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Newsletters: Volume 2 No. 9
InnerTalk® InTouch by Eldon Taylor, Ph.D.


How high is up?

Have you ever asked yourself, Just how high is up? or Just how successful is successful? or Just how good is good? Have you ever thought about the different You's within yourself? Most of us have, at sometime, considered our own path to personal growth and desired to improve upon improvement.

There is a simple, yet powerful, way to evaluate many personal characteristics and thereby gain additional access to who we are and what we truly wish to be. If life is essentially a school, which I believe it is, then we not only have our course work cut out for us but our objective for which our "learnings" specifically prepare us. Get a piece of paper and try this little exercise.

First, write down all of your strengths, all of those characteristics about yourself that are good. Begin with the obvious, perhaps you are very honest, or friendly, or cooperative and so forth. After you have completed this list, write down some characteristics that you would like to improve. Perhaps you wish to overcome some fear or stop being jealous, or end gossiping or release anger and so forth. So, you'd like to be more courageous or more accepting and trusting, or more confident and so forth. Now, with both of these lists completed, think about yourself as having four inner aspects (IA) of the same you.

The first IA is your actual self--who you are, what you do, etc. The second IA is your concept of an ideal-self. The ideal-self for most of us is just that, an ideal/but usually too ideal to be realistic. Under no circumstances will I ever become angry, may be one such ideal. Okay, the third IA is the ought-self. The ought-self is that collection of things typically foisted upon each of us during maturation. The collection of you ought to do this and you ought to do that statements we all have heard particularly from our parents and family members. Last, but not least, is our desired-self. The desired-self is attainable, not so ideal as to be impractical as a goal. With these four IA's, take another sheet of paper and write down characteristics that apply pressure to how you feel about yourself, positive or negative, under each IA heading. That is, use a separate column or sheet of paper to list the items (including feelings) that you may have about each category. When you are done, compare the categories.

The question, How high is up has no answer unless there is some reasonable estimate as to the ceiling. Personal improvement is much the same. Self-examination can assist all of us in obtaining reasonable goals and that can provide at least some clear steps on the way to our ceiling.

Fantasizing your way to your goals.

In a recent News Brief, I related the research that showed one could obtain the same gains from imaging exercise as from exercising. Years ago I reported a study in my Wellness book (which is free to download in our e-book library) where basketball players improved their free throw shots as much by practicing mentally as the group that shot free throws everyday of the thirty day study. Current research tends to suggest that the scripts we fantasize, that is, our daydreams, rehearse our world-view and in that sense predispose our experience. Repeating themes such as those around getting even and/or emerging victorious at someone's expense, probably tend to create scenarios in many peoples lives that may lead to violence, anger, and so forth. In short, our mental daydreams may become rehearsed scripts seeking an opportunity to be played out.

By contrast to the above scenario, whenever I have spoken to a successful person, a champion athlete, or anyone else truly at the top of what they do, they have informed me repeatedly and universally that their daydreams were about their success. You can choose what to daydream about and you can end a daydream if it's not something you want rehearsed and thereby a part of you.

Knowing this, it is incumbent upon each of us to think about the goals we wish to achieve. Look back at your lists, and set up a day-dream that is truly self-serving/one that rehearses your success and achievement according to your goals/your highest best.

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News Briefs

Are we alone in the universe?
By now, almost everyone has heard of SETI and many have downloaded their free software to process radio signals from space/ever in search of the elusive communication confirming that intelligent life exists other than on earth. NASA has now given the go-ahead to launch a space vehicle in 2006 enabled with a special telescope to search for Earth-like planets beyond our solar system. Okay aliens, if youare out there, watch out/weare coming.

Cooperation through outrage
Swiss researchers have announced their findings and the verdict may surprise many. Cooperation in society is sustained more from the threat of punishment, moral outrage, than by any other mechanism. The study evaluated the feeling and pressure that arose in groups where so-called freeloaders or free riders do nothing for the group but benefit from the labors of the group. Ernst Fehr at the University of Zurich in Switzerland added this tantalizing comment, aAt the end of the experiment, people told us that they were very angry about the free-riders. Our hypothesis is that negative emotions are the driving force behind punishment.ae (Ananthaswamy 2001)

Sonar kills whales
Navy sonar operating at 1 to 8 kilohertz so badly traumatized whales in the Northern Bahamas in March of 2000, that16 whales beached before 6 died, according to statements signed by Navy Secretary Gordon England. The remaining 10 whales returned to the ocean but their survival is not known. Our knowledge of the power of sound (frequencies both audible and inaudible to the human condition) and its influence on animal life continues to be all too often dismissed or simply overlooked.

Noisy baby toys
According to the Sight and Hearing Association, some baby toys are simply too noisy. The group headquarters at the University of Minnesota where they recently tested the loudness of several toys. The three loudest were all recommended for children under age 1, according to Ellen Tomson of the Knight Ridder News Service. The loudest of these three was the Electronic Talking Nursery Rhyme Bus by Tek-Nek International. This toy was approximately 3 decibels louder than a jackhammer reaching a peak noise level of 108 decibels. Many popular toys were determined simply too loud for the safe development of a childas hearing. Itas time to start reading or testing volume levels before buying toys nowadays as well as thinking of all those other safety issues. (Tomson 2002)

Right-handed crows
Itas time to start evaluating brain dominance in Crows, for it seems they prefer to be right handed. Does that mean their left-brain hemisphere is analytical? (Joke please). Researchers discovered that the New Caledonian crow make tools from tree leaves to poke at hard to reach prey. An examination of the tools and their use suggests that the crow views its prey through the right eye and snips with the right side of its beak. (Milius 2001)

Afraid of gossip or violence?
According to the findings of researcher Nicole Hess from the University of California at Santa Barbara, men are more likely to keep quiet about a cheater if theyare threatened by violence, especially where the cheater has allies to back him up, than if threatened by gossip/but for women there is no difference unless the cheater had friends and they all promised to gossip about the atellerae if the cheating was disclosed. For Hess, men compete in warfare and women use the weapon of gossip to destroy reputations and secure positions for themselves and their children. All I can say is Iam glad a man didnat do this research. (Marchant 2001)

Remote-controlled DNA
Believe it or not/remote controlled DNA. Joseph Jacobson at MITas lab in Cambridge has devised a working method to break the strands of DNA apart and then to allow them to rejoin using a magnetic field oscillating at 49 gigahertz. aThe technique should work to control genes, enzymes or proteins,ae say Jacobson. (Staff 2002)


Ananthaswamy, A. (2001). Moral outrage. New Scientist. January 12: 11.

Marchant, J. (2001). War of words. New Scientist. June 23: 12.

Milius, S. (2001). Crows appear to make tools right-handedly. Science News.
160: 375.

Staff (2002). Remote-controlled DNA. New Scientist. 12 January: 22.

Tomson, E. (2002). Baby toys make too much noise. KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS

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