Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Six Skills You Can't Live Without"

"The real risk is not risking." 

Joe Robinson in "Six Skills You Can't Live Without" demonstrates the benefits of Braveheart ideas like risk taking, initiating, experiences, absorption...really, just living life fully and richly for which we are created. But a life too many hold back from.  Joe explains studies that show how the six actions listed below contribute to long life, healthy life, and a fulfilling life where success is much more than making money or succeeding in athletics, education, or beauty.

The article supports the need for building bravehearts.  It demonstrates the values of a broad education, confidence in entering life wholly, and becoming who and what you were meant to be.

While I agree with Joe about the value of the six skills, I don't agree that they are for "leisure" time, "life outside the professional world."  I think these skills should be lived in all of life, not accepting that our professional lives and non-professional lives are handled differently, but that both should be lived heartily with the same depth and excitement that these six skills bring.

Here is part of what Joe says.  As you read, you might think about how each of these six skills can be encouraged in your child's life.

"Passions and the active leisure skills that create them work wonders for your health and outlook because they satisfy core psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and connection with others. This makeover show happens where it matters, inside. Yet this power of this health resource doesn’t filter down to us because of the ingrained notion that recreation and leisure are little removed from outright vagrancy, since they don’t produce anything (unless you want to call living a productive endeavor)."

"We concentrate all our skill-building and education on the work side, where we believe all the value is. Work skills–getting results, micromanaging, staying in the comfort zone–get you nowhere when it comes to activating your life, which is about input, not output; experience over results; letting go; and getting out of the straitjacket of habit."

"It takes another skill-set to create a fulfilling life outside the professional world. Here are some of the key leisure skills that get your life going:

1) Intrinsic motivation. Pursuing and enjoying experiences off-the-clock takes a different motivation than the work reflex of external results: intrinsic motivation. You do it for the inherent interest, fun, learning, or challenge. Research shows we enjoy what we do and remember much more of it (critical to memory, which is what tells you that you like your life or not) when the goal is intrinsic. Expect no payoff, and you get a big one, internal gratification.

2) Initiating. Instead of being told what to do or watching others doing the living, we have to break out of spectator mode and self-determine our lives to feel gratified. We need to research and plan activities and vacations, seek out and try new things, invite others to get out and participate, and if they don’t reciprocate, go alone.

3) Risk-taking. The real risk is not risking. Security is a red flag for the brain, which is built to seek out novelty and challenge. Make the risk intrinsic (the result doesn’t matter), and you’re able to venture much more, because, instead of having anything on the line, you’re just exploring.

4) Pursuit of competence. Since competence is one of your core needs, it’s a handy thing to build and sublime to feel. The idea here is that you want to get better at something–not to show off, not for anyone else, but for your own gratification. Pursuing competence leads you to build your skills at an activity to the point where it can become a passion. It’s a fabulous self- and life-sustaining skill.

5) Attention-directing and absorption. The work mind wants to get everything over with ASAP. The key to optimal experiences is being 100% engaged in what you’re doing now. That means losing the electronic devices and distractions and putting all your concentration on the activity at hand. The more absorbed you are, the more your thoughts and deeds are the same, and the happier you are. It’s called harmony.

6) Going for the experience. Observation and hanging back don’t satisfy the engagement mandate of your brain neurons. To activate a fulfilling life, we have to participate in the 40% of our potential happiness (the rest is inherited or due to circumstance) we can actually do something about–intentional activities. That’s the realm of experience. Experiences make us happier than material things because they can’t be compared with anyone else’s experience. They don’t lose value through social comparison. They are personal events that engage our self-determination needs."

"These skills take us inside the participant dynamic essential to a healthy and extraordinary life. They show us that the good life comes from a place quite a bit different than the recliner and that the script of nonstop production is about as accurate a route to satisfaction and aliveness as a divining rod."

The above is excerpted from Six Skills You Can't Live Without by Joe Robinson in Don't Miss Your Life.

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