How to Escape From the Vicious Cycle of Shaming in Our Digital World

shaming


Shaming can be a double-edged sword in our society.

One benefit of shaming is that it can be an effective way to regulate people’s behaviors in a relatively peaceful and nonviolent fashion.

When a corporation is found doing something misleading or fraudulent, public shaming can be an effective way to put pressure on them to change their ways and satisfy the public. Or when a celebrity engages in hate speech or domestic violence, public shaming can be used to steer away sponsors, commercial deals, and future work.

Our reputation is very important to us – it matters to us that we showcase a positive “image” to others. Shame is a very social emotion that is often coupled with this desire to be accepted and respected by others.

When used properly, shame can help society regulate itself and influence people to change undesirable behaviors. At the same time, shaming can also be used as a tool to manipulate and destroy others.

In So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, journalist Jon Ronson explores popular stories in public shaming – he dissects why it happened, how the person being shamed responded to it, and whether or not this shaming was justified or not.

There are no clear answers in this book on how we should properly use shaming, but Ronson does a good job asking the right questions and illustrating how shaming has become one of the most powerful forces in our society today for better and for worse.

This is especially true in our current digital world, where “shaming” can become a very spontaneous force that everyone has access to participate in on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

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10 Lessons in Zen Leadership Practiced by Legendary Coach Phil Jackson

zen leadership


What makes a good leader whether it’s a boss, or a coach, or a parent? Typically we imagine a leader as someone who stands strong, demands our attention and respect, and perhaps even sparks a little intimidation or fear.

This “alpha model” of leadership can be very effective, but it’s not the only form of leadership. In fact, more and more we are learning about more subtle and nurturing forms of leadership.

Mindful leadership (or Zen leadership) has become an increasingly popular topic, and no one embodies it more than the legendary basketball coach and player Phil Jackson. who won 6 NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls (led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen), and and 5 NBA championships with the L.A. Lakers (led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neil).

Phil Jackson is one of the most successful coaches not just in basketball, but in all of sports. In his book Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, he recollects on his time coaching these legendary teams and what he learned as a leader.

In the basketball world, Phil Jackson is often referred to as the “zen master,” because he often integrates meditation, Buddhism, and other spiritual traditions into his coaching practice.

According to Jackson, the key to building a strong team (or any cohesive tribe or group) is being able to overcome multiple egos and have everyone work together for a singular purpose or goal.

You need to elevate the desire for “individual achievement” (scoring a lot of points, getting to the All-Star game) to the desire for “group achievement” (performing well as a team, winning championships).

No one knows better how to manage multiple egos and build championship teams than Phil Jackson. In this article, I explore the various lessons behind his “zen leadership” approach and how we can apply it to our own lives.

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The Power of a Checklist: How to Stay Disciplined and Avoid Stupid Mistakes

checklist


In today’s world, we have more information and knowledge than ever before. Most of it is readily available and easy to access – all it takes is a quick search on Google or Wikipedia and you can pull up a fact about nearly anything.

Yet with this burst of knowledge has also come increasing complexity and confusion. We know more than ever before, but we don’t always know how to apply it and how to make the most of it. We have trouble putting this knowledge into action – making sure that it is useful and practical.

In many ways, the information age has made us a lot less practical and less wise with the knowledge we know. We know so much now that we get easily distracted, we lose sight of the basics, we miss the essentials, and we make mistakes when we know we know better.

According to Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health researcher (who explores how to maximize our use of knowledge in his book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right):

    “Failures of ignorance we can forgive. If the knowledge of the best thing to do in a given situation does not exist, we are happy to have people simply make their best effort. But if the knowledge exists and is not applied correctly, it is difficult to not be infuriated.”

Mistakes when “we know better” are often more painful than mistakes we make when we have to make a guess and just try our best. These mistakes are super important to avoid for a person like Atul Gawande, because as a surgeon a simple mistake could make the difference between life or death.

How do we not get lost in this ocean of information? How do we make the best of the knowledge we have, while still leaving room for the unexpected? According to Dr. Gawande, the power can be found by making a simple checklist.

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Why Love Will Always Be an Art (No Matter How Much We Learn Through Science)

love


Today more than ever before we understand the science behind “love.”

While we still have much to learn, we know that love (specifically “romantic love”) is often driven by a range of factors including: physical attractiveness, cultural/personal similarities, socio-economic status, evolutionary biology (the instinct to survive and reproduce), and – on a neural level – a cocktail of chemicals in the brain that make us feel intensely connected with another person.

But no matter how much we learn about “love” through science, it still remains a complicated and elusive concept in our everyday lives.

Theoretically, you can learn all about what “love” is in a science book, but still have no idea how to create or practice love in the real world. And despite all we now know about love, people still struggle finding it for themselves.

One of the main themes behind the classic psychology book The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm is that “love” will always be a type of art – like painting, or sculpting, or poetry.

If you want to be a painter, it helps to learn different theories and techniques, as well as the history of different styles of art. But at the end of the day, if you really want to be a painter: you have to practice creating art of your own.

Love works in a similar way. You can learn all about it, but the only way to really get good at it is to turn it into a daily practice. And like all art, that will take focus, time, effort, and learning as you go.

Love is a product of what you put into it. It isn’t just a passive thing that happens to you – something that you “fall into” or “fall out of” helplessly – but rather an activity that you must deliberately practice to become a master at.

This is true whether you’ve just started dating someone new or you’ve been married to the same person for over 50 years. Love is a never-ending art project.

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Why It’s Worth It To Pay The Costs of Being Yourself

being yourself


“Being yourself” isn’t always easy. It means being honest about who you are – how you think and feel and act – and sometimes that may turn people off.

In this way, being yourself comes with costs. People will see you. People will judge you. Some people will like you, some people will hate you, and plenty of people won’t even care about you. Ouch.

In the classic book On Becoming A Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy, psychologist Carl Rogers goes in-depth about the importance of being true and authentic to yourself, and why sometimes this isn’t always an easy and pleasant experience.

    “In my relationships with persons I have found that it does not help, in the long run, to act as though I were something that I am not. It does not help to act calm and pleasant when I am actually angry and critical. It does not help to act as though I know the answers when I do not. It does not help to act as though I were a loving person if actually, at that moment, I am hostile. It does not help for me to act as though I were full of assurance, if I actually I am frightened and unsure. Even on a very simple level I have found that this statement seems to hold.”

Being open to others about who you are means being open about both the “good” and “controversial” aspects about yourself – which can be painful – but what’s most important is that people will know you and understand you better.

Thus, the people who like you will actually like you for who you really are, not what you pretend to be. And having one real relationship with someone who “gets you” is more fulfilling than a hundred fake relationships with people who like a “pretend you.”

In theory, most people agree that “being yourself” is a good thing. But what does it really mean? Is it even possible to be anything else?

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