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The Educational Value of Creative Disobedience

The Educational Value of Creative Disobedience | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
In this age of innovation, even more important than being an effective problem solver, is being a problem finder.

 

It’s one thing to look at a problem and be able to generate a solution; it is another thing to be able to look at an ambiguous situation, and decide if there is a problem that needs to be solved. That’s a skill that isn’t really targeted by traditional teaching methods, and in fact, it is often discouraged. Rule-breaking , to an extent, should be tolerated and encouraged, and yes—even taught. To reach this end, we should be teaching and encouraging creative disobedience.

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Would you notice an invisible gorilla?

If you're not familar with Dan Simon's work on attention, check out the two videos...

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The Costanza Principle: Empower Your Inner Contrarian and Make Better Decisions

The Costanza Principle: Empower Your Inner Contrarian and Make Better Decisions | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
When it comes to making strong, objective decisions, you're about the last person on earth you should trust. So today, we're taking a page from Seinfeld's George Costanza.
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The Contagion of Happiness | Jessica Cerretani

The Contagion of Happiness | Jessica Cerretani | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Everyone, it seems—from Buddhist monks to positive psychologists, from Charles Schulz to the Beatles—has offered opinions on what it means to be happy. And whether you believe that bliss is found with a warm puppy or a warm gun, in a Prozac prescription or the pages of self–help books, you likely crave more of it. For all the bumper–sticker clichés and pop–culture platitudes, though, happiness is one of the less–studied human emotions. It’s not a “treatable” problem like sadness, anger, or fear, and its very essence seems more the stuff of greeting cards than hard science. That’s changing, however, as a growing number of researchers—including several affiliated with Harvard Medical School—are uncovering surprising facts about the nature of delight.

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Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness

Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Author Oliver Burkeman argues that we’ve created a culture crippled by the fear of failure, and that the most important thing we can do to enhance our psychoemotional wellbeing is to embrace uncertainty.

 

[Research] points to an alternative approach [to happiness]: a ‘negative path’ to happiness that entails taking a radically different stance towards those things most of us spend our lives trying hard to avoid. This involves learning to enjoy uncertainty, embracing insecurity and becoming familiar with failure. In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them.

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CCARE Newsletter - June 2012

The latest from Stanford's compassion research center CCARE (The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education)

 

I feel delight knowing that there is such a thing at Stanford!

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Is leaving your options open the path to happiness? - Eric Barker

Is leaving your options open the path to happiness? - Eric Barker | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

No. Once the door slams shut on an opportunity we tend to fool ourselves into thinking we made the right choice, even if we didn't.

 

By leaving options open our mind keeps weighing the possibilities over and over, leading to diminshed happiness:

 

People generally prefer to have the opportunity to revise their decisions. Surprisingly however, research has shown that keeping one's options open yields lower satisfaction with the decision outcome (Gilbert & Ebert, 2002). Two studies aimed to gain more insight into the detrimental consequences of decision reversibility and the cognitive processes underlying decision reversibility. Building upon literature on goal fulfillment we hypothesized and found in a first experiment that as long as decisions are still open to change, accessibility of decision-related constructs is increased compared to neutral constructs. A second experiment demonstrated that decision reversibility undermines working memory capacity. Moreover participants experienced higher regret after having made a reversible decision, an effect that was mediated by decreased working memory capacity. The study set implies that reversible decisions yield lower working memory capacity because people continue to think about the, still relevant, choice options. In the end this might increase dissatisfaction with the decision and regret.

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The evolutionary origins of optimism | KurzweilAI

The evolutionary origins of optimism | KurzweilAI | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Positive feeling evolved to make us do critical tasks --- but new findings suggest it can also help us live longer.

 

This article is an adapted excerpt from the new book Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain from Basic Books.

 

The function of our pleasure system is to entice us into doing things that are biologically good for us. This is why delicious food, especially in the company of family and friends, is one of the great pleasures of life.

 

Because the experience of pleasure is fleeting, the pursuit of pleasure can all too easily spiral out of control, sometimes tipping into dangerous risk taking and addictions. But if kept under control, experiencing pleasure is the spark that strengthens the circuits and networks that make up the sunny brain.

 

And one of the great benefits of the sunny brain is the optimistic mindset it nurtures, which is not only about feeling joy and happiness, or even just about feeling good or thinking positively about the future, but also about sticking with tasks that are meaningful and beneficial. Our sunny-brain circuits help us to stay focused on the things that bring us rewards, and this keeps us engaged on important tasks.

