Making a New Habit Easy

All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits,—practical, emotional, and intellectual,—systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be. __ William James in 1892

Our habits make us who we are. Once learned, these habits tend to be unconscious from start to finish. Clearly it is best to learn good habits well, beginning in childhood. Habits of thought, habits of action — the principle is the same.

The typical “habit loop” consists of a “cue” — a “craving” — a “routine” — and a “reward.” Something inside or outside of us triggers a conscious or unconscious cue. This cue calls up a craving which then motivates us to perform a routine. Successful performance of the routine results in a reward. To set good habits for young children, we need to exercise some ingenuity to make the learning of good habits as easy as possible.

Making a New Habit Easy

Jim Cathcart’s tale of the running shoes:

I needed an action that I knew I could get myself to do, so I set a minimum commitment: Even if I could not make myself run every day, at least I could make myself available for a run. I grabbed a piece of paper, picked up my pen, and wrote, “I will put on my jogging shoes and walk outside to the curb every day, no matter what else is going on.” __ The Self-Motivation Handbook by Jim Cathcart

By setting an easy goal, Jim Cathcart built a lifelong habit of health and fitness that served him for 30 years and counting. Once he was at the curb with his jogging shoes on, it was easy to walk or run some distance on suitable days. This allowed him to drop 30 pounds to his ideal weight, and maintain ideal weight ever since.

BJ Fogg’s tale of dental floss:

I asked myself: How can I make flossing easier to do?
I came up with an answer I didn’t dare tell my hygienist. She would have been horrified.
I decided to floss just one tooth.
Seriously.
After I brushed my teeth in the morning I would floss just one tooth. __ BJ Fogg in Tiny Habits

Once you have flossed one tooth, it is easy to floss the rest.

James Clear’s “Make it Easy” advice on habits:

Habits are easier to build when they fit into the flow of your life. You are more likely to go to the gym if it is on your way to work . . .

The central idea is to create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible. Much of the battle of building better habits comes down to finding ways to [make good habits easier and bad habits harder].

When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. __ James Clear in Atomic Habits

Making the Habit Cue Easy and Obvious Reinforces the Behaviour

Putting a full bottle/thermos of water in plain sight and within easy reach makes it more likely that it will be used. The same principle applies to a toothbrush, a bath towel, dish-washing tools, or any other useful cue that helps to encourage a good habit.

Below is another way to look at the habit loop with the emphasis on the “hook” concept that is popular in writing, advertising, public speaking, and political/religious/military recruiting. In this approach, finishing the “habit lazy eight” with an investment, the author turns the loop into a growth tool.

Habit Figure Eight
https://www.nirandfar.com/how-to-manufacture-desire/
  • The trigger is the actuator of a behavior—the spark plug in the Hook Model. Triggers come in two types: external and internal.
  • After the trigger comes the intended action.
  • Research shows that levels of dopamine surge when the brain is expecting a reward. Introducing variability multiplies the effect, creating a frenzied hunting state, activating the parts associated with wanting and desire. Although classic examples include slot machines and lotteries, variable rewards are prevalent in habit-forming technologies as well.
  • The last phase of the Hook is where the user is asked to do bit of work… now that the user’s brain is swimming in dopamine from the anticipation of reward in the previous phase, it’s time to pay some bills.
  • __ https://www.nirandfar.com/how-to-manufacture-desire/

This approach to habit formation was new to me, but I am beginning to see that what I first thought was a “lazy eight” is actually an infinity sign. Just as in a loop, the infinity loop feeds back into itself, but it includes an “investment” step that raises the performance bar for the next time through — hence the reference to infinity (as in “approaching infinity”).

Remember, once habits are learned they tend to remain largely unconscious as long they fit smoothly into your routine. Newer habits are built on top of older habits or work alongside. Sometimes a new habit will displace an older habit if it seems to serve a purpose in a better way.

Since habit formation is such a crucial part of raising a child, we will be spending more time with the underlying ideas — and findings from cognitive science research that further our understanding of the underlying concepts of habit formation and dissolution.

