Blueroselady's Weblog

I wish you abundant happiness, health & wealth

Archive for the ‘study’ Category

30 revealing ideas from social psychology that can help us to appreciate people and our lives

with one comment

Below are interesting points (sometimes with some of personal thoughts & reflections) that I have learned from a course on social psychology taught by Professor Scott Plous of Wesleyan College.

@~@ Know yourself. Seach inside yourself.
LaoZi : "He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened."
Benjamin Franklin : "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self"
Daniel Gilbert : "We seem to know less about the worlds inside our heads that about the world our heads are inside."

@~@ People often MISWANT.
Blueroselady :
How to overcome the challenge that we are remarkably bad at predicting of what will make us happy?
This question is very important because many of life’s big decisions involve predicting our future feelings.
Examples of life’s big decisions : marriage, career / profession, migration, vacation.
Funny real-life example : a friend J told me that her husband fluctuates between praising-in-the-form of question and complaining:
(1) "why a such a smart woman like you wanted to marry a jerk and stayed on?"
(2) "It’s a nightmare to be with you for the rest of your life, I was enticed by your physical attractions"

@~@ Most people are too preoccupied with themselves to notice our shortcomings (e.g. your pimple, your spiky hair because of having no time to comb your hair because of waking up late).

@~@ "Research has found that audiences can’t pick up on your anxiety as well as you might expect …
Other people are noticing less than you might suppose."
Blueroselady: The next time you have to deliver a public talk / give a company presentation / make a sales pitch, do not worry. Just do it!

@~@ Susan Andersen & Serena Chen, 2002: In our varied relationships, we have varying selves.

@~@ Much of our behavior is not consciously controlled but automatic and unself-conscious.
Blueroselady: Be mindful. We can choose to practice mindfulness.
Mindful breathing… Mindful eating… Mindful doing…

@~@ self-schema vs possible selves
self-schema = beliefs about self that organize & guide the procession of self-relevant information.
possible selves = images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
self-schema strongly affect how we see / perceive, remember, evaluate other people & ourselves.

@~@ major negative events vs minor irritations
major negative events activate our psychological defense.
minor irritations do not activate our psychological immunity.

@~@ Role playing becomes reality.
As we enact a new role, e.g. college student, parent. salesperson, we initially feel self-conscious.
Progressively, the role playing becomes reality.
This reminds me on the message that Amy Cuddy wants us to remember in her TED talk on body language.
Fake it till you make it.
Fake it till you become it.

@~@ How do we decide if we are rich, smart, or tall?
The answer is social comparison (Festinger, 1954) in affluence, status, achievement.
Blueroselady: Many things in life (that I know of) are relative, particularly those that are measurable.
A reader’s question: "I have made a living comparing data in my job / career. Comparing has become my second nature. How can I stop comparing in life?"
Blueroselady suggestions:
# Gratitude exercises.
# Detachment exercises : Detach your emotions from the outcome of your comparisons. I hear you, it is easy to say, but challenging to do, that is why detachment is an art; for the sake of our happiness, we must practice the art of detachment.
# Mindfulness exercises : Remember that (1) social comparisons can decrease our life satisfaction. (2) 人比人气死人 (3) "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."
# Kindness exercises : Be kind & compassionate to yourself, leave behind comparisons with others.
# Affirmations e.g. It is better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else.

@~@ Children whom other people label as as gifted, hardworking or helpful tend to incorporate such ideas into their self-concepts & behavior.

@~@ Self-reliance
Self-reliant individual is celebrated in Western literature, e.g. The Iliad, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

@~@ Classifying / pigeonholing / labeling cultures as solely individualist or collectivist oversimplifies.
The oversimplification is because within any culture, individualism varies from person to person (Oyserman et al, 2002).
Blueroselady: Remember not to do hasty generalization.

@~@ Interdependent self
# has a greater sense of belonging.
# is defined by social connections with family, colleagues, loyal friends.
# has many selves: self-with-parents, self-at-work, self-with-friends.
# disapproves egotism, whereas independent self disapproves conformity.
# e.g. collectivistic Asian & Third World cultures.
# persists more on tasks when they are failing because wants to meet others’ expectations (e.g Japanese)
# prioritizes WE over ME

@~@ "So far, most of psychology has been produced by psychologists in middle-class White American settings studying middle-class White American respondents."
However, there are ways of life beyond the one that each of us knows best.
Blueroselady: In other space & time context (e.g. sociocultural context), there can be different ideas & practices about how to live a meaningful life.

