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Just the other day, I was speaking to a reader about personality types and how each type is motivated differently, when he suddenly burst out, “But I still don’t understand why a perfectly intelligent person would become addicted. I know so many wonderful people, really smart, but they end up addicted and slowly killing themselves. I just don’t get why anyone would do that to themselves.” I told him that personality type and addiction have no correlation, and that I really didn’t understand it either. But as Karma would have it, that evening as I was watching Book TV–yes I am a nerd–a writer came on who seemed to have an answer to my reader’s question. Addiction just might have something to do with the quality of our cages.

I found a number of links that examine this idea. They explain it better than I could.

That being said, Welcome to Rat Park: An Article by Bruce K. Alexander.

Also, An online comic that explains the history of “Rat Park” and what its creators learned about addiction.

One final article by Cory Doctorow on “Rat Park” that pulls it all together.

If you want to read more, simply google “Rat Park and addiction,” and then follow the links.

Hope this helps in understanding.

The other day, one of my co-workers told me a true story.

Let me begin by reminding you that for the past six years, i have been working for an after school program focused of offering free tutoring and art programs to underprivileged kids. My co-worker, who we will call Mr. Gee, has been working there even longer. Long enough so that the kids he worked with when they were five are now fourteen and wandering the streets of Waikiki at night.

He said that one evening, when he was wandering Waikiki himself, he ran into a group of his older after school kids. They all ran up to him, yelling, “Hey Mr. Gee, How you been?” After a few minutes they added, “We are hungry; can you get us McDonald’s?”

Now Mr Gee is a great guy, and soon it was McDonald’s all around.

Evidentially, this happened a couple of times until after the fourth begging session Mr. Gee said, “No, but if you get me that palm frond from underneath that tree, I’ll show you how to make enough money to take yourself to McDonald’s.”

The boys ran to get the palm frond, and soon Mr. Gee had turned it into a coconut hat, several bracelets, and a palm frond bowl. The boys excitedly took Mr. Gee’s creations to the main street of Waikiki, and within less than an hour, they had used their sweet young polynesian faces to sell everything to the local tourists—making over fifty dollars cash.

They immediately asked Mr. Gee to make them more “stuff to sell,” to which he again said, “No, but if you want me to teach you how to make them yourself, I will be happy to do so.” He even set up a class within the afternoon schedule with no cost to students, but not one of the kids took him up on his offer.

I guess they felt more comfortable wandering Waikiki and asking strangers for change.

This story makes me sad, but I think it is important for me to understand if I am to continue to help these kids.

Why didn’t they want to learn how to make a hat and bracelets from a palm frond that could have easily netted them fifty dollars during an afternoon on the beach? Why do they prefer panhandling? Why do we continue to depend upon resources that we know are becoming scarce? Why do we keep opting for easy instead of worthwhile?

I don’t often post other people’s links, but this one just had me laughing and wanting to join in. Happy dancing in the street everyone.

http://www.superstarmagazine.com/this-guy-decided-to-dance-with-someone-on-the-street-what-happened-next-will-make-your-day/

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A number of years ago, the company I worked for sent me along with all its staff to one of those team-building workshops. One of the first things the moderator did was divide the entire room into groups of two and have us sit across from each other. She then told us that we should get ready to arm wrestle with our new partners, and she would donate $100 to the charity of the person who could win the most times against their partner within the next sixty seconds.

Much laughter ensued throughout the room as everyone prepared to arm wrestle. The moderated called out, “Begin.” Partners began straining against each other all around me.

All except my own partner, who after we locked hands, simply looked me in the eye and asked, “What charity do you represent?”

“I am sort of a animal rights advocate, so probably the World Wildlife Fund,” I answered.

“That’s a good cause,” she said slyly, and then deliberately dropped her hand down causing me to win the first battle without even trying. She then pulled up our hands into the starting position, looked me in the eye and added, “I personally like the Heifer Project.”

I laughed and said, “That is also a worthy cause,” then dropped my hand and let her win. And so we went on for the entire sixty seconds.

While all of the people around us continued to fight over who would win their contests, my partner and I managed to allow each other to win over forty times, always being sure to keep our wins tied so that both of us could claim victory for our charities together.

The other teams in the room were lucky to get even one or two wins because they wasted so much time in the struggle. My partner worked to help me win, while I worked to help my partner win. In the end we both won without any struggle and agreed to split the hundred dollars for both our charities.

At the heart of winning, you will almost always find cooperation rather than conflict.

 

Game Challenge

Click here for the answer:

Common sense, or “in the box”, choices are not always your best choices.

In fact, Albert Einstein once claimed that common sense is just “the collections of prejudices we acquire by the age of eighteen.” I have to admit that I agree with him whole-heartedly. Too often, what people call “common sense” is a failure to understand another point of view, or an inability to think outside of the box.

Obviously, common sense is not all bad. Common sense tells me to not step in front of a moving car. Common sense tells me that if I put my hand on a hot stove I will get burned. I don’t think that I will question the accuracy of my “common sense” in order to test those beliefs. However, many beliefs that we fail to question — believing they are common sense — can actually signal a failure to expand a limiting belief system. Here are a few humorous examples of some famous people who failed to think outside of their own limited boxes and so ended up going down in history as somewhat foolish men.

* In 1899, the director of the US Patent office, Charles H. Duell, is said to have announced, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

* In 1905, President Grover Cleveland once commented, “Sensible women do not want to vote.”

* In 1923, Robert Miliken, Nobel Prize winner for physics, claimed, “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.”

* In 1885, Lord Kelvin, president of England’s Royal Society-a scientific organizing, made the assertion, “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”

* In 1921, baseball great Tris Speaker was quoted as saying, “(Babe) Ruth make a big mistake when he gave up pitching.”

It seems that we humans can begin to sound foolish when we trust our “common sense” without questioning our perspectives, so take some time this week to look outside the boxes of your own self-limited perceptions.

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