An Argumentative Advantage

Those who know me best are well aware that I don’t shy away from conflict. Though I don’t seek out arguments, I’m not put off by them, and I don’t back away from them. In fact, I think sometimes arguments and disagreements are some of the most healthy conversations we can have. They make us better. They give us new perspective. If we’re truly listening and engaging in the conversation, they canĀ persuade us to change our minds, or they can help us solidify our point of view.

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TED Talk Tuesday: Why is “x” the Unknown?

After a short hiatus (mostly consisting of feeding a baby and cleaning up her poop), I thought I would come back to Ted Talk Tuesday with something on the lighter side. In this talk, Terry Moore explains how the letter “x” came to symbolize an unknown factor – not only in mathematics, but in many other arenas as well. By the time you get to the end, you will have the one sentence answer to the question: “Why is “x” the unknown?” And, like Terry Moore, I think it’s worth sharing.

TED Talk Tuesday: 10 Mindful Minutes

Andy Puddicombe’s time as a monk caused him to come up with an interesting theory – that the key to happiness might just be found in doing nothing. Though he doesn’t offer any specific meditation techniques, I think this is still a significant thought process to consider.

Through an effective illustration, Andy, shows us how one thought or series of thoughts can distract us and how, if we can take a step back and do nothing for 10 minutes, allowing our mind to, in a sense, see itself, we might be able to see the distraction for what it is and to put it in its proper place.

Perhaps this talk struck me because of a recent experience I had. It was a particularly taxing day – one of those days when everything seems to be hitting the fan at once. The hiccups had become speed bumps and then turned into walls. My anxiety was high and my productivity was low. Then, somewhat unintentionally, I did exactly what Andy suggests. I did nothing – I shut down in a way that I don’t know if I’ve ever done before.

However, the result of that 5 or 10 minutes of shutting down was that I emerged with real clarity. Suddenly, I recognized what I was able to have some control over and what I wasn’t, what I was able to change and what I wasn’t and what could be worked out, if not today, then eventually. 10 minutes of nothing resulted in a complete 180 of my day – from anxious to motivated, disheartened to encouraged. I don’t know, maybe there’s something to it.

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