 

This is a central insight, backed up by anatomical evidence, of how our sunny brain works. Optimism is about more than feeling good; it’s about being engaged with a meaningful life, developing resilience, and feeling in control. This dovetails nicely with psychological research showing that the benefits of optimism come from the ability to accept the good along with the bad, and being prepared to work creatively and persistently to get what you want out of life.

 

Optimistic realists, whom I consider to be the true optimists, don’t believe that good things will come if they simply think happy thoughts. Instead, they believe at a very deep level that they have some control over their own destinies.

 

What’s perhaps most surprising is just how optimistic we are. Survey after survey confirm that, even in the darkest moments, people are usually positive about the future.

 

What is the reason for such irrepressible optimism, especially in the face of so many global problems? The answer is both complex and intriguing. One part of the puzzle is that our brain is wired to ensure that we remain hopeful for the future. As we have seen, our sunny brain also plays an important role in keeping us engaged with ultimate rewards. Optimism is a crucial survival mechanism, honed by nature, to keep us going even when everything seems to be going wrong. Psychologists call this the optimism bias, and almost all of us have fallen prey to its appeal at some point.

 

While there has been much unsubstantiated hype, there are many scientific studies that suggest that a positive mindset, like optimism, is associated with better health and well-being. This is almost certainly due to the link between an optimistic mindset and beneficial actions rather than any magical power of thoughts. Most dramatic of all is the assertion that optimism can make us live longer.

Given optimists’ greater persistence, it comes as no surprise to find that optimism is also linked with success. In the business world, optimism is advantageous, since the ability to deal with failures is often required. This is why Thomas Edison, whose optimism was magnetic to those around him,

constantly encouraged his workers to never give up. On one occasion, having realized that he had tried out more than 10,000 different ways to develop an electric lamp, he famously proclaimed: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

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Buddhism and the Blues | Psychology Today

Buddhism and the Blues | Psychology Today | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Buddhist psychology's core techniques of meditation and awareness may have much to offer ordinary Westerners.
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Parents’ Fighting May Have Long-Lasting Effect on Kids: Jennifer Goodwn

Parents’ Fighting May Have Long-Lasting Effect on Kids:  Jennifer Goodwn | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Slamming doors, shouting and stony silences between mom and dad can really scar kids emotionally, new research suggests.

 

Kindergarteners whose parents fought with each other frequently and harshly were more likely to grow into emotionally insecure older children who struggled with depression, anxiety and behavior issues by 7th grade, the study authors found.

 

And yet, the researchers said, not all conflict was troublesome to children. If parents refrained from harshly criticizing one other, stonewalling one another or being violent with one another, and instead managed to work out their problems in a constructive way, children weren't terribly bothered by the conflicts.
 

The key to keeping kids well-adjusted isn't having a perfect, conflict-free marriage, the study authors said. It's in being able to control emotions enough to fight fair, and resolve conflicts in a way that doesn't threaten the stability of the family, they explained.

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Becoming Well-Spoken: How to Minimize Your Uh’s and Um’s

Becoming Well-Spoken: How to Minimize Your Uh’s and Um’s | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

How you speak is a huge component of the impression you make on others, and thus your potential influence on them.

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Tricycle Talk: Congressman Tim Ryan stumps for mindfulness in Washington, DC and beyond | Tricycle

Tricycle Talk: Congressman Tim Ryan stumps for mindfulness in Washington, DC and beyond | Tricycle | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The 2012 Presidential election is the most fractious in memory—just another example of the partisan rancor ruling national politics today. (“Washington is broken,” stated Republican senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, a noted moderate, as she announced her decision not to run for a fourth term.) Contributing to the problem, insiders suggest, is that bipartisan socializing—a Washington tradition—has all but ceased, as pols spend their free time drumming up support back in their home districts. But if Congressman Tim Ryan, a five-term Democrat from Ohio, has anything to say about it, cultivating mindfulness not only can help us reconnect with our kindness and compassion individually and collectively but also could trickle up and help Congress reconnect, leading to more cooperation at the top.

