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Immortality, Therapy, & Power Posing

By: Michael Blankenship |

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we’re talking about why living forever might not be all it’s cracked up to be, why parents should normalize therapy and recovery for their kids, how “power posing” can increase your confidence (and thus your behavior), and why you shouldn’t make any major decisions in a valley. 

Our challenge is for you to write down three things that you’re grateful for.

And as always, we’ve got a riddle, a photo, and a question (plus some past answers from the tribe).

Enjoy!

Living Forever

A few years ago, the popular and well-loved astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, asked Larry King, “If you could live forever, would you?”

Larry King responded instinctively, as perhaps many of us would: “Yes.”

The following dialogue is worth reading (or watching) and thinking about. 

Neil: “Sure. That’s an attractive idea. But the way I look at it is: it is the knowledge that I’m going to die that creates the focus that I bring to being alive, the urgency of accomplishment, the need to express love now, not later. If we live forever, why ever even get out of bed? Because you always have tomorrow. That’s not the kind of life I want to lead.”

Larry: “But don’t you fear not being around?”

Neil: “I fear living a life where I could have accomplished something I didn’t. That’s what I fear. I don’t fear death.”

Larry: “You don’t fear the unknown?”

Neil: “I love the unknown. You know what I want on my tombstone? My sister has this in her notes, just in case I can’t tell anyone after I die. On my tombstone, a quote from Horace Mann: ‘Be ashamed to die, until you have scored some victory for humanity.’”

And to be clear, scoring a “victory for humanity” isn’t something that only the greatest world leaders are capable of — it’s something we’re all able to do. By loving our children, treating people with kindness, being grateful, donating our time or money to those in need, or building a business that helps others, we can make the world a little bit better before we leave. In doing so, we needn’t have any fear of leaving at all.

Normalize Therapy

We stumbled across this Tweet a few weeks ago from Aaron Orendorff and it stopped us in our tracks:

We all know that there’s no such thing as perfect parents — all parents make mistakes, it’s only a matter of degree. 

And if we parents are able to admit to ourselves that we’re imperfect, there’s no question: we must imbue in our kids the importance and normalcy of recovery and therapy. We must teach them that it’s okay to need help and it’s okay to get help. Then we must provide a good example by getting help when we need it — whether that’s going to therapy or seeing a psychiatrist. 

(Our actions, after all, are far more powerful than our words)

We can’t be perfect, and neither can our kids… but we can teach our kids that it’s okay to get help — so that when they need help, they’re willing to reach out.

Power Posing

In a popular 2012 TED Talk with over 63 million views, social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, discussed how our body posture has a massive impact on how we think about ourselves and how other people perceive us. 

After running various studies, her research indicated that “power posing” — standing tall and taking up space with confidence — raises testosterone levels, decreases cortisol, and improves people’s comfortability with risk-taking. She explains the larger implications of this: “Our bodies change our minds and our minds can change our behavior and our behavior can change our outcomes,” and ultimately concludes, “Your body language shapes who you are.”

What’s remarkable is that, to get those benefits, you can even change your posture in the privacy of your bedroom for a couple minutes and you’ll walk out feeling more capable of tackling whatever comes your way.

Her research has come under fire over the last few years, but she has successfully refuted critic’s claims and proven a correlation between posture and how powerful a person feels. 

At the very least, her TED Talk is well worth watching. And here are a few power poses to try out for yourself.

In The Valley

One quote from the book, Three Feet From Gold, is simple and powerful: “Never make a major decision in a valley.”

The “valley” refers to the times when our mental state leans toward pessimism and negativity. This negative mindset might occur for any reason, or for no reason at all — when we’re feeling anxious or depressed. 

In those times, it’s important to remember two things. First, our negative perceptions are likely not a good representation of reality. Things tend to be much brighter than they seem inside our dreary craniums. And second — so long as we don’t make any decisions while we’re in the valley — that negative mindset will have no noteworthy impact on reality, and so once the storm has passed, we’ll find that we’re still in good standing. 

We all go through valleys sometimes — triggered either by some external event or simply by our minds playing tricks on us. What’s important isn’t the valley itself, but how we endure it and whether or not we refuse to make decisions based on those negative feelings. 

In the words of Robert Schuller, “Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. Spring will come.” And again, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

Extra Stuff

Here are some other awesome articles that caught our attention this week…

This Week’s Photo

Behcet Alkan / Anadolu Agency / Getty

“A person rides a swing hanging from a crane, with hot-air balloons flying in the background, in Nevsehir, Turkey, on October 14, 2021.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

What word starts with E and ends with E but only has one letter in it?

This Week’s Question & Answers

Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!

When you find that you’re in a mental loop of either anxiety or depression, what helps you to break the loop?

And here are some of the tribe’s answers to recent questions:

“I talk to myself like I’m my own big sibling. When my siblings come to me with problems, I’m compassionately gentle. That’s what I need when I have negative self-talk.” – Alexander A.

“I’ve been passionate about lots of areas, things and situations and people in my life. I think the overriding key to keeping up the momentum — holding tough and staying on track — is to hold that belief for your passion and don’t be swayed or put off by others opinions! Be so focused that they get out of your way and always hold and keep that end goal in your sights! Positivity, a sense of humour and overcoming obstacles along the way. If you are so passionate about something, you will be convinced you can achieve it and you will make it happen!” – Susan M.

“In response to your question, ‘How does someone improve the quality of their self-talk?’ I would say surround yourself with people who you want to be like. We can’t do life alone and we are highly influenced by the people we let be closest to us. When we surround ourselves with people who have traits or habits we admire and/or want to emulate, we are positioning ourselves in the direction we want to grow.” – Alissa R.

This Week’s Challenge

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” So what are you grateful for today? Write down three things before you dive back into whatever it was you were doing. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: An envelope.

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