"Human beings live in the realm of meanings. We do not experience pure circumstances; we always experience circumstances in their significance for men. Even at its source our experience is qualified by our human purposes. " Wood " means " wood in its relation to mankind ", and " stone " means " stone as it can be a factor in human life." If a man should try to escape meanings and devote himself only to circumstances he would be very unfortunate: he would isolate himself from others: his actions would be useless to himself or to any one; in a word, they would be meaningless. But no human being );an escape meanings. We experience reality always through the meaning we give it; not in itself, but as something interpreted. It will be natural to suppose, therefore, that this meaning is always more or less unfinished, incomplete; and even that it is never altogether right. The realm of meanings is the realm of mistakes. If we asked a man, " What is the meaning of life? ", he would perhaps be unable to answer. There are as many meanings given to life as there are human beings, and, as we have suggested, perhaps each meaning involves more or less of a mistake. No one possesses the absolute meaning of life, and we may say that any meaning which is at all serviceable cannot be called absolutely wrong. All meanings are varieties between these two limits.
Among these varieties, however, we can distinguish some which answer better and some which answer worse; some where the mistake is small and some where it is large.+ A. Adler
We are not the only members of the human race. There are others around us, and we are living in association with. them. The weakness and the limits of the individual
human being make it impossible for him to ensure his own aims in isolation. If he lived alone and tried to meet his problems by himself he would perish. He would not be able to continue his own life; he would not be able to continue the life of mankind. He is always tied to other men; and he is tied because of his own weaknesses and insufficiencies and limits. The greatest step for his own welfare and for the welfare of
mankind is association. Every answer, therefore, to the problems of life must take account of this tie: it must be an answer in the light of the fact that we are living in association and that we would perish if we were alone." A Adler
Man has no automatic code of survival. He has no automatic course of
action, no automatic set of values. His senses do not tell him automatically
what is good for him or evil, what will benefit his life or endanger it, what
goals he should pursue and what means will achieve them, what values his
life depends on, what course of action it requires. His own consciousness has
to discover the answers to all these questions—but his consciousness will
not function automatically. Man, the highest living species on this earth—
the being whose consciousness has a limitless capacity for gaining
knowledge—man is the only living entity born without any guarantee of
remaining conscious at all. Man’s particular distinction from all other living
species is the fact that his consciousness is volitional. man. Man’s actions and survival require the guidance of conceptual values derived from conceptual knowledge. But conceptual knowledge cannot be acquired automatically.
A “concept” is a mental integration of two or more perceptual concretes,
which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by means of a
specific definition. Every word of man’s language, with the exception of
proper names, denotes a concept, an abstraction that stands for an unlimited
number of concretes of a specific kind. It is by organizing his perceptual
material into concepts, and his concepts into wider and still wider concepts
that man is able to grasp and retain, to identify and integrate an unlimited. amount of knowledge, a knowledge extending beyond the immediate
perceptions of any given, immediate moment. Man’s sense organs function
automatically; man’s brain integrates his sense data into percepts
automatically; but the process of integrating percepts into concepts—the
process of abstraction and of concept-formation—is not automatic. The faculty that
directs this process, the faculty that works by means of concepts, is: reason.
The process is thinking.
- Ayn Rand
How we relate to our selves affects how we relate to others, to the world around us, to the visible and invisible
universe that constitutes our ultimate context—just as how we relate to others and to the world affects how we relate to our selves. To honor the self is to be willing to think independently, to live by our own mind, and to have the courage of our own perceptions and judgments.
To honor the self is to be willing to know not only what we think but also what we feel, what we want, need, desire,
suffer over, are frightened or angered by—and to accept our right to experience such feelings. The opposite of this attitude is denial, disowning, repression—self-repudiation. To honor the self is to be in love with our own life, in love with our possibilities for growth and for experiencing joy, in love with the process of discovering and exploring our distinctively human potentialities. - Nathaniel Branden
Self-esteem is a concept pertaining to a fundamental sense of efficacy and a fundamental sense of worth, to competence and worthiness in principle. High self-esteem can best be understood as the integrated
sum of self-confidence and self-respect. Self-confidence is consciousness evaluating the efficacy of its own operations when applied to the task of understanding and dealing with reality. If I enjoy healthy self-esteem, I value rather than am threatened by that same trait in others. People with poor self-esteem end up in the company of their own kind; shared fear and insecurity reinforce negative self-assessments.
And if I feel lovable and deserving of respect, I treat others well and expect them to treat me well. But if I feel unlovable and undeserving of respect and I am treated poorly, I put up with it and feel it is my fate.
Genuine self-esteem is not competitive or comparative. Neither is genuine self-esteem expressed by self-glorification at the expense of others, or by the quest to make oneself superior to all others or to diminish others so as to elevate oneself. Arrogance, boastfulness, and the overestimation of our abilities reflect inadequate self-esteem rather than, as some people imagine, too high a level of self-esteem.- Nathaniel Branden
. The Habits of Mind are an identified set of 16 problem solving, life related skills, necessary to
effectively operate in society and promote strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance,
creativity and craftsmanship. The understanding and application of these 16 Habits of Mind serve to
provide the individual with skills to work through real life situations that equip that person to respond
using awareness (cues), thought, and intentional strategy in order to gain a positive outcome.
