The “Getting the Best Seat on a Plane” Life Hack

 

I was recently at a Travel agents conference and I talked about being effective and efficient as a passenger on a plane. I sat waiting to get one of those on-site corporate chair massages from www.eventschairmassage.com I got into a conversation with someone who asked me, “What exactly is a lifehack?

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It is, of course,  any shortcut that creates greater efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. The best lifehacks also create greater self-awareness.

 

They then asked me if there was a secret to getting the best seat on an airplane?

 

I responded, “The question you must first ask is “Are some seats better than others?” The answer is yes and there are ways to nab the best spots for yourself. Of course what is considered “a best seat” will be different for different people. Let’s look at some variables.

If you are able to choose the type of seat you want keep this in mind.

 

In economy class: 

  1. Choose a seat that allows for a slight recline feature of a few inches or legroom in bulkhead seat or emergency exit row.
  2. Flyer beware: The seats in front of an exit row and at the very back of the plane do not recline. Often those behind the exit have weird window configurations.
  3. Sitting by the galley can be loud as the crew prepares food and beverages and will often meet there during quiet periods on the flight.
  4. The bathrooms are usually near the galley so if you sit in that area be ready for either noise or people tripping over you.

Asa side not many airlines offer Chair massage in  the terminal or on the plane. Check it out!.

 

Here’s a cool video

 

http://digg.com/video/diy-ski-jump-whoops?utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email

 

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This was an extract from my notes on lifehacking. For a book on the subject I suggest:

“How to Hack Your Life Through Game Thinking” By Lewis Harrison. The book  contains  over 400 high and low-fi hacks.

 

 

 

– Available as at:

 

http://www.realuguru.com/products/ebooks/how-to-hack-your-life-through-game-thinking/

 

The Softcover version is available at:

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/how-to-hack-your-life-through-game-thinking-softcover-edition/

Learn more about all of lewis harrison’s educational materials at: www.RealUGuru.com

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RUG Logo.png

Lewis Harrison – The RealUGuru, is a writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving, troubleshooting and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and systematic thrift.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

  

Don’t forget to tune to the “Life Hack Guru Radio Show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST  at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc….

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books contact him for personal coaching and mentoring. Learn more at:

http://www.realuguru.com/mentoring/

You can find books on game theory, and business success here:

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/building-your-business-in-the-new-digital-reality/

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/gamification-for-business/

This course and all the offerings on www.RealUGuru.com  focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

 

This blog is supported by a grant from Events Chair Massage (www.eventschairmassage.com). This is a company offering Anti-Stress hacks.  This NYC Chair massage company offers Corporate chair massage to meeting planners, event planners, association meetings and trade shows. He also offers these stress management and onsite massage services in NYC at trade shows, and at the Javits Convention Center,  Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Columbus Ohio and many other cities across the United States through www.NoStressSpeaker.com.

 

What is a Lifehack?

I was recently at a stress management conference and I talked about being highly focused in intention as well as being more effective and efficient as a stress management tool.

I sat waiting to get one of those on-site corporate chair massages from www.eventschairmassage.com I got into a conversation with someone who asked me, “What exactly is a lifehack?

In reality, a lifehack is nothing more than a game. Usually, the earliest children’s games involve building sand castles at the beach, playing with invisible friends, or playing games like tag rock, paper scissors, or hopscotch.  “‘Traditional’ games”,  have, “not only failed to disappear but have evolved into new versions.”

 

As children’s games have become more sophisticated they help children learn by example from other children, and can be played without reference to written rules. These games are usually played by children between the ages of 7 and 12, with some latitude on both ends of the age range. These games have been passed from child to child, generation to generation, and informally by word of mouth.  Most interactive children’s games include at least two of the following six features in different proportion: physical skill, strategy, chance, repetition of patterns, creativity, and vertigo.

Examples of some of the most popular children’s games include apple bobbing, playing “catch” with a ball, Jumping Ropes, Kick the Can, Marbles, Leap frog, and many new video games for young children.

At a particular point in our mental, emotional and physical development we begin to express the need to compete. Competition is, in general, a contest or rivalry between two or more organisms, animals, individuals, economic groups or social groups, etc.  Soon after we learn to play games we learn about puzzles. We may begin with simple games like Candy Land and simple jigsaw picture puzzles. (ExPLain) and eventually move on to games like tic-tac toe, Monopoly and chess.

 

Some of these games involve just two players while others involve multiple players and even teams. It doesn’t take long before we realize that in some games everyone wins and in others, there are also losers.

In just a few years after we make this discovery, one of the cruel realities of life takes place.  Our parents may tell us that “it is time to stop playing games and get serious about life.” This is most unfortunate since it would have been better to simply have us continue playing games and becoming more skilled at strategizing when we played these games. Many of us move on in life getting jobs we do not love, working under incompetent management in layered corporate hierarchies. Often we are prisoners in a “life game” from which there seems no way to win.

We are trapped in the game of life even as we ironically continue to root for sports teams, play poker, watch Poker Championships and join On-line Fantasy Leagues. We go on vacations to Las Vegas and throw our money away on games of chance when if we knew how to apply game thinking we could win millions of dollars in a day.