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10 Secrets Of Intuitive Eating: Kerri-Ann Jennings

10 Secrets Of Intuitive Eating: Kerri-Ann Jennings | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Imagine a diet where you can eat anything you want. The catch? You only eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. It's intuitive eating -- a way of eating that helps people establish a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.
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Get Into the Zone - James Allworth

Get Into the Zone - James Allworth | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Everyone aspires to get into “the zone,” or the mental state where you
do your best work. Next time you’re trying to achieve peak performance,
remember these three things:

 

1.  There is no zone for new activities. When you start a new task, you're not going to find flow. Getting in the zone requires activating the subconscious part of the brain, which is simply inaccessible when you are trying something for the first time.
2.  You need the right environment. Figure out the settings that facilitate your flow — be it a crowded coffee shop or a quiet library — and work in them whenever possible.
3.  Emotions are key. Being in the zone requires finding the feelings that allow your subconscious to take over. Music can help activate these emotions. Find songs, albums, or artists that put you in the right mood and block out distractions.

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» Wish All You Want, It Can’t Hurt - Better Living Through Pithy Quotes

» Wish All You Want, It Can’t Hurt - Better Living Through Pithy Quotes | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

“Be careful what you wish for.”

 

“I hate that one,” a friend said. “Life is so difficult already, and they’re saying you’re not even supposed to wish?”

 

That little aphorism is so old and musty and familiar, I never gave it much thought until my friend said that. But now that she mentions it…what the hell?

 

What kind of crippling curse is that to put on someone? How can you wish for anything when you are told that there’s a damn good chance that wish will blow up in your face?

 

Besides, how can wishing something–just wishing– do any harm? It’s not like Glinda the Good Witch is going to come floating down in a bubble to wave her magic wand and make your wish come true. Between wishing and getting is likely to be a whole lot of thinking and doing, during which time, if the wish is misguided, you have a pretty good chance of figuring it out.

 

Unless you have magical powers, there’s not a single thing wrong with wishing. Wishing can be the first step to setting a goal, and setting a goal is the first step to attaining it. Without a wish, how do you know what you want?

 

So go ahead, wish carelessly and with wild abandon—and then be careful what you do. That’s really much more important.

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Does Personality Change Longevity? | Psychology Today

Does Personality Change Longevity? | Psychology Today | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

How much does character change lifespan? 

 

Centenarians—people who live to more than 100—are very popular these days. They receive presidential visits and grant special TV interviews; some get invited to pitch products displaying America’s matchless marketing.

 

But why are very old people so popular? Is it because a large part of the population would like to live longer—especially if they felt healthy through the first hundred years?

 

Whatever the case, centenarians are pretty good at regenerating themselves—particularly their body tissues. But what might be the “secret sauce” that lets them live that long?

 

That’s where centenarian research programs come in.

 

The Longevity Genes Project

 

Today there are many studies of long life and long lived people. One of the more interesting is located at Albert Einstein College in the Bronx, New York City. Some 500 Ashkenazi Jews 95 and older and their kids are actively researched and followed. The group gets a lot of attention in part because 1. They are genetically similar, as many are descendents of groups that fled Russian persecution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries 2. They include a large number of folk who are still active and working very late in life.

 

Is personality one of their secrets?

 

Researchers seem to think so.

 

Optimism for the Long Haul

 

A recent report on the group, which queried 243 with an average age of only 97.6 years, found they were extroverted, easygoing, and hopeful towards the future. They also demonstrated consistent conscientiousness—another factor is said to particularly favor longevity. As a group they appeared less depressed than most—despite their age.

 

Cause or Effect?

 

Are the people who are optimistic, easygoing, social and happy the ones who live longer? Or do the ones that survive longer feel that way?

 

This question is harder to answer than some suspect. Personality does change with age – even though many people think it’s as hard wired as eye color. People’s personality measures change with mood; by sex; by circumstance; and many other factors.

 

Much of personality is built on memory—the narratives we create of our past. And people’s memories – what they recall of their lives in the world – change often throughout life, as work by Dan Offer, Oliver Sacks and others have shown. In fact, memories change every time they’re retrieved. We think memories are hard and fast, plugged into our brain like CDs or DVDs. They’re not.

There is also evidence from very long follow-up studies that more optimistic people last longer. Yet pessimists don’t seem to do so badly.

 

Then there is the question of markers.

 

Marker or Maker?

 

Are personality traits really markers for other factors that lead to long life?

 

It’s known that people who are long lived are biologically different. Some seem to have more telomerase, which makes it easier for them to engage in cellular repair—and keep cells dividing and making entirely new cells.

In animals, getting rid of senescent cells—cells no longer capable of dividing—makes them more youthful.

 

What if more optimistic, outgoing, and laughter loving personalities were just “riding” on other biological factors?

