3 Strategies to Help you Make Better Decisions.

Three ways you can eliminate bias in your decision making process.

Question: 

Do you have to make important decisions all the time? How does one get better at making them, and feeling confident with their choice?

Answer: 

I always encourage people to do their best to make reality based decisions. The task is to try and eliminate confirmation bias and figure out whether what you think you know about something is really true or not.

Something might look good in a brochure or in a commercial, but until you see it in person, your judgment may be clouded by wishful thinking.

Here are 3 strategies I use: 

My mother always encouraged me to make pro and con lists – consider the benefits and the downsides to all my options and then use those as a guide to help me prioritize what is really important to me.  This works wonderful.

Sometimes you just have to give it a little time. If all things are equal in my mind and the pro and con list didn't help, I will often decide not to decide right now, if I have that luxury.  What usually happens is that my true preference becomes clear within a few weeks as my brain relaxes out of decision making mode and starts to contemplate what the future might be like. And it usually really likes one of the options. So – that’s what I go with. Again, I only use this method when I have no other way of making a decision or when I find I’m too confused to make a decision.

Finally, there has been some recent research that suggests if you don’t have a good reason for making a decision, you may be better making a random decision. So, if all things are equal – go ahead and flip a coin and see what happens.

Feel like you don’t make good decisions. Learn how to integrate your ethics and science into your decision making process with my Living Made Simpler Course:
https://humanistlearning.com/livingmadesimpler1/ 

Parenting without Punishment – A Humanist Ideal

Raising a kid with respect doesn't mean raising a kid without discipline.

I have never hit my kid. Well, not never. I did one time whack him when he bit my butt, but that was an accident. I was doing dishes when he bit me and I wheel around to see what it was and accidentally hit him in the process. We both cried quite a bit as a result.

What I mean to say is I've never used physical punishment on my child. My son is intelligent, well behaved and a joy to be around. He’s 9 and he’s reasonably well disciplined. I say reasonably because I still have to keep track of his homework and remind him to do it.  But, he’s only 9, I’m pretty sure he will eventually have enough self-discipline to be responsible for those tasks too.

Given how many parents seem to think hitting kids and physical punishment is necessary to raising a well-disciplined kid, I have to wonder if maybe their definition of discipline is different from mine.  To me discipline isn't imposed by others, it is self-discipline that is the ideal. I was able to help my son become such a pleasant well behaved kid because I taught him how to choose to be good for himself. If I had tried to force him to obey me through the use of physical punishment he would have never become self-disciplined.

Hitting kids to get them to obey you is a form of bullying. It’s abusive. It’s unnecessary and it’s counterproductive to the goal of raising well behaved kids who have sufficient self-discipline to behave well without the threat of punishment.

I’m not alone in thinking this. The American Psychological Association agrees. They came out against corporal punishment back in 1975 as being unnecessary to the development of moral and competent adults (http://www.apa.org/about/policy/corporal-punishment.aspx) and more and more research has been done that shows that not only is spanking as punishment not necessary, it’s actually counterproductive - http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx 

But is the question of whether or not to physically punish children a Humanist issue?  Of course it is. The methods humanist parents use to raise ethical, responsible adults must reflect our values. Physically battering a child is morally indefensible given that it serves no good purpose and is actually counterproductive.  We have other more humane methods we can use to help our children learn self-discipline and we should be using them.

Helping parents learn how to parent without resorting to violence is a goal all Humanists should share which is why the American Humanist Association, in 2000 issued the following statement:

“The AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION deems corporal punishment a form of intimidation and condemns its use against anyone at anytime for any purpose, no matter how noble sounding, and calls for all people of goodwill to unite against its use.”

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

How a more humanistic approach to business can help create a more effective business and make the world better at the same time.

I founded my company, Humanist Learning Systems as a for profit company with non-profit goals. My intention is to reinvest profits into non-profit activities consistent with the goals of my company. I eventually hope to establish regional centers for Humanist Learning that can be used as community centers to support the growing community of Humanists nationwide.

What are my goals? Teaching people how to live ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

I provide online courses for personal and professional development focusing primarily on humanistic leadership/management. My core courses are about how to eliminate bullying/harassment/discrimination and retaliation in the workplace using science. Using science to solve social problems is a radical idea, right?  

I had considered setting up my business as a non-profit but eventually decided to go with a for profit model instead. Here is why. I know how to get bullies to stop using the science of operant conditioning. The problem is that not many people know how to do this so I kind of have a moral obligation to teach people this.  The problem is that advertising is expensive.  It’s not enough to have a solution that actually works if no one knows you have it.

I have a problem and it’s a problem that requires money to solve. Here’s my solution.  I plan to use the workplace training knowledge dissemination pipeline to disseminate my knowledge and to fund getting it done!

Here is how it works. I REALLY want to reach parents of kids so that I can teach them these skills so that they are able to teach their kids these skills in real time as they encounter bullies.  Where are the parents? In the workplace.  If I can reach them in the workplace I can simultaneously teach them how to deal with workplace bullying, harassment, retaliation and discrimination AND how to help their children with school bullies at the same time.

I created my business around a core line of sex harassment programs that are compliant with state and federal harassment training guidelines as a way to help not only satisfy legal requirements but to use those requirements to get this REALLY important information out into the world to the people who need it and want to learn it.

And if I succeed? Imagine what society would be like if a whole generation of kids were never bullied because they knew how to get it to stop!  That’s not a pipe dream – it’s doable – with education.

A humanistic approach to business isn't just about treating the people you work with as fully human. It’s also about using business to make the world a better place by harnessing the money that is generated by business to create social good.

Business interests and human interest are not mutually exclusive.

To learn more about the courses we offer at Humanist Learning Systems visit: https://humanistlearning.com 



Managing Anger


What is anger and how can you calm yourself so you don’t do something stupid while angry?

Anger is an unpleasant emotion. I don’t like feeling it. However, it is a normal human emotion. Part of our emotional toolkit for a reason. According to this article at PBS – it’s a reaction to a perceived threat. In other words, it’s an emotion that tells us something is wrong. Or, as in the case of extreme anger – very very wrong. (see: http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/anger/what-anger)

Anger really does originate in fear. It’s a response to a perceived threat. It gives us the adrenaline to fight and defend ourselves if necessary.  While fear is immobilizing, anger as a response to fear is active.

The fact that anger is normal and serves a useful function doesn't make it feel any better. Yes, it spurs us to take action, but unless we take the time to think through our response, acting out in anger can make things worse, not better.  The problem is, as Yoda always said, fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering.

To manage our anger well, we have to harness the motivation to act that comes with anger, while also calming ourselves so that our adrenaline rush doesn't cause us to act rashly. And most of all, we need to make sure that we don’t allow our fear and anger to cause us to hate the person or thing that made us afraid in the first place.

This is easier said than done, but learning how to calm yourself is the key. And the more you practice, the easier it becomes. I find when I get angry that the best thing I can do for myself is to consciously choose to be compassionate. I do this because compassion helps me to be less afraid and it prevents me from becoming so angry I start to hate. I can’t hate when I’m feeling compassionate.

The other thing compassion does for me is it helps me to calm my mind enough to think rationally so that I can choose my response instead of acting stupidly in my anger.  My compassion doesn’t deny my anger, it just helps me channel it more effectively.  And to me, that’s what managing anger should be.

To learn more about how to manage anger in yourself and others, check out this course from Dr. Leon Seltzer – https://humanistlearning.com/angermanagement101/

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