Currently viewing the tag: "decisions"

'Morning Haze' - Nant Gwynant, Snowdonia

A few wisps of white cloud marred the perfection of the blue sky when I edged my horse over the rise and stared at the town sprawled out below me.
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Pulling my wool coat tighter about my shoulders, I exhaled and watched the steam from my breath dissipate into nothingness. The sun glared down at me but did little to dispel the early morning chill. –Outlaw by Matthew Pizzolato

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the scene above to start a story.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a cold morning you spent in the mountains.

Art Prompt: Cold mountain morning

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about a cold morning and a decision you had to make.

Photo Credit: Nant Gwynant on Flickr

Give Me Weed

Studies show about 10 percent of people who use marijuana become addicted, although the rate may be higher for those who start using the drug before the age of 18. The average pot addiction lasts six years.
In her story, Szalavitz wrote beautifully about the consequences:
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The negative consequences associated with marijuana addiction tend to be subtler: lost promotions, for example, rather than lost jobs; worse relationships, not no relationships. And of course, no risk of overdose death.
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But this is also what can make it insidious. Marijuana addiction may quietly make your life worse without ever getting bad enough to seem worth addressing; it may not destroy your life but it may make you miss opportunities. –Francie Diep

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who is succumbing to marijuana addiction.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about legalizing pot? 

Art Prompt: Marijuana addiction

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience your opinion about legalizing marijuana.

Photo Credit: Ian Sane on Flickr

shaking hands

…we size up a person instantly today because we’re relying on everything we’ve heard or known about people in the past. Then we stick with that perception forever, and view every interaction with that person through its filter, because (again) it’s what we’ve learned to do. The problem is that while we think our first impressions of people are grounded solely in logic, they’re not. In reality, they’re a jumbled mix of conscious and unconscious truth, fiction, and prejudice. Thus, from the very start, we’re dealing with a fictitious creation—not a real person. Yet that first impression will color our feelings about another person for months or years to come. It’ll also affect how we listen to that person, because we’ll distort everything the person says to fit our preconceived notions. -Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M.D. –Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M.D.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene where an erroneous first impression sets up the conflict.

Journaling Prompt: Are you aware of the power of your own first impressions? Have they ever been proven wrong? Has anyone ever judged you unfairly?

Art Prompt: First impressions

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the power of first impressions and give them some strategies to make better first impressions.

Photo Credit: Casa Thomas Jefferson on Flickr

A 10-year EFSA controversy demonstration

A duo of psychologists in Germany struggled to identify the particulars of “a corrupt organizational culture in terms of its underlying assumptions, values, and norms.” But, writing in the Journal of Business Ethics this year, they found generally that “corrupt organizations perceive themselves to fight in a war, which leads to their taken-for-granted assumption that ‘the end justifies the means.’” Wartime attitudes degrade the traditional values of the members of the group, and they start to develop rationalizations and something the authors call “ethical blindness.” Corrupt organizations also tend to protect the “social cocoon” they’ve built up by harshly punishing those members of the group who aren’t willing to join in the rule-breaking. -Lauren Kirchner

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where the conflict arises from ethical blindness.

Journaling Prompt: Write about some news you’ve read or heard recently involving corrupt corporations and how you reacted to it.

Art Prompt: Corrupt corporations

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell  your audience about how the phenomenon of ethical blindness affects our society.

Photo Credit: Corporate Europe Observatory on Flickr

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo Credit: Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol on Flickr

“Incarceration affects also the well-being of the incarcerated’s family members,” Allen said. “This is especially true of children, whose health could be adversely affected by unhealthy stress-coping behaviors that the incarcerated persons’ partners often choose — smoking and drinking, for example.”
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More than half of federal and state prisoners are parents of nearly 1.5 million minor children, and one-fifth of prisoners have children under the age of five. Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to have witnessed criminal activity and/or the arrest of the parent, both of which have been shown by researchers to have unique effects undermining children’s socio-emotional and behavioral adjustment.
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“The long-term impact of parental incarceration has been best documented among boys,” said Tuppett Yates, an associate professor of psychology at UC Riverside. “Compared both to boys who had not experienced parental absence and to boys whose fathers were absent due to hospitalization, divorce, death, or other reasons, boys who experienced parental incarceration before age 10 reported more co-occurring internalizing and anti-social problems at ages 18, 32, and 48, more delinquent behavior at age 32, and were more likely to have been convicted of a crime by age 25. Likewise, among both boys and girls, parental incarceration has been associated with concurrent social and academic problems, and prospective substance abuse.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story told from the point of view of a child whose parent is incarcerated.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the importance of your parents in your life.

