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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:14 am 
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Anni, I can relate to your post and I am asking myself these questions as well. But I also try to put myself into the perspective of the person who is discouraging someone. Then I imagine how it would feel to know for sure that something will be harmful for a person I love, and that I also know for sure he is not aware of it. For example, I imagine that I observe him preparing to eat a poisonous mushroom because he mistakenly thinks it's edible. Of course I would try to stop him, and not for one moment would I think of it as limiting his freedom. Instead, I would be convinced that I am rescueing him.

Now of course this is a bit of an extreme comparison, but I think it emphasizes something that I believe to be the essence of lots of discouraging advice: being certain about your own evaluation, and a failure to imagine that it is just yours, not an absolute truth. For me this belief in one's own story is an utterly fascinating topic and one that I'd like to study a lot more (luckily I have at least one friend who does this excessively 8)), but it probably makes it very hard for these people to give helpful advice to someone who has a different view or goal.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:59 am 
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Katja1 wrote:
In the past I even tended to tell myself that I shouldn't do things because they are dangerous and risky. But today this changed completely. I began to actively bring myself in challenging situations in order to learn to solve problems and also how to turn negative feelings, such as disappointment, into positive ones.

I still tend to avoid most situations that are risky even though many of them are normal for others. I think that's because I'm not the bravest person ;) . But at the same time I try to make little challenging steps towars things I'm unsecure about when there is no rational reason to be anxious.

jaz wrote:
If you go against this advice and you have a lot of contact with the advising persons, it would also mean that these persons get confronted with their topic again and again, something people often try to avoid instead of solving it.

That is an interesting point. I think this is something we are often unaware about, the topics we don't want to be confronted with and therefore, we may not be able to really solve them.

Romy wrote:
Now of course this is a bit of an extreme comparison, but I think it emphasizes something that I believe to be the essence of lots of discouraging advice: being certain about your own evaluation, and a failure to imagine that it is just yours, not an absolute truth.

That is a very good point of view, I think. Now another stone of my right- and wrong-building is gone :green: . If I would be in such a situation I would do the same as you but I think there are other ways to deal with less urgent situations. There often are situations in which I think someone else decides something that will probably harm him but I cannot be sure and I cannot make the decision. Because I cannot be sure I don't want to give an discouraging advice. Maybe this will make him decide not to do something that would be very good for him...
But still there are my worries because I don't want a person I love to make a decision he will regret. That's why I would encourage the person to go deeper into the topic and to think about the possible risks and solutions or about better ways to fulfill the wish too. Thereby, I want to encourage the other one to be more aware about everything because than a decision can be made that you are really confident about. I think the difference is if the focus is on what shouldn't be done or on what is best to be done.

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For me this belief in one's own story is an utterly fascinating topic and one that I'd like to study a lot more (luckily I have at least one friend who does this excessively 8)), but it probably makes it very hard for these people to give helpful advice to someone who has a different view or goal.

Could you clarify this?

Thank you for your replies :kiss: .


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:29 am 
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Okay, I will try to explain, let's see where we will end up. ;)

Most if not all statements people make are not true or false in absolute terms but only within a particular set of constraints. For instance, if I say "It is good for a horse to be ridden forwards/downwards" this is only true if I implicitly assume that "good" refers to criteria such as physical fitness - the statement might be different if the criterion was pleasure or self-development. Also, I need to assume that the goal is to increase physical fitness - if the person did not care about it, there would be no value for him in riding like that. I would need to assume that the evidence I am basing that startement on is sound. I would need to assume that riding can be good at all, and so on. Actually, there are so many constraints to interpreting this statement that you could fill pages with them, and to make it even more complicated, there are hierarchies and mutual dependencies between them so that if you change one, the others change as well.

Of course it is not practical to explicitly add all of these constraints everytime you make a statement. Communication would simply not be possible. Also, ignoring constraints is necessary to some degree if you want to act in the world, because otherwise decisions would not be possible. However, I feel that many people are not aware that these constraints exist in the first place. They just set them or adopt the constraints that others have set and then operate within that set of constraints as if they were operating within a space of absolute truth.

There are several factors that increase the tendency to ignore constraints. Limited intelligence certainly is one, but I am observing the same in quite an extreme form with my friend who is a professor and one of the most intelligent people I know. Generally, professors or other high-ranking individuals seem to be prone to it, perhaps because they get less and less feedback if nobody dares to challenge them, which makes them more absolute in their perceptions and statements, which reduces the feedback, and so on.