@~@ Tips: eat before shopping.
Gilbert & Wilson (2000) showed that hungry shoppers do more impulse buying

@~@ Why is your friend’s success can be more threatening that that of strangers?
According to Zuckerman & Jost (2001), you feel that your self-esteem is threatened.
How do people react to self-esteem threat?
High self-esteem people blame others or try harder next time.
Low self-esteem people blame themselves or give up.
According to Roy Baumeister, folks with high self-esteem are more likely to be obnoxious, to interrupt, & to talk at people rather than to talk with people.
Bonus: It is useful for parents to know that
# among sibling relationships, the threat to self-esteem is greates for an older chld with a highly capable younger brother / sister.
# many people could not escape their tough childhoods, which is a cause of low self-esteem.

@~@ Secure self-esteem
# is rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, affluence / money, others’ approval.
# is essential for long-term well-being.
# Blueroselady views secure self-esteem neither as high nor low self-esteem, but self-esteem in equilibrium / in balance.

@~@ self-esteem vs self-efficacy
self-esteem = if you like yourself overall
Self-efficacy = if you believe you can do something

@~@ How to be less intimated (by others) & less gullible?
# remember that personal testimonies are powerfully persuasive but they may also be wrong.

@~@ Self-serving bias?
# attribute positive outcomes to oneself (e.g. own managerial skill)
# attribute negative outcomes to other factors (e.g. a down economy)

@~@ Examples of self-serving bias
# Group members’ estimates of how much they contribute to a join task typically sum to more than 100%. For instance, husband & wife are members of a group.
# most business people see themselves as more ethical than the average business people.
# Pronin & Ross (2006) reported that we see ourselves as objective & everyone else as biased. No wonder we fight!

@~@ Feedback is best when it is TRUE & SPECIFIC.
Specific feedback e.g. You are good at maths.
General feedback e.g. You are great.
To encourage someone (e.g. children, mentees, students, subordinates), remember that specific feedback is more effective than general feedback.

@~@ To improve performance, give self-efficacy feedback instead of self-esteem feedback.
e.g. of self-efficacy feedback : You tried really hard.
e.g. of self-esteem feedback : You are really smart.

@~@ When to listen to criticism & not to listen?
David Dunning’s gentle rule: "if two people independently give you the same piece of negative feedback, you should at least consider the possibility that it might be true"

@~@ Terror management theory by Jeff Greenberg: the reality of our own death motivates us to gain recognition from our work & values, but not everyone can achieve such recognition.

@~@ Competence + perseverance = success

@~@ Success requires enough optimism to sustain hope and enough pessimism to motivate concern.

@~@ According to Jule Norem (2000), defensive pessimism can sometimes save us from the perils of unrealistic optimism.
Blueroselady: Negative emotions such as anger and pessimism are not entirely bad, we just need healthy ways to deal with them.
Tips: Whenever you feel angry, remember that the person you are hurting is yourself.

@~@ Tyranny of freedom? too many choices can lead to paralysis.
According to Barry Schwartz, individualistic modern cultures have an excess of freedom which leads to the tyranny of freedom.
# Choice may enhance regret.
# People have expressed greater satisfaction with irrevocable choices than with reversible choices. This is because when people can undo their decisions they tend to consider both the positive & negative features of the decisions they had made. When they could not undo their decisions, people tend to concentrate on the positive features & ignore the negative features. For example, people expressed more satisfaction with their marriages several decades ago when marriage was more irrevocable.

@~@ Love causes marriage, but marriage would also causes love.
Blueroselady: This hypothesis may explain why arranged marriages (in some cultures) have successfully worked and survived.

@~@ The 5:1 ratio of positive:negative activities
To sustain important relationships such as marriage and parental relationships, ensure that you strive to increase the ratio of positive to negative activities by at least 5 fold.
e.g. of positive activities : holding hands, giving a hug, lending a listening ear.
e.g. of negative activities : arguing, complaining.

More
# Book: Social Psychology. Chapter 2. DG Myers. 2012.
# Notes at the end of email

Written by blueroselady

December 26, 2013 at 3:55 am

Reflection: Why grade inflation (even at Harvard) is a big problem

leave a comment »

Recently, I read an article arguing why grade inflation (even at Harvard) is a big problem.

From the perspective of a student,
having good grades is essential for securing jobs and admissions for further / graduate studies (MBA, PhD, JD, MD, etc).

The median grade for undergraduates in Harvard (and possibly elsewhere) is A- and its most frequently awarded grade is A. So, how can we distinguish excellent and good students?

Being students, we need to take extra efforts to distinguish themselves. Get involved in leadership / voluntary activities, take extra courses / majors / minors / online courses (and complete them!), spend a semester / a summer overseas / undertaking internships, if possible, set up a company (be an entrepreneur!)

