Beware: you are being manipulated.

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To give an example, if I ask you, “How wrong is it to falsify information on your CV in order to get a better job?” you might think that you just go through a rational process, and think of the reasons why this is wrong, or perhaps why it’s not so bad. But we found that when you put people in certain emotional states, for example, if you have them sit at a table that happens to be very sticky, dirty, and disgusting, then people make different decisions. If you sit at a disgusting table, or let’s say you’re smelling a disgusting smell in the room, then you’re more likely to say that falsifying your CV in order to get a better job is really wrong compared to somebody who sits at a clean table, or somebody who doesn’t have a nasty smell around them.

Similarly we find that when you give people a chance to feel very clean and pure, they decide that something like falsifying their CV is not so bad, it’s proper behavior, or it’s okay, it’s clean. It seems like however people happen to be feeling at the moment colors their judgments about some even very fundamental decisions of whether it is right or wrong to do something. It’s quite surprising that even though we like to think there are good reasons for our decisions, often times there are all these random things that just happen in our lives, and that’s how we decide, for example, what is moral, and what is immoral.

https://www.edge.org/conversation/simone_schnall-a-sense-of-cleanliness

 

http://www.academia.edu/5148803/The_effects_of_cleanliness_and_disgust_on_moral_judgment

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

At sales schools years ago, when Southwestern sent us college students to Nashville for sales training, we were taught how to ask questions that would more likely than not push the respondent to give the answers we wanted.  “Your next door neighbors, the Smiths (a beautiful family), just bought a set of study guides for their children.  You’d want to purchase a set for your kids also, wouldn’t you?” gets you better results than “Would you like to buy a set of these study guides?”  In other words, we were taught to manipulate people.

We were far from unique.  You are being manipulated everyday by ads, by strangers, by friends, by family, by almost everyone.  Beware.

As evident from the above citations on how being in a clean or disgusting environment affects people’s sense of right and wrong.  Who’d thunk it?!!!  But, it’s there.  We could house workers in clean offices with fresh smelling air being pumped in and have them engage in questionable sales tactics all day.  Who is to say Enron traders who laughed about ripping off old grannies weren’t similarly manipulated?  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/enron-traders-caught-on-tape/.  (I am not suggesting those traders were not to be blamed, but that Enron created an environment which heightened the individuals’ unethical leanings.)

So, how can you defend yourself against this insidious manipulation?  Be aware of the possibility.  Think.  Analyze.  Question assumptions.  Use your slow thinking process instead of fast thinking/automated/knee jerk reactions.  See Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.  See also:

Be you, my sons. Be the best you possible.  Your time and your life are your own.  Don’t allow others to impose their will on you and trick you into buying things, wearing clothes, saying things, etc., that are not you.

Go for walks.  It’s a good way to slow things down and think.  It’s good for your cognitive and physical health.  And, it will help you live longer.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cravings/201710/the-easiest-exercise-longer-life.

All my love, always,

Dad

P.S., I have woken up the past two days extremely sad.  It makes me worry about you boys.  I hope you are ok.

 

 

4 years, 9 months, and 18 days. Don’t embrace the suck!

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If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them.

The Internship

 

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Truer words have rarely been uttered, my sons.  You see it daily — people making excuses for themselves and their bad behaviors.

If it happens to you, just walk away.  Don’t bother to argue with them.  Let them keep their flaws and their limitations.  They’ll never change and become better if they keep making excuses for themselves.  Walk away.  There are better people out there to befriend.

Don’t embrace the suck… not in you, not in anyone else.  If it sucks, why would you want to keep it or be around it?  If it’s not working, let it go.

Remember my note the other day about kaizen — continuous incremental improvement?  Embrace that!  Just work on being better today than you were yesterday.  If you pigged out on ice cream yesterday and felt sick from over eating, take one bite fewer today.  That’s not hard, right?  If you didn’t exercise at all yesterday, do one push up today.  Just one.  Tomorrow, try two.  You aren’t too busy for one push up, are you?