 

Given that we live in highly complex social environments, many of our most important decisions are made in the context of social interactions. Simple but sophisticated tasks from a branch of experimental economics known as game theory have been used to study social decision-making in the laboratory setting, and a variety of neuroscience methods have been used to probe the underlying neural systems. This approach is informing our knowledge of the neural mechanisms that support decisions about trust, reciprocity, altruism, fairness, revenge, social punishment, social norm conformity, social learning, and competition. Neural systems involved in reward and reinforcement, pain and punishment, mentalizing, delaying gratification, and emotion regulation are commonly recruited for social decisions. This review also highlights the role of the prefrontal cortex in prudent social decision-making, at least when social environments are relatively stable. In addition, recent progress has been made in understanding the neural bases of individual variation in social decision-making.

Lifehack!  In the end you will save, money, save time and create greater happiness.

 

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This was an extract from my notes on lifehacking. For a book on the subject I suggest:

“How to Hack Your Life Through Game Thinking” By Lewis Harrison. The book  contains  over 400 high and low-fi hacks.

 

 

– Available as at:

 

http://www.realuguru.com/products/ebooks/how-to-hack-your-life-through-game-thinking/

 

The Softcover version is available at:

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/how-to-hack-your-life-through-game-thinking-softcover-edition/

Learn more about all of lewis harrison’s educational materials at: www.RealUGuru.com

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Lewis Harrison – The RealUGuru, is a writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving, troubleshooting and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and systematic thrift.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

  

Don’t forget to tune to the “Life Hack Guru Radio Show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST  at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc….

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books contact him for personal coaching and mentoring. Learn more at:

 

http://www.realuguru.com/mentoring/

You can find books on game theory, and business success here:

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/building-your-business-in-the-new-digital-reality/

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/gamification-for-business/

This course and all the offerings on www.RealUGuru.com  focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

 

This blog is supported by a grant from Events Chair Massage (www.eventschairmassage.com). This is a company offering Anti-Stress hacks.  This NYC Chair massage company offers Corporate chair massage to meeting planners, event planners, association meetings and trade shows. He also offers these stress management and onsite massage services in NYC at trade shows, and  at the Javits Convention Center,  Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Columbus Ohio and many other cities across the United States through www.NoStressSpeaker.com.

LifeHacking, and Ethical Thought in Problem Solving LifeHacking, and Ethical Thought in Problem Solving

I was recently at a stress management conference and there was a panel on ethics and problems solving. One of the vendors there was The New York City Chair Massage Company – www.eventschairmassage.com

This is what I learned talking to a chair massage therapist who deals with ethical issues constantly as one of the best massage therapists in New York City.

Some problems come about because we don’t understand the distinction between what is ethically right and wrong.

When I ask people about the difference between ethics and morality most do not have a distinction between these two concepts.

This distinction came to me when  I was teaching a course on hypnosis,  NLP*, stress management and leadership and someone asked if manipulating people was ethical.

This question requires more than just a yes or no answer. In my approach to problem solving and decision-making ethics and morality are different though for many social scientists they are interchangeable. It is generally agreed in most of the social sciences that morality is the study of what  makes  actions  right  and  wrong. The word ‘ethics’ is commonly used interchangeably with ‘morality’. I have always found value in applying a distinction between an individual’s sense of right and wrong (ethics) as opposed to a “group’s” definition. Ethics, in a personal sense of right and wrong may go against a morality imposed from the group onto the individual.

When strategizing to solve a problem, ethical behavior is a reflection of a person’s intent to act whereas morality becomes the rule of the game as imposed on all the players. This distinction becomes important when exploring ideas such as fair play or cheating.

There are many theories concerning morality and ethics. The practical element  of  all  this can become very tricky, and there are many ethical theories that deal with  complex  issues  related  to  perspective, duty, obligation,  personal or cultural values, codes of conduct  and social mores.

 

This is especially so when one is forced into a Zero Sum Game* where there can only be one winner.

If you enjoyed this blog you will love this book.

Order it by clicking below.

Winning The Game Of Life: A Primer On Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory

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Lewis Harrison – RealUGuru, is a master lifehacker, writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

  

Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST  at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books.

You can find books on game theory and business success here:

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/building-your-business-in-the-new-digital-reality/

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/gamification-for-business/

This course and all the offerings on www.RealUGuru.com  focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

Today’s stress management blog is supported by a grant from Events  Chair Massage –www.EventschairMasssage.com –  a company that offers Corporate Chair Massage and Stress Management Services to meeting planner, event planners, party planners and HR for Trade show booths throughout the United States.

 

Below is a chair massage demo that shows techniques our corporate chair massage therapists use to massage their clients’ upper back, shoulders, and neck — using elbows and forearms, with minimal use of the thumbs.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNNSDH-0bZk

What is a Problem-REALLY?

 We often speak of problems but in reality there is no single definition of what a problem is. Our company www.events chairmassage.com solves some problems by using corporate chair massage to get rid of headaches and backaches.