From the perspective of an employer / a judge / a recruiter,
it is highly important to be aware of the grade inflation.
Compare students in the same batches. Minimize comparing students across batches.

"At a minimum, a college education should develop in graduates the knowledge, skills and character to lead successful lives. It should identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses, seeking to augment the former and diminish the latter. Grade inflation is harmful because it cheats students of the opportunity to understand what they do and don’t do well."

Written by blueroselady

December 22, 2013 at 6:50 am

Posted in study

Tagged with , , , , ,

Learning preferences and strengths: sharing my method in 4 words

leave a comment »

Since we were born, we have started learning.
Learning and living are integral processes.

Different people have unique preferences and strengths in learning. The secret is to identify our own preferences and strengths,
and optimize them to develop our talents and creativity,
so that we can be of great service to others (while earning a livelihood simultaneously).

Here are quick reminders for myself to effectively, efficiently & effortlessly learn:

1. Intelligence = nature (genes) + nurture (environment). But, better methods / strategies for learning can boost up intelligence. In an analogy, before dyes and color contact lenses, hair color and eye color were entirely genetic too respectively.
2. Learn from how nature works, when one path gets shut down, we can take a different route.
3a. Must build construct / architecture / framework / blueprint. When we have a construct, we can solve difficult problems even when there is a lot of missing information.
3b. Must summarize / make notes.
4a. Must link concepts / ideas with visuals / feelings (synaesthesia).
4b. Try to link together ideas that do not normally connect (use metaphor / analogy). With patience & perseverance, we can connect any subjects.
5. Must use both: repetition / rote memorization + holistic relating / inter-linking.
6. Must create: write, draw, take photos, make videos.

In 4 words:

Summarize
Memorize
Link
Create

Final remark: I appreciate that my ability to understand things effortlessly is improving everyday.

See also:
http://zenhabits.net/how-to-learn-more-and-study-less/

Holistic Learning by Scott Young

Written by blueroselady

October 24, 2013 at 3:51 am

Posted in study

Tagged with , , , , ,

Apprenticeship, fatherhood and expensive college education

leave a comment »

Today, a salesperson approached me on my way back to home.
The friendly salesperson was promoting a union membership.
However, I just signed up online for the membership last month.
His son was sitting nearby, playing a toy car by himself.
The salesman sadly said (while looking at his son), "Nobody takes care of him, so I have to bring him here."
The weather was not that hot when I met this salesperson, but I imagined it would be tiring to sit under the hot sun if he had to do his work since this morning or even afternoon.

One may feel sorry for the boy, however if we try to reframe our perspective positively, the boy is actually doing "apprenticeship."

The father is also enjoying both an opportunity to work (hence earn an income) and to accompany his son.

I wish I could help this salesperson to earn a commission, but I can only offer my prayer quietly in my heart. I pray that he will earn sufficient to raise his family, that his son will grow up appreciating his father’s hard work.

@~@

J was sharing with me that in the near future when she is going out to be a salesperson, she is going to bring her toddler.
Her toddler has a talent to make people happy through his charming smile.
J said, "this is not a child labor, this is nurturing her child to prepare for the future competitive world".

J was concerned that her child would grow up to be a spoil brat so she wants her son to respect and value hard work (and of course smart work) and everyday people who do hard work, through apprenticeship under her.

Not every child is the same.
Indeed, every human being is unique.
Yes, you are unique.
So are your progenies.
Today education system has been inspired from the Industrial Revolution,
when efficient and relatively submissive trainees are desirable.
However, our world is evolving;
our learning and education systems must evolve too.
I strongly agree with J on 因材施教^.

^ 因材施教 means to educate someone (a learner / a student / a child) according to his / her personality, aptitude and merits.

Moreover, the constantly increasing cost of college education is worrying and driving us to find alternative avenues to develop the knowledge and skills required for employment or self-employment.
To quote Hannah Seligson of The New York Times, some employers complain that many colleges don’t teach the kinds of technical skills they want in entry-level hires.

Is it worth for parents to sacrifice their retirement funds after they worked all their sweats, tears, and even blood, to fund for their children’s education?
This was what going on in the mind of Steve Job when he quit colleges,
but how many adult children do think like him?
Sadly, there are cases where children do not care about their parents after being funded for college education.

Although apprenticeships has been offered as alternative to college, my personal belief (as of this summer of 2013) includes:

1. it is essential for our trainee / progeny / children / protege to attend colleges where they can interact, network, build long-lasting relationships with their peer and lectures.
Completing a college education has been strong social economic enablers for many people with previously disadvantage backgrounds.

