Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Words are Life Enhancing

"Words can either Build Up or Tear Down, Strengthen or Weaken, Emancipate or Enslave…THE CHOICE IS OURS!"
Roger Anthony

As we've discussed, many times in this blog, words are the tools you use to understand, filter and construct meaning and reality. They're also the tools you use to communicate, negotiate, influence and inspire others.

So it won't surprise you to hear that the larger your vocabulary, the more life enhancing it is. It's like being a carpenter or trades-person and only having a couple of tools in your toolkit. If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail...

The more tools you have at your disposal, the better a crafts-person you become, the better you are able to do your job. It's the same with language.

The more distinctions you have for describing and articulating your world, the more refined you'll be in the outcomes you create. Meaning is created in large measure through language, so enlarge your skills in languaging and enlarge your vocabulary.

Word of the Day

What prompted today's blog entry was the arrival of the following 'Word of the Day' in my email inbox:

The Word of the Day is:

enhance \in-HANS\ verb
: heighten, increase; especially : to increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness

Example sentence:
The newspaper company hopes that including more full-color illustrations and adding extra news features will enhance their product and reverse the decline in circulation.

Did you know?
When "enhance" was borrowed into English in the 13th century, it literally meant to raise something higher. That sense, though now obsolete, provides a clue about the origins of the word. "Enhance," which was spelled "enhauncen" in Middle English, comes to us from Anglo-French "enhaucer" or "enhauncer" ("to raise"), which can be traced back to the Vulgar Latin verb "inaltiare." "Inaltiare," in turn, was formed by combining the prefix "in-" with Latin "altus," meaning "high." Although "enhance" initially applied only to physically making things higher, it developed an additional and less literal sense of "to exalt especially in rank or spirit," and quickly acquired extended figurative senses for "raising" the value or attractiveness of something or someone.

Why not subscribe...

Yes... many years ago, knowing the importance of an enhanced vocabulary, I subscribed to: the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary - Word of the Day

Every day I get a great email teaching me a new word, or giving me details about etymology, usage etc. of words I may already know, but don't know the history of or the deeper meanings of.

It's so easy. The emails are short, concise and interesting. Each day my vocabulary expands and the thinking tools at my disposal are enhanced and augmented. Now how cool is that. It costs me nothing and adds immense value to my life.

The 'Word of the Day' is Life Enhancing! I highly recommend you sign up for it, or to some other online word/dictionary service.

Perceived Intelligence

And if you want further motivation to enhance your language and vocab skills... did you know that research in the field of Intelligence has shown that "Total vocabulary has the highest correlation (0.8) with overall IQ of any individual measure of intelligence."

Yes that's right. Higher vocab is correlated with higher intelligence. It's also linked with perception of intelligence, that is, people rate those with a large vocab as being more intelligent.

So by increasing your vocab and ability to articulate you will change how others see you and how they rate your level of intelligence.

Higher levels of intelligence have also been correlated with work remuneration. Within limits, higher intelligence means higher pay. So by increasing your vocab you increase your IQ and therefore the likelihood of getting paid more.

This makes sense, because it's a natural mix of Perception Management - managing how others perceive and respond to you, and the fact that you can think more deeply and wide-rangingly when you have better tools for thinking - more and better linguistic distinctions in which to understand and influence your world.

Words are Powerful!!!

Is this making life enhancing sense to you? Do you get why Words are so powerful? And why you want and need to learn more words and increase your languaging skills!!!

As I like to think: 'The dictionary is your friend" :-)

So subscribe to the 'Word of the Day' and start to expand and enhance your tools for thinking, learning and creating meaning.

Happy Generative and Life Enhancing Wording,
and many smiles,

and here are some great books I recommend about the power of words and how to use them to enhance your life:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Niceness - It's Life Enhancing

Ok, I gotta tell you something... NewScientist (the magazine) is incredibly, amazingly life enhancing!!!! Read that again. Then rush out and subscribe. I really can't recommend NewScientist too damn highly. I threw away reading news papers and traditional media over 30 years ago, and instead subscribed to NewScientist and I've thanked myself ever since. Why?

