What Do Rabbits, Porcupines, Turtles, and Criticism Have in Common?

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
So what do rabbits, porcupines, turtles, and criticism have in common?  These animals can all be used to illustrate defensiveness and/or denial in response to criticism.  All of us will need to deal with criticism in our lives at some point. The difference maker is how we receive criticism.  Reasons for Defensiveness People usually get defensive when they hear criticism for two main reasons:   They feel they are being put down or judged inaccurately because the critic does not have or want to ...
Read More

Emotional Triggers and Personal Growth

by Steve Martin Relationships, Self Improvement
So what are emotional triggers and how do they affect personal growth?  Emotional triggers are past thoughts and feelings resulting from a present event that takes us back to past experiences and feelings associated with them.  Most of the time when I have heard the term "trigger" used in relationship to human responses as it relates to feelings like fear, anger, hurt, etc.  Occasionally, I have heard it used in relationship to memories of fondness and positive past experiences. I ...
Read More

Thoughts and Suggestions When Dealing with Saturated Fat

by Steve Martin Health and Fitness, Self Improvement
The first thought of many thoughts and suggestions when dealing with saturated fat in our diet is to be aware of the culture in which we live. My Industrialized Culture For myself personally, I live in what I consider an industrialized culture that is both fast-paced and consumer-based. In my experience a consumer-based model that involves competition and choice eventually keeps the quality of service, product, or idea better in some way. The downside is that appealing to what people are willing ...
Read More

Putting the Daily Pieces of Your Life Together While Balancing the Past, Present, and Future

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
What does putting the daily pieces of your life together while balancing the past, present, and future mean?  We all have various responsibilities in different areas of our lives that are present and/or future concerns and may involve past history as well.  A couple of examples may be staying in touch with long-distance friends or relatives, various cleaning tasks around the house, maintenance of home appliances, and so on. So how can we manage our lives in a way that ...
Read More

Energetic Motivations and the Pendulum Effect on Relationships

by Steve Martin Relationships
Three Energetic Motivations First we are going to explain the basic three energetic motivations and then the pendulum effect on relationships.  The basic three energetic motivations are love, hate, and fear.  In order to understand the relationships between these three motivations, I first picture a triangle.  At one corner is "love."  At the second corner is "hate."  At the third corner is "fear."  Love and hate may be opposites in the sense that they are degrees of liking or disliking of ...
Read More

Community, Social Norms, and Cliques

by Steve Martin Relationships
What are Social Norms? Social norms, in layman's terms, are unspoken rules of a particular group. Most of us have experienced social norms without using those specific terms. These rules are based on values the group shares in common.  We recognize when people stop speaking to us or when we feel accepted or unaccepted by a group. Social norms can be helpful or destructive to groups and individuals depending on what those norms are. They can help a group grow in depth ...
Read More

Solutions for Back Health

by Steve Martin Health and Fitness, Self Improvement
In the past couple of years, I've searched for solutions and tips for back health because of the physical activities I participate in both personally and professionally. Here are a few useful tips and solutions I would like to pass on: 1. Seek a "proactive chiropractor" for regular adjustments or be specific in what you want in terms of the quality of adjustments. Over the past couple of years I've had some interesting experiences with chiropractors  One group of chiropractors was very proactive about ...
Read More

Responsibilities, Seasonal Cycles, and Systematic Neglect

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
"Cyclical Seasons" In this article on responsibilities, seasonal cycles, and systematic neglect, I want to first make an observation from nature. In regard to climate, we see seasons of weather that "cycle around" in every geographic location. In my area we have four seasons. Every season comes with it's own beauty and challenges. We can learn to prepare for and utilize the challenges for personal growth while enjoying each season's beauty.  Systematic Neglect Again In countries where the cultural emphasis lies on the ...
Read More

Rethinking Retirement

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
My motivator to rethinking retirement is a culmination of years of my own personal, work, and business experience as well as talking to other people about their own experiences. Old Industrial Age Thinking The stereotypical thinking of some for the perfect retirement is to stop working, pull up your socks, and move to a state like Florida and play golf for the rest of your life. In the Industrial Age when corporations were booming, many corporations could afford to support their workers ...
Read More

The Medicinal Effect of Productivity to the Healing Process

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
Recently, I had an experience that reminded me of the medicinal effect of productivity to the healing process. When recovering from a minor muscle strain, I noticed that rest helped, but staying physically active without straining the muscle more helped it heal faster for many reasons. I also thought about how this is true for mental and emotional health as well.  Stagnation and Growth Anything stagnate is not growing or, in this case, healing well. Although productivity during pain may seem counterintuitive, ...
Read More

