The brain on success

I just read an article on why rigidly structured activities fail for many people. It states that the brain assesses our goals based on the probability of success. So if you set a large goal, to write a novel, and a small concrete goal to achieve the bigger goal, like to write every day – failure to accomplish the small goal will convince the brain that the whole project is a bust.

It then goes on and suggests that flexibility with our schedule and goals will help us accomplish more.

I find this interesting as it goes counter to every behaviour modification and routine setting rule I have ever encountered. Most studies suggest that strict routines and repetition will help modify a behaviour or instil a new one. Failure to practice is a temporary setback and you are encouraged to get back on the program.

But like many things in psychology, this flexible schedule/goal setting will appeal to certain personality types.



Modern Parenting May Hinder Brain Development

This is highly controversial and as a parent, I can understand why a lot of people will be upset by the findings of this research. Parenting is a profoundly personal choice and we can’t help but judge and be judged by our choices.

Being interested in the human brain, a lot of my current research delves into the world of parenting because causality is easily observed and because I’ve set parenting as one of the parameters for all my news aggregators.

I find that I am in a unique position to observe both camps compared in this study. I live in North America but I grew up in a less developed, more traditional Asian country. I have seen the effects of both styles of parenting – the attached parent who is very nurturing and sacrifices much of the self for the good of the baby, and the modern parent who believes that the baby is capable of thriving with schedules and independence. 

I personally believe in attached parenting and it’s gratifying to know that all the sacrifices will lead to an emotionally healthy, resilient, and empathic child. Maybe we can all find a balance and rear more secure and less anxious individuals.

Getting back into writing

I had a blog. For close to a decade I posted pictures, shared stories, and wrote reviews. I was driven by the feeling of wonder. People from all over the world would read what I wrote and comment on it. Strangers would write to me or share a part of themselves with me. It truly brought home the idea that the world has shrunk.

Then I got tired. I got tired of taking pictures of every meal before anyone could enjoy it. I got tired of coming up with ideas to write about. I suddenly got to a point in my life when I craved anonymity and no longer wanted to be judged by my readers (some of my readers). So I shut down that blog. At first I felt relief, months later I began to crave an outlet for my opinions. I tried to migrate to facebook and twitter but I did not feel the same drive to open up and create something.

So now I’m back and hopefully I can strike a balance between writing and my private life. I am much older and there are many things I have yet to explore.

Time is immaterial

Time has always been fluid but for new parents like us, time is immaterial. My life is currently measured by doctor’s visits, monthly milestones, and baby-centered activities. I often cannot recall what day it is and would have to check a calendar to figure out the date. It is overwhelming but rewarding.

I often remember these wise words:

The days may be long but the years are short.

I find this to be true particularly when watching a baby grow. Our days are filled with immediate need and the Id. Hopefully, we can teach our daughter to develop a good sense of ego and superego. For now our ultimate goal is to help her grow, keep her safe and healthy, and to remind ourselves to be truly present in the moment.

We begin

After almost a year of hemming and hawing over a blog name, I finally settled on one just because I needed a creative outlet. The name isn’t as important as the content but I have thought about the scope and purpose of this blog, here’s a rough list:

Studies on Positive Psychology
Zen Buddhism
Life with a baby

I hope you take this journey with me. I make no promises on the frequency of my posts but whatever I share will be thought out or at the very least highly interesting to me. This may end up as a consolidator of interesting articles and studies. We shall see.