So far as we are thus mere bundles of habit, we are stereotyped creatures, imitators and copiers of our past selves. And since this, under any circumstances, is what we always tend to become, it follows first of all that the teacher’s prime concern should be to ingrain into the pupil that assortment of habits that shall be most useful to him throughout life. Education is for behavior, and habits are the stuff of which behavior consists. __ William James

Bits of Parenting Advice from the Mainstream

Writer Christina DesMarais contributes to Inc. magazine. Several of her pieces have to do with parenting from a scientific perspective. Some of this advice is quite good. Here is a sampling:

Parents of Successful Kids Do These Things

  • They use an authoritative parenting style.
  • They travel with their children.*
  • They don’t lie*
  • They speak with a certain tone of voice
  • They have conversations with kids*
  • They get kids involved in the arts*
  • They play card games with their kids.
  • They exercise regularly.
  • They eat meals with their kids.
  • They limit screen time*
  • They don’t spank
  • They’re warm and accepting*
  • They make sure kids get enough sleep*
  • They play with their kids*
  • They don’t overshare [about their kids] online

Sources: Here, here, and here

Christina backs up each of her recommendations with scientific sources. None of the advice is bad. I have put a star next to the items which seem particularly good overall.

Below you will find an assortment of other snippets of advice from Christina. Feel free to apply it or not, according to your own situation. The idea is to listen to strategies that work for a variety of people, just in case something they do will also work for you.

Take small but concrete steps to turn large visions into reality

“Large visions or dreams can be very daunting, which is why so many people will live their lives without even attempting to realize them. I have found that taking small but concrete steps towards my visions leads to relatively quick and tangible rewards.

If it can be done in a minute, do it now

“The best productivity advice I’ve received (and put into practice every day) is that if something comes across your desk that will take less than 60 seconds to complete, do it immediately.

Set aside a few minutes each night to reflect on all of the day’s events

“As I do so, I jot down in a journal the biggest takeaways from each day in an effort to retain lessons learned.

Say no often

“Focus on the trade-off. The more I think about what I’m giving up when I say ‘yes’ to something, the easier it is to say ‘no.’

Schedule time for self-care, both physically and mentally

“I specifically designate time in my calendar each day to work some sort of physical activity into my afternoon, and I prefer to spend this time alone. Whether through a full workout or simply a walk around the perimeter of the office, I find that being on my own during this time helps me think clearly without distractions.

Make the bed

“Making the bed each morning is the easiest way to start your day with a win.

Make connections

“I regularly invest 15 minutes in a day to talk with someone whom I typically wouldn’t talk with but is related or has some interest in something I am focused on–this could be either professionally or personally.

Make time for music

“Keeping a positive attitude about work is important to me. Positivity helps you better connect with colleagues, customers, and partners, and it makes you more memorable in their eyes. To stay positive, I make time for music every day.

Get outside your comfort zone

“Embrace the unexpected and pursue the unfamiliar. I try to do, read, listen to, watch (or even eat) something new every day. Whether that’s related to my professional development or personal enjoyment. I’ve observed over my career that those who are able to draw from a vast base of knowledge or variety of experiences have an advantage.

Read before picking up a device

“Every morning, before reaching for any electronic devices, I like to read for 30-40 minutes, generally books on philosophy or a good biography. Most recently, I read Seneca: Letters from a Stoic.”

Stretch, breathe, swim, and set goals

“It’s important to have a clear mind each morning in order to have the most productive day possible. I wake up each morning and have 15 minutes to myself to stretch and be aware of my breathing to relax my mind. Afterwards, I get my body moving by swimming for 30 minutes in order to increase my mental wellness, improve blood flow, and get ready to tackle the day.

__ https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/31-simple-daily-habits-that-separate-high-achievers-from-everyone-else.html

Remember the difference between a productive innovator and an executive decision maker. Christina’s advice in the article above suggests that she is more of an executive decision maker, constantly distracted by meetings, interruptions, and memos. Deep-working innovators and creators will have a slightly different approach to getting things done.

It is hard enough raising an ordinary child to be successful. How much harder it is to raise a Dangerous Child, with all the sharp but polished edges that implies. So first learn the basics well, then refine your approach with the greater project in mind.