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Don’t embrace the suck, my sons.  Spend your time wisely.  Be the person you want to be, and can be.

All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 9 months, and 14 days. Know your limitations.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Life demands much of us, doesn’t it?  We are constantly bombarded by demands from all sides: “Do your homework,” says the teacher; “You need more sleep as teenagers!” says your pediatrician; “You gotta try this new game,” says the “Cool” kids; “Facebook is so yesterday — do Instagram,” says a friend; “Get off social media,” says the dad; etc.

How do you manage?  Who should you listen to?  Who can you trust?

That, my sons, is a challenge you’ll face for the rest of your life.  There will always be talking heads telling you what to do, what to buy, what to wear, what to say, what to eat, etc.

But, always remember, you are in charge of you — and no one else.  That means you are not in charge of anyone else, and that no one else is in charge of you!

As we say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”  You choose what you do and what you don’t do.  Take responsibility for your choices.  Don’t blame anyone else.  Losers spend often spend their entire lives blaming others for their mistakes.  Don’t be like them.

So, how do you make the right choices in life?  Well, life offers few certainty, so (1) you must make the (2) best decision (3) based on (4) the best information (5) you have at the time.

As you can see, there are a number of elements to this decision-making process. Let’s go through them one by one.

First and foremost, YOU must decided.  Don’t let others decide for you.  If you do, then the fault resides with YOU because YOU abdicated your personal responsibility — you chose to let someone else decide your fate.

Second, you must make the best decision possible.  Sometimes, flipping a coin may be the best choice when you are faced with two equally attractive or unattractive options and indecision is hurting you.  Choose and move on.  The moment of absolute certain will never (or rarely) arrive.  But, use this method extremely sparingly.

Think critically about your choices:

  • What data do you have?
  • What data don’t you have?
  • What data can be obtained and at what cost (in terms of time and expenses)?
  • What data are simply unavailable?
  • What is it that you don’t know about that could or would affect your decision-making process?

Think critically, methodically, and deliberately.  Shosh, when you were 3 or 4 years old, my staff were so impressed when you answered their questions in an organized and orderly fashion.  For example, you’d say, “Well, there are three reasons why I like X.  First, ….”  Keep doing that.

When you make your decision, make sure it is BASED on sound reasons.  Don’t make knee-jerk reactions.  Don’t make rash decisions because someone else is yanking your chains — emotionally, physically, or otherwise.

Stop. Think.  Assess.  Decide.

Make sure your analysis is based on the BEST information available.  Use reliable and reputable sources to obtain your data.  Don’t rely on hearsay, fly-by-night bloggers, charlatans, talking heads, etc.  Again, there is no guarantee that even the most reputable of sources won’t make mistakes, but life is a game of chance and all you can do it maximize your chances of getting the  right information on which to base your decisions.

Lastly, never let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  Perfection is rarely achieved and rarely possible.  Go with the best you have at the time.  Now, since time is obviously an important factor, make sure you give yourselves sufficient time to conduct your research, make your analyses, and decide.  Don’t wait until the last minute, then flip a coin because you have no data on which to make your decision and, as a result, all the options appear the same to you.

Obviously, this is an involved process and you cannot engage in such a process for every decision in life.  For less critical decisions, rely on less demanding processes.  Where possible, use reputable and trustworthy substitutes for parts of your data-collection and analyses.  For example, if I want to buy a new laptop, I read reviews by PC Magazine, ZDNet, Gizmodo, etc.  They have built a reputation as experts; thus, it would not be unreasonable to rely on their expert opinions as part of my analysis.

Now, this is where it can become tricky.  Not all “experts” are the “experts” they claim to be.  Below is a good example.

Revenge of the Lizard Brain

[B]ack in the ‘60s, ..: Paul MacLean [proffered the now] infamous “Triune Brain” theory, whose basic idea is that every human brain contains three independent competing minds – the reptile, the early mammal, and the modern primate….