 

Such correlative “markers” happen all the time. That’s one reason researchers get very cagey when talking about causality. They know how hard that is to prove.

 

Here’s an example: recently it’s become clearer that higher and higher HDL levels does not by itself make for less heart disease. In many cases really high HDL levels may provoke higher death rates.

It turns out HDL are markers rather than cause—though many people thought the opposite. That’s a many billion dollar bet of drug companies that went very expensively wrong.

 

Because HDLs do get higher from activities like exercise that help people live longer. So HDLs are “markers” for other variables.

 

And not all activities are totally positive. Recent data argues that some people have increased “markers” of disease—even including higher blood pressure—with exercise. Whether this actually ends up with bad clinical results is not yet known.

 

So exercise is not great for some people. And correlation is not causality. Because 85% of Americans die in bed does not mean that beds kill people. The evidence certainly tends towards happier, more optimistic people living longer.

They also seem to enjoy the ride.

 

Regeneration Health

 

The idea of regeneration is itself profoundly optimistic and hopeful. If most of your body is rebuilt in 3-4 weeks, you have a lot of options to influence that process.

 

All by yourself.

 

And the data do support that optimistic, outgoing, laughter loving people really feel well. Their self assessed physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being is greater. They like being alive.

 

I has also become evident from studies like those of Professor Martin Siegelman at the University of Pennsylvania that optimism and pragmatic rational thinking can be learned. Just as learned helplessness leads to depressed like states in animals, learned optimism can make people feel much better.

 

If they also live longer, that’s okay, too.

 

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5 Ways To Spark Your Creativity : NPR

5 Ways To Spark Your Creativity : NPR | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Inspiration may seem rare, but you might be able to increase the odds of having a genius moment. Research points to some surprisingly simple triggers of innovation: taking a shower, living in a far-off land or working in a blue room.
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Why Meaning Matters: Paul Wong

Why Meaning Matters: Paul Wong | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

We are so conditioned by the American dream that most people believe that their first and primary objective in life is to achieve happiness and success through their own strengths.

 

However, during the recent economic downturn, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain the confidence that they can realize their cherished dream only if they put their minds to it. In times of discouragement and despair, a sense of meaning and purpose may be the best way to move forward.

 

How about those who have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations and already possess everything they have ever wanted? Yet, the view at the top of the ladder could be unsettling. What’s next? Is this all there is to life?

 

What will sustain us in the face of retirement, aging, sickness and death? All the medical inventions and pharmaceutical discoveries cannot give us the will to live. Viktor Frankl and subsequent research have demonstrated that “the will to meaning” and reasons for living can steel our determination to live life to the fullest till the last breath.

 

So many people are sick and tired of their work. What enables us to do boring jobs and mundane chores cheerfully? The intrinsic motivation of calling and serving can reward us with a sense of satisfaction.

 

How do we combat the greed on Wall Street and the violence on Main Street? How do we replace the corrupt politicians with servant leaders? We cannot legislate morality, nor can we banish greed on pain of imprisonment. But we can instill in people the belief that the real strength of a person does not come from money and power, but comes from within the person – it is rooted in deep convictions, character strengths, a higher purpose and an unshakable faith.

 

What awakens people from their semi-slumbering state of wandering through life and wasting all their talents and potentials? If time is the most valuable commodity, then wasting a life time is a tragic loss punishable by a fearful death.

 

What is the best way to facilitate recovery from addiction, trauma, or mental illness? Active involvement in discovering and experiencing some meaning for living can go a long way in the difficult journey of healing.

 

When everything fails, the human capacity of meaning seeking can be the bridge that takes us from desperation to hope and a future goal.

There are just tons of research on the vital role of meaning and purpose in enhancing our well-being and resilience. Much of the research has been documented in my two volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning.

 

Unfortunately, most people are not fully aware that their life and well-being depend on discovering the hidden dimension of meaning.

 

Happiness is an easy sell and success is music to the ear, but meaning and purpose is what people really need in order to survive and flourish.

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Is a happy day a creative day? - Barking up the wrong tree

Is a happy day a creative day? - Barking up the wrong tree | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

"Overall, the more positive a person’s mood on a given day, the more creative thinking he did that day." There was even a carryover effect for the next two days after.

 

Want to be more creative? Get happy.