The spirit and determination for a successful life must come from within the child — you cannot provide it. But you can provide the wisdom of your experience to help shape and nurture that spirit and determination as it grows and becomes manifest. __ Source

Conventional Schools are a Poor Fit for Boys

The following article is republished from the Al Fin Next Level blog. Those who are familiar with the topics in the Dangerous Child blog find much that is familiar to them.

Mainstream Coed Schools are Failing Boys

Girls read more books. They outperform boys on tests for artistic and musical ability. More girls than boys study abroad. More join the Peace Corps. At the same time, more boys than girls are suspended from school. More [boys] are held back and more drop out. Boys are three times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. More boys than girls are involved in crime, alcohol, and drugs. Girls attempt suicide more often than boys, but it is boys who more often succeed. __ The War Against Boys

For some odd reason, modern schools are designed around the needs of girls. It should be no surprise then that girls are thriving in schools from K through university, while in comparison boys are languishing.

Girls are usually better able to sit still and read, able to read and write earlier, and better at literacy in general. When teachers are unaware of these brain differences, they may misdiagnose normal boys as having learning disabilities and conduct disorders. __ http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept06/vol64/num01/Teaching-to-the-Minds-of-Boys.aspx

Boys need more physical activity, more risk taking activities, and more rough and tumble play. Most female teachers are not comfortable with giving boys these needful things. And so schools continue to put boys through hell, which disadvantages many of them throughout their education — which is too often curtailed as a result.

Simple changes to the pace and tempo of the school day, such as incorporating several brief recesses throughout the day, devoting more time to physical education, and including more hands-on activities go a long way towards alleviating some of the natural restlessness of boys and harnessing male energy in positive ways. How much Ritalin could remain on the shelves if we created schools that are ready for boys rather than boys who are ready for schools? __ Lori Day

Boys have a different style of learning than girls. According to a study titled “Teaching Boys: A Global Study in Effective Practices” by Dr. Michael Reichert and Dr. Richard Hawley, eight categories of instruction seem to succeed particularly with boys:

  • Lessons that result in an end product—a booklet, a catapult, a poem, or a comic strip, for example.
  • Lessons that are structured as competitive games.
  • Lessons requiring motor activity.
  • Lessons requiring boys to assume responsibility for the learning of others.
  • Lessons that require boys to address open questions or unsolved problems.
  • Lessons that require a combination of competition and teamwork.
  • Lessons that focus on independent, personal discovery and realization.
  • Lessons that introduce drama in the form of novelty or surprise.

Source

Most K-12 schools are not boy-friendly, and in the same way most modern universities are not man-friendly. But universities and university departments that still care about competing in male-dominant fields will usually find a way to treat male students in a fair and equitable manner.

Young men may be a vanishing breed on the college campus, but there are some colleges that have no trouble attracting them—schools whose names include the letters T-E-C-H. Georgia Tech is 68 percent male; Rochester Institute of Technology, 68 percent; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 74 percent. This affinity pattern points to one highly promising strategy for reconnecting boys with school: vocational education, now called Career and Technical Education (CTE). __ How to Make School Better for Boys

Locking kids indoors for seven or eight hours each day may be good for most girls, but it is hell on boys. Boys need exercise — lots of exercise. And they need to learn to take physical risks, something that is strictly forbidden at most schools.

  1. We overprotect kids, trying to keep them safe from all physical dangers–which ultimately increases their likelihood of real health issues.
  2. We inhibit children’s academic growth (especially among boys), because the lack of physical activity makes it harder for them to concentrate.
  3. When they fail to conform quietly to this low-energy paradigm, we over-diagnose or even punish kids for reacting the way they’re naturally built to react.

Most boys are rambunctious. Often they seem like they’re in a constant state of motion: running, jumping, fighting, playing, getting hurt–maybe getting upset–and getting right back into the physical action.

Except at school, where they’re required to sit still for long periods of time. (And when they fail to stay still, how are they punished? Often by being forced to skip recess–and thus sit still even longer.) __ Boys Need to Move

Researchers in Finland discovered that boys do better in reading and math when they are allowed more physical activity, with less time sitting in a classroom. Girls did not need nearly so much exercise as boys, according to the Finnish researchers. We should pay attention to the suggestion that boys and girls may benefit from entirely different approaches to schooling and child raising.

