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Chapter 3: Pay Attention

Schuler, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Living on Long Island, the eastern tip of New York, in 1985, anthropologist David Abram rode out a strong hurricane that littered roadways with fallen trees, cut power lines, and interrupted telephone service. For several days, he remembers, the people in his town were forced to abandon their automobiles and, if the distance wasn’t prohibitive, walk to their workplace or to the store.

This was, on the one hand, surely a time of inconvenience and frustration. But on the other hand, a rare natural disaster afforded the residents of the community a unique opportunity to reconnect both with each other and with the surrounding environment. Abram remembers that without the incessant din of internal combustion engines:

The rhythms of the crickets and birdsong became clearly audible. Flocks were migrating south for the winter, and many of us found ourselves simply listening, with new and childlike curiosity, to the ripples of song in the still-standing trees and the fields.

And at night the sky was studded with stars! Many children, their eyes no longer blocked by the glare of houselights and streetlamps, saw the Milky Way for the first time, and were astonished. For those few days and nights our town86 became a community aware of its place in an encompassing cosmos. Even our noses seemed to come awake, the fresh smells from the ocean somehow more vibrant and salty.

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Chapter 5 Repacking Your Work Bag

Leider, Richard J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Since our only possession is our life, or rather our living, our most fundamental question is “How will I do my living?”

The quest for the answer is a lifelong journey. But people don’t fully commit to it until they’re ready — not one moment sooner. Being ready usually means feeling a level of pain or frustration for which repacking is a remedy.

Readiness emerges at various times during our lives. The common theme is a period of transition. We find ourselves in that in-between state in life, leaving behind an outgrown but still perfectly serviceable past, and moving toward a future that resists all efforts to bring it into clear focus. As we contemplate what’s ahead, we feel a strange combination of disorientation and excitement.

Gazing back on our lives is more than just sifting through memories. It also involves poring over images of what the good life has meant to us at various points along the way. We recall the happy times and wonder how many more of them there will be. We review our achievements in life and work and wonder if our best days are behind us — or perhaps, ahead.

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Medium 9781605092751

Chapter Ten: Avoid Shortcuts and Other Mirages

Tracy, Brian Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Some men give up their designs when
they have almost reached the goal; while others,
on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting,
at the last moment, more vigorous
efforts than ever before.


Perhaps the greatest enemy of personal success is explained by the Law of Least Resistance. Just as water flows downhill, most people continually seek the fastest and easiest way to get what they want, with very little thought or concern for the long-term consequences of their behavior. This natural tendency of people to take the easy way explains most underachievement and failure in adult life.

If you want to become physically fit, there is only one way. You must exercise two hundred minutes or more per week. For all-around fitness, you must engage in stretching exercises, strength-building exercises, and aerobic exercises. You must exercise your upper body and your lower body. And just like brushing your teeth or bathing, you have to do it throughout your life.118

If you want to become mentally fit to maintain and increase your earning ability, you have to work out mentally as well. You have to read and study in your field each day. You have to keep current with what is going on in your industry. You have to listen to educational CDs rather than the radio in your car. You have to turn off the television and use your time to improve yourself personally and professionally. You have to resist the pull of the path of least resistance every single day.

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3. Taurine, GABA, and Tyrosine

Rosemarie Gionta Alfieri Basic Health Publications, Inc. ePub



Taurine, GABA, and tyrosine are amino acids that have been found useful as antistress supplements, both in preventing stress levels from getting out of control in the first place and in treating a person when under stress. Before delving into their antistress properties, let’s talk a little about the role of amino acids in general.

Your Body’s Building Blocks

There are approximately twenty-two nitrogen-containing amino acids. In different combinations, these acids link to form the proteins that are the foundation for all vegetable and animal life. For this reason, amino acids have been called the building blocks of life. Protein is found in your muscles, hair, nails, skin—it is present in every cell of your body—and your body uses it for the growth and repair of all cells.

Amino Acids

Known as the building blocks of life, these protein-making organic acids are present in every cell and determine the structure of all living things.

Amino acids are categorized as either essential or nonessential. Those that are essential are the 20 percent that your body cannot manufacture on its own—you must obtain these through diet or supplements. The majority of amino acids are produced by your liver and are called nonessential. While your body makes these nonessential amino acids, there may be instances, such as when you are under stress, when you do require supplementation.

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13. All My Relations

Barasch, Marc Ian Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.

—Martin Luther King Jr.

Truly, universally, relations stop nowhere.

—Henry James

I RECENTLY SAW A LOCAL NEWS STORY ABOUT A BOY WHO became lost in the Colorado woods in the dead of winter. As hypothermia set in, he saw emerging ghostlike out of the swirling snow two large elk. Feebly, he threw stones at them, shouting until his voice gave way, then lost consciousness. Early the next morning, he awoke to find himself sandwiched between the two great beasts, which had laid their warm bodies next to his through what would have been a fatal, freezing night.

Or so he told the search team when he staggered into a clearing and was rescued. They were skeptical—hallucinations are a side effect of extreme duress—until he led them back to his sleeping spot. There, in the snow, they saw the concavities made by two enormous animals, the imprint of a small boy in between.

Why would the animals bother? Why not just curl up with each other for some languorous elk-frolic through the wintry night? (Three’s a crowd, and besides, in these parts people shoot them.) There are a million stories of our fellow creatures being kind to us for no good reason—from dogs who, with no rescue training and at risk to their own lives, rush into the flames of burning buildings to drag strangers to safety; or dolphins who nose drowning swimmers to the surface, wait for human help to arrive, then take off with an errant tip of a flipper. There are inexplicable ways compassion radiates through the world, some spirit of sympathy drawn toward any distress like white cells to a pathogen. When William Wordsworth spoke of "a motion and a spirit that...rolls through all things,” he was talking about the systole and diastole of some universal heartbeat.

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