Get out of the box
Speaking of health hazards, new research suggests thinking for yourself is good for your body:
Habits are a funny thing. We reach for them mindlessly, setting our brains on auto-pilot and relaxing into the unconscious comfort of familiar routine. “Not choice, but habit rules the unreflecting herd,” William Wordsworth said in the 19th century. In the ever-changing 21st century, even the word “habit” carries a negative connotation.
So it seems antithetical to talk about habits in the same context as creativity and innovation. But brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create parallel synaptic paths, and even entirely new brain cells, that can jump our trains of thought onto new, innovative tracks. [. . . ]
All of us work through problems in ways of which we’re unaware, she says. Researchers in the late 1960s discovered that humans are born with the capacity to approach challenges in four primary ways: analytically, procedurally, relationally (or collaboratively) and innovatively. At puberty, however, the brain shuts down half of that capacity, preserving only those modes of thought that have seemed most valuable during the first decade or so of life.
[Too bad we don’t use our most valuable though processes today]:
The current emphasis on standardized testing highlights analysis and procedure, meaning that few of us inherently use our innovative and collaborative modes of thought. “This breaks the major rule in the American belief system — that anyone can do anything,” explains M. J. Ryan, author of the 2006 book “This Year I Will. . .” and Ms. Markova’s business partner. “That’s a lie that we have perpetuated, and it fosters mediocrity. Knowing what you’re good at and doing even more of it creates excellence.”
— “Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?” posted May 4 at nytimes.com
You’re embarrassing an entire island: Two lesbians marry