Jan 02, 2022
9 mins read
What's On My Mind is a weekly newsletter where I share some of my thoughts, stories, and ideas to raise awareness; enable personal growth; nourish an open mind; encourage self-discovery; and empowering myself and others with individual responsibility.
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hope you find them of any use.
When you tell a story, you spark a connection. That is how humans have communicated since the beginning of time —by telling stories. Stories have been told since even before humans learned to read and write. Everyday events became stories to tell children, scribes and priests told stories of religious affairs, and leaders told heroic tales of their adventures. These stories have passed on through generations: some of them fill up history books, some are integral to culture, and some are embedded in family values. Stories are central to human cognition and communication. We engage with others through stories, and storytelling is a lot more than just a recitation of facts and events. As human beings, we are automatically drawn to stories because we see ourselves reflected in them. We inevitably interpret the meaning in stories and understand ourselves better.
Every culture has stories to tell. These stories form the basis for how we think about the world and live our lives. Stories preserve culture and pass on cultural knowledge from one generation to another. In essence, stories keep cultures alive. Stories provide a timeless link to ancient traditions, legends, myths, and archetypes. But they also connect us to universal truths about ourselves and our world. Through stories, we share passions, fears, sadness, hardships, and joys, and we find common ground with other people so that we can connect and communicate with them. Stories are universal, conveying meaning and purpose that help us understand ourselves better and find commonality with others.
Stories transcend generations. They create connections with others. It is through stories that we experience rich emotions and feelings of joy, sorrow, hardships, and failures. We learn about behaviours and consequences. Stories show us what we have in common with others, and we learn to engage with others in spite of our differences as we come to understand who they are and where we stand in this world. Stories give us the opportunity to experience narratives in our imagination as if they were real, and feel raw emotion even though the reality of our experience is only in listening to the story. Your brain experiences imagined narratives as if they were real. There is little difference between how our brain processes information when we read or hear stories and when we experience reality. To our brain, it’s all the same. Stories help us create our identities as we tell stories of how we think, what we feel, and how we justify our decisions. Through such rich experiences, we come to understand our unique perspective and our place in the world.
Stories make us human. There are a great many lessons to be learned from stories. The human brain is hard-wired to communicate through stories. And through stories, we understand many aspects of life including social norms—that’s how we learn what is right and what is wrong, through lived experiences and stories. Stories make learning effective, and that is why children engage so well with storytelling. Kids can’t wait to hear a good story because they’re naturally curious and want to learn more about the world. We tend to remember and process information better when we hear or read a story because narratives reach deep into our psyche and provide a deeper understanding of concepts, thoughts, and ideas. For centuries, stories have been used to pass on knowledge, and when important teachings are embedded in a story, we embrace that information uniquely because we tend to remember the underlying emotions in a story rather than the actual elements of that story. When a story moves us, we are motivated to take action. And persuasion becomes unnecessary. In its purest form, stories teach us good from bad, and how to act wisely with others in social situations and on a personal level, while we also learn about the consequences of not doing so.
Everyone has a story to tell. You have yours, and if you pay close attention to your story, you will realize that your stories are collections of your experiences. It is your perspective that shapes the meaning of your stories. In the same way, when you hear stories, you come to realize that you share the same fundamental experiences as others, and yet your experiences differ from each other because everyone has a different perspective. Stories help us explain everything in our experience from science to relationships, from feelings to memories, and from questions to objections. And with every story we hear, read, or listen, our mind makes cognitive and emotional connections that shape our perspective of the world. The stories you tell shape your perception of the world, and your perception of the world shapes the stories you tell.