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Other  definitions of a problem  include:

  • Any situation which is unwelcome or harmful, and which needs to be dealt with and overcome.
  • An inquiry into some question to which the answer is not obvious.
  • Some process we have chosen to engage in that is difficult to achieve or accomplish and can be described in many different ways.

The most common words used to define a problem include; jig saw puzzle, trouble, worry, hiccup, setback, catch, predicament, stumbling block, plight, misfortune, mishap, misadventure, dilemma, quandary, headache, nightmare, snag, hitch, drawback, obstacle, hurdle, nuisance, bother, pest, irritant, thorn in one’s side/flesh, vexation, drag, pain, riddle, difficult and pain in the neck.

Many of the guests at our B & B and Retreat center are looking for skills to solve problems.   The   concept  of  “a problem”   can  be   observed  from a number of perspectives. On a basic level, we can categorize a problem by;

 

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  • The type of problem it is;
  • The cause of the problem;
  • The level of difficulty required to solve the problem.

There is no one approach that is best for categorizing problems. Various problem-solving models will work best in specific situations even as many categorizing systems have been supplanted by other models or overlap with them. Nevertheless, the underlying principles remain valid – a problem is an unwelcome situation that needs to be dealt with and overcome. One thing is clear; we cannot allow a negative attitude, an attachment to short term gratification, resignation or disillusionment to interfere with the process of solving a problem.

 

One of my mentors often said, “To be disillusioned you must first have illusions”. Many problems arise because we project our own agendas onto the agendas of others with whom we feel a sense of rapport or connection. In the end, when we do this, we are often disappointed. Often it just a big puzzle.

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Often what we perceive to be clarity of thought is nothing more than wishful thinking. In order to solve a problem with the least expenditure of energy, there are a number of things to keep in mind. To begin with it is essential that one recognize that without precision, focus and timing i.e. a system, one will struggle without reason. In addition, most systems have their own critical times and resonances. The key to effectiveness in solving problems is to work with the natural timing or rhythm of a system rather than in opposition to it.

One of the basic rules of physics is that it takes more force to apply the same pressure to a wide area than to a smaller specific point.  This applies to problem solving as well.

 

RUG Logo.png

Lewis Harrison – RealUGuru, is a writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

  

Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST  at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books.

You can find books on game theory and business success here:

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/building-your-business-in-the-new-digital-reality/

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/gamification-for-business/

This course and all the offerings on www.RealUGuru.com  focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

Today’s stress management blog is supported by a grant from Events  Chair Massage –www.EventschairMasssage.com –  a company that offers Corporate Chair Massage and Stress Management Services to meeting planner, event planners, party planners and HR for Trade show booths throughout the United States. Also check out www.NoStressSpeaker.com

 

Below is a chair massage demo that shows techniques our corporate chair massage therapists use to massage their clients’ upper back, shoulders, and neck — using elbows and forearms, with minimal use of the thumbs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNNSDH-0bZk

RUG Logo.png

Effective Lifehacking

If you are looking for shortcuts to getting things done, this is the blog for you!

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There is a saying that the truth you ignore will come back to bite you on the butt! As you address specific obstacles, bottlenecks or constraints, be prepared to subordinate any further steps you plan to take in your lifehacking process until the issue or any other bottleneck is resolved.

 

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Discovering obstacles, bottlenecks or constraints (OB and C) that are slowing down your lifehack is an important skill to develop. This basic skill can be developed through the use of what are called assessment tools. The most popular low tech approach to assessments is the questionnaire.  Questionnaires, can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses as well as previously unknown and unrecognized “OB and Cs”. Once these have been isolated they can be eliminated or compensated for.  This will  result in a shifting of the bottleneck. Without the obstacle and the bottleneck to slow the process, the lifehack will be completed successfully.

In previous Hacks on bottlenecks, we learned that a lifehacker needs to understand cause and effect and have the ability to recognize and isolate an obstacle or bottleneck when it appears. There are five key steps for eliminating obstacles, bottlenecks or constraints. These are to:

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  • Identify the obstacles and bottleneck by evaluating all ELRs.
  • Identify obstacles, and constraint to increase efficiency.
  • Minimize all other resources that are connected to the obstacle and the bottleneck.
  • Expand the useful properties of the obstacle as a way of eliminating the bottleneck or at the very least increasing the capacity of the bottleneck.
  • Regularly repeat the process since a new obstacle may arise to create a new bottleneck that may require further action.

Through assessing, isolating and removing “OB and Cs” you are isolating the root factor for the problem.

 

 Lifehack!  In the end you will save, money, save time and create greater happiness.

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This was an extract from the book

“How to Hack Your Life Through Game Thinking” By Lewis Harrison. The book  contains  over 400 high and low-fi hacks.