Very young children such as toddlers between 1 and 4 years, need at least three hours a day of exercise, broken up into shorter segments of time. Older children are said by various agencies of the US government to need at least one hour of exercise daily, but the real benefits for boys probably come from at least three hours a day of exercise for older children as well as younger ones. This would most easily take the form of roughly 15 minutes of exercise out of every hour of waking time. In other words, short periods of exercise throughout the day, interspersed with longer periods of other activities such as eating, dressing, schooling, homework, and occasional longer exercise periods.

The current guidelines for children 6 to 17 years of age include being physically active for at least 60 minutes or more each day with aerobic, muscle and bone strengthening activities. __ Source

Forest Schools

A unique approach to schooling known as “forest schools” seems to offer benefits for boys (and probably some girls) which cannot be obtained at conventional schools. Here are some possible benefits from forest schools:

1. Building confidence and independence
Building dens, navigating with a compass and using a knife in woodwork are just some of the activities that instil children with confidence and a sense of independence.

“Children feel empowered as they learn more about their own natural environment,” explains Worroll.

2. Feeling empathy for others and nature

Working as a team in a natural setting bonds children as a group. It also makes them aware of the need to care for each other and for the environment.

3. Physical fitness

Running around and climbing trees develops muscle strength, aerobic fitness, and coordination. A Scottish study found activity levels were 2.2 times higher in a typical Forest School day than during a school day that included PE lessons.

4. Health benefits

Studies have highlighted a multitude of health benefits to being outside -sunlight and soil microorganisms boost the body’s levels of serotonin, the chemical linked to feelings of wellbeing, while vitamin D, which is essential for bone and muscle health, is also provided by the sun’s rays.

5. Improved mental health
Today’s children are experiencing increased stress caused by a range of pressures, from school exams to social media. Mental-health professionals acknowledge that maintaining a relationship with nature can be very helpful in supporting children’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

6. Learning by experience
Research suggests young children learn best from experience, by using their senses actively rather than passively, and it’s via these experiences that learning remains with us into adulthood.

7. Exposure to manageable risk

At Forest School, children can run and make a noise, get their hands dirty and experience manageable risk, which is essential for healthy child development, through activities such as supervised fire building and cooking.

8. Better sleep and mood

Children – and adults – sleep more deeply after either playing outside or going for a long walk, and mood lifts just from breathing in a few lungfuls of fresh air.

9. Learning about spiritual meaning
Outside the confines of four walls, without the distractions of electronic devices and excessive supervision, children can move, explore and discover at their own pace, connecting to the natural world – a place not created by man, that had deep spiritual meaning for our ancestors. __ Benefits of Forest School

It should be clear that boys need more exposure to the outdoors and to manageable risks, as well as to rough and tumble play and physical exercise in general. Forest schools seem to offer one possible solution to this puzzle that is caused by innate sex differences in educational needs. Clearly many possible solutions to the needs of boy students are possible — if society chose to make boys as much a priority for the future as it has made of girls.

There is a strong argument to be made that boys and girls should be educated in separate classrooms — if not in separate schools. This is not politically correct, but then most wise and effective ideas and most profound truths in this world are not politically correct in this age. We must do the best we can anyway, and make sure that we outlive the insanity.

We may have to fight some of the most powerful corporations in big technology, however:

Big Tech is Making the Problem Worse

The average age of children given their first smartphone is 10 years, in the US. Boys are often given video games much earlier. These electronic devices can bring unhealthy obsessions — leading to less exercise, more sedentary time, and less direct face to face social contact with family and friends. The impact on children and adolescents of such obsessions with electronic devices and social media has yet to be well defined.

There is a preponderance of evidence that social media and smartphone usage seriously damage the mental health of adolescents. Suicide rates among adolescents and young women have skyrocketed from 2007 to 2017.

Smartphones and social media consumption by adolescents are intertwined. Almost all the social media platforms and smartphones are supplied by the following five Big Tech companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple. These five companies have a total market cap of $3.5 Trillion. They are the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the world.

