(#24 of 27, a calendrical inflection point)
Exactly one year ago yesterday was the date of the post I’m revisiting now: “How to Have More Engaging Conference Calls -::- Four Lessons from Morning Radio Shows.” That post provided tips on improving webinars and conference calls by using some of the principles of morning show producers and deejays, the main principle being, “no dead air.” Keep talking, keep making noise.
Last night a friend asked me for my opinion on silence in a live facilitated conversation setting. They wanted to know “how long is too long,” and how to break the silence of “deal air” once a certain threshold of quiet pause had been reached. If I said I wasn’t tempted to say nothing until he answered his own question, I would be lying.
I love silence. I thrive on silence. I come from a long line of “strong silent types,” aka, action-oriented introverts on my dad’s side.
On my mom’s side, not as much… over there it’s more about hyperactive ideation, grandiose visions and massive amounts of detail, all combined together in a warm delicious Toastmaster wrap.
Lately I’ve been anything but silent, playing more to my mitochondrial RNA with day after day of verbose blog posts, ponderings and pronouncements. I’ve been building my writing muscles, for sure, but must admit to looking forward to the rest-and-recover phase of this exercise regimen.
Just a few more days to go.
(#23 of 27, continuing on the discussion of how optimists and pessimists choose to use their memory and imagination)
A smart optimist knows that it would be a mistake to blithely tell someone who is in a dark place to simply “look on the bright side.” Glass half empty half full whatever, there is such as thing as reality. The reality is that some people have an experience of pain — past or present — that is coloring their ability to see into the future.
With enough tact, class and emotional intelligence, a smart optimist can navigate those situations, demonstrating grace and empathy, with no need to “fix” the other person or “teach” them a “better way to see things.”
But what happens when the smart optimist is feeling the pain themselves? What happens when “they should know better,” but nevertheless, don’t? This is where cognitive restructuring comes in.
Cognitive restructuring is the ultimate Jedi mind trick that all smart optimists must be equipped with. Simply put: cognitive restructuring is a way to turn pain into pleasure.
All thinking is subject to reframing – it is impossible to think something without somehow giving it meaning and context. Every time we remember something, we reassemble the memory and give it shape, color, flavor, texture. Same goes for thoughts of the present and imaginings of the future.
Given that there’s no way to avoid reframing, it behooves us to get good at doing it. Cognitive restructuring is the smart and optimistic way to channel our natural propensity to reframe thoughts.
Once we get good at this skill, we can perform magic. Pain can be transmogrified into pleasure. Humiliation converts into honor. Agony can be made exquisite.
There is no pain, there’s only the frame.
Every so often, some guys and I hang out, play Texas Hold ‘Em poker and drink lots of bourbon. These are evenings of pure male camaraderie, featuring…
- sophisticated mental calculations involving card hand probabilities and wager stakes,
- epic bouts of bluffing and psychological sleight-of-hand,
- munching of salty crunchy snacks, and
- discussions on the finer points of high-end bourbon packaging.
Each time we get together we bond as friends and learn each other’s ideas, opinions, experiences, moods, temperaments, bluffing patterns and of course preferences in distilled grain-based beverages.
There’s a reason people recommend the “guy’s night out” or “girl’s night out” concept: because hanging out with friends is the least complicated type of love.
There are 7 kinds of love
According to Robert Sternberg, there are three main ingredients to love:
- Intimacy – attachment, closeness, connectedness and bondedness
- Passion – limerence and sexual attraction
- Commitment – decisions to remain with another and plan for the future
By combining these factors seven different ways, we get the following types of love:
According to Sternberg’s theory, a loving relationship can grow, shift or shrink within the “space” depicted in the following diagram:
It’s an elegant theory that aptly describes many different kinds of loving relationships, as well as the changes that can occur within those relationships over time. The stock love narrative begins with passionate attraction (bottom left corner of triangle), grows into full-fledged romance (left side of triangle) and then from there, a series of increasing commitments pulls the lovers into the center of the diagram. Looking for the idealized arranged marriage scenario? Begin on the lower right corner and work your way around counter-clockwise, hoping for the best. Falling out of love? That usually means one or two corners got snipped off by the grind of reality and/or poor choices. And so on and so forth.
But I don’t think that’s the whole picture.
“When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.”
- George Santayana
Assuming that the love is between two or more people (as opposed to it being between a person and an idea), then there is the possibility — nay, the probability — that the two or more parties are feeling different blends of Colonel Sternberg’s three special spices, at any given time.
So let’s see… there are at least 7 x 7… yep, that makes 49 kinds of love… and most of it is somewhat unrequited.
Unless it’s just good ‘ol poker night with the boys.
Because to paraphrase Santayana, when we agree, we agree for the same reasons.