– Available as an Ebook at RealUGuru.com

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Lewis Harrison – The Lifehack Guru, is a writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving, troubleshooting and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and systematic thrift.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

  

Don’t forget to tune to the “Life Hack Guru Radio Show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST  at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books contact him for personal coaching and mentoring. Learn more at:

Coaching and Studying with Lewis

You can find books on game theory, and business success here:

 

rug-logo

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/building-your-business-in-the-new-digital-reality/

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/gamification-for-business/

This course and all the offerings on www.RealUGuru.com  focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;facebook-959060__340

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

 

 

Lewis offers corporation Anti-Stress hacks through his company www.eventschairmassage.com which offers Corporate chair massage to meeting planners, event planners, association meetings and trade shows. He also offers these stress management and onsite massage services in NYC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Columbus Ohio and many other cities across the United States through www.NoStressSpeaker.com.

Investing and Game Theory

Question: What is the best way to start investing using Game Theory if you have limited financial resources?

Lewis Harrison answers:  As in any other domain using game theory to invest involves knowing how to strategize. Game theory is “the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers.” Game theory is mainly used in economics, investing, political science, and psychology, as well as logic, computer science, biology and poker.

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Let’s begin by exploring what it means to be an investor. To invest is to allocate money (or sometimes another resource, such as time, space, information or influence) in the expectation of some benefit in the future. In finance, the expected future benefit from investment is called a return (to investment). The return may consist of capital gain and/or investment income, including dividends,  interest, rental income etc. The economic return to an investment is the appropriately discounted value of the future returns to the investment.

Investment generally results in acquiring an asset, also called an investment. If the asset is available at a price worth investing, it is normally expected either to generate income, or to appreciate in value, so that it can be sold at a higher price (or both).

Investors generally expect higher returns from riskier investments. Financial assets range from low-risk, low-return investments, such as high-grade government bonds, to those with higher risk and higher expected commensurate reward, such as emerging markets stock investments.

Investors, particularly novices, are often advised to adopt an investment strategy and diversify their portfolio.

Diversification has the statistical effect of reducing overall risk.

To be an effective investor there are three elements that one must master:

  1. Knowing how to connect the dots accurately: We live in an interdisciplinary world. And the factors that make something a good or bad investment are complex. If you are well read in a wide range of areas you will come up with a more expansive understanding of these factors and ask a wider set of questions. This will lead to better choices as well as solutions to investment problems.
  2. Information and Influence: If your financial resources are limited you can leverage qualities like time, space and information to get you access to game changers, influencers and other “power-players.” The key element in this is getting information and merging it with clear critical thinking skills. You need to be reading the daily newspaper including specific columns. I follow the BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, Fox News, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and most of all the Economist. I also follow various news feeds such as Quartz and Digg.
  3. Break out of you own Cognitive Biases. Acognitive bias is a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information. Cognitive biases will effect investment decisions because they relate to memory, reasoning, and decision-making. The more informed you are and the more you network among those with similar beliefs and interests the more cognitive bias is likely to influence your thinking. This means that in order to be an effective investor you must break out of the box and step out of the bubble into new ways of seeing the investing market-place.

 

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Learn more at RealUGuru.com

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Lewis Harrison is a writer, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in game based thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

Known as the RealUGuru. He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.  Including the business book.

 

building-your-business 

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/building-your-business-in-the-new-digital-reality/

 

 

 

In addition Lewis is a  seminar leader, futurist, NPR affiliated radio talk show (WIOXRadio.org) host, success and life coach and a best-selling author.

He is the creator of a web site – www.RealUGuru.com  that focuses on the application of gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

His company www.eventschairmassage.com offers Corporate chair massage to meeting planners, event planners, association meetings and trade shows. He also offers these stress management and onsite massage services in NYC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Columbus Ohio and many other cities across the United States through www.NoStressSpeaker.com.

 

 

Zen, Business Success and Stress Management

 Zen is a practice that deals with the concept of deep awareness and wisdom  through intuition during meditation, and the application of all this in daily life including in business success

Zen defies definition. It is a philosophy of non-philosophy, an intellectually guided practice of anti-intellectualism, and the un-measurable science of non-being. The practice of Zen is the pursuit of various techniques, chiefly Zazen meditation and the study of kōan, which are designed to confound the logical, rational mind in order to trigger or shock the mind into experiencing states of enlightened awareness.

 

It is rooted in the most profound elements of intuition and life itself, and the facts of unfettered experience. It transcends the dogmas of traditional religious rites and rituals and focuses on cutting through the veil of the unfocused mind to the core, inherent nature of man.

 

Many Westerners are confused by Zen for they assume it is a religion but this is not so. According to the greatly respected Zen Master D.T. Suzuki “It is not a religion in the sense that the term is popularly understood; for Zen has no God to worship, no ceremonial rites to observe, no future abode to which the dead are destined, and, last of all, Zen has no soul whose welfare is to be looked after by somebody else…

 

The attraction of Zen to the spiritual seeker is because it is chiefly concerned with the concept of ‘being’. In the West “Being” has usually been the concern of science, mathematics, and  defining and measuring the tangible world around us in order to create a universal model of reality.  Zen is born out the eastern idea of ‘non- being’, which is best understood as the negation of absolute definitions, and eschews attachment to the world of measurement and form in favor of a practice of non-attachment. It is a pure experience of the world than is expressed often through different systems of philosophy, ethics and esthetics in the eastern world.