Now where it gets funny for me is that I am aware of the existence of constraints, simply because I have thought about that issue. Therefore, observing people act and talk can be utterly fascinating. It's just the way they act "as if" - as if all of these constraints were not subjective but absolutely true. Then they can get angry if somebody is contradicting them and argue about who is right - while perhaps none of them is more or less right than the other, they are just using different constraints and within their personal set of constraints they are both perfectly right.

Therefore, if somebody says or does something that I do not agree with, I try not to think of it as right or wrong, good or bad, or any other absolute evaluation. Instead, I try to find out what his constraints are, because this is what I need to know if I want to understand his statement from his perspective. Of course I neither always manage to think in that way nor do I always manage to extract the important constraints. Sometimes people even get irritated, because understanding their constraints makes it necessary for me to ask questions, and sometimes they think I am doing this to undermine their argumentation. But still it is extremely interesting, and so often some of the things someone said suddenly make so much sense when seen from within his set of constraints. I just love that process of trying to understand someone's perspective. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:59 am 
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Lovely explanation, Romy, thank you a lot!
I love to think about this topic too, thanks for inspiration :f:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:28 pm 
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Thank you Romy, for this detailed explanation :) .

I will try to focus more on the constraints others have to understand them better and to be more open-minded when I first think that I disagree with someone. This is a really interesting topic!


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 8:13 pm 
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I need to write down some thoughts again because they are spinning around in my mind for weeks. However, I do not know what this text will be about, so I am just going to start somewhere and see what I will find in the end ;) .

I am now at a point in my life where I have to make the first real important decision on my own. I looked forward to this time for many years and imagined what I would decide, what I would do and where this would lead me, but now that I am here...Honestly, I would like to take a step back and take some more time to think it through again. I know that this would lead me nowhere because the problem is not that I do not know what I want to do or where the next step should lead me. The problem is that there are to many options. Luckily only options I like but this does not make it easier to choose one of them. And then every option has its advantages and disadvantages. With every option there arise new difficulties, new unanswered questions.

What I am trying to do is to enjoy this time and to be aware the fact that I am fortunate that I can decide and that there are so many great options. I try not to forget this while I am trying to find out what is the best way to choose.

When I remember how I got some of the best things in my life, then I have to admit that they aren't a result of elaborated plans, well-thought-out decisions, great passion, hard work and high aims. Instead, they just happened to me. Often I only wished with all my heart that something would happen, and even if I did not really believe it would happen, it did anyway. And I remember that many many plans I made did not work for me. I lost interest before I could achieve my goals and it turned out that my „dreams“ were not as important as I thought before.

But still I think it is important not only to sit down and wait for things to happen but to become an active aspekt of my life. Now that I know that elaborated plans to not work for me (even though I love to make plans, I think because it keeps me away from really doing anything) and now that I know (or believe) that wishing can help a lot, I'm searching for the thing between only planning and only wishing. And now that I am writing this down, I think that a combination of planning, wishing and doing could work for me. The planning part should not be to big because then I keep myself busy with making new and better plans all the time. The wishing part can be as big as it wants to be as long as I can still enjoy the things I already have. The doing part has to become much bigger so that I keep myself busy with things I love to do.

Another thing that makes it a bit difficult to make a decision is that my interest can switch so easily. For the last year I was very interested in interaction between humans and I was confronted with conflicts every now and then, what made it more fascinating. I could not stop reading in our forum and thought about horse-human interaction all the time. And I spend much time making plans for the time after school.
This year I stopped making detailed plans but am still very busy with thinking all the options through. I am not confronted with many conflicts anymore. Instead of horse-human interaction, I am now very interested in hoof trimming and horse keeping.

I am sure that my interest will switch again, it is just a matter of time. For me it is very easy to learn a lot about what I am interested in at this time but I haven't found a way yet to draw my interest on what I need to learn. For example I tinker with the idea of becoming a professional hoof trimmer. To do this would be very easy right now. But my interest could be on something else when I am able to start an education and this would make it difficult to spend my time learning how to trim hoofes.

Now I wonder if I can lose the interest into something that I deeply enjoy to learn about... I don't really think so. It's rather that another topic becomes more important for a time and then another and another...
As long as it is only about my leisure time, I can „go with the flow“ but soon I will need to do something for a living and then I need to decide what I am going to do for a longer period of time.