Cause traditional news media is based and marketed on FUDGE (Fear Uncertainty Disaster Greed and Envy). It is incredibly biased. It's largely puerile. And it rehashes the same stuff again and again and again. It's basically the same process applied to different content. The names change, but the process remains the same. Wars, political overturns and machinations, crime, violence and fluff. There you go, you now have the recipe to create a newspaper. Go for it LOL

Society changes largely due to the social effects of new technologies and advances in science. And where will you read about them... in NewScientist and other like magazines and journals. By reading NS you get an overview of the coming advances in science and technology and can therefore reasonably predict and track the expected social changes that will emerge and impact your life. It keeps you life enhancingly ahead of the 'normal' curve.

Ok, now I've got that of my chest :-) I'll move on to the content of this weeks blog entry.

I was reading NS while enjoying a delicious dinner and a very nice glass of wooded chardonnay, when I came across a great article entitled 'Be nice to people'. The information in the article was life enhancing, so I thought I'd blog on it and share it with you.

The opening paragraphs of the article summarise it nicely:

It sounds kind of obvious, and a little trite: the world would be a better place to live in if we were all a bit kinder to each other. But how can we make that happen?

This is fast becoming a valid scientific question. Psychologists and neuroscientists are exploring how to increase people's capacity for empathy and compassion, with two ongoing studies claiming that meditation not only increases compassionate feelings but also improves physical and emotional health.

But you don't have to be a Buddhist monk or an expert on brain plasticity to help increase global compassion. There is evidence that altruistic acts spread through social networks. In other words, if you are kind to a friend, they are more likely to be kind to someone else they know.

Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School in Boston designed a cooperation game in which 120 students were organised into groups of four and asked to give money to their group. The game lasted five rounds, and after each round the students were reorganised so that no two appeared in the same group twice. The researchers told the participants at the end of each round how much the others in their group had given

They found that generosity is infectious. If someone gave a dollar more than the predicted group average, the others in that group gave approximately 20 cents more than expected in the next round. This altruism persisted into the third round.

Christakis's team found in a separate study that cooperative behaviour spreads to three degrees of separation - from friend to friend to friend. So if you are popular and well connected, you could have a special role to play: your compassionate acts could resonate further through the network, and you are also more likely to benefit from other people's kindness.

Now isn't that interesting -- The power of social networks to amplify consequences and behaviours! When you are compassionate and nice it spreads. Cooperation breeds cooperation. Generosity leads to generosity in return. Now this is truly a life enhancing insight! You can enhance your world by practicing and spreading niceness :-)

How cool is that piece of knowledge! It's a great encouragement to practice random acts of kindness, or give out free hugs. Be extra nice to your friends, it will feel great and lead them to spread the love into their social network. And I think the world can really use as much loving kindness and compassion as we can give it.

So become a 'niceness generator' and enhance your life and the lives of those connected in spreading activation throughout your extended social networks, it really will make a difference to the world!

with kind wishes
and nice thoughts

Christakis's book that describes his research and how to apply it in real life:

Book Description

"Your colleague's husband's sister can make you fat, even if you don't know her. A happy neighbor has more impact on your happiness than a happy spouse. These startling revelations of how much we truly influence one another are revealed in the studies of Drs. Christakis and Fowler, which have repeatedly made front-page news nationwide."

"In CONNECTED, the authors explain why emotions are contagious, how health behaviors spread, why the rich get richer, even how we find and choose our partners. Intriguing and entertaining, CONNECTED overturns the notion of the individual and provides a revolutionary paradigm-that social networks influence our ideas, emotions, health, relationships, behavior, politics, and much more. It will change the way we think about every aspect of our lives."