 

We were recently offering a seminar on stress management at the Catskills Bed and Breakfast  – www.TheCatskillsbedandBreakfast.com – in Stamford NY. During the breakout sessions we offered stress management seminars that including creative visualization, spirituality in business and onsite chair massage

The question came up. What is Zen?

There is no simple answer to what Zen is? What is known is that its practice leads to a state of knowing that is authentic, unfettered, and expresses one’s actualization. In this state of awareness one has less stress, less anxiety, less greed, and less concern for the mistakes of the past or expectations for the future.

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Click below to observe a nine minute video interview Lewis  did with the Award winning journalist Phyllis Haynes on why  people suffer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

 

 

Lewis Harrison is the author of sixteen books including

 

Ask Lewis

“Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Times” a book of  concerned with personal development, human potential, stress reduction and business excellence.

 

 

 

 

Order his book by clicking below:

http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Not-Religious-Sacred-AskLewis-com/dp/1499150547

 

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Or type these words on you search engine subject line “spiritual not religious Harrison amazon”

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You can reach him at LewisCoaches@gmail.com

Lewis offers stress management programs throughout the United  States. Part of this company is  his corporate chair massage company, eventschairmassage.com provides seated and chair massage for stress management seminars and trainings as well to special events for  meeting planners and meeting professionals in New York City, New Jersey Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Greensboro NC, Florida and other major meeting and conventions venues.

 

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If you are a social networker please “Friend” me, Lewis Harrison on face book “Like”  my page at “https://www.facebook.com/AskLewis/” and invite others who might benefit.

 

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Lewis Harrison speaks to organizations and businesses of all types and offers seminars throughout the world on his work on the art and science of decision making through spiritually motivated  “Game Based Thinking”

 

He also offers private fee based coaching programs. 

Call him at 212-724-8782 for more information.

 

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A Problem Related to Spirituality: Understanding the Concept of Free Will

Until the End of May these blogs will focus on problems related to creating a spiritual life.

Lewis Answers: One of the most commonly discussed ideas among thinkers great and small is whether human have freedom of choice or is everything we do predestined? Historically, there have been two schools of thought concerning whether or not we have free choice. 1. Determinism: This is the idea that for everything that happens there are conditions that dictate that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen. 2: Metaphysical libertarianism: Implies that though there are many factors, variables and events that cross our paths the individual may be able to take more than one possible course of action even under this set of circumstances. Metaphysical libertarianism is concerned with how something is known rather than what is known.

The principle of free will has religious, ethical, and scientific implications especially for a student of the Wisdom Path. Recent  neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior, which is an essential factor in the creation of life strategies.

Even if free will exists there are always going to be constraints that define how we are able to make choices such as physical constraints (e.g. chains or imprisonment), social constraints (e.g. threat of punishment or censure), or psychological constraints (e.g. compulsions or phobias). In fact, some important thinkers concerning this discussion (compatibilists) will often assert that determinism is not just compatible with free will, but actually necessary for it.

In the end there is actually no way to know if there is or not free will. The illusion of ordinary life convinces us that we are free to choose but there is much evidence that could prove that this is not the case. The best one can do is live daily applying the four pillars that define the Wisdom Practice – Meditation, the study of koans, chop would and carry water, laugh sing, dance and be silent.

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Lewis Harrison is a poet, author, teacher, speaker, life coach and contemporary spiritual teacher and mentor. He is the creator of www.AskLewis.com. Lewis specializes in helping individuals and organizations solve basic and seemingly unsolvable problems through the application of principles and ideas drawn from Decision Science, Positive Psychology, Game Theory, Zen, many of the great thinkers and from his personal life experiences.

Lewis will be teaching a weekend program “Make, Choices, Not Excuses” in Oneonta, New York May 3-4

To learn more about Lewis’ work go to “Ask.Lewis.com”

“Like” us on Face book at “facebook.com/AskLewis”

Q & A on Synergy, Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language and Problem Solving

Foundational principle of this Conversation: To explore how the recognition of subtle patterns can help one to solve complex problems.

Pattern: A pattern is a type of theme of recurring events or objects, sometimes referred to as elements of a set of objects. The elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. Patterns can be based on a template or model which generates pattern elements,

Pattern language: a term coined by architect Christopher Alexander, is a structured method of describing good design practices within a field of expertise. .

Q. Is all synergy positive?

LEWIS: Usually is but there might be times where two different groups come together and create a new factor that is detrimental to both.

Q. And where does pattern language fit in here?

LEWIS: When a person reverses a synergistic process they actually observe what might be called “a process of decomposition.”  Alexander generally speaks of designers but that term can be applied to anyone creating or “designing” a system with many components. What happens is that a creator of systems, often a designer observes a problem, selects a solution, then discovers new, smaller problems resulting from the larger solution. Occasionally, the smaller problems have no solution, and a different larger solution must be selected by recognizing a pattern that leads to the solution.. Eventually all of the remaining design problems are small enough or routine enough to be solved by improvisation by the builders as they clearly understand the pattern involved. Now the “design” is done – the system is created.