2. it is also essential for our trainee to undertake apprenticeships and to train under a master, if possible the best master.
There are things that one cannot learn merely by reading, one must experience the real world.

3. It is also essential for our trainee to undertake online courses / MOOC such as Coursera, edX, Udacity. This initiative is geared toward developing one into an independent learner and thinker.
As Stephen Covey mentioned, only those who are independent (not the dependent) can be co-dependent / cooperate / collaborate to perform complex tasks / projects.

If you find my writings are inspirational to you, please donate to me by clicking here.

Written by blueroselady

June 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Reflections on Coursera: 7 reasons I love it

with 2 comments

This post is not a review of Coursera.

My sincere appreciation to Coursera for providing me an opportunity to learn many interesting subjects and to improve the quality of my life.

These are seven reasons I love it (as of summer 2013).

1. FREE.
Coursera courses are free as of summer 2013.
Some of the best things in life are free,
for example the love of parents to their children.

2. An opportunity to practice GRATITUDE.
According to Thomas Paine, human beings tend to take things for granted.
“That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.
It is dearness only which gives everything its value.”
By being grateful, we can live happier and more fulfilling.

3. FLEXIBILITY.
The Coursera lectures are presented in short videos which are ideal for the following people:
workers who want to improve their knowledge and skills.
breastfeeding mothers who have to attend to young babies.
commuters who have to travel far on public transports.

4. SOCIAL & ECONOMIC ENABLERS for those who cannot afford to o for schooling due to their earlier life circumstances.
A friend of mine mentions that he prefers to hire those who have completed Coursera courses* (and are able to apply what they have learned) to those who present traditional educational certifications.
He reasons that those who strive to upgrade their knowledge & skills on their own initiative, need to put efforts & discipline.

* Statement of Accomplishment can prove that one has completed a Coursera course.

Indeed, MOOCs such as Coursera have a great potential to unlock career and educational opportunities, and find new life pathways for people of all ages regardless of current social economic background.

5. an opportunity to practice perseverance, discipline, the art of prioritizing (doing first thing first), and to experience the joy of learning.

Top Ten Reasons Students Didn’t Finish MOOC:

  • Takes too Much Time
  • Assumes Too Much Knowledge
  • Too Basic
  • Lecture Fatigue
  • Poor Course Design
  • Clunky Community/Communication Tools
  • Bad Peer Review & Trolls
  • Surprised by Hidden Costs
  • Shopping Around
  • Want to Learn, Nor for Credential

6. MEET NEW PEOPLE.
Coursera offers a community of fellow students / learners hailed from worldwide.
This satisfy human beings’ need to socialize.

7. ENTERTAINING.
Some of Coursera courses that I have attended have offered a delicious treat to our senses: visual, audio, tastes, odor, and touch.
For example,
(i) from the Coursera course on child nutrition & cooking instructed by Maya Adam (Stanford University),
I have learned how to cook delicious & healthy pasta with homemade sauce.
While watching me cooking in the kitchen, my baby experience the fragrant smell of pasta,
and in the near future he will be able to taste it too.
(ii) Coursera videos feature instructors from different regions worldwide (mostly Americans as of summer 2013).
These videos also serve as an avenue to learn e.g. American English.

What’s next?
Udacity
edX

If you find my writings are inspirational to you, please donate to me by clicking here.

Written by blueroselady

June 2, 2013 at 6:34 am

How to read over 100 books a year? 8 effective tips

leave a comment »

A friend of mine, X, a voracious reader living in Singapore shared with me the effective tips to read over 100 books a year.

1. Read books in the fields that you are INTERESTed in.
"Dear sister, do you remember how you finish reading the thick books of Harry Potter? Your interest and liking drove you to move from a page to the next".
Now, we are interested in happiness, health, and wealth.
Having an interest is like having a reason why you are taking a particular actions.
When you have the WHY, the HOW will reveal to you.

2. ASSOCIATE a book with a specific value.
An Adam Khoo program on "master your mind, design your destiny" costs ~ Singapore $3,000.
X told me that she can borrow the book from the Singapore library.
Instead of spending ~Singapore $3,000,
X only has to spend his efforts (time, brain energy) to read the thick book of ~350 pages.
The thickness of the book never discourages him because the cost of S$3,000 means that
for every page that he consumed, he saves $9.
Whenever you feel distracted to do other activities that give instant reward,
think of your mental image of the book with a price tag of $3,000.

Many people ignorantly perceive that reading is a passive activity,
but the truth is watching TV / movies is worse
because the latter slows down our brain.