 

Via The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work:

 

Our diary study revealed a definitive connection between positive emotion and creativity. We looked at specific emotions as well as overall mood (the aggregate of a person’s positive and negative emotions during the day). Overall, the more positive a person’s mood on a given day, the more creative thinking he did that day. Across all study participants, there was a 50 percent increase in the odds of having a creative idea on days when people reported positive moods, compared with days when they reported negative moods.

 

And:

 

We even found a surprising carryover effect showing that creativity follows from positive emotion. The more positive a person’s mood on a given day, the more creative thinking he did the next day—and, to some extent, the day after that—even taking into account his moods on those later days. This may be due to what psychologists call an incubation effect. Pleasant moods stimulate greater breadth in thinking—greater cognitive variation—which can linger and even build over a day or more. Such cognitive variation can lead to new insights at work.

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» Character Training Makes You Feel Good About Yourself -RICK NAUERT PHD

» Character Training Makes You Feel Good About Yourself  -RICK NAUERT PHD | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
A new large-scale study has found that practicing positive moral character traits improves personal well-being.

 

Investigators from the University of Zurich found the largest benefits of practicing positive traits occurred when an individual received training on “curiosity”, “gratitude”, “optimism”, “humor” and “enthusiasm”.

 

This new study proved that training to improve character strengths enhances life satisfaction and increases the sense of well-being.

 

For the study, researchers randomly divided a sample of 178 adults into three groups: While one group trained or practiced personality strengths of “curiosity”, “gratitude”, “optimism”, “humor” and “enthusiasm” for a period of ten weeks, the second group worked with the strengths “appreciation of beauty”, “creativity”, “kindness”, “love of learning” and “foresight”.

 

The third group served as a control and did not do any exercises.

 

The authors of the study recorded three main results:

The group that practiced curiosity, gratitude, optimism, humor and enthusiasm displayed a significant increase in life satisfaction compared to the control group.


Both groups benefited from the training sessions. “Anyone who trained one or more character strengths reported an increase in their sense of wellbeing,” concludes Willibald Ruch, a professor of personality psychology and diagnostics. “This manifested itself in the fact that these participants were more cheerful or more often in a good mood, for instance.”


The third finding was that people who learned to control their actions and feelings more effectively during the training period and developed more enthusiasm benefited most from the training.
The training exercises consisted of activities that the test subjects could easily incorporate into their daily routine.

 

For example, individuals practiced gratitude by writing a thank-you letter to someone who had played an important role in their lives and trained their appreciation of beauty by paying attention to moments and situations in which they felt admiration for something beautiful.

 

Individuals also learned to express gratitude to people possessing special abilities and talents.

Character strengths and their connection with wellbeing is an important research field in positive psychology. This new research thread focuses on positive characteristic or traits.

 

In recent years, experts have directed their study toward discovering what makes life most worth living – what constitutes life satisfaction.

Experts say this emerging research directions of positive psychology focuses on topics that have long been neglected by psychology.

 

 

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Mind games: Mental exercises are key to better brain function - The Spokesman-Review

Mind games: Mental exercises are key to better brain function  - The Spokesman-Review | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Go ahead — do it: Grab a pencil. Right now. Write your name backward. And upside down. Awkward, right?
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More Evidence That Mindfulness Meditation Is Good For The Brain

More Evidence That Mindfulness Meditation Is Good For The Brain | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Scientists have found that a mindfulness meditation practice is linked with actual physical changes in the brain -- changes that may even have protective effects against mental illness.

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5 Ways To Stay Happy No Matter What Happens:george PH

5 Ways To Stay Happy No Matter What Happens:george PH | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Most people have no control over their emotional well-being. They feel ecstatic when good stuff happens and depressed when things go wrong. Their lives are rollercoaster rides: sometimes up, sometimes way down.

 

But what if you could be happy no matter what happens?

 

1. Stop Chasing and Start Living


2. Assume Responsibility


3. Stop Seeking Stimulation


4. Take Action

 

5. Expect Nothing

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» Do You Fall into This Happiness Trap? - Gretchen Rubin

» Do You Fall into This Happiness Trap? - Gretchen Rubin | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
It's very easy to fall into the happiness trap of false choices -- of thinking you can either do X or Y, and those are the only two choices you have.
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Do You Love Paradoxes? Embrace Happiness Paradoxes.

Do You Love Paradoxes? Embrace Happiness Paradoxes. | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

I’ve always loved paradoxes and koans, and was very struck by an observation by physicist Niels Bohr: “There are trivial truths and great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true."

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