Q. Is there some formal way that these problems are solved?

LEWIS: The actual organizational structure is left to the discretion of the designer, depending on the problem. This explicitly allows a designer/problem solver to explore patterns, starting from some small part. When this happens, it’s common for a designer to realize that the problem is actually part of a larger solution. At this point, the design almost always becomes a better design.

Q. I imagine this can get complex?

LEWIS: It can but then again this is an approach specifically applicable to solving complex problems. When one recognizes a pattern they will likely notice ways in which that each pattern has relationships to other patterns and to the language as a whole. This gives the designer using the language a great deal of guidance about the related problems that must be solved.

Q. Are there experts in using pattern language to solve problems?

LEWIS: Yes. It is usually for a pattern language expert to come n as an outsider and solve a problem using this approach. This is because this outside expert must get a reliable, complete list of the problems to be solved and it is the people most familiar with the problems that need understand the pattern.

Q. How would this obstacle be addressed?

LEWIS:  Alexander recommended organizing a group of concerned, empowered users to improvise in creating workable large-scale initial solutions, maximizing the utility of a design, and minimizing the design and systems rework.

 

Q. Apply pattern language to how you use applied game theory in problem solving?

LEWIS: An important aspect of design patterns is to identify and document the key ideas that make any good system different from any poor system and to assist in the design of future systems. The ideas expressed in a pattern need not be specific to architecture, computer programs, or anything else. Any pattern language should be general enough to be applied in very different systems within its context, but still specific enough to give constructive guidance.

 

Q. Is there a general term applied to the wide range of situations in which the problems and solutions addressed in a pattern apply?

LEWIS: It is called a context.  An important part in each pattern is to describe this context. One can then offer examples to further illustrate how the pattern applies to very different situation.

 

Q. So every problem has a pattern?

LEWIS: Yes. If you can even recognize and define that there is a problem then you are recognizing some pattern. Many of these problems are highly complex and the problems and solutions described in a pattern can vary in their level of abstraction and yet even a very abstract pattern will usually contain examples that are, by nature, absolutely concrete and specific.

Q. In LHAGT we are concerned with real world problems as opposed to theoretical problems. There are many theoretical problems that architects, statisticians, and physicists deal with that may not have real world applications, Here patterns can vary in how far they are proven in the real world. Christopher Alexander addresses this by giving each pattern a rating by zero, one or two stars, indicating how well they are proven in real-world examples.

 

Q. Is this work all theoretical?

LEWIS: Many experts in problem solving and decision science believe that all patterns need at least some existing real-world example. However the logician-mathematician addressed this idea philosophically in his Incompleteness Theorum and from this perspective It is conceivable to document yet unimplemented ideas in a pattern-like format.

 

The patterns in Alexander’s books focus primarily on how to build a town or neighborhood as well as the design of individual buildings and the interior of rooms. Even so his ideas to general problem solving are invaluable because he sees the low-scale artifacts as constructive elements of the large-scale world, so they can be connected to a hierarchal network, These are models that help the problem solver to reproduce the unique properties of specific patterns.

 

Q. Please explain some of the factors than enable a creative intuitive thinker to see patterns that may not be obvious to a purely logical thinker?

LEWIS: A pattern must characterize the problems that it is meant to solve, the context or situation where these problems arise, and the conditions under which the proposed solutions can be recommended.

 

Q. This seems basic. Why wouldn’t a logical thinker, especially a mathematician recognize this?

LEWIS: Often unique problems arise from a conflict of different interests or “forces”. A non-linear pattern might emerge as a dialogue between thinkers that will then help to balance these conflicting  forces, and finally allow them to make  a decision.

 

Here is an example based on what Alexander has written.  Imagine a pattern suggesting what we now call a  “wireless smart telephone”  at a time when wireless phones had not yet been invented.. The different forces involved would be the need to communicate, while also needing to get other things done at the same time such as cooking, walking down the street, and the ability to find a good Tex-Mex restaurant in Alaska. A very specific pattern would be just “WIRELESS TELEPHONE”. More general patterns would be “WIRELESS DEVICE” or “SECONDARY ACTIVITY”, suggesting that a secondary activity (such as talking on the phone, or researching restaurants in Alaska) should not interfere with other activities.

Though unspecific to the point that a mathematician would have a hard time grouping all the variables involved in its context, the forces in the “SECONDARY ACTIVITY” pattern are very similar to those in “WIRELESS TELEPHONE”. Thus, the competing forces can be seen as part of the essence of a design concept expressed in a pattern.

 

Q. Why is it so difficult for a mathematician or an expert in logical thought to recognize a pattern?

LEWIS: Traditional mathematics is logically driven. Pattern language is not.  Pattern usually contains a rationale referring to some given values which are not absolute but which are actually defined by those individuals who are receiving the value. One might say that the content for the individual define the pattern in a particular form. It might be giving a person a great sense of love or freedom.  Christopher Alexander calls it the “quality without a name” (QWAN). This idea also reflects in certain trends of thought that might be associated with Taoism, Zen and mystic trends in other religious faiths. The best patterns and systems enrich daily life. It is the extraordinary person (see glossary) who is most likely to understand the subtleties in pattern language.