Problem is, MacLean’s pet hypothesis doesn’t hold up under scrutiny….

How is it, then, that modern authors as educated as Seth Godin and Rick Hanson (among others) are writing entire essays that present “the lizard brain” as well-documented scientific fact? How does Godin keep a straight face onstage [giving a TED talk] as he tells us that “the lizard is a physical part of your brain” and that “the reason we call wild animals ‘wild’ is because they have lizard brains”?

It’s because the idea makes a weird kind of intuitive sense. We’re bundles of instincts and inhibitions and desires that don’t fit neatly together. It’d be comforting, in a way, if we could pin those conflicts on little lizard brains – just name those ancient demons and drive ‘em out, like we did in simpler times.

Whether we like it or not, though, the lizard is simply us. Every habit and hangup, every dread and desire in our minds is dependent on neural pathways that were once laid down by our personal experiences. Like every other organism on earth, we carry the history of a long, successful lineage in our genetic and biological makeup. The question of what to do with those resources, though, isn’t predetermined by the past. It’s up to you.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/revenge-of-the-lizard-brain/

See, also, https://www.ted.com/speakers/seth_godin; http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/01/quieting-the-lizard-brain.html; and, http://www.eruptingmind.com/beating-the-reptilian-brain/.

How do we know?  By trial and error.  By the use of your best judgement.  By staying current regarding new research findings.  By doing the best you can with the limited amount of time and resources you have available.

But, also, remember your own limitations, biases, etc.  For example,

Study: Teens’ View of Fairness Shifts as Brain Develops

When it comes to the concept of fairness, teenagers’ ability to consider the intentions of others appears to be linked to structural changes in the brain, according to a study led by Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences Luke Chang.

The research found that cortical thinning of specific areas of the brain from youth into young adulthood corresponded to the transition from an emphasis on equality in all transitions to a more complex consideration of the intentions of others in exchanges. This developmental change in the social brain continued through late adolescence, the researchers said.

“We were surprised that this shift in preference for considering others’ intentions occurred so late in development,” Chang says. “This finding has potential implications regarding how much autonomy this age group should be given when making important social and ethical decisions, such as purchasing weapons, going to war, and serving on juries.”

https://news.dartmouth.edu/news/2017/09/study-teens-view-fairness-shifts-brain-develops

You are in your teens.  Your brain continues to develop and change.  Certain limitations result from this process.  Acknowledge it.  Incorporate it into your analysis.  For example, it may necessitate you seeking additional counsel of a trusted source to counteract a known weakness.  There is no shame in that.

At the end of the day, own your decisions and learn from your mistakes.  Don’t let hard choices hold you back from doing what you must to achieve your dreams, to do the right thing, etc.

Winners do.  Losers whine and blame others.

Live well, and be happy, my sons.

All my love, always,

Dad

P.S., below is a poem I like which touches on this issue of limited time to make our moves in life.

Andrew Marvell. 1621–1678
357. To His Coy Mistress
HAD we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side          5
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.   10
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,   15
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.   20
  But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,   25
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:   30
The grave ‘s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
  Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires   35
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.   40
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun   45
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

4 years, 9 months, and 13 days. Your presence is more important than your empty praises. Be present.

https://shoshandjaialai.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/ea5ab-bepresent.jpg?w=1224&h=947

https://i0.wp.com/www.wallquotes.com/sites/default/files/insp0392-02.png

https://daydreamdaisies.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/worrrying-does-not-empty-tomorrow-of-its-troubles-it-empties-today-of-its-strength-mary-engelbreit-quote.jpg?w=320&h=400

https://i0.wp.com/www.quotehd.com/imagequotes/authors5/tmb/francois-de-la-rochefoucauld-writer-we-do-not-praise-others.jpg

Presence, Not Praise: How To Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Achievement

Why instilling admiration for hard work rather than raw talent is the key to fostering a well-adjusted mind.