… Big Tech companies use their tremendous influence to suppress information and deter scrutiny of how their products, services, and practices are damaging the health of young people. __ Big Tech Suppresses Information on Its own Harm Producing Impacts

Both boys and girls should have limited contact with sophisticated electronic devices, social media, and uncontrolled access to the internet until at least the mid teen years. The social life of family, school activities, play, as well as their experiencing of the natural world around them — and reading — should take up most of their time. Developing their skills of movement, pattern, music, and language, should take up most of the rest of their waking hours that are not devoted to necessities such as eating and such.

The War Against Boys Continues

Boys are different from girls, and should be raised and educated differently. Modern feminists are determined to continue their war against boys, however. They see no need to accommodate the needs of males at this time, when men are disappearing from so many college campuses.

As long as radical feminists hold dominant positions in government, media, academia, foundations, NGOs, corporate human resources departments, etc., boys and men — and those who love them — will continue fighting an uphill battle. Homeschooling may work in some cases — if it incorporates self-teaching, self-discipline, and self-guidance — as in the Robinson Curriculum.

Vocational high schools and post-secondary schools can provide useful skills that allow boys to generate incomes and experience in the world of money. There are many areas of employment that continue to be dominated by males for strong practical reasons. And there are still some conventional grammar schools, high schools, colleges and universities that try to treat males fairly, overall.

In much of the western world, we are living in a politically correct age of insanity. But these things tend to occur in cycles, so look for your chance to wound this PC turkey at every opportunity — and be ready to finish it off when the time comes.

5 Commonsense Rules for Raising Every Child

Not every child can be a Dangerous Child, but every child should receive a sound upbringing. Unfortunately, too many children are being raised by television and electronic devices rather than by wise and loving parents. A strong society must be well made from the bottom up.

Guest Article by Bill Murphy Jr

Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says Do These 5 Things Every Day

Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says Do These 5 Things Every Day

How hard can this be? There are only five of them.
By Bill Murphy Jr.www.billmurphyjr.com

I think the five daily habits I’ll describe below are among the most compelling.
1. Stay on top of them.

It can be exhausting, and sometimes you think your words are going in one ear and out the other. But British researchers found that parents who articulate high expectations are more likely to have kids who grow up to be successful — and avoid some key pitfalls. ‘

Specifically, a study of 15,000 British girls over 10 years, from ages 13-14 to 23-24, found that those whose parents who consistently displayed high expectations for their children were:

More likely to attend college.
Less likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
Less likely to have prolonged periods of unemployment.
Less likely to get stuck in dead-end, low-wage jobs.

The key: The kids didn’t necessarily like hearing all the “high expectations,” and they didn’t always react civilly to hearing it. But at the end of the day, they heard it.

As a press release from the University of Essex put it: “Behind every successful woman is a nagging mom? Teenage girls more likely to succeed if they have pushy mothers.”

2. Praise them correctly.

There are two main ways that parents praise their kids. The first is for their innate abilities. The second is for their effort. Examples:

Innate ability praise: Great job! You’re so smart!
Effort praise: Great job! You worked hard and figured it out!

Bottom line upfront: When you praise kids, praise them for effort, not abilities.

This comes from the work of Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University. Most of her work revolves around teaching the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

You can see this here: If you praise me for my innate intelligence, you’re praising me for (a) something I had nothing to do with achieving, and (b) something I can’t do anything myself to improve.

But you praise me for my effort, you’re encouraging me to develop exactly the muscles you want me to develop to be successful in life.

3. Take them outside.

This one’s simple. And when the weather’s nice, it’s also highly enjoyable for both kids and for you.

Think about this: Those of us who work in offices hear constantly that sitting all day is killing us. And yet, what do we ask our kids to do for six or seven hours a day? Sit in classrooms.

It’s off the charts insane. Instead, science shows you should encourage them to play outdoors as much as possible.

Researchers in Europe tracked how much outside activity that 153 boys, aged 6 to 8, had every day. The correlation was striking:

“The more time kids … spent sitting and the less time they spent being physically active, the fewer gains they made in reading in the two following years. [It] also had a negative impact on their ability to do math.

4. Read to them correctly.

This one is so important, especially when they’re younger. Parents of highly successful kids are the ones who read to their kids when they were little.