Have you noticed how you are drawn to someone when they tell their story? Or how people around you are attentive when you share a story about your own life? Stories have a way of transporting us away from our realities, and our mind opens up to new experiences and perceptions of other people and how they think and feel. You’ll bore most people with a presentation about financial numbers, but just about any room of people will be captivated by a decent story told well. Stories engage our attention and trigger our imagination. When you hear a story, you step out of your reality and place yourself in someone else’s shoes, and you get to experience their perspective and engage in their emotions, actions, and decisions. When you listen to a story of someone else’s life, it’s as if you’re living their story for those brief moments, and that experience allows you to learn from other people’s experiences. Simply put, stories help you learn to empathize with other people as you come to understand their point of view. In fact, research shows that reading makes you more empathetic.
Even as technology presents so many dynamic opportunities to create new content, humans will still crave stories so we can make sense of the world. The more information we create, the more valuable stories become, because without them we lose perspective on what matters. And in a world with more information than ever, it’s harder and harder to discern which information truly matters. Stories help us solve that problem. If you want to know how to solve a specific problem, you’ll need information, and you can get it from many sources and in many ways. But if you want to know how to live well, you’ll need stories. And there’s no substitute for that other than living your own story, making mistakes, and learning as you go. Stories will always matter, now and in the future.
Teachings & Insights
The art of peace - page 109
The art of peace can be summed up like this: True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly! "True victory" means unflinching courage; "self-victory" symbolizes unflagging effort; and "let that day arrive quikcly" represents the glorius moment of triumph in the here and now.
Video - WASP
WASP (World's Advanced Saving Project) is the brainchild of father-daughter team Massimo and Francesca Moretti. Launched in 2011 when Francesca, a designer, began thinkering with early 3D printers and introduced her electronic technician father to the tech. Massimo, inspired by nature - and specifically the mason wasp which builds its own nest with material recovered from the surrounding enviroment - began designing a 3D printer capable of building houses with local, natural materials "at a cost tending to zero".
"The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil." - Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind
Fundamentals - curiousity, thought, breath, water, nutrition, nature, rest, movement, relationships.
To meditate does not mean to fight with a problem. To meditate means to observe. Meditation is a way to relax the mind. A mind that has over 50.000 thoughts per day. Just like you need to train to become physically stronger, you need to train your mind to become more relaxed. Here are some easy beginner tips to start meditating.
Start with one minute. Sit up with a straight back and fold your hands together or place them on your knees. Focus on your breath. It is normal if you get distracted. Let go of the thoughts and bring your focus back to your breath. Finished one minute? Great! You can slowly move on to the next minute.
Another way to meditate is the walking-meditation. In the forest, on the beach, or even in a busy city. An active moment to gather your thoughts and be more present. Stand up straight and feel how your feet touch the ground. Start to walk slowly and be aware of every step. Keep doing this until you feel you have done enough.
A great way to start as a beginner is the so called (guided) visualisation meditation. During this meditation you are suppose to fill your mind with a visualisation, like walking in a forest or on a beach. As long as the visualisation brings you peace, you are good. The visualisation makes sure there is no room in your mind for distracting thoughts, this way you automaticly become more relaxed.
I have talked about your HRV in another post. It is a great way to measure if you are in a relaxed or stress state of being. Personally I use Oura for this. You can use this link to get a discount on your purchage.
Podcast - Elon Musk
I like to challenge my own believes from time to time. I noticed whenever people started to talk about Elon Musk I had a negative bias. But, why? I didn't really knew his visions. I just knew he had lots of money, some weird space vision, the Tesla car, and Neuralink. So, I started to read up and listen to some interviews. Good thing I challenged my own believes because the man has some wisdom to share. I came across this podcast with Lex Fridman which gives a great peak into his mind. Here is another one with The Babylon Bee.
Did you know...
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is a global health issue that afflicts more than one billion children and adults worldwide. The consequences of vitamin D deficiency cannot be under estimated. There has been an association of vitamin D deficiency with a myriad of acute and chronic illnesses including childhood dental caries, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, lowered immune system, hair loss, deadly cancers, slow wound healing, headaches, type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders.
Thank you for your spending your valuable time on reading this newsletter. Your support is much appreciated.
Joey van Tilburg