In The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves (public library), psychoanalyst and University College London professor Stephen Grosz builds on more than 50,000 hours of conversation from his quarter-century experience as a practicing psychoanalyst to explore the machinery of our inner life, with insights that are invariably profound and often provocative — for instance, a section titled “How praise can cause a loss of confidence,” in which Grosz writes:

Nowadays, we lavish praise on our children. Praise, self-confidence and academic performance, it is commonly believed, rise and fall together. But current research suggests otherwise — over the past decade, a number of studies on self-esteem have come to the conclusion that praising a child as ‘clever’ may not help her at school. In fact, it might cause her to under-perform. Often a child will react to praise by quitting — why make a new drawing if you have already made ‘the best’? Or a child may simply repeat the same work — why draw something new, or in a new way, if the old way always gets applause?

Grosz cites psychologists Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller’s famous 1998 study, which divided 128 children ages 10 and 11 into two groups. All were asked to solve mathematical problems, but one group were praised for their intellect (“You did really well, you’re so clever.”) while the other for their effort (“You did really well, you must have tried really hard.”) The kids were then given more complex problems, which those previously praised for their hard work approached with dramatically greater resilience and willingness to try different approaches whenever they reached a dead end. By contrast, those who had been praised for their cleverness were much more anxious about failure, stuck with tasks they had already mastered, and dwindled in tenacity in the face of new problems….

Rather than utilizing the familiar mechanisms of reward and punishment, Grosz observed, Charlotte’s method relied on keen attentiveness to “what a child did and how that child did it.” He recounts:

I once watched Charlotte with a four-year-old boy, who was drawing. When he stopped and looked up at her — perhaps expecting praise — she smiled and said, ‘There is a lot of blue in your picture.’ He replied, ‘It’s the pond near my grandmother’s house — there is a bridge.’ He picked up a brown crayon, and said, ‘I’ll show you.’ Unhurried, she talked to the child, but more importantly she observed, she listened. She was present.

Presence, he argues, helps build the child’s confidence by way of indicating he is worthy of the observer’s thoughts and attention — its absence, on the other hand, divorces in the child the journey from the destination by instilling a sense that the activity itself is worthless unless it’s a means to obtaining praise.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/23/stephen-grosz-examined-life/

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Presence is such a simple concept, but so hard to put into practice, isn’t it?  How many times in class do you say “Present!” when your name is called during roll call, but find your mind being anywhere but in the present moment?  You are physically there, but your mind is elsewhere.

For a long time, I was guilty of such behavior.  My greatest and deepest regret, Shosh, is that I wasn’t always present when you used to tell me these elaborate tales during your early years.  Yes, I made a promise to always be there for dinner and to be at every doctor’s appointment, and I kept that promise.  However, being physically present is not the same as being fully, intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally present.  I was wrong to deny you the latter.  As I sat with you, often still in my suit and tie, I nodded, grunted, and smiled at all the right moments, but my mind was often mired in my work and the challenges burdening my clients.  In short, I put their needs ahead of your and failed to communicate to you how important and critical you are to me.  Eventually, you stopped telling stories.  That absence now pains me more than you can ever imagine, Shosh.  I carry that with me everyday and swear never to do that to another person who is important to me again.

Time is the most precious of commodity.  Once the moment is gone, it is gone forever.  Think about that for a moment.

I was a fool because I will never get back those moments of your youthful and curious mind, of your creative stories, of your precious self that is imbued in each of your tales.  Yes, my work was important, the problems facing my clients were critical, and the firms paid me well to solve the problems facing our clients; however, neither the firms nor the clients were ever more important than you boys.  I worked to support and raise you.  I sacrificed sleep, time with family, exercise, etc., in order to establish myself professionally in order to support you guys.  I was a fool and lost sight of what was dearest to me.  The means became more important than the ends.

Don’t be like me!  Learn from my mistake.  Be present with each other.  Be present with those you love.

Today, I would give anything to have a single one of those moments back…

All my love, always,

Dad