In traditional, ordinary ways of thinking the quality of a system is defined by how efficiently and effectively the system works. With pattern language the quality of any system: whether technical devices such as telephones or computers cars, to social networks, or physical teams interacting to complete a project social structures like a team working on a project, can be rated more easily. In some situations the defining factor will often be whether users spend their time enjoying or struggling with the system while in other situations the key will be to create design patterns help to create an object-oriented code that is easy to read, maintain, modify and reuse.

In this way pattern language creates a value defined in part on how it impacts on human life. From this perspective one can identify patterns that are distinct from the mapping of patterns associated with changing technology. Alexander says that having this distinction allows us to find a “timeless quality” (Alexander).

 

 

Q.Is there some connection between all patterns?

LEWIS: There are different theories on this. A pattern language, as described by Alexander, contains links from one pattern to another.

 

Q. How would this effect the ability of a group or individual to solve a problem?

LEWIS: When trying to apply one pattern in a project, a designer is directed organically to other patterns that might be helpful in its context.

According to Alexander, such links are collected in the “references” part, and echoed in the linked pattern’s “context” part – thus the overall structure is a directed graph. A pattern that is linked to in the “references” usually addresses a problem of lower scale that seems to be part of the higher-scale problem. For instance, a “Kitchen Design” might have a category for “countertop, “Utensils” “Oven” etc.

Even without the pattern description, these links, along with a “specialized  language”, what Alexander calls “meaningful names”, tell a story message: When building a place inside where food will be stored and prepared  (A Kitchen) consider to include places to store food, prepare food, utensils for the preparation and a place to cook it.

 

Alexander argues that the connections in the network, the lower scale problems, can be considered even more meaningful than the text of the patterns themselves. In other words with certain types of problems the elements in the parts are of greater importance than the sum of the parts. One might call this “reverse synergy”.

 

Q. Speak more about the patterns in pattern language and links in the solving of extreme problems?

LEWIS:  In many extreme problems the ideas of links and hierarchic networks are important, and generally accepted among experts on the subject. That being said there are some experts who are working with unique problems in design where hierarchic networks would not come into play. Situations where patterns exist but links have not been established are often known as a pattern language.

 

Q. Is there some master code of all know patterns?

LEWIS: No. Just as new dialects and new words enter an existing language so do we find that existing pattern language is constantly expanding as individuals recognize patterns in their own unique challenges.

 

Q. In LHAGT you have spoken about the importance of self assessment in creating solutions to problems and preventing future problems. Can Pattern language be used as a tool for self assessment?

LEWIS: Yes. It can also be used as a general assessment tool. Alexander’s methods have been used to define expertise in many specialized fields. Expertise can be defined in many ways but one way is by determining whether an individual has the ability to recognize patterns in, let’s say architecture, education and even computer-human interaction. This is especially valuable in LHAGT theory because so much of what we are exploring here involves multi-disciplinary thinking.

 

Q. How important is Pattern language in the application of LHAGT and solving complex and extreme problems?

LEWIS:  Very. In LHAGT we often deal with Pedagogical Patterns, high-level patterns of teaching and group interaction. The core of Applied Game Theory to recognize, maximize, and actualize the potential in any system at the lowest possible cost.  To do this requires a profound understanding of available information, the unique learning, communication and interactive styles of the individuals within a group and the most effective means of presenting this information in a coherent and accessible form.

 

Q. Speak further about pattern language in a teaching-learning-group environment.

LEWIS:  I have integrated the ideas of two approaches to pattern language in learning environments. One is the theories on Multiple Intelligence created by Henry Gardiner and the other Mitchell Weisburgh’s work on Pedagogical Patterns. Weisburgh proposes nine aspects to documenting a pattern for a certain skill. Not every pattern needs to include all nine. His listing is reproduced below:

  • Name – single word or short phrase that refers to the pattern. This allows for rapid association and retrieval.
  • Problem – definition of a problem, including its intent or a desired outcome, and symptoms that would indicate that this problem exists.
  • Context – preconditions which must exist in order for that problem to occur; this is often a situation. When forces conflict, the resolutions of those conflicts is often implied by the context.
  • Forces – description of forces or constraints and how they interact. Some of the forces may be contradictory. For example: being thorough often conflicts with time or money constraints.
  • Solution – instructions, possibly including variants. The solution may include pictures, diagrams, prose, or other media.
  • Examples – sample applications and solutions, analogies, visual examples, and known uses can be especially helpful, help user understand the context
  • Resulting Context – result after the pattern has been applied, including postconditions and side effects. It might also include new problems that might result from solving the original problem.
  • Rationale – the thought processes that would go into selecting this pattern, The rationale includes an explanation of why this pattern works, how forces and constraints are resolved to construct a desired outcome.
  • Related Patterns – differences and relationships with other patterns, possibly predecessor, antecedents, or alternatives that solve similar problems.[e

 

Q. How can I learn more about Christopher Alexander’s work?

LEWIS: He  has published prolifically and has expanded and updated his work through the years.