And it turns out there’s a right way and a wrong way to read to them.

The wrong way is simply to read. We’ve all been there (I plead guilty); sometimes you’re so exhausted reading to your kids that you’re almost on autopilot. I could probably recite the entire Ladybug Girl series of books from memory at this point.

But when you can, the more effective thing to do is to engage your child while reading. Ask them to read parts of the books. Ask them what they think will happen with the plot. If they’re too young for that, ask them to turn the pages for you.

5. Make them do chores.

I swear this is a real thing. It comes from Julie Lythcott-Haims, who was the dean of freshmen at Stanford University and wrote the New York Times bestseller How to Raise an Adult.

Lythcott-Haims cites the Harvard Grant Study, a famous 81-year-old longitudinal study, which found that people generally need two things to be successful in life. The first is love; the second is work ethic.

How do we develop work ethic as young kids?

You’ve got it: By doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, walking the dog, cleaning our rooms -; all the stuff that kids often balk at and parents have to nag them about (see #1, above).

“By making them do chores … they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment.” __ inc

Source of guest article

A sixth essential rule is to make sure the child knows that you mean what you say. They will not take you seriously when you try to follow any of the five rules above unless they understand that there is iron behind your smile, and a granite determination behind your love.

Child raising should be kept as simple as possible. Just a few basic rules can serve for a wide range of circumstances, as long as a parent knows how to improvise within the basic principles. For a more expanded view of character development, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life is excellent — for children or adults.

Make your own list and post it in a place where you can’t help but see it repeatedly every day. Most helicopter parents are that way because they do not understand what is important in child raising. By sticking to the essentials — and modifying them as you gain parental wisdom with your children — you will not feel the need to overcompensate by overloading the child with formal “activities.”

The spirit and determination for a successful life must come from within the child — you cannot provide it. But you can provide the wisdom of your experience to help shape and nurture that spirit and determination as it grows and becomes manifest.

Waiting, Watching, Thinking

Waiting

“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.” __ Voltaire

Waiting is not what we usually think. It is true that standing in long lines, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and waiting for the end of a long hard day, all constitute forms of “waiting.” Whether or not such forms of waiting end up being a waste of our time is up to us.

While Dangerous Children are raised to maintain situational awareness and to make use of every second, most people are not Dangerous Children.

Instead of taking advantage of spare moments to learn something new or to practise mindfulness, most of us simply revert to “default mode network” thinking. The default mode is an automatic state of thinking that often involves “zoning out” as in a highway hypnosis or an unfocused daydream. Sometimes the default mode rewards us with creative thought — as in the case of the prepared mind — but for most of us it is just a way of killing time until something salient happens.

A better way of “mental waiting” or suspending normal thought, is to enter an aware state of mindfulness. It is more restful than the default mode, opens more doors to creativity, and allows us a quicker route to action if something unexpected occurs.

More conventional ways of filling up “empty time” such as listening to music, motivational tapes, or foreign language learning, are also useful.

Watching

While “waiting,” the Dangerous Child is also watching. And watching in a special way.

When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing – just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?
__ Ralph Marston

Watching implies seeing. But not everyone who watches also sees. When Dangerous Children watch, they are seeing surface meanings, but also dozens of potential and hypothetical branching extensions of what they see. Watching for a Dangerous Child is not the same as watching for ordinary people.

It is again the “prepared mind” which makes all the difference between mere watching and expanded seeing. Mindfulness opens the door to a more expanded seeing, but only if the mind is pre-pared with fluid mechanisms, categories, and hard knowledge and information.

Thinking

Even while waiting and watching — even while practising mindfulness — the Dangerous Child is always thinking.

“Five percent of the people think;
ten percent of the people think they think;
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
Thomas A. Edison

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
__ Albert Einstein

First of all, Dangerous Children are taught contrarian thinking, and inoculated against groupthink. While young and very young children are not especially likely to think many truly original thoughts, if they are raised in the manner described, the more they develop and learn, the more their thoughts will tend to be their own. This is particularly true given the self-teaching mode of most of a Dangerous Child’s education.

