Friday, August 30, 2013

Self-Absorbed or just Striving to be Better? Why we make ourselves look great on Facebook

Why does Facebook make people depressed?

There are mutiple studies showing it happens: Michigan Study Stanford Study

Experts say it’s because we don’t want to just be happy, we want to be as happy or happier than other people. Most people on Facebook don’t post all the crap and mundane day-to-day normal life stuff – they post the fun, the excitement, the exercise, the new diet, their vacation to a place you could never afford, their beautiful family that looks happier than yours, their successes at work, their new goals, their big changes in life, etc…
Why do we post about going to the gym? To brag? Do we want people to think better of us? Do we post about going to church, or eating a healthy diet, or working hard or getting a new job to brag?

Why did I tell the whole world I signed up for a Tough Mudder? That I started doing P90X? That I was reading scriptures daily? That I was going out with my kids for 1-on-1 dates? That I made 25 goals for the new year? That I was helping a friend load his moving truck? Is it to show how awesome I am? To show that I am the fun, fit, father of the year who is friendly and infallible? (Perhaps that’s all true – some Shrink somewhere can psychoanalyze my posts and figure out my intent.)

I think a lot of the time we want to be held accountable. We want others to know the kind of person we want to be – so we'll live up to their expectation. I want to be fit enough to do a Tough Mudder race. So if I tell people about it 5 months ahead of time and get a team to do it with me – I won’t flake out – I’ll train and get ready for it because I’ve made a commitment and others expect it of me. I tell people I’m reading scriptures so that I’ll keep reading them. I post book reports so people will expect me and ask me to keep reading new books – books I’d never read otherwise. I post about good times with my kids so people will expect me to be a good dad.

I know these are not the best reasons. I shouldn’t need others approval to do these things – but what can I say? Peer Pressure Works. I haven’t reached that state of perfection where I do everything because it’s the right thing to do – sometimes I do it because it’s expected of me – and for now, that’s better than not getting it done, so I’ll take it.

Don’t assume the worst in people – don’t assume they're being prideful. They may be posting about how great they are because they fear they'll only become great if you expect it of them.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: SOS Help For Parents

A practical and step by step guide for parents who are at their wits end.  I read this book after just finishing 1-2-3 Magic. 

I like the 123 Magic book better for time-outs, but this book better for everything else.  This book gives many more ideas and covers more topics. 

SOS explains the different ways kids misbehave, how to reinforce the good, when to use time-outs, and it REALLY explains well the use of a portable timer.  (I never thought that it could be so important to not use your microwave or stove top timer, but instead use a portable one.  I have 4 kids, I've used both, USE A PORTABLE ONE!)

SOS explains when to time-out both kids, or the toy instead.  It explains how to handle aggressive behavior, how to notice developmental problems and learning disabilities.  SOS give instructions on working together with school teachers, when to get professional help, and how to control your own anger as a parent. 

SOS has quizzes, worksheets, on-line videos, lists of resources, and a never ending flow of ideas to try.  It's perfect for parents who think they've tried everything.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book Review: Sara In The Army

A very pleasant surprise.

How often am I going to read a chick-flick romance novel? - almost never.  But this book had three things going for it before I ever started reading. 

First - It's about a young doctor who gets thrown in the deep end (after medical school and residency I can relate)
Second - It's based in the military (I worked in mental health at the Veterans Hospital for the last 3 years, and having treated PTSD and much more, I found this very intriguing)
Third - The author is one of my best friends from High School - Brenda Hodnett.

I was very impressed.  The characters were real, they were fun, and you cared about them.  The medical situations were real, well described, and kept the plot moving without getting bogged down in medical minutiae.  The jokes were funny, the character development was paced just right so you could learn to love the characters as you went.  The reader wasn't expected to instantly love one character and hate another (except for Mr. Evil, but the nickname kind of gave that one away)

It was apparent rather quickly that the book was written by a female.  There are far more descriptions of the love interests good looks and sculpted chest and deep seated integrity than there are of the protagonist and her attributes.

What can I say? -  it's a good story.  It's fun to read, it's clean, fast paced, realistic.  It draws you in so you really care what happens.  It isn't all rose colored perfection - bad things happen, and people are left to deal with the aftermath.  Hodnett's descriptions of PTSD are accurate, which makes them all the more heart wrenching.

My main complaint is the ending - it ended like a chick-flick instead of a plotted story.  I didn't feel there was enough resolution.  It reached one conclusion, and left the entire world and outside plots hanging.  Maybe that's because there are sequels to be written, or maybe that's because the point of this book was just that - Enjoy the little victories, the good times, the heart-felt moments - because the world keeps on turning whether you do or not.

Here is where you can purchase the paperback ($10.15) or Kindle Edition ($2.99)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Book Review: Multipliers


60 pages worth of book that took up 250 pages instead.

This book is the quintessential example of researchers trying to find the X factor for success- and just finding common sense.

It's a worthwhile project - to figure out how to make OTHERS better.  How to get the most out of people how to multiply your own work and effort exponentially.

This book does make some great points:

1. You know that "genius" or indispensable person that has the smarts, but drives everyone else nuts and makes everyone else feel like an idiot?  He should likely be fired.  The benefit of his extraordinary brain is not worth the loss is production and creativity he causes in everyone around him.

2. Leaders fall somewhere on the "Multiplier-Diminisher" spectrum.
Multipliers make everyone want to do better.  They make you want to work harder, inspire you and make you excited to go to work.  They make you think, listen to your input, and help you really succeed. Then there are the diminishing dictators whom everyone despises, and who never encourage meaningful feedback or criticism or want to hear your ideas for improvement.  They know what to do and now they just need you to do A,B, and C.  Stop thinking and get back to menial labor.

This book basically teaches you, as a leader, how to identify other's strengths, motives, and drive - and then use it to their fullest potential.  To seek meaningful discussion, and not give answers, but seek answers.  It teaches you to be such a great leader that when you are gone, others will do just fine without you because they've been trained, allowed to grow, and can think for themselves and succeed.

Like I said - the ideas are worthwhile, but 40 examples of the same principle just seems ridiculously redundant and annoying.  So while this book may be good, it bogs itself down and is not really worth finishing.