 

I recommend the following.

The book “Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution,” containing 136 patterns for using information and communication to promote sustainability, democracy and positive social change, was published in 2008.

 

A New Theory of Urban Design (1987) coincided with a renewal of interest in urbanism among architects, but stood apart from most other expressions of this by assuming a distinctly anti-masterplanning stance.

 

The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe (2003-4), which includes The Phenomenon of LifeThe Process of Creating LifeA Vision of a Living World and The Luminous Ground, is Alexander’s latest, and most comprehensive and elaborate work. In it, he puts forth a new theory about the nature of space and describes how this theory

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Lewis Harrison is a poet, author, teacher, speaker and life coach and the creator of www.AskLewis.com. He specializes in helping individuals and organizations solve basic and seemingly unsolvable problems through the application of principles and ideas drawn from Decision Science, Positive Psychology, Game Theory, Zen and from his personal life experiences.

 

To learn more about Lewis’ work go to “Ask.Lewis.com”

“Like” us on Face book at “facebook.com/AskLewis”

 

How To Solve Complex Problems?

Thanks for visiting The Harrison Center for Personal Development. The site is focused on how to improve people’s live through the creation of problems solving skills and decision science. Please explore our website and our many blog posts. Each page has something different to offer  the creative thinker who has a passion for ideas.  There are some ideas presented here that might be new to you and which may inspire your creativity.

Today’s blog l addresses the problem of intellectual elitism and arrogance In my work in applied game theory and problem solving I am often accused by academics of presenting complex ideas in excessively superficial and simplistic ways and  by my blog readers as presenting idea that are too hard to understand.

I am often asked when I teach seminars on Problem Solving how the type of coaching I offer is any different from what any life coach might offer.

There is a difference and it has to do with patterns. Most of us see problems or obstacles as “something” that is in our way or challenging. There is more to it than just this. I have learned that each problem has a pattern, a recurring theme of events or objects inherent in it. My experience over the years has taught me that exploring and learning to recognize these often subtle patterns can help one to solve complex problems.  The elements of a pattern will repeat in a predictable manner. Much of my work is based on the theories of architect Christopher Alexander. He calls his theory Pattern language.

Here is a segment of the Q & A session in one of my recent seminars on Applied Game Theory. You can read the rest of the session on today’s blog at www.HowToSolveAnyProblem.com.

Q & A. on Pattern Language:

Q. Does the application of pattern language require great skill or training?

A. Advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people of ordinary intelligence can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems.

Q. Why is it called a “pattern language”?

A. Like all languages, a pattern language has vocabularysyntax, and grammar. Unlike most languages pattern language can be  applied to the solving complex problems that are not related with communication.

Q. How do can an understanding of patterns and pattern language help us to solve problems?

A. When a skilled individual is designing something (whether it is a house or a computer program or a lamp), he/she must make many decisions about how to solve problems that will arise organically in the designing process.   By understanding patterns they can document a single problem with its typical place (the syntax), and use (the grammar) with the most common and recognized good solution. One can create a type of dictionary of these patterns. Each such entry is a single design pattern. Each pattern has a name, a descriptive entry, and some cross-references, much like a regular dictionary of words would. entry. A documented pattern should explain why that solution is good in the pattern’s contexts.

Q. Is there one best type of pattern language?

A. No However any pattern language has something in common with any spoken language, it has grammatical and semantic relationships. In order to make a an effectively communicated spoken language the patterns in the language must be related to each other. Patterns in problem structures are the same.

Q. Can you explain Christopher Alexander’s work in this area?

LEWIS:  He focuses on design problems but his approach can be applied to many problems especially related to “synergy”.

Q. What is synergy?

LEWIS: The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. An example of a positive synergy would be when a large organization buys or absorbs a smaller company or organization and offers the smaller entity compensation in the form of future profits for benefits from the larger entity. This helps both groups achieve what they desire. Another example of synergy is seen when one two individuals have different strengths and weakness and each enables the other to achieve benefits they could not achieve alone.

It is the ability to understand how synergy works that gives one the key to solving complex problems.

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Lewis Harrison is the founder and director of the Harrison Center for Personal Development. He is a radio talk show host, speaker, consultant, practical philosopher and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. Lewis is a pioneer in the personal development movement The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers a monthly retreat/seminar “How to Solve Any Problem”.  He also and phone based coaching.   This blog is explored more fully through Lewis’ E-book “Everything You Need To Know About Solving Any Problem”. It is available for $7.00 and can be ordered directly from Lewis by calling him at 212-724-8782.

Listen to Lewis on the radio on his show “That Was Zen, This is Tao” Wednesday and Thursday 4-6 PM

Lewis speaks to companies and other organizations on stress management

Lewis also offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and a monthly workshop/Retreat – a simple program for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel Prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.