First Impressions

IMPRESSIONS, FIRST

Entering a room with an expectant audience or speaking in a public forum presents an opportunity.  Walking to the middle of the stage focuses attention. People often form a lasting impression within the first 3 seconds of viewing the presenter or person entering their field of vision.

Our eyes, our mind, our past experience, our attitudes, our prejudices form an opinion -instantly.  Before we have heard the subject matter or met the person being introduced our entire physical and emotional body responds to external input and makes a decision about incoming information.

This is human nature.  We are programmed to respond.  It’s for our survival. We need this information to physically exist and function. When a new entity approaches we need to instantly decide if it is a danger or friend.  This is natural.  We make this decision without conscious thought: almost a reaction.

However, we understand from our experience that “new” is not always harmful. This knowledge kicks in about 2 seconds after our initial first impression hits us.  So, within about 5 seconds of confronting a new person or situation, our entire being has developed an impression, albeit good or bad.

Our task, as responsible adults, seems to be both complex and simple.  Acknowledge the presence of our human instinct to discern between danger or demure and then accept that first impressions may be askew.  An example of this occurred in the New York Museum of Modern Art.  A picture by impressionist Henri Matisse hung upside down for 47 days in 1961.  To announce the blunder, the New York Times ran its headline upside down -(artnet.com-Readers Digest Dec2017/Jan2018, p.45)

First Impressions are necessary.  It’s our job to get them right.

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Traditions

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Having the unique opportunity of viewing the botanical gardens at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV is a true pleasure.  Every few months the staff work tirelessly to present a visual floral feast to celebrate the current recognized holiday.  Without regard to religion or country or creed – each worldwide ethnic traditional celebration is displayed.

Here in the United States we are entering one of our periods of traditional celebration – Thanksgiving,  Christmas and New Year’s.  These are our traditions, our celebrations of development, remembrance and new beginnings.  We express ourselves and our happiness by spending more time with family and friends.  Our gift giving and meal sharing is our attempt at making everyone feel happy and secure.  We want to party and encourage others to join us in celebrating our traditions.

Traditions are our link to the past and offer hope that our surroundings in the future will be stable and secure.  All ethnic groups have similar celebrations focusing on their traditions – it grounds us all to the past yet offers hope for the future.

Traditions, and the celebrations of them, are fast approaching.  We all revel in our ability to freely enjoy their dual meaning: the past the future. Enjoy your traditions and those of others.

More Time

Jennifer Brea was a PhD student at Harvard when her body began to rebel against her. She was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In her TED talk launched January, 2017 entitled “UNREST,” she describes her harrowing journey through symptom management and finally correct diagnosis.  This debilitating disease stole her energetic, promise-filled life.

Her heart felt sympathy for the other yet unidentified people who carry the invisible disability is heart breaking.  Jennifer was forced to give up a youthful, promising professional life to a debilitating, little-recognized medical condition that will slowly cannibalize her ability to enjoy the pleasures of life.

She’s a beacon: a light that shines a path urging us to use our time wisely.  She thought that she had more time – time for: experiencing the pleasures of life, discovering the truths hidden in books, spending quality time with friends and family and earning an advanced degree at a distinguished university.  Jennifer has reevaluated her life based on new goals that are every bit as challenging.

She has developed a new voice.  A voice that will stand the test of time.  One that will give us all MORE TIME.  Her example shows us that by using our time wisely together and developing a collective voice we can integrate what we know into the challenges of the future. So, my challenge to you is: Check out Jennifer Brea.

Comfort with Life

20171005_123354This cartoon appears in a recent 2017 edition of Reader’s Digest.  Obviously, it offers a relaxed slat on life.  This  viewpoint is reinforced in a recent interview with Art Garfunkel (11/4/2017) when he states that he has reached a period in his life when he is “comfortable with life.”

Certainly, this is a broad term cultivated after weathering life’s many trials and challenges.  Often we wonder: “why am I enduring this horrible situation?” There seems no rhyme or reason for a negative or bad experience to enter our otherwise normal or calm life.  I am not a “bad” person.  I have not intentionally hurt someone.  Yet,  there it is – a great big challenge sitting smack dab in front of you.

So, you gather all of the positive coping strategies that you used in the past to overcome the challenge.  This approach works.  You know it works because it has worked in the past.  You develop a strategy, the strategy works and provides harmony in your life.  This is a path to feeling comfortable in your life.

As you work through issues in your life, instead of ignoring them, you realize that only by addressing barriers that challenge your comfort level will you develop a strategy.  This attitude becomes comfortable.  Being comfortable, feels comfortable. You like the feeling and want to repeat it.  You develop strategies to keep experiencing the feeling.

Before long you too are comfortable with life… Continue reading