How did you made this decision? Are you happy about how you spend your time and why (not)?

Hugs and sunny days to all of you,
Anni :f:


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 9:10 pm 
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Anni wrote:
How did you made this decision? Are you happy about how you spend your time and why (not)?


If you mean the decision about my profession - I decided to become a psychologist because I thought they were magicians. 8) No, seriously, when I was about to finish school and still had no idea what to do (while the teachers had been nagging for 3 years that you really, really had to know this by now), I asked myself a simple question: Which kind of work do I not understand at all but would love to understand? Thus, actually I did not ask myself what I wanted to be my profession for the rest of my life but I asked myself what I wanted to learn most of all. After all, studying gives you the chance to spend your days looking for answers to questions that you are really interested in. Needless to say that for me becoming a researcher was the logical next step, but I did not know this back then. I thought I'd become a psychotherapist for children.

Concerning change, I can totally relate to the change of interests. I have this in almost all aspects of my life. There are only a few things that do not change. One of them is the horses, another one is being a hermit (in my case, someone who likes people as long as I know that they will leave again), or not wanting to change anything about the way I live. Well, and being variable in terms of my interests in people and things, if you can call that a constancy. ;) However, despite all this variability I have found two things in my work life.

First, although I did not know what I wanted before starting to learn about psychology, I found out within two semesters. Second, I was taken away from this topic (cognitive control and task set selection) for more than five years and I survived, and was able to make the best out of this situation. I had no idea how beneficial it can be to NOT be able to do what you love - it strengthened my belief that I can adjust and be sincerely happy, because the relevant ingredients for that are inside myself. At the same time, my beloved topic kept coming back to me again and again. The good thing is that now I am in a position that allows me to combine the things from my off-time (applied aspects of psychology in general, and the coordination of joint action in particular) with the things from back then (cognitive control). This is fantastic for me, because it provides me with a unique combination of possibilities that nobody else is having.

Now I have written a lot of stuff that probably is way too specific to be of any interest, but what I wanted to say is this: For me it helped to have an idea of what I would love to do. As soon as I started following that path, the specific experiences made it clear to me what I really wanted. But while knowing that, it was not a bad thing at all that I could not follow my passion for some time. Instead, this provided me with some unique opportunities to learn about myself, and it equipped me with the relevant prerequisites for going my very own way.

And as a final side-note, sometimes the best thing that can happen to you is that you do not get what you want. When I got that job in the other research group in 2007 (which meant abandoning my favourite research topic), I was so bored with the new job that I started looking around in the internet. And guess what I found... the forum! Thus, everything that has developed in my horse-related life from then on and everything that I can share with other people ultimately is a consequence of temporarily not loving my work.

You will find your way, Anni, and it will be ever so great. I do not have the slightest doubt about that. :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 6:02 pm 
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I also think that it is important to free yourself from the thought that a decision means that you have to follow it. For example if you decide to become a hooftrimmer and you don't like it in a few months or years anymore, you will know an important thing that you don't know yet: why exactly you don't like it. You will know the reasons for this and with that knowledge it becomes much easier to take new decisions in order to improve thigs within your next step. So maybe this whole future thing is more based on experimenting and adjusting than on finding and choosing the "right" way.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:01 pm 
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Thank you very much for your long post, Romy :kiss: . I always love to hear such stories because they remind me that even though so many people seem to be unsatisfied with almost everything they have or have not, I am not forced to be unsatisfied as well, if I make a "wrong" decision. It takes away a lot of the fear to bring myself into a situation I don't like.

Romy wrote:
And as a final side-note, sometimes the best thing that can happen to you is that you do not get what you want. When I got that job in the other research group in 2007 (which meant abandoning my favourite research topic), I was so bored with the new job that I started looking around in the internet. And guess what I found... the forum!

That is something I love about life - how often I am in a situation that I don't like first but then it turns out to be one of the best things that could happen to me. And you don't know immediately if a situation is good or bad because you don't know where it will take you in the end :D .

So, I will try to do what I am interested in as far as possible and I will use all the other situations to learn whatever there is to learn.

Jana, that are also great thoughts and I think you are right. It seems to be a lot about adjusting. I like that thought to always try to improve things without needing to get it all right and perfect at once. Then it is more like a process that can be changed through the whole life rather that a decision you make one time and that cannot be influenced anymore. So thanks for this thought :kiss:


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