Archives for Learning
I studied law in college, business and education in graduate school, and now am studying psychology. I have several reasons for why I decided to pursue the study of the human mind and behaviors. The most personal reason that I hold very dear to my heart is: I’m confused with people’s “erratic” and “unpredictable” behaviors, and I’d love to understand them. There are always physiological, cognitive, cultural, social, humanistic, and other perspectives behind a particular behavior and why-and-how our mind works. The many schools and viewpoints of psychology have opened my eyes to see that a single act may have been the result of accumulated past experiences, which come with “good” or “bad” shades. Traumatic experiences, for instance, give a “bad” foundation for the future self, which may require some therapy to cope with. And each experience, be it joyful or traumatic, is experienced and recorded differently in every individual.
Raising children is about shaping traits and instilling values, not merely about fixing behaviors. Teaching children how to flourish should begin with focusing on their strengths, not their weaknesses. By focusing on their strengths, parents and children are more motivated to work together as a team. But teaching positivity isn’t synonymous with using positive reinforcements all the time. It’s a tricky balance of reframing. Every child is born with his own level of so-called “natural” happiness. Some were born with over-the-top cheerfulness, while others are born with less. This explains why some children are fussier, while others keep grinning from ear to ear, regardless of the mood of the surrounding environment. Happy kids tend to respond differently to failure than not-too-happy kids. Their strengths, however, should be distinguished from their natural level of happiness. Whether your child has a high level of natural happiness or a low level, he must learn to fail.
Out of four cardinal virtues –wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance—the first two are most required in self-development. By having the courage to do the “right” things, an individual develops wisdom to practice justice and temperance. Oftentimes, in the study of psychology, both wisdom and courage are discussed together. One can hardly exist without the other. And to optimize human performance, we need to cultivate both courage and wisdom. Courage is considered the foundation of all virtues, as lacking it would be difficult to perform a virtue, any virtue, or even any action either virtuous or not. Thus, it is safe to assume that an individual’s precursor to virtuosity is courage. What courage is probably quite simple to watch, but not to define. We may have observed that “courage” constitutes the will that matches the capacity to do the initial act, to speak the truth, and to take leadership on an issue that matters. In short, it is the drive to do something, instead of staying silent. One’s level of courage may differ from others inherently, but it is something that can be learned through conditioning.
We may not be aware that we are moving forward from childhood to another childhood. According to Carl Jung, the first phase of life is called “individuation,” while the rest is named “transcendence.” Once we've hit “transcendence,” we are likely to hold on to the notion of “innocence,” which is a characteristic of the “childhood” period. However, the quality of “innocence” differs. In “individuation” phase, we are focusing on things and events outside ourselves, with which we learn how to maneuver and polish our survival skills, as well as physical survival and reproduction. In Developmental Psychology, this phase occurs during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. In this phase, many things would create confusion and uncertainty, hence considered the most “turbulent” time in people's lives.
Every one of us copes with life’s expectations, challenges, and turmoil uniquely in our own specific ways based upon individual self-system. According to Toru Sato, PhD the author of The Psychology of Human Relationships, Consciousness, and Development, self-system is “an understanding in our minds that enables us to maintain the energy necessary for us to both psychologically and physically survive.” In short, we all need a good working self-system to maintain a relative peace of mind in performing activities and progressing. A person with “resilient” self-system knows the timing and the amount of holding on and letting go, which would affect feelings, maintain a sense of fulfillment, and overall well-being. While there is no specific self-system that’s more favorable, it is most logical to cultivate resiliency through assimilation and accommodation processes, as Jean Piaget posited. “Assimilation” requires minimal change, while “accommodation” requires registering new information and making it our own that may cause more internal conflicts including repressive thoughts and denials.