Perhaps the most powerful contribution of cognitive psychology to human understanding has been its careful mapping out of the many ways in which we self-deceive. Our minds are expert confabulators, instantaneously able to invent details and frameworks to account for gaps in our knowledge or preserve our emotional equilibrium. For this reason, says Sir Ken Robinson, we are often, unbeknownst to ourselves, the biggest obstacle to our own happiness. Faced with opportunity, many of us react with fear – a protective response generalized from earlier, unrelated experiences. “The real issue,” says Robinson, “is for people to think hard about what’s getting in their way. Is it their circumstances that are stopping them or is it their reading of their circumstances?”
Robinson should know. His own father was paralyzed from the neck down at the age of 45. “But that wasn’t the end of his life,” says Robinson, “and it wasn’t the end of our family. And I mean, he had a tremendously positive outlook. He wasn’t some Pollyanna figure, he was just a very strong-minded person, very funny, very sardonic, and wonderful company.” In session 7 of How to Find Your Element, his new workshop for Big Think Mentor, Robinson examines the attitudinal blocks that hold us back and offers tools for overcoming them.
Video: Why Attitude is Everything, with Sir Ken Robinson – full video available with paid subscription to Big Think Mentor
In How to Find Your Element, his 7-session workshop for Big Think Mentor, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson tackles the epidemic of dissatisfaction with work and life. He offers practical exercises and tips for discovering your “element” – the environment and set of activities that will activate your unique abilities, sustain your happiness, and enable you to live your best possible life.
In this workshop, you’ll learn to:
- Understand the concept and the value of “finding your element”
- Recognize the perils and promise of the two-fold (internal and external) path to finding your element.
- Discover your specific talents
- Identify your passions (which may differ from your talents)
- Take steps to ensure that your attitude and beliefs are steering you toward (rather than away from) your element.
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The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"