May Recap

In case you missed a post or two this month, here’s a quick recap of what I wrote about during the month of May:

Questions I Asked –

What’s The Difference Between Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Gelato – This might be the tastiest Wonder Why Wednesday ever!

What Was The First Disney Movie? – Before I researched the answer, I guessed Fantasia…I was wrong.

Why Are Some Belly Buttons Innies & Some Outies? – Just like getting over a bad breakup, it is all about healing.

 

Things We Learned –

If This Can Happen To Frozen, It Can Happen To Us – Before it won two Academy Awards and grossed over $1 billion, the Disney Film needed work…a lot of work.

One Way To Be Original – My buddy Dorrell made sure his wedding announcement wasn’t boring. Check out how.

Writing A Book Is A Lot Like This… – If you are from Arizona, you’ll understand.

The Possible Side Effects to Joy – Prescription drugs aren’t the only thing that have side effects.

There is a thing called Vuja de – It is kind of like déjà vu, only in reverse.

How To Win An Argument – This video is for those of us who are not great at arguing.

What exactly a Locus of Control is – This two part post can be found here and here.

Why We Should Imagine The Worst – Turns out thinking about the worst things that can happen might not be so bad after all.

 

Fun With Numbers –

5 Things We Can Learn From The Great Wall Of China – Can you see the Great Wall of China from space? No, but you can learn a thing or two from it.

101 Dalmatians lied to me – I am not afraid of Cruella De Vil, but I am afraid of many things. Here’s a few.

7 Lessons About Finding the Work You Were Meant to Do – The first thing we should do is change our verb from find to fight.

10 More Strange But True Facts – Learn why you can’t drive to Mars and what I have in common with ladybugs.

5 Things We Can Learn From Holidays – The can teach us more than just why 3-day weekends are so great.

 

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Five Things We Can Learn From Holidays

In honor of Memorial Day, I have given a holiday twist to the latest installment of Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects.

Today let’s take a look at holidays. Technically they are not objects, but let’s see what we can learn from these special days.

Five Things We Can Learn From Holidays:

1. Some Days Are More Special Than Others

A holiday, by definition, is a day on which normal activities are suspended or reduced. We hit the pause button at work so we can spend time with family. We ignore the everyday minutia and enjoy every minute of the day. We do everything we can to make the day special.

Think the rules for special days can only be applied holidays? Think again. We can take this same approach on all aspects of our lives. Try making a typical workday special by suspending stress and reducing rut.

2. Limits Lead to Value

Another reason holidays are special is that they are rare. There are only 10 National Holidays, which equals less than one per month. If we had a one every week, the power of a holiday would be significantly reduced.

Disney has taken advantage of this idea by creating the Disney Vault. Each Disney movie is only offered for purchase for a limited time, after which it is put “in the vault” and not sold for several years until it is once again released. Disney controls their market and keeps old movies fresh by placing limits to when they will be available.

3. It is Important To Reflect And Remember

Most holidays involve a person or an event from the past. We have holidays that celebrate teachers, trailblazers and turkeys. How we observe holidays may vary, but the common thread is that we honor these days by reflecting and remembering. Looking back into the past can help us see the difference made in our present.

Not everything in our past is something we want to remember. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore it. By reflecting and recalling our past (both successes and failures), we are more likely to see a better future.

4. The Power of One Day

The difference between a two-day weekend and a three-day weekend can feel like the difference between a hole in the ground and the Grand Canyon. That one extra day puts a smile on your face and changes Monday from a bad word to a day to celebrate. Amazing what an additional 24 hours can do for your self-esteem.

When we are working on our dream, time will be a tricky thing. We will either feel that we aren’t ready right now, or that we are already too late. Three-day vs two-day weekends show us how powerful one day can feel. We shouldn’t lose sight of the power of the hours that are right at our fingertips.

5. Take Time Off

Holidays let us take a break from work. In honor of that, I am letting you out early. Only 4 lessons today! Enjoy the day off and have a nice Memorial Day!

Why You Should Imagine The Worst

A big part of fear is the unknown. We are afraid of public speaking because we don’t know what others will think of our presentation. We are too scared to ask someone out on a date because we don’t know if they will say yes or no. We fear colossal squid because, well, because they can rip us to pieces. I guess that third one doesn’t quite fit, but it is still scary.

I am all for positive thinking, but when it comes to combating fear it may be beneficial to ask “what’s the worst that can happen?”

Oddly enough, there is some freedom in figuring out what really could go wrong.  Neuroscience research suggests that considering the worst possible scenario can make us feel more in control. When we are nervous, the unknown is actually scarier than something negative. By painting an image of the worst case, we lessen the unknown and begin to feel in charge. This allows us to turn worries and doubts into positive emotions.

So, the next time we are afraid of something we should ask ourselves, “what is the worst that can happen?” By giving it a face, we will likely find that even the worst possible outcome isn’t as spooky as we thought.