Reading can be a social activity,
imagine that we are having discussions with the authors.
Take notes on interesting points,
summarize / simplify the main essence of the book,
and relate the ideas
to other books,
real life experience.

X summarizes by creating mind maps on a piece of paper.
When he forgets some parts,
he will quickly revise his mind maps and
be able to recall the details of what he has read.

X also converts his mind map into a voice note,
so that he can listen while taking public transports.
Through summarizing and revising,
X says that he will always remember what I have read and learned.

3. MAKE NOTEs
You can make notes that include
a summarized visual notes (mind map),
auditory notes (from your mind map or some examples that you find useful).
For summary note,
X recommended to use paper,
you can join few sheets of paper
if there are a lot of info and
still have a 1 large summary page.
X also sometimes writes notes in his notebook,
where he can scribble his own comments,
or photograph / scan few pages (of the book)
that contain useful info.

4. Review your notes.
After you review your notes 3x:
the 1st is immediately after finishing reading the book
and making your notes,
the 2nd time is e.g. 1 week / month later,
the 3rd time is 1 year later,
you will never forget the wisdom you have learned from the book.

5. Apply Pareto 80/20 law.
You do not have to read every word,
this applies to your text book as well.
X suggested to start with
TOC,
figures,
summaries at the end of chapters (if any),
headings / subheadings.
Sometimes X starts reading from middle of the book, or back of the book,
it depends on your judgment.
The more you practice,
the better (faster / more absorbent) you will be in reading.

6. Apply Parkinson law
Set a deadline to finish reading.
X loves reading library books because he does not have to spend extra $ to buy the book,
though X claims that he does spend $ to pay tax that contributes to the purchase of the books by lib, and X has a deadline to return the book.
In order to acquire values from the book,
X must read / extract knowledge / wisdom from it before its due date.

7. Connect / link / associate your knowledge
from a source (e.g. the book that you are currently reading)
to other resources (e.g.
the courses you have taken /
the movies or documentaries you have watched /
talks or seminars or conferences you have attended).

8. Apply what you have read.
Write an article
for your school magazine (you can put it in your CV),
for newspapers.
Give a talk.
Walk your talk.

If you find my writings are helpful to you, please donate to me by clicking here.

Written by blueroselady

March 16, 2013 at 12:15 am

Computer languages are likely to be the linguistic skills that make you outstanding

leave a comment »

This post was post-dated. I thought of this a day after the birthday of a woman I love and care. Although she is very serious, she can be very funny. Since she does not know English, and her children are all overseas pursuing better lives, so she has to start making overseas trip to see her children, especially when they need her.

There was a funny incident that made me laugh until stomachache.

Once, in a rush upon returning from hospital upon the arrival of her first grandchild, she thought that the free sample of Tollyjoy liquid wash for bottles, was meant for baby bath, simply because she does not understand English. So, she let her grandchild to bath with liquid was for bottles! Her daughter was over exhausted from delivery to early discover it until she saw why such a bottle was placed in the bathroom.

Even the father of the baby does not know this, I am the privileged one to be shared such a story. In future, as a potential mentor / consultant to the baby, I may tell her grandchild this story when the child refuses to learn something.

In Asia, if you know English, you can secure a good job (i.e. one with higher salary than average job).

Asians in English speaking cities in Asia (e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore) enjoy higher income (though it comes with higher expenditure as well), more choices in employment.

People in India also benefit from the global companies that take advantage of geo-arbitraging.
Though these outsourced employees earn less that employees in US, yet they earn more than people in India.

Not many Asians know English well, although the number is increasing. More Asian parents in China are sending their children to English speaking countries (US, UK, Australia). These generations of Asians are well versed in their mother tongues as well as the international language — English. Some of the ambitious ones even speak the third, the forth languages. A personal encounter was the high school age Korean girl who sat next to me on a flight to Canada. She speaks : Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese.

I am so thankful that by chance and choice, I have the opportunities to learn English. I am still learning everyday through reading and writing.

In my humble prediction, since more and more Asians are mastering English, a good command of English alone will no longer differentiate a talent.

The Pareto Law applies. When less people speak English, you are a rare talent. When more people speak English, you need to have additional skills to differentiate yourself.

One need additional language skills. Instead of another language, e.g. Chinese Mandarin (I think it is important too, but the Chinese are eagerly learning English) and Spanish, one can and must focus on computer languages.

Simply put, for the 21st century,
computer languages = English for people in non-English speaking countries in the 20th century.

Oh my goodness, my command of computer languages is far from acceptable.
After my project L in the 1st half of 2013,
it is time for me to improve my computer languages.

Written by blueroselady

February 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm