Free Forum Q&A – (1) ROKO BELIC director, HAPPY documentary (Originally aired January 2012) (2) RAFE ESQUITH American Teacher of the Year 30+ years, 5th grade, Hobart Elementary, LA author, REAL TALK for REAL TEACHERS (Originally aired September 2007)Written on May 29th, 2015
Do you want to feel better? Listen to this week’s show. In the first half hour, I talk with Academy-Award-nominated filmmakerROKO BELIC about his documentary,HAPPY, and in the second half with award-winning LA school teacher and author,RAFE ESQUITH about his book,TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIR’S ON FIRE.
Are you happy? How often are you happy? What makes you happy? Does money make you happy? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in an environment that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Do you expect you’re going to get happier? How?
When the basic approach to the pursuit of happiness that’s been taken by many of us and by society in general isn’t delivering, this is a good time to ask some basic questions. It’s also a good time to do so because we know more than we ever have about what science can tell us about happiness. And we have access to more diverse models and worldviews than ever before.What’s getting lost in your daily shuffle? What toll is stress taking on your body? How could you lead a fuller, happier life?
Free Forum Q&A – (1) BEN SKINNER, A CRIME SO MONSTROUS: Face to Face with Modern Day Slavery & (2) GABOR MATE M.D. IN THE REALM OF HUNGRY GHOSTS: Close Encounters With AddictionWritten on April 23rd, 2015
Ben Skinner(Originally aired April 2009)
Gabor Mate (Originally aired May 2011)
These interviews pursue a world that just might work. That pursuit, however, demands looking honestly at the darker aspects of human behavior, and this week’s interviews deal with slavery and addiction. In both cases, my guests draw on years of personal experience to frame their analyses and their proposed solutions.
To those who say society’s not actually making progress, many point to the fact that at least we’ve eliminated slavery. But sadly that is not the case. 143 years after passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and 60 years after Article 4 of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery worldwide, there are more slaves right now than at any time in human history – 27 million. The new slavery, which focuses on big profits and cheap lives, is not about owning people in the traditional sense of the old slavery, but about controlling them completely.
During the four years that BEN SKINNER researched modern-day slavery for his book, A CRIME SO MONSTROUS, he posed as a buyer at illegal brothels on several continents, interviewed convicted human traffickers in a Romanian prison and endured giardia, malaria, dengue and a bad motorcycle accident. But SKINNER says he’s most haunted by his experience in a brothel in Bucharest, Romania, where he was offered a young woman with Down syndrome in exchange for a used car.
Some might call addiction is a form of slavery. I am a long and consistent opponent of the war on drugs and of US policy toward illegal drugs and illegal drug users. I am also someone who advocates for a holistic view of reality, its challenges, and potential solutions. Holistic healing deals with the whole situation – mind, body, emotions, spirit and environment, treats root causes rather than symptoms, and treats as naturally and safely as possible. GABOR MATE, deals with the issues of drugs and addiction holistically. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts proposes approaching addiction through an understanding of its biological and socio-economic roots.
Free Forum Q&A – TIM RYAN Congressman, author, A MINDFUL NATION: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, Recapture American Spirit & WINIFRED GALLAGHER RAPT: Attention and the Focused LifeWritten on April 2nd, 2015
TIM RYAN (originally aired August 2012)
WINIFRED GALLAGHER (originally aired May 2009)
“My experience is what I agree to attend to.” — William James
This week we focus on mindful attention – hailed by ancient spiritual traditions and modern neuroscience alike as one of the keys to the quality of our lives.
In the first half, I’ll be joined by Ohio Congressman TIM RYAN, who offers a radical solution to the stresses and problems that face Americans today — radical in its original meaning of having to do with roots of things. He has written a book, A MINDFUL NATION: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. Ryan has a daily practice of mindful meditation and now he’s advocating that the spread of similar practices could help heal us, not just as individuals but as a nation. And his book is filled with examples of how mindfulness is already being successfully applied in education, healthcare, even the military.
Then I’ll speak with bestselling author, WINIFRED GALLAGHER about her book, RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life. In it, she argues that “”The skillful management of attention is the… key to improving virtually every aspect of your experience, from mood to productivity to relationships.” Gallagher came to appreciate this while fighting a fairly advanced form of cancer. Determined not to let her illness “monopolize” her attention, she made a conscious choice to look “toward whatever seemed meaningful, productive, or energizing and away from the destructive, or dispiriting.” Her experience of the world was transformed, and she set out to learn more about the science of attention as well as what we can do to cultivate it.
Here’s one big tip based on neuroscience: GALLAGHER recommends starting your workday concentrating on your most important task for 90 minutes. At that point, your brain may need a break But don’t let yourself get distracted by anything else during that first hour and a half, because it can take the brain 20 minutes to reboot after an interruption.
In her There are 183 million active video gamers in the US, and the average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21. There are now more than five million “extreme” gamers” in the US who play an average of 45 hours a week.
According to game designer JANE McGONIGAL, this is because videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. But she goes way beyond that, in her first book, REALITY IS BROKEN– just out in paperback – she suggests we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.
Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, she shows how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy so that videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world.
I recommend REALITY IS BROKEN to people who have no interest in games. Separate from what it says about the current reality and possible future of games, the book is an excellent primer on what we have learned – and most people don’t know – about happiness, learning, productivity and growth.
I don’t have to tell you how many messages, interruptions and distractions you are inundated with every day. Add to that the stress placed on so many of us by the many roles we play everyday – parent, partner, friend, worker, citizen. The very critical skill or quality of attention is under siege.
DANIEL GOLEMAN, the psychologist, journalist, and best-selling author who wrote the book on Emotional Intelligence, has a new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. In it, he delves into new, surprising findings from neuroscience labs and explains why attention is a little-noticed mental asset that makes a huge difference in how well we find our way in our personal lives, our careers, and in virtually everything we do. Like a muscle, use attention poorly and it withers; work it in the right way and it strengthens. But Goleman doesn’t only consider the personal need for attention but also the way evolution has presented humans a challenge when it comes to dealing with long term threats like climate change.