 

10 More Strange But True Facts

1. China has an Elderly Rights Law which requires children to visit their parents frequently, no matter how far away they live. Children who don’t comply face fines or jail time. I don’t think America has the same law, but it does have a similar punishment. Children face receiving the following text from their mom…

home emojihome emoji??? airplane emojiairplane emoji???heart emojiheart emoji???

2. A popular cigarette advertisement once proclaimed, “Give your throat a vacation…smoke a fresh cigarette.” Really? The only explanation I can think of as to how they came up with that is that their computer auto-corrected the word cancer to vacation.

3. More Monopoly money is printed than real money each year. I am still looking into whether or not a certain board game leads the world in production of mouse traps.

4. An adult human being is made up of around 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms. Make that +1 for me.

5. Flowers can grow faster when listening to music…except when they listen to Billy Joel’s “Only The Good Die Young.”

6. Ladybugs bleed from their knees when threatened. This creates a repulsive mix of vile, ooze and alkaloids which scares predators away. I don’t bleed or ooze that often, but I tend to have the same effect on the ladies.

7. If you were driving 60 mph in a car, it would take 271 years and 221 days to get to Mars from Earth. Also, you would never get there because, well, space.

8. Books used to be chained to shelves in libraries, in order to prevent stealing. Eventually libraries realized that was silly and improved their theft prevention program to the overweight, past his prime security guard who spends most of the day sleeping in the Reference section.

9. Cheetahs spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping. And the rest of the day fasting…get it…fasting.

10. Disney’s Goofy was originally called “Dippy Dawg.” Sounds like something you would order at Sonic.

7 Lessons About Finding the Work You Were Meant to Do

Many times, I will read something online and immediately think, “that was great, I wish I wrote it.” I may not have written it, but I can still share it.

Here’s the latest…

7 Lessons About Finding the Work You Were Meant to Do – by Kate Torgovnick May

In a perfect world, “finding your calling” would be a heck of a lot easier. We’d all wake up one day and know exactly what we want to do with the rest of our lives and we’d have a road map with the precise steps to get there.

Unfortunately life isn’t that simple. However, not all is lost for those of us searching for our true identity. We can take a cue from others who have gone through this before us.

One such person is author Dave Isay. In this article for Daily Good, Isay speaks to Kate Torgovnick May about 7 things we can do to find work we love.

Isay says the first thing we should do is change our verb from find to fight.

Finding your calling — it’s not passive. When people have found their calling, they’ve made tough decisions and sacrifices in order to do the work they were meant to do. People who’ve found their calling have a fire about them. They’re the people who are dying to get up in the morning and go do their work.”

Check out the article here for more great thoughts, including why this Venn diagram is so important.

Dave_Isay_Calling_TED

Why Are Some Innies & Some Outies?

If you have read either of my posts this week (here & here), you likely saw today’s Wonder Why Wednesday coming.

After spending the last two days talking about proverbial innies and outies, I started to wonder about the belly button variety. What causes an innie or an outie? Which is more common? Let’s find out..

What determines whether a person has an innie or outie belly button? Which is more common?

Innies are way more common than outies. According to an NBC News story, roughly 88% of all people have an innie belly button. In case you were curious, I have an innie. Just another reason I am extra ordinary.

Belly buttons are formed when the leftover stalk from the umbilical cord dries up leaving an abdominal scar. Whether we have an innie or an outie has nothing to do with how our doctor cut our umbilical cord at birth or the brand of scissors he/she used. It is all about the healing of that scar.

Most outies are nothing more than extra scar tissue. At our birth there is space between the skin and our abdominal wall. If the muscles in our stomach don’t fuse together properly after the cord stump falls, the result can be an umbilical hernia. Most of these hernias heal within a year, but the result is an outie.

If you happen to have an outie and are not very happy about it, you can actually do something about it. There is a surgery called umbilicoplasty where a plastic surgeon can “sculpt” a new navel for you. It only takes about 45 minutes, but you’ll be out about a few thousand dollars. Sounds kinda like the Blackjack table of surgeries.

 

Sources: NBC News, Le Bonheur, Parenting

Do You Have An Innie or An Outie? Part 2

Previously on Blog by Bake…

I compared life to a video game and explained how our mindset is a lot like our belly button (read here before you go any further). And then I left you with a cliffhanger and the following question:

Can we change our locus of control?

How we answer that question probably says more about our locus of control than anything else to follow in this post. Remember our LOC is all about how much influence we think we have on what happens next in our lives.

If we have an internal locus of control, we believe we are in charge, thus, we also probably believe we can impact our LOC. On the flip side, if we think life is out of our hands, then we probably don’t have any reason to believe that we can change our LOC.

Expects suggest that locus of control is formed at a very young age and may be influenced by how authoritative or nurturing our parents were. That means that some factors are inborn and there may not be much we can change.

However, as VeryWell.com points out, there are certain things we can do make our LOC look more like an innie.