1. Persisting: Sticking to task at hand; Follow through to completion; Can and do remain focused.
2. Managing Impulsivity: Take time to consider options; Think before speaking or acting; Remain
calm when stressed or challenged; Thoughtful and considerate of others; Proceed carefully.
3. Listening with Understanding and Empathy: Pay attention to and do not dismiss another
person's thoughts, feeling and ideas; Seek to put myself in the other person's shoes; Tell others
when I can relate to what they are expressing; Hold thoughts at a distance in order to respect
another person's point of view and feelings.
4. Thinking Flexibly: Able to change perspective; Consider the input of others; Generate
alternatives; Weigh options.
5. Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition): Being aware of own thoughts, feelings, intentions
and actions; Knowing what I do and say affects others; Willing to consider the impact of choices
on myself and others.
6. Striving for Accuracy: Check for errors; Measure at least twice; Nurture a desire for exactness,
fidelity & craftsmanship.
7. Questioning and Posing Problems: Ask myself, “How do I know?”; develop a questioning
attitude; Consider what information is needed, choose strategies to get that information; Consider
the obstacles needed to resolve.
8. Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations: Use what is learned; Consider prior knowledge
and experience; Apply knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.
9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision: Strive to be clear when speaking
and writing; Strive be accurate to when speaking and writing; Avoid generalizations, distortions,
minimizations and deletions when speaking, and writing.
10.Gathering Data through All Senses: Stop to observe what I see; Listen to what I hear; Take
note of what I smell; Taste what I am eating; Feel what I am touching.
11.Creating, Imagining, Innovating: Think about how something might be done differently from
the “norm”; Propose new ideas; Strive for originality; Consider novel suggestions others might
12.Responding with Wonderment and Awe: Intrigued by the world's beauty, nature's power and
vastness for the universe; Have regard for what is awe-inspiring and can touch my heart; Open to
the little and big surprises in life I see others and myself.
13.Taking Responsible Risks: Willing to try something new and different; Consider doing things
that are safe and sane even though new to me; Face fear of making mistakes or of coming up
short and don’t let this stop me.
14.Finding Humor: Willing to laugh appropriately; Look for the whimsical, absurd, ironic and
unexpected in life; Laugh at myself when I can.
15.Thinking Interdependently: Willing to work with others and welcome their input and
perspective; Abide by decisions the work group makes even if I disagree somewhat; Willing to
learn from others in reciprocal situations.
16.Remaining Open to Continuous Learning: Open to new experiences to learn from; Proud and
humble enough to admit when don't know; Welcome new information on all subjects - After Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick, Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series, Copyright © 2000
Trust indicates a willingness to become vulnerable to another based on confident
positive expectations of the other’s conduct. It has often been praised as the
“glue” that holds relationships together and enables individuals to perform more
efficiently and effectively. Trust reduces uncertainty over future outcomes, simplifies
decision processes, and provides us with peace of mind. Trust is critical to negotiation, for several reasons. First, judgments about the other’s trustworthiness allow us to begin the negotiation process. If we believed that we could not trust the other, we would probably not want to move toward constructing a deal with them, nor believe what they were telling us during the
negotiation process. Thus, trust is essential to both determining the other’s credibility
in the conversation, and meeting the commitments and promises they make
as we move toward agreement. Second, trust enables us to save time and energy in
constructing the agreement. If we trust the other, formal agreements can be simpler,
shorter and less specific. We do not have to stipulate every possible circumstance in the agreement. The need for trust arises from our interdependence with others. We often depend on other people to help us obtain, or at least not to frustrate, the outcomes we
value (and they on us). Distrust is the confident expectation that another individual’s motives, intentions,
and behaviors are sinister and harmful to one’s own interests. In interdependent
relationships, this often entails a sense of fear and anticipation of discomfort or
danger. Distrust naturally prompts us to take steps that reduce our vulnerability in
an attempt to protect our interests. Accordingly, our distrust of others is likely to
evoke a competitive (as opposed to cooperative) orientation that can stimulate or
exacerbate conflict. A distrusting orientation has also been linked to lower job
satisfaction, motivation and workplace commitment. Distrust may arise due to differences in group membership: individuals identify
and are positively attached to their in-groups, yet assign negative stereotypes to outgroup
members and may view them with suspicion and hostility. Distrust can also
arise directly as the result of past personal experiences among individuals, such as
when one person breaks a promise to another. Distrust can also result from knowing
another’s reputation, [Tinsley, et al., Reputations] meaning that while there has
been no direct personal experience, indirect information may be enough to create
distrusting expectations. Finally, distrust is likely to increase with the magnitude of
a past trust violation, the number of past violations, and the perception that the offender
intended to commit the violation. Some level of distrust may be functional but too much distrust may be dysfunctional. The result is a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” where every move the
other person makes is interpreted as additional evidence that justifies an initial
decision to distrust him/her. This distrust not only inhibits cooperation and successful
negotiation, but also may result in retaliation that causes the conflict to escalate. The negative emotions that emerge with distrust—fear, suspicion and anger—cause the trustor to vilify and demonize the other party. This view becomes especially damaging when the parties use these perspectives of each other to justify retaliatory actions that cause the conflict to escalate out of control.-Roy J. Lewicki
Man is the only living species able to reject, sabotage and betray his own means of survival, his mind. He is the only living species who must make himself competent to live.