This helps the child to think for himself, but it does untangle the knot of mono-layer thinking. Einstein’s quote above exposes the fallacy of linear logic which plagues the modern/post-modern intellectual and pseudo-intellectual realms.

Dangerous Children learn to think on multiple levels and dimensions. One approach to non-linear logical thinking is the “lateral thinking” approach of Dr. Edward de Bono.

Lateral thinking is an unconventional approach to problem solving that requires more of teachers and students than the conventional factory-school rote learning approach of a traditional childhood and university indoctrination. Since it requires effort and can lead to unpredictable (not politically correct) solutions, most teachers and schools of education avoid it like the plague. As a result, most students never know that lateral thinking exists as a powerful tool for solving sticky problems.

There are several multi-dimensional approaches to unconventional thinking and problem solving which are offered to Dangerous Children as they develop. Some of them are likely to prove useful and comfortable, and if so, the Dangerous Child takes them as his own.

Merging Waiting, Watching, and Thinking

The mind cannot ever do “nothing,” since if nothing else, the default mode network will take over. But it is far more useful, enjoyable, and productive for a person to ride the dynamic wave of awareness, if possible.

Rather than spending our waiting moments in daydreaming and mere anticipation of life, how much better it would be to use our prepared and competent minds to ride the waves of awareness to higher levels and unexpected destinations.

We never know what is coming. It is one thing to maintain a store of food, water, fuel for generators, spare parts for critical machines, weapons and ammunition, and hard money and trade goods. It is quite another thing to hone a mind that is ready to make the best use of all tools and all situations that may arise.

If you have to wait anyway, why not ride the wave while making preparations for dealing with the unexpected?

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.

The Importance of Inoculating Against Groupthink

Gustave Le Bon
quoted in Source

Groupthink is a Mass Contagion Disease

One of the first scholars of “groupthink” was Irving Janis, a research psychologist at Yale and professor emeritus at UC Berkeley. Janis wrote more than a dozen books, including “Groupthink,” and “Victims of Groupthink.” It is instructive to examine a summary of his conclusions from studying the phenomenon.

… what Janis more generally showed through each of his carefully researched case studies was how this form of collective human psychology operates according to certain clearly identifiable rules. Janis several times set out lists of the ‘symptoms of groupthink’, and his lengthy study included much analysis of its other attributes. But for our present purpose, we can draw out from his work three characteristics of
groupthink that are absolutely basic and relevant to our theme. I carefully use here the phrase ‘draw out from’ because Janis himself nowhere explicitly states that these are the three basic rules of groupthink. But they are implicit in his analysis throughout the book, and form the core of his theory as to how groupthink operates.

The three rules of groupthink

Rule one is that a group of people come to share a common view or belief that in some way is not properly based on reality. They may believe they have all sorts of evidence that confirms that their opinion is right, but their belief cannot ultimately be tested in a way that confirms this beyond doubt. In essence, therefore, it is no more than a shared belief.

Rule two is that, precisely because their shared view cannot be subjected to external proof, they then feel the need to reinforce its authority by elevating it into a ‘consensus’, a word Janis himself emphasised. To those who subscribe to the ‘consensus’, the common belief seems intellectually and morally so self-evident that all right-thinking people must agree with it. The one thing they cannot afford to allow is that anyone, either within their group or outside it, should question or challenge it. Once established, the essence of the belief system must be defended at all costs.

Rule three, in some ways the most revealing of all, is a consequence of that insistence that everyone must support the ‘consensus’. The views of anyone who fails to share it become wholly unacceptable. There cannot be any possibility of dialogue with them. They must be excluded from any further discussion. At best they may just be marginalised and ignored, at worst they must be openly attacked and discredited.

Dissent cannot be tolerated.

Janis showed how consistently and fatally these rules operated in each of his examples. Those caught up in the groupthink rigorously excluded anyone putting forward evidence that raised doubts about their ‘consensus’ view. So convinced were they of the rightness of their cause that anyone failing to agree with it was aggressively shut out from the discussion. And in each case, because they refused to consider any evidence that suggested that their two-dimensional ‘consensus’ was not based on a proper appraisal of reality, it eventually led to disaster. __ Groupthink PDF

The document linked above summarizes Janis’ research in the context of the enterprise of global catastrophic climate alarmism, which exhibits a large number of the attributes of groupthink which Janis elaborated back in the 1970s.