Be Aware of Your Voice

What does our internal monologue sound like? Do we constantly use phrases like, “I can’t” or “I don’t have any say”? Limit the negative self talk.

Be Aware of Your Choice

We may not be able to choose our boss’ attitude, but we can chose how it impacts our day. When we change from “I don’t have a say” to “I may not be able to x, but I can y” we start to realize that we always have a choice. This cracks the door open and allows us to see that do have some influence on what is going on around us. Knowing that we have at least some say helps us feel more in control.

Be Aware of Your Joyce

For the sake of keeping the rhyming headlines going, let’s pretend our best friend is named Joyce. And let’s say Joyce has an internal locus of control. We can use that to our advantage. When we feel like we have no control, we feel trapped. Our inner voice becomes negative and we are blind to our choices. Enter Joyce! We can have our friends help us brainstorm ideas and point out ways that we can, in fact, have a say in what is happening around us. The people who know us best can be great resources for helping us cultivate our innie.

As I said yesterday, we may feel like we are on a perpetual teeter totter, shifting from internal to external locus of control. During those down times, it is important to remember that even when things feel set, we do have some control. We just have to pay attention to our voice, our choice and our Joyce (or Royce or whatever your friend’s name is).

Do You Have An Innie or An Outie?

Take a second and answer true or false to the following questions:

  1. Success is more about effort than it is about luck.
  2. Life is just one big roll of the dice.
  3. If I work hard, I can accomplish my goals.
  4. Because so many things happen outside of my control, I rarely make goals.

 

Before we go any further, make sure to pay attention to the ones you marked as true. Why does it matter, you ask? Well my friend, there is some evidence that how we answer those questions may determine how much money we make and how long we live.

But we’ll get to that in a minute.

The four questions above all have to do with the extent to which we feel we have control over what happens in our lives. Do we wake up in the morning feeling that we influence the rest of the day, or do we get out of bed and accept that life is all about the outside forces pulling our strings?

If you answered true to questions #1 & #3, you likely have what psychologists refer to as an internal locus of control. That means you believe you have control over what happens next.

If you answered true to #2 and #4, you likely have an external locus of control, which means you feel that you have little say in what is going on and your life is mainly controlled by external variables.

(If you answered true to all four, you probably weren’t paying attention.)

Picture it like this…if life is a video game, are you holding the controller, or is someone else?

Depending on our mood, we may feel like we’re on a locus of control teeter totter. On our best days, we take responsibility for our actions and tackle the video game feeling armed with cheat codes. On our worst day, the controller out of batteries and we complain about that darn Energizer bunny ruining our day.

We all have our highs and our lows, but, like bully buttons, we generally fall into one of two camps…innie or an outie. And this has a huge impact on our healthy, finances and relationships.

Research has shown that people with an internal locus of control are more likely to:

  • Perform better at work and school
  • Be happier in their jobs and lives in general
  • Have better quality relationships
  • Suffer less stress, anxiety and depression
  • Cope better with problems
  • Be healthier
  • Earn more
  • Live longer

 

I don’t know about you, but I want to live longer, make more money, have less stress and better relationships. So, the obvious question comes to mind: can I change my locus of control?

We’ll answer that next time on Blog by Bake…

 

The Opposite Of Déjà Vu

Nikki Heat might just be the most fictional person ever. Never heard of her? I’ll explain.

The ABC crime series Castle recently came to an end after eight seasons. The show was about Richard Castle, a best-selling mystery novelist, and Kate Beckett, an NYPD homicide detective, who teamed up to solve crimes in New York City.

In order to promote the show, the network released a book in 2009 written by “Richard Castle” called Heat Wave. The book featured NYPD detective Nikki Heat and her unlikely partner, author Jameson Rook. Sound familiar?

The book is about fictional characters created by fictional characters, thus making Nikki Heat even more pretend than the Real Housewives of Hill Valley.

Nikki Heat was great at solving crimes for two reasons. 1) She was the title character of a crime book series, so of course she was going to solve every case, and 2) she had a unique ritual called the “walk up.”

Every time Heat approached a new homicide, she followed the same pattern. For roughly two hundred feet as she walked up to the crime scene, she would briefly erase all her previous cases from her mind. She would approach each new case with a clean slate, a fresh set of eyes. Sure she had years of experience, but as one book describes, every crime scene has its own “flavor of chaos.” To take every detail in the current homicide, and not get it confused with a case from the past, she would view a familiar problem with a fresh perspective.

Turns out this way of thinking isn’t just limited to characters who are fictional to the nth degree. Author Adam Grant calls this vuja de. It is kind of like déjà vu, only in reverse.

Déjà vu is when we encounter something new, but it seems like we’ve experienced it before.“Vuja de is when you look at something you’ve seen many times before and all of a sudden see it with fresh eyes,” Grant says.

Experience is great, but sometimes we need to take a cue from Nikki Heat and create our own version of the “walk up.” By having a fresh perspective, we are able to gain new insights into old issues.