Helping Other People, Responsibility, and Enablement

by Steve Martin Relationships, Self Improvement
At some time in our lives all of us face the issues and dilemmas of helping other people, responsibility, and enablement. Many times this comes from a friend or family member. Or sometimes we work in the social service field where we are in a people helping role. Other times we may be the person in need of help and we are asking ourselves where our responsibility starts and some else's helping hand begins. The "Ins and Outs" of Friends, Family, ...
Read More

Escaping the Trappings of a Narrow Customer Service Approach to Embrace a More Comprehensive and Dynamic Business Model

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
So what is involved in escaping the trappings of a narrow customer service approach to embrace a more comprehensive and dynamic business model?  In order to give a fair answer to this question, we first must take a new look at the common thinking behind traditional business models. A New Look at Traditional Business Models The "old or traditional way" of viewing businesses in terms customer service is that a business produces or offers a product, service, idea, or sometimes a combination.  ...
Read More

The Place of Synergy in Our Lives

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
When discussing the place of synergy in our lives, we first must define synergy.  Synergy is the cooperation or interaction of two or more things in order to produce an effect  that is greater than the original two things.  Synergy can be positive, negative, or even a combination of positive and negative.    Examples of Synergy Examples of synergy in our everyday lives include positive friendships, teamwork, songs in music, bands in music, fungi, sea anemones and clownfish and crabs, and the list ...
Read More

The Winning Approach

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
"It's not where we started, but where we are headed" is a saying that sums up the philosophy behind the winning approach.  The Winning Approach may mean plans do not fall together exactly as we would like them to, but this does not mean that we are stuck in one place and can't move forward.  The Illustration of Building Multiple Houses Simultaneously To give a pictorial illustration, sometimes moving forward in our lives is like building multiple houses at once.  In other ...
Read More

Overcoming Challenges by Understanding Entropy, Energy, Leverage, and Synergy

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
In order to explain the approach to overcoming challenges by understanding entropy, energy, leverage, and synergy, we need to first know the current state of affairs and why understanding these things is important. It's also worth mentioning this is an overview of a process and I may write future blogs about that will break down and explain further some specific aspects in this article. "How Things Are" The concept of entropy is a scientific concept that is explained through the laws of ...
Read More

A Brief Commentary on Experiencing the Wonders of Life

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
This is a brief commentary on experiencing the wonders of your life.  The experience of wonder is simply recognizing and experiencing the moments in our lives that reveal intrigue and produce amazement and appreciation.  It also may be beneficial to recognize the fact that we can overlook these incredible and beautiful things that are in our lives for a number of reasons. What Keeps Us from Recognizing these Moments? A number of things can keep us from recognizing these moments: Cynicism- In reference ...
Read More

GABA, Preparatory Sleep Chemicals, Slumber, and Sleep Supplements

by Steve Martin Health and Fitness, Self Improvement
To start our article on GABA, preparatory sleep chemicals, slumber, and sleep supplements, let's first define and explain what GABA is and does. What is GABA? GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid and is the neurotransmitter that is activated to put you asleep.  In contrast, acetylcholine is a chemical secreted by the hypothalamus that wakes you up. What are Preparatory Sleep Chemicals? As we are going through our day, acetylcholine and other chemicals that increase wakefulness decline, and other chemicals like melatonin are on the ...
Read More

Maintaining Physical Health through Your Own CPHCP

by Steve Martin Health and Fitness, Self Improvement
Maintaining your physical health through your own comprehensive and personal health care plan (or what I call in short CPHCP since I like using acronyms) is the first step to addressing health care concerns in any given country or region in my opinion.  In the United States various politicians have attempted to "reform or improve health care," but the debate continues on how to improve what many see as a "faulty or subpar system."   Personal Responsibility Initiates True Change We humans tend ...
Read More

The Winning Perspective

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
Having a winning perspective can mean the difference between reaching our goals and giving up.  Let's look at the big picture first in review. Planning and Failing You may have heard the saying, "when you fail to plan you plan to fail."  The truth found in this saying is applicable to every area of our lives as we seek growth and improvement.  Spontaneity has it's place and value, but more often than not having a plan to begin with and refining it ...
Read More

Systematic Neglect in an Imperfect World

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
I have discovered in various areas of my life that systematic neglect plays a crucial role in an imperfect world. I use the phrase "imperfect world" because in order to begin to implement systematic neglect in your life consistently, you need to first accept that the world you live in is never going to be perfect.  But let's start from the top and point out the reasons for systematic neglect and it's resulting role. The Reason Industrialization and information technology has created ...
Read More