It is No Coincidence that “Groupthink” Takes on Orwellian Overtones When Examined Closely

Every Dangerous Child should read George Orwell’s classic novel “1984.” No modern person can claim to be educated without having read that work.

Irving Janus borrowed from the tone of “1984” when he coined the term “groupthink.” Orwell coined similar descriptive terms such as “crimethink,” “doublethink,” and “newspeak.” But it was the imagined society portrayed within the novel which illustrates the concept of groupthink so clearly and graphically.

Dangerous Children Must Be Inoculated Against Conformist Groupthink As Thoroughly As Possible

In order for the child to approach his potential in various aspects of personal growth and achievement, he must be able to stand on his own with sufficient grit and personal competence so that he will not be tossed about by the winds of public opinion or peer influence.

Again, take the example of groupthink in global climate catastrophism:

https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2018/02/Groupthink.pdf

We are discovering in today’s university atmosphere of antagonism against free and open expression and dialogue, that it is only the youth who already possess substantive values who are able to stand up against the ubiquitous postmodern indoctrination.

What is true for ordinary children and youth is particularly true for Dangerous Children, who are trained in a wide range of potentially lethal skills. Such children must be highly conscientious, with stable and mature systems of values which they call their own.

Without high levels of conscientiousness or solid, stable, self-made systems of values, it would be irresponsible to train the child to be Dangerous.

The Contrarian Way

Contrarianism is the characteristic of “going one’s own way,” without regard to the direction of the larger herd. And that is a signal characteristic of the Dangerous Child — although he would never broadcast such an inclination to the public. It is his broad competence which gives him the confidence to take that stance.

As we say, there are no secret handshakes, no special tattoos, no identifying rings or pendants or styles of clothing, to identify a Dangerous Child. You may be living next door to one.

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules: Antidote to Chaos

https://jordanbpeterson.com/12-rules-for-life/

All children should be trained along the lines of Peterson’s 12 rules, but Dangerous Children in particular. This valuable book unlocks a treasure trove of deep learning and insight which required Peterson decades of study and struggle to uncover and elucidate. Writing the book only took a few years. Doing the painful and bloody work required to be able to write the book took decades.

The book is something to read, ponder, and read again. Parents who take the time and trouble to do so will be much better people for themselves, their partners, and their children. But it is children themselves — and especially Dangerous Children — who stand to reap the greatest harvest from internalising the dynamic storm of principles hidden behind the rules.

The following rules will appear meaningless to someone who has not read the book. But to anyone who takes the trouble to read and re-read Peterson’s book, the rules are saturated with the deepest of meanings.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/jan/21/jordan-peterson-self-help-author-12-steps-interview

Rule 1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule 2 Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule 3 Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule 4 Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world

Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule 8 Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie

Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule 10 Be precise in your speech

Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

Part clinical psychologist, part philosopher, part popularizer of obscure gems of experience and covert iron bulwarks of reality, Peterson is only 55 years old. He is just now bursting into the global intellectual limelight.

For anyone else from his relatively humble background, such a “coming out” into the treacherous world of modern fame would be potentially devastating. But if you look carefully at all the decades of blistering mind-toil Peterson has done arriving at this point in his life, it will be easier to see the solid bedrock beneath his thinking.

Peterson has largely been in the news for his blazing, outspoken opposition to much of the far-left political agenda, which he characterises as totalitarian, intolerant and a growing threat to the primacy of the individual – which is his core value and, he asserts, the foundation of western culture. __ Guardian

If you have not watched Peterson’s interview with feminist Cathy Newman on BBC, it is worth a look. It has already received almost five and half million views on Youtube, and that number is rising quickly.

Ms. Newman tries repeatedly to put words into Peterson’s mouth, and is soundly rebuffed and corrected each time. Peterson comes across as cool under fire because he himself has fought internal battles over these issues of far greater ferocity than any firepower that a mere feminist could mount.

Children need to be prepared in advance for the hostility they will face from a radical leftist zeitgeist at all levels of society and education. Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules is a powerful tool to aid that preparation.