Art Prompt: Incarceration’s effect on the family

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how incarceration affects society through the effects on the family.

Photo Credit: William Gantz on Flickr

take revenge

The desire to get even with the people who have humiliated or hurt you is a dark truth; though we rarely admit to it, underneath all the other reasons why we find forgiveness difficult is only this one: the desire for vengeance. This one dark need can keep you tied to your past more tightly than any other trauma you have had, because there is something in human nature that needs to even the score. You may not like to admit it, but admit it you must. And more than admit it, you must get past it and ascend to a higher truth that allows you to focus on what you are meant to learn about yourself through each crisis. Beyond overcoming the need to get even, you have to be willing to give up being hurt or traumatized as a primary power identity. –Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason by Caroline Myss

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story driven by a thirst for revenge.

Journaling Prompt: Write about revenge and how it has affected you.

Art Prompt: Revenge

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the human drive for revenge and tell a dramatic or humorous story involving revenge.

Photo Credit: Floriane Legendre on Flickr

Justice sends mixed messages

When a bad deed makes headlines, the first thing we want to know is whether the perpetrator did it “on purpose.” Intention matters in our moral judgments, as we intuitively realize and many studies confirm. Now studies suggest that this focus on the cause of an event can distort our understanding of the damage done—and knowing harm has been inflicted can even change the way we view the victims, ascribing them pain and consciousness when none might exist…
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The findings have implications for our understanding of complex moral issues such as abortion. People may consider fetuses to be mentally aware because they think abortion is immoral—not the other way around. “People often have knee-jerk moral intuitions and only come up with explanations for these intuitions after the fact,” says co-author Adrian Ward, a psychologist now at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “Many times apparent causal reasoning is simply post hoc justification.” –Melinda Wenner Moyer

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which something that was not intended is judged as if it were.

Journaling Prompt: Do you judge based on intention? How would your relationships be different if you didn’t?

Art Prompt: Intention and moral judgements

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the tendency to judge based on intentions and how this has formed our current culture.

Photo Credit: Dan4th Nicholas on Flickr

"Don't be fooled by the Caucasian name"

A study of consumers who read expert’s reviews about a restaurant showed that the consumer was happy to pay more at a restaurant. All they needed was for the expert, instead of being confident, to express uncertainty about the restaurant. Subjects expressed a willingness to pay over fifty percent more for food that a food expert, with magazine jobs to their credit, wasn’t really all that sure about. On the other hand, if the review was written by an amateur blogger, the consumers were willing to pay more only if the reviewer was sure that the restaurant was great.
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The phenomenon is known as “expectancy violations theory.” Consumers expect that an expert will be sure about the subject of their expertise, so uncertainty intrigues them. The consumers are willing to invest time, effort, and money in something that promises to satisfy their curiosity. Amateurs, on the other hand, are expected to be uncertain, so if they’re enthusiastic and sure about something, consumers expect it to be good, and get excited. –Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene that uses the expectancy violations theory to create curiosity in your protagonist. How does he or she react?

Journaling Prompt: How does the expectancy violations theory play out in your life?

Art Prompt: Expectancy violations theory

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how they can use the expectancy violations theory to create more interest in their business or job.

Photo Credit: Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures on Flickr

Suicide underground

More than one million people worldwide, including over 40,000 North Americans commit suicide on an annual basis, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2012 estimation.
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In a research article, Flett and his co-authors Professor Paul Hewitt of the University of British Columbia and Professor Marnin Heisel of Western University note that physicians, lawyers and architects, whose occupations emphasize on precision, and also those in leadership roles are at higher risk for perfectionism-related suicide, citing the recent cases of prominent perfectionists who died by suicide…
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The authors document how being exposed to relentless demands to be perfect, a concept they refer to as socially prescribed perfectionism, is linked consistently with hopelessness and suicide. Other key themes discussed are: how perfectionistic self-presentation and self-concealment can lead to suicides that occur without warning; and how perfectionists often come up with thorough and precise suicide plans. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the internal dialogue of someone who is considering suicide as he or she goes through the day.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your experience with perfectionism and how it affects your mood.

Art Prompt: Perfectionism and suicide

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the dangers of perfectionism.

Photo Credit: Simon on Flickr