This past Friday while I playing in goal for the first time for my men’s O40 soccer team I realized how profound and long lasting muscle memory is. Early in the game when it came time for me to make my first drop kick, I did a high arching, and not very long kick that reminded me very much of the “up and under” hospital kicks that I used to do as a full back for my Jr. High rugby team. When I tried to lower the elevation of my next drop kick, my timing was off and did a relatively short line drive to a member of the opposing team (one of the worst things a goalie can do when drop kicking the ball). I went back and for the rest of the evening executing beautiful up and under rugby kick, and failing miserably when trying to get more distance out of my kicks. Looks like I need to spend some time on the field with one or more of my kids practicing my “long” drop kicks.
The other aspect of goal keeping that felt very familiar to me was the diving after shots on net. I didn’t expect that to be something that would come easily to me, but once I was between the posts, and people started shooting at me, It reminded me an awful lot like defending against someone spiking a ball at you in a volleyball game. There are obvious differences, by much of the basic technique is similar. fortunately grabbing the ball or pushing it clear of the net is easier than trying to pop the ball up in the air for a volleyball setter.
In any case I’ll be happy to play in net as long as our regular goalie is out recuperating from an injury. Playing is net is less scary and a lot more fun than I thought it would be!
The short answer is no… unless you earn less than $50,000 per year, a pay raise won’t make you happier. Once your basic needs are met, earning more money will not make you any happier.
Will becoming more attractive make you happier? Nope… plastic surgery or weight loss will give you an initial boost, but you get used to your new looks pretty quickly, and in the long run you won’t be any happier.
Will better health make you happier? Counter intuitively, no. Unless you’re at death’s door, you get used to your state of health, and being less or more healthy doen’t change your happiness level in the long run.
Will moving to a sunny warm city make you happer? Again, no. After the new car smell wears off, your level of happiness will move back to where it was when you were living in a cold northern city.
So, what are some things that make us happier?
- Connect… with family, friend and neighbours is the most important thing you can do to contribute to your overall happiness. The good news is that this will cost you little or no money to do!
- Be Active. Walk, run, bike, play games, play sports, dance yoga… these are all things that will improve your mood, especially if you’re in a bad one.
- Take Notice of the beauty in nature and in life.
- Keep Learning. Whether it’s new hobbies or a new skill at work. Be challenged and remember that most happiness comes in striving for goals, not in reaching them.
- Give. Do something nice. Join a community. Be selfless.
If you’d like to read more on this topic, I highly recommend reading Jonathan Haidt book, The Happiness Hypothesis, or if you’d like to read great eight page summary, you can read my brother Bob McCue’s book review and auto insurance guide,
Finally, here is Dan Gilbert’s entertaining TED Talk with his take on happiness. Enjoy!
I’ve been hearing lots about Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat” book. In it he argues that the calories-in/calories-out model is wrong, and that a low carb, moderate fat diet is good. Here’s an insightful critique of the main assertions of Mr. Taubes’ book at Science Based Medicine:
The bottom line from Science Based Medicine:
“Rather than jumping on the low-carb bandwagon before his ideas are properly tested, the precautionary principle suggests that it might be more reasonable to follow a moderate diet like the Mediterranean diet (or to follow Michael Pollan‘s stunningly simple advice to ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’), to limit ‘empty calories’from simple carbohydrates like sugar, to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, to choose low calorie density foods that are more filling, to limit meat intake, to limit salt, and to keep looking for behavioral and environmental ways to change our calories-in/calories-out balance.”
Good advice that I’m going to try to follow… although some of those empty calories (especially in chocolate form) are so difficult not to give into every now and again!
Researcher Richard Wiseman says in his Telegraph article, that the difference between lucky and unlucky people is that lucky people notice the opportunities around them, and unlucky people miss those opportunities. Why so the unlucky not see the opportunities? Because they are single-mindedly looking for something else, which unfortunately they often to not find. As you might guess, lucky people tend to be happier as well.
The good news is that you can learn to be lucky! Here are three sugestions from Mr. Wiseman than has helped other people maximise their good fortune.
Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. I think this helps them because gut feelings act as an alarm bell – a reason to consider a decision carefully.
Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one person described how he thought of a colour before arriving at a party and then introduced himself to people wearing that colour. This kind of behaviour boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety.
Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. In one interview, a lucky volunteer arrived with his leg in a plaster cast and described how he had fallen down a flight of stairs. I asked him whether he still felt lucky and he cheerfully explained that he felt luckier than before. As he pointed out, he could have broken his neck.
Richard Wiseman is a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire. His book, The Luck Factor, is available for $12.92 at Amazon.com.
I never realized how much my dog Maggie could teach me about marriage. Much cheaper than counseling
William Li reviews promising research and studies that show Anti-Angiogenesis drugs and foods reducing cancer tumor size by cutting off their blood supply. Eating the right foods can be helpful in reducing the probability of large tumor formation in people as they age.
Very, very interesting! Here are some good foods to start with:
Here is the 20 Minute TED Talk where Dr. Li talks about his findings:
Sam Harris makes some interesting arguments for why science should be involved in evaluating moral arguments in his recent TED Talk. He argues that there is often not one “correct” position to take on an issue, but a range of position, some better, some worse than others, and that science can help us figure out which help people live more fulfilled lives.
For example, in looking at how societies portray the model of womanhood, there are probably a number of morally positive ways to do this in between the extremes of the Islamic Burka, and the overt sexuality on the covers of many western mens magazines.
Harris also addresses the issue of giving the same weight to all moral arguments, irregardless of their source. He argues that some people are better at moral thinking that others, just like some people are better a physics than others, so why should we put the Dali Lama and Ted Bundy on the same footing when it comes to looking at moral arguments?
A thought provoking video even if you don’t agree with everything he says.
Today I ran across an link on the LifeHacker.com to a website that would have been very helpful when I was diagnosed with Leukemia almost 6 years ago. The site is called Information Is Beautiful, and the data visualization is called “Snake Oil? Scientific Evidence for Popular Health Supplements“
At the time of my diagnosis I was inundated with suggestions from friends about different supplements that I should try that would hopefully help my condition. I’m happy to say that I’m still here to write this blog post! I’m also here to tell you that I didn’t follow any of the suggestions. It would have taken me a year or more to throughly research the dozens of “suggestions” I received (some of them plausible, and some outright crazy sounding – “wheat grass cures most cancers”?). A visualization of supplements with an indication of the quality of the science backing up their claims, would have been an invaluable tool in helping to quickly sort out quackery from the truly helpful.
I am even more skeptical now than I was back then, so I would not accept this as the final word on any of the supplements they list, but would use it as a good starting point for doing some research if a particular supplement looked helpful. One thing I really like is that they included a link to the underlying data was used to generate the visualization, including links to the studies they relied on, so you can do your own analysis if you wish.
Have fun researching!
The most insightful information I’ve seen on the Swine Flu… a very interesting graph from the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta. Shows numbers of deaths from regular flu season, and then death’s from the swine flu. Doesn’t look as bad as the hype in the media would lead one to believe… It was not good for sure, but similar to having 2 flu outbreaks in one year.
Do you think online prenatal classes are a good idea? If you or your spouse were expecting, would you consider an online class as an alternative or supplement to a face to face class?
My wife Heather is a Prenatal Class Teacher and a Doula. She has put an enormous amount of time (at least it seems like it to me), putting together materials and activities for her prenatal classes. Recently she has started to allow her clients to customize their classes to meet their specific needs (or as I think, address their specific fears) through a form on her website. This seems to be a hit, combined with the one on one teaching she does.
Recently I suggested that she might want to put her lessons online, and let people access her lessons for free, and pay for the web site and her time by using Google Adsense. We currently have Google Ads on the birth stories she has written for each of our children. We typically get about 700 page views per day, and average $1.40 in ad revenue per day. While not a lot of money, it is amazing that over the past year she has earned over $500 from the birth stories. This has more than paid for her time in writing them (although as she would be quick to point out, money was the furthest thing from her mind when she wrote them up).
So… Online birth classes with text, pictures, video and some interactive elements like quizzes. There would also be a question / comment feature so you could ask questions on the lesson pages so that Heather and/or others could respond to the question. Again, what do you think? Would you or your spouse go to a site like this to check it out? Just post your comments at the